Sunday, October 29, 2006

College Football Week 9 Recap

A shakeup at the top of the standings highlights an eventful week 9. "We shocked the world, ma! Wooooooooooooooooo!"
The over rated Trojans took a dive against the Beavers in Corvallis, losing 35-33 and sending the rest of the top 10 into a tailspin. Now there are at least 8 teams with a legitimate claim as the second best team in the country; since we all know that the loser of the Michigan/Ohio St. game will fall from the top 5, another team has to jump in. But who will it be?

Let's take a look at what went on this week and what might happen in the coming weeks.

Trojans lose for only the 3rd time in the last 53 games

"I never thought you f**kers would beat us, dude"

That statement alone is absolutely amazing when you think of it. The last 2 losses for USC were Sept 27th, 2003, 34-31 @ Cal (last PAC-10 loss) and Jan 4th, 2006, 41-38 vs. Texas in the National Championship Game. But the Beavers did it in grand style to the mighty Trojans yesterday- they raced out to a 33-10 lead near the end of the 3rd quarter, then hung on for dear life as they withstood a furious 21-pt USC rally for the 33-31 win. Give the Trojans credit- when they were down 30-10 after a Sammie Stroughter 70-yard punt return for a TD midway through the 3rd, it looked like they were dead in the water. But USC would rally behind the spectacular play of receiver Steve not the Carolina Panther Smith and QB John David Booty. Smith lit up the Beaver secondary for a career-high 258 yards on just 11 catches, including 2 4th quarter touchdowns. His second score from Booty (24-39, 406yds, 4TDs, 1INT), a 20-yarder with just :07 left gave the Trojans a chance to tie it with a 2 point conversion, but Booty's pass was batted down at the line and the Beavers had the biggest upset of the 2006 college football season. It was USC's first regular season loss in 38 games, their first PAC-10 loss in 27 games, and their first road loss in 18 games. Simply amazing. So the Trojans, who had been flirting with disaster for weeks, are out of the title hunt now; but who will take their place?
MY PICK: Trojans 35-21 (hey, I did say that Corvallis would be a tough place to play!)

Gators win, but not not impressively,21-14 over 'Dawgs
The Florida Gators did what they needed to do on Saturday, especially now that #3 lost. But if they were looking for style points against a mediocre Georgia squad, they weren't awarded any. And let's face it, in this day & age of pollsters who only look at scores and margin of victory still carrying weight, no matter what the computers say, this lackluster victory may hurt the Gators stature in the court of public opinion. This Gators squad is building a reputation as a solid defensive team, though, and it showed by holding the Bulldogs to 215 total yards (64 rushing), 13 completions by freshman QB Matthew Stafford, and forcing 5 turnovers. On offense QB Chris Leak (14-28,163yards, 1TD, 1INT) did just enough to get the job done, but despite his key fumble in the 4th quarter, it still seems to me that this team would be better suited with Tim Tebow at quarterback. Perhaps it's Leak's lazy-fa ire attitude, emotionless expression and robotic attitude, but Tebow's rah-rah, in-your-face, crush-all-opponents style seem like a perfect fit for Urban Meyer's offense. But what do I know, I'm a 'Nole fan!
MY PICK: Florida 27-17

Speaking of Florida State, this just in: they're not good

Please don't turn your back on the program, Coach!

The Seminoles are carrying only 9 seniors on the team this season. It shows. The young 'Noles got another lesson in 'Painful Conference Road Losses 101' last night at the hands of the rejuvenated Maryland Terrapins(6-2, 3-1), 27-24 in College Park. Bobby Bowden shrugged off all the talk of him stepping down or firing his son Jeff, the offensive coordinator, by saying that this is a young team that is learning how to play together, and with any young team there are going to be growing pains. If that's the case then this season has been like giving birth for Seminole fans, because at 4-4 (2-4) they are off to their worst start since 1976, Papa Bowden's first year in Tally. But there was reason for optimism regarding the offense: highly-touted soph QB Xavier Lee got his first career start due to Drew Weatherford's ankle tendinitis and dazzled with his arm (22-36, 286yds, 2TDs), legs (8 rush, 50yds) and smarts (no turnovers, numerous escapes from tough situations.) Also the emergence of RB Antone Smith (14 rush, 83yds, 1TD) as a hard-running playmaker, and receiver Chris Davis having a career day (8recs, 132yds, 1TD) in place of injured De'Cody Fagg, gives Seminole Nation reason to think there is light at the end of the tunnel. It just appears that they won't reach that light until next season. But to ask for Bobby's ouster is just foolish, ridiculous, and rash. This guy put the program on the map, took them from an all-girls school to a (2-time) National Champion and now they want to boot him out after a couple of rough seasons? While he's playing 850 undercalssmen? In this instant gratification society, you are not allowed to have a down period, off year, or slump. You must be incredible & unbeatable at all times, every year, for eternity. If that's the case, then Bobby should go. Because no one, not even the winningest coach in NCAA history, can live up to those unattainable standards.

Clemson crashes back to earth with humbling 24-7 loss to Va Tech
Less than one week after putting on one of the most impressive offensive displays of the season the Clemson Tigers (7-2, 4-2) got a taste of what it's like to be the hunted in the ACC, and what it feels like to be hunted down in Lane Stadium. The unranked but ultra-proud Hokies(6-2, 3-2) laid a good old-fashioned whupping on Clemson, holding the vaunted Tiger rushing attack to a mere 80 yards while amassing 224 on the ground themselves. A week ago in their 31-7 win over GaTech, RBs James Davis (216 yards) and CJ Spiller (116 yards) gashed the Jackets on the ground; this week Davis (30yds) & Spiller(41yds) were non-factors. Meanwhile unheralded Hokie freshman RB Branden Ore, second in the ACC in rushing to Davis, ran roughshod over the possibly tired (3 games in 14 days) Tiger defense to the tune of 203 yards & 2 TDs. Talk about a taste of your own medicine. So now the Tigers are out of the running for title contenders, but they are still an exciting team to watch. But Branden Ore & the Hokies proved that there is still some excitement in Blacksburg as well.
MY PICK: Va Tech 26-22 (nice upset call, huh? Toot toot!)

Here are the up to date BCS standings, with AP rank in parentheses, and what's going on with the team:

1.Ohio State(1) The Buckeyes continue to roll toward the Michigan showdown, destroying Minnesota 44-0. QB Troy Smith also continued his run at the Heisman with a ho-hum 226 total yard, 2TD day. It's obvious the Buckeyes are just trying to stay interested until their next meaningful game, and that won't be for another 3 weeks. UP NEXT: @ Illinois, 3:30 SAT

2.) Michigan(2) The Wolverines haven't exactly wowed anyone in recent weeks, as yesterday's 17-3 yawner over 2-6 Northwestern proved. The same Wildcat squad that the Spartans hung 41 on in that comeback game last week, and all Chad Henne, Mike Hart & Co. could manage was 17 points? Granted WR Mario Manningham was out again, and Henne has only 1 TD pass in the 3 games he has missed, but they'll have to be a lot better than that to beat the Buckeyes. UP NEXT: Ball State (wow, that'll impress the voters) , Noon SAT

3.)West Virginia(3) The Mountaineers would appear to be the team that benefitted the most from the Trojans slip. But that will only last till Thursday night, when the 7-0 squad travels to Papa John Stadium (love that name) in Louisville for a backyard brawl with the No. 5 Cardinals. The combo of RB Steve Slaton (1,059yds, 9TDs) and QB Pat White (1,441 tot yds, 15 TDs pass & rush)is going to be tough for Louisville to handle, but the Cards have some firepower of their own. The winner of that game will be in the driver's seat for the No. 2 BCS spot heading into the final month. UP NEXT: @ Louisville THU, 7:45 ESPN

4.) Gators(7) How the heck can these guys be 7th in the AP & 4th in the all-important BCS? especially 2 spots ahead of Auburn, who beat them two weeks ago? Just another crackpot facet of the BCS, which stands for Big Crock of Shit. UP NEXT: @ Vandy, 12:30 SAT

5.) Louisville(5) The meeting with the Mountaineers is the Cards chance to show the nation that they are for real. Although Louisville should give West Virginia all they can handle, even if they win the game they have a matchup with undefeated Rutgers looming the following Thursday. First things first, though: they must beat West Virginia to have any shot at the title.

6.) Auburn(6) The Tigers must be scratching their heads with this ranking. Did that loss to Arkansas hurt them that badly? It shouldn't have, because the Hogs (7-1) have proved to be a very good team and the Gators haven't exactly lit the world on fire after their 27-17 loss to Auburn. Either way it should come down to a rematch with the Gators in the SEC Championship game for their shot at BCS glory. UP NEXT:Arkansas St, 2:30 SAT

7.) Texas(4) Evidently the voters weren't impressed with the Longhorns 35-31 come from behind win over the red Raiders in Lubbock on Saturday. Because how else could you explain the difference in rankings? I have to agree with the BCS on this one: although the Horns 7 frosh QB Colt McCoy have proven to be tougher & more resilient than most predicted in the post-VY era, they are not a Top 5 squad. UP NEXT: Oklahoma St, 7:00 SAT

8.) USC(9) Next!

9.)Notre Dame(11) Charlie Weiss did a lot of whining & complaining about other one loss teams being ranked ahead of his, and why, why, why, waa, waa, waa... Look Chuck, your team got bludgeoned at home by Michigan, then squeaked by UCLA at home and in between beat up Purdue, Stanford, and this week Navy. In other words, shut up. UP NEXT: No.Carolina, 2:30 SAT

10.) Cal(10) This was my darkhorse team (along with Louisville), but USC's loss just threw the Bears shot at winning a title out the window. How? Because now their matchup in LA in 3 weeks is meaningless, and without any other big games on their sched, the Bears have no chance at climbing up the rankings. Thanks, Trojans! UP NEXT: UCLA, 8:00 SAT

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