Every week in college football provides plenty of mind-boggling decisions, ridiculous highlights, amazing endings, wacky announcer quotes, and unbelievable stat lines.
And this edition of COLLEGE FOOTBALL COMPREHENSIVE is jammed full of them.
Which two players scored a simultaneous touchdown against Ohio State?
How many rabbits are left in Les Miles' hat?
Who will be the best quarterback in the Big Ten next year?
How did Western Michigan kick off and still take a 14-0 lead in the first minute?
Which announcer compared Jacory Harris to a box of chocolates?
And which two football teams combined to score 139 points? (No, that's not a typo!)
Bottom line: Whether you watched 10 games, zero games, or somewhere in between on Saturday, CFC is the ultimate wrap up you don’t want to miss, featuring the always-popular segments:
WHO’S NUMBER ONE?
THANK GOODNESS FOR MY DVR
THAT CAN’T BE RIGHT!
UNDER THE MICROSCOPE
MAYBE BROADCASTING IS EASIER THAN I THOUGHT
MAYBE COACHING IS EASIER THAN I THOUGHT
MAYBE OFFICIATING IS EASIER THAN I THOUGHT
SINCE I DO LIVE IN OHIO...
Let’s kick it off…
WHO’S NUMBER ONE?
Taking a stab at ranking the nation’s Top 25 teams…
Disclaimer: With defending national champion Alabama’s loss, this week’s poll seemed like a good time to throw out all of my preconceptions and previous rankings, so I started fresh in my quest to rank the nation’s best teams (based on their performances in the first six weeks of the season, not on how I had them ranked in Week 1 or Week 5).
Special consideration and privileged position was awarded to any program that remains undefeated. For fans who feel like their team with one or two losses deserves to be higher in this unscientific poll…well…just win, baby.
1. Boise State 5-0
2. Ohio State 6-0
3. Oregon 6-0
4. TCU 6-0
5. Nebraska 5-0
6. Oklahoma 5-0
7. Auburn 6-0
8. Utah 5-0
9. LSU 6-0
10. Michigan State 6-0
11. South Carolina 4-1
12. Alabama 5-1
13. Nevada 6-0
14. Oklahoma State 5-0
15. Missouri 5-0
16. Arkansas 4-1
17. Arizona 4-1
18. Iowa 4-1
19. Stanford 5-1
20. Florida State 5-1
21. Air Force 5-1
22. Wisconsin 5-1
23. West Virginia 4-1
24. Michigan 5-1
25. Florida 4-2
THANK GOODNESS FOR MY DVR
The jaw-dropping highlights that were worth rewinding for…
Great moves by Kentucky’s Randall Cobb, who danced, spun, and juked his way for a 26-yard gain down to the 1-yard line as the Wildcats threw a scare into top-10 foe Auburn.
Excellent diving interception by Troy’s Jacoby Thomas, who picked off a pass after teammate KeJuan Phillips inadvertently kicked it into the air.
Speaking of deflections, Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo snagged an interception that the Bulldogs’ Vance Cuff initially tipped. As Rambo’s momentum took him out of bounds, he neatly vaulted over the famous hedges to add a few style points to the highlight play.
Loved the form tackle and massive hit from UCF’s Lyle Dankenbring on UAB running back Greg Franklin to force an incompletion.
Not sure I’ve ever seen two players simultaneously score a touchdown, but I got a kick out of watching Indiana backups Dusty Kiel and Antonio Banks wrestle over theirs. Banks, a running back, thought Kiel was handing him the ball near the goal line, while Kiel was trying to pull it back and keep the pigskin himself. Both players crossed the plane of the end zone while still engaged in their not-so-friendly tug-of-war, although Banks ultimately was credited with the touchdown (much to the delight of the three people in his hometown—all with the last name Banks, strangely enough—who have a second-string Hoosier ballcarrier on their fantasy team).
LSU keeps finding wild ways to win, including this week’s ho-hum fake field goal, complete with a no-look, over-the-shoulder pass from holder Derek Helton that took an unplanned bounce and nearly went forward. The entire last LSU drive in Gainesville was remarkable, with replays seemingly between every snap (to allow us all time to digest the craziness we were witnessing). Bottom line: most cats have nine lives. Les Miles’ Tigers seemingly have hundreds.
Purdue punter Cody Webster nailed a 79-yard punt in the Boilermakers’ upset victory at Northwestern. Most impressively, the punt came against an all-out rush, or as play-by-play man Tom Hart remarked, “The fear and adrenaline allowed Webster to get it off 79 yards.”
More special teams: UConn’s Nick Williams showed off his blazing speed in a 100-yard kickoff return touchdown Friday night. Williams outraced the Rutgers coverage team with ease, and wasn’t even touched until his teammates mobbed him in the end zone.
Some advice for Texas Tech: 1. Don’t attempt onside kicks in the first quarter. 2. If you do attempt an onside kick in the first quarter for some reason, make sure it goes 10 yards. 3. If your onside kick attempt doesn’t go 10 yards, don’t just stand around and watch the ball while Baylor’s Terrance Ganaway picks it up and runs it back 38 yards for a touchdown.
THAT CAN’T BE RIGHT
The ridiculous stat lines, improbable scores, and ticker typos that cause double-takes everywhere…
They say it’s important to get off to a good start… Western Michigan kicked off to Ball State Saturday afternoon and still took a 14-0 lead only 52 seconds into the game. That’s A) ridiculous and B) nearly impossible. The Broncos forced a fumble on the opening kickoff, scored on three plays, and then ran back an interception for a touchdown on the Cardinals’ first play from scrimmage.
Recipe for an upset… Stephen Garcia started 8-8 with three touchdown passes to help South Carolina jump on top of stunned Alabama 21-3 in the first 16 minutes of the game. Garcia finished 17-20 for an outstanding 85 percent completion rate on the day.
No longer unbeaten… With the loss, Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy dropped his first game as a starting quarterback since his eighth grade year. My math says that was sometime in 2001: imagine not losing a game for nearly a decade! While most of us (John Wooden excluded) will never know that particular feeling, McElroy now has to get used to a feeling he’s not familiar with either: rebounding from defeat.
Fourth time’s the charm? How did Illinois kick returner Jack Ramsey fumble a kickoff (which a teammate recovered) AND muff two punts in the first half at Penn State? Or maybe a better question: how did the Illini still win by 20?
I thought they couldn’t hang with BCS-conference schools? Utah had a nice second quarter at Big 12 foe Iowa State, outscoring the Cyclones 31-0 on the way to a 68-27 shellacking of the home team.
Running it up… Florida State piled up 298 rushing yards on the road at Miami Saturday night, finishing with a healthy 7.3 yards-per-carry average in a 45-17 laugher.
“Fourscore and seven years ago…” Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton rushed for four touchdowns in the first half against Kentucky Saturday night.
And you thought Texas Tech-Baylor was high-scoring… I found a football game with such unbelievable numbers that I’m not even going to spend time writing about the nine first-half touchdowns and eight yards per play Baylor and Texas Tech combined for before intermission, because those numbers seem downright paltry in comparison. Check out the “Overtime” segment for possibly the most astonishing score ever posted in an edition of COLLEGE FOOTBALL COMPREHENSIVE. (How’s that for a teaser?)
UNDER THE MICROSCOPE: NEBRASKA 48, KANSAS STATE 13
In-depth spotlight and analysis of a game that deserves a closer look…
As birthday presents go, this was a lousy one.
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder celebrated his 71st birthday Thursday night by leading his Wildcats into a nationally televised matchup of unbeatens against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
(And I’m using the term “celebrated” very loosely, because Snyder’s ballclub didn’t stay unbeaten for long.)
KSU had no answer for Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez, who ran for a touchdown in each quarter to spark the Huskers to a surprisingly easy 48-13 win in Manhattan, Kansas.
Martinez did his best Tommie Frazier/Eric Crouch/Denard Robinson impersonation by piling up 241 rushing yards on only 15 carries, gashing the Wildcat defense time and time again with perfect execution of the read option. In addition to setting a school record for most rushing yards by a quarterback, the redshirt freshman also threw for a score to help Nebraska improve to 5-0 ahead of an important clash with Texas next weekend.
While the Huskers’ defense usually gets the most hype and attention, it was the offense that stole the show Thursday night, thanks to a host of big plays. Nebraska scored touchdowns from 80, 68, and 79 yards away in the third quarter alone, and the majority of the visitors’ trips to the end zone featured untouched ball carriers.
The 68-yard jaunt for Roy Helu Jr., comprised the night’s shortest scoring drive (all of one play), and perfectly illustrates how Martinez dominated the game. Since the Nebraska quarterback had scored his third rushing touchdown on the previous offensive snap, he drew the entire defense’s attention with yet another zone read. Only problem: he had handed the ball off to Helu, who scored easily en route to topping 100 yards on the ground himself.
(By the way, memo to Rece Davis, who is actually one of my favorite announcers: I’m sure the “Roy Helu: helu, goodbye!” line was funny the first time it was used…
…but there’s no way this was the first time. End memo.)
To make Snyder’s birthday worse (adding insult to old age, such as it were), Nebraska coach Bo Pelini kept his foot on the gas pedal well into the fourth quarter. The Huskers threw a 79-yard touchdown pass with a 38-6 lead and only 16 minutes remaining, while Martinez stayed on the field into the fourth quarter to get rushing touchdown number four. ]
Far be it from me to decide whether Nebraska’s quest for a lopsided victory margin had more to do with giving the voters (who are in love with Ohio State, Oregon, and Boise State) something to think about…or perhaps trying to make up for this well-publicized 2003 beatdown when the roles were reversed…
…but as Davis so eloquently put it, “Here’s my philosophy on [running up the score]. If you don’t like it, tackle.”
And the home team’s tackling left much to be desired.
Extra points from this week’s Microscope game:
-I always figured that if Terrelle Pryor comes back for his senior season, Pryor and Robinson are quarterbacks 1A and 1B in the 2011 Big Ten race and Heisman campaign.
Now I’m wondering after watching Martinez’s dazzling performance if there’s room for a 1C in that discussion.
And perhaps more interestingly, if it’s Pryor that would be 1C.
Look out, Big Ten defensive coordinators.
-How about Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David? Sixteen tackles and a sack for the junior: that’s a very good night’s work. More impressively, David reached double figures in tackles only six minutes into the second quarter.
-It didn’t have the slightest impact on the final outcome, but I was mystified that there was no flag for offensive pass interference on a third-quarter deep route to Nebraska’s Niles Paul. Paul was well-defended, couldn’t get close to the football, and simply shoved defender Stephen Harrison down from behind with two well-placed hands to the back. If that’s not offensive pass interference, nothing is.
-Blatantly obvious statement: No one will ever catch Taylor Martinez from behind. Ever.
-Blatantly obvious statement, No. 2: Nebraska travels well. I expected a sea of purple for a big Thursday night game at Kansas State. This was definitely a sea of magenta.
-Speaking of Martinez, what’s with quarterbacks leading their teams (and the country) in rushing? 2010: the year of the no-hitter in pro baseball and the year of the rushing quarterback in college football.
-Hit of the game: Nebraska safety Courtney Osborne on Kansas State running back William Powell. I had to turn my television volume down before the replay: what a massive collision.
-Time management 101: Nebraska ran a third-down play to set up a field goal attempt that finished with 57 seconds left in the first half. Kansas State had two timeouts, was trailing, and inexplicably waited until the clock had ticked down to 30 seconds left before calling one.
Coach, either A) don’t call the timeout at all or B) call it right away to leave yourself time to score, but why wait half a minute and THEN call a timeout?
What was Snyder doing for 27 seconds? (Sure, I know it takes a long time to light 71 candles, but that could have waited until halftime, right?)
MAYBE BROADCASTING IS EASIER THAN I THOUGHT
This week’s wacky and weird announcer quotes…
In today’s edition of “things I’ve never seen on television before”:
Yes, FSN sideline reporter Jim Knox really did chase four pigs (two wearing Baylor colors and two in Texas Tech attire) around a racetrack while screaming like the outcome of the race actually meant something…
…and then tried to interview the winner (yes, the man attempted to interview a pig).
As play-by-play man Joel Meyers said in summing up the race, “It was not by a nose, it was by a snout.”
Oh, and did Lou Holtz really give potty training advice to Nomar Garciaparra on national television, or was that just a nightmare hallucination brought on by my years of compiling the “Lou Holtz Specials”?
Now for the rest of the quotes…
“I think Auburn wins this game, but they're gonna have to outscore Kentucky.” –Kirk Herbstreit (submission from @lisahorne)
“If you’re a slug, knock it to the ground. If you’re Terrelle Pryor, grab it and make something happen.” – Chris Spielman on whether a quarterback should attempt to catch his own batted pass
“Even though I’m a doctor, I refuse to give him [Mark May] mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.” – Lou Holtz
“LaCour, end over end, almost like a kick.” – Joel Meyers describing a punt by Texas Tech’s Jonathan LaCour
“Mister Hair, Mel Kiper...” – Craig James
“You know, I always dreamed of having my name on the marquee at a gas station.” – Rece Davis
“Jacory Harris, he’s like a box of chocolates, man, you never know what the heck you’re gonna get. –David Pollack
“You didn’t just go Forrest Gump on me, did you? – Rob Stone
“Touchdown! Navy takes the lead with under 30 seconds to go!” – Ryan Rose getting incredibly excited about Navy TYING the game at 27-27
“I’m gonna feed you here a little bit, Joel.” – Dave Lapham enjoying (and sharing) the fair’s deep-fried Pop Tarts
“The planets are named after Roman gods, but those moons are named after Greek gods.” – Robert Smith giving a lesson about Jupiter and the solar system
“Smart kid, even though he’s undersized: he could go to med school next year.” –Anish Shroff (So height and brains are mutually exclusive now?)
“Thousands of folks have come down out of the hills…” –Ron Franklin previewing the Arkansas game
“The best way to get a streak going is to hit the first one.” – Matt Millen on field goals
“Terrelle’s not gonna run unless he decides to run.” – Chris Spielman
“Big guys don’t like getting off the ground.” – Glenn Parker
“You should know.” – Ron Thulin
“He’s playing like he’s angry, like he’s mad at somebody.” – Andre Ware, amateur psychologist, on Georgia’s A.J. Green
“As we say it’s over, it’s not.” – Joel Meyers
“He [MTSU’s Kannoris Davis] has knocked himself out a couple times on special teams.” – Dave Neal
(As an obviously woozy Davis is helped off field) “Well, it is blackout night at Middle Tennessee.” – Dave Neal
“3rd and 3, they go for it.” – Mike Gleason
“That will give us a chance to remind you that we’re not in Kansas anymore.” – Beth Mowins
“It’s like robots have taken over the world, man.” – Chris Spielman giving his verdict on ESPN3D
“You have to be able to see; vision’s important for the center.” –Matt Millen (What about the other 21 players, Matt? No big deal if they can’t see, right?)
“His first try of the game…” –Joel Meyers speaking over a graphic showing that Texas Tech placekicker Matt Williams was 0-1 on the day
“We get our first look at Terrelle Pryor after maybe one of his best halves of the season.” – Dave Pasch (Yes, Dave, since Pryor merely set his single-game career-high for passing yards before intermission, I think it’s safe to say it was one of his best halves of 2010. Not really going out on a limb there.)
“Number two for Auburn is gonna touch the football a lot” – Bob Davie (Correct, Bob: probably every snap, seeing how Cameron Newton is the quarterback and all.)
And last, but not least, the most bewildering series of quotes this week came from David Norrie, who completely missed that UAB attempted (and failed) to convert a 4th-and-9 play, trailing early in the fourth quarter at UCF:
“That was an interesting decision by [UAB coach] Neil Callaway to have the ball down near the 40-yard line and punt it away down 21 points. 4th-and-10: I think at that point in the ballgame, you really have to take a shot, and I’m wondering a little bit why Neil Callaway would punt the ball away in that situation.--David Norrie
I don’t know if the poor announcer forgot what happened during that oh-so-long commercial break, but he remained wrongly convinced that the Blazers had punted. Unfortunately, no one in the booth seemed willing to correct Norrie and point out that UAB actually DID go for it on fourth down, and of course the analyst wouldn’t let the subject drop. A few minutes later…
“You punt the ball away on the 40-yard line and only gain 20 yards of field position.” – David Norrie
And then again after another play or two…
“The way that UCF has moved the ball this evening, you know you’re not gonna have many opportunities to get the ball back. 4th and 10, UAB really has to start rolling the dice.” – David Norrie
And you, Mr. Norrie, really need to start paying attention since they DID roll the dice.
If you hear a weird or wacky announcer quote during the football weekend, send it my way! E-mail cfcmailbag (at) yahoo (dot) com: your submission could make it in to next week’s COMPREHENSIVE.
MAYBE COACHING IS EASIER THAN I THOUGHT
Did somebody’s seat just get hotter?
When the Wisconsin Badgers scored with less than seven minutes to play to take a 41-16 lead, their rivalry game against Minnesota seemed to be over. The 25-point margin put Bret Bielema’s team on top by four possessions, but apparently that wasn’t enough points to keep the Wisconsin coach happy.
Bielema called for a two-point conversion after the touchdown, because obviously a 43-16 lead is much more secure than a scant 42-16 margin in the final minutes. Although the attempt wasn’t ultimately successful, Minnesota coach Tim Brewster was justifiably irate at Bielema’s outrageous decision, and the postgame handshake between the rivals was as frigid as a northern winter.
Let’s just be glad that Paul Bunyan’s Axe wasn’t sitting at midfield at the time.
Worst timeouts of the day: If you have any idea why Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt called timeout in the final minutes at Notre Dame, facing 4th-and-5 at his own 15, to simply decide to punt, please let me know. Of course, the only timeout dumber than that on Saturday was Wake Forest stopping the clock with 55 seconds left against Navy. The Midshipmen were trailing by six, clock running, with a 2nd-and-4 at the Wake 9-yard line and frantically trying to get themselves organized to ensure they got as many snaps as possible. The Demon Deacons did their part to help, using a timeout and helping Navy rally for a 28-27 victory.
Maybe coaching is easier than I thought.
MAYBE OFFICIATING IS EASIER THAN I THOUGHT
Throwing the flag on the guys in stripes…
After Northwestern missed a potential game-tying field goal with less than a minute to play, Purdue went into the victory formation to try and burn off the final 58 seconds and two Wildcat timeouts. The Boilermakers snapped the ball to quarterback Rob Henry, who took a few steps backwards to kill as much time as possible…
…and then looked around with confusion as the whistle blew. Northwestern was granted a timeout with 55 seconds left and the play still ongoing, much to the Boilermakers’ chagrin and disbelief.
Normally when a team is preparing to kneel the ball, the play continues until, oh I don’t know, the quarterback’s knee actually touches the ground. But apparently in Evanston, once the ball is snapped and the home team wants the clock stopped, completion of the play becomes irrelevant and unnecessary.
After two such snaps and timeouts, Purdue was facing 3rd-and-14 and still had 53 seconds to kill. Thanks to the whistle-happy officials, the Boilers were forced to scrap the victory formation and run a play-action rollout for Henry, who went down after wasting as much time as possible…and promptly absorbed a late hit from Northwestern’s Quentin Davie to earn an automatic first down and finish off the home team.
In other words, the Boilermakers only escaped because Davie’s mistake was even more egregious than those of the zebras.
Maybe officiating is easier than I thought.
SINCE I DO LIVE IN OHIO...
News from around the Big Ten…
Strange day in the Big Ten, as three of the five intra-conference games went to the road teams (Illinois over Penn State, Purdue over Northwestern, and Michigan State over Michigan) and both Paul Bunyan’s Axe and the Paul Bunyan Trophy were captured within hours of each other.
(Still no report on which team came away with Babe the Blue Ox, or how they plan to get him home.)
The Michigan State-Michigan game had a somewhat bizarre ending, as Rich Rodriguez threw in the towel and punted the ball back to MSU down 34-17 with six minutes to play. Not sure if RichRod was simply looking to keep the final score respectable or trying to make sure he won the field position battle, but neither seems as important as actually, well, playing to win.
Rodriguez’s strange decision ultimately gave away any hope of a comeback with a large chunk of the fourth quarter still remaining and ensured that MSU’s unbeaten stretch over the Wolverines in football and men’s basketball will continue (already over 1,000 days).
Who’s the little brother now?
Since CFC isn’t really done until the fat lady sings…
Union College (Kentucky) beat Bethel University (Tennessee) in an NAIA football game Saturday afternoon by the score of…
….ready for this?
Union 84, Bethel 55.
Where to begin with these statistics?
The Wildcats had 647 yards of total offense, controlled the ball for nearly 38 minutes of the game, and got 269 rushing yards from Cordarious Mann, who scored five touchdowns.
And that was the team that lost by 29 points.
The Union Bulldogs ran for 509 yards and threw for 345 more in the victory, averaging 15.5 yards per play and scoring at least 21 points in three different quarters.
Union’s Armond Smith ran for 312 yards and five touchdowns by himself, while quarterback Mike Brinkley tossed six TD passes.
Needless to say…
…the Bulldogs didn’t punt.
(Note: Special thanks to Union College SID Jay Stancil for the stats and photo, which was taken by Union's Heather Cole.)
Tim Cary’s COLLEGE FOOTBALL COMPREHENSIVE (formerly “Carrying On About College Football”) is a weekly wrap-up series featured each Monday on BleacherReport.com.
To submit unbelievable stats, strange announcer quotes, amazing highlights, or dumb coach/referee decisions for next week’s column, e-mail Tim by 1:00 pm Sunday at CFCmailbag (at) yahoo (dot) com or contact him on Twitter at @TimCary.
Miss a previous edition of COMPREHENSIVE? Catch up here.