If you are a gambler; condolences, if you are a college football fan, life is a yellow brick road journey. On the last weekend of September, in what could best be described as Shake Up Saturday, four of the top nine, and nine of the top twenty-five teams went down in defeat. It is what makes college football great, and reiterates once again, why every weekend is a true drama.
The tone was set on Thursday night in Corvallis, Oregon, when one of the orange clad OSU students displayed his sign which read: “We ain’t scared.” Then the 25 point underdog Beavers proceeded to knock off, and dominate, the number one ranked Trojans 27-21, in game that shook the college landscape, and was a portent for the shockers that the Saturday games would bring.
In the “black-out” in Athens, it was the Georgia Bulldogs who were humbled, as the Tuscaloosa Titans, otherwise known as the Crimson Tide of Alabama, opened a 31-0 lead over Georgia, before closing them out 41-30. Here’s how dominant the Sons of Bear Bryant have been: for the season, Alabama has outscored it opponents, 74-0 in the first quarter, and so far this season, the Tide has yet to trail in any game, and ‘Bama now finds itself as a legitimate national title contender.
Earlier in the day, in the Swamp in Gainesville, the value of an extra point was ingrained into the Gator faithful, as Mississippi, stunned the Gators 31-30, on a blocked extra point. Here’s a note of interest, Heisman Trophy winner, quarterback Tim Tebow, has never led Florida to a second half comeback victory, as the Florida offense continues to look out of synch.
In the Big house in Ann Arbor, the gremlins were everywhere. Wisconsin raced to a 19- 0 half-time lead. It appeared insurmountable, as Wiscy coach Bret Bielema, had never lost a game (19-0) when leading at halftime, that is, until Saturday. In that first half, the Little Sisters of the Poor must have been wearing the winged helmets of the Michigan Wolverines, as the Maize and Blue had five turnovers, and only one first down. In the second half, mighty “Meechigan” roared to twenty-seven unanswered points, then, held on for a 27-25 victory for coach “Rod’s” first signature win. It was the biggest comeback in the 500 game history of Michigan Stadium.
In his 81st year, Joe Paterno has one of his best teams. Quarterback Darryl Clark’s ( 9 touchdowns – 1 interception, 3 rushing td’s) leadership was clearly on display, as the balanced and dynamic Nittany Lions knocked off Illinois 38-24, and now have a legitimate chance to win not only the conference, but like ‘Bama, a chance to play for the national title.
More fun stuff. Navy’s defeat of previously undefeated Wake Forest was the Midshipmen’s first victory over a ranked team since 1985.
Don’t look now, but the best team in the East is the Huskies of UConn, who for the second year in a row sit at 5-0. The Connecticut hounds are led by the nation’s leading rusher Donald Brown, who is averaging 181yards a game, and has scored eleven touchdowns. He may have the best feet, this side of Gene Kelly. No wonder Boston College is afraid to play the Huskies. Hopefully, UConn’s coach Randy Edsall, who should have gotten the BC job that was given to Tom O’Brien, will remain in Storrs, but if Tennessee ever pulls the plug on its beleaguered coach Phil Fulmer, I’d have Edsall on speed dial.
Beware of the Tar Heels. Coach Butch Davis has a smooth blend of tobacco nicely curing on the Chapel Hill campus, even with backup quarterback Cameron Sexton, and Carolina is going to be a factor in every game it plays.
Duke is 3-1, under coach David Cutcliffe, boy does Tennessee miss his play calling, as the Blue Devils are off to its best start since 1994.
Speaking of Tennessee, the once vaunted Volunteers have fallen to 1-3, its worst start in 14 years.
In Aggie Land at College Station, the faithful eyes pleadingly ask, “Where have you gone R.C. Slocum?” as new coach Mike Sherman’s Texas A&M team barely hung on, to defeat a pathetic Army team, 21-17.
In another case of wasted prosperity, this may finally be the end of Clemson coach Tommy Bowden, as the Tigers were upset by Maryland 20-17, in a game in which juggernaught Clemson, failed to score a point in the second half.
Old friend Greg Robinson and his Syracuse Orangemen blew an eleven point second half lead to Pitt, and lost again, keeping Mr. Robinson’s win total at 8, five games into his fourth and last season at the helm.
The Hawkeyes Kirk Ferentz, is another of our hot seat hotties, as Iowa lost to Northwesten 22-17 in Iowa City, pushing coach Ferentz closer to the exit door.
On the opposite side of the ledger, Northwestern is 5-0 for the first time since some coach by the name of Parseghian was roaming the sidelines. I wonder what ever happened to that guy?
Wonder if Bobby “Take the Money and Run” Petrino, would like to go back to the Atlanta Falcons? In its last two games Arkansas has seen its bacon sliced by the combined score of; 101-24.
What a weekend!!!
That’s it from cyber space. Check back in on Wednesday night, when we’ll be up and running with week 6. Until then; Peace. PK