Based on the narrow escapes by many ranking royalty this weekend, the S in Saturday, as it relates to college football, stood for survival, as most of the “big boys” needed, as they offered in; “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” a life-line. And for some Oregon, Florida State, and UCLA it provided absolutely no solace.
With apologies to the “Eagles” we’ll begin with the new kid in town, the Horned Frogs of TCU.
TCU coach Gary Patterson AP Photo
It is now official; “Fear the Frogs” as Gary Patterson’s (the coach no one ever talks about) Purple Frogs marched into Boone Pickens U, AKA Oklahoma State, as a 13-point underdog, and headed back to Fort Worth with a convincing: 44-31 victory.
The victory also put the entire Big 12 on notice, that the “Sons of Sammy Baugh” are indeed the new kid in town, and that Oklahoma’s once assumed iron grip on the conference title has a serious challenger.
Patterson, who relishes and thrives in the role of the underdog, said it best as he walked off the field with the conference shifting victory: “Told ya.”
Well said coach, and we may well see these fighters from Fort Worth in a playoff game on New Year’s Day. If so, maybe the “Eagles” can sing the national anthem.
Speaking of the Eagles, the “Boys from Chestnut Hill” gave the Tigers from Clemson a huge scare before its D, like a levee in New Orleans, finally burst and the potent talented Tigers were able to score 4-touchdowns in the final 12-minutes defeating BC; 34-7.
The loss leaves the “Fighting Addazio’s” with three consecutive losses, and at 1-3, BC is officially on the clock with its hopes for a 6-6 season.
BC coach Steve Addazio AP photo
If they don’t hit that magic number, it is doubtful that “Mr. A” will be back, which won’t upset many people associated with the Eagle’s program.
The hope here is that BC’s newly installed Athletic Director Martin Jarmond has New England native Chip Kelly’s number on speed dial.
If in fact he indeed ends up pulling the plug on Addazio, it will be his most important hire and Kelly, who was once the offensive coordinator at UNH, would give the football program instant credibility, and pull the “Sons of Mike Holovak” from the Dante depths of irrelevancy which it has fallen and onto the map.
Staying on the local scene the, football “Belles of Amherst” AKA “The Fighting Whipple’s” acquitted themselves quite well venturing down to Knoxville, Tennessee and into the cauldron (hotter than the seat of Vols coach Butch Jones) of Neyland Stadium, where in front of 100,000 plus fans, the Minutemen as massive underdogs physically outplayed the Volunteers before finally falling: 17-13.
The game ultimately turned when UMass’s starting QB Andrew Ford went out with an injury.
UMass coach Mark Whipple AP photo
And despite falling to 0-5, and a jaw-dropping 10-55 since joining the FBS, it was another sign that Whipple is right guy for the job.
After all he won a national-title in 1998 when the Minutemen were an FCS member, and to be able to stand toe to toe with an SEC teams tells one that, despite the record, his kids don’t quit, but it remains to be seen if the Administration of UMass will continue to carry on with support.
Staying on the local front it was a classy gesture by Harvard coach Tim Murphy, whose “Veritas Boys” defeated Brown 45-28, to award the game ball to Ben Abercrombie, the freshman cornerback who was seriously hurt (cervical injury) in the season opening loss to URI.
Harvard player Ben Abercrombie AP photo
Abercrombie remains hospitalized, and despite the long road ahead, there is a hopeful diagnosis and he remains very much on the minds of the entire Harvard community.
In the game of the day in Iowa City, Penn State needed to wring out every second of the 60-minutes to pull out a 21-19 victory over the feisty and gritty Hawkeyes who despite being outplayed took 19-15 lead with 1:42 left in the game.
Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley AP photo
That is when the Heisman front runner, the Lions brilliant tailback Saquon Barkley, who runs like a bull charging done the street in Pamplona, or Bo Jackson, and finished with a PSU record with a 358 total yards, 211 of them rushing, carried the Lions, as he had done all night leading on the ‘Nits on 12-play 80 yard game winning drive, highlighted by Barkley soaring in a memorable Heisman moment jumping over a Iowa defender and then as he was hit on the way down kept his balance and continued on for another 10-yards. Amazing!
But it was a seven-yard TD dart from its leather tough “Cool Hand Luke” QB Trace McSorley, which he threaded over the hand of an Iowa defender better than any cloth stitched by that patriotic seamstress Betsy Ross, with 4-seconds remaining on the clock, that landed into the outstretched hands of receiver Juwan Johnson that won the game for the Lions.
The emotional victory kept the “Sons of Ted Kwalick” undefeated and on pace for a playoff invite. WOW!!!
The other “Tom Petty” game “heartbreaker” occurred in Lexington, Kentucky where for the 31st-consecutive time, the Wildcats lost to the Gators; 28-27. YIKES!
The winning 5-yard touchdown pass went to an uncovered Freddie Swain who looked like he was catching a beach ball on Falmouth’s Surf Drive Beach. The reason; Kentucky only had ten-players on the field. Double Yikes!!!
That’s miscue is precisely how losing streaks that stretch back to the Reagan Administration continue on. And to add to the tobacco country misery, the Wildcats had one last chance to win on a 42-yard field goal try, but instead of that very makeable kick, a holding penalty pushed it back to a 57-yarder and needless to say the streak of ineptitude carries on. UGLY!!
In Tallahassee, the once mighty Seminoles, who had playoff expectations before the season began now find themselves, especially after losing it starting QB for the season, 0-2 for the first time since the GHW Bush Administration – 1989, as the “Sons of Bobby Bowden” fell to the Wolfpack of NC State; 27-21.
“Jimbo’s Boys” have now been reduced to the role of spoilers. YIKES!
In Waco, Oklahoma’s pass defense was exposed by of all teams Baylor, as the Sooners had to hang on for a 49-41 victory. While out in Berkley, USC’s Heisman contending QB continues to throw interceptions (7), as the Trojans had to battle hard to beat a bunch of much improved Cal Bears; 30-20.
In Athens, Georgia’s domination over Mississippi State 31-3 showed the rest of the conference that these are not your father’s Bulldogs, and that the “Sons of Vince Dooley” are a legitimate challenger to Alabama.
It also looks like t-freshman “fill-in” QB Jake Fromm will have that label ripped away and become the Dawgs permanent starter.
Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown former head coach of Northeastern and UMass AP photo
In West Lafayette, Michigan under the tutelage of its d-coordinator Don Brown, the former head-man at Northeastern, and UMass continues to show that teams, especially his can still win with a dominant defense even if its offense continues to struggle, as the Wolverines knocked off an improving bunch of Boilermakers from Purdue: 29-10.
As always: Hail the smart kids as both Duke, and Navy are a combined: 7-0.
While our pal, Columbia Coach Al Bagnoli is 2-0 as his Lions are off to its best start since the second term of W – 2006. Good for them and good guy Bagnoli.
Out in South Bend something might be brewing at the home of “Touchdown Jesus” as the Irish took advantage of Spartan turnovers and spanked Michigan State: 38-18 to climb to 3-1.
And in the other total ineptitude department; the Bruins of UCLA lost its 10th in a row to the Cardinal of Stanford: 58-34 which drops them to 2-2. In its last two game the Bruins have surrendered a total of 106 points. Yikes!! We think it’s time for some resume updating for Coach Jim Mora.
Finally, as always, we returned to our fav’s, the Jayhawks of Kansas (1-3), the last team our bloviating gas-bag pal Charlie Weis ‘fixed,’ who continue to play defense like a matador twirling his cape, as the “Sons of the Kansas Comet, Gale Sayers” lost to West Virginia; 56-34. Sorry Charlie!
That’s it from cyber-space. We’ll be up and running with our analysis of week 5 Wednesday night. Until then, Peace, and listen to the music. pk