jones Top Ten - Week Ten - 2011

Fathers forget how hard it is to come inside. Our timing always stinks; we have no appreciation for ending a game in the front yard or driveway at the proper moment. We believe that shower time trumps our little Tom Brady facing third and 15 down six at Pittsburgh (I know, I am trying to raise a college football fan but Madden 2011 gets in the way sometimes). This leads to the one thing all those hand-wringing parenting books tell you to avoid: negotiating with an eight-year-old. Some of the terms are easy. Make your last jump shot, end with a catch (or a hit), next goal wins, depending on the season. You might imagine by this point that the middle of my lawn is a complete disaster.

But if there is an actual game going on, where other neighborhood kids are involved, then that game needs to come to a meaningful and fair conclusion. This leads to the one thing all of those well-meaning marriage books tell you to avoid: becoming a co-conspirator with your kids. Because deep within fathers, we never forget. Even if that means declaring overtime in a seemingly endless game where neither side can manage to score a touchdown and setting up some arbitrary field-goal kicking contest. Of course that would never happen in my front yard, we live in Big 12 country, after all.

LSU 9
Alabama 6

Oklahoma State 52
Kansas State 45

If ever a college game deserved to be decided by the NFL sudden death overtime rules, then LSU/Bama was it. Never in my experience has such a compelling football game—to hell with the touchdowns, I loved every minute of this one—come to such an unsatisfying end. There were stretches during the game where I thought Alabama clearly outplayed LSU. There were never any stretches where I thought the opposite was true. However, LSU makes all of the plays necessary on two counts. First, they have perhaps the best secondary I have ever seen. The deep ball is risk-prohibitive against LSU and the Tide certainly had no one who could threaten them. Second, the LSU kicking game is sublime. No one in the country is better. Mark my words, from this point forward Australian punters will be accorded value equal to Polynesian linebackers and West African defensive linemen.

On the side of the country that believes in touchdowns, OSU and KSU played a game equally entertaining, though it couldn’t have been more different. Ironically, it came down to a defensive stand from Oklahoma State, stopping the Wildcats three times from the five-yard line to preserve an undefeated season. Why Kansas State had quarterback Collin Klein throw three passes to win it is beyond me. The Cats had one timeout and I would bet on Klein running the zone read twice over throwing three times any day of the week. Of course Bill Snyder has literally forgotten more football then I will ever know. He has also forgotten his car keys, where he put his reading glasses and the day of the week.

Not that anyone in the national media noticed, but there was another top ten match-up last night. Arkansas got the running game going late to put away South Carolina, 44-28. The Hogs struggled against Vanderbilt last week (Vandy had a lot to do with it, it wasn’t just on Arkansas), but seemed to regain some explosiveness last night, making big plays in the passing game and Dennis Johnson going 98 yards on a kickoff return after taking a no look pass from Danny Ainge. LSU better not sleep on the Hogs after Thanksgiving.

South Carolina is having a "what might have been season," but not to the degree Texas A&M is. The Aggies got clobbered in the second half (what else is new?) by Oklahoma, 41-25. With the loss to Missouri last week, the Aggies are now 3-3 in the Big 12…and 0-2 in the SEC.

ESPN’s marketing department was too busy turning up the Super Colossal Game of the Century hype machine this week, but in retrospect, their secondary marketing should have been called Fading Down the Stretch Saturday (exclamation point optional). Roll call commence:

Nebraska loses at home to Northwestern, 28-25. You knew Northwestern would do it to someone, but I expected them to upset Penn State at home, not the Cornhuskers on the road.

Michigan was atrocious in a 24-16 loss to Iowa. Iowa is a solid team, especially at home, but Denard Robinson throwing 37 times and running 12 is coaching malpractice. Memo to Brady Hoke: Fitz Toussaint is a nice player, and named like an LSU All-American cornerback, but he is not Adrian Peterson.

West Virginia could not pull out a win against Louisville, probably still jealous that the Big 12 invited them to the spring formal (and further defined the value of NCAA basketball titles in conference realignment; Kansas sends their best wishes). 38-35, Cards.

Arizona State found a way to lose to UCLA, 29-28, on a missed field goal. UCLA is 4-2 in conference play and acting like they all of a sudden want Rick Neuheisel to continue his coaching career.

To top it all off, I was out last week and missed this season’s Clemson Moment. Damn the luck.

Stanford remained undefeated, as did Boise State. Both teams played well enough in unexceptional wins over Oregon State and UNLV, respectively, by 25 points and 27 points, respectively.

Oregon kept pace in the Pac 12 with a 34-17 win over Washington. If you are paying attention at all, you will be shocked to know that Oregon thoroughly dominated the third quarter. The game recap makes a big deal of three Husky turnovers. I make a bigger deal over Oregon having better players at almost every position than Washington.

Oregon at Stanford next week will be great.

Texas pummeled Texas Tech, 52-20, with a power running game and a defense that is starting to get it. Tech’s upset of Oklahoma must have happened in a dream. Meanwhile, Texas is quietly becoming Texas again, this time with an SEC-like makeover.

Florida would like to become Florida again. The Gators ended a four-game skid, all against ranked teams, with a 26-21 win over Vanderbilt. As mentioned before, Vandy is no one’s doormat. Their last three SEC games have all been within a TD against Florida, Arkansas (who breathed a huge sigh of relief) and Georgia.

Yes, Houston is undefeated. No, that does not give them a great BCS claim. But enough cold water, Case Keenum, in a 56-13 win over UAB, crossed the 17,000 yard passing threshold to become the NCAA’s all-time leader.

Michigan State had problems with Minnesota, but finally won late, 31-24. Wisconsin dusted off the full Wisconsin package for the first time in weeks and hung 62 on hapless Purdue. The Big Ten is a real mess and won’t figure into the BCS conversation any time soon.

Georgia played New Mexico State with predictable results. USC trounced Colorado on Friday night, 42-17.

Impressive Showing of the Week: LSU

OK, this will be a challenge…

1. LSU

2. Alabama: But not by as much as you think. I don’t ascribe to the theory that the SEC champion will be unbeatable.

3. Oregon

4. Oklahoma State

5. Stanford

6. Boise State

7. Arkansas

8. Oklahoma

9. Clemson

10. Sorry, but I don’t have a 10. It isn’t Virginia Tech or Houston.

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