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Sunday, October 23, 2011

No One Is Safe - Top 25 (9/23/11)

That's really all that needs to be said about the end of the Wisconsin v. Michigan State game. In case you weren't watching, the Badgers jumped out to an early lead before Russell Wilson made the first few "bad" decisions I've seen this year out of the N.C. St. transplant, including an interception and a safety from intentional grounding. MSU carried that momentum into the 2nd half and led by 14 with about 11 minutes left in the game. But Wisconsin fought back, and tied things up with just 90 seconds left. The Spartans tried to get into FG range, but the final drive sputtered after a Kirk Cousins fumble brought up 2nd & 21. He then completed a mid-range pass bringing up 3rd & 6 when suddenly everything changed...

Wisconsin apparently has Les Miles on speed-dial for clock management advice, and they called a timeout with about 30 seconds left in regulation. READ THAT LAST PART AGAIN. Wisconsin called a defensive timeout with 30 seconds left, near midfield, on 3rd & 6. (Did the Badgers really think they could go the length of the field in 10 seconds with 1 timeout if their plan had worked and they were able to stop Mich State again on 3rd down?) Of course Cousins converted the 1st down on the next play thanks to the timeout instead of probably letting the clock run out and taking their chances in overtime. So it comes down to basically a Hail Mary pass from midfield. Coaches always tell their kids to "knock it down" (or maybe that's just the commentators), but I hate that mentality. All you're doing is teaching your players how not to catch the ball....which is their natural instinct. Wisconsin Sophomore WR Jared Abbrederis went up in the air at the goal line and probably could have made the interception to end the game, but instead flailed and swatted to no avail. The football pinballed around and into the hands of Keith Nichol around the 1 yard line. Nichol fought for the goal line and leaned across. The call on the field was that he was stopped 6 inches short, but the replay looked like he leaned over the line, and the officials confirmed a TD. And these guys could meet again in 6 weeks for the Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis. Wild.

Now let's talk about everyone else.

  1. Alabama - Bama struggled today as well, but find themselves atop my poll for the first time this year. It was a 6-6 game against the Tennessee Volunteer at halftime in Tuscaloosa before the Tide got rolling (see what I did there?) in the 3rd quarter. We didn't really see the huge stats from Trent Richardson and AJ McCarron today, but Alabama is still undefeated and now my new #1.
  2. LSU - The Tigers also had a rough start today against SEC rival Auburn before two big 40-yard TD passes just before halftime sparked life into the Bayou Bengals. Louisiana State maintained form in the 2nd half and put away last year's champs. This sets up a huge #1 v #2 matchup in Alabama in 2 weeks (both schools have the bye next week).
  3. Stanford - Jumps happen. Andrew Luck didn't have to do much as the top 3 Cardinal running backs combined for almost 350 yards on the ground and 4TDs. I thought Washington would put up a bigger fight, but apparently their #25 ranking in the AP and #22 in the Coach's poll was a bit generous (they weren't in my top 25....not after Nebraska hung 50 points on them)
  4. Boise State - Another top team that had a scare as Air Force took the Broncos late into the 4th quarter in Boise before Kellen Moore drove his team into FG range in the final minutes to go up 11. I didn't watch much of this game since it was on during Nebraska, but being featured on Versus on a Saturday should help the national recognition. Sadly they will probably not move in the BCS rankings.
  5. Oregon - Stomped Colorado. Colorado is bad, but Oregon is still really good. Even without LaMichael James. Colorado controlled the clock and only had 1 turnover, but Oregon ran wild, racking up 370 yards on the ground by committee. Oregon is still really, really good.
  6. Oklahoma State - Didn't quite have the scare that some of the other top 10 teams did, but Missouri looked like they would hang around for a while. In the end, OSU was too much and now finds themselves in the catbird seat for a National Title. The schedule isn't too bad, and the LSU v Alabama matchup and Stanford Oregon matchup will result in at least 2 more spots gained in my poll (they're already top 5 in the "real" polls). And Boise just can't compete with the strength of schedule of the BCS conferences.
  7. Clemson - The Clemson Tigers also had a battle on their hands for the first 30 minutes. But as they've done a few weeks in a row, the 3rd quarter and 2nd half in general was dominated by the ACC squad from South Carolina. Next up is previously ranked Georgia Tech who got knocked out by Miami. But this game is in Georgia and could spell trouble for the last unbeaten from the ACC.
  8. Arkansas - As much as it pains me to put the Razorbacks up here, I can't justify Oklahoma falling only to 8 while Arkansas squeaked out a win over Mississippi. The hogs trailed until only a few minutes left in the 3rd quarter. If they have the same trouble against Vandy next week, they will get jumped.
  9. Oklahoma - Maybe it was the 90 minute weather delay or maybe they were just overhyped, but I never thought the Sooners would struggle against Texas Tech. 400 yards, 5TDs, and a 2nd half rally was not enough for Landry Jones and Oklahoma as they were matched for 400 yards and 4TDs by the Red Raiders. Maybe they should have taken extra precaution considering all the other close games from early in the day. It's not over for the Sooners, but this will be hard to recover from this year.
  10. Virginia Tech - Boston College always plays tough against the Beamer Hokies. And though the Golden Eagles orchestrated a strong opening drive, Va Tech was in control throughout most of the match. The schedule from now through the ACC Championship looks very favorable, but don't count out next week's game at Duke who has been hit or miss throughout the season. If all goes accordingly, it could be a Virginia Tech vs. Clemson showdown in Charlotte on December 3.
  11. Michigan State
  12. Wisconsin
  13. Nebraska
  14. South Carolina
  15. Michigan
  16. Texas A&M
  17. Kansas State
  18. Penn State
  19. Houston
  20. Texas Tech
  21. West Virginia
  22. Cincinnati (I guess?)
  23. Arizona State
  24. Georgia
  25. Georgia Tech
Heisman Efforts:
Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma - 400+ yards, 5TDs in loss against Texas Tech
Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson - 350+ yards, 6TDs (1 rush) in win against North Carolina
Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama - 100 all-purpose yards, 2TDs in win against Tennessee
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