Are we headed towards another 2009?
If you recall, there were five undefeated teams at the end of the season a couple of years ago (Alabama, Texas, Cincinnati, TCU, and Boise State). Alabama and Boise State were undefeated after the bowl games—both beat another undefeated team in their bowl game. Not to take away from either team, but sadly neither was afforded the opportunity to prove that they were absolutely the best team in the country.
LSU or Alabama and Oklahoma or Oklahoma State will lose this year because they face each other. We’re still a ways from the bowl season, but a lot of teams look like they could finish unscathed. Boise State still has to deal with TCU, but the game’s going to be on the blue turf. Stanford is the team with the toughest remaining schedule with a trip to USC and a home date with Oregon left. Clemson has so many options on offense, and they seem to only get better in the second half. Kansas State is probably going to lose facing a daunting upcoming schedule. And Houston is undefeated and a favorite to finish unscathed.
Hey, if nobody beats them how do we know they don’t deserve the championship?
Recapping the week in 500 words or less, this is what we learned about the season:
- The last couple of years the hurt came in the second half of the season for Arizona. This year, the first half. Tough games remain, but 6-6 isn’t out of the question. Although now they’re down their best cornerback, Shaquille Richardson, thanks to an on-field brawl.
- West Virginia wasn’t the first team on the top-ten fringes to fall. After the top nine or ten teams, there’s tremendous parity.
- When does Clemson enter the national title discussion? They’ll need others to lose, but the Tigers are playing tremendous football. They’d be the first ACC team in the midseason title discussion since Boston College in 2007. Non-AQ teams aren’t the only ones hurt by the BCS.
- And Kansas State keeps winning, too. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas are up next, though. Quarterback Collin Klein deserves more attention than he’s been given.
- Wake Forest was the only ACC Atlantic team not given a chance in the preseason; they’re 4-1 in ACC play and have their season in their own hands with a November 12 matchup against Clemson.
- Arkansas came back to beat Texas A&M a few weeks ago. I bet they never expected to have to do the same against Ole Miss.
- Miami’s in excellent shape after playing its most consistent game to beat Georgia Tech. They need the Hokies to lose games, but after a rough start they’re in the Coastal race. Sean Spence is quietly having a very good year.
- Boise State struggled to stop Air Force’s triple option attack in their first-ever meeting with the Falcons. Air Force’s 26 points were the most against a Broncos defense since Boise State’s loss to Nevada last year. Kellen Moore tied Colt McCoy as the winningest college quarterback ever.
- LSU and Alabama each started slow. Then each laid the hurt. I look for a big ‘ole defensive struggle in a couple of weeks. Groundbreaking analysis, right?
- What a shootout the Stanford-Oregon game will be, but first the Cardinal must hit the road to deal with a USC team a lot of people are overlooking. They don’t really stack up to Stanford, but the Trojans don’t have much to lose and that can be very dangerous.
- Notre Dame kills itself again with three second-half turnovers. USC took advantage with a couple scores and the clock run-out.
- Michigan State has Wisconsin’s number the last two seasons. Make that two undefeated seasons spoiled by the Spartans, who many forgot about after the loss to Notre Dame. Nebraska is next.
- Tough loss for Wisconsin, whose national title hopes were likely dashed with a tip to and subsequent torso thrust by Keith Nichol to grab the Spartans win.
- Speaking of upsets, Texas Tech upended the Sooners, hanging 41 on the Oklahoma defense that allowed more than 17 points only once this year. Make no mistake, the Red Raiders won this game; the Sooners didn’t merely lose it, missed field goal or not.
This week’s player who Proved He’s Worth the Hype is the new NCAA record holder for total offense, Houston quarterback Case Keenum. Keenum threw for 376 yards on 24-of-28 passing with six touchdown passes. He needed 130 yards to pass former Hawaii quarterback Timmy Chang, who amassed 16,910 yards in his career with the Warriors. Keenum set the record in the first quarter of the Cougars’ win over Marshall. He now has 17,173 yards in his career. He threw no interceptions in the win, and was not sacked.
The New Household Name this week is Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege. What a way to burst onto the national scene. Doege completed 33 of his 52 pass attempts (63.5% completion) for 441 yards and four touchdowns. He even ran one in himself. He did not throw an interception. The Red Raiders passing offense is third in the country, still employing much of the same prolific passing attack installed under Mike Leach. The Tech offense was effective moving the ball on the ground, too, adding 120 rushing yards to the total. Tech has lost only twice this year—to Texas A&M and undefeated Kansas State—by a combined 12 points. They sit 5-2 overall and 2-2 in the Big 12 with matchups against Iowa State, Texas, Oklahoma State, Missouri and Baylor remaining.
We have football from Tuesday to Saturday this week.
Tuesday, October 25
- Troy @ FIU, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN2
Wednesday, October 26
- Connecticut @ Pittsburgh, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN
Thursday, October 27
- Rice @ Houston, 8:00 PM ET
- Virginia @ Miami, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN
Friday, October 28
- BYU @ TCU, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN
Saturday, October 29
- Michigan State @ Nebraska, TBA
- Illinois @ Penn State, TBA
- Missouri @ Texas A&M, 12:00 PM ET, FX
- Purdue @ Michigan, 12:00 PM ET
- Oklahoma @ Kansas State, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN
- Baylor @ Oklahoma State, 3:30 PM ET, ABC/ESPN2
- West Virginia @ Rutgers, 3:30 PM ET, ABC
- Georgia vs. Florida (neutral site), 3:30 PM ET, CBS
- Wake Forest @ North Carolina, 3:30 PM ET, ESPNU
- South Carolina @ Tennessee, 7:15 PM ET
- Wisconsin @ Ohio State, 8:00 PM ET
- Clemson @ Georgia Tech, 8:00 PM ET
- Stanford @ USC, 8:00 PM ET, ABC
- Arizona @ Washington, 10:30 PM ET