If you were looking for upsets this week then just stop reading now. We had many of the top teams on a bye week, while the others took care of business between the stripes. College football fans will have much to look forward to next week, as Alabama plays LSU and Oregon takes on Stanford. Don’t forget, we will have Baylor’s point-a-minute offense going against Oklahoma, also. The only thing I do not get is how both the Oregon/Stanford game and the Baylor/Oklahoma game will be on a Thursday. Good job scheduling there.
With most of top teams off, it was time for FSU and Ohio State shine in the eyes of the voters — and shine they did.
Let’s get into the action:
1. The SEC EAST race is still up for grabs, but Missouri took one step closer to seizing it with a 31-3 demolishing of Tennessee. Missouri is putting up points with their backup quarterback. I bet Florida fans wish they were having that kind of success with their backup quarterback.
Speaking of Florida, they were down 17-0 and Georgia looked to be adding more points onto their score. I decided to take a nap since, since that would be more productive than watching my own team go down. I woke up to Georgia leading, 23-20. I thought it was a dream, because no way Florida could score that many points, with the way the offense has been playing this season. It was a sloppy game for Georgia but a much needed win for the Bulldogs.
Auburn is still on a roll with a convincing 35-17 win over Arkansas. The Tigers seem to be clicking on all cylinders but look to have another easy game vs the Vols next week. Auburn could go 11-1, with the SEC West title on the line come season’s end . . .. Who would have thought that after how bad things went last season?
SEC QUICK HITS: Johnny F. and Texas A&M started slow vs UTEP, leading only 9-7 at the end of the first quarter, before they finally woke up and dominated, securing the win by more than 50 points. South Carolina beat Mississippi State, 34-16. More importantly, South Carolina kept their slim hopes alive for an SEC East title with that win; they are just waiting for a Missouri loss. Kentucky got a much needed win over Alabama . . . Alabama A&M, that is. A win is a win, however, for Kentucky football! With Alabama and LSU both off this week, there was not much in the way of SEC games worth watching. Auburn has been a nice surprise this season, while Georgia and Florida both are big disappointments. At this point in the season, if Alabama loses, a one-loss SEC team is not making the title game.
2. Michigan always takes pride in beating up on their “little brother” in East Lansing. Well, this time the little brother turned around and smashed its big brother in the mouth. Michigan State beat Michigan, 29-6. The Spartan defense held Michigan to almost -50 rushing yards. Michigan State is probably the least- hyped 8-1 team in the nation. Their matchup vs Nebraska could be for the Legends division title. BTW — I still am hoping they change their division names.
Nebraska fans were already preparing Pelini’s pink slip when Northwestern led, 24-21, with less than a minute to go. Thanks to backup ‘Husker quarterback Ron Kellog’s Hail Mary, Nebraska avoided an embarrassing loss to Northwestern and won, 27-24.
So Ohio State won 56-0. Do we even need to talk about this? Urban Meyer is just going for BCS style-points, since the Buckeyes will probably be on the outside looking in.
B1G QUICK HITS: Penn State secured another victory in dramatic fashion, as they downed Illinois in overtime, 24-17. Good to see the sanctions not strangling the program’s success. Wisconsin beat Iowa, 28-9, to keep their slim division title hopes alive. Minnesota has now won three in a row with a 42-39 victory over Indiana. Is Jerry Kill’s program finally turning the corner? Time will tell with that one. Ohio State is the only bright spot in an otherwise weak conference. The Buckeyes will win out and hope for an upset or two, so they can pack their bags to Pasadena for the post-New Year’s Day event.
3. With Baylor off this week the BIG-12 was able to shift its focus to some other key matchups. Oklahoma State continues to fight for the BIG-12 title with a 52-34 win over Texas Tech. The Cowboys continue to keep their season alive after everyone left them for dead following the West Virginia loss. As for the Red Raiders, they hope to stop this two-game losing streak immediately. Chances are slim for that, since they are now facing the toughest part of their schedule after a 7-0 start.
The Mounttaineers kept their bowl hopes alive with a 30-27 overtime win over TCU. Both those programs are struggling and finding success in the BIG-12 much harder than they imagined.
BIG-12 QUICK HITS: Another week and another win for Mack Brown and the Texas Longhorns. Texas beat Kansas, 35-13, but that is not saying much. It’s Kansas football . . . they are a basketball school — ‘nuf said. Kansas State beat Iowa State, 41-7, to break even at .500 for the season. The BIG-12 race is still wide open and the picture will hopefully clear up when Baylor meets up with Oklahoma next week. Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Baylor all look to be last man standing and win the BIG-12 by seasons end.
4. GAME OF THE WEEK: FSU continued its dominant run with a convincing 41- 14 win over hated rival, Miami. Jameis Winston did look vincible in the first half, when he threw two interceptions. He still was able to shake them off and make some crucial 3rd-down conversions to secure his team another victory and keep FSU’s dream season intact. It was a big win over the No. 7 Hurricanes, but will it be enough for them to re-jump Oregon in the polls? We might see a rematch of FSU vs Miami in the ACC championship game, so Miami better not get too down from this loss.
Clemson‘s Tajh Boyd had a big game and set an ACC record for most touchdowns responsible for with a 59-10 victory over Virginia. I am just waiting for the Cavs to fire Mike London. He is not leading that program where it needs to go after a first successful season. Clemson looks to keep its BCS-bowl hopes alive with another victory.
ACC QUICK HITS: Virginia Tech continues to stumble, being upset by Boston College, 34-27. “Beamer-ball” seems to be dead at this point. Syracuse picked up another ACC win with a 13-0 win over Wake Forest. North Carolina beat in-state rival North Carolina State, 27-19, and hopes to win out to become bowl eligible. Georgia Tech gave Pitt another “welcome to the ACC” moment, with a 21-10 win. The Yellow Jackets are really up and down with that triple-option offense. FSU is still the cream of the crop in the ACC and stands as the lone unbeaten. Look for FSU to win out and hope to play their way into the title game.
5. Oregon and Stanford were both off, so the PAC-12 did not have the opportunity to show off its top teams. It gave the “other guys” a chance to shine. First we got to see a dominant Arizona State take Washington State out behind the wood shed and have their way with them, 55-21. Anytime the Cougs looked to gain momentum by making Arizona State go 3-and-out, they ran a fake punt to kept the drive alive. Arizona State winning out could be a much-needed boost that the winner of the Oregon-Stanford game needs from an unofficial “Strength of Schedule” bump to get them into the title game.
PAC-12 QUICK HITS: USC continues to win without Lane Kiffin. The Trojans beat Oregon State, 31-14, on Friday night in Corvallis. Oregon State started strong, but now that the Beavs have hit the meat of their schedule, they are bellying up. USC and Oregon State can only hope to play spoiler the rest of the season. Arizona became bowl-eligible with a 33-28 win, over California. UCLA kept its PAC-12 South title hopes alive, with a firm 45-23 win over Colorado. Oregon is the last undefeated team standing in the PAC-12, but looks to hit their final test of the season vs Stanford on Thursday. The winner of that game has a clear path to the PAC-12 Championship game and possible BCS Title game. Besides that, the only real news coming out of the PAC-12 is how USC boosters are trying to get John Gruden to be their next coach. I think Gruden is happy doing what is doing and is fine with his one Super Bowl ring.
BEST OF THE REST: Northern Illinois’ Jordan Lynch had a big day rushing. He scored four times on the ground, to lead his team to a 63-19 win over lowly UMass. I think they have the best chance of being our little BCS-buster this year. Air Force beat their Armed Services-rival Army, 42-28. Good job on the win, and thank you for your service to our country. To keep on with the service schools, Notre Dame beat Navy, 38-34. For Notre Dame to struggle like that vs Navy . . . keep them ranked at No. 25 — if you must. Boise State got its 6th win of the season, with a 42-30 win over Colorado State. Boise State will probably finish the season 9-3 . . . and that is a bad season for them.
Next week will be a true Separation Saturday. Most of the top teams will be facing some high-caliber teams, trying to show the rest of the nation they are worthy of their rankings. When Oregon or FSU secures a big win they start chanting, “We want Bama, We want Bama” . . . so what should Alabama fans be cheering if they beat LSU? I think at one point Texas and Notre Dame fans were chanting “We want Bama” and we saw how that ended for them in the national title games. Still a lot of football left to play, but as of now we are headed for a Final Four of undefeated teams.
Any predictions for next week? I am hoping Oregon and Alabama just dominate and keep their rankings secure. The season is almost over and it has been a good one . . . for most fans! Excited to see where it finishes and if the top teams all win out.
1. College Football Mailbag
2. Auburn faking it?
3. Duke of Miami hurting
4. Briles to Texas makes sense