Sep 13

A HUGE Weekend

Posted By:Brett Haynes - Greenville, SC  Tags:

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Photo: by US Presswire

Four stadiums were filled to over 100,000 people, and another three stadiums were over 90,000 fans as the second weekend brought us several monster games. The economy may be bad, but college football fans sure aren't sacrificing their tickets! The second week of college football brought more exciting action. There were upsets and classic matchups, and a talk (now) about why Florida feels they have to play the early schedule they play.
USC 18, Ohio State 15 - This game was electric from the start. I haven't seen the Horseshoe at night that much, and with great camera angles by ABC, the stadium really was a site to behold. This was college football at its absloute top-level as two top-10 teams steeped in history played before 106,033 people. The story was about the two young quarterbacks and how they would fare against the others highly-touted defenses. Freshman Matt Barkley at USC finished 15 of 31 for 195 and 1 td in the win. Ohio State sophomore Terrell Pryor finished 11 for 25 for 177 and 1 td in the loss. The key moment came when USC had to drive 95 yards for the score. With 2nd and 19 at their own 5, the Trojans covered the distance in a combination of Barkley and junior phenom tailback Joe McKnight (105 total offensive yards). They scored with a minute to go to win the game. It was more big-game heartbreak for Ohio State against out-of-conference foes.
Michigan 38, Notre Dame 34 - What a day of football. If OSU-USC was the main course, the Irish and the Wolverines were some kind of appetizer! Another 105,000 plus folks crammed into the Big House to see the two winningest programs ever (percentage-wise) bang helmets. This crowd was equally electric, and the back and forth game reminded me a bit of the FSU-Miami war from Monday night. You could feel the intensity in this game as both teams were laying it all on the line every play and coaches were using every play that they could dig up. On a "statue of liberty" play (see Boise State vs. Oklahoma 2005 Fiesta Bowl), ND's highly talked about quarterback Jimmy Clausen gets the ball to running back Armando Allen, who took it in for what appeared to be the winner. Michigan, however, has a quarterback of its own in Tate Forcier. He played an awesome game in leading UM to the victory (23 of 33 for 240 yards and 2 scores tds). Focier is that intangible that will lead UM to getting back on the right track. For Charlie Weis, the hot-seat just got officially plugged in.
Georgia 41, South Carolina 37 - "Wrong". That is the word all of us college football know-it-alls should use when asked how we got the style of game predicted between these two. Everyone and their annoying girlfriends were picking this to be a defensive struggle. By half-time there were 54 points scored. By game's end, the teams had racked up 78 points and 735 yards. UGA held on and scored a bit more, but the Gamecocks showed promise in the loss. Stephen Garcia performed at a high level after a mediocre season opener. He was 31 of 53 for 313 yards and 2 tds and looked confident. The Cocks should use this game as a springboard into the rest of the season, remembering that this team has serious potential on both sides of the ball.  UGA now travels to Arkansas in what is another tough game as it looks to get back above .500. Joe Cox wasn't remarkable, but steady. He finished 17 of 24 for 201 yards and 2 scores, as well. This may have been the most exciting game of the day as it came down to just one play in the end. Hours of sheer excitement via big-plays all over the place left the Gamecocks with one play from the 7-yard line for the win. With :22 seconds left, Garcia's pass was batted away, and UGA took over on downs. South Carolina can heal its wounds as it hosts Florida Atlantic in Williams-Brice Stadium next week.
UCLA 19, Tennessee 15 - This game was just another sold-out ass-rowdy game between two teams both looking to right the ship. Neyland Stadium was a colorful scene as the gold and powder blue of the Bruins filled pockets of a sea of orange. Some 103,000 piled in tosee this game, and it was a doozie. The two teams scored just enough between excellent defensive play to make this game very fun to watch. Tennessee forced a safety late to get the ball back and down just four points. However they could not do anything with it and UCLA escaped Knoxville with the win. They beat UT in back to back seasons.

Central Michigan 29, Michigan State 27 - Many on this site called it, but unfortunatly I was not one of them. The Chippewas, led by quarterback Dan LeFevour, went into Michgan State and upset the Spartans. LeFevour was a buzz on our message boards this past week, and he lived up to the hype. He went 33 of 46 for 328 yards and a score. Central rallied for 16 points in the final quarter for the upset win. 
Oklahoma State Upset - Houston 45, Oklahoma State 35. Well, just when you think you have it on cruise control, this happens. We have seen it so many times in college football; a team wins a huge game early, and then slips right after to a team they should have beaten. Houston has a fine team, and played a fantastic game - heck they won by ten points! My hat is off to them for going into Stillwater and winning that game. It will be interesting to see how far the Cowboys fall when the poll comes out.
ACC Avoids Absolute Disaster, Wins 8 -At one point during the day, it looked as if the ACC was flirting with the worst weekend it could possibly ever have dreamed up. Four teams were losing to teams that were not exactly powerhouses. But, by night's end, all four managed to get it together and win their games. North Carolina beat Uconn, Florida State beat Jacksonville State, Maryland beat James Madison, and Wake Forest ended up beaing Stanford. Boston College won big over Kent State, so a horrid looking day actually produced eight wins. Duke beat Army 35-19 early in the day, NC State put 65 on Murray State (great), and VT beat Marshall 52-10. The lone loss of the day came as TCU beat UVA in Charlottesville, 30-14.
Oregon Back on Track - The Ducks of Oregon pulled one out over Purdue, and I was glad to see them get the win. Losing to Boise State was one thing, but getting your team a bad national image by way of one player's actions was another. I hope the Ducks can put together a good season and get this stupid thing about that running back behind them. I didn't even want to mention his name (I hope the guy at Boise State still has a hurt jaw, too).
Florida's Schedule - Ok, this article wasn't even going to go here. But after seeing what the Gators have done to their first two opponents, one must wonder why they even play those games. I know, I know, I know I know; Troy and Charleston Southern both got checks for going to the Swamp. I know. But they also got t-total embararrased and I don't care what anybody says, a 56-6 game helps nobody. Yes, they play an SEC schedule and need a warm-up game or two. Well guess what? Alabama and Tennessee didn't take that approach as they played Virginia Tech and UCLA respectively. Even South Carolina went on the road and played in front of 67,000 opposing fans in a defensive struggle at NC State. These games are scheduled way in advance, and yes the other team getting beat down can use the money for facilites or whatever. But if the Gators are the country's premier team, they need to play a solid out of conference opponent before getting into SEC play. Everyone is doing it now in all leagues.

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