I was starting to get worried that too many teams would finish the season undefeated, until today. As the season goes on we are finally getting to see the upsets. Upsets are what we live for in college football, as long as our team isn’t on the wrong end of the stick. Watching the impossible become possible is what college football is all about. A few teams disappointed today while one team in particular showed the nation that they are playing on another level. Who would that team be? Oregon, duh! Oregon is just putting on a clinic against everyone they play. Other top teams have struggled while Oregon will still hang 50 points on whoever they line up against. It will be beyond impressive if this offensive firepower continues as they hit the meat of their schedule. Now let’s get into some news, thoughts, and scores from this past weekend:
1. Alabama rolled over Kentucky 48-7. They are just fine tuning their game for when they meet up with LSU next month. Can’t really judge a team for beating Kentucky . . . in football. Basketball or chicken? Another matter.
LSU showed us that they can win the close slug fest-type games that take place today vs. Florida. LSU pulled out a 17-6 win to stay on track for having a shot at the SEC West. Florida, on the other hand, showed they have a championship defense, but an offense that probably can’t even score if their lives depend on it.
Missouri officially put Mark Richt back on the hot seat with their 41-26 win over Georgia. The win did come at a cost. Missouri lost starting QB James Franklin for the season. Sad to see him go because Missouri could have been the surprise team of the SEC this year. Best of luck to Franklin and the Tigers team for the rest of the season.
SEC Quick Hits: South Carolina ran all over Arkansas 52-7. I think Bret Bielema is starting to have doubts about coming down to SEC country as the losses continue to pile up. Auburn won 62-3 over West Carolina using back up QB Jeremy Johnson. Auburn seems to be clicking at the right time. Mississippi State squeaked out a win 21-20 over Bowling Green. Look for Dan Mullen’s name to come up for some vacant coaching jobs this coming off season. Last but not least, Texas A&M escaped with a 41-38 win (but not much in the way of beauty points) over Ole Miss. Ole Miss just cannot catch a break after starting the season with so much promise. The SEC showed some defense in Death Valley today but will really show what it is made of as conference play continues.
2. Clemson showed it was looking ahead to next weeks matchup vs FSU by struggling to put away Boston College 24-14. Boston College is the same team FSU beat 48-34 two weeks ago. This was a trap game for Clemson and they survived. Look for Death Valley to be rocking next weekend as two Top-10 teams go at it.
Virginia Tech is still putting up victories and quietly becoming a force to reckon with in the ACC this season. Tech beat Pitt 19-9 for their 6th straight win of the season. Does this mean the Hokies are back?
ACC Quick Hits: Duke rattled off another win by shutting down Navy 35-7. It is good to see Duke one step closer to bowl eligibility. Maryland held on to beat Virginia 27-26. Maryland needed a last-second Virginia field goal to sail wide right to secure the win. I expect Virginia to be looking for a new coach after this season if things keep going the way they are for Head Coach Mike London and the Cavaliers. BYU stopped the Georgia Tech option and won 38-20. Paul Johnson’s offense was a nice change of pace at first, but now most teams are catching on when it comes to stopping them. Time to throw a few wrinkles into the option offense, coach. It seems now that FSU, Clemson, and Miami are still the teams to beat in the ACC and Virginia Tech is next up behind them. I do not expect the ACC to bring home a national title this year.
3. Mack Brown had his Texas Longhorns playing like his job depended on it. Texas beat Oklahoma 36-20 in the Cotton Bowl today and save Brown’s job for another week. If I were Mack Brown, I would retire at the end of the season. Everyone is calling for your head but you beat Oklahoma. End your career on a high note. How great would it be for him if Texas meets Texas A&M down in the Cotton Bowl and the Longhorns win. It would be fairy tale ending for Mack Brown after all the pressure he has been through these past few years.
Baylor finally hit a brick wall. They won 35-25 over Kansas State but it was not pretty. Baylor’s offense did not eclipse the 70-point mark this week but that was expected as they started playing tougher competition. Seeing how Texas and Oklahoma played today, the BIG-12 is wide open and Baylor still has a shot. If Art Briles leads Baylor to a BIG-12 title, fans can expect A LOT of big time schools to come calling for him. Anyone who can make Baylor a winner should win the ”COACH OF A LIFETIME” award.
BIG-12 Quick Hits: Texas Tech showed they can win no matter who is playing quarterback. The Red Raiders won 42-35 over a struggling Iowa State team. Iowa State just cannot catch a break this year. Paul Rhoads can coach, just not finish a game. TCU reached the .500 mark with a 27-17 win over Kansas. Life seems to be a little tougher for TCU now that they are running with the big dogs week in and week out. Take note Boise State.
4. What a game in Happy Valley. Penn State fans are thrilled with their team’s 4-overtime win over Michigan, 43-40. It was a game that went back and forth all night. What fans saw was Penn State true freshman QB Hackenburg coming of age as he lead his team down the field. With less than a minute to go, Hackenburg lead his team down for the tying score and then helped put the game away in overtime. Sanctions or not, Penn State is going to be fine with Hackenburg in there. Now Michigan has fallen from ranks of unbeaten and the B1G only has Ohio State available for making some noise on the national title scene.
B1G Quick Hits: Wisconsin crushed Northwestern 35-6 and kept their hopes alive for a shot at an appearance in the B1G title game. It probably will not happen since they need Ohio State to lose twice. Nebraska knocked the tar out of Purdue 44-7. Coach Bo Pelini is looking to show the Husker faithful that he can lead his team to the promised land. Michigan State ended Indiana’s dreams of being a good team today, with a 42-28 win. It was nice seeing the Hoosiers get things done on offense vs Penn State last week and possibly make some noise in the B1G, but it looks like it will have to wait. At least basketball season starts in a month for them.
5. Oregon is the team to beat this year. They have it going on offense and defense. They showed the whole nation today by pounding upset-minded Washington 45-24. I don’t think we will hear Steve Sarkisian complain about faking injuries after this week’s game, although having Josh Huff come back in the second half and pull in a bomb after being carted out in the first half, might push him over the edge. Marcus Mariota is moving up the Heisman ballots each week with each dominant performance he turns in. I expect him to be in New York for the Heisman presentation this year and in Pasadena for the BCS title game. Duck fans have a lot to be happy about right now. With the Stanford loss today, no one really stands to challenge Oregon this year. This is their year. If not this year . . . when?
Speaking of Stanford . . . UPSET OF THE DAY! Utah pulled off a 27-21 win over Stanford by holding the Cardinal on the 5-yard line with less than a minute to go. What I still do not get is . . . Why did Stanford throw the ball on 3rd and 4th down at the end of the game? Stanford is a running team, they brag about their running game, they preach RUN FIRST, they are RUN RUN RUN . . . but went away from it when they needed it most. Hats off to the Utes for pulling the upset and keeping things interesting in the Pac-12.
Pac-12 Quick Hits: USC got a much needed win over Arizona 38-31. USC looks to finish out the season strong without Kiffin and then hit the coaching market. I think USC would be smart to throw aside the scandal and go after Bobby Petrino. He almost had Arkansas a national title contender in the SEC West . . . in the same division with LSU and Alabama. Give him a look . . . could do wonders.
The Other Guys: Northern Illinois kept their BCS-buster hopes alive with a 27-20 win over Akron. Northern Illinois will need to win more impressively than that if they want the voters to take them seriously. Louisville is still just a blip on voters radar after an uninspiring win over Rutgers 24-10. Louisville will have to win and win big to start jumping over the teams ahead of them.
We got the upsets we have been looking for this season. Let’s hope they continue as we get further into conference play. Will Oregon continue to dominate its schedule? Yes, they should. Should Oregon be #1 over Alabama? We will let the pollsters decide that one. We saw some defense today in the SEC but that was only one game. I still don’t expect the SEC to be known for defense this year. What we are seeing is a very favorable path to the national title game now for Oregon. Alabama should be able to make it, but can’t get caught looking ahead to LSU. Ohio State will need a miracle to get into the title game if Oregon and Alabama are both undefeated at season’s end. Louisville will probably be able to relate to TCU for going undefeated and not being in the national title game. Anyone have any guesses on which coach will be canned next and who will be the next head coach at university “X”? So nice having college football back in our lives. Sitting on the couch from 9 a.m. game-day kickoff all the way until the late night Pac-12 games end . . . it’s delightful!
PS: To the readers . . . If you’re ever looking for me commenting on my articles . . . look for the name j10eff . . . that is who I post as and comment as.
1. College football mailbag.
2. What happened to Texas
3. Wisconsin win comes at a cost
4. Kiffin speaks about firing
5. Alabama still is rolling
* Are you a current or retired coach who would want to create some analyses as other guest coaches have in the past? The readers and I have learned so much from expertise offered, and we would love to talk with you about how you can help us all continue to learn at FishDuck.com. E-Mail me . . . firstname.lastname@example.org