This season was chock full of everything you look for in college football. Florida State going 7-6, Notre Dame losing to Army AND Air Force, and Ohio State eating it in the National Championship for the second year in a row. This year was great! Bowl season alone had a few pretenders getting their clocks cleaned (hint: it begins with an "H" and ends with "awaii") as well as a few contenders rising from down below, not to mention the most talented team in the country taking home the coaches trophy with two losses. Face it, this season will never be forgotten.
This season was full of change, including those big names hitting rock bottom (Notre Dame, Nebraska) as well as the unknowns who climbed out of the cellar (Kansas, Missouri, USF). But those dropping out and those popping in didn't make up nearly all of the drama of '07. The top 5 was scrambled almost every week.
So bear with me as I take you through 2007 week by week:
Early in the season, it seemed that all of the potential contenders were laid out. Michigan and VTech were the only ranked teams to go down hard. By week three, it was evident who was going to contend: Joining LSU with blowout wins against ranked opponents were Florida and USC, but Oklahoma, West Virginia, Cal, Ohio State, and Oregon all joined in with huge victories. The usual big names were there.
During week 5, the tremors began. #3 Oklahoma and #4 Florida both fell on last second field goals, and #5 West Virginia was overcome by the upstart South Florida Bulls. #7 Texas was walloped by Kansas State by 20 points, and Rutgers was upset by Maryland. LSU took the top spot from USC, who followed at number two. Cal, Ohio State, and Wisconsin rounded out the top 5 when the AP Poll came out, and South Florida, Boston College, and Kentucky entered the top ten.
A week later, the sky kept on falling for the powerhouses. #12 Georgia was smoked by the same Tennessee Vols that Florida beat by 39, #5 Wisconsin would be upended by Illinois, and Kansas started to get some attention after beating ranked Kansas State. Missouri also showed themselves by pounding a limping Nebraska team. But the biggest upset would come at the discretion of mighty Stanford.
That's right. Stanford.
It was nowhere close to the famous Cal game of old, but Tavita Pritchard (making his first career start at quarterback) converted a 4th and 20 on his way to throwing the winning TD pass with 49 seconds left to defeat #2 USC and end their 35 game home win streak. This was perhaps the best upset of the season. Afterward, LSU cemented its place as #1 by beating #9 Florida 28-24. Cal would move up to #2, Ohio State to #3, BC to #4, and South Florida to #5. Yikes.
Week 7's dose of upsets lacked quantity, but was defined by quality as the top two teams went down, LSU in triple overtime. Andre Woodson's pass to Steve Johnson to take the lead set the stage for Kentucky's defense to stop LSU on 4th down and take home the win. Kentucky fans stormed the field. Cal backup QB Kevin Riley had the Golden Bears on the Oregon State 12, and in great position to kick the game-tying field goal. In a lapse of judgement, he attempted to scramble rather than throw the ball away. After he was tackled, the clock ran out before the field goal unit could get onto the field. It was the first time #1 and #2 went down on the same day since '96. The Bayou Bengals fell to #5, and the Godlen Bears to #10. Oklahoma re-entered the top 5 with a victory over Chase Daniel and #11 Missouri. Ohio State took the top spot following a victory over Kent High School--Excuse me, Kent State--and were followed by South Florida and Boston College, respectively.
Week 8 brought some sanity back to America's football fields. #2 South Florida was put in its place by Ray Rice and Rutgers, #7 Kentucky and #6 South Carolina both fell to SEC opponents, and California continued its slide with a 30-21 loss to UCLA. Auburn lost its chance to beat LSU after Matt Flynn threw a 22 yard pass that ended with a beautiful catch by Demetrius Byrd in the end zone with one second to spare. Les Miles loves to take his risks. Oregon showed up at #5, Oklahoma remained at #4, LSU hopped the Sooners to #3, Boston College slid into the second spot, and the Buckeyes were still atop the AP Poll.
Week 9 was relatively uneventful--Boston College wriggled out a sloppy win against Virginia Tech, and Oregon proved it deserved its top 5 spot by handling USC--But week 10 returned to the norm. Florida State was at the helm for this week's big upset, decisively shutting down Heisman candidate Matt Ryan and having a great offensive day on the shoulders of Drew Weatherford. Oregon's Dennis Dixon tore apart #6 Arizona State before leaving with a knee injury, and LSU survived back-to-back scares after Alabama signal-caller John Parker Wilson fumbled the ball on his own 4 yard line late in the 4th quarter, putting Jacob Hester in position to punch in the winning score. Kansas and Missouri entered the top 10 at #5 and #7 respectively, LSU took #2, Oregon took #3, and Oklahoma remained at #4.
The Illinois Illini headlined week 11 by beating The Ohio State University by a touchdown, relieving them from their #1 ranking. Yeah, just when you thought things were starting to quiet down. This set the stage for LSU to reclaim its #1 ranking, and after Oklahoma has its hopes for a national title crushed by Graham Harrell and Texas Tech in week 12, and Oregon's season went down with Dennis Dixon's ACL in a loss to Arizona, Kansas and Missouri took the #2 and #3 spots in the AP Poll.
LSU, however, would not hold on to that top spot. Arkansas and Darren McFadden had other ideas. Week 13 saw McFadden rush for 206 yards and three touchdowns, and pass for another. And when Missouri and Kansas faced off , Kansas was the one going home with a loss. Missouri, with the fall of LSU, took the #1 spot, sending Kansas down to #7, and setting the table for WVU to slide in at #2. Ohio State crawled back to #3, followed by Georgia and LSU in that order.
During the 14th and final week, Missouri would have to beat the same Oklahoma team that handed them their only loss for the Big 12 title and a certain spot in the BCS title game. All West Virginia had to do to stay alive was beat a 4-7 Pitt team.
Apparently it was too much for both of them to handle. West Virginia embarrassed themselves in one of the sloppiest games of football I will ever see, and Missouri didn't stand a chance against the Sooners. One last top 5 mix-up would take place. At the end of the day, Ohio State found itself back at the top, and LSU had miracled its way into a title game spot following a victory over Tennessee for the SEC title.
Kansas and Virginia Tech would play in the Orange Bowl, Hawaii would get its shot at a true SEC power in Georgia in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl, Oklahoma would get a chance at the wounded Mountaineers in the Fiesta, and USC would face off against Illinois in the Rose Bowl.
Kansas ended up proving it was worthy of a BCS game by beating the Hokies. Georgia pounded Colt Brennan and Hawaii so badly that they wish they'd never bothered to come to the mainland. Oklahoma was smoked by a West Virginia team that showed up rolling on all cylinders, and USC toyed with Illinois on its way to a 32-point win. Michigan pounded Tim Tebow and Chad Henne tore up the Gator secondary to send Lloyd Carr away a winner, and Ohio State once again showed its inability to show up for national championship games.
This season was without a doubt one of the best in history to watch. No, not if you're an Ohio State fan, but yes, if you're everyone else. Let's take a look at the upsets:
- Appalachian State over #5 Michigan in the Big House
- Auburn over #4 Florida in the Swamp
- Colorado over #3 Oklahoma
- South Florida over #5 West Virginia
- Stanford over #2 USC in the Coliseum
- Kentucky over #1 LSU
- FSU over #2 BC
- Illinois over #1 Ohio State
- Arkansas over #1 LSU
- Pitt over #2 West Virginia
I can't wait until next year.