The weekend began on Thanksgiving night in Austin, where a Texas fan came dressed in a “burnt orange” Santa outfit, as the Horns made its national title case; a 49-9 victory against A&M, which was the second biggest point differential in the rivalry’s history. The biggest occurred back in the 19th century: 1898!! Said Texas coach Mack Brown, “If 56 was needed, instead of 49, then the system is even more screwed up than I thought.”
After three years of frustration, coach, and iconic alum, Dave Wannstedt has the Panthers playing tough, clutch, old style football, as Pitt sits 8-3, with a game against South Florida remaining. That victory also gave the Big East Title to the Bearcats of Cincinnati, 10-2, which is even more amazing, when one considers that coach Brian Kelly had to use five different quarterbacks. It is also the second consecutive ten win season for the Bearcats under Kelly, previously in their long football history, Cincinnati had only one ten win season, and that occurred in 1951!!
The faithful are stewing in Baton Rouge. Coming off a national championship, nobody saw this coming, as LSU’s signature defense disappeared, and the Bayou Bengals (7-5) finished a shocking 3-5 in the SEC Conference play. The final regular season indignity came Friday, in Little Rock, Arkansas, as the Razorbacks, stormed back with 17 unanswered points to knock off the Tigers 31-30. The best scenario of this contest was the quarterback situation for 5-7, Arkansas. Last week, senior starter Casey Dick was told by coach $Bobby Petrino, that Dick’s younger brother Nathan, was going to start against LSU, and that for all intents-and-purposes, the senior’s career at Arkansas was over. But facing a 16 point deficit, $Petrino inserted Casey, and the quarterback responded with an Obama-like campaign performance, completing 18-29, for 2-touchdowns, with the winning touchdown pass occurring on a fourth-and-one, with 21 seconds remaining on the clock. Talk about a lifetime memory, it’s just too bad it helped $Petrino get the win.
This year the Egg Bowl need an adjective; “Rotten,” as Mississippi knocked out its in-state rival Mississippi State 45-0, and ultimately, ended the five year Starkville tenure of Bulldogs coach Sylvester Croom. On the positive side, Houston Nutt, who was unceremoniously ushered out of Arkansas, has made the Rebels (8-4, with a win over Florida), relevant again, and is a contender for Coach of the Year honors.
Again on Friday, in Lincoln, Nebraska, Alex Henry, kicked a school record, 57 yard field goal with 1:50 on the clock, to put Nebraska in the lead, 33-31, then the “black shirts” followed with a defensive pick six touchdown, as first year coach Bo Pelini’s Cornhuskers 8-4, kept Colorado home for the holidays.
Maybe it was all the turkey, but in another wild Friday contest, 3-9 Eastern Michigan knocked off 8-4 Western Michigan 56-52, as EMU’s quarterback Andy Schmitt set an NCAA record completing 58 passes, as the QB finished the day 58-80, with 5 touchdowns, and only 1 pick!! Astounding!!
Boise State completed its third undefeated season in the last five with a 61-10 destruction of once mighty Fresno State. The game was close, 13-10 at the half, and then the Broncos went on a 48-0 second half tear, reminiscent of the ’85 Superbowl against the Bears.
In another wild Friday night game, Arizona State, who was held to a total of 122 offensive yards, tied an NCAA record by scoring four defensive touchdowns, in its 34-9 victory over UCLA. The last time a defensive performance like that occurred; was on November 7, 1987, when the University of Houston did it against Texas.
Now onto to Saturday.
Last year coach Paul Johnson and his Navy Midshipmen ended a 43 year drought against Notre Dame. Well, yesterday his new team, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets ended a 7 year drought against in-state rival Georgia, to finish 9-3, as the Jackets rushed for over 400 yards, overcoming a 28-12 half-time deficit, in defeating the Bulldogs 45-42.
Old friend Tom O’Brien won his last four to finish 6-6, making his Wolfpack bowl eligible. He also found a quarterback, in future star Russell Wilson.
Clemson defeated its in-state rival South Carolina, 31-17, and more than likely earned the permanent job, for interim coach, Dado Swinney.
At the Heights, a Flutie threw a touchdown pass for the first time in over 20 years, as Billie Flutie, the field goal holder, faked the attempt, then rolled to the right, and threw a touchdown pass, as BC defeated Maryland 28-21. The Eagles will face off against VaTech in next week’s ACC Championship game, a rematch of last year’s contest, as the BC defense remains a beast. The nation’s interception leaders, had its fourth consecutive pick 6 play. Congrats to good-guy coach Jags.
It was ugly in the Iron Bowl as Alabama won the first time in seven years, and embarrassed its hated in-state foe Auburn; 36-0. It was the largest point differential since 1962. It sets up next week’s SEC Championship game as a virtual play-in to the national championship game. The Bama destruction may also have ended, the tenure of Tiger’s coach Tommy Tuberville, who finished 5-7, and a disappointing 2-6 in SEC play.
Was it the last game for Charlie Weis? Only time will tell, but if it is based on the Irish performance in the Coliseum, a 38-3 stink-bomb, in which the Irish had less than 100 yards of total offense, and 3 first downs, then it’s sayonara, Charlie.
It the wild game of the day, Oklahoma scored seven touchdowns on its last eight possessions, and hung 61 on a very good Oklahoma State team, who scored 41, on the road in Stillwater. Said coach Bobby Stoops, “I’ll let the score speak for itself.”
Florida and Heisman reigning quarterback Tim Tebow, tuned up well for next week’s showdown with Alabama, as the Gators embarrassed the Seminoles 45-15, winning its fifth in a row against its once mighty rival.
The Roses wilted in Corvallis, as Oregon stormed Oregon State 65-38, and unless UCLA upsets USC next week, it will be 44 years and counting since OSU has been to Pasadena. The loss also cost the PAC10 millions of dollars, because if Oregon State had gone to the Rose Bowl, USC would have been invited to another BCS game, but the way it stands now, USC will go to the Rose, and that will be it for the PAC10 as far as the BCS is concerned.
That’s it from cyber space. We’ll be up and running Wednesday night with our LAST weekly analysis of the season. As always-the season goes much too fast. Until then, Peace. PK