I have nothing against Hubert "Geese" Ausbie. How could I? The guy entertained millions as a Harlem Globetrotter. Great comic timing, and a very good basketball player (which nobody remembers); he chose the Globetrotters over the NBA and playing baseball for the Chicago Cubs. Bypassing the NBA was actually a decent choice in 1960. Bypassing the Chicago Cubs makes sense in any era. Anyway, Geese (plural "geese" as not to be confused with Globetrotter great "Goose" Tatum) would bring his crew to Amarillo every winter and my dad would take me. We probably went six or seven times to see Geese Ausbie and Marques Haynes. There’s the rub. That means we never got to see Meadowlark Lemon and Curly Neal: they took the Globetrotter "red" team to all the major cities. Small cities like Amarillo got the "blue" team. At 43, I still resent this. I shouldn’t. Heck, Ausbie’s team even had Sweet Lou Dunbar on it. But sometimes, even when you have a great show in front of you, you still wonder what else there is.
This was a great football game and Cal had a chance to knock off number one in a defensive struggle. Oregon needed a 64-yard punt return TD to ensure the win. Of course, I found myself realizing that if Oregon is not dropping 50 on someone, I am not all that interested. So, is Oregon overrated? Maybe…but then I considered Cal’s home/road splits, the most bizarre set of stats in college football this year. In four home games this season—all wins until Saturday—the Golden Bears had scored 52, 52, 35 and 50 points, all while giving up 3, 7, 7 and 17. In five road games—all losses, excepting Wazzu—Cal has scored 31 (but lost that one by 21), 9, 14, 7 and 20. What’s it all mean? Well, Cal is not a bad football team at home, but Oregon might well drop out of the top spot.
…or not. Let’s look at the other contenders.
Auburn put both their flaws and perfections on full display, falling behind a pretty mediocre Georgia 21-7 in the first quarter by displaying pass defense skills that would make Carlos Rogers weep. Cam Newton made all things good on the Plains (question: Tim Tebow aside, can one really become an all-time great in the SEC if no one raises any question about the circumstances surrounding your recruitment?) and the Tigers went to 11-0 with a big fourth quarter and a 49-31 win.
TCU gave up not one, but two touchdowns to San Diego State (to be fair, one was on offense and one was on defense) to trail 14-0. Of course, then San Diego State got the full TCU treatment and got bludgeoned the rest of the half: 34-14, TCU. But the Frogs didn’t keep it up, playing sloppy down the stretch for a style-point deficient win: 40-35, TCU.
TCU’s play wasn’t the worst of it. The Frogs’ two high profile victims got thwacked; Utah lost to Notre Dame, 28-3. Worse, Oregon State lost to Washington State, a notable result for three reasons:
1) Wazzu’s first conference win in 16 games,
3) played AT Oregon State.
The only silver lining for TCU is that this also harms Boise State, who calmly destroyed Idaho, 52-14 on Friday night. If Boise State wins on a Friday night and nobody cares, does it still make a sound?
Stanford played about as poorly as Oregon, surviving at Arizona State, 17-13, almost entirely because Andrew Luck plays for Stanford.
Nebraska played bored against Kansas, but can the Cornhuskers really be blamed for that? Turner Gill kept secretly wishing he played for the other team as his Jayhawks rolled up 87 yards of total offense in a 20-3 loss.
LSU played Louisiana-Monroe and actually ripped an undermanned opponent, 51-0. More importantly, the food must have been freaking great.
Your SEC East champion? South Carolina, 36-14 winners at Florida. Wow.
All Indiana has given the college football world is Antwan Randle-El and decades of service as a reliable Big Ten homecoming opponent. Do they really deserve this? Wisconsin 83, Indiana 20.
Speaking of homecoming opponents, schedule Northwestern at your own peril. The Wildcats went to 7-3 with a 21-17 upset over Iowa. Or maybe it wasn’t, considering Northwestern has now won 5 of 6 against the Hawkeyes.
That pretty much leaves the Big Ten title to be decided among Wisky, Ohio State, who thrashed Penn State, 38-14, after a slow start, and Michigan State, who didn’t play.
The day’s most dominant performance came from Alabama. The Tide, a week too late, ripped Mississippi State, 30-10. This was the full package the Tuscaloosa faithful had expected all year.
Oklahoma State ended years of frustration by taking out Texas, 33-16. Texas has sadly become the king of the meaningless fourth quarter rally; this game was not at all close. For the Cowboys, the game showcased the most explosive offense this side of the Nike Corporation, including a big TD strike to Justin Blackmon, the sport-utility crossover version of Dez Bryant, complete with the bad behavior option package.
Oklahoma playing Texas Tech at home is the surest foregone conclusion since Reagan v. Mondale. 45-7, Sooners.
Missouri got the bad taste of Lubbock loss out of their collective mouths by beating Kansas State, 38-28. Blaine Gabbert went all Brad Smith on an early 32-yard touchdown run. Well, kind of awkward pasty Brad Smith, but six points is six points.
Texas A&M gave up a 71-yard and 69-yard touchdown runs en route to a 30-14 deficit at Baylor. But the Ags came all the way back behind tailback Cyrus Gray’s four touchdowns to prevail, 42-30. The Ags have yet to lose under new quarterback erstwhile dependable white standard issue possession receiver Ryan Tannehill.
Five teams in the Big 12 are among the top twenty in the AP. Texas is not one of them.
Virginia Tech completely controls the ACC Sea Breeze division AND Boise State’s strength of schedule after a 26-10 win over North Carolina.
Nevada is 9-1 after escaping Fresno State, 35-34.
Impressive Showing of the Week: Alabama
I guess I could go for a big shake up here, except I have a sneaking suspicion that Oregon and Auburn are still the two best teams in the country.
4. College of Wooster
8. Agnes Scott