College Football Wrap-Up – Week 11
The promise of a dynasty for the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide came to a crashing halt over the weekend when #15 Texas A&M came calling with a 29-24 upset victory that did not have to happen.
The Tide, down 20-zip in the 1st quarter, sought to come back and made a game of it when AJ McCarron fired a 54-yard touchdown pass to freshman Amari Cooper to make in 29-24 with 4:29 left to play. With 1:36 left, McCarron attempted another touchdown pass, but Aggie Deshazor Everett stepped in front of McCarron’s 4th down pass at the goal line to intercept the ball and kill Alabama’s national championship hopes right there.
McCarron was rolling to his right when he passed the ball, and did not lead his receiver soon enough and fast enough to get it done. When you are trying to pass for a touchdown on the goal line, the receiver can only run sideways for so long before he runs out of bounds.
So if McCarron was not the story at quarterback, who was? Why, Johnny Football, of course. The Aggie, redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel, went 24-for-31 for 253 yards and 2 touchdowns against the nation’s #2 total defense and #1 scoring defense, making ‘Bama’s defensive numbers worse, and its 3rd national championship in 4 years only a dream.
In the meantime, unbeaten Oregon, Kansas State and Notre Dame all won, while unbeaten Lousiville was upset and unbeaten Ohio State was idle.
Here’s is the complete rundown on how the AP Top 25 fared over the weekend:
#1 Alabama (now 9-1) at home saw its national title hopes become really suspect by allowing the #15 Texas A&M Aggies (8-2) upset them, 29-24. The Aggies had previously lost to Florida and LSU; Alabama beat LSU and does not have to play Florida in the regular season. Note to Nick Saban: You lost to the wrong team, and may not play in the national championship game because Kansas State, Oregon, Notre Dame and Ohio State are still unbeaten, and virtually everyone outside of the Southeastern Conference is sick and tired of SEC teams winning the national championship 6 CONSECTIVE years. Pollsters may vote the SEC out of the national title game just to see some new faces.
#2 Oregon (10-0) stayed unbeaten with its hurry-up, spread offense by ripping apart a 3-6 California Bear team, 59-17. When you beat your opponent by 6 touchdowns, you mean business. With Alabama losing, look for the Oregon Ducks to become the new #1 team in the AP Top 25 Poll. Either Kansas State or Oregon would be worthy of the #1 honor, Notre Dame—though still unbeaten—would not.
#3 Kansas State (10-0) stayed unbeaten by turning back visiting TCU (6-4), 23-10, and remaining on top of the Big 12 Conference race. With Alabama losing, expect Kansas State to become the new #2 team in the AP Top 25 Poll.
#4 Notre Dame (10-0) stayed unbeaten by traveling to Boston College and whipping the Eagles, 21-6. Notre Dame does not score points, but the Fighting Irish just keep winning games. With Alabama losing, look for Notre Dame to become the new #3 team in the AP Top 25 Poll.
#5 Georgia (8-1) put a beat down on Auburn (2-8), shutting out the Tigers, 38-zip. The whitewash by the Bulldogs was the only shutout recorded in this week’s play. The Bulldogs are tied at 7-1 with Florida for the lead in the SEC East Division, and have made it real clear that they want to face Alabama for the SEC title. The question at this point is: Who is there outside of the SEC that wants to see an SEC team in the national championship game? Nobody, except SEC die-hards and people who do not know diddly-squat about what is good for major college football.
#5 Ohio State (10-0) was idle. Ohio State is tied with Georgia (8-1) for the 5th spot in the Poll.
#7 Florida (9-1) at home could only beat Louisiana-Lafayette (5-4) by 7 points, 27-20. Yikes! These Gators do not have enough snap to be ranked 7th nationally.
#8 Florida State (9-1) traveled to Virginia Tech and beat the Hokies, 28-22, with the 6-point victory over a 4-6 Virginia Tech team proving just how weak the Seminoles are. That said, Florida State is in the hunt for the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Atlantic Division title with Clemson (also 9-1). Florida State has the nation’s 11th best total offense and 4th best scoring offense, neither of which showed up at Virginia Tech. So how strong is the ACC? Well, it could also be called the Actually Can’t Cut-It Conference.
#9 LSU (8-2) at home dispatched #22 Mississippi State (7-3) back to Starkville, 37-17. The Tigers are hopping mad, but, unfortunately for the Louisiana State Tigers, they must watch Alabama play for the SEC title and possible entrée to the national title game.
#10 Clemson (9-1) put the hammer on visiting Maryland (4-6), beating the Terrapins (turtles), 45-10. Clemson is tied with Florida State at 6-1 in the ACC Atlantic Division title race.
#11 Louisville (now 9-1) lost its unbeaten status on-the-road at Syracuse, 45-26, a 19-point beating that let the Cardinals know that they are not good enough to be unbeaten this season, and likely any season in the last century. It’s not like the 5-5 Orangemen are any good, they aren’t, so let’s stop with all of the Louisville hype.
#12 South Carolina (7-2) whipped a visiting 4-6 Arkansas team, 38-20. The Gamecocks would have given their eyeteeth for victories this season against LSU and Florida. Maybe next year.
#13 Oregon State (7-2) is starting to show its limitations, going on the road and getting upset (well, the Beavers were HIGHER ranked) 27-23 by #16 Stanford (now 8-2). Do you think the Cardinal would like to replay their 2 losses against Washington and Notre Dame?
#14 Oklahoma (7-2) beat Baylor (4-5), 42-34, and can only watch unbeaten Kansas State (10-0) sit atop the Big 12 Conference.
#17 UCLA (8-2) on-the-road got by a 2-8 Washington State team that decided to play tough for a change, 44-36. UCLA won the 1st half 37-7, and lost the 2nd half 29-7. UCLA leads the Pac 12 South Division, and could be playing Oregon for the Pac 12 title.
#18 Nebraska (8-2) at home managed to get by a reborn, 6-4 Penn State team, 32-23, to retain its 5-1 tie with Michigan in the Big Ten Legends Division race. Ohio State leads the Big Ten Leaders Division with a perfect 6-0 mark.
#19 Texas (8-2) put a 33-7 SmackDown on Iowa State (5-5). Too bad the Longhorns could not beat West Virginia and Oklahoma on their way to nowhere this year.
#19 Louisiana Tech (9-1) outlasted an unranked, 3-6 Texas State team, 62-55, in a track meet. Louisiana Tech is tied with Utah State for the lead in the Western Athletic Conference (both of 4-0), and is also tied with Texas for 19th in the AP Poll.
#21 Southern California (7-3) at home breezed past a 5-5 Arizona State team, 38-17. Southern Cal visits UCLA next; the Bruins are 5-2 in the Pac 12 South Division and USC is 5-3.
#23 Toledo (8-2) was upset, 34-27, by unranked Ball State (7-3), all but ruining the Rockets chance for the Mid-American Conference (MAC) West Division title since their next opponent is Division leader Northern Illinois (9-1). The Northern Illinois Huskies have the 9th best scoring offense nationally, and the 15th best scoring defense.
#24 Rutgers (8-1) rolled past a 2-8 Army team, 28-7. The Scarlet Knights are leading and unbeaten in Big East Conference play.
#25 Texas Tech (7-3), a marginal bottom-feeder in the Top 25, proved it by taking 2 overtimes to beat the absolutely pathetic 1-9 Kansas Jayhawks, 41-34. Texas Tech Coach Tommy Tuberville got so agitated during the game he became volatile. A video clip of Tuberville went viral during the game, showing him facing graduate assistant Kevin Oliver and appearing to use his left hand to strike him on the right side of his face, causing Oliver’s headset and ball cap to fly off. It happened when the Red Raiders seemed to have difficulty getting the right personnel on the field.
Note to Tommy Terrible: It’s not cool to shit-slap members of your coaching staff on the sideline, or any other place, but, then again, in Texas football is not a game, it’s a holy war.
In other game worthy of note among unranked teams:
It took 4 overtimes, but the Missouri Tigers (5-5) outlasted Tennessee (4-6) in an SEC track meet, 51-48. If either of these teams had a defense, they might be ranked in the Top 25.
Georgia Tech (5-5), in regulation time, had a scoring fest on North Carolina (6-4), beating the Tar Heels, 68-50, and it was NOT a half-court basketball game.
Kent State pushed its record to 9-1 by beating Miami of Ohio, 48-32. The Golden Flashes are unbeaten at 6-0 in MAC play.
Winless Massachusetts, a newcomer to NCAA major college football play (Division 1-A) are no longer winless as the Minutemen upended a 1-10 Akron team, 22-14, on-the-road, and, a first win on the road is better than a first win at home. Three cheers for the Minutemen and, by all means, fire the damn muskets while we can. This proves that if you can beat the British when it counts, then you can beat Akron when it doesn’t.
Washington (now 6-4) has had the 2nd toughest schedule in major college football this season, playing 5 Top 25 teams–#2 Oregon, #3 LSU, #7 Oregon State, #8 Stanford and #11 Southern California. Washington lost 3 of them (to LSU, Oregon and Southern Cal), but they UPSET then #8 Stanford 17-13, and then UPSET #7 Oregon State 20-17. Think about that a minute: the Huskies held a #8 team to 13 points and a #7 team to 17 points.
Now the Huskies have beaten Utah, 34-15, and have an opportunity to win their last 2 games against Colorado and in-state rival Washington State. Should they do so, their record would be 8-4. Should they win their bowl game, the Washington Huskies would end their season at 9-4, and be arguably the best 9-4 team in the country.