BCS Chaos: Breaking Down Saturday's Major Upsets
One of the biggest aspects that makes College Football so special is knowing that going into any game, David could beat Goliath. Other than the atmosphere, the hype, the tailgating, and the tradition, upsets make College Football one of the most exciting, most invigorating sports that have ever been played, and not too many people are going to argue with me on that point.
Saturday, October 29 yielded a day full of upsets, more upsets than any Saturday this College Football season. They weren't the best upsets ever, they weren't the most exciting upsets ever, and they weren't the most significant upsets ever, but upsets are upsets, and they changed a hefty portion of the BCS landscape.
I am going to breakdown and talk about all of Saturday's major upsets, as well as preview the upcoming games for the teams that lost and if they will bounce back. We are heading into the home stretch in November, and hopefully we get another Saturday like this past one.
Clemson @ Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets Bump the Tigers from the Unbeatens
Poor Clemson. The "Fighting Dabo's," as ESPN's Rece Davis likes to refer to Clemson as, had their National Title dreams slashed on Saturday in thanks to Georgia Tech. As head coach Dabo Swinney states in a post game interview, "They out executed us." Well, Dabo Swinney, you are correct in that statement.
Clemson was a ticking time bomb, if anyone failed to notice. Going into this game, their defense was yielding 24 points per game, and allowed 38 points to a rebuilding North Carolina squad, and 45 points to a very average Maryland team, not to mention a slim 8 point victory over Wofford earlier in the season.
This is clear cut evidence of a team that was bound to lose, because all of their glaring vulnerabilities throughout the season.
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd completed barely 50 percent of his passes, while having a 1:2 touchdown to interception ratio. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins had a good game although, snagging 10 catches for 159 yards and a touchdown.
Two things doomed the Tigers in this game, though. One was turnovers. The Tigers forced two, but gave up four, and you can ask any team in the nation that when you lose the turnover battle, your chances of losing the game are increased significantly. Second was the lack of containment of the Georgia Tech running attack. Yellow Jacket quarterback Tevin Washington ran for 176 yards on 27 carries and a touchdown, and backup quarterback David Sims added 68 yards and a touchdown.
While this is a significant loss for Clemson and how significantly it changes the BCS landscape, this loss doesn't surprise much of anybody. Going into Saturday, many experts had the Tigers on upset alert.
Clemson gets to take out a little frustration on Wake Forest next week, followed by games at North Carolina State and at South Carolina to close the season. I expect two large wins against over matched opposition in Wake Forest and NC State. I think it will be a close one in Columbia on November 26, and I expect another Clemson loss. I have the Tigers finishing 10-2.
Michigan State @ Nebraska: The Huskers Dominate Sparty in Lincoln
Was this a surprise? Yes and no. Yes because nobody in their right mind thought that Nebraska would win this game by three touchdowns and hold Michigan State, who had a lot of momentum just beating the 6th ranked Badgers on a hail mary the last week, to three points. No because of last week's game against Wisconsin. That was a very emotionally draining game for the Spartans, with a win of that magnitude, so for them to come out as flat as they did wasn't a major shock.
Was this a major upset? No. Coming into this game the Huskers were only three rankings behind Sparty, they were playing at home, and the domination of meager Minnesota was to be expected the week before. What was surprising about this game was how much the Husker defense stepped up. I know Michigan State was coming off an emotional victory and them coming out flat wasn't that big of a surprise, but man, three points? Kirk Cousins had one of the worst games of his career, completing only 11 of 27 passes for 86 yards and an interception, while the Spartan running attack only gained 96 yards the entire game.
Good news for Sparty, they hold the obvious tie-breaker in the Legends Division over Michigan because of their 28-14 victory over the Wolverines back on October 15. Bad news for Sparty, Nebraska holds the tie-breaker over them in the Legends Division.
East Lansing is feeling pretty blue today, knowing that they must win out undoubtedly to even have a shot at playing in Indianapolis on December 3 for the Big Ten Championship.
The Spartans have more good news though, they probably have the easiest remaining schedule of any Big Ten team, finishing the season with games against Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, and Northwestern. Those teams have a combined 11-22 record.
I believe Michigan State will win out, with only one potential scare at Northwestern the last game of the season.
Wisconsin @ Ohio State: The Buckeyes Turn the Tide in the Leaders Division
Wisconsin needs to start practicing defense against the hail mary, as it has beaten them the last two weeks. The mood in Badger Land is gloomy. Two weeks ago Wisconsin was attempting to put themselves in the drivers seat for a Big Ten Championship appearance and even possibly a National Championship appearance. Today the Badgers sit at 6-2 wondering where it all went wrong.
How about them Buckeyes? Are you serious? This team has gone from terrible to daunting in a span of a few weeks. Seems like the addition of Dan "Boom" Herron to this offense has caused a spark like no other. While the Buckeyes have much to improve in their passing game, their running game has really ignited this team. The defense has also been rather outstanding.
Wisconsin is still a very good football team. Subtract two huge plays against them, one in which was very fortunate on the part of Michigan State, this team could easily be 8-0. But they're not 8-0, they are 6-2, and I am very interested to see the morale of this team and how they come out next week at home against Purdue.
The Badgers need to remind themselves that although their losses do hurt a lot, they are a very talented team that can very easily bounce back. Next week, I either expect a complete thrashing of Purdue because of complete and utter anger, or the team coming out flat just because of how demoralizing the two losses have been the last two weeks.
The rest of the Badgers' schedule looks like this: vs Purdue, at Minnesota, at Illinois, and vs Penn State. I expect this team to go through their next three games like a hot knife through butter. The Badgers are a team with a lot of motivation and character, and they aren't going to let a couple losses destroy them. Their final game of the season could very well be the Leaders Division championship game against Penn State, unless Ohio State wins out.
Iowa State @ Texas Tech: Was This the Same Red Raider Team That Beat Oklahoma?
I'm confused, really confused. Was this the same Texas Tech team that beat Oklahoma in Norman last week, that just lost at home 41-7 to Iowa State? What was that Texas Tech?
The Red Raiders looked like the furthest thing from a top 25 team Saturday versus Iowa State, getting beat by 34 points on their home field. Seth Doege, who's averaging almost 360 yards passing a game, threw for 171 yards and two interceptions against the Cyclone defense.
I understand that the Red Raiders had a case just like Michigan State did against Nebraska, they were coming off a very emotional win against the Sooners, so they came out flat, but for God sakes it was against a very average 4-3 Iowa State team, and to get annihilated at home like that is just astonishing.
I go back and look at the game they played against Oklahoma, and I guess there are multiple factors that led to that huge upset, because it really makes you wonder after the performance Texas Tech just had against Iowa State, how they possibly went to Oklahoma and won.
This by no means has any impact on the BCS race, obviously, but the circumstances are just so staggering you can't help but wonder what went wrong with Texas Tech yesterday.
Considering how blatantly dominant the Cyclones were over the Red Raiders, I don't even know if I would call this an upset. I don't remember the last time an under dog won by 34 on the road, or anywhere for that matter.
Unfortunately, for Texas Tech, their schedule isn't boding real well for them. They have games at Texas (next Saturday), vs Oklahoma State, at Missouri, and vs Baylor. If Iowa State can come to Lubbock and destroy the Red Raiders, I hate to see what the likes of Oklahoma State and Baylor, two very high powered offenses, can do to them.