Another week of college football has concluded, and it is time to take a peek at the BCS race so far this season.
A slate of dull games resulted many top teams merely tuning up for the heart of their season’s schedules and, though there was little movement in the rankings, we are starting to see the true power and skill of the elites across the country.
Our beloved Ducks endured their bye week, in preparation for the start of conference play against Cal on Saturday. Oregon remained No. 2 after being idle and was awarded four, three more than last week, first place votes in the AP Top-25.
Cal is 1-2 thus far, but both losses have come against tough Big-10 opponents in Ohio State and Northwestern. They will be tough on offense, so the Duck’s will not be able to get off to the slow start they did last year against the Bears.
The Crimson Tide lost support with the voters after a mediocre performance against Colorado State, which led to just a mere 17-6 lead heading into the fourth quarter.The Tide still was able to pull out the game but their play was far less than impressive.
Former ‘Bama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain is now the head coach at Colorado State, so he knew the schemes well enough to make a game between the MWC and SEC opponents. The ‘Bama offense looked slow and inconsistent after last week’s montage of offensive firepower against the Aggies, but a win is a win, and the champs live to fight another day.
That day is coming soon, though, because they are set to take on No. 21 Ole Miss next week. We have seen a definite improvement of the Rebels’ team this season with a 3-0 start, including a 44-23 beat down of Texas in Austin. They may not be ready to take over the SEC crown, but they are more than capable of beating elite opponents.
No. 3 Clemson had to fight in their win over NC State but a game-clinching interception lifted the Tigers to a 26-14 win over the Wolfpack. They continue conference play and their title run against Wake Forest next Saturday.
No. 4 Ohio State absolutely dismantled the Florida A&M Rattlers 70-6, with guidance of backup quarterback Kenny Guiton, who broke a Buckeye record scoring 6 touchdowns through the air, all coming in the first half.
More good news for the Buckeyes, Braxton Miller is cleared to play next week and it will be much needed because one of their biggest tests of the season awaits them when No. 23 Wisconsin visits Columbus. The Badgers are 3-1 and are coming in hot after a 41-10 win over Purdue. OSU then will travel to Evanston, Ill., to face No. 17 Northwestern, an undefeated team that consistently plays well at home.
Though the Ducks weren’t flying into the headlines, other Pac-12 teams made a splash this weekend after impressive wins by No. 5 Stanford, No. 13 UCLA and No. 16 Washington.
The Huskies trounced Idaho State 56-0, putting them at 3-0 heading into conference play. Washington is a very scary team this season with an increase in defensive effectiveness and fabled play of running back Bishop Sankey to key the offense. Sankey is one of the most dominant backs in the country this year with 446 yards and 4 touchdowns, leading a Husky team that ranks ninth in rushing yards per game with 303.7. Washington’s defense ranks 10th in points allowed per game, which will be tested with back to back games against Stanford and Oregon lurking just a few weeks away.
UCLA coasted to a 59-13 win over the New Mexico State Aggies, solidifying their stature in the Pac-12 and in the national rankings. The Bruins look like the best team in the south up to this point, averaging 52.7 points per game. Also sitting on their schedule are back-to-back visits to Stanford and Oregon, the top teams in the North division.
Stanford impressed the most this weekend after a 42-28 win over Arizona State on the road. Many people were waiting to see this kind of performance from the reigning Pac-12 champions — and they answered the bell. Kevin Hogan was solid, but Tyler Gaffney and Anthony Wilkerson led the victory, combining for 155 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
The defense struggled allowing 417 yards, but if their robust offense can duplicate their performance from Saturday, the well-balanced attack of Stanford will once again be a deadly threat to Oregon’s hopes of a national title.
No. 6 LSU defeated Kent State 45-13 but will have to travel to Sanford Stadium next week to face the Georgia Bulldogs. The Dawgs have been tested a few times already so far with games against South Carolina and Clemson, so they wont be surprised when LSU comes to town. Besides, another loss could quite possibly end their season; the last SEC team to make it to a national championship game with two losses was LSU in 2007.
No. 7 Louisville and No. 8 Florida State both dismayed their opponents Saturday putting on tapestries of offense for home crowds and still remain in the race.
In a week full of blowouts, the Michigan Wolverine’s endured another heart-wrenching game against an inferior opponent, with a 24-21 win at Connecticut. They dropped three spots in the rankings to No. 18, the second week they’ve won and been lowered in the poll.
If Michigan can’t learn to hold on to the ball, undefeated and rolling Minnesota could be a tough game for the struggling Wolverines.
Oregon and Alabama are still the favorites and the race seems wide open but there is still plenty time for upsets and mayhem to once again stir up the picture.
*Watch for a joint OREGON/EAGLE Video Analysis next Tuesday! For the bye week we have three analysts who are helping me look at the similarities and differences of the Oregon offense and the Philadelphia Offense. This will be fun!
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Bryan Holt is a 20 year old junior at the University in Oregon looking to major in Journalism and Communications with hopes in pursuing a career as a sports writer or analyst.
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