I had Saturday 11/3 marked on the calendar since August and let the wife and four month old know exactly how this day would play out with plenty of notice. It was around the end of the first quarter of the Texas game, parked outside of the AT&T store signing Itsy Bitsy Spider to my daughter for the 18th time while Mrs. V ran inside to pick up a new phone that I realized my planning failed greatly and men do not control this world. Did Mike Davis' 75 yard TD look as good on TV as it sounded on the radio? Turns out it did.
By sacrificing that battle, I won the larger war, posting up at Red's Porch for three hours to watch the rest of the game before heading home to catch USC / Oregon and Bama / LSU, which offered perhaps the greatest contrast in footballing styles ever seen in prime time. On Saturday, the football was good, and Texas can finally be included in that conversation.
Oregon 62 - USC 51
Watch the yellow lines stack up, Tecmo Bowl-style.
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Never mind the fumble and missed field goal at the end of the second quarter. Chip Kelly will get that addressed with the next uniform tweak. Watching this game brought back flashbacks to Texas' shootout with USC in the greatest game ever played, as two defenses got lit up by supremely unstoppable offenses. Marqise Lee and Kenjon Barner put on one hell of a show, with Barner setting a school record 321 yards rushing and 5 TDs as the Ducks pulled away early, then again in the middle, and one more time late. That's more rushing yardage than Monte Kiffin's defenses allowed in the entire 1970's. Lee hauled in 12 catches for 157 yards with 2 scores and tacked on an 87 yard kickoff return. Barkley kept his team within reach for most of the game with pro-style bombs to Lee and Nelson Agholor, but it didn't matter. Every time the Trojans answered, Oregon had already scored again before USC could kick their extra point. 1357 total yards. 70 first downs, 16 touchdowns, and two punts. Everyone wants a Duck offense for Christmas. It's the Elmo of 2012. Recruit nationally for talent and speed like Chip Kelly, mix in an unlimited budget from Nike, and you too can have one! Up until yesterday's game, Oregon had won every contest by at least 17 points. And it probably won't get the chance to play for BCS crystal thanks to ...
BAMA 21 - LSU 17
We'll spare you the animated drive chart for this one, as it approximates a morse code texting battle. After a dominating second half by the Tigers that erased Bama's 14-3 lead, we all celebrated not having to ever hear the stat about Bama trailing for only seven seconds all season. The Tigers briefly made the Crimson Tide look vulnerable behind the power running game of Jeremy Hill and unexpected accuracy of embattled QB Zach Mettenberger. But when you treat your Aussie punter like a celebrity and get cute with giving your two kickers the same number, shit bites you in the ass and special teams miscues ultimately did in the Tigers, from fake field goals to bungled onsides kicks. That, along with the most perfect screen call you've ever seen to T.J. Yeldon on the 28 yard game-winning touchdown, when Bama only needed 3 to tie but shanked LSU in the gut for a full 7 because a Tiger defender never touched him and that is precisely how Nick Saban steals your soul. Wasted were the 435 yards piled up on Bama's D, along with 8,590 handles of bourbon.
Texas 31 - Texas Tech 22
I don't think anybody expected Texas to come out executing as well as they did in Lubbock. Throughout the first half, We saw Harsin in Smurf Turf Mode where every play call was a step ahead of the DC. From throwing deep on first down out of run sets (safeties were cheating up all day), to executing screens in tight spaces with great second level blocking, he had it dialed in from the first snap and never let up. It also helps when your OL shows up pissed off and ready to fight but you could feel confidence building in our skill position guys as the execution improved. They won the battle in the trenches early on (less so in the second half when we reverted to stubborn power set mode) and it seemed to lift the rest of the team, particularly David Ash and Mike Davis. Harsin wasted no time going to his speed guys, getting Monroe, Goodwin, and Daje involved early. That's one hell of a rotation when Johnathan Gray is your every down back.
Props have to go out to the defense for playing assignment football and keeping things in front of them. Holding Tech to two TDs and 22 points at home is impressive no matter how many yards they pile up between the 20's. Carrington Byndom took on one of the best receivers in the league and some of the best action happened before and after the whistle with Octagon-style takedowns. Ward had the size advantage but Byndom never backed down and got in his head early. Game ball to #23, who finished with 5 tackles, 3 PBUs, and one blocked FG. Along with Steve Edmond and Kendall Thompson in the run game, Byndom's play lifted the entire defense. The interior trio of Chris Whaley, Brandon Moore, and Dez Jackson also had it's best game of the season as a unit.
TCU 39 - WVU 38
Gary Patterson's is getting it done with a roster full of freshmen, sophomores, and one bad ass receiver in Josh Boyce who hauled in six catches for 180 yards and 2 TDs. The Horned Frogs are now 3-1 on the road in Big 12 play after Boyce hauled in a two-point conversion in overtime from freshman QB Trevon Boykin. Meanwhile, Holgo is looking for answers as the Mountaineers dropped three straight for the first time since 2004 and two straight at home since 2003. Are there any couches even left to burn?
Kansas State 44 - Okie State 30
Against normal teams this might have been a trap game but Bill Snyder would not allow for that, even after mysteriously pulling QB Collin Klein in the third quarter with what commentators later referred to as something called an "injury". You should know better. Klein is fine. Snyder just wanted to get freshman backup QB Daniel Sams some much needed experience for when the Wildcats hit cruise control against Bama in the BCS title game. Prior to Klein's exit, he was typically efficient, completing 16 of 22 passes for 245 yards with another 64 on the ground. In his seven possessions, the Wildcats scored on four of them, including touchdown drives covering 75 and 93 yards. K-State enjoyed a 16-minute advantage on the clock and held Oklahoma State's offense to a season-low 71 plays. Don't be surprised when Klein takes the field next week looking stronger, faster, and better than he ever has. The Wildcats are approaching Mordor and they want your ring, Frodo.
Notre Dame 29 - Pittsburgh 26
With the entire cosmos pulling against Notre Dame except a few hundred thousand drunk Catholics, Manti Te'o's Season O' Destiny remains intact as the Irish pulled out a 3 OT comeback win. Fighting a tough Irish run D as well fresh misdemeanor charges, Pitt RB Ray Stewart eluded both, racking up 172 yards on 24 carries as Pitt held a 20-6 lead late in the third quarter before Pitt panthered the win. Clearly, the long autumn shadow of Dave Wannstadt's mustache still lingers. The 2002 Irish squad started 8-0 before losing to Boston College 14-7. While still undefeated, Notre Dame will rightfully drop to #4 in the BCS standings, swapping spots with Oregon. The last test on the schedule will be Nov 24 in the Coliseum, as the Trojans are the only formidable opponent in the way of an undefeated season and unspeakable acts of celebration in South Bend.
Oregon State 36 - Arizona State 26
We're all BelieVaz now, Cody. In a game that about seven people probably watched, Beavers QB Cody Vaz earned the start over struggling starter Sean Mannion and led Oregon State to a comeback win at home, throwing for 267 yards and 3 TDs. At 7-1, the win keeps the Beavers theoretically alive in the conference race if the Pac 12 food chain were held to Darwinian standards. But this year everyone is prey to the almighty Duck.
Oklahoma 35 - Iowa State 20
The Sooners went through the motions for most of the game, limping into halftime with a 14-6 lead before Brennan Clay ran through a Knott-less Cyclone D in the second half. As Texas will find out next week, it's not easy to march into Ames in November against a Paul Rhoads team and assume you'll come home with a victory because you're the better team. Iowa State plays up to its opponents as well as anybody but losing Knott for the season was a big loss not just for the D but for the entire team. Leader, imo.
Nebraska 28 - Michigan State 24
Sparty got screwed by a terrible PI call with 17 seconds left in the game that gave the Huskers 1st & goal from the five. People from East Lansing are used to disappointment but this was an egregious call that could kickstart hibernation until basketball season fires up. I hate it when good things happen to Bo Pelini. The only noteworthy stat of the game was that Taylor Martinez passed Eric Crouch with 8,166 yards of total offense. 54 of those are passing.
Texas A&M 38 - Mississippi State 13
This was as thorough and sound a beating as I can remember the Aggies putting on a ranked opponent in the Kevin Sumlin era. Johnny Manziel shredded the Bulldogs' D, completing 30/36/311 with another 126 and two TDs on the ground. The Aggies' up-tempo offense ran 97 plays and gained 693 total yards, holding MSU to 310 yards and keeping the cowbells quiet until the third quarter when it was already 31-0. I'm curious to see how well the Aggies fare next year without an NFL-grade offensive line, but you can't argue with the early results from Sumlin and Manziel in year 1 of Operation SEC!ede!. At least until next week when the Aggies take on Alabama.
For the epic beatdowns and channel-changing snoozers.
Stanford 48 - Colorado 0
Next time you wake up in a Juarez motel room handcuffed to a bed, looking at the hole in your abdomen where you kidney used to be, wondering why there is a girl screaming in the bathroom while three Zetas with machetes stand at the foot of the bed calmly assessing your future, just remember things could be worse. You could be the Colorado Buffaloes.
Florida 14 - Missouri 7
The Gators were shut out in the first half and only had 111 yards of offense against a suspect Mizzou team that has seemed well over its head in SEC country. The Gators were 2/13 on third down and had only two 'splosive plays but Omarius Hines and Mike Gillislee housed them for the secure 14-7 win. Florida needs Georgia to lose to Ole Miss or Auburn. Doesn't look like Muschamp will get a shot at Bama in the SEC title game, but 8-1 is still a respectable second season in a top-heavy conference. The bottom half of the SEC is dogshit -- both the Big 12 and Pac 12 are deeper.
Louisville 45 - Temple 17Quietly 9-0, Louisville boatraced Temple after a close first quarter, but the game was on at 11 a.m. on the Food Network or something, so you probably missed Teddy Bridgewater slice up Temple with 5 sizzling TDs at Papa John's Stadium. Were Louisville playing in a relevant conference, they might be getting more love for an undefeated season. Until then, it's shitty pizza metaphors and BCS afterthoughts for you, Cardinals.
Georgia 37 - Ole Miss 10The Rebels raced out to a 10-0 lead before giving up 37 unanswered to the Bulldogs, who have only Auburn to beat before a scheduled vasectomy with Dr. Nick Saban. That might have been a tough game in recent years, but Gene Chizik apparently studied with CU's John Embree in the offseason on the fastest way to sink a program into instant futility. Mark Richt should wear pleather pants for this one in open mockery of the Chizzer's plummeting star and formerly endearing poor fashion sense. Of course, we know the Bulldogs are entirely capable of losing any game on any day in any year. It's in Richt's contract.
Clemson 56 - Duke 20Duke will get sweet revenge when they beat Clemson by 36 in basketball.
Louisiana Tech 51 - UTSA 27The highlight of this game was Tech coach Sonny Dykes getting two personal fouls in the third quarter for arguing against the ejection of his starting left tackle. Somewhere in hell, Spike Dykes was laughing. Tech RB Kenneth Dixon now has 20 TDs on the year, passing Terry Bradshaw's team record, and needs one more to tie Marshall Faulk's national record for most TDs by a freshman.
San Diego State 21 - Boise State 19The Aztecs turned two big special teams TDs and out-boised Boise. What would that sentence mean in the 1980s? I don't even know what it means now, but an overrated Broncos squad finally fell to earth and out of the rankings back where they belong. The Aztecs notched their first road win over a ranked opponent in school history have now won five straight, its best streak since 1995. This is relevant only to depraved people like Nobis who bet on Mountain West football.
Ohio State 52 - Illinois 22I chuckle at the notion of Urban Meyer going undefeated in his first year at Ohio State and not having anything to show for it except elevated heart levels. This is still an overrated Buckeye team playing in the worst iteration of the Big 10 since the 1780's, but Meyer is at least honest with it's faults. He hates them slightly less than the two Gator teams that won it all. His team fueled that contempt into 330 yards and 6TDs on the ground. That usually gets it done, but particularly so against a team as shitty as Illinois.
What captured your fancy this weekend?