jones Top Ten - Week Eleven - 2011

Conference re-alignment has not completely dulled my enthusiasm for college football, just partially. Roughly about to the same extent the Transportation Safety Administration has dulled my enthusiasm for air travel. I maintain some appreciation for the theatre of the absurd, like the ten-team Big 12 and the 12-team Big Ten. But that’s easy pickings. What’s more interesting are events like Saturday’s, where TCU and Boise State embarked on an epic conference rivalry, which will last exactly one game. Boise State got to host, since the Mountain West needed to punish TCU for leaving for the Big East (lucky them, the Big East won’t get to punish TCU for anything: Uhm, yeah, well, we like basketball, too and we appreciate the available BCS bid and all of that, but the thing is, well… gosh this is embarrassing, but the Big 12 kind of asked us out and, well, you were being all weird about it and all and so we kind of decided…).

Boise State has also endured all kinds of cruel and unusual punishment, not the least of which was to move into the Mountain West only to find that vandals had stolen all of the copper plumbing and the huge Mormon community was no longer interested in patronizing the neighborhood businesses. Oh well. One indignity that would not happen was for a perfectly tuned and talented Boise State squad with Kellen Moore at the controls to lose to a rebuilding and defensively erratic TCU. Justice would be served. The common man would assert his value for all the BCS hegemony to see. TCU, with this kick, you will be reminded of our shared struggle that you have so cavalierly left behind.

Damn.

TCU 36
Boise State 35

To be fair, Boise State’s attempt at a game-winning field goal was made possible by a pass-interference call that only Ian Johnson’s mother could love. But, also to be fair, the field goal was only necessary because of a courageous (stupid?, it’s a pretty thin line) decision from Gary Patterson for TCU to go for two after cutting the lead to 35-34 on a brilliant Casey Pachall pass to Brandon Carter. All in all, great college football. And we may never see this match-up again.

I have consistently ranked Oregon ahead of both Stanford and Oklahoma State this year and, when criticized, have offered a very easy response: because Oregon is better. Now, dear readers, I don’t get everything right, and the archives of my greatest idiotic hits are available on the internet for anyone to surf, but this one…

Oregon 53
Stanford 30

You have two choices. You can load the box against Oregon’s running game and hope to God that your defense doesn’t make a single mistake and your offense can keep pace if it does. Or, you can field 11 NFL players on defense, the way LSU did. The latter option was not available to Stanford.

Texas A&M fans are being subjected to a season so heart breaking, they might as well be watching The English Patient every Saturday. Ralph Fiennes would play Bill Byrne. The part of head coach Mike Sherman would be touchingly brought to screen by Kristin Scott Thomas. This week, the Aggies lost their fifth game of 2011 in the first quadruple overtime game in Big 12 history. Kansas State presses on, 53-50, for an unlikely win that included an end-zone fumble recovery that kept them alive in the first OT frame.

From week one:

Oklahoma State totaled 666 yards of total offense, which concerns me because wouldn’t Satan dress like Mike Gundy if he returned to Earth?

I ask you again, if Satan were to return to Earth, wouldn’t you expect him to look and act a lot like Mike Gundy? Oklahoma State 66, Texas Tech 6.

Missouri thwarted Texas, 17-5, by proving that one-dimensional space is still one-dimensional space, even with the optical illusion of a passing game. The Longhorns basically ran out of skill position players after Fozzy Whittaker joined the ranks of the wounded in the first quarter. Missouri, for their part, played smart football and also lost Henry Josey, the Big 12’s best tailback. The turf at Faurot Field could make the old Vet in Philadelphia look like a garden spot.

Clemson had to rally, but a last-second field goal lifted them past Wake Forest and into the ACC title game, no Clemson moment this week. 31-28, Tigers.

Virginia Tech went to 9-1 with a 37-26 win over Georgia Tech in the Thursday night game and will likely be Clemson’s opponent. Although UVa, of all teams, may have something to say about that. The Wahoos are 7-3 (4-2, ACC) after a win over Duke. I had no idea, which is fairly embarrassing for someone who writes a weekly football column. No lacrosse jokes, please.

LSU rested up after their arduous 9-6 battle in the Greatest Game Ever Played by taking the day, well most of the first half anyway, off against Western Kentucky. 42-9, Tigers.

Alabama actually played a real opponent, defeating Mississippi State, 24-7, by holding the Bulldogs to 131 yards of total offense. Dan Mullen’s agent wept.

The second tier of the SEC was more interesting. Arkansas got back to looking like their old selves by thrashing Tennessee, 49-7. The Save Mark Richt Movement picked up steam in a 45-7 Georgia win over Auburn. The Bulldogs will be the likely SEC East champs. South Carolina, one game back in the East loss column, handed Florida its fifth defeat, 17-12.

What’s worse? Getting ripped by 30 by an improving Vanderbilt? Or getting embarrassed by 20 in a home pay-to-play game against Louisiana Tech? I am guessing the latter, if only because fans of the former at least have a top five basketball team to look forward to.

In the Big Ten, the two Michigans won games I thought they would lose. State beat Iowa on the road easily, 37-21. UM went to Illinois and did the same thing, 31-14.

Wisconsin pummeled Minnesota and I still can’t believe the Badgers have two losses.

Nebraska made enough plays in the ground game and then kept Penn State at bay late, despite a strong rally by the Nittany Lions. 17-14, Huskers. That is what happened between the lines. What happened outside of them has been rolling around our brains for days, causing our heads to shake in disbelief and anger. I will comment about this later in the week.

Houston and Tulane combined for 90 total points on Thursday. Guess how many Houston had? It’s more than 70.

I am obligated to report that Southern Miss is now 9-1 after a 30-29 squeaker over UCF. The Golden Eagles are good, and will likely finish 11-1.

Finally, if Tom Osborne taught Turner Gill anything, it is apparently that ties are for losers. Kansas had Baylor on the ropes before a furious RGIII-fueled comeback led to overtime. Baylor scored a TD; Kansas answered. Gill went for two. The stakes were smaller than when he was actually throwing the pass…but the result was the same. Baylor 31, Kansas 30.

Impressive Showing of the Week: Oregon

1. LSU

2. Alabama

3. Oregon

4. Oklahoma State

5. Stanford

6. Arkansas

7. Oklahoma

8. Clemson

9. Boise State

10. Wisconsin

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