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College Football – Week 13 – Fantasy Season at Texas Tech is Over, Oklahoma Kills the Dream, 65-21
It was a great and glorious 10 weeks for the No. 2-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders with an undefeated 10-0 record and big wins over Nebraska, Texas A&M, Texas and Oklahoma State. They looked unbeatable, unstoppable and headed into the BCS National Championship Game.
Then a funny thing happened when they traveled to world number 5 ranked Oklahoma, which had lost to Texas 5 weeks ago. Either someone forgot to tell the Red Raiders, or they forgot to listen, that Oklahoma led the nation with 23 straight home wins.
Nobody had to remind the Sooners, they remembered it all too well, hitting the Red Raiders over the head with a 2-4 in an impressive 65-21 blowout. Sooner, quarterback Sam Bradford threw for over 300 yards and 4 touchdowns, and DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown ran for 5 more scores.
Both teams came in with explosive offenses. Both were 2 of the top 3 teams in the country in passing attack and scoring attack, with a combined average of 788 yards and 98 points per game. Statistically, both teams were equal in run defense and scoring defense. Both were equal in pass defense and their pass defense stats were poor.
What should have been an exciting high-scoring game turned into a great game for Oklahoma. Texas Tech ended up soaking up pond water in Louisiana.
Three other ranked teams lost to other ranked opponents. No. 16 Brigham Young lost on the road to No. 8 Utah, 48-24. No. 17 Michigan State lost on the road to No. 7 Penn State, 49-18. No. 20 Pittsburgh lost on the road to No. 19 Cincinnati, 28-21.
Four other ranked teams lost to unranked opponents, never a good idea if you want to curry favor with the people involved in the national weekly rankings. These types of losses can cost teams thousands of dollars in lost bowl revenue as they are outbid by the powers that be to be in richer paid bowls.
Losers included the No. 18 LSU Tigers who lost on their home turf to Mississippi, 31-13. The No. 22 Maryland Terrapins who were slapped at home by Florida State, 37-3 (I know, little edible turtles. I don’t know how long a Maryland homer spent thinking about this nickname for a football team, but I suspect it had to be hours after exhausting all reasonable names). The No. 23 Miami (FL) Hurricanes who lost at home to Georgia Tech, 41-23. The No. 25 North Carolina Tar Heels who were slapped at home by the arch-rival North Carolina State Wolfpack, 41-10.
So 8 of the 18 teams in the AP Top 25 poll lost this week (44%) and 4 of the 8 lost to unranked teams. On the plus side, 10 of the top 18 ranked teams (56%) won and moved on, 6 of them with a vengeance. The 5 butt kickers besides Oklahoma included:
No. 3 Florida (10-1) who defeated 1-AA The Citadel 70-19, scoring on their first 7 possessions, racking up 512 yards of offense in the first half alone, and becoming first-team Southeastern Conference (SEC) ) to score at least 42 points in 6 consecutive games. I like Florida, but it’s very unseemly to play 1-AA teams, even early in the season, much less late in the season.
No. 7 Penn State at home over No. 17 Michigan State 49-18. The Nittany Lions showed that the Spartans (albeit 9-3) are not yet ready to play and beat big teams. Penn State’s Daryll Clark threw for a career-high 341 yards and 4 TDs, and the Nittany Lion defense held Spartan Javon Ringer to a season-low 42 yards (that’s not Ringer, that’s an inept offensive line of Michigan State controlled by Penn State).
No. 8 Utah at home over No. 16 Brigham Young 48-24. This win was huge for the Utes, who have an undefeated 12-0 season, a Mountain West Conference championship, a date in the BCS Bowl Series and a win over BYU for the first time in 3 years.
No. 10 Ohio State at home over archrival Michigan 42-7. The Buckeyes utterly humiliated a now dysfunctional Wolverine team led by first-year coach Rich Rodriquez, handing Michigan its worst loss to Ohio State in 40 years. Michigan is 3-9 on the year and a mess of what was once a proud and successful program. Rodriguez, who achieved tremendous success in West Virginia, has a lot of work to do.
No. 15 Texas Christian (TCU) at home over Air Force 44-10. Andy Dalton threw 2 TD passes and ran for 2 more touchdowns as the Horned Frogs (what a name for a team) put together a 10-win season. The other 4 winners were:
No. 9 Boise State Highway at Nevada 41-34. The Broncos were lucky to come out of this game undefeated as Nevada won the second half, 31-17. When you give up 34 points to a 6-5 team, you’re not as good as your record says.
No. 14 Ball State on the road at Central Michigan 31-24. Central Michigan came into this game 8-2 and the Cardinals needed a fourth-quarter touchdown to win this one.
No. 19 Cincinnati at home over Pittsburgh 28-21, marking their first win over the Panthers in 8 games. Despite having a broken arm, Tony Pike threw 3 touchdown passes and you thought Pittsburgh was tough.
No. 21 Oregon State on the road over Arizona, 19-17, on a last-play 24-yard field goal by sophomore kicker Justin Kahut. It was sweet redemption for Kahut, who missed a game-tying extra point attempt late in the fourth quarter.
If the Oregon State Beavers beat their arch-rival, the Oregon Ducks, in their last game, would qualify for the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1965. That’s because the Beavers managed to upset visiting Southern California early in the season. .
Seven Top 25 teams were inactive this week-No. 1 Alabama, No. 4 Texas, No. 6 Southern California (USC), No. 11 Oklahoma State, No. 12 Missouri, No. 13 Georgia and No. 24 Oregon.
Entering the final two weeks of regular season play, only 4 undefeated teams remain: No. 1 Alabama (11-0), No. 8 Uath (12-0), No. 9 Boise State (11-0) and No. 15 Ball State (11-0). Utah will remain undefeated as their season is over. On Saturday, Alabama hosts archrival Auburn in state, Boise State hosts Fresno State on Friday and Ball State hosts West Michigan on Tuesday (11-25-08).
In other news, this weekend the Washington Huskies (0-10) traveled to Pullman to take on their arch-rivals, the Washington State Cougars (1-10), in a game I’ve dubbed the “2008 Losers Bowl.” Losers Bowl seemed like an appropriate title as Washington State’s only win came against 1-AA Portland State, so they really had a combined 1-A record of 0-20.
The winless and hopeless Huskies lead the nation in one category: They have the longest losing streak in Division 1-A, 13 straight losses. This confrontation actually got exciting near the end when Washington led by 10 points at halftime and led by 3 points with 56 seconds left.
The Huskies, however, allowed the Cougars to go from their own 20 to the Husky 11, where sophomore Nico Grasu kicked a 28-yard field goal on the last play of regulation to tie the game at 13. Ironically , Husky kicker Ryan Perkins missed a 28-yard kick about 3.5 minutes earlier.
The teams traded field goals on their first overtime possessions, but Perkins missed again at 37 yards during Washington’s second possession. Four downs later, Grasu nailed one from the same 37 yards to give the Cougars their first 1-A win of the season and their third win over Washington in the last 4 years.
The rest of what happened over the weekend was just window dressing for a bunch of teams going nowhere at about 1,000 miles per hour.
Copyright © 2008 Ed Bagley
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