Craziness Within College Football
October 17, 2013
Those inclined to lay down a bit of money in Vegas last weekend would have made a killing if they picked underdogs.
Saturday was not friendly to the top teams. Down went seven ranked teams, including Stanford, the first top-five team to lose this season, plus fellow undefeateds No. 12 Oklahoma and No. 18 Michigan. The fifth-ranked Cardinals lost 27-21 at unranked Utah as the Utes used a defensive stand in the final minute to earn the program’s first win at home over a top-five opponent.
The Sooners lost 36-20 to unranked Texas at the Cotton Bowl, a shocker considering the Longhorns’ recent poor play and 80-point differential in favor of OU in the past two years of this rivalry.
The Wolverines lost 43-40 in four overtimes at unranked Penn State as true freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg engineered a remarkable end-of-regulation march for the Nittany Lions.
Injury-plagued No. 7 Georgia got bit by the upset bug, losing between the hedges to Missouri 41-26.
Wisconsin dismantled No. 19 Northwestern 35-6.
Within the national poll, Stanford dropped eight spots and Michigan fell from the poll. The top four was unchanged, with No. 1 Alabama receiving 55 of 60 first-place votes. No. 2 is Oregon, followed by Clemson and Ohio State. Florida State moved up to No. 5 to set up a top-five matchup at Clemson this week.
Stanford, which had been top-five all season, dropped eight spots to No. 13. The Cardinal’s Pac-12 and national title hopes took a big hit, though they’ll be able to get right back in the conversation next week by beating No. 9 UCLA at home.
No. 24 Auburn moved into the rankings for the first time this season to join top-ranked Alabama, No. 6 LSU, No. 7 Texas A&M, No. 11 South Carolina, No. 14 Missouri, No. 15 Georgia and No. 22 Florida from the SEC. The SEC set a record this week by having eight ranked teams. The record for most teams from one conference in a regular-season poll had been seven, done many times, including this season by the SEC. The ACC and Big Ten have also reached seven ranked teams in season.
Missouri, now 6-0, jumped 11 spots with its first meaningful victory since joining the SEC. No. 12 Baylor is the highest ranked team in the Big 12 for the first time since the league started in 1996, taking advantage of Oklahoma’s surprising loss to Texas. The Sooners fell six spots to No. 18.
The ACC has two top-five teams and three top-10 teams (Miami is No. 10) for the first time since Oct. 30, 2005. And soon-to-be ACC team Louisville checks in at No. 8.
No. 25 Wisconsin is back in the rankings to keep Ohio State from being the only Big Ten team.
The first BCS standings of the season will be revealed next Sunday night. Another weekend of games coupled with the controversial BCS standings will likely lead to even more changes.
ACC football will be in the spotlight this weekend when Florida State travels to Death Valley to meet Clemson. Both schools are in the national championship conversation and it is the conference’s first matchup of top-five teams since No. 5 Miami defeated No. 3 Virginia Tech 27-7 in 2005.
The Seminoles (5-0, 3-0 ACC) are well rested after an open date last weekend. Clemson (6-0, 4-0) needed two fourth-quarter touchdowns against Boston College to remain undefeated.
Recent history is on Florida State’s side as the Seminoles rallied for a 49-37 victory against the Tigers last year in Tallahassee. But they have not won at Clemson since 2001.
I look for the scoreboard to be busy. The Seminoles average nearly 54 points a game, about 10 more than the Tigers. Clemson, with a defense that leads the nation with 24 sacks, likely has the defensive edge.
Proving again my theory that the Carolina Panthers will go as far as Cam Newton will lead them, the third-year quarterback threw three touchdown passes and ran for another score to lead his team to a convincing 35-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
Newton and the Panthers were opportunistic on Sunday. Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel threw two interceptions, both to Mike Mitchell, and Carolina, now 2-3, responded each time with a touchdown.
Newton looked as good as I have seen him since his magical rookie year. He completed 20 of 26 passes for 242 yards and did not commit a single turnover.
The Panthers also dominated defensively. They limited 2013 MVP Adrian Peterson to 64 yards. File this one in the ‘Did you know’ category. Did you know that Carolina’s defense has not allowed a 100-yard rusher for nine straight games.
The Panthers are now looking for consistency and a win against a team with a .500 or better record. Keep in mind that Carolina’s two wins have come over the winless New York Giants and the now 1-4 Vikings. Also keep in mind that the last time the Panthers played a winning team (Arizona), they had 11 penalties, allowed seven sacks, and scored only six points.