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jones Top Ten - Week 8 - 2008

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Enchiladas y Mas used to be a Mexican joint; that’s when it was in the tiny brick building at Dean Keeton and I-35, adjacent to the Roadway Inn, which was one of the places folks stayed for college football weekends back when folks stayed in motels and could easily afford tickets for a family of six during parent’s weekend. Had it been a few blocks to the east, Enchiladas y Mas would have been a dive instead of a joint. Now that it sits on Anderson Lane, it’s a restaurant. This newfound status thankfully hasn’t changed the food quality. EyM serves up great classic Tex-Mex, the kind that food critics snobbishly disdain because it contains no organic goat cheese or pumpkin seeds. Pure comfort food made by a family that shuts the whole place down for a week every summer so that they can vacation together. This irritates me because I never put their vacation on my schedule and always bring the family to a closed restaurant once each June. Then I remember why: a) I live in Austin and b) don’t eat at Applebee’s.

They prepare the perfect Regular Dinner. As all Texans know, there is nothing regular about it and in every Mexican place in the state it comes complete with the special pre-dinner bonus beef taco, followed by an enchilada, tamale, queso, rice, beans and satisfaction. While I’m paying the bill, Charlie does excited laps around a table of twelve, a large family gathering that smiles as my two-year old uses them as a race-track. Charlie smiles, too.

This might end with Charlie’s head colliding with the edge of a table or an elderly woman backing out of her chair on top of him or, worst case, the boy getting underfoot a server with a stack full of steaming molten cheese and a side of breakable ceramics.

But he doesn’t cause any chaos, not any more than usual. Sometimes a fine night out is just a fine night out.

Texas 56
Missouri 31

Alabama 24
Mississippi 20

Penn State 46
Michigan 17

Ohio State 45
Michigan State 7

LSU 24
South Carolina 17

Oklahoma 45
Kansas 31

Georgia 24
Vanderbilt 14

Every once in a while, the center does hold in college football. I am not speaking of penalties on offensive linemen, but rather metaphysics. Saturday, everyone who was supposed to win, won. The way in which they did might have surprised, but the favorites all ended up in the black.

Texas can’t play much better football than was exhibited in a 35-0 opening against Missouri—hardly anyone can. ‘Bama opened the same way against Ole Miss, taking a 24-3 lead into the half against the Rebels, before Houston Nutt and company made a game of it.

Penn State did the opposite. The Nitts took Michigan’s best shot and found themselves trailing 17-14 at the break. But Michigan had given all they had to give. Joe Pa’s boys took control and glided home.

Ohio State, on the other hand, in a game everyone this side of Jim Tressel’s mother thought they would lose, flat throttled Michigan State in East Lansing. I could have sworn the Ghost of John L. Smith was roaming the Spartan sideline.

LSU and South Carolina put forth one of those dandy, loud, hard-hitting, SEC night games. The Bayou Bengal defense put on the clamps in the fourth quarter and escaped Williams-Brice with the win.

Kansas challenged Oklahoma pretty good, but the Sooners avoided a Texas hangover loss. OU simply has more playmakers on both sides of the ball. For his part, Sam Bradford (what else is new?) was as sharp as John McCain’s wit isn’t.

Georgia showed some mental toughness in a 24-14 scrape with Vandy. The Dawgs have overcome numerous injuries and the feeling that, well, they are just not who we thought they would be. Nevertheless, Georgia is 6-1 and has a helluva lot to play for. For their part, Vanderbilt’s offensive limitations require them to play almost mistake-free football. Tough to do in the SEC.

And so it goes…not a lot of ink to spill on the miraculous and astonishing today.

There were a few interesting results in the ACC, but it appears more and more to be a conference where everyone aspires to be 8-4

Just when you think Al Groh no longer has anything to offer the University of Virginia as an institution, he goes and beats Nawth Klina, 16-13, in overtime, in a game UNC never should have let them hang around to win. What if Groh actually coached all twelve games in a season? Then we’d have something.

Did you know that the Maryland players touch the back of a giant bronze turtle on their way to the field? Not exactly Howard’s Rock or the "Play Like a Champion" sign, but maybe Yertle was the difference in a 16-0 whipping of Wake Forest. Or it may be that the Wake Forest offense finally reached its lowest point, which took some doing if you watched the Demon Deacons last week.

BC took down Virginia Tech 28-23 to run its record to a very quiet 5-1.

Georgia Tech, derided for a 10-7 "win" over Gardner-Webb last week, beat Clemson 21-17 and ruined Dabo Swinney’s (that is the name of a coach, not an office supply company) debut in relief of Tommy Bowden, whose services are no longer required at Clemson.

USC astonished nobody by hanging 69 on the worst Washington State team in school history. The spread was 42. USC covered it by 27. Nice.

Pittsburgh, yet another chic upset pick, took care of business against Navy 42-21 behind LeSean McCoy’s 156 rushing yards. The Panthers were only favored by about three in this one. Who does the betting public think Pitt is, Notre Dame?

Cal dropped the Pac Ten nightcap to Arizona, 42-27, which may have been the biggest surprise of the day. All the big time programs coveting Mike Stoops as their defensive coordinator may have to cool their heels.

Wisconsin has now officially run up the white flag of surrender. Iowa 38, Wisky 16.

In the Big 12, Texas A&M caused all kinds of problems for Texas Tech before the Raider offense returned to form and the Aggie offense regressed back toward the mean in the second half. Tech 43, Aggies 25.

Baylor scored first. Oklahoma State 34, Baylor 6.

South Florida crushed Syracuse. You can do your own amateur sports journalism at home by playing games with the sentence: _______ crushed Syracuse. It’s almost as fun as Mad-Libs.

In the March of the Mid-Majors, Utah clobbered Colorado State, Boise State won the Friday night game against Hawaii, Tulsa scored a bazillion points (OK, just 77) against UTEP and Ball State did not play. But the best game was on Thursday night in Fort Worth. The TCU Horned Frogs, playing both defense and offense (for a change) looked faster, stronger, more confident and throttled BYU, 32-7. Did I mention faster? The Utah/TCU game on November 6th—another Thursday—may be for a BCS berth.

Impressive Showing of the Week: Tough one, but I will go with Ohio State playing on the road. Texas and TCU miss out by the slimmest margin.

1. Texas

2. Alabama

3. Penn State

4. Oklahoma

5. Florida

6. USC: I know, and I still feel bad about it.

7. Oklahoma State

8. The New and Improved Ohio State University

9. The Winner of the LSU/Georgia game: I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it was Georgia. The game is in Baton Rouge.

10. Utah

Texas Tech fans can write me at jonestopten@sbcglobal.net and I will explain why I am still not convinced their defense can stop anyone. Or you can go beat Kansas next week.

Rose Bowl Dreams: A Memoir of Faith Family and Football is the new book by Adam Jones.