Wow!! Who needs a playoff?
What we experienced this Black Friday weekend was a virtual elimination tournament.
Just ask the faithful in Boise, Auburn, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, Stillwater, Fayetteville, Eugene, and Baton Rouge.
And in Miami, the votes are in, (doesn’t that sound familiar,) and Randy Shannon, head coach of the U (28-22 in four seasons) is out (fired) after another disappointing 7-5 season.
We’ll begin in Reno, on Friday night, where the game of the year, a Nevada 34-31 shocker over undefeated and BCS Buster Boise State took place.
Boise, winners of 24 in a row, jumped out to a 17-0 lead, and held a seemingly insurmountable 24-7 advantage at the half. Things seemed to be in cruise control for anther blowout for the Monsters of the Blue Turf.
But to quote Lee Corso, “Not so fast my friends.” The Wolf Pack, to its credit, came storming out in the second half, and with 13 ticks left on the clock, Nevada’s QB Colin Kaepernick found wideout Rishard Matthews for a 13 yard touchdown pass to knot the game at 31-31. WOW!!
But Boise and its Heisman Trophy contending QB, Kellen Moore (38-2 as a starter) weren’t quite finished.
After the kickoff, Moore took over on about his own 33 yard line, and with nine seconds left on the clock, uncorked a bomb to his favorite target Titus Young. The starry wideout made a spectacular perpendicular 53 yard grab, and with two lonely seconds remaining, the Broncos lined up for a 26 yard chip shot field goal, to escape with its season and dreams intact.
But, as you no doubt now know, Bosie’s field goal kicker Kyle Brontzman kicked it wide. The kid missed a second on in the first overtime, and Nevada converted its try for the victory.
With that missed field goal; BCS birth gone, Rose Bowl birth gone, and national championship hopes gone, and the sneering murmurs from the “Big Boys,” “We told you they didn’t belong,” got a lot loud bolder and louder. Amazing!!
On Friday, in Tuscaloosa, – in the Game of the Year 2 – the Bama faithful witnessed something never before seen in the annals of Tide Football; Alabama losing a game after holding a 24 point lead. And not just any Alabama team, one coached by defensive guru Nick Saban!
It was also a Heisman afternoon for Auburn’s “Mr. Everything,” QB Cam Newton, who led the 28-27 comeback, by standing tall, and firing three touchdown passes for the improbable victory. It was also a stout second half performance by the much maligned Auburn D, who as of late has been playing much better.
A tell-tale sign that something was in the Crimson air occurred; when the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Mark Ingram, who was heading toward the end zone for a virtual knock out blow, had the ball stripped for a touchback. It was only the second lost fumble in 613 touches by the starry tailback, and it saved Auburn’s remarkable season!! WOW!!
In the 104th edition of the Backyard Brawl, West Virginia embarrassed Dave Wannstedt’s Panthers 35-10, ending Pitts hopes for the Big East crown, dropping the Panthers to 6-5, and very possibly ending Wanny’s the 6 year tenure at Pitt.
It’s one thing to lose to your rival, it’s another when you look totally unprepared, which is precisely how the Panthers played. YIKES!
What’s in the cheese in Madison? A couple of week ago, Wisconsin, maybe the best one loss team in the land, hung an 83 spot on Indiana, only to come out this week and hang 70 on Northwestern in a 70-23 shellacking (Obama’s favorite word) on the Wildcats. It was the third time this season that the Badgers have rung up 70 or more. Double Yikes!! It appears Wiscy will be going to the Rose Bowl for the first time since (41)Old Man Bush, George H.W., occupied the White House in 1990.
Congrats to the Green from Eugene, for capturing its second consecutive PAC-10 crown, and with a win next week in the Civil War in Corvallis, will play for the national championship. And to think, less than 5 years ago, head coach Chip Kelly was the offensive coordinator for UNH. That’s a better ride than Neil Armstrong!
In Columbus it was a tale of two teams.
Coach Jim Tressel Ohio State Buckeyes took down the Maize and Blue for the seventh consecutive time and earned his 9th victory in 10 tries against its arch-rival, while capturing a share of Ohio State’s sixth consecutive Big Ten Title.
The 37-7 domination may have also ended the Ann Arbor employment of Coach $Rich Rod, who fell to 7-5, and 3-5 in the Big Ten. In his short three year tenure, Coach Rod has yet to defeat a Big Ten team with a winning record! Double Yikes!! Can you say; Stanford Coach, and former Michigan QB, Jim Harbaugh?
In Knoxville, kudos to Vince’s kid; Coach Derek Dooley and his Tennessee Volunteers, for winning its fourth in a row, a 24-14 defeat against the Kentucky Wildcats.
The victory was the Vols 26 consecutive over the Cats, and made the Rocky Top eleven bowl eligible, as they finished with an undefeated month (4-0) of November. Tennessee has a lot of young players and future looks very bright for Dooley and the Vols.
In the old friend department, Tom O’Brien’s Wolfpack needed a victory over Maryland to punch its ticket into the ACC Championship Game. Alas it was not to be, as the Terps passing game slashed the NC State defense for over 400 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-31 shootout. Congrats to both O’Brien, and Ralph Friedgen for their very successful 8-4 seasons.
In the; who cares category: in the rain in Southern California (somehow the weather was appropriate for this pair of afterthoughts) Notre Dame defeated USC: 20-16, as the Irish defeated the Trojans for the first time in eight tries. Yawn.
In the last 40 seconds of the game, a wide open, and all alone USC receiver dropped a sure touchdown pass, as both teams finished with a ho-hum 7-5 season. It will get better for ND, can’t say the same for the Trojans.
In the Bedlam Game, it was pure bedlam, as Oklahoma hung on for a wild 47-41 victory over OK State. It was the eighth consecutive victory for the Sooners over the Cowboys, in a game in which the teams combined for 355 yards and 40 points in the fourth quarter!!
In Little Rock, the “Mad Hatter,” aka LSU is no longer the best one loss team in America, as Arkansas and his rifle arm QB Ryan Mallet sliced the Bayou Bengals 31-23, more than likely sending Arkansas to the Sugar Bowl.
What happened to the Iowa Hawkeyes?! Iowa once touted as a national contender, lost its third straight, this time to a woeful Minnesota Gopher team 31-23, to finish with a very disappointing 7-5 record. It could have easily been 6-6 if a wide open Indiana receiver in the Hoosiers 18-13 loss, didn’t drop a game ending touchdown pass. YIKES!
Finally congrats to a pair of local entries: In Storrs, Connecticut, Coach Jim Edsall’s Huskies have won four in a row, and are now one win away (South Florida) from capturing its first Big East Title and a birth in a BCS game.
UConn’s junior tailback tailback Jordan Todman is having an All-America season, and we wonder, could a phone call for Edsall, be coming if the Wolverines pull the plug on Rodriguez?
A big slap on the back to the Eagles and Coach Spaz, for winning their fifth in a row; as BC defeated the Cuse 16-7, with another display of stifling D.
(Material from other reports was used in compiling this report.)
We’ll be up and running Wednesday night for the final analysis of the season. Until then, Peace, and listen to the music.