The Red Raiders proved they had plenty of bullets left in their guns as they convincingly beat Oklahoma State and remain undefeated. The Tide almost fell in Baton Rogue, UNC is on the verge in the ACC, Penn State suffers my KOD, and USC looks mighty lonely out west. A look back at the weekend in college football after the break.
Thanks to Xtra Medium, dollar beers and a red bottle of tequila shaped like the Sydney Opera House he had in his possesion, I missed some of the early action on Saturday, but otherwise watched all the college football action. The Texas Tech 56-20 win over the Cowboys certainly proved that the Red Raiders were resistant to the drop-off after their defeat of Texas last week. The Tech offense looked like a machine mercilessly picking apart the OSU defense. Mike Leach's offense is based on a reaction to what the defense is doing. A great article was written on him in 2005 by "Moneyball" author Michael Lewis in the Times explaining his philosophy on football and life way before all the articles were written on him this year. What you can take away from his football philosophy is that if the defense stays in the same formations repeatedly, Leach will eventually expose you. If Oklahoma wants any shot at stopping the Tech offense, they will have to switch up defenses and pray their corners are talented enough to force some turnovers but judging by their performance against Texas, they probably are not which leads me to believe the only thing that can stop the Raiders are if they shoot those guns while they are still in the holsters and hit themselves in the foot (aka turnovers). Finally on this game, I am glad the country is getting exposed to Michael Crabtree. Forget about how he will translate to the NFL, he is amazing to watch on the field right now. He made the Cowboy defense look like boys trying to drag down their big brother. Best case Crabtree will be an NFL wideout similar to Larry Fitzgerald, worst case he will be another Mike Williams.
The Alabama Crimson Tide finally put away LSU 27-21 in overtime in 'Bama's last big test before the SEC Championship. In a game where Alabama came back from a 14 point first half deficit and took control, they allowed the Tigers to hang around. It was interesting to see Les Miles go conservative in any football game, let alone one where he was the decisive underdog, but Jarrett Lee made mistake after mistake and forced Miles to either go to a true freshman quarterback that had only thrown 1 pass all season, or hope that Lee could find a way to hit the receivers like he did against Auburn. Lee did provide some hope when he lead LSU down the field to tie the game, but in overtime he threw his third pick to Rashad Johnson and then the Tide ended it. Alabama is the concensus number 1 right now but they didn't exactly blow my socks off Saturday. They have supreme talent, some of it very young, and Leigh Tiffin's shaky leg may come into play again before the season is over. When Tiffin had his game-winning attempt blocked, the cups of beer flew wildly into the air at Tiger Stadium. However, Alabama holds its future in its hand, beat Mississippi St. and a defunct Auburn squad and then overcome Florida in Atlanta and the Tide will be playing for the title.
A very quiet victory for USC on the left coast occured Saturday while everyone else was watching Texas Tech-Oklahoma St. The Trojans defense hammered the Bears as they went on to win 17-3 at the Coliseum. Cal only managed 165 yards of offense and while the scoring was not coming in waves for USC, they beat a solid team knocked Cal out of the Pac Ten picture. It appears that unless some chaos happens in front of them, the Trojans again will be bound for Pasadena and more than likely will obliterate the team unfortunate enough to face them.
Usually when a team gives up 326 rush yards you would say there is no way they won the game, but North Carolina Tarheels did just that, pulling away late against Georgia Tech 28-7. The Jackets committed costly mistakes and the Heels made them pay. Carolina is up to 16th in the BCS standings and currently sits in the 3-way tie for first place in the ACC's Coastal division with Virginia Tech and Miami. UNC will be pulling for Miami this Thrusday to beat Va. Tech as they hold a victory over the Canes and a loss to the Hokies. On both sides the ACC is a mess with 10 of the 12 teams with a realistic shot at getting to Tampa.
Of course, right after I post about how Penn State is worthy of a title shot if they remain undefeated and discuss how they have played solid, mistake-free football, they commit costly turnovers and lose to Iowa 24-23. Looks like they are going to go out like Lions in winter.
West Virginia failed to secure 1st place in the Big East after losing to Cincinnati 26-23 win in overtime. Mountaineer fans were saying before this game, at least we should take the Big East, now they are on the wrong end of the tie-breaker with the Bearcats and still have to play South Florida and Pitt. Ellis Lankster's expression says it all:
It's getting close to Heisman time, so you guessed it, Tim Tebow is racking up TDs left and right. After being put in the background early in the season, his holiness has been on a tear, scoring 3 TDs in Florida's rout of Vandy 42-14. The dream is truly over for the Commodores although they had everyone beleiving. I guess the geeks will not inherit the turf this year.
Boise State keeps rolling along, even though unless Utah falls to BYU the Broncos will be denied in the BCS because they are ranked lower than the Utes. Boise destroyed Utah State 49-14 but their fate does not lie in their own hands.
All in all, it is becoming easier to eliminate teams from the title game discussion, naming the de facto match-up to be Big XII vs. SEC conference winner already is truly premature. The media once again has dubbed Florida as the favorite out of the one-loss teams. Is this because they lost to Ole Miss back in September and have beaten up on their conference opponents? USC apparently gets disqualified even before they lose the Pac Ten just because as of right now they are not in first place. I don't care what people say about letting the games play out, your perception as a team matters right now, to the voters. If anyone comes to you and says this is why the regular season is great and like a playoff, you have my permission to stab them repeatedly in the face with a rusty garden tool (note: my permission will not hold up in a court of law).
The SEC is no doubt a great conference, and probably the best overall, but too much weight is being given to their mid-level teams. Vandy started out loud, but look at their "marquee" wins now; beating South Carolina who has beaten nobody (but will get their chance this weekend) and Auburn, who has completely fallen apart. LSU also has been hammered by Florida and Georgia, and Georgia has been proved to be overrated. Texas lost by 1 to the number 2 team in the nation, but somehow they sit behind Oklahoma who they beat if the Sooners beat Texas Tech. No, the regular season is not just like a playoff because there are no rules, no parameters, no equal footing and that only leads to teams getting jerked out of their legitimate shot at a title. Still, I can't help but look forward to the games this weekend and seeing what shape the mess will take on this time next week.