The modern dentist now provides a menu of flavor options at your annual cleaning. They are listed on a little card, just like the dessert menu in America’s finest restaurants. You can get mint (I always just get mint) or cinnamon, of course. But also things like tropical fruit and cherry. But my favorite was at the bottom of the list: chocolate. Chocolate-flavored toothpaste at a cleaning. Excellent. I guess, of course, that this is a culture that has already invented Olestra, but this strikes as particularly devious. What’s next, I ask? Whiskey-flavored anesthetic at a liver biopsy?
Ah, but there are at least some limits to the absurd, yes?
You have no idea how much I wanted LSU to win this game. An undefeated LSU, bumbling into excellence like Inspector Clouseau against Boise State for the national title would have made my year (particularly now that my alma mater is unequivocally in the tank and appears to be enjoying it, but I will get to that later). Auburn spoils all of our fun in a game that should have gotten completely out of hand considering Auburn rushed for 440 yards with Cam Newton asserting himself as the Heisman front-runner with 217 of them and what will become his signature Heisman play—a 49-yard TD that will replayed ad nauseum and may win him an ESPY. The Auburn D held LSU to only 243 yards and, in the second half, LSU never held the ball for any more than five plays. That’s because the interior of LSU’s line can’t block much, and they certainly can’t block Nick Fairley, a gargantuan mass that Auburn seems to have been hiding in an equipment shed all season, given some of their performances on defense to date. The game was close, quite frankly, because LSU’s punting game is exquisite. The Tigers need all the field position they can get.
So, thanks, Auburn, for ruining my last joy.
Another number one went down—not my number one, but the BCS’s—as Missouri actually won a big home game for once and took out Oklahoma, 36-27. Blaine Gabbert made fewer mistakes than Landry Jones, whose worst one resulted in a remarkable interception by Missouri defensive end Aldon Smith. It was very good football on a Saturday night with Missouri pulling away with 17 unanswered in the fourth.
Missouri’s fans went with the "yellow-out" look, which is not only unintimidating, but the color choice looked exactly like an Up With People tribute to the penalty flag.
The best game of the day was a tremendous back-and-forth between Wisconsin and Iowa. Who says the Big Ten isn’t entertaining? The game-winner came on an eight-yard run by Wisconsin’s Montee Ball (sort of a chunkier John Clay, if you can imagine that) that may be the best stretch to the end zone I’ve ever seen as Ball reached the ball over the plane through two Hawkeye defenders when by all of the laws of physics he should have been stopped. That was enough: Wisconsin 31, Iowa 30, a huge road win for the Badgers that I did not expect after the emotionally draining victory over Ohio State.
Hey, didn’t you used to be Texas? The Longhorns lose at home to Iowa State. I’ll pause here to stare blankly into space and sob quietly. Thanks. No fluke here, calling it the way I see it, the Cyclones 28-21 win was not as close as the score indicated. The far less-talented Cyclones, one week removed from losing 52-0 to Oklahoma, dominated Texas. Good on them and their underappreciated coach, Paul Rhoads.
Texas and Florida are headed to the same place for very different reasons. While I fully believe that Urban Meyer has lost his passion for the game, in Mack Brown’s case, the evidence mounts that the game has simply passed him by. Impossible for a coach whose team played for a national title ten months ago? On the surface maybe, but college football history suggests otherwise.
At least some good news for Texas fans: if they are so inclined they can watch the Texas Rangers in the World Series. This is the event that determines the champion of professional baseball, a forgotten sport favored mostly by northeastern intellectuals and played with some manner of small leather-wrapped ball and a stick.
In other Big 12 news: Baylor 47, Kansas State 42. Why do you care? Because the 6-2 Baylor Bears are not only bowl-eligible, but lead the Big 12 South by a half-game over the two Oklahomas. (hat tip to JTT correspondent Chris Oglesby at Virtual Lubbock)
The SEC East is a mess and Vanderbilt could have made it messier with an upset of South Carolina, fighting the Gamecocks to a 7-7 tie at halftime in front of a highly disinterested, but impeccably dressed, homecoming crowd in Nashville. South Carolina finally wore the Commodores out for a 21-7 win. I would describe Vandy as "plucky" but I fear the term is anachronistic. Mrs. Jones Top Ten (Vanderbilt ’90) was in attendance, but likely could not pull her team through, given that she was up against a previous late night of cocktails, red wine and an endless and unforgiving loop of 1980s dance favorites that left her grey matter temporarily in the same state as day old chitlins.
TCU is getting downright charitable. The Frogs gave up a field goal last week and now have the gall to give away a touchdown (as if they grow on trees). TCU 38, Air Force 7, in what was allegedly going to be a good game.
Boise State did not play. You know what chaps me? That the BCS completely ignores that the Broncos couldn’t possibly handle the physicality of the bye weeks in the SEC. When Alabama or LSU plays itself, there’s always a loss in there somewhere. Even teams like Mississippi State not playing anyone isn’t an easy task in the SEC. Could Boise State handle an SEC bye week? Maybe, and that’s a real stretch. I just don’t see how it’s comparable to the cakewalk they get when they are not playing anyone in the WAC.
Michigan State came back from 17 down to defeat Northwestern and remain undefeated. Notable because not only is Northwestern not bad, but this is exactly the game the historical Michigan State would lose.
Ohio State took out their frustrations on Purdue, 49-nil.
Arkansas waxed Mississippi in the first half and cruised home, 38-24. Mississippi State actually had a tougher game than that against UAB, finally shaking the Blazers, 29-24. Alabama tripped all over themselves in the first half against Tennessee, but routed the Vols in the second half, 41-10.
To make Texas feel worse than they already feel, Oklahoma State dropped 41 points on Nebraska. State’s outstanding wide receiver, Justin Blackmon, not only abused the Huskers’ NFL cornerbacks, but also has the biggest rear end I have ever seen on a wide receiver. It’s Charles Barkley-esque. I guess I should mention that Nebraska did not, in fact, lose the game. Huskers 51, Cowboys 41, Defense in the Big 12 Conference non-existent.
Syracuse went to an amazing 5-2 with a mild upset (Tums, as opposed to Zantac) of West Virginia.
Virginia Tech is back, pissed, leading the ACC Sea Breeze division and doing all they can to help Boise State get into the BCS title game. Hokies 44, Duke 7.
Arizona hardly needed Nick Foles to hammer the schizophrenic Washington Huskies, 44-14. Stanford, on the other hand, needed everything they had to beat a rapidly improving Wazzu, 38-28.
Utah hammered whomever they played. Colorado State, I think.
Oregon went up 15-0 on UCLA in the first quarter and I initiated an in-depth statistical evaluation of Oregon’s offensive efficiency through the first half of the season, trolled Oregon message boards for new insights about some of the younger players on defense and reviewed some of the key turning points in Oregon football history, including the abstract of Dr. Felix Ramsbrugle’s excellent Swooshing to Success: a multi-variate analysis of the influence of corporate investment in a college athletics program. Actually, I watched a re-run of House, M.D. and skipped the rest of the game. Oregon 60, UCLA 13.
Finally, in a story that no longer holds anyone’s interest, Navy 35, Notre Dame 17.
Impressive Showing of the Week: Iowa State
1. Oregon: all alone
2. Auburn: assuming they continue to play defense against someone other than LSU
3. Boise State and TCU: I don’t mean to cheat, I just don’t know who I would take in this one. In this particular season, I would take either of them straight up on a neutral field against any other opponent, including Alabama.
7. Michigan State
8. LSU: I am more impressed with their loss to Auburn than with any of their wins.
In this week’s AP poll, Baylor is ranked. Texas and Florida are not. Please raise your hand if you predicted that.