jones Top Ten - Week Two - 2011

Whatever happened to Gnarls Barkley? Zach the Eldest and I are listening to the song Crazy on the way to a morning run. It reminded me that I had actually seen Gnarls Barkley at ACL Fest years ago. I figured they had the one hit and sort of faded into oblivion. Music to me seems very disposable in our present age.

"Dad, their lead singer was Cee Lo Green." Oh, so he is kind of a big deal. Apparently Cee Lo sold about a jillion records over the last year. How am I supposed to know? My musical knowledge is roughly current to 1994 (Dave Grohl is still "Nirvana’s drummer" as far as I am concerned). Zach was born in 1995. There is a correlation. I have kept up in spots (Son Volt, White Stripes, Neko Case…), but mostly this is lost to me. The younger sons now pay very close attention to the top 40 on my behalf. This subjects me to large doses of Taio Cruz and Katy Perry. Ah well, I know that this too shall pass. As long as I have Exile on Main Street on my i-Pod, I can survive.

Because you can always go back to the classics.

Michigan 35
Notre Dame 31

Your well of personal cynicism would have to run very deep to withstand the emotional pull of this game. The first game under the lights at Michigan Stadium, the cool throwbacks that don’t make the players look like extras from a Mad Max movie, complete with the English driving caps on the officiating crew, Musburger on the call, this was the perfect counterattack of the traditionalists. The effect would be complete if Dan Jenkins would write it up for Sports Illustrated this week. But let’s not give the football short shrift. Notre Dame looked like a top ten team with a 24-7 lead going into the fourth. Then it all fell apart. Denard Robinson, who looked, unbelievably, like just another guy for much of the game, took matters into his own hands, with the able assistance of Junior Hemingway, the best-named receiver in college football. The last 1:12 saw three lead-changing touchdowns. The last of them was engineered from 80 yards out with 23 seconds on the clock. The 80 yards came on one outrageously blown coverage by the Irish and then one outrageously thrown pass from Robinson. And that was that, well except for the final scene of 100,000 Michigan fans refusing to leave the stadium and singing Don’t Stop Believing in unison (give them a break, this is a state that still believes Bob Seger is a relevant artist).

Denard Robinson broke their hearts last year with 27 seconds on the clock, so the Irish are at least making him work a little harder. Notre Dame goes to a very hard luck 0-2. Speaking of…

The Georgia Bulldogs were spectacular on Saturday. Unfortunately for them, they were spectacular in both success (Aaron Murray’s four TDs and the emergence of freshman Isaiah Crowell) and in failure (South Carolina scored on a pick six, a fake punt, one fumble return and almost another, which made for an easy TD for the offense). Just another day in the SEC resulting in a 45-42 South Carolina win, secured by freshman Jadeveon Clowney’s first Sportscenter moment, a sack and strip of Murray that put the game out of reach for Georgia.

Talk about hard luck, Georgia also goes to 0-2, a record Mark Richt can ill-afford even though the losses both came against top fifteen competition.

Dogs/Gamecocks may not have even been the best game in the SEC. Auburn, escaping defeat and ridicule last week, surprisingly took the wood right to Mississippi State, scoring 31 first half points and hanging on literally by inches as State QB Chris Relf failed to cross the plane on the last play of the game. The Defending National Champs (in case you have forgotten) 41, Mississippi State 34.

Fans of Texas saw the 2010 Longhorns in the first half against BYU, with the Cougars taking a 13-3 lead. The 2011 Longhorns came out for the second half and pulled out a 17-16 win. It appears the Garrett Gilbert era is now over, the former five-star having given way to a freshman named David Ash and sophomore Case McCoy, whose brother played at Texas once and is apparently some sort of performer in the professional tackle football league.

Three members of the top ten took the day off. Oklahoma, Boise State and Texas A&M were all idle.

Baylor also had an open date, which the Bear athletic department viewed as a conspiratorial act by the other 119 FBS teams designed to impinge on Baylor’s ability to generate ticket sales revenue. They threatened litigation.

The cracks are showing in the Ohio State foundation. The Buckeyes fought right down to the last possession before surviving Toledo, 27-22. The game stayed close because of a series of dumb mistakes, a familiar early-season story. Well, except it wasn’t the favorite making the mistakes; it was Toledo’s miscues that kept it tight. The Big Ten is licking its chops. Except perhaps for Nebraska, who took all game to finally shake Fresno State, 42-29.

Virginia Tech breathed its own sigh of relief after getting into a dog fight (Pirate fight?) with East Carolina. The Hokies had to hang on for a 17-10 win despite holding ECU to 112 total yards. You read that right. A pretty fitting 200th win for Frank Beamer, except there wasn’t a special teams touchdown.

Alabama and Penn State may share a great common history, but in the present, the two programs are not close. The Tide beat up the Nitts, 27-11, behind a great performance from A.J. McCarron, who probably secured the starting QB job. Alabama fields better players and they are better coached…and it isn’t close.

Wisconsin may be the best-coached offense in college football. The Badgers barely broke a sweat in crushing Oregon State, 35-0.

A few things went exactly as planned. Florida State bombed Charleston Southern; LSU whacked Northwestern State and Arkansas hammered New Mexico (Land of Enchantment? Yes. Land of No Defense? Yes.). Michigan State and Florida both found some offensive punch against willing pay-to-play partners.

A pissed-off Oregon dropped 69 points on Nevada, a perfectly competent football team. An equally pissed-off TCU destroyed the Air Force Academy, 35-19, and it wasn’t that close.

Norfolk State led West Virginia 12-10 at the half. The Mountaineers won the second half, 45-0 and also avoided being struck by lightning.

Yes, South Florida is ranked. The Bulls beat up on Ball State, 37-7.

Andrew Luck survived an early pick six (oh the horror) and dozens of stupid lines about SAT scores in a 44-14 Stanford win over Duke.

Speaking of SAT scores (see what I did there?), Vanderbilt, God love them, went to 2-0 by defeating the defending Big East champs, UConn, 24-21. This makes me wonder what Vanderbilt could actually do in the Big East. I mean other than greatly improve the quality of liquor at the tailgate parties.

Still speaking of SAT scores, Rice somehow engineered a victory over Purdue (I am sorry, I simply can’t help myself). Rice hadn’t beaten a major conference foe in over ten years and it took a blocked field goal on the last play of the game to do it on Saturday.

Iowa State upended big brother Iowa in triple overtime, 44-41. Paul Rhoads continues to anonymously outcoach opponents with far more talent than Iowa State. They are going to hate him in the Mountain West.

Baylor threatened litigation over my last comment.

In last year’s Alamo Bowl, Oklahoma State crushed Arizona, 36-10. Justin Blackmon caught nine passes for 117 and two TDs, which included one unsportsmanlike taunting exhibition. If you did not shell out 19.99 for the commemorative DVD, you could have just watched the replay on Thursday night from Stillwater, where the Cowboys again beat up Arizona, 37-14. The Wildcats were so incensed by Blackmon’s antics last year that they completely put the clamps on him Thursday, allowing him only 12 catches for 128 yards and two touchdowns.

The next night, Arizona State at least got some measure of revenge on the Big 12 with an overtime win over Missouri, 37-30.

Impressive Showing of the Week: Auburn

1. Alabama

2. LSU

3. Wisconsin

4. Florida State

5. Oklahoma

6. Arkansas

7. Boise State

8. Oklahoma State or Texas A&M

9. Oregon

10. South Carolina

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