Miserable. My word for Sunday morning described not any result on the field—my team won easily—but rather that run-over-by-a-truck, what-did-I-do-to-deserve-this?, I’d-rather-be-strapped-to-a-chair-watching-Hee-Haw-reruns feeling. This may have happened because I missed the flu shot clinic at work a couple of weeks ago because, naturally, one of my kids was sick. Feeling a little better on a Monday morning, I look back over the results and find…nothing to write about.
The best football game of the day? Probably this one:
Oregon State 34
The Beavers stayed on course for a Rose Bowl finish in an exciting game that could have ended 27-21 if not for a bizarre ending. Cal, trying to rally, threw a pick six in their own territory, which was called off because of an illegal procedure penalty against the Bears. The very next play, Cal quarterback Kevin Riley did it again, leading to the final margin. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Oregon State’s Rodgers Brothers are quite a find. James answered the first Cal touchdown with an 86-yard kick-off return. His freshman pocket rocket brother, Jacquizz, continued to stake his claim to the first-team All-America backfield alongside Shonn Greene of Iowa. The Quizz carried 27 times for 144 yards. That’s a lot of tiny football players for opposing defenses to keep track of.
I am officially in the tank for Oregon State and will openly root for them to make the Rose Bowl. This is why I will never be a Harris Poll voter, all of whom should give us similar disclaimers.
Florida completely dismantled South Carolina 56-6 in the worst loss ever for a Steve Spurrier-coached squad and perhaps the worst coaching performance ever for our esteemed hero. The throwback pass the Gamecocks attempted on a kickoff return demonstrates "brain dead" in ways usually reserved for Phil Fulmer after his fourth pulled pork sandwich. The turnover led to Florida’s third touchdown in eight plays. Read the box score if you must.
Compared to the Florida barrage, Texas is not getting enough credit for a defensive bombardment of the offense formerly known as Kansas. The Horns dominated on the road for a 35-7 rout in weather that was colder than Old Billy Heck, as my father used to say. This one had "trap game" written on it and scared this writer to death. Me of little faith.
Upset alert? So much for that.
The same can be said of Alabama’s methodical—the Tide is nothing if not methodical—morale-draining bludgeoning of Mississippi State. The Bulldogs gave it a shot, leading 7-5 at one point, but ‘Bama proved resilient (and also proved that Mississippi State, in the final analysis, really is no threat to score on the remaining members of the 1952 Tide defense, much less the living, breathing ones that play for the 2008 squad). Alabama 32, MSU 7…to go along with 167 yards of total offense and nine punts.
The top sixteen teams in the AP poll remained exactly the same. Texas Tech and Oklahoma rested up for next week’s showdown, while a number of teams simply blew out the overmatched: Penn State 34, Indiana 7; Utah 63, San Diego State 14; Boise State 45, Idaho 10; Missouri 52, Iowa State 20 (clinching the Big 12 North).
Ohio State doesn’t believe in blowing anyone out, Michigan State excepted, and beat Illinois 30-20.
Stanford forged a 17-17 tie with USC in the third, but didn’t have the players to repeat last year’s upset (of course, they didn’t have the players last year, either, ostensibly), as USC cruised late, 45-23. USC is less than the sum of its parts in ways I have rarely seen in college football. I don’t get it.
Anyone remember the Musical Youth? My addiction to FM radio continued today on 103.5, one of those "hip guy buys radio station to play what he likes" concepts. In Austin it is called "Bob FM." They claim to be the enemy of the corporate play list, but methinks they have just exchanged one corporate play list for another, or mixed up a few existing ones; it’s not like Bob’s going to play Black Flag or NWA on his precious frequency. Anyway, today he offered up "Pass the Dutchie" and I remembered just how bizarre my beloved eighties were. Here’s the pitch: "A boy band of preppie, black pre-adolescents and teenagers, fronted by a cute Gary Coleman look-alike who will throw in a little rap, the "nice" kind though. We’ll get them to play reggae. Well, not exactly reggae. We can keep the steel drums, and the vague references to God and happiness, but leave out the West Indies mysticism and massive marijuana use; we’ve got middle class white folks to sell records to, after all."
The thing is we bought it. Hook, line and sinker.
Just like we buy Ball State as a top 15 BCS team. I like Ball State. They are called the "Cardinals." Their quarterback, Nate Davis, will play in the NFL. They are coached by Brady Hoke and play in 22,500 seat Scheuman Stadium in Muncie, Indiana. On Tuesday, yes Tuesday, they ran their record to 10-0 by defeating Miami of Ohio, 31-16, leaving Miami 2-8 for the year. The last four Ball State games of the year will have been played on Wednesday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Tuesday. Next season, they are going to join the Big Ten.
Oklahoma State survived a trip to Boulder and beat Colorado 30-17. Georgia and Auburn posted almost identical stats in an up-and-down 17-13 Bulldog win.
Tulsa threw the ball all around the field, but early on it rarely ended up in a Hurricane player’s mitts. In a John Jenkins-esque final score, Houston used five Tulsa turnovers in obliterating the Hurricanes, 70-30.
BYU held off Air Force, 38-24. More surprising, Notre Dame held off Navy 27-21. I mean really "held off;" the Midshipmen recovered back-to-back onsides kicks late in the game. The Irish are now 2-15 in their last 17 games against opponents with winning records.
Vanderbilt was 0-17 in the last 17 games in which the Commodores could become bowl-eligible, including their last disaster against Duke. The ‘Dores ended that string with a 31-24 victory over Kentucky, getting them to six wins. Player of the game was the poly-talented DJ Moore, the one Commodore who should be playing for Florida. Moore had two touchdown catches and two interceptions. Not a bad stat line.
LSU fell behind Troy 31-3, but then ran off 30 points in the fourth quarter to win 40-31. What a strange season for the Tigers.
Cincinnati both took control of the Big East race and continued to add important computer points to the Oklahoma Sooners’ BCS ranking with a 28-20 win over Louisville to win the "Keg of Nails" trophy.
The ACC fielded two ranked teams this weekend and both of them lost, naturally. Nawth Klina lost late at Maryland, who never loses to ranked teams at home this year, 17-15. Boston College went to Tallahassee and whipped Florida State 27-17. The Seminoles suspend five receivers for the game for various and sundry misconducts. That’s got to be a record, even for Florida State.
So throwing in Miami’s brilliant win over Virginia Tech on Thursday night, Wake’s puzzling loss to NC State and Virginia’s excellent bye week performance, the ACC now has Miami and Maryland in the lead at 4-2, three teams at 4-3, four teams at 3-3, one team at 3-4, NC State and Duke. The women are strong, the men good looking and all of the children are above-average.
Impressive Showing of the Week: The Musical Youth
1. Texas Tech
6. Penn State
10. Boise State
Rose Bowl Dreams: A Memoir of Faith Family and Football is the new book by Adam Jones.