jones Top Ten - Week 12 - 2011

Nonsense is my favorite multi-purpose catch-all word. My own aloha, I suppose.

Smartly defined right out of the M-W.D., nonsense captures “foolish or meaningless words or actions.” But I think of it more broadly, as a general synonym for chaos and upheaval in my household. Children cause this, both delightfully and annoyingly. One of the things that makes me sound like an old man is when I tell the kids:

I don’t have time to put up with this nonsense right now.

My teenager once responded (unhelpfully) with:

Dad, will there be a point in the future when you will have time to put up with this nonsense?

Yes. In college football, we call this November.

Iowa State 37
Oklahoma State 31

Baylor 45
Oklahoma 38

USC 38
Oregon 35

I missed most of this. Mrs. Jones Top Ten and I were at a benefit on Friday and gathered post-event in the Hilton bar for a nightcap with friends. One of our friends came to the table and announced that Iowa State and Oklahoma State were tied in overtime. Rushing to the bar, I had two thoughts. Why wasn’t Oklahoma State winning 45-10? Who scheduled a Big 12 game on a Friday night without telling me? The simple answer to question one is because Brandon Weeden has a tendency to throw some inopportune picks and Paul Rhoads is a hell of a football coach. The simple answer to question two is early onset senility.

Moving on, I barely caught RGIII’s Heisman moment from the live Baylor radio call on my way home from the Texas game. Hysterical grown men laughing and crying for my amusement, thanks satellite radio! Griffin made a brilliant, moving, cross-the-field throw to Terrance Williams with eight seconds to go and it was goodnight, Sooners.

The Big 12 ruined its own chances to send a team to the BCS title game. The Pac 12 did the same and the perpetrator was a team ineligible for either the conference or national title. USC took it to the defense early and staved off the patented Oregon comeback late to secure one of modern college football’s Holy Grails: a win at Autzen Stadium. It had been 21 games since the Ducks lost there; Chip Kelly had never lost at home until last night. USC kept the pressure on Oregon with speed players on offense unavailable to Andrew Luck last week. Taking care of the ball also helps…although USC didn’t. Oregon turned them over three times. What Oregon didn’t do was break a lot of outside containment on a relatively quiet night for LaMichael James.

So who’s up for LSU/Alabama, the re-match? Anyone? Anyone? I mean other than the SEC marketing department. Maybe someone will score a touchdown this time.

The team with the best opportunity to interrupt the SEC love fest is Arkansas. Of course, such an act of internecine violence against LSU next weekend would likely still result in some combination of Alabama, a now once-beaten LSU and, wait for it…Arkansas themselves competing for the BCS slot. It is the SEC’s stage and we are merely players.

Arkansas did actually play on Saturday, routing Mississippi State, 44-17. Except for an early turnover, Arkansas was on cruise control from the first quarter. The Hogs are playing at a very high level right now and are the healthiest they have been on defense all year. Oh, and Tyler Wilson is really, really good. If he played for Alabama, we would be having a coronation right now instead of diving into strength-of-schedule algorithms.

Clemson played, too. Bless their hearts. North Carolina State (an incredibly average football team) 37, Clemson (meet the new boss, same as the old boss) 13.

Game Day went to Houston to take a look at Case Keenum. Anyone who thought that Southern Money would cause Houston serious problems was wrong. That includes me, by the way. Houston 37, SMU 7.

Stanford looked a little off and had to survive Cal, 31-28. Boise State whipped San Diego State 52-35, but no one really cares anymore. The most interesting non-BCS team, for one last time, is the Mountain West champion TCU Horned Frogs, 34-10 winners over Colorado State.

I am giving up my draft rights to Kansas in the BCS Fantasy Sucks League. The Jayhawks are awful and proved it by losing to Texas A&M, 61-7. However, the worst major conference football team in American is the Indiana Hoosiers, 55-3 losers at Michigan State. The Spartans secured a spot in the Big Ten title game with the win. They will represent the Legends division, or the Leaders division. They also took possession of Old Granddad’s Musty Casket (or is that the Northwestern/Purdue trophy?).

The other division, whichever one it is, will be decided by next week’s Penn State/Wisconsin game. Penn State assured that match-up with early offense and late defense to win on the road at Ohio State, 20-14. Wisconsin held serve with a 28-17 win over Illinois. Montee Ball recorded his 30th TD of the year. Decent numbers.

Michigan played its best game of the season and wiped out Nebraska, 45-17. Big Red had no clue what to do with Denard Robinson. That’s a dramatic change from two weeks ago at Iowa, when Robinson’s own coach had no idea what to do with him. They appear now to be on the same page. That’s bad news for Ohio State next weekend.

Kansas State managed a meager 121 yards of total offense, which would not be enough to win for any team but, well, Kansas State. Bill Snyder clearly knows s--- from shinola and uses just enough of the latter to make up for much of the former, which comprises most of his offense. The victim: Texas. Do you really need to ask? Kansas State owns Texas and Snyder apparently just re-financed to get 17 points out of 121 yards of offense. Colt McCoy was distraught watching the mess from Cleveland. Then Jordan Shipley came over and played X-Box and he started to feel a little better. K-State 17, Their Recurring Foil 13.

This was the annual oddly timed SEC pay-to-play week. I’ve got to say, it was unusually entertaining. It took Florida forever to put away Furman, which is an actual school, not Urban Meyer’s curiously named nephew (spelled Fermin, it’s very confusing). Georgia Southern scored three more TDs against Alabama than LSU did, but lost 45-21. South Carolina whipped their friendly neighborhood military academy. Auburn mailed it in against Samford, winning 35-16.

Georgia lost frosh running back Isaiah Crowell and looked pretty shaky against Kentucky, winning 19-10.

In other news, Les Miles tried his best not to embarrass Houston Nutt. That may be the most bizarre sentence I have ever written in this space. LSU 52, Ole Miss 3.

Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas is starting to get it. The Hokies cruised past UNC on Thursday, 24-21, with a late Tar Heel rally falling short.

That does not guarantee Va Tech anything, yet. The best game of the ACC schedule was Virginia’s shocking 14-13 win at Florida State, on a late TD run by Kevin Parks. Most other weeks, this story would have been at the top of the list, but it barely made the ESPN crawl.

Remember the splash Southern Miss made last week? Hope they enjoyed it. UAB 34, Southern Miss 31.

Impressive Showing of the Week: Baylor, just nudging USC and Iowa State for the sheer drama of RGIII’s last pass.

1. LSU

2. Alabama

3. Arkansas

4. Whatever other random SEC team you want to put here

5. Robert Griffin III’s Third Eye Chakra and Positive Life Energy

6. Michigan State?

7. Oklahoma State?

8. Virginia Tech

9. Furman

10. USC

I usually take the cold-hearted power poll approach and tell you who the best ten teams in the country are. I fear that “deserve” is creeping into the rankings today. I don’t think there is any doubt that Oregon and Wisconsin are two of the best ten teams in the country, for what it is worth. I am iffy on Oklahoma without Ryan Broyles.

Michigan, playing with a real defense, intrigues me and if this isn’t Bill Snyder’s best coaching job, then I don’t know what is. Kansas State, outside of linebacker Arthur Brown, starts not a single player that many of the top-flight teams in the BCS would want. Although Collin Klein playing QB for LSU is something I would certainly pay to see.

Safe travels, friends.

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