FOOTBALL'S WEEK 9/27/08
The Best: 1) Alabama, 2) LSU, 3) South Florida
Time was Alabama was the ruler of Southern football. Six times between 1961 and 1979 the talented teams of Bear Bryant, led by Joe Namath (see pictured above) and others, won national titles. The latest edition of the Red Elephants seems poised for another run to glory after dismantling the powerful third-ranked Georgia Bulldogs in Athens, 41-30.
Former Bear Bryant player Sylvester Croom had his Mississippi State Maroons totally prepared to play LSU in Starkville on Saturday night. Despite giving up 438 yards on the ground the prior week against Ga Tech, Miss St held LSU to only 166. Still, the Tigers were able to move the ball well enough to come away with a lackluster 34-24 win.
In Gainesville, the Florida Gators showed up for a football game. Trouble was, the Ole Miss Rebels showed up for a fight. Holding the Gators to 124 yards rushing on 35 attempts, the Rebels blocked the all-important extra point following the Gators' final touchdown and then stopped Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow on a 4th-and-1 with the game on the line to secure a 31-30 victory.
Giant-killer NC State, who ended East Carolina's magical run last week, fell victim at home to Big East front runner South Florida, 41-20.
In an unusual inter-sectional match, Florida State played undefeated Colorado in the Gator Bowl stadium. The Seminoles routed the Buffaloes, 39-21.
ACC front runner Wake Forest appeared ready to make a case for cracking the AP Top 10 when the Naval Academy visited Winston-Salem. The Demon Deacons turned the ball over six times and lost 24-17 to the Midshipmen.
Duke continued to impress under coach David Cutcliffe. The latest Blue Devil victim? Virginia, who was routed by Duke 31-3.
Auburn held off fading Tennessee, 14-12, while Clemson continued the freefall from early season projections by bowing at home to Maryland, 20-17.
Kentucky continued their winning ways by disposing of Western Kentucky, 41-3. Steve Spurrier's Carolina Gamecocks won for the third time this season by beating UAB, 26-13.
A bright spot for South Carolina was the impressive play of heralded freshman QB Stephen Garcia, a native of Tampa, Florida.
There was trouble further south in the Sunshine State when Miami lost to former head coach Butch Davis. UNC scored late and held off a final rally from the Hurricanes to escape, 28-24.
The Houston Cougars rolled into East Carolina and left with a 41-24 CUSA victory. Two weeks after being the toast of the town, Pirate head coach Skip Holtz is being questioned by fans and media following back-to-back upset losses.
The Best: 1) Oklahoma, 2) Missouri, 3) Texas Tech
This powerful region is home to five of the best teams in the country in the above three along with Texas and Ohio State. One sleeper in the Midwest area is Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane has quietly gone about the business of securing the Conference USA crown. Tulsa ran up 641 yards of offense in devouring the unbeaten Southland Conference entry Bears of Central Arkansas, 62-34.
Minnesota had lived a charmed life until they ran into an angry group of Buckeyes in Columbus. When the smoke cleared, Ohio State had claimed the day, 34-21.
The original Texas-Arkansas game had been postponed by a Hurricane. After the Longhorns were finished with the Razorbacks, the final score read 52-10.
In another interesting inter-sectional game, the Va Tech Gobblers visited the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Aided by two late personal foul penalties, the ACC team escaped, 35-30.
Powerful Oklahoma, poised to take over the top spot in the polls, battered previously undefeated Texas Christian, 35-10.
Under the radar, undefeated Oklahoma State whipped Troy, 55-24, while the Black Knights of the Hudson ventured into College Station and fell to Texas A&M, 21-17.
In other regional action, Notre Dame trimmed Purdue 38-21, Wisconsin fell to Michigan 27-25, Mich St. clubbed Indiana 42-29, and Northwestern took out Iowa, 22-17.
The Best: 1) Southern California, 2) Brigham Young, 3) Boise State
Former Bear Bryant player Mike Riley was busy leading his Oregon State Beavers to their latest upset of coach Pete Carroll and his Southern Cal Trojans, 27-21, while Fresno State took down UCLA, 36-31, to complete a disastrous weekend for L.A. area schools.
Former Bo Schembechler player Jim Harbaugh continued to pull surprises by taking his Cardinal into Seattle and defeating Washington, 35-28. Cross-bay rival California destroyed Colorado State, 42-7.
Oregon served notice they are a worthy contender for the Pac-10 crown by annihilating Washington State, 63-14.
Undefeated Utah held off Weber State, 37-21, while traditional MAC contender Bowling Green ventured west and crushed the Wyoming Cowboys, 45-16.
In a somewhat surprising turn of events, the up and coming Nevada-Las Vegas was buried by Nevada, 49-27.
The Desert Report: Although anything would be a letdown for locals after the titanic clash in Tempe last week between Georgia and Arizona State, the state rivalry of New Mexico and New Mexico State raised some national interest in a high scoring battle. In the end, former Kentucky coach Hal Mumme saw his Aggies fall to the Lobos, 35-24.
The Best: 1) Penn State, 2) Connecticut, 3) Boston College
Joe Paterno had to take a pain pill to stay on the sideline during his Lions' game with Illinois. After Penn State rolled to a 38-24 victory, he must have felt better.
The undefeated Huskies of UConn went on the road and defeated Louisville, 26-21. However, they suffered the loss of starting QB Tyler Lorenzen to a broken foot.
Pittsburgh went into the Carrier Dome and downed Syracuse 34-24, while Boston College battered the Rams of Rhode Island, 42-0.