jones Top Ten - Week 7 - 2008

The blood rushed straight to my head; it came with a searing pain moving from both of my ears in a sprint colliding in the center of my skull. I think a ghost hit me with a frying pan. That’s the moment I blacked out. For a brief second, all I saw was a bright pink floral pattern in a sea of black. I lost my balance, standing on my bleacher seat in the upper deck, only about a fourteen-inch width of pressed aluminum separated me from a concrete-induced concussion. I faltered, tottered, recovered; hands on my knees, pushing myself upright, the fog lifted, the pain subsided and I could see again clearly in the October Texas sun.

This must be what it feels like to have heat stroke. Perhaps dehydration was my foe. Low blood sugar? Chemical imbalance? Vertigo?

Naw. It was just college football.

Texas 45
Oklahoma 35

Texas tailback Chris Ogbonnaya produced one of the only literally breathtaking moments in my existence as a college football fan. His 63-yard jaunt down the Texas sideline clinched a classic Texas/Oklahoma game and nearly had your faithful author collapsing into the good people a couple of rows downhill from me in the brilliantly-expanded Cotton Bowl. I had my best day as a fan on the best day of the college football calendar.

Reporting without bias is a hard bar to clear on a day like this, but I will say this: Oklahoma is one hell of a team. Sam Bradford plays with a virtuosity seldom seen. To put it in terms of this rivalry, the kid has Chris Simms skills and Jason White brains. He also has a handful of brilliant targets to throw to and he never makes the crucial mistake. Texas kept having to overcome leads that Bradford and his mates built. Oklahoma never quit on either side of the ball and a late third-quarter injury to the outstanding middle linebacker Ryan Reynolds hurt the Stoops crew dearly.

On the Texas side, the Longhorns roll out a defense full of playmakers, offensive skill players who don’t get their just credit, a line that is just beginning to gel and a very misunderstood quarterback. For those of you who think Colt McCoy is a scrappy/gamer/intangibles/coach’s kid/high football IQ and all of those other silly euphemisms for "three-star white quarterback from a tiny town"—you are so right. And you are also so wrong. McCoy is not Jay Barker, or Joe Germaine or Ken Dorsey. He has some of their smarts, but he is a far better athlete. He’s a shade under 6’3" and about 210 and seems to get faster with every week. In a way, McCoy represents everything modern Longhorn fans want: an almost uncanny cross between Vince Young and Major Applewhite. Except he’s a better passer than either of them. He may be the best quarterback in the country…and I can’t believe I just typed that.

Of course, McCoy may not be. There is the matter of the defending Heisman Trophy winner playing for the Florida Gators. Tim Tebow appears to still be harboring resentment about the Ole Miss loss and he took it out on LSU. Tiger coach Les Miles figured out quickly the limit of taking an inexperienced quarterback crew into the Swamp to try and keep up with a focused Tebow. Florida 51, LSU 21 in a real mess that will send Miles back to the drawing board.

Missouri’s Chase Daniel also deserves mention in the best quarterback conversation, but probably in sotto voice on Sunday morning after everyone in the country saw replayed, at precisely the 8:14 mark of the fourth-quarter against Oklahoma State, perhaps the worst pass of Daniel’s stellar career. The floater into a saloon full of Cowboys was one of three interceptions on a night when the Oklahoma State defense (yes, they apparently have one) made the difference in a 28-23 upset in Columbia. OSU head man Mike Gundy had so much confidence in his D that he moved away from the action when Mizzou had the ball and scripted plays sitting on an equipment trunk. It paid off—the Cowboy’s Zac Robinson outplayed Daniel all night and made the clutch throws and runs to lead his team home. Robinson is about the sixth-best quarterback in the Big 12 and is probably the ninth or tenth-best quarterback in the country. Let the kid start for any team in the SEC other than Florida or Georgia and you have an instant contender.

By the way, Mike Gundy will always be famous for the crazy press tirade last year, but in post-game interviews, he comes across as humble and reasonable as the average Baptist youth minister.

So One, Three and Four go down. Five (Texas) wins one of those games and Two (Alabama) stayed home.

Six (Penn State) clobbered a fading Wisconsin 48-7. Derrick Williams continues to dominate the highlight reel, this week with a 63-yard punt return.

But the adventure continued for the rest of the top ten. Texas Tech let Nebraska off the plank down the stretch, allowing the Cornhuskers to force overtime on a last minute drive from Joe Ganz. Tech quickly scored on their overtime possession, then missed the extra point. The Cornhuskers failed to take advantage and the game ended with a Ganz pick.

USC raced to a 21-0 lead on Arizona State, then pulled over at a rest stop, got the kids out of the car, ate some tuna sandwiches, used the bathroom and played uninspired football through the duration of a 28-0 win.

BYU took the first half off, but shook off the doldrums and put away New Mexico 21-3 to win their NCAA-leading 15th straight game.

Utah, a team with a better resume than BYU and ranked, in the AP anyway, several slots behind them, blasted Wyoming 40-7.

TCU, waiting for a shot at BYU and Utah, allowed an early touchdown, but then slowly bled the life out of Colorado State in a 13-7 win that could save folks come serious jack on Ambien if they Tivo-ed it.

Vandy, Vandy, Vandy. Now why did you go and do that? Mississippi State made the world feel less good about our favorite feel good team in a 17-14 upset. The result confirms that the Vanderbilt offense is not very good. Sometimes in the SEC you can get away with that.

Unless you’re Auburn. War Eagle fired their offensive coordinator to save him from losing to an atrocious Arkansas squad 25-22. This is not how Tommy Tuberville drew it up. The Auburn defense didn’t even perform, giving up 416 yards to the Hogs.

Of course, Auburn’s not Michigan. Just when you thought the Maize and Blue were gaining some confidence…Toledo 13, Michigan 10. When’s the last time Michigan lost to a MAC team? Try never.

As for Ohio State, even with Terrelle Pryor and Beanie Wells, the Bucks can’t manage an offensive touchdown. Special Teams, Defense, Sweater Vest, 16-3 The Ohio State over The Purdue.

Georgia quit licking their wounds and went out and licked Tennessee, 26-14. The lick of the day, however, was Vol defensive back Eric Berry’s decleater of Knowshon Moreno. Ouch. Berry will play in the NFL next year, probably for a far better team than this year’s Tennessee Volunteers.

Nawth Klina staved off Notre Dame 29-24. Both of these teams are slowly getting better.

Michigan State, another team on the rise, put away surprisingly good Northwestern, 37-20. Javon Ringer ran for 124 yards and it only took him 73 carries to get them.

Minnesota is 6-1. Maybe firing Glen Mason was a good idea? Gophers 27, Illinois 20.

Boise State stayed undefeated with a 24-7 win over Southern Mississippi.

Kansas, the Forgotten Team in the Big 12, easily beat Colorado 30-14 in a game many of the smart guys thought they might lose.

Hey, remember when East Carolina was the darling of the college football world and Virginia was a national laughingstock? Yeah, me neither. UVa 35, ECU 20.

Four teams are 7-0: Penn State, Texas Tech, Utah and…Ball State.

In the Thursday special, Wake Forest defeated Clemson, 12-7, as two pretty good quarterbacks, Riley Skinner and Cullen Harper, played some really bad football. Fellas, there’s an opening at Auburn.

Impressive Showing of the Week: Texas

1. Texas: You can send your complaints about homerism to jonestopten@sbcglobal.net. Or you can just send them to the Associated Press; they agree with me.

2. Alabama: Yes, the Tide has an argument, but do you really think Texas would struggle with Tulane or Kentucky?

3. Penn State: For that matter, would Penn State?

4. Oklahoma

5. Florida

6. Oklahoma State

7. USC

8. Utah

9. Georgia

10. Missouri

Rose Bowl Dreams: A Memoir of Faith Family and Football is the new book by Adam Jones.

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