Here's what this weekend taught me. Kansas State is better than I thought. Texas is worse than I thought. I was right about Oregon. Boise State still doesn't deserve National Championship consideration...and should focus on kicking more than trick plays.
Now, where does that leave us?
- LSU - I thought there might be some hangover from the Alabama game, and there certainly was. The Tigers had only a 14-7 lead over Western Kentucky (is this even a FBS school?) at half, and 21-9 after the safety. But the LSU offense put up 28 in the 2nd half to make it look more like a blowout...though it really wasn't. At Ole Miss next week, then home for the Boot matchup against Arkansas. And finally an SEC Championship against (probably) South Carolina. The road to the Title isn't easy.
- Alabama - It sure didn't take long to get the Tide back into title contention thanks to Stanford and Boise State dropping off. Like their recent superiors in Louisiana, there was a slow start Saturday night as Alabama only held a 7-0 lead into halftime.. But also like LSU, Bama put up enough in the 2nd half to pull away from Mississippi State. Trent Richardson needed more carries than usual to get to his typical 100+ yards, but next week should be a cake-walk. The Iron Bowl in 2 weeks is another story.
- Oregon - Ever since the loss to LSU to start the year, Oregon has been fighting an uphill battle to get some respect back. They did that last night by putting on a better-than-expected defensive effort against one of the Heisman front runners, Andrew Luck. The commentators did their best to promote LaMichael James as a legit Heisman candidate too, but it might be too-little, too-late for James. But Oregon can't stop now with USC coming to town next week and then the annual "Civil War" with in-state rival Oregon State followed by the new Pac-12 Championship game. Don't count the Ducks out in the title hunt for a rematch with LSU.
- Oklahoma State - Yes, I realize they are #2 for everyone else, but after a blowout over nobody (Texas Tech), I'm still waiting for the big showdown with Oklahoma. This team could have scored 100 if they wanted to this week. If they beat the Sooners, they will be where they are supposed to be at the end of the year, and I have no problem jumping Bama and Oregon during mediocre wins if OkState can pull of the surprise victory.
- Oklahoma - Once again I'm jumping a team that was idle up 2 spots in the polls. But when Boise goes down and Stanford loses as bad as they did, whatcha gonna do?
- Stanford - Andrew Luck had his luck run out this week. It was a home game for the Cardinal too, but I called this one a few weeks back. Too many turnovers by Stanford, and Oregon capitalized every time. Maybe they can still claim a Heisman Trophy if Luck can pad some stats against Cal and Notre Dame. Looks like it will not be a return trip to the Rose Bowl unless Oregon sneaks into the National Championship come January.
- Arkansas - Destroyed Tennessee to put the Vols in position for their worse SEC record ever. LSU is gonna be worn down after all these big games. Can the Razorbacks pull of a major upset Thanksgiving weekend?
- Virginia Tech - A Thursday night matchup at Georgia Tech was a good test, but with the bye week to prepare, the Hokies got the job done with a strong offensive output...something not seen in recent weeks. Barring some wild upsets in the final 2 weeks of the regular season, it should be a rematch with the Clemson Tigers for the ACC Championship and a spot in the Orange Bowl.
- Clemson - This was a nail-biter for Tiger fans in South Carolina. Clemson dominated in yardage almost 2 to 1, but gave up 3 turnovers that almost did them in. Wake scored 21 points in just over 4 minutes in the 3rd quarter, but Clemson has proved to be a closer all year and did so again with 17 unanswered points including the game-winning field goal as time expired. Clemson also punched their ticket to the ACC Championship with the win and will likely have to beat Virginia Tech for the 2nd time this year to prove their worth.
- Boise State - For the 2nd year in a row, Boise starts the season in the top 5 and waits patiently for everyone else to falter in hopes of an unlikely shot at the National Championship, only to have their hopes dashed by an errant field goal against a sub-par conference foe late in the season. Last year it was Nevada in overtime on the road. This year it was at home game against TCU and even a new kicker. TCU scored with just over a minute left, and kicking the PAT would have tied the game and sent it to overtime. Instead, they went for 2, and a broken tackle at the goal line gave the Frogs a 1-point lead. Kellen Moore led the Broncos to the TCU 22-yard line with 3 seconds left. But wide right as time expired, and that's all she wrote.
- South Carolina
- Michigan State
- Kansas State
- Penn State
- Southern Miss
- West Virginia
- Florida State
- Notre Dame
Watch for a Bowl Projections Post later this week.