College Football's 11 Best 11s: Texas, Alabama Stalk BCS Title
The storyline may vary, the locations differ, but rising to the occasion will be the theme as one reviews the college football activity of this past weekend.
Stanford, fresh from two of the most impressive victories in the BCS era, was beaten on their home field by ancient rival California, 34-28.
The Cardinal had their chances, and were only turned away in the final moments when their powerful ground game was betrayed by an interception near the Cal end zone.
Michigan and Notre Dame, two of the most storied programs in history, each lost at home.
While the Wolverines fell by 11 points to a superior Buckeye team, the Irish bowed to middle of the road Connecticut. The UConn squad refused to fold this year, despite carrying an enormous burden of having a teammate murdered during the season.
The Iowa Hawkeyes, left for dead following two consecutive Big 10 losses, rose from the ashes like a Phoenix to shut out the Golden Gophers of Minnesota.
The 12-0 victory secured the Floyd of Rosedale Trophy (see pictured above) and should inoculate the Hawkeyes against being dropped from BCS Bowl consideration.
Quarterback Greg Paulus and Syracuse stunned 25th ranked Rutgers, 31-13. Paulus, the former Duke basketball point guard, led an offensive charge from the Orange that controlled the ball for 40 minutes in a complete annihilation of the Scarlet Knights.
Penn State bounced back from some less than stellar performances to destroy Michigan State 42-14, thus securing the Land Grant Trophy.
The Old Oaken Bucket went to Purdue after the Boilermakers stifled the Indiana Hoosiers, 38-21. It was IU's eighth loss in the last nine games.
Nebraska qualified for a spot in the Big 12 Title game against Texas by throttling feisty little Kansas State, 17-3.
In other Big 12 action, Texas Tech avenged its only regular season loss of 2008 by overwhelming the suddenly ineffective Oklahoma Sooners, 41-13.
Oregon, a powerful but inconsistent western steamroller, came back in the desert to conquer a rugged Arizona Wildcat squad in double overtime, 44-41. Nothing speaks louder concerning a team's future than how it performs when faced with adversity.
Score one for first year coach Chip Kelly of the Ducks, an impressive gentleman with places to go and important deeds to complete.
Brigham Young continued its march toward a showdown with Utah by handling The Air Force, 38-21.
In the South, two games of note were played while many squads rested or feasted in preparation of next week's rivalry games.
Mississippi spotted talented LSU the lead early on but, manged to find it within themselves to withstand a late Tiger onslaught and escape with a 25-23 win.
Clemson reached their first ever ACC Championship game by disposing of overmatched Virginia, 34-21. The Tigers move on to play Georgia Tech for the title.
These teams met earlier this season with the Yellow Jackets pulling out a 30-27 victory. With both running games operating at full throttle, fans can envision a decision being reached in less than two hours down in Tampa.
Simply put, it was the type of day where legends are created.
The 11 Best 11s
Ranking This Week Last Week
1. Texas 1.
2. Alabama 2.
3. Florida 4.
4. Texas Christian 3.
5. Boise State 5.
6. Cincinnati 6.
7. Georgia Tech 7.
8. Pittsburgh 8.
9. Oregon 9.
10. Ohio State 10.
11. Iowa (No. 1 On The Porch)
On The Porch: Oklahoma State, Mississippi, Penn State, Oregon State, Nebraska
By virtue of results from the past two weekends, the SEC Title Game is set between defending champion Florida and Alabama.
Texas and Nebraska are headed to the Big 12 Championship.
Before reservations are made in Pasadena for the ultimate prize, the small matter of avoiding a season ending upset at the hands of an arch-rival must be avoided.
Just don't call Jim Harbaugh and Stanford for advice on how to do it.
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