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jones Top Ten - Week Three - 2011

Every time the Eagles’ Desperado comes on, it raises my stress level. This happens in some odd places, like behind the customer service desk at my neighborhood grocer where the girls are listening to some soft hits of the 70s and 80s channel. I think it’s called Magic 95.5 in my town, but I digress. You see, the initial and unmistakable piano notes take me directly back to Camp Summerlife in New Mexico, where Desperado was THE slow song at all the dances (She Believes in Me by Kenny Rogers does not have the same effect). It set off a mad scramble to find the right dance partner; if you are between the ages of 12 and 17, this is a life and death proposition. You hoped you were just a few short steps from your current love (crush, infatuation, curiosity) before the singing started or else you had to settle, or go outside to "get some air" with the kids too cool to dance. Even at 44, this stress only subsides by slow dancing in the kitchen with Mrs. Jones Top Ten, often an impractical solution, or by putting the Mojo Nixon classic Don Henley Must Die on the stereo.

College football certainly didn’t help this dilemma. There was no great dance partner. We all had to settle.

Oklahoma State 59
Tulsa 33

Yes, I just led my weekly look at the national college football scene with the Oklahoma State/Tulsa game. Because beyond the box score, which featured a 45-6 OSU lead early in the second half, the week’s best storyline was two teams kicking off after midnight and ending well after 3:00 in the morning. In Tulsa this likely meant the smuggled-in Jim Beam ran out early and the Oral Roberts students had to be particularly dedicated to hand out New Testament tracts post-game. Pity. At Cal or Wisconsin, it might have resulted in a full scale, God-knows-what-induced rave in the student section. Since when did weather delays become the continuing narrative of college football?

ESPN tried their best to convince us that this was some epic weekend: Road Test Saturday (or something). At the top of the rankings that was true. Oklahoma traded some big punches with Florida State. The Sooners should have run away from the Noles in the first half, except an absolutely filthy FSU front seven twice denied them from inside the three. Jimbo Fisher’s d-line is led by a real German, Bjoern Werner, who could have gotten out of bed and played for Jacksonville on Sunday. With a second-string QB, the ‘Noles tied it going into the fourth and then…

Oklahoma made all the plays. It was like 2000 all over again. Sooners 23, Seminoles 13. Good football? Yes. Epic? No. The Sooners win this game 9 out of 10 times, and that’s taking nothing away from the Seminoles.

I went to bed with very little to write about, hoping the late games would bail me out. Stanford’s allegedly dangerous road test at Arizona ended 37-10, Cardinal, almost an exact replay of last year’s game (Stanford 42, Arizona 17). Arizona played an exact replay of their Alamo Bowl loss to Oklahoma State last week. So next week I am going to go out on a limb and predict a 19-point loss hosting Oregon.

Utah and BYU were my last hope (hmmm, and maybe mankind’s; you can read about it in The Book of…never mind). Halftime: Utah 14, BYU 10. Final: Utah 54, BYU 10. Oh well.

Boise State allegedly had a tough test at Toledo because, you know, Toledo took Ohio State to the wire last week. Boise State 40, Toledo 15.

Boise State is better at every phase of the game than Ohio State. Assuming you actually needed proof: Miami 24, Ohio State 6.

You would have to be out of your mind to schedule Navy in a non-conference game. This year, South Carolina was almost the unwitting victim. Marcus Lattimore’s 247 yards bailed the Gamecocks out. If one thing is certain, Navy will never field a player like Marcus Lattimore. South Carolina 24, Navy 21.

Notre Dame throttled an over-ranked Michigan State, 31-13. Not only is Notre Dame better than Michigan State, the Irish are probably also better than Michigan and South Florida. Yes, I understand scoreboard. But I also understand the poorly conceived "ND is always overrated" trope. I don’t think it is true of this team.

Clemson ran away from Auburn, 38-24. You may either jump on the "Clemson is back" bandwagon at this point, or you may put down a hunskie in the Clemson embarrassing collapse pool. It’s still in business, even without Tommy Bowden. I’ll take week seven at Maryland.

Maryland made West Virginia very uncomfortable down the stretch, but the Mountaineers held on for a 37-31 win behind a big passing day for Geno Smith.

Florida beat Tennessee, 33-23, in the battle of young fiery coaches. At the moment, however, Coach Muschamp has a better roster than Coach Dooley, particularly Chris Rainey, who is not really all that into being tackled.

Texas handled UCLA with surprising ease, 49-20. Three early picks and a 21-0 lead helped. The Longhorns continue to play tough and smart, an improvement over last year’s ambivalent and dumb.

I have never bought into Arizona State as a threat to break through this season. Illinois didn’t either. Chief Illiniwek 17, Father Sun Demon 14.

Illinois is undefeated. Guess who else is? Fresh off their feature article in Sports Illustrated:

Vanderbilt. The Commodores crushed Ole Miss 30-7. Typically offensive domination for Vanderbilt means 16-9. The baseball team scores more points (I’m not kidding, the Vandy baseball team does score more points). OK, there was a pick six in there, but the ‘Dores still had 387 total yards.

Speaking of, on ESPN’s "expert breakdown" feature this week, Jay Paterno explains how Penn State uses a baseball mentality to run its offense. That might explain why they are uncomfortable in the 20s. Penn State 14, Temple 10.

Paging Nebraska’s defense, please pick up a black courtesy phone. Nebraska 51, Washington 38.

Wisconsin played Northern Illinois at Solider Field, which is cool. And Northern Illinois is really not bad, which is also cool. Wisconsin throttled them, 49-7.

Many others punched below their weight class (Alabama, Texas A&M, Oregon, Virginia Tech, South Florida and Baylor, who played yet another lightning-shortened game and beat Stephen F. Austin, 48-nil).

Arkansas fans aren’t thrilled with a 38-28 final over Troy. I thought the Razorbacks scored 50 without even game planning? It also took a while for TCU to shake Louisiana-Monroe. 38-17, Frogs.

Texas Tech’s Seth Droege completed 40 of 44 passes against New Mexico, which is an NCAA record. Yes, New Mexico, but still. I am not sure I can button a dress shirt correctly 40 out of 44 times; and that’s without any defenders in my bathroom.

Thursday night, LSU beat Mississippi State into submission, 19-6. They could have played eight more quarters and MSU wouldn’t have scored a touchdown. I can’t decide who the best player in the LSU secondary is. It doesn’t really matter.

Impressive Showing of the Week: Oklahoma, followed by Notre Dame

1. Oklahoma

2. LSU

3. Alabama

4. Wisconsin

5. Florida State

6. Boise State

7. Arkansas

8. Oklahoma State

9. Oregon

10. Texas A&M