Football's Week is a weekly B/R series prepared by veteran observer Baby Tate.
The Best: 1) Penn State 10–1, 2) Pittsburgh 7–2, 3) West Virginia 6–3
The Navy believed it had everything covered when they traveled over to Baltimore for an inter–sectional battle with hated Notre Dame. The Middies had broken their 43 year losing streak to the Irish last year and were confident in continuing their success.
The problems began early for the Naval Academy. Not used to the hard hitting they faced from the Irish linemen, the Middies seemed tentative and tight.
Notre Dame often forced the action resulting in negative plays and held Navy to a season low in rushing with 178 yards.
Trailing 27–7 with 99 seconds remaining in the game, the Navy scored twice and nearly pulled out the game. A stunned Charlie Weis could only add, "I don't know what happened there".
Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo was more realistic, "You can't dig a hole that deep against Notre Dame and expect to make it all up in a minute and a half".
The final score of 27–21 doesn't reflect the ball control of the Fighting Irish with nearly 36 minutes of possession.
Syracuse was challenged to go out and win one for Coach Greg Robinson by Senior leaders of the Orange. Unfortunately, they were crushed by Connecticut, 39–14. This resulted in Robinson being dismissed as head coach within hours of the loss.
In Ivy League action, Harvard and Yale tuned up for their big battle next week by taking out Princeton and Penn. The two New York state schools settled their differences with Columbia trimming Cornell, 17-7 and Brown buried dreadful Dartmouth, 45–16.
The Best: 1) Alabama 11–0, 2) Florida 9–1, 3) Georgia 9–2
The old ball coach of South Carolina thought he had a fighting chance against his alma mater on Saturday. The Gamecocks boasted the No. 1 defense in the SEC and had shown signs of New Year's Day Bowl potential recently.
The offense is reminiscent of the 1980 team that featured Heisman Trophy Winner George Rogers (Pictured Above).
Unfortunately for Carolina, Rogers is an employee of the school now and no longer on the football field as a player.
It is doubtful even Rogers would have made much of a difference as the Gators absolutely slaughtered the 22-point underdog Gamecocks, 56–6.
"We got clobbered," added Spurrier. Later the Super–Gator himself murmured to reporters, "A loss is a loss, whether it is one point or fifty".
Personally for Steverino, it was the worst margin of defeat he has ever suffered as a player or a coach.
In other Dixie action, Georgia survived Auburn 17–13, Boston College handled Florida State 27–17, and Alabama defeated Mississippi State, 32–7.
Likewise, Maryland overpowered UNC 17–15, Vanderbilt trimmed Kentucky 31–24, and LSU came back from 28 points down to slide by Troy 40–31.
Next up for the Tigers will be Ole Miss who humiliated Louisiana–Monroe, 59–0.
Dabo Swinney continued to make a case for removing the "interim" from his title by leading Clemson to a 31–7 win over Duke and N.C. State upset the unpredictable Wake Forest Demon Deacons, 21–17.
The Scarlet Knights of Rutgers traveled down to South Florida and dominated the Bulls, 49–16. Miami is looking more and more like an ACC contender. Their latest victim? The Gobblers of Virginia Tech, 16–14.
The Best: 1) Texas Tech 10–0, 2) Texas 10–1, 3) Oklahoma 9–1
While some of the best football in the country is being played in the Big 12, the league had to stand by and allow Texas Tech and Oklahoma the week off in preparation of their big battle next week in Norman.
Texas went about their Big 12 business by defeating Kansas on the road, 35–7. Missouri dominated Iowa State 52–20, Nebraska dominated Kansas State 56–28, and Baylor defeated Texas A&M, 41–21. Oklahoma State pinned down Colorado, 30–17.
In the Big 10, Minnesota continued to falter, this time losing to a recovering Wisconsin, 35–32. Ohio State gained revenge for a late season loss last year by whipping Illinois 30–20.
Purdue bowed to Iowa 22–17, and Michigan lost again. This time to Northwestern by the score of 21–14. Sad days in Ann Arbor, bad news with Ohio State up next.
Penn State righted their ship following the upset loss at the hands of Iowa by defeating lowly Indiana, 34–7. Louisville fell to Cincinnati, 28–20 and unbeaten Ball State handled Miami (OH), 31–16.
In other Mid American Conference action, Tom Amstutz's Rockets of Toledo fell to Kent State in a scoring free for all, 41–38 while the Central Michigan Chippewas escaped Northern Illinois in overtime, 33–30. Buffalo surprised Akron in overtime as well, 43–40.
The Best: 1) Southern California 9–1, 2) Utah 11–0, 3) Boise State 10–0
Wyoming was flying high after their win in Knoxville over faltering Tennessee the previous week. Too high apparently. Nevada–Las Vegas took it to the Cowboys and put them away, 22–14. So much for their fifteen minutes of fame.
Fellow Mountain West member Utah had no such problems as they slaughtered the once–pround San Diego State Aztecs, 63–14. Brigham Young kept pace by taking down the difficult Falcons of Air Force, 38–24.
The PAC10 provided plenty of fireworks during the weekend as Oregon outscored Arizona, 55–45 while UCLA stopped Washington, 27–7.
Southern California had to "put it in overdrive" according to Coach Pete Carroll as the Trojans beat Stanford, 45–23.
One of the best games of the day featured California and Oregon State. When Beaver Bossman Mike Riley collapsed his ends to slow down the Bear running game the end was near.
After a grueling battle, Oregon State continued on its path to the Rose Bowl by taking down Cal, 34–21. "We'll keep getting after them until we get there" chimed Coach Riley.
In a game that featured Idaho's finest, Boise State took out the Vandals 45–10. Nevada continued to chug along in the WAC with a 41–17 win over Dick Tomey's San Jose State Spartans.
Fresno State continued their up and down year with a 24–17 victory over Hal Mumme's New Mexico State Aggies while the Utags of Utah State fell once again. This time to Louisiana Tech, 45–38.
The Desert Report: This season hasn't been kind to Dennis Erickson's Sun Devils, a glaring example of what happens when a team fails to refocus after a huge game(Georgia). To recover from this situation the Washington State Cougars were served up as a sacrifice.
When the smoke cleared, Arizona State had crushed the old school of Coach Erickson by a score of 31–0. A few hundred miles away, Mike Price's Miners of El Paso battered June Jones' Mustangs of Southern Methodist, 36–10.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Much-maligned Clemson quarterback Cullen Harper regained some of his pre–season All American form by completing 20 of 26 for 292 yards in leading his Tigers to a win over Duke.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
D.J. Moore of Vanderbilt intercepted two Kentucky passes at critical times to help the Commodores overcome the Wildcats and become Bowl-eligible for the first time since 1982. Moore also split time on offense, recording the first two receptions of his career, both for touchdowns.