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jones Top Ten - Week Six - 2011

When Charlie asks an open-ended question, he already knows the answer. This is a fairly advanced conversational skill for a six-year-old. So when he asks yesterday, "Dad, what’s the most dangerous thing you can do?" I immediately turn it around on him. "I dunno, what do you think, C.K.?"

“Jumping out of an airplane without a parachute. Or standing really close to a volcano.”

He thinks for a moment, not wanting to short change his imagination.

“Oh yeah, I know something really as dangerous. Being eaten by a shark. That’s not good!”

Certainly not. And I might add, while I am here, stepping onto a football field when you are overmatched and underprepared. In the old country, they would call this “bringing a knife to a gunfight.”

Oklahoma 55
Texas 17

LSU 41
Florida 11

Arkansas 38
Auburn 14

And on, and on, and on, and on…

Texas, Florida and Auburn are all good teams with exceptional recent histories and some day, probably soon, they will be excellent again. But for this season, they will be second-tier bowl participants, sitting this national title chase out while it is pursued by a handful of truly elite and easily identifiable squads.

Young Texas slugged it out with Oklahoma for a quarter, but Landry Jones seemingly just hit the “on” switch and swamped an overmatched Texas secondary. The Sooner defensive advantage was even greater, recording three scores against the Horns. Florida was out of their game with LSU even earlier. Like maybe when their first-time freshman starter at quarterback, Jacoby Brissett, arrived at the stadium. Auburn has found a way to hang around and win games against better competition. Not Saturday, Arkansas swamped the Tigers with 31 unanswered down the stretch.

The dominance of the top ten was the narrative from start to finish. Thursday night? Oregon curb stomps Cal with a patented turbo-charged Duck third-quarter and LaMichael James 239 rushing yards (NOTE: This is not to be confused with Spicy Turbocharged Duck, found in many of L.A.’s finest Asian fusion restaurants). Yawn.

Friday night, Boise State beat Fresno State so badly that the undersized senior walk-on tailback played for the Broncos. I forget his name, but I didn’t even know Boise State had such players. I knew they had gritty two-star over-achievers, wayward Mormons, West Africans, retired snowboarders and college football’s best collection of players from the Netherlands. But they have a big enough equipment budget to outfit walk-on senior tailbacks of dubious athletic talent? They really are becoming a big time program. 55-7. Boise State. Double Yawn.

Could someone find me an interesting game? Oklahoma State dropping 70 on Kansas is not one. Alabama shutting out Vanderbilt rivals Maytag for dependability. Stanford over Colorado by 41…why did the Pac 12 feel a need to add Colorado again? Clemson beat Boston College, 36-14, proving only that Clemson hasn’t found the quite right “Clemson moment” for the season (I still predict next week at Maryland) and that BC has a team this season that only the Jesuits could love. Of course, the Jesuits pride themselves on loving unconditionally, even when their football team is 1-5. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

West Virginia played like Oregon West and dropped an ugly third quarter beat down on UConn on the way to a 43-16 win. Arizona State crushed Utah, 35-14.

Finally, for any idiot homer who spouts to you the nonsense about “never getting a week off in the SEC,” I give you: the Kentucky Wildcats. South Carolina (minus Stephen Garcia) 54, Kentucky 3. Not even Ashley Judd goes to the football games.

It wasn’t all bad. Nebraska showed well by coming back from 27-6 down to beat Ohio State, 34-27. Of course, Big Red was pretty awful for much of the game.

Michigan pondered a 24-14 halftime deficit before dropping Northwestern 42-24. Georgia Tech thought they had a commanding 21-3 lead on Maryland and almost lost it, surviving 21-16.

This week on Sherman’s March to the SEC, Texas A&M did not blow a halftime lead. Texas Tech did all they could, but they simply are not as good as the Aggies, who turned a close game on a blocked field goal return for a TD and hung on for a 45-40 win on the South Plains.

In other news, Illinois is still ranked, Penn State is still boring (13-3 over Iowa to go to 5-1), FSU lost to Wake, RGIII is still really good and Bill Snyder, God bless him, is leading the undefeated freaking Kansas State Wildcats after a 24-17 win over Mizzou, whose season is heading south faster than the Greek banking system.

No reason for a top ten this week. The college football landscape has more distinct layers than a North Face catalog:

Impressive Showing of the Week: Oklahoma

The Elite: Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma and Wisconsin

The Possibles: Oklahoma State, Stanford

America’s Sweetheart: Boise State

Team You Want to Avoid: Oregon

And I still don’t buy Clemson.

Alabama and LSU, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State and Oregon and Stanford will settle some of this on the field. The national champion will be decided among those who remain.