This was definitely an interesting week in college football, with lots of upsets, and even some turmoil in the Top 25. In general, the top teams took care of business, with the highest 11 ranked squads (in the Coaches Poll) winning. Below that, half of the remaining teams in the Top 25 lost. We'll recap that a little later in the article.
The headline will be the continued success of FCS teams against their top tier brethren. Three FCS upsets occurred this week. The least notable was Gardner Webb knocking off Akron in overtime. Consider me unfazed. The other two were more interesting. South Dakota knocked off Minnesota in Minneapolis 41-38, and James Madison beat Virginia Tech 21-16 in Blacksburg, which was an upset in every sense of the word. This win by James Madison sent some ripples through the college football pond, as it will ultimately affect Boise State's strength of schedule. Clearly, Boise State's schedule would have looked much better if they had beaten a 1 or 2 loss Virginia Tech team, not one that lost to an FCS team.
There were several head injuries that resulted in the player being carted off, both from unintentional helmet-to-helmet contact. In the Wisconsin-San Jose State game, David Gilreath was taken off in an ambulance after he was hit fielding a punt. And, we're all familiar with the hit on Brennan Clay in the 4th quarter of OU's game that led to him being taken off in a gator cart. The news there was positive though, as apparently Clay is okay. Derrick Coleman, a UCLA running back, was also carted off at the Rose Bowl tonight with a similar injury.
Overall, it was a chaotic week in college football that wound up having some major implications for some teams, but most of the national title contenders rolled. More details after the jump.
Teams That Impressed
Obviously, Oklahoma impressed, but that will be covered in more detail over the coming days on this blog.
|You've got to tip your hat to the Gamecocks. Thus far this season, they've outscored their opponents 58-19, and this week they managed to knock off higher-ranked Georgia. Freshman running back Marcus Lattimore looked great, and with an experienced quarterback in Stephen Garcia, they could make some noise in the SEC East. Unfortunately for them, they have to play the Gators on the road.|
|While it was an ugly win, and Notre Dame is still trying to get back to prominence, it's still tough to go into South Bend and get a win. Notre Dame went up late in the game, but Michigan drove down the field to get the winning score with just seconds left on the clock. It looks like the Wolverines could at least put a scare into some people this year in the Big 10 race.|
|OU's next opponent, Air Force, quietly dominated BYU. Let's also not slight BYU - they are a good football team. However, Air Force's option attack was better, racking up 409 rushing yards and scoring 28 unanswered points to win 35-14. They had 4 players rush for at least 50 yards.|
|Kansas makes the jump from my bad list to my good list in the course of one week. After a horrible result against North Dakota State, the Jayhawks knocked off a very good Georgia Tech team (who was ranked, by the way). I'm not sure if that undoes the horrible performance the previous week, but still, Kansas played the Yellow Jackets tough, and deserved the win.|
|Oregon makes the list for the second consecutive week. They started off very slowly against Tennessee, who was riding a wave of momentum and being driven on by their home crowd. However, in the second half Oregon opened things up and showed who the more talented team was. The Ducks have done what highly efficient teams do - blow out the teams that you're supposed to blow out. They've opened the season with a combined 120-13 victory margin. Yes, the Ducks are for real.|
Teams That Didn't Impress
|This is a pretty obvious choice, but Virginia Tech looked uninspired against James Madison, hailing from the lower division FCS. They were driving down to get the victory, but a fumble wound up turning the tide. This was an utterly embarrassing result for the Hokies who outgained JMU by 127 yards but turned the ball over 3 times to their 0, and went only 5-10 on 3rd down.|
|This was yet another team to fall to an FCS squad as Minnesota lost 41-38 to South Dakota. Akron lost to Gardner-Webb in overtime, giving the FCS another victory over the higher level squads, but I won't detail Akron on here. You've got to figure that Tim Brewster's hot seat is getting hotter by the day. They only beat Middle Tennessee by 7 points last week, and the pressure is on for the Gophers to compete in the Big Ten now.|
|One week after putting Washington State through a meat grinder, the Cowboys looked extremely beatable against Troy. Perhaps Troy just has their number? The Trojans were actually up 27-24 at halftime, but a better second half effort secured a narrow 41-38 victory. Despite amassing 522 yards, the Cowboys turned the ball over five times, and were penalized 12 times for 139 yards. Sounds like a sloppy football team to me.|
|Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan. This guy had an unbelievable performance in South Bend against Notre Dame, and he probably catapulted himself into Heisman discussion. He had an 87 yard TD run, but that was really only the tip of the iceberg. In the air he was 24-40 for 244 yards and 1 TD. On the ground he had 28 rushes for 258 yards and 2 TD. Make no mistake, if this guy gets hurt, Michigan is in trouble because he basically is their offense.|
- The Top 10 teams combined to outscore opponents 362-109 this weekend, and go a combined 9-0. Dominance.
- Stanford had an 18 play, 68 yard touchdown drive that chewed up 9:34 of the clock tonight at UCLA. That is 15.9% of the game clock!
- Jeff Demps may be the Gators' only offensive weapon, but he is a good one. He racked up 255 all purpose yards today in Florida's home win against South Florida.
- TCU won by 55?? Oh, it was against Tennessee Tech.
- The Longhorns won at home against Wyoming. A game that was supposed to be a laugher was close up until about halftime, though, and Wyoming was up 7-6 25 minutes into the game.
- The difference in the Alabama - Penn State game? Penn State had three drives that went past the Alabama 30-yard line before they turned the ball over.
- Colorado lost 52-7 to California. Have fun in the Pac-10 Buffs!
- Wake Forest and Duke combined for 987 yards, 46 first downs, 102 points, and 14 touchdowns. Shootout.
Previous Opponent Watch
Utah State managed to knock off Idaho State at home 38-17. Don't let the final score fool you though, Utah State was up 38-3 before they let off the gas, put in the subs, and then surrendered 2 touchdowns in the last 3 minutes. They put up 542 yards of offense, and Diondre Borel was 21-26 for 255 yards and 1 TD. Perhaps the Aggies can make some noise in the WAC?
Big Games Next Week
This slate of games makes me really wonder where the Gameday crew is going to wind up. Not a lot of high-flight games on the schedule. It would be cool to see them go to Arizona. I don't think they've ever been there.
- Arkansas at Georgia (11:00 AM CDT, No TV Listed): Georgia is still a solid SEC football team, but Ryan Mallet and Arkansas are out looking to prove that they belong in both the SEC discussion, and the national discussion. It's been a long time since the Hogs have been really relevant. A road victory in the SEC will go a long ways to helping them out.
- East Carolina at Virginia Tech (12:30 PM CDT, ESPN3.com): This was a big upset that you probably remember from the past. With Virginia Tech reeling from two consecutive heartbreaking losses, will the Hokies rise up and win a game that they should win? Or will Ruffin McNeil's squad stomp on the Hokies while they're down?
- Notre Dame at Michigan State (7:00 PM CDT, ABC): Notre Dame will play its second Michigan opponent in as many weeks. This matchup has provided some really good games in recent years, and I think that this one will be a pretty good matchup as well.
- Texas at Texas Tech (7:00 PM CDT, ABC): Texas looks to stay undefeated, and will travel to Lubbock for the first time since Michael Crabtree's big touchdown as time ran down to a few seconds. You can bet on seeing that highlight a few times.
- Iowa at Arizona (9:30 PM CDT, ESPN): The best matchup of the week, after a fairly uninspiring slate of early games, will probably come as most people in the eastern half of the country are about to go to sleep. If you stay up, you'll probably be rewarded. Arizona has got the home field advantage, and is a team that doesn't get a whole lot of national attention, while the Hawkeyes are a Top 10 team.