Eight pairs of shoes sit staggered up the stairs. They accomplished a lot today. They scored a flag football touchdown, several soccer goals, a personal best in a cross country meet, Mrs. Jones Top Ten’s four miles at Lady Bird Lake on a perfect fall morning, took the dog for a walk. They look tired now. Except the Birkenstocks on the seventh step, they feel left out, disappointed that a global peace march or an old-fashioned environmental protest didn’t erupt, which, in this town, is at least a 50/50 proposition on a Saturday.
Nevertheless, shoes serve as a reminder that life is best for doing, not watching. Good reminder on yet another day when my team frustrated the bejeesus out of me. Night falls fast on this life. Gotta do stuff. Just watching is overrated.
So much for Colossal Super Match-up Saturday of Doom, or whatever Omnipotent Global Leader called it. Down 3-0, Florida botched a fourth-down jump pass, suggesting that Urban Meyer is desperate and Trey Burton is a false prophet sent to lead the believers astray. After that, Alabama rolled. Well, as much as a team that gains only 273 total yards can "roll." The young Tide defense is growing up at a rate that should alarm the rest of the country.
Down 21-3 to Stanford, I am not sure if Oregon coach Chip Kelly gave his team a second-quarter pep talk, or sent the entire offense to Andy Granatelli’s Tune-up Master. Oregon fought back to trail only 31-24 at the half and then commenced with Touchdown Fest 2010 at Stanford’s expense. The Duck defense shut out the Cardinal and the Oregon running game, behind LaMichael James, racked up a lot of their 388 total yards in big chunks, including James’ finale, a 76-yard exclamation point. Jeremiah Masoli’s absence never concerned Oregon. What they knew going into the season was that Nike had set aside some of Dennis Dixon’s DNA and created Darron Thomas, who probably should have the clubhouse lead for All Pac Ten QB, but doesn’t because Andrew Luck, Jake Locker, Matt Barkley and Nick Foles all have better publicists.
Iowa continued the separation of pretender from contender theme by whacking Penn State, 24-3. Penn State’s a year away, maybe two, which wouldn’t be a big deal if their coach was in, say, his early seventies.
Oklahoma defeated Texas 28-20. The Sooners went up tempo and jumped all over Will Muschamp’s defense for a 14-0 lead. Texas made a valiant comeback effort, but quite frankly, the Texas Longhorns are too stupid to win against good football teams. They make Gomer Pyle look like Stephen Hawking, minus Private Pyle’s unerring ability to fall bass ackwards into good fortune. If this isn’t the worst coaching performance of Mack Brown’s career, then it is on a pretty short list. Texas had been ranked in the AP for 162 straight weeks, by far the longest streak in the nation. Thanks for playing.
Speaking of stupid football teams, I give you the LSU Tigers. I used the think that Ringo Starr was the luckiest person on the planet. Les Miles gives him a run for his money. In Baton Rouge, LSU doubled up Tennessee in total yardage but found themselves behind because of penalties (nine), turnovers (four) and general gridiron jackassery, of which LSU has an infinite supply. Anyway, LSU botches the game’s final play from the Tennessee five. Tennessee exults. IRONY ALERT. Tennessee had 13 men on the field. Yes, Virginia, it takes one hell of a mental mistake to impress the Tigah fans. LSU 16, Tennessee 14.
Miami beat hard luck Clemson, 30-21, in the best early game. Though he had moments of touchdown-producing brilliance, I would not trust Jacory Harris with the football any more than I would trust Karl Marx with the federal banking system. Or Groucho Marx, for that matter. Or Harpo Marx, with the banking system anyway. I’d trust Harpo with the football. He’s crafty.
Ohio State let Illinois hang around like, forever, dude. The Buckeyes also sent their loyal fans into apoplexy when Terrelle Pryor dinged a knee and sat out a series. Pryor returned to lead a late "let’s make the score look a little better" drive. Buckeyes 24, Illini 13.
Saturday’s brisket got chopped up, added to Thursday’s pico de gallo, cooked with some fresh eggs and made into huevos machacado, which is where all brisket should go to die. Some spare parts, leftovers, a couple of fresh ingredients, a cook who knows what he is doing: That’s pretty much Boise State and TCU. Although you probably can’t get decent huevos machacado in Idaho. Fort Worth’s a different story. Where was I? Oh, the Style Points traveled south and whipped New Mexico State, 52-nil; the Blood Squirters went north and whipped Colorado State, 27-nil. Perhaps they brought some Fat Tire back from Fort Collins.
Ah ha! I knew USC was just screwing with us. Washington 32, Trojans 31. Jake Locker threw for 300 and ran for 100, capping his night by directing the game-winning field goal drive. The NFL scouts still have the Nebraska tape, of course. Could I interest you in Darron Thomas?
Virginia Tech is really back now. The Hokies whipped previously undefeated North Carolina State, 41-30. That means (sigh) that Virginia Tech jumps to the top of the ACC Sea Breeze standings. Florida State leads the Fisherman’s Platter division after ripping UVa.
Michigan State went to 5-0 with an inspired upset (perhaps not much of one) over Wisconsin, 34-24. Spartan coach Mark Dantonio missed it while recovering from blood clots after his heart attack.
Michigan is also 5-0, mostly because Denard Robinson plays for them and not your favorite team. Shoelace ran for 217 and passed for 277 and at this point it’s not even that big of a deal. Assuming, of course, that you can forget that the last four QBs to go 200/200 were Pat White, Vince Young, Brad Smith and Antwan Randel-El and NONE OF THEM DID IT TWICE, which young Shoelace has already done this season. The rub? Well, Michigan won 42-35 over a perfectly average Indiana team, but only after giving up 480 passing yards to Hoosier QB Ben Chappell (look up "journeyman" in the dictionary). The Hoosiers had the ball for an astonishing 42 minutes.
Tune in next week when Denard gets to play a team with real live potential NFL players on its defense, hosting Michigan State. Should be fun.
You know who else is 5-0? Northwestern, albeit they barely beat Minnesota to get there.
Nevada stayed undefeated by beating UNLV, 44-26. Nevada rolls up 500 yards total offense as easily as most people roll out of bed.
Georgia found a way to lose to Colorado, even with A.J. Green in the line-up. Does the Mark Richt watch start in earnest now?
On Thursday, we found out something about two teams we knew nothing about. Oklahoma State outlasted Texas A&M, 38-35, behind Kendall Hunter and a great home crowd. But the story was A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson, who threw five touchdowns, four interceptions and gave away a fumble when he dropped the ball on the turf rolling to his right.
An Aggie friend asked me: "Have you ever seen a quarterback be so spectacular and so awful in the same game?" I replied: "Does the name Chris Simms mean anything to you?"
If you were boasting about a win over BYU this season—I am looking at you, Florida State—please stop. The Cougars dropped to 1-4 with an embarrassing Friday night loss to Utah State. Enjoy being an independent.
Impressive Showing of the Week: Oregon
1. Oregon: Put Oregon and Alabama in Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. I think Oregon wins. Who agrees? Disagrees?
3. Everybody Else
Denard Robinson: Not Michigan as a whole, just Robinson.
The Style Points and the Blood Squirters
Stanford: Still one of the best ten teams in the country
Adam Jones is the author of Rose Bowl Dreams: A Memoir of Faith, Family, and Football.