Coming into the week we had eight undefeated teams. When the dust cleared Saturday night we had only six. Every week teams are getting knocked off and some of the unbeatens still must play each other (Alabama/LSU) and others face steep, steep challenges (Stanford faces Oregon and Oklahoma State faces Oklahoma).
Two Undefeated Teams Fall
All year long everybody has been waiting for Clemson to pull a Clemson. It’s been funny listening to the guys over at Solid Verbal debate Clemson. Just as soon as everybody seemingly accepted Clemson as this years Auburn (myself included) they got beat by a Georgia Tech team that was down and out after losing two straight games.
And then there was Kansas State. Everybody was apprehensive about the Wildcats because they are notorious for playing a weak non-conference slate. This year it was a little different as they had at least beaten a Miami team out of conference and then they had won games against Missouri, Baylor and Texas Tech in conference. Not exactly a “who’s who” of college football but those three teams can step up and beat you if you aren’t ready for them (just ask TCU, Oklahoma and Texas A&M). Kansas State hosted Oklahoma this weekend and the Sooners took out their frustration from last week by the tune of 58-17.
Two National Championship pretenders are gone and now we are left with LSU, Alabama, Stanford, Oklahoma State, Boise State and Houston as the undefeated teams. Some obviously with a better shot at making the big game than others (I’m looking at you Houston and Boise State).
Survive And Move On
While Kansas State and Clemson were busy losing, two other undefeated teams were trying to keep their heads above water. One team that did so with ease was Oklahoma State. The Cowboys rode Baylor by the final of 59-24 and finally put the fire out on Robert Griffin III’s Heisman campaign in the process. Oklahoma State still has the toughest game on their schedule set for December when they play the Sooners and they will be tested before then with back to back to back games against Kansas State, Texas Tech and Iowa State. Not a murderer’s row but those teams cannot be taken lightly.
Stanford went about their business a little differently. The Cardinal are one of the teams that played all of their easy games in the first half of the season and are just now getting into the meat of their schedule. Last week, Stanford took down their first ranked team with ease as they curb stomped Washington 65-21. This week was different as they played USC on the road and faced a very game Lane Kiffin and Mark Barkley. Stanford faced adversity having to tie the game up with less than a minute left and then battle into triple overtime as they finally won when USC fumbled the ball into the end zone and the Cardinal recovered. Between the USC/Stanford game this week and the Wisconsin/Michigan State game last week you can’t ask for two better endings to College Football Saturday’s then we’ve had (well unless you are a Trojan or Badger fan).
I Didn’t Just See That, Did I?
One of the things that makes college football great is the parity. Take for example the Michigan State/Nebraska/Wisconsin love triangle. Earlier this year Wisconsin beat up on Nebraska 48-17 and Michigan State just beat Wisconsin last week so we could count on Michigan State to handle Nebraska pretty easily, right? Not so fast my friend (insert Lee Corso trademark here). Homefield advantage means a lot in college football and in the Big Ten and with Nebraska at home and Michigan State on the road the Huskers easily handled the Spartans 24-3 in a bit of a surprising finish.
Staying in the Big Ten, the Wisconsin Badgers and Russell Wilson were everybody’s favorite to win the Big Ten after their quick start and Russell Wilson was a legit Heisman Candidate. They lost in spectacular fashion last week against Michigan State but most thought they would rebound. Ohio State has struggled mightily this year so why expect them to upend the Badgers? Well that is exactly what happened as true freshman Braxton Miller led the Buckeyes to a 33-29 win over the Badgers and the Big Ten is now wide open for anybody’s taking (even Joe Pa’s). A quick word of warning for young Braxton: stay away from car dealers and tattoo shops in Columbus.
Next we head back to the Big 12 and more specifically Texas. Texas A&M had seemingly righted their ship after a poor start as they headed into this week hosting Mizzou. Some joked this was an SEC match-up. If it was, A&M left their big boy shoes at home as Mizzou (who has struggled this year) knocked off A&M to even their record at 4-4. It was another case of A&M faltering late. This time A&M was outscored 21-3 in the final two quarters and overtime. The second half has not been a friend to the Aggies and Mike Sherman this year.
Staying in Texas, Tommy Tuberville and his Red Raiders of Texas Tech pulled off a monumental upset of the undefeated Oklahoma Sooners last week. So of course no one was expecting them to lose to Iowa State in Lubbock. Well that’s exactly what happened. Iowa State not only beat Texas Tech, they thumped them 41-7.
That’s four games that turned out like you probably didn’t expect. And there were almost many, many more as Arkansas barely survived Vandy, Virgina Tech only beat Duke by four, Oregon didn’t totally demolish Washington State, Penn State survived Illinois by a Zook and South Carolina beat Tennessee but the Vols had their shots.
All that excitement and I almost forget to mention the Georgia Bulldogs finally overcoming the Florida hex in Jacksonville.
In a nutshell that’s why I love college football. Anything can happen on any weekend. So are you ready for the “Game of the Year of the Century” this week as SuperPowers LSU and Alabama meet in the middle of the gridirion? It’s like Ali/Frazier, Leonard/Duran, Holyfield/Tyson, Hulk Hogan/Andre the Giant, Fedor/Cro Cop or Liddell/Couture. No matter your pugalistic sport of choice, this is the college football game we’ve all been waiting for. Buckle your seat belts and get ready for some smash mouth football come Saturday as it’s going to be another great weekend.