It was a bizarro night for colleges when it comes to the first round of the NFL Draft, the kind of night that makes you think there's ridiculous parity in college football.
This is almost like the playoff system that so many of us root for. All right, it's a stretch, but work with me.
The talent evaluators are showing us that some of the under-the-radar teams are ready to compete with the teams we deemed to be the big boys.
They spoke loud and clear Thursday. So which school is the valedictorian of the first round and which schools need to go to extended learning during the summer to get their players back in the buzz?
Greg Schiano has followed off the sexy coach radar and the Scarlet Knights are more of a sleeper than a powerhouse. But the dude just keeps putting out winners.
They have lost some games that could have propelled them back into the spotlight, but since their BCS game, they're 8-5, 8-5, and 9-4 and have won four straight bowl games.
Davis went higher than projections, and McCourty jumped into the first round and into Bill Belichick's secondary.
That's a pretty good night for the Jersey Boys.
You can say this is an isolated indictment of Jimmy Clausen. I don't think so. I think it's a much larger statement that the Irish talent is just not NFL caliber.
Golden Tate was on a lot of first-round mocks of note. Then it seems that all the Kipers and Kirwans got in the ballroom with the NFL team personnel and realized, "Whoops."
If Tate slipped into the second round, there's nothing saying that he won't slip into the third.
The Golden Bears might not get any bowl love, but they certainly got top grades from the talent guys.
Tyson Alualu went from a mid-second to third-round guy to the No. 10 pick in the draft. Geesh, that must have been some kind of interview.
The Jags obviously saw something in this defensive end that every Kiper wannabe missed. That includes Kiper, who really started to get testy when this pick was called.
Jahvid Best is a little different story. Teams are scared off by the concussions, but you have to be all over the talent.
Him being taken is a total surprise, but it's still far ahead of his mid-second round to third-round projection.
Yes, the Longhorns got Earl Thomas farther up the board than expected. But from there, Thursday night was a disaster for Mack Brown's ego.
Sergio Kindle in the mid-teens? Nuh-uh.
Colt McCoy in the first round? Nope. Surely ahead of Tim Tebow? Think again. We think that little of the little guy.
LaMarr Houston is sitting there for the Rams, but we have a sneakin' suspicion he's going to have to wait a little bit too as teams jump to take offense at the top of the second round.
And I'm on record saying John Skelton will go ahead of McCoy.
When a Fordham guy is going ahead of a Longhorn, you just been disrespected, partner.
It takes a lot for a national powerhouse to still be called a winner. But then again, the Sooners had three of the top four picks...the first team in NFL draft history to pull that off.
I didn't make them head of the class because their picks were all expected to go high.
It's hard to believe that Sam Bradford is the first Sooner to be taken No. 1 since Billy Sims in 1980, but it's the truth.
Trent Williams leapfrogged Russell Okung. What put them over the top for me is Jermaine Gresham at No. 21. I think he's going to be a wideout-quality steal for the Bengals.
At one point in this winding path to the draft, Everson Griffen was in the mid-teens. Taylor Mays was right around 19 or 20 in the first round. And Charles Brown was a value first-round pick at OT.
Character and the Trojans don't go together lately. That has killed USC's draft stock in this Year of Mr. Clean.
Damian Williams is a stud, but he just didn't wow enough to get ahead of Demaryius Thomas. Really?
Maybe next year, USC. It could get worse tonight. Joe McKnight could slip into the fourth round if Pete Carroll doesn't rescue him.
It's one pick. But for Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews to almost jump ahead of C.J. Spiller, that is huge for the far-lesser-known Bulldogs.
To have a guy in the top 15 when Mark Richt's Bulldogs didn't have anyone in the first round, it's huge.
It was a reach, but you can't blame the Chargers for doing it. And because they did, Fresno State just got a huge recruiting bump.
For a non-BCS school to be able to say, "Son, we can get you into the top 15 of the draft," that is HUGE.
He still wound up in the AFC East, but Jared Odrick fell a bit. Considering the way the Patriots treat their defensive big men (see Adalius Thomas and Richard Seymour) it's probably better for him to be in Miami.
But it was still a drop. And when you factor that ILB Sean Lee and OLB Navarro Bowman were getting some first-round buzz and have dropped, it's a bad night for the Nittany Lions.
Not as bad as our summer school dropouts, but still a disappointment.
Again, how does the powerhouse make this list? Well, let's see.
Joe Haden jumped from the late teens to No. 7. Maurkice Pouncey held steady in the late teens and ended up in Pittsburgh.
But what puts this over the top is that Tebow guy. The Broncos making that leap has vindicated Tebow and Urban Meyer.
It will make us all stop saying, "If Tebow could change in four weeks, why couldn't Meyer make that fix for him?"
Now we'll say Meyer has a first-round quarterback taken again, one that could break the Florida NFL QB jinx.
Honorable mention on the winners list: South Florida. Getting a guy into the top 15 is a great stabilizer for a program that's in turmoil.
Thaddeus Gibson (pictured) was the one hope to keep Buckeye Nation off this list. But the projected home at No. 31 went away when the Colts took Jerry Hughes.
Now, Gibson is being projected in the late third round. Oof. When Ohio has a higher-rated guy than you, boy, you're in trouble.
That's the case as Bobcats wideout Taylor Price is being seen as a better pick than Gibson tonight by most mocksters.
LSU, you have to do better. You're a first-round factory, or at least you should be. Is this the JaMarcus Russell Effect? Maybe DT Al Woods or WR Brandon LaFell can cancel out that stench for a better 2011 Draft.
Miami, you're not back yet. If TE Jimmy Graham could jump up into the late second or early third round tonight, that would help your cause mightily.
Georgia, that's a freefall. You go from the No. 1 pick in 2009 to nada in 2010 with your best hope being safety Reshad Jones in the third round. Mark Richt, you must go.