Two attractive women sit on a porch drinking beer. They wear sunglasses and Snuggies, the revolutionary new blanket with sleeves; the Snuggie frees the wearer’s hands to handle the television remote, read, talk on the phone or drink beer on a crisp November afternoon without giving up the comfort of being wrapped in a blanket.
Mrs. Jones Top Ten and her friend, Wendy, have come dangerously close to giving up their babe cards by being seen outdoors wearing Snuggies. However, as December comes upon us, one thing is certain: comfort cannot be overrated.
Texas A&M 39
“Comfort the afflicted; afflict the comfortable.” The job of the missionary comes easily to the land grant rival on Thanksgiving weekend. Or the second half of it does anyway. Texas A&M found gaping holes in the Longhorns’ erstwhile impenetrable defense, whose secondary players executed zone coverage just like the Syracuse basketball team does not. The 39 points were brought to you by an excellent quarterback named Jerrod Johnson, throwing to equally good receivers and mixing it up with the fine tailback Christine Michael (yes, I have spelled it correctly). The Aggies may surprise in 2010 with this core of skill position talent. Then, of course, there is the matter of Texas A&M’s defense. Colt McCoy diced, chopped and shredded it, then sent the tape to the Downtown Athletic Club: 300 yards passing, four TDs, no picks and, in homage to Vince Young, 175 yards on the ground, including a 65-yard touchdown. Survive. Advance.
Alabama’s task proved more methodical—and methodical is Alabama’s middle name. The Auburn Tigers emptied every chamber in the first quarter, staking a 14-0 lead with the help of reverses, shenanigans, an onsides kick and the special double-secret, double-quarterback, double-Wildcat, double-pass play. Alabama pushed the boulder back up the hill, tying the game at 14 before giving up another huge third-quarter bomb to go down 21-14. After a pair of field goals, the maligned Greg McElroy engineered a 92-yard drive for what proved to be the winning points, mostly by hitting an uncoverable Julio Jones in the underneath passing game. Auburn had 1:24 on the clock with which to stage a comeback, but robbed the viewers of a classic by consulting the Les Miles “Time Management and You” pamphlet during the commercial break.
As for Florida, the Gators routed a historically bad Florida State team (minus Christian Ponder), 37-10 in the Swamp. Tebow left the stadium with five combined touchdowns and loud hosannas from the crown, who laid palm branches along his path as he was led on a young donkey out the back exit. Blessed is he who comes in the name of Urban Meyer.
So the Big Three hold serve.
Actually, all the undefeateds did, despite the dire warnings of the chattering class. TCU destroyed New Mexico, as expected, 55-10. Boise State ripped through Nevada for three quick touchdowns, including one on the opening kick-off, and barely let off the gas in a 44-33 win that wasn’t all that close. The Blue Field Group made the most of their first match-up with a quality opponent in weeks. Cincinnati looked sloppy in spots against Illinois, but prevailed easily, 49-36. Ron Zook’s Illini, like all of his teams, go from spectacular to inept faster than any team I have watched this season.
Six undefeated teams in, six undefeated teams out…but below that, all hell broke loose.
Start with Georgia, who shocked Georgia Tech, 30-24, when the Yellowjackets had far more on the line than the Bulldogs. Long live Uga VII.
The SEC wasn’t finished pillaging the ACC marketing department. South Carolina both beat and beat up Clemson, 34-17, ensuring that both participants in the ACC title game go into next weekend off an embarrassing loss and knocking C.J. Spiller out of the Heisman race for good. To be fair, this wasn’t entirely Spiller’s fault. He was particularly electric on an 88-yard kick-off return, the seventh of his career. But that was the lone highlight for Clemson.
Going back to the Revenge of the Land Grant theme, Mississippi State thwacked Ole Miss, 41-27. It was almost as if the favored Rebels had completely forgotten there was a game this week. Given that they are coached by Houston Nutt, that wouldn’t surprise me, quite frankly.
For good measure, Nawth Klina gacked away a chance for a nine-win season by losing to NC State, 28-27.
Pitt went into a super-charged senior night environment for the Backyard Brawl with West Virginia and left on the wrong end of a game-winning field goal as time expired. 19-16, Mountaineers in a game that lived up to its nickname.
Are we done yet? No. Turn the bright lights of success on the Oklahoma State Cowboys and watch what ensues. How about an ugly 27-0 beat down at the hands of the Oklahoma Sooners? So much for the Fiesta Bowl bid.
An ugly end for the two darkhorse poster children of 2009: Mississippi, Oklahoma State, please come back next year (albeit without your transcendent offensive skill players, yikes).
In the upset that wasn’t, LSU beat Arkansas 33-30 in a highly entertaining contest that may mark Jordan Jefferson’s maturity as a passer. No one, including me, liked LSU in this game. That’s what I get for doubting the power of the hat.
BYU won the Holy War with Utah, 26-23. Please hold the bigamy jokes.
No team of any consequence in the Big Ten played football this week. Contrast this with the Pac Ten, which played some high profile games on Saturday, including USC/UCLA (the Trojans won) and will play even more next week, including Oregon at Oregon State for the Rose Bowl berth on Thursday. All the while the Big Ten hibernates. Big Ten fans will note that the weather is a factor in this scheduling madness. Heaven forbid anyone play football in bad weather.
Stanford put Notre Dame out of their misery in a 45-38 shootout. Toby Gerhart, who is white and plays tailback (can’t we just say it?) for Stanford, ran for over 200 yards and threw a TD pass for good measure. He might well be a Heisman finalist.
Nebraska scored on offense, defense and special teams to slowly bleed the life out of Colorado, who is keeping Dan Hawkins, by the way. Huskers 28, Buffs 20. Big Red will head to Dallas to play Texas for the Big 12 title.
If Dr. Pepper targets the four-year-old demographic with their advertising, then they are certainly effective. This from the back seat on our drive home from Thanksgiving:
“He thinks he’s a doctor, but he’s really not. That’s funny. Right, momma?”
Yes, I guess it is sort of funny.
There were some clunkers this week. Take Houston, for example, who scored 59 points in the first half against Rice and John Jenkins wasn’t even in the building. Cougs 73, Owls 14.
Virginia Tech shellacked Al Groh and Rep Tie Nation, 42-13. Miami put it all together and slapped around a fading South Florida, 31-10.
All in all, this may have been the best week of the season and it seems like it was a long time coming.
The Championships await.
Impressive Showing of the Week: Mississippi State
6. Boise State
In a fairly bizarre distribution, there is not a single one-loss team that matters in college football. Six undefeateds, and everyone else has lost at least two. What are the odds? Better, what is the point of ranking anyone past six? If you made me go further, then I would offer up Oregon, which means, ironically, that Boise State owns the best victory among the top six. Ponder that.