UCLA Upset Highlights Big Weekend for Pac-10

Chase TitlemanContributor ISeptember 27, 2010

Bruins Shock Longhorns in Repeat of Route-66 Massacre
Bruins Shock Longhorns in Repeat of Route-66 MassacreRonald Martinez/Getty Images

Story Boards Of The Day: Arkansas Blows Opportunity To Upset Bama

  • UCLA Defense stifles Texas in Austin.
  • Michigan State, NC State, Northwestern & Missouri quietly improve to 4-0!
  • Arkansas offense disappears after injury to Childs; Mallott flops in chance to take control of Heisman race.
  • Denard Robinson and Tate Forcier a perfect 16-for-16 passing combined; both injured on the day.
  • Russell Wilson emerging into future two-sport star after big day on college gridiron.
  • PAC-10 Defense's shine in early afternoon road victories over college football stalwarts, Texas and Notre Dame.

Big Red Nation Report:

1.  Alabama vs Arkansas: After Arkansas bolted to a 17-7 halftime lead, my gut instinct and imagination turned to a possible Nebraska-Arkansas national championship game looming in January, once again pitting the Big-12 versus the SEC in the national championship game. 

But Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban proved once again why he is among the best coaches in college football, as the Tide defense limited the Hogs to a single field goal in the second half.

The Arkansas offense proved inefficient without WR Greg Childs, who was injured late in the first half. Arkansas managed a single field goal after a strong first half as Bama mounted their come back in the second half. 

Childs had three receptions for 44 yards as the Razorbacks rocked a young Tide secondary in the early going.

Ryan Mallett led the Hogs to 303 yards of total offense in the first half with four completions of 30-yards or more, but the Arkansas fortunes took a turn for the worse with the injury to Childs.

Mallett finished with 359 yards passing, completing 25-of-38 passes with 1 touchdown, but the three interceptions on the day wrecked the Hogs chances of a major upset and a reshuffling of the national polls heading into October. 

Tide QB Greg McElroy was a much more efficient 18-of-26 for 197 yards and a touchdown, although he too suffered from 2 INT's on the day. 

Both QB's traded interceptions in the endzone in the first half, eliminating strong scoring opportunities.

The Crimson Tide defense had only given up an average of 250 yards total offense through three games so far this season, but the young stable of fleet-footed studs roaming the secondary grew up in a hurry in the second half as Mallett looked "timid" and often "afraid to fail" on two crucial drives late in the fourth quarter, once again throwing interceptions on back-to-back possessions.

Mallett, I'm sure, wishes he had the first half interception from the three-yard line in the final seconds of the first half back as Arkansas could have taken a stronghold on the game at halftime, which would have forced Alabama out of its ground-oriented efficient game plan.

Reigning Heisman winner Mark Ingram had a stellar day, cruising for 157 yards on 24 carries (6.4 Ave) with two touchdowns and teammate Trent Richardson added 85 yards on eight carries. Both Ingram and Richardson had big-play 50-plus yard carries on the day. 

Arkansas is the biggest loser on the day, missing a golden opportunity to jump to the forefront in the race to the BCS National Championship game.

2.  Ohio State: It is hard to give Ohio State much credibility, given the performance of the Big-Ten thus far in the young 2010 season. 

Wisconsin was literally handed the game by Arizona State last weekend at home while Oregon blitzed the same Sun Devils six days later. 

With Iowa's loss to Arizona, Penn State's debacle to Alabama and Minnesota losing to an FCS school, a MAC Conference opponent and USC, where is the credibility of the conference when they continue to schedule cream puff opponents? 

Dane Sanzenbacker pulled down four touchdown passes from Terrelle Pryor, tying two Ohio State records—but just how seriously we can take this performance is up for interpretation, given the fact that Eastern Michigan has now lost 16 straight games and was a mere 44.5 point underdog entering the game. 

By the way, Ohio State won the contest 73-20. YAWN!

3.  Wisconsin: Ditto for Wisconsin. 

The schedule put Austin Peay on the docket this weekend and I think the Badgers may have lost ground in the polls. 

Freshman James White rushed for a bundle and scored four touchdowns while QB Scott Tolzien threw for three. 

Who couldn't when you are essentially playing against air?

4.  Nebraska: One of the biggest losers on the day, Nebraska rolled up a very uninspiring performance following a big win over Washington from the PAC-10 Conference, winning 17-3 over FCS subdivision South Dakota State on Saturday. 

Sensational QB Taylor Martinez, who entered the Heisman fray after opening the first three games with both 100 yard rushing and 100 yard passing performances, fell to earth with a resounding thud. 

He fumbled his first snap and threw two interceptions on the day, finishing with 75-yards rushing and 140-yards passing. 

If every game is so important, Nebraska should not get a free pass in the race for the BCS Championship.

5.  Oklahoma: The Sooners enter October as my most over-rated team within the Top 10 in the national polls.

The Sooners were out-played on the day and have now won three of the first four ball games by 7 points or less versus vastly inferior competition. 

Don't look for Oklahoma to drop in the polls, as they are one of the royalty teams that are ridiculously protected by the national poll system and its hidden governance body. 

Texas, who hooks up with the Sooners next weekend in the annual Red River Rivalry, may be the next most over-rated team within the Top 10 in the polls; after being embarrassed at home to a UCLA Bruin program that has under-achieved thus far in the Rick Neuheisel era.

6.  Stanford: If Oklahoma is the most over-rated Top 10 team, Stanford is just the opposite. 

It should be Stanford residing in the Top 10 and Oklahoma entering the polls around the 15th poll position. 

Enough said for now, a rebuttal coming later in the article.

7.  USC: The Trojans are barred from any post-season appearances this season, but that doesn't mean that USC can't win the PAC-10 crown anyway. 

USC is now just hitting its stride and is more than ready and capable of returning a PAC-10 Conference championship to its venerable trophy hall. 

With everyone talking about Oregon, Arizona and Stanford, it would be unwise to sleep on the Trojans!

Upset (and Shocker) Of The Day:

UCLA dominated a thoroughly bewildered and confused Longhorn program, nearly 13 years to the day after the Bruins stormed into Austin for Round 1 of the Route-66 Massacre (a 66-3 victory led by Cade McNown, who threw for nearly 500 yards that day as the Bruins raced to a 38-0 half-time lead). 

The Bruins won Part II of the Route 66 Massacre yesterday, 34-12. 

The Bruins forced four first half turnovers and rushed for 264 yards against the nations number two ranked defense.

"It was a rear-end kicking...This one's embarrassing for me.  I'm responsible for everybody in this program, from the trainers to the managers to the walk-ons, to the kids to the coaches - EVERYBODY," said Texas Coach Mack Brown following the dominant showing by UCLA and the PAC-10 Conference.

Road Warriors!

1.  Alabama (4-0): 24-20 win on the road over Arkansas in Fayetteville.

2.  UCLA (2-2): 34-12 win on the road over Texas in Route-66 Massacre Part II.

3.  Toledo (3-1): Major upset over Purdue 31-20 in West Lafayette.

4.  NC State (4-0): Blasted Georgia Tech 45-28 on the road in Atlanta.

5.  Stanford (4-0): Hammered Notre Dame 34-14 in South Bend.

Most Under-Rated Programs In America:

Stanford Cardinal: Playing the six-degrees of separation game, the Cardinal should climb in the national polls, considering they have now beaten three BCS Automatic Qualifying schools (Wake Forest, UCLA, and Notre Dame) to start the season. 

In light of UCLA's monster win in Austin (34-12 over the Horns), and considering that Stanford shut-out the Bruins 35-0 in Pasadena earlier this season, the Cardinal appear to be the most under-rated team in America at present. 

With Oregon's, albeit, lackluster victory tonight over Arizona State in the desert, all eyes will be on the Ducks and Cardinal next weekend, as rumor has it that ESPN College Game Day will be coming to Eugene—after word has gotten out that the Game Day Crew have reserved multiple rooms in the Eugene Hilton for next weekend.

NC State: Wolf-Pack QB Russell Wilson is all the rage on the Heisman issue this week and his rising NFL Stock will spring him up future draft boards as he adds another 300-yard performance to his developing resume. 

A rising professional baseball prospect as well, Wilson completed 28-of-41 passes for 368 yards and three touchdowns as the Pack raced past the Yellow-Jackets of Georgia Tech 45-28. 

Wilson now has 1,112 yards passing on the young season with 11 touchdowns and a sensational QB Rating (Pass Efficiency Rating) of 149.79! 

Given the lack of overall strength found with the ACC this year, look for Wilson's numbers to increase as the season rolls along.

Who's Hot:

1. Michigan State (4-0): Head Coach Mark Dantonio can rest easy this week after the Spartans cruised to a 45-7 ho-hum victory over Northern Colorado. 

Dantonio suffered a mild heart attack last week within hours after a successful fourth down fake field goal call in overtime (34-27 victory over the Irish); after having a stint placed in one of his arteries, he may be back on the sidelines next week for the Big Ten showdown with undefeated Wisconsin.

QB Kirk Cousins was 16-of-20 for 290 yards and two touchdowns while Le'Veon Bell ran for 92 yards and three touchdowns.

2. Auburn (4-0): Quarterback Cameron Newton was 16-of-21 passing for 158 yards and two touchdowns passing while running for 176 yards and three touchdowns rushing on 25 carries. 

Newton is certain to be a Top 5 performer for this week's Spread-QB of the Week as the Tigers overcame a 20-14 halftime deficit and outlasted Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks in SEC Action.

3. Indiana (3-0): Ben Chappell tossed four touchdown passes on the day on 23-of-33 for 342 yards passing as Indiana improved to 3-0 on the young season. 

We will find out if the Hoosiers are for real next Saturday as they entertain the undefeated Michigan Wolverines at home in Bloomington. 

Darius Willis rushed for 87 yards on 19 carries and Terrance Turner caught 6 balls for 121 yards and a touchdown to lead Indiana to the victory.

4. Florida (4-0): The Gators manhandled the Wildcats at home, as Trey Burton broke Tim Tebow's school record with six touchdowns and Florida QB John Brantley completed 24-of-35 passes for 248 yards.

Coach Urban Meyer became the fastest coach to the 100 win benchmark. 

Wildcat QB Mike Hartline was 21-of-39 for 242 yards, but suffered two picks on the day (one a pick six), while teammate Derrick Locke gained 103 yards rushing on 23 carries in the loss.

5. Arizona (4-0): Coming on the heels of a big program changing win over Top 10 Iowa last weekend, the Cats were ripe for upset in a potential trap-game with the Golden Bears of California. 

But Nick Foles bailed Arizona out with a late scoring pass in the final minute, giving the CATS its first lead of the game and Arizona is 4-0 for the first time under Mike Stoops. 

The winning seven-play 77-yard drive came after California place kicker Giorgio Tavecchhio missed a 40-yard field goal try with 2:37 to play that would have given the Bears a probable win a week after being embarrassed by Nevada in Reno.

Who's Not:

1. Georgia (1-3): The Dawgs lost their third straight game for the first time ever under the direction of venerable coach Mark Richt. 

The message boards and the FireCoachRicht.com websites must be firing up across the south this weekend.

2. California (2-2): The Bears wasted a stellar effort by their defense, as they limited Nick Foles to 212 yards passing and Nic Grigsby to 65 yards rushing, but couldn't keep Arizona out of the end zone in the final seconds to drop to 2-2 on the year. 

Shane Vareen had another strong rushing performance with 102 yards on 27 carries and he now has 426 yards rushing on the year.

3. Cincinnati (1-3): Although certainly a step in the right direction, you have to feel for the Bearcat players who were stung by the defection of Head Coach Brian Kelly to Notre Dame last year, amid an undefeated season and a trip to the BCS Orange Bowl.

Off to its worst start in four seasons, the Bearcats self-destructed every time they had a chance to take control of the game and missed a golden opportunity to stem the tide of a near certain disastrous season. 

The game highlighted two of the better QB's in the country as Landry Jones completed 36-of-51 passes for 370 yards and 2 touchdowns while counterpart Zach Collaros was 23-of-38 for 305 yards passing on the day. 

The Bearcats had four costly turnovers on the day.

Accomplished But Unproven:

1. Northwestern (4-0).

2. Indiana (3-0).

3. Michigan (4-0).

Given the cream puff schedules within the Big Ten and Miami's lack of swagger and subsequent fall from national supremacy, why not include the entire Big Ten Conference in the accomplished but vastly unproven category? 

The only real highlight for the conference today was the fact that Denard Robinson and third string QB Tate Forcier combined to go a perfect 16-for-16 passing on the day for 160 yards. 

As a matter of fact, all three Michigan QB's (1st Stringer: Robinson, 2nd Stringer: Gardner & 3rd Stringer: Forcier) were 23-of-26 for 255-yards passing and two TD's on the day; the three also rushed for 184-yards as well. 

For all of you who jumped off the Rich Rod Bandwagon, it may be time to jump back on!  But then again, who have they played given Notre Dame and UCONN's sluggish start?

Who Gained The Most This Weekend:

1. Alabama (4-0).

2. Boise State (3-0).

3. Oregon (4-0).

4. Auburn (4-0).

5. UCLA (2-2).

Biggest Losers:

1. Georgia Tech: Loss to NC State (45-28) leaves the State of Georgia in a state of disbelief this young football season, as both the Jackets (2-2) and Bulldogs (1-3) are a combined 3-5 on the young season.

2.  The Big Ten Conference: For scheduling a cream puff slate that included Austin Peay, Northern Colorado and MAC Conference members Ball State, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Toledo, Eastern Michigan, Temple, Akron and Northern Illinois, whom the Big Ten promptly beat by a combined score of 255-56.

The Big-Ten is becoming irrelevant in the race for the BCS National Championship. 

To top it off, Purdue was upset by Toledo 31-20 and just two weeks after losing a FCS match-up with South Dakota (41-38), Gopher Head Coach Tim Brewster can't be feeling like he has much job security after losing to Northern Illinois 34-23. 

It was the second strong showing in two weeks for the Huskies, who lost 28-22 to Illinois last weekend.

Although Ohio State defeated Miami (36-24) and Wisconsin defeated Arizona State (20-19) so far this season, the conference has more embarrassing losses than signature wins as Arizona defeated Iowa, Alabama defeated Penn State, USC defeated Minnesota and Arizona defeated Iowa in the marquee non-conference match-ups. 

Maybe it is time the Big Ten is viewed as Ohio State and the 10 dwarfs like the PAC-10 was in USC's heyday.

3. Arkansas: When you have a heavyweight champion on the ropes early in the ballgame, you have to deliver the knockout blow. 

The air left the Hogs sails when Heisman candidate Ryan Mallett threw a costly interception in the final minute of the first half for forcing a third and goal opportunity into tight coverage. 

The game could have been out of reach at halftime for the Hogs, who once again lose to a number one team in the final minutes (AKA Texas in 1969).

4. Oregon State: The Rogers brothers were knocked silly by a fast and at times thuggish Boise State defense on Saturday evening on a national stage. 

Once again, in what is becoming an all too familiar pattern, Mike Riley's Beavers are off to a sluggish start and have yet to perform up to their sterling PAC-10 standards in non-conference road games versus opponents from non-automatic qualifying conferences.

5.  BYU: Bronco Mendenhall dropped to 1-3 on the season on the heels of a 27-13 loss to Nevada. 

Nevada is rapidly becoming this years talk in the BCSBuster category. 

The Cougars have lost three in a row for the first time in the Mendenhall era after defeating Washington on the road to open the season. 

Payback could be a bitch this year in the Mountain West if BYU continues its independent plan for football notoriety.

BCSBuster Report:

Boise State, TCU and Nevada all kept pace and their hopes alive for a BCS bid with convincing victories this season. 

Of the three, I think TCU loses the most, due to the fact that SMU struggled to beat a Washington State team that most have handled quite substantially in the past three seasons. 

On the contrary, why is TCU being discriminated against for a very close loss last season versus Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl? 

Isn't this year about this year and not seasons by gone?

Who Needed A Win The Most This Weekend:

1. Miami: After dropping the marquee match-up with Ohio State two weeks ago, Miami dominated Pittsburgh 31-3 on Thursday. 

Still, it is hard not to feel that the Hurricanes have lost their national swagger. Miami improves to 2-1 on the season.

2. Iowa: The Hawkeyes dropped hard in the polls last week, but a date with the MAC Conference was just what the doctor ordered. 

Of all the teams within the Big Ten, I believe I would hold onto Iowa's stock over all others within the conference. 

The defensive front is outstanding and they demonstrated some serious intestinal fortitude in last week's loss to Arizona in the desert, given the strength of their comeback after taking the lead 28-27 after trailing 27-7 at halftime. 

The PAC-10 Conference Special Teams have been rather "SPECIAL," which was the difference in the ball game. Iowa improves to 3-1 on the year.

3. Ole Miss: QB Jeremiah Masoli continues to improve under center (literally) and the Rebels defeated a sound and pesky Fresno State squad behind the running of Brandon Bolden who rushed for 228-yards on the day. 

Masoli was 8-for-12 passing for 153-yards and two touchdowns. Masoli, known for his running as well, added 59-yards in that category and was intercepted one time. The Rebels even their record at 2-2. 

Best Conference Performance of the Weekend:  PAC-10 Conference!

By limiting Texas and Notre Dame to one touchdown apiece, the PAC-10 Conference had the strongest showing of the day. 

The conference now has victories over Tennessee, Iowa, Texas, Notre Dame, Wake Forest and Minnesota, while suffering respectable losses versus Wisconsin, Boise State, TCU, Kansas State and Nevada. 

No other conference has played more BCS Automatic Qualifying Opponents than the PAC-10 and no other conference is willing to travel during the opening month of the season that the Conference of Champions.


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