Oranges smell like Christmas. This occurs to me while driving to work; I’ve just peeled an orange for a kid’s lunch and the whole car smells like a 1970s crafts shop. I don’t know if oranges traditionally have any connection to Christmas, actually.
I do know that clementines don’t make an appearance in the produce section until November. I also remember that Santa would always leave an orange in my Christmas stocking. Seems like I should have put together that all of the “Santa oranges” were the same oranges from the bowl on the table on December 23rd and that they would somehow collect themselves into exactly the same oranges that would re-appear in the same bowl on December 26th. But I lacked that sort of sophistication. Looking back, I am not sure my family ever even ate any oranges.
Anyway, oranges for me are always either an early indication of Christmas.
…or a reminder that Halloween is just behind us.
TCU delivered a gift to their fans and a swift kick in the shins to the BCS with a destruction of Utah so complete that Irwin Allen should have produced. Utah had no answer for Frog quarterback Andy Dalton and the TCU defense had an answer for everything that Utah could throw at it (148 yards) or run at it (51 yards). This was not a contest of two equals that simply got out of hand; this was TCU at its best: the Utes had no shot.
Utah has not been in the Jones Top Ten this year, which has gotten some notice the last two weeks. I have simply written back to comments and e-mails that I didn’t think Utah was one of the best ten teams in the country. I rest my case.
God love Les Miles. The Hat ran a reverse that I had never seen drawn up (seriously, standard off-tackle action to the right and a flip to a slot receiver going back left) on a fourth and one to key a TD drive that put LSU up 21-14 over ‘Bama. A Tiger strip and sack on the subsequent possession added an insurance field goal and the Tide was rolled back to Tuscaloosa with their outside shot at a title defense taken away.
This is Les Miles’ world; we are all just squirrels, trying to find a nut.
Had ESPN asked, I would have called this “Shellacking Saturday,” for it was marked by a number of games thought to be competitive that simply weren’t. Stanford played its most complete game of the season and blew apart a good Arizona defense, 42-17. Boise State played a decent Hawaii and indecently exposed them, 42-7, behind Kellen Moore’s 507 yards passing. Baylor, sky high after an upset (allegedly) of Texas, got run right out of the Pickens Palace by Oklahoma State, 55-28.
Number 18 Arkansas and #19 South Carolina should have been a fair fight, right? Wrong. The Razorbacks overwhelmed the Gamecocks, 41-20.
There were also the predictable whippings. Oregon didn’t score in the first quarter, oh the horror, but pressed the reset button and neutered the Washington Huskies, 53-18. Auburn, pardon me, boys, derailed the Chattanooga’s Choo-Choo, 62-24 and the game wasn’t as close as the score indicated. Michigan State played Minnesota, which is a fine antidote to getting your butt kicked the previous week. Spartans 31, Gophers 8. Wisconsin crushed Purdue.
Nevada hung 63 on Idaho in neatly-wrapped little touchdown bunches, sort of like those little pieces of tenderloin they put on potato rolls and serve with horseradish at holiday parties.
Shellacked, Shadracked, Meshacked, Abendegoed, dropped into the furnace with no Yahweh to turn down the heat.
So was anyone competitive?
Why yes…Texas A&M 33, Oklahoma 19. The Aggies, tired of the feast or famine provided by their pre-season All Big 12 quarterback, Jerrod Johnson, last week dusted off erstwhile receiver Ryan Tannehill and gave him the keys. Tannehill threw for 400 yards last week and another 225 on Saturday to help take down the Sooners. The Ags are a different team, one capable of even playing defense at key moments.
While Texas A&M was making life miserable for Oklahoma, Texas Tech, of all teams, was shutting down Missouri in the second half and pulling a 24-17 upset over the Tigers.
Iowa State nearly got into the act, taking Nebraska to overtime. Down 31-30 after answering a Husker touchdown, Iowa State faked the extra point and tried to end the game right there, which they did...regrettably, with an interception in the end zone.
Big Brother Iowa came out flat against Indiana, relying on some Ricky Stanzi magic in the end to overcome the Hoosiers, 18-13.
The ACC started with three ranked teams this weekend and two of them promptly lost. FSU, by blowing two fourth quarter field goals and losing to North Carolina, 37-35. North Carolina State, by boring the Jefferson-Pilot viewing audience and dropping a 14-13 decision to Clemson.
Virginia Tech survived on Thursday night thanks to a 90-yard kickoff return by David Wilson, one of three fourth-quarter touchdowns that got the Hokies past Georgia Tech, 28-21.
The Big East started with zero teams in the top 25 and lived up to its billing.
Michigan beat Illinois 67-65 in triple overtime behind Glen Rice’s 23. Kendall Gill and Nick Anderson had 18 apiece to pace the Illini. (Lame, yes, but I couldn’t resist).
Joe Paterno won his 400th game as a college football coach. You do the math. Then raise a glass. We will never see this again. Penn State 35, Northwestern 21.
Impressive Showing of the Week: TCU
6. Boise State
9. Oklahoma State
10. Michigan State