jones Top Ten - Week 8 - 2011

My mom didn’t cotton to bored children. If you ever said I’m bored, she would counter with a list of activities. If you didn’t chose one, then she would tell you that your boredom was your own fault. There is justice in this. But Saturday, she would have been hard-pressed.

Well, you could watch Oklahoma State/Missouri, or LSU/Auburn, or Texas A&M/Iowa State or Oregon/Colorado…

Still bored. And no mother in the world would argue with that. The whole first-half of the season has been boring. Oh, there have been some great games and some amazing individual performances and some high quality football played, but not a single defining moment and certainly not a signature upset. All chalk, as they say.

Until late on Saturday night, when all that happened was maybe the most spectacular ending I have ever seen, followed by one of the most stunning upsets. The college football season started. Nice to see you again.

Michigan State 37
Wisconsin 31

Dominant Wisconsin started 14-0. At that point, I assumed Ennui Saturday would continue. But defensive lapses and general special teams shenanigans put Wisky in a 23-14 hole. Michigan State played well, but right on cue, Dominant Wisconsin picked up where they left off with two more touchdowns to tie the game at 31. What happened next is about as believable as a Dan Jenkins novel, maybe even a Dan Brown novel. Kirk Cousins threw a 44-yard Hail Mary, arching it over one Badger defender and off the facemask of Spartan receiver B.J. Cunningham and into the arms of another, ersatz back-up quarterback Keith Nichol. Unfortunately, Nichol wasn’t actually in the end zone, which precipitated a Greco-Roman wrestling match between Nichol, half the Wisconsin defense and the American Federation of Cheese Manufacturers.

The refs on the field said Nichols didn’t make it. Two minutes later, the refs upstairs said he did. Hail Mary, full of grace. I thought back to the best thing I ever heard on a basketball court (and it was at my expense). Thinking I had a clear path to the basket, I had a shot blocked from behind, which resulted in this memorable taunt:

I’ll be takin’ the cheeeeeese off of yo burger.

Enjoy the cheese, Michigan State.

For pretty much all of Texas Tech’s history in the Big 12, you and ten of your buddies from the office could put on OU gear, invite the Red Raiders down to the park, put up a sign that said "Owen Field" and proceed to pistol whip them by four touchdowns. And this was against dangerous Mike Leach squads, much less the crew Tommy Tuberville puts on the field. But it didn’t take Tech long to put Oklahoma in a bad spot, jumping to a 24-7 lead behind the underrated Seth Doege and his buddy Alex Torres. The Raiders hung on to end a 39-game home winning streak. Texas Tech 41, Oklahoma 38.

I can’t believe I typed that. The rest of the weekend was pretty boring, almost to the point I quit writing. Here’s a summary:

LSU and Alabama both punished second-tier SEC opponents. I found LSU’s 45-10 hammering of Auburn slightly more satisfying than Alabama’s 37-6 wipeout of Tennessee in much the same way I prefer the ribeye at Perry’s slightly more than the New York strip.

Oregon’s second-string skill position players got in some nice work against Colorado, posting the comical final of 45-2. Clemson (Oregon East with better tradition and worse corporate sponsorship) dropped 35 third-quarter points on UNC in a 59-38 win.

Clemson may not have a Clemson moment but, for the second week in a row, we still have Ron Zook. Illinois may start a Clemsonesque free fall after losing to the horrendous Purdue Boilermakers, the Big Ten’s worst team (my apologies to the Indiana Hoosiers).

Penn State, however, won a game I fully expected them to lose, beating Northwestern in Evanston, 34-24. The Nitts are bordering on good. I will see them in their home stadium next Saturday on a men’s college football pilgrimage. We had to get this one in before Joe Paterno, well…you know.

Oklahoma State and Missouri was supposed to be a good game. It wasn’t. State 45, Missouri 24. Likewise, Texas A&M took care of business on the road at Iowa State, 33-17. Arkansas almost didn’t; the Hogs came from 17 down at Ole Miss to finally win, 29-24.

Kansas State 59, Kansas 21 (I felt obligated to include it). Nebraska pummeled Minnesota; Miami embarrassed Georgia Tech, who may be fading as fast as Illinois, and Virginia Tech ripped Boston College, 30-14. Must I continue?

Notre Dame was flying under-the-radar after two early hard luck losses to South Florida and Michigan. However, now we can ignore them entirely after a 31-17 home loss to USC. It’s just like Charlie Weis is in charge again.

Washington got the upstart tag with a 5-1 record and a hot young QB named Keith Price, balanced by running back Chris Polk who shocked the Stanford Cardinal with two long first half touchdown runs. Intrigued? Yeah well, that was all before Stanford scored 65 points, mostly by running off-tackle. Steve Emtman has left the building.

Boise State was ordinary and will be punished for their ordinariness, and also Kellen Moore’s orthodonture. Broncos 37, Air Force 26.

Finally, remember West Virginia? You know, colorful people, John Denver sings about it? No sooner than I put them in my top ten, the Mountaineers sully up a perfectly sterile evening in the Carrier Dome. Syracuse goes to a shocking 5-2 with a 49-23 blowout.

And now, I am going to take a nap.

Impressive Showing of the Week: Texas Tech

1. LSU

2. Alabama

3. Oregon: Ask yourself, Can Oklahoma State beat Oregon with Cliff Harris, Darron Thomas and LaMichael James on the field? My answer is no.

4. Oklahoma State

5. Stanford

6. Clemson

7. Boise State

8. Michigan State and Kansas State: The "really?" slot.

10T. Oklahoma and Wisconsin: The penalty box slot.

Arkansas is AP #8, but I don’t have a lot of faith in them at the moment. Penn State is 7-1 with only a loss to Alabama.

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