Then there were five.
Two pretenders, Michigan State, and Missouri, were exposed and fell by the way side leaving a literal handful of teams standing without a loss entering into November.
We begin in L.A., where the Ducks continued its feeding frenzy, hanging over a half-a-hundred 52-32, on the gritty Trojans, who had the lead in the third quarter, but ultimately were overrun, by Oregon’s offense that fell 1 yard short of 600! Yikes.
Heisman Trophy contender, tailback LaMichael James, ran over, and around the USC D, gashing them for 239 yards and 3 touchdowns, the second most ever compiled by a visiting tailback. Overall, it was an offensive show worthy of the Fourth of July.
In Lincoln, Nebraska, the Black Shirt’s played its best defense of the season (6 sacks), and tailback Roy Helu set a Nebraska rushing record 307 yards (1991 Calvin Jones – at one point Helu was 10 carries – 228 yards – 3 TDs), as he Cornhuskers jumped on Missou, scoring 24 in the first quarter, and hanging on for a 31-17 victory. Missou has now lost 17 consecutive road games to ranked opponents, which dates back to 1997.
In Oxford, Mississippi, Auburn’s Mr. Everything, Heisman Trophy leader, QB Cam Newton, caught a touchdown pass, then threw for two more as the Tigers toyed with the Rebels; 51-31, putting on another pyrotechnic exhibition.
If Oregon and Auburn should meet for the national championship, the score board operator will need an advanced degree from the Wharton School to keep track of the statistics.
Locally, Coach Spaz and his Boston College Eagles (3-5), ended a five game losing streak, coming from behind to defeat Clemson 16-10, keeping BC’s bowl hopes very much alive. The Eagles final four games are, at least on paper, are all winnable.
In the old friend category, Tom O’Brien and his NC State Wolfpack (6-2) upset Florida State, in a last second thriller on Thursday night 28-24, making them bowl eligible, and insuring NC State its first non-losing season since the Phillip Rivers era of 2005. To show you the magnitude of that victory, the stoic old Marine actually smiled, while displaying some emotion. Wow!
Our favorite coach, Illinois’ Ron Zook, won another game (5-3) by pounding a hapless Purdue team 44-10. The three teams to defeat Illinois are a combined 23-3, and there is a very good chance that the Zooker will keep his Champaign gig, which would be great for college football.
Up north, the Renaissance continues, as the Orange (Is there a better school name for Halloween?), crushed Cincinnati; 31-7 to climb to 6-2. If the victories continue the Cuse Coach, Doug Marrone, will receive serious consideration for Coach of the Year. Congrats!
It’s ugly in Miami, as the self-proclaimed U, lost again (5-3), this time to Virginia 24-19. There is simply no consistency to the Miami offense, and the Cavaliers new coach Mike London, got his emotional win. It remains to be seen if the Hurricanes Coach, Randy Shannon, a disciplinarian, can really coach.
In the category of: we want our diploma back; when the Miami/Virginia game ended, London, overcome with elation, fell to his knees, with his head on the ground, and tears running down his cheeks. Analyst Brian Griese, a Michigan grad, looked over the scene and proclaimed; “There’s coach London, who fell to his knees in exasperation.” Double yikes, and please turn in that diploma.
In Happy Valley it was a happy-fest for the (5-3) Nittany Lions.
In a white-out, the old coach, JoePa, captured his 399th victory in a 41-31 slugfest over Michigan.
But for Ann-Arbor faithful, it’s “Ground-Hog Day,” or deja-vu all over again (as Yogi once said) for Wolverines Coach $Rich Rod, as Michigan, after a 5-0 start, once again finds itself 5-3, with a lot of losable games left on the schedule.
The Maize and Blue fire department just added a few more fire extinguishes around the office chair of Coach Rodriguez.
In South Bend, after a very difficult week involving the death of a student connected to the football program, Notre Dame (4-5) lost again, I know, that’s redundant, this time to Tulsa, who has one of the worst defenses in college football, 28-27.
Coach Brian Kelly’s Irish with Utah and USC left on the schedule, will need intervention from Touchdown Jesus to simply finish 6-6. Where’s Charlie Weis when you need him? Yikes!!
Meanwhile another of our favorites, the Wildcats of Northwestern, defeated Indiana 20-17 to climb to 6-2, and will be going bowling for the third consecutive season. Congrats to the smart kids.
One and done. Or, one win is enough. Last week, after snapping its 26 game losing streak, Western Kentucky promptly went out and got shellacked at home by a 1-6 North Texas team, 33-6. Might this be the start of another streak?!
In Philadelphia, Temple coach Al Golden, the guy on everyone’s wish list, shutout Arkon 30-0 to climb to 7-2. It was the first time the Owls have had back to back whitewashes since Richard Nixon (1971) occupied the Oval Office.
If North Carolina is going to pull the plug on Butch Davis at season’s end, Golden will get the first call. But his dream gig is Penn State.
In Pittsburgh the Mustaches of Dave Wannstedt, aka the Pitt Panthers have won three straight, to take over first place in the Big Least, I mean East, and could run the table to finish 9-3.
In Jacksonville, after climbing out of a 21-7 hole to force overtime, Georgia once again fell to Florida 34-31, it was the 17th time in the last 20 games that the Dwags have lost to the Gators!! Yikes!
In College Park, Maryland, where this was expected to be Ralph Friedgen’s swan song, the Terps picked to finish last in its Division, have won 4 of 5, and now sit 6-2 with a chance to go bowling. It puts the Administration is a difficult position.
Finally, Mississippi State is 7-2 defeating a good Kentucky team 24-17, and while the Duke faithful await the start of basketball season; the football team won its second game of the season defeating Navy at Annapolis; 34-31. Congrats to both.
(Material from other sources was used in compiling this report.)
We’ll be up and running with our analysis of week 10 Wednesday night. Until then, Peace, and listen to the music.