Week 7 of the college football season brought with it the usual assortment of powerhouse blowouts, shocking upsets and fantastic performances.
From the expected wins by Alabama and LSU to the fall of three previous unbeatens, the cloudy picture within the crystal ball continues to come more into focus.
It also concluded with the main event—the first release of the BCS rankings.
But let's focus now on the week that was and what went into the formulation of those standings.
Here now are your best and worst from Week 7.
One thing that has become abundantly clear through seven weeks is that there are three teams firmly at the head of the class in college football—Alabama, LSU and Oklahoma.
Each was in action on Saturday, and they all took care of business in a resounding way.
Top-ranked LSU caught a break in facing a Tennessee team without star quarterback Tyler Bray, but it likely would have made little difference. The Tigers followed the same script they have all season—use a suffocating defense (Tennessee had just 239 yards) and pound the ball on the ground (260 yards rushing) to win, in this case a comfortable 38-7 road victory.
No. 2 Alabama faced struggling Mississippi. The Crimson Tide's top-ranked defense surrendered exactly their weekly average of points, a measly seven to the Rebels, while Trent Richardson went to work. The dynamic junior ran for 183 yards and four touchdowns, including this ridiculous run (keep an eye on Senquez Golson, No. 21 on Mississippi, from his near tackle in the backfield throughout the remainder of the play; he'll have a great time during the team's film session).
Third-ranked Oklahoma was actually "held" under the average points surrendered by the Kansas defense. Unfortunately for Kansas, their average allowed was a shade over 50, and Oklahoma still posted close to that total in a 47-17 win. In the win, Oklahoma wide receiver Ryan Broyles caught 13 passes for a school-record 217 yards and two touchdowns and in the process set the NCAA career record for receptions.
In perhaps the game of the day, No. 9 Oregon hosted No. 18 Arizona State in a Pac-12 inter-division battle that was so good, ESPN's College GameDay was on-site
The odds of a Sun Devil upset were made better by the fact that Oregon's LaMichael James, the nation's leading rusher, would miss the game after suffering a dislocated elbow last week.
It looked like a strong possibility when early in the second half Oregon's star quarterback Darron Thomas was knocked out of the game, and it appeared on the verge of inevitability when ASU retook the lead shortly thereafter.
Then again, this is Oregon we are talking about.
Running backs Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas took over and ran the Ducks to a second-half surge that put away the Devils 41-27. Barner's 171 yards were a career high. Even backup quarterback Bryan Bennett got in on the action, rushing for 65 yards himself, as the Sun Devil defense was simply overmatched by the unrelenting speed of the Ducks.
With ASU a near-lock to win the South, this is a Oregon win over Stanford away from being a preview of the Pac-12 title game on Dec. 2.
In its final season in the Big 12, Texas A&M has struggled of late, blowing large halftime leads to both Oklahoma State and Arkansas in crushing defeats. That habit had earned them the inglorious nickname "gAggies."
Ryan Tannehill made sure that didn't happen again, as he led No. 21 Texas A&M to a big 55-28 win over No. 20 Baylor.
After a sluggish first quarter in which Baylor took a 7-3 lead, Tannehill went to work. He threw three touchdown passes to lead the Aggies to a familiar halftime lead, this time 24-14.
Unlike previous weeks, he wasn't done.
Tannehill threw three more scores in the second half, as the Aggies piled it on late to secure the victory. On the day, Tannehill threw for 415 yards and six touchdown, four of which went to Ryan Swope, who had a fantastic day with 11 catches and 206 yards.
The win moves the Aggies up to No. 17 as they face two winnable games against Iowa State and Missouri before the big showdown against Oklahoma on Nov. 5.
The Clemson Tigers have been one of the most surprising teams in the nation this season. A three-week stretch in which they defeated then-No. 21 Auburn, No. 11 Florida State and No. 11 Virginia Tech propelled them to their current station as No. 8 in both polls and seventh in the first BCS standings.
However, their Cinderella story nearly struck midnight on Saturday when the downtrodden and hideously dressed Maryland Terrapins gave the Tigers all they could handle in a wild 56-45 Clemson win.
While Tajh Boyd, Clemson's dark-horse Heisman-contending quarterback, was a star with four touchdown passes, it was freshman wide receiver Sammy Watkins who was the orange-and-white-clad savior.
Watkins caught a touchdown pass in the third quarter that closed the Maryland lead to 38-35, the closest the Tigers had been since a 3-0 lead early in the first quarter.
After another Clemson score gained the lead in the fourth quarter, Maryland took it right back with a touchdown to make it 45-42 with 7:35 left in the game.
Here comes Sammy.
Eleven seconds and 89 Watkins kickoff return yards later, Clemson had the lead back at 49-45. This was after an earlier 70-yard return by Watkins apparently did not teach Maryland a lesson.
For the game, Watkins amassed 345 all-purpose yards, breaking C.J. Spiller's school record. He had eight receptions for 105 yards and two touchdowns, a rush for 33 yards and 207 yards on five kickoff returns, including the game-winning score.
The Washington Huskies may be asking that question after quarterback Keith Price tossed another four touchdown passes in leading Washington to a 52-24 win over Colorado on Saturday.
No big deal, right? Everyone trounces the Buffs.
While that last part is true, it's what the win means for Washington that carries significance.
The Huskies are now 5-1 and a perfect 3-0 in conference play, the same number of losses as their heavily publicized North division mates Oregon and Stanford.
Price has led the resurgence. He has now thrown for 1,466 yards and 21 touchdowns against only four interceptions, while completing nearly 70 percent of his passes.
The Huskies will get their first true test this week as they head to Palo Alto to face Stanford, and then after a scrimmage against Arizona, they will host Oregon.
If they can split their games against the titans of the North, things will get very interesting in the Pac-12.
While mostly ignored across the nation, Northern Illinois' 51-22 win over Western Michigan did produce something that had been done only nine prior times in FBS history.
Huskies quarterback Chandler Harnish became the 10th member of the 200/200 club, as he threw for 203 yards and rushed for 229 yards in the victory.
He produced his historic effort in just three quarters, but the Huskies' prolific day on the ground didn't end when he took to the bench.
Backup quarterback Jordan Lynch came on and ran for 113 yards of his own on just nine carries, which included a 66-yard touchdown that marked the final score of the day for Northern Illinois.
The Huskies amassed 494 rushing yards in their victory, but it is Harnish's accomplishment that will be remembered from this otherwise forgotten October game between middling MAC teams.
So if you saw a team that completed one pass for the entire game, it would have to be one of the service academies, right? Surely not a perennial national powerhouse that had produced a string of recent All-Big Ten quarterbacks?
Such is the state of Ohio State football in the wake of scandal that their quarterback, in this case freshman Braxton Miller, completes only one pass (granted, it was for a touchdown) all game long out of his paltry four attempts.
Seriously...1-of-4 for 17 yards!
But it speaks more to the performance of Illinois that the Fighting Illini, ranked 16th in the nation, can have that happen to them, at home, and lose 17-7.
The Illini defense did its job in holding Ohio State to just 228 yards, but the offense was putrid, gaining just 285 yards and taking until the 6:22 mark of the fourth quarter to score its only points, a three-yard touchdown pass from Nathan Scheelhaase.
Some things never change in the Big Ten...
The South Carolina Gamecocks' season has been characterized by an uneasy feeling that their troubles at quarterback would derail an ultra-talented team that could make some serious noise in the SEC. One of the primary reasons the 6-1 Gamecocks have largely held it together has been the stellar play of running back Marcus Lattimore.
The sophomore has slowed a bit of late after his fast start but remained one of the premier backs in the nation. That is, until his knee injury on Saturday.
He had only 39 yards in South Carolina's 14-12 win over Mississippi State on Saturday, but he left the game with a knee injury in the fourth quarter.
It was later announced that the ligament and cartilage damage in his knee would sideline him for the remainder of the season.
Legendary head coach Howard Schnellenberger didn't think it'd end like this.
The head coach of the Florida Atlantic University Owls announced before the season that he would be retiring after the 2011 season.
How has his team conducted the farewell tour for the man who built this program from scratch?
By starting 0-6 and being the most inept offensive team in the nation.
In the debut of their new $70 million stadium, the Owls managed just 121 total yards of offense to a previously 1-4 Western Kentucky team in a 20-0 loss, the second time FAU has been shut out this season.
For the year, the Owls rank 111th in passing (135.3 yards per game), 116th in rushing yards (76.5 per game, and the team is averaging a pathetic 2.7 yards per carry) and a next-to-last 119th in scoring (11.3 points per game).
Howard deserves better.
Michigan State's defense did a great job limiting the Michigan Wolverines offense on Saturday, holding them to just 14 points and 250 total yards. Heisman candidate Denard Robinson was limited to just 42 yards rushing and threw for only 123.
However, one member of the Spartan defense acted in an absolutely repugnant manner and should receive a suspension (as of this writing, no decision has been made by the Big Ten).
In the video above, you will see defensive end William Gholston deliver a late hit to Robinson and then maliciously twist his neck by the face mask. Later, he delivered a cheap shot to Michigan offensive lineman Taylor Lewan.
Said Gholston, "I was just trying to play with reckless abandonment. Just gotta watch the film. Everybody make mistakes when you're trying to go hard."
Yes, William, mistakes are made. But what you did was outright thuggery and has no place in the sport of football.
The first, more important letdown from the Washington State Cougars was to be expected.
The surprising Cougars fell 44-14 to No. 8 Stanford. Andrew Luck shredded WSU, as he has everyone, for 336 yards and four touchdowns, and the Cardinal defense limited the Cougars to only 257 yards of offense.
Despite some gains overall that have led to three victories already, this is Washington State, after all, so expecting a different result was foolish.
What raced past "foolish," blitzed "awful idea" and left "incomprehensible" in their wake were the hideous all-gray uniforms that Washington State put on display on Saturday.
Yes, we as a society got some warning in April when the school's all-sport line of new uniforms was unveiled, but those grays had dark gray pants for contrast.
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