Football's Week Is A Bleacher Report Series Provided By Veteran Observer Baby Tate.
The Best: 1) Alabama, 2) Florida, 3) Georgia
The Tennessee Volunteers have suffered this season. Humiliated in their opening game by struggling UCLA, beaten during Homecoming by Wyoming, the forced resignation of Coach Phil Fulmer: Nothing has gone the way of the Big Orange.
Vanderbilt, on the other hand, has enjoyed a nice turnaround season. The Commodores have several upsets on their resumé, appear headed to a Bowl, and have a strong candidate for Coach of the Year in the SEC East with veteran leader Bobby Johnson.
Seems the only thing left on the schedule for the season was for Vandy to mop up the floor with the Vols on Saturday in Nashville. Well, that's why they play the games.
After a furious battle, the Volunteers pulled out a win they could be proud of, a 20–10 trimming of the hometown Commodores. "This is humiliatin', we could've had this game" stated one from a face-painted group of Vandy fans staring into the television camera. From such trials do men's character grow.
Clemson, left for dead after starting the season being blown out by Alabama and subsequently losing Coach Tommy Bowden to a forced resignation, surprised Virginia on the road, 13–3. "We're gettin' there," stated Tiger interim Coach Dabo Swinney.
Georgia Tech often appears to be the most fearsome team in the ACC. The latest victim to the furious triple option of the Yellow Jackets? Miami. The Hurricanes were canned 41–23 by the Tech rushing attack, which gained more yards against the Hurricanes than any team since the second World War.
One of the most intense rivalries in Dixie, Ole Miss and LSU, "got it on" in Baton Rouge. When the smoke had cleared, The Rebels had conquered the Tigers, 31–13.
What makes this accomplishment even more fascinating is that Mississippi defeated the past two National Champions this year, both on the road, having handed Florida a 31–30 defeat in September. Quite an accomplishment for Houston Nutt in his first season at the helm of Ole Miss.
Boston College continued to make noise in the ACC, this time by taking out Wake Forest in Winston–Salem, 24–21. Florida State had little trouble with Maryland, 37–3.
Once lowly N.C. State absolutely pulverized UNC 41–10, while Florida continued their winning ways by destroying The Citadel, 70–19. In related military action, VMI defeated Presbyterian College 49–27.
The Best: 1) Oklahoma, 2) Texas, 3) Ohio State
Michigan-Ohio State lived down to expectations as the Buckeyes pistol-whipped the Wolverines from pillar to post, 42–7. Just about every Buckeye played to the level of a star against hapless Michigan. The Buckeyes are co-champions of the Big Ten but lose the automatic BCS Bowl bid due to a home field loss to Penn State during the year.
Minnesota has been hanging on over the past month while the young Gophers struggled with injuries and a lack of depth. Iowa showed no mercy on them, delivering a 55–0 knockout blow that could send the Hawkeyes to the Alamo Bowl.
In "The Battle For The Old Oaken Bucket," Purdue finally gave retiring Coach Joe Tiller the reward of a victory, 62–10. Wisconsin sank down to play Cal-Poly and barely escaped with a 36–35 overtime win.
Meanwhile, the Battle for the Sweet Sioux Tomahawk caused quite a rumble in the state of Illinois when Northwestern toppled the Illini 27–10. Reports out of Champaign that Illini offensive coordinator Mike Locksley has interviewed for the Clemson head coaching position were confirmed by Locksley himself, but he remained mum on the possibility of going to Syracuse.
In an incredible turnaround inside the game, Syracuse defeated Notre Dame in South Bend, 24–23. Shocked Irish fans filed out of the stands, unsure of what move comes next in the Charlie Weis saga.
In Norman, Oklahoma, the Sooners had prepared like the Normandy Invasion of D–Day for the unbeaten and No. 2-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders. It was worth the effort. Oklahoma absolutely annihilated Texas Tech, 65–21, and thus staked their claim as the best team in the country.
For close, hard-fought action, one need only go to the Dakotas. On this past Saturday South Dakota State beat North Dakota State 25–24 and North Dakota beat South Dakota, 34–31 in overtime!
The Best: 1) Southern California, 2) Utah, 3) Boise State
In the big battle for the Beehive State, the Utah Utes drilled Brigham Young, 48–24. There is no doubt now about the supremacy of Utah in the Mountain West Conference.
While TCU was busy overwhelming The Air Force 44–10, Wyoming was busy losing "The Bronze Boot" to Colorado State, 31–20.
In WAC action, Boise State outlasted Nevada, 41–34, and Fresno State defeated rival San Jose State, 24–10.
Cal defeated Stanford in "The Big Game," 37–16, while the Apple Cup was decided 16–13 in overtime by a Washington State field goal. The 2–10 Cougars were thus victors over the winless Tyrone Willingham Huskies. About as bad as it gets.
The Desert Report: In a tremendous battle in Tucson, Coach Mike Riley's Beavers moved one step closer to the Rose Bowl with a thrilling, gut-check, last second, 19–17 win over the feisty Wildcats of Arizona. The Beavers' last trip to the Rose Bowl? The 1964 season.
Over in Las Cruces, the Aggies fell to visiting Louisiana Tech, 35–31.
The Best: 1) Penn State, 2) West Virginia, 3) Boston College
The Land Grant Trophy was at stake when red-hot Michigan State roared into Beaver Stadium for a battle with Joe Paterno's Nittany Lions. They need not have bothered. In an old-fashioned beatdown, Penn State destroyed Michigan State 49–18, leaving no doubt about who is the King of the Big Ten.
One finds themselves questioning, how can a National Championship Game be held without Penn State as an opponent? Whomever finds themselves in such a position needs to send a "Thank You Card" to Iowa's Kirk Ferentz, or to at least the Des Moines Weather Service.
Pittsburgh believed they had the Big East in their pocket. They found out differently. Cincinnati, looking sharp and on the mark, drilled the Panthers, 28–21, to take the lead in the Big East.
In Ivy League action, Harvard defeated Yale in the "The Game" 10–0, and Princeton hammered Dartmouth 28–10.
Suddenly resurgent Rutgers overpowered The Army, 30–3, while West Virginia trimmed Louisville, 35–21.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: SAM BRADFORD, QB—OKLAHOMA
The triggerman for the ferocious Sooner offense passed for 304 yards and four touchdowns in leading Oklahoma to a 65–21 win over No. 2-ranked Texas Tech.
I would like to take this time and space to send a heartfelt "Thank You" to the regular readers of "Football's Week." It has been an enjoyable series to report and write. In particular, I would like to thank Miami Mitch and Gray Ghost for their continued support throughout the season. And to all the readers, good luck and happy trails to you.