College Football Comprehensive: Breaking Down The Highs & Lows Of Week 9

Tim CarySenior Analyst INovember 1, 2010

College Football Comprehensive: Breaking Down The Highs & Lows Of Week 9

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    Every week in college football provides plenty of mind-boggling decisions, ridiculous highlights, amazing endings, wacky announcer quotes and unbelievable stat lines.

    And the final edition of COLLEGE FOOTBALL COMPREHENSIVE is jammed full of them.

    What do Montel Williams and Benjamin Franklin have to do with our favorite sport?

    Should Cameron Newton become a wide receiver?

    Which Big 12 quarterback set his school's single-game passing yardage record in his first career start?

    What was the most unbelievable part of Oregon's 53-point performance at the Coliseum?

    Why did Purdue start a quarterback that couldn't throw?

    What do Brian Kelly and Steve Spurrier have in common?

    And since when is Boise in Ohio?

    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:












    Let’s kick it off…

Who's No. 1?

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    Brian Bahr/Getty Images


    Taking a stab at ranking the nation’s Top 25 teams…


    1. Boise State 7-0

    2. Oregon 8-0

    3. TCU 9-0

    4. Auburn 9-0

    5. Utah 8-0

    6. Alabama 7-1

    7. Wisconsin 7-1

    8. Ohio State 8-1

    9. Oklahoma 7-1

    10. Nebraska 7-1

    11. LSU 7-1

    12. Stanford 7-1

    13. Missouri 7-1

    14. Arizona 7-1

    15. Iowa 6-2

    16. Michigan State 8-1

    17. Arkansas 6-2

    18. South Carolina 6-2

    19. Oklahoma State 7-1

    20. Nevada 7-1

    21. Virginia Tech 6-2

    22. Mississippi State 7-2

    23. Baylor 7-2

    24. North Carolina State 6-2

    25. Syracuse 6-2

Thank Goodness for My DVR

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images


    The jaw-dropping highlights that were worth rewinding for…



    Strong touchdown run by Florida State’s Christian Ponder, who found the right pylon from a couple yards out despite having five NC State players trying to drag him down short…

    Loved the one-handed catches from Iowa’s Marvin McNutt and Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd

    Florida defensive back Will Hill came up a yard short of the end zone on his overtime interception return, but it was still one of the most impressive highlights of the afternoon…

    Excellent cutback moves from Ohio State’s Jordan Hall on his 70-yard second-quarter punt return…

    Ole Miss wideout Markeith Summers used every inch of his frame to pull in a pretty diving 29-yard touchdown grab…

    How about quarterbacks catching touchdown passes? Boise State’s Kellen Moore had an easy one, while Auburn’s Cameron Newton had a brilliant one. I’d say move him to receiver, but he’s done okay in the backfield too.

    How in the world did Tulsa’s Ricky Johnson get SO wide open for a 31-yard catch on 3rd and 26? The uncovered reception helped the Golden Hurricane keep their final drive alive, which led to the game-winning field goal in a 28-27 upset.

    Boise State’s playbook is full of tricks, but I don’t think they drew this one up: Jeremy Avery fumbled the ball trying to run a Wildcat play, scooped it up, and then ran left for an 18-yard touchdown.

    And last but not least, my no-doubt favorite play of the day: incredible awareness by Iowa safety Tyler Sash to flip the ball to teammate Micah Hyde after a first-half interception. Hyde cut back across the grain all the way to the left sideline for the final 66 yards of a combined 72-yard touchdown return, finishing with an all-out dive from the 4-yard line to reach the pylon.

That Can't Be Right!

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    Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images


    The ridiculous stat lines, improbable scores and ticker typos that cause double-takes everywhere…


    Does the school record count if it comes against Vanderbilt? Nice day from Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett, who posted the best passing total in Razorbacks history with 409 yards through the air.

    Does the school record count if he’s never started a game before? Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill made his first career start something to remember, throwing for a school-record 449 yards and four touchdowns in a 45-27 victory.

    Sorry, I’ve never heard of him. “Wilson”, maybe? The SEC Network was promoting a North Carolina State quarterback named “Russell Wislon” for some All-American award or other on Saturday.

    Hello, Big 12 champs? Nebraska running back Roy Helu put up a mind-blowing 307 rushing yards on 28 carries to help the Huskers knock Mizzou from the ranks of the unbeaten. After his first 10 carries, Helu was still averaging 23 yards per rush. (Yes, I know that looks like a typo. It’s not.)

    Sweet 16 for Duke? Sounds familiar… Duke quarterback Sean Renfree hit his first 16 passes and finished 28-30 (93.3%) through the air as the Blue Devils knocked off Navy 34-31.

    Not you again! North Carolina trailed 17-7 at halftime against FCS opponent William and Mary and their quarterback, Mike Paulus, who was a Tar Heel for the past three seasons.

    Unbeaten no longer… How in the world can Missouri and Michigan State stay unbeaten into the last weekend of October and then completely lay an egg at the exact same time? Sparty got beatdown to the tune of 37-6, while it only took the Tigers 12 minutes and change to go down 24-0.

    That will help the offensive season averages.  Nevada 56, Utah State 42 (that’s 14 combined touchdowns if you’re scoring at home). UAB  50, Southern Miss 49 in double overtime (that two-point conversion comes in handy, doesn’t it?).

    That will hurt the offensive season averages. Oregon scored 53 points against USC Saturday night...and unbelievably, their points-per-game average went down as a result.

Under the Microscope: Illinois 44, Purdue 10

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images


    In-depth spotlight and analysis of a game that deserves a closer look…


    Maybe at Navy, they could get away with starting a quarterback that can’t throw.

    Perhaps a Georgia Tech or Air Force could line up and run nothing but triple option for 60 minutes with a quarterback who’s only able to use his feet.

    But at Purdue—a program best known as the “Cradle of Quarterbacks” and the birthplace of “Basketball on Grass”—starting somebody under center with a lacerated finger (that doesn’t allow him to even throw the football) is a significant problem.

    And it was obvious in Saturday afternoon’s blowout loss at Illinois.

    Redshirt freshman quarterback Rob Henry started the game for the Boilers but never attempted a pass, and it didn’t take a genius (translation: even Ron Zook got it eventually) to figure out that Purdue had no intention of putting the ball in the air when Henry was on the field.

    The Boilermakers eventually turned to Sean Robinson, who would have probably been the fifth option at quarterback when fall camp started (Robert Marve: torn ACL. Caleb TerBush: academically ineligible. Rob Henry: lacerated finger. Justin Siller: currently a wide receiver and still nursing an ankle injury. Sean Robinson: all that’s left.) Robinson, an Illinois native, mustered 52 passing yards in all, and it took a late field goal for the visitors to narrowly avoid their second consecutive shutout loss (after getting blown out 49-0 at Ohio State last weekend).

    While Purdue’s quarterback situation is a gigantic weakness at the moment, Illinois couldn’t feel better about theirs. Nathan Scheelhaase completed 80 percent of his passes, threw for four touchdowns, and, oh yeah, he rushed for 118 yards too. 

    It all adds up to 313 yards of total offense for the Illini quarterback, more than a hundred better than the paltry 205 Purdue managed as a team.

    Although both teams have similar records (Illinois improved to 5-3 and 3-2 in conference, while Purdue fell to 4-4 and 2-2), their collective talent levels and overall season trajectories couldn’t be more different. Illinois has stayed on course despite difficult losses to Top-20 foes Missouri, Ohio State, and Michigan State and has their sights set on a possible New Year’s Day bowl game. Purdue is reeling after a surprising 2-0 start in conference play and finally showing the effects of losing their top quarterback, running back, defensive back, and a handful of receivers to injuries.

    In fact, comparing the current state of these teams on paper…I’d say 44-10 in Champaign sounds about right.

Extra Points from This Week's Microscope Game

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Extra points from this week’s Microscope game:


    -After the first Illinois touchdown, the ensuing kickoff hit Purdue’s Joe Holland and the Illini recovered. The first-quarter stats were predictably lopsided as a result of the miscue: Illinois had the ball for 13:25 of the period, outgained Purdue 131 yards to 3, and earned 9 first downs (compared to zero for the Boilermakers).

    -Purdue kicker Carson Wiggs wasn’t happy that the referees ignored coach Danny Hope’s timeout call in the final seconds, and took to Twitter to complain/explain. Hope, who has spoken openly of wanting to give Wiggs an opportunity to kick a record-breaking field goal (and told me in August that he would let Wiggs attempt a 70-yarder to win a game if necessary), apparently wanted to try and build some momentum for his team with a 64-yard kick at the final horn.

    Wiggs: “Hope called a time out at the end of the game for a long FG and the refs ignored him right to his face. Ridiculous!” He later clarified to me that “the sideline ref on our sideline call[ed] the timeout and the others just ran off… it would've been a 64 with the (strong) wind at my back. You know the Big Ten record is 63.”

    -Illinois has plenty of playmakers at the skill positions, including running back Mikel LeShoure, who ran for two touchdowns and caught another. Offensive coordinator Paul Petrino did a nice job of getting Scheelhaase, LeShoure, and wide receiver/quarterback Eddie McGee in space, and Purdue struggled all afternoon long to slow down the home team’s attack.

    -While the Boilermakers defense didn’t have much to write home about, senior defensive lineman Ryan Kerrigan continued his excellent season. Kerrigan’s second-quarter sack gave him 7.5 for the year and 28.5 for his career; the likely 2011 first-round pick came into the afternoon leading the Big Ten in that category.

    -I got a kick out of the third-quarter sequence where Illinois was credited for a touchdown, but then the call was reversed on review because the ball didn’t actually cross the plane…and on the next play, the Illini ballcarrier was ruled down short of the goal line, but the replay official awarded the home team a touchdown after review. Strike one, strike two, Mr. Referee.

    -According to Mike Carmin of the Lafayette Journal and Courier, Hope didn’t take too kindly to Zook’s decision to keep his starting quarterback in (and let him throw) with a 37-10 lead in the final minutes. Frankly, while I understand Hope’s frustration to a degree (and even more so his beef with the referees completely ignoring the timeout call, if that’s what happened), I still think he has bigger problems and concerns after getting outscored 93-10 in the past 120 minutes of football.

Maybe Broadcasting Is Easier Than I Thought (The Lou Holtz Specials)

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    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images


    This week’s wacky and weird announcer quotes…


    “Jeremiah Masoli has to play offense AND quarterback.” – Lou Holtz

    “That is a little scary proposition with the pickles from Professor Picklestein.” – Beth Mowins

    “A quarterback’s gotta be big and strong, good-looking, and smart.” – Bob Griese

    “They’re smiling in Boise, Ohio.” – John Saunders

    “First time in Cincinnati history that three Wildcats [had over 100 yards receiving] in one game.” – Rob Stone calling the Bearcats game

    “I see those hips on the hands.” – Craig James

    “Your brain is still stuck inside that helmet.” – Mike Patrick

    “Jeannine, let’s check in with you. Alfonzo Dennard went out of the ballgame and he’s still out. Is he okay? – Ron Franklin

    “Yeah, Ron. Actually no. Um, he has suffered a concussion…” Jeannine Edwards

    “It’s Halloween weekend and Randy Shannon is in the middle of a nightmare.” – Bob Wischusen

    “They slip Montel Williams out the backside.” – David Archer describing a completion to Montel Harris

     “Alright Mike, Studio Update brought to you by, well…brought to you by me.” – Robert Flores

    “4:45 on the game cock.” – Dave Neal on the South Carolina broadcast

    “Here come the 2000 edition of the Nittany Lions.” – Brad Nessler as Penn State runs out of the tunnel

    “Ricky Stanzi could have read War and Peace back there, he had so much time.” – Matt Millen

    “I don’t know if I believe anything that comes out of Lane Kiffin’s mouth.” – Bob Griese

    (On Chip Kelly’s love of the two-point conversion) “He’d go for four if they let him.” – Mike Patrick

    “Helu continues to have just a ‘hellucious’ day.” – Ron Franklin

    “The S on the helmet for ‘smart’ and for ‘stud’.” – Glenn Parker

    “Nice chest move here in the game of chest.” – Andre Ware (Actually, Andre, the game is called chess.)

     “There’s a clock in every quarterback’s hand that he has to understand, ‘I’ve got to get rid of the ball.’” – Herm Edwards

    “We’re gonna play Howie Mandel here…is this ‘taunt’ or ‘no taunt’?” – Verne Lundquist


    And a couple final thoughts…

    Memo to Matt Millen: Please learn how to pronounce the name of Iowa’s head coach correctly. (It’s FAIR-ints, not fur-ENTZ)

    Memo to Brent Musburger: From now on, make sure your broadcast actually HAS gone to commercial before you start critiquing the attendance to your partner. (Otherwise, we hear this:  “We’ll be right back.  [long pause] The stadium’s half empty.” – Brent Musburger)

Maybe Coaching Is Easier Than I Thought

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images


    Did somebody’s seat just get hotter?


    Hey Brian Kelly, you’ve got mail.

    It’s from a Mister Steve Spurrier in Columbia…let’s see here...yes, Columbia, South Carolina.

    Mr. Spurrier is writing with some friendly advice regarding clock management.

    (Pause for eruption of laughter.)

    As I was saying…

    Mr. Spurrier wants you to know that when your team is in field goal range in the game’s final moments and can win or tie with a field goal, attempting an ill-advised throw into double coverage in the end zone is…in fact…ill-advised.

    Because when a field goal is all you need, getting greedy and risking a turnover could cost you the game.

    Like it did Saturday, perhaps?

    Tulsa 28, Notre Dame 27.

    Enough said.

Maybe Officiating Is Easier Than I Thought

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images


    Throwing the flag on the guys in stripes…


    With Miami (FL) trailing Virginia 24-6 in the fourth quarter Saturday afternoon, the Hurricanes got a nine-yard rushing touchdown from Stephen Morris to cut the lead to 24-12. Miami lined up for the extra point, but kicker Matt Bosher shanked it wide right.

    So of course, the official standing directly underneath the goalpost immediately flung his arms up in the air to declare that the missed kick was, in fact, good.

    After a brief conference with a few smarter men (i.e the rest of his crew)…and enough time for the crowd in Charlottesville to complain vehemently, watch the replay, and complain even more vehemently…the embarrassed official finally changed his obviously incorrect call.

    Maybe officiating is easier than I thought.

Since I Do Live in Ohio...

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images


    News from around the Big Ten…


    Lately it seems like the only things certain in life are death, taxes, and a weekly injury to Denard Robinson. The Michigan quarterback has been getting knocked out of every game for at least a few plays, but keeps bouncing back to gash defenses for big ground gains (Robinson piled up 191 rushing yards at Penn State).

    All in all, it wasn’t a good day to be a quarterback, as several prominent signal-callers weren’t fortunate enough to return to the lineup after suffering injuries. Taylor Martinez, Jacory Harris, and Dayne Crist each missed large chunks of their Saturday games, and only Martinez’s Nebraska squad was able to pull out a victory without its starter finishing the contest.

    Also from the Michigan-Penn State game…I absolutely hated the fourth-quarter personal foul call against the Wolverines as Michigan tried to finish off an improbable comeback. Chaz Powell fumbled the ball toward the sideline but was still inbounds when the Michigan tackler hit him. There’s no way a defender can pull up and not hit a player when he’s still standing on green grass, especially if he can’t see that the ball has been fumbled.

    Oh, and there’s absolutely no chance that call is made if the hit in question doesn’t happen right in front of the Penn State coaches. I’d love to see the percentage of “late hit out of bounds” whistles that happen on the offensive sideline as opposed to the defensive sideline. Talk about an unbelievable stat.


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    Since CFC isn’t really done until the fat lady sings…


    I'm not one for long, flowery goodbyes, so I won't give you one. As I wrote last week, today marks the end of College Football Comprehensive after nearly three full years posting on Bleacher Report each week of the college football season.

    I'll still be listing my observations in each category from time to time on my Twitter feed, so follow me at @TimCary and let's keep the conversation going there. (Because how could we ever go back to watching football without making fun of announcers, anyway?)

    Thanks to all of you for reading, commenting, complimenting, debating, and of course, submitting examples over the past few years. It's been a lot of fun.

    And whether this column ever comes back in some form in the future, or whether this is in fact the end, please remember this one important thing...


    The BCS is still a joke.