College Football Week 9: Alabama Is Lurking and 25 Things We Learned This Week
There were a few changes in college football overnight, thanks to losses by Michigan State, Miami and Missouri. I guess the teams that start with the letter M just weren't meant to have a good day on Saturday.
The human polls had Oregon in front of Auburn, and the computers agreed when the BCS rankings came out Sunday night.
At least the humans and the computer chips agree that Oregon and Auburn are the best two teams in the country. So apparently there's some good news with the BCS.
So what did you learn from this week in college football? Was it the fact that Boise State hurt themselves by playing on a Tuesday night just because they wanted the attention? Or was it the fact that Missouri was never going to finish the season unbeaten and it was just a matter of time before it got its first loss?
Whatever it was, I'm sure I learned it as well. Let's have some fun as we wrap up another week in college football.
No. 25: Notre Dame Loses Again Amid Tragedy
WIth heavy hearts and questions flying around, the Notre Dame football team took the field after a tragedy took the life of a young student that worked as the team's videographer .
The Irish tried to use that as a motivator, but it just wasn't enough as Tulsa picked up a 28-27 win in South Bend.
No. 24: South Carolina Wakes up in the Second Half
After one half of play, some wondered if Tennessee might actually pull off the upset against South Carolina.
But, the Gamcocks woke up in the second half and scored 28 points to pull off a 38-24 win, thanks to 184 rushing yards from Marcus Lattimore and four Tennessee turnovers.
No. 23: Kyle Padron, Zach Line Lead SMU
Quarterback Kyle Padron and running back Zach Line decided they weren't going to let Tulane beat them.
The two put together a 21-point fourth quarter and took the Green Wave down 31-17.
Padron finished the night with 354 yards through the air and a touchdown, adding one more score on the ground.
Line had 177 yards on the ground and two scores.
No. 22: North Carolina Struggles
North Carolina is having a rough season and it almost got worse on Saturday.
The Tar Heels trailed William & Mary 18-7 through three quarters at home. But thanks to a 14-point fourth quarter on a touchdown pass from quarterback T.J. Yates, and a 67-yard touchdown run from running back Johnny White, the Tar Heels were able to keep the upset bug away from them.
No. 21: Ryan Tanehill Comes up Big
Texas A&M needed a big performance against the visiting Red Raiders of Texas Tech and they got just that from quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
The Aggies' quarterback stepped up big and threw for 449 yards and four touchdowns in a 45-27 win over Texas Tech.
No. 20: Gators Pick up Big Overtime Win
The Florida Gators looked to have things well in hand against Georgia, with a 21-10 lead at the half. But the Bulldogs wouldn't quit and stormed all the way back to tie the game at 31-31 by the end of regulation.
Florida, however, would not be denied the win and picked up a big 34-31 win in overtime.
Georgia didn't help its cause by turning the ball over four times, including three interceptions by quarterback Aaron Murray.
No. 19: Oregon State Dumps Cal
Cal was coming off putting up 50 points on Arizona State. But its trip to Corvallis, Ore. didn't go quite as smoothly.
The Beavers jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead and extended that to 35-0 lead by the end of the third quarter in a 35-7 rout of the Cal Bears.
Beavers running back Jacquizz Rodgers ran for 119 yards and three scores, while quarterback Ryan Katz added 184 yards and a touchdown through the air.
No. 18: New Mexico Loses...Again
Could we have a winless team in college football this season?
If New Mexico has anything to say about it, or nothing to say as the case may be, that's exactly the way this season is going to go for them.
They've been outplayed and outmatched in just about every game they've played so far and that included yesterday's throttling at the hands of Colorado State, which handed them a 38-14 loss.
No. 17: Washington State Gets a Beating
After Arizona State had 50 dropped on them by Cal, they wanted someone to take out their aggression on.
Thankfully, Washington State was up next and the Sun Devils toyed with them like a high school football team begging for the game to be over.
Arizona State jumped out to a 28-0 lead at the half and kept their foot on the gas to the tune of a 42-0 beat down of the Washington State Cougars.
No. 16: Denard Robinson, a One-Man Show in Ann Arbor
If there was ever a one-man band it would be Denard Robinson at Michigan. It seems like he's the only one who looks anywhere near decent for the Michigan Wolverines.
They dropped their third straight game after opening the season with five straight wins. This time their loss came at the hands of Penn State, 41-31.
Robinson threw for 190 yards, ran for 191 and finished with four total touchdowns. Yep, he finished with 28 of his team's 31 points.
No. 15: Nevada Still in the Rankings?
I can't imagine that the Nevada Wolfpack is going to be anywhere near the top 25 teams after giving up 42 points to Idaho, despite the fact they got a win.
No. 14: Miami Gets Dumped by Virginia
The Virginia Cavaliers apparently weren't impressed with how good Miami has been this season.
They stretched a 14-0 lead at halftime to 24-0 by the fourth quarter. Miami scored 19 points in the fourth quarter but they were all too little, too late.
No. 13: Will Arizona Lose Ground?
Arizona has had to survive without starting quarterback Nick Foles for the last two weeks, but has done so without suffering a loss.
However, I wonder if they won't lose ground in the standings after only an eight-point win over UCLA?
No. 12: Navy Loses Focus
When you beat Notre Dame, there's a certain kind of arrogance that comes during the following week.
Well, that arrogance caused a severe letdown for Navy at home against a team—Duke—that had just one win coming into this game.
The Midshipmen found themselves down 24-0 at the half. Although they were able to score 24 points in the fourth quarter, the game had already gotten away from them.
No. 11: Missouri Unbeaten No More
They almost lost to San Diego State but they beat Oklahoma. Go figure that scenario.
The unbeaten Missouri Tigers were in the Top 10 and things were looking good. That was until Nebraska called them over.
The bully not only beat the little kid but they took their lunch money as well.
The Cornhuskers had suffered a tough loss at home to Texas but showed they were the same ole team we thought they were.
Nebraska scored 24 first-quarter points en route to a 31-17 win, ending the Tigers' unbeaten season.
No. 10: Ohio State Takes Care of Business
Ohio State went to Minnesota hell-bent on getting themselves deep inside the Top 10. The Buckeyes did their job with a 52-10 beat down of the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Now we'll see if the BCS was impressed.
No. 9: Arkansas Uses Big First Half to Cruise
Not that Vanderbilt is a strong SEC team, but the Razorbacks will take any win they can get, especially two straight wins to get them back up the rankings.
Ole Miss was their target last week and Vanderbilt was their target this week.
All they have to do from here is keep winning and let the rest take care of itself.
No. 8: Hawaii Deserves a Top 25 Spot
After starting their season losing two of their first three games, the Hawaii Warriors have rattled off six straight wins, including wins over both Fresno State and Nevada—two teams that are leaving the conference early.
Now they set their sights on Boise State.
But what they should set their sights on in the next few hours is being in the Top 25. They've earned that.
No. 7: Utah's Five-Point Win May Cost Them
The Utah Utes have been playing solid football all year long, but their 28-23 win over Air Force on the road might cause them trouble when the BCS rankings come out later tonight.
If they don't slip, then it worked out. But don't be surprised if they get passed by the likes of Ohio State.
No. 6: Alabama Could Find Itself in the Drivers' Seat
The Alabama Crimson Tide sat at home during their bye week and watched in anticipation, hoping they would get some help from teams in front of them.
They got just that thanks to losses from both Michigan State and Missouri.
Now, the Crimson Tide could find themselves in the Top Five.
No. 5: Stanford Will Watch the Rankings Close Tonight
As of Sunday afternoon, Stanford's only loss is to the Oregon Ducks, the No. 1 team in the country, according to voters and the BCS computers.
Stanford's 41-0 throttling of Washington will have the Cardinal watching the BCS rankings closely tonight, to see just how far they'll move up, if at all.
No. 4: Oklahoma Bounces Back
After a disappointing loss to Missouri, the Oklahoma Sooners needed to put up big points in order to move up in the rankings—not to mention get some help from the teams in front of them.
With Michigan State and Missouri both losing on Saturday, they could get the help they were looking for.
They took care of their end with a lopsided 43-10 win over Colorado on Saturday.
No. 3: Will Auburn Get Back on Top?
Auburn's defense knows how to give up points but thankfully, its offense knows how to put them up as well.
The Tigers gave up 31 points to Ole Miss on the road on Saturday but fortunately for the Tigers, Cam Newton didn't have to do it all this time.
Newton did throw for 209 yards and two scores. But he got help from running back Michael Dyer who ran for 180 yards and a touchdown in Auburn's 51-31 win over the Rebels.
No. 2: How about Them Baylor Bears?
The Baylor Bears headed to Austin to take on a Longhorns team that was looking for revenge after getting beaten by Iowa State a week earlier.
The Bears hadn't beaten Texas since 1997 and doing so on the road was going to be tough.
However, they got the effort they needed from quarterback Robert Griffin and running back Jay Finley and they were able to hold off the Longhorns in Austin, 30-22.
Griffin threw for 219 yards and two scores and got 116 yards and a touchdown from Finley. This was a huge win for the Bears and it came at the right time.
No. 1: Oregon Gets a Fight from USC, But Not Enough of One
Midway through the third quarter, it looked like USC just might be able to pull off the upset. But then the Oregon offense put it into another gear and showed the college football world why they believe they are the top team in the country.
Trailing 32-29 early in the third, the Oregon offense scored 24 unanswered points to close out a 53-32 win over the Trojans in Los Angeles.
While the BCS computers did not rank them No. 1 before this week, the Ducks offense has continued to prove, week in and week out, that they can put up points against anyone.
Heck, I want to see an Oregon/Auburn national championship game, don't you?