Weekend 3 Wrap-Up
Posted By:Brett Haynes - Greenville, SC Tags:
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Another exciting Saturday of football went down yesterday, and once again there were upsets, heartbreaks and big wins. Here is a look around the college football world after the third weekend...
Cal 35, Minnesota 21 - Well after a USC loss and a Cal victory on the road, the Bears are suddenly the left coast team to beat! UCLA is also making noise, but Cal - at 3-0 - is now the highest-ranked team in the Pac-10, possibly cracking the top five this week. The Bears went into TCF Bank Stadium in Minnesota and defeated the Gophers in just the second game to ever be played at the new facility. Running back Jahvid Best had 132 yards and scored five - yes five - touchdowns in the win.
This game was actually tied, though, heading into the final quarter of play thanks to Gopher wide-out Eric Decker who caught eight passes for 119 yards and two td catches and also threw a td. Minnesota put up a good fight in their new place, but Cal pulled way with two fourth quarter scores to put them away. Cal now has a critical three-game stertch. They next play at Oregon, then host USC before traveling to UCLA, as they look to climb closer into the national championship picture.
VT 16, Nebraska 15- I watched this game, but I watched it in a loud, crowded bar and didn't get to analyze it the way I would have liked. But it did seem like a good, hard-fought defensive based game. There were 343 total yards gained for Nebraska on the day while the Hokies got 278. But the Hokies got 80 of those yards when they needed it the most - the final minutes of the game. Tyrod Taylor hit Danny Coale down the sideline to put VT in position for the winning score, which came via an 11 yard pass from Taylor to Dyrelle Roberts with 21 seconds left. The points were just enough to hold off the Huskers.
If you are a Nebraska fan, you do not accept moral victories. But as a person who is not a die-hard Husker fan, I can look at this game and tell you right now that the Huskers are getting closer to being in the top-10. To me, Alabama is a true top-5, elite team. And VT played Alabama a heck of a game three weeks ago deep into the 4th quarter then Tide's depth showed through. So based on that game, I feel VT is a true top-10 team, worthy of that ranking. And so for Nebraska to travel 1,600 miles and play a 4-quarter, down to the wire game with a top-10 team on the road, I feel they are going to win quite a few football games this season and challenge for the Big-12 title.
For Virginia Tech, this was a huge win. Frank Beamer has spent years and years trying to get - and keep - his team at the top level of the game. And while the Hokies are just short of the national title level, they prove with this win that they are a legit top-10 team. The ACC also needed a high-profile win such as this one. While Nebraska isn't an elite team, the name itself commands respect and Bo Pelini is building a solid team in the Mid-west. This was a very big win for VT.
Washington 16, USC 13 - The Trojans are a lot like Brittany Spears."Oops I did it again" could be their battle cry as once again, for the fifth time in six years, USC lost to an un-ranked Pac-10 opponent, probably knocking them from real national title talk. Although I think Pete Carroll is one of the top coaches in the game, you must wonder if he just forgets to motivate his team from time to time. How many times can this happen? Or better question: Is USC just way over-rated? I try to make them my national title pick every year, and every year they fall to a team like Washington, Oregon State or Stanford. Just strange. Kudos to the Huskies for playing hard, having a good game-plan, and getting the win. Crazy.
Cincinnati 28, Oregon State 18 - It is tough to say how good Oregon State is, but I know one thing: they aren't as good as Cincinnati! The Bearcats went into their house in Corvallis and won rathr easily. Cincinnati has now destroyed Rutgers on the road, put 70 points on SE Missouri State, and now beaten the Beavers in a road game far away. This team can play, and Head Coach Brian Kelly is going to have some serious job offerings in his future.
FSU 54, BYU 28 - Like dcomitch and a few others predicted, FSU went out to Utah and whipped BYU up and down the field. FSU played with a chip on their shoulder, and rightfully so. They were devastated afer the Miami loss. Simply crushed. And so to play Jacksonville State in the rain the next weekend would indeed be hard to get u for. I dont care what you preach, that is just a hard game to get up for, and so they didnt and almost slipped. ANd then they had to hear all of the crap about how they sucked because they were 1-1 and nearly lost jacksonville State. What I am horribly attempting to get at is that FSU played that game with a purpose, with a point to prove. BYU the national number 7? No way, not coming from a team that spent two decades in the top-5.... The Noles are dangerous. Look at what Miami is doing, and this Nole team is with them step for step...
Auburn 41, West Virginia 30 - Don't look now, but The Top Fan's pick of Auburn being a surprise team is happening! You could see this comg from a mile away. Gene Chizik came in with a chip on his shoulder, and this quality coach has his first Tiger team off to a 3-0 start after a big win over the Mountaineers. I'm guessing those same idiots that greeted him at the airport with boos upon his hiring were also in the stands high-fiving when the Tigers amasses xxx yards of offense and 41 points to defeat a team that beat them last year. I'mnot saying Auburn is going to challenge for the natinal-title. But what I am saying is that this team is much better than people realize. Chizik can coach, and he is proving it right now.
Florida 23, Tennessee 13 - Well, it wasn't as bad as we thought it would be, and I have to give some props to UT. A loss is a loss, and if you would have told the Vol community a ten years ago that they would be somewhat pleased after losing by ten points to hated Florida, they would have punched you in the nose. But as many expected an all-out massacre to go down in the Swamp, a good effort by UT kept it close. Tennessee still needs to work on some things, but if nothing else, they showed some real fight. The Gators showed in this game that they are college football's number one team, but also that they aren't invincible. I see them losing a game or two this year.
Oregon 31, Utah 24 - After a rough start in Boise, Oregon has now won two straight, and Utah lost for the first tme in their last 16 games and 22 months. After opening up a 21-7 halftime lead, the Utes stormed back with 17 points in the third quarter. It wasn't enough and the Ducks and running back LaMichael James (27 rushes, 152 yards, td) get the win.
Notre Dame 33, Michigan State 30 - I have to give credit where it is due, and today it is due to the Irish. They came back and scored the game's deciding points with five minutes to go, and then held on for the win. Jimmy Clausen found Golden Tate I'm not going to go into Weis' coaching status at the moment, there is a lot of football left to be played, and at 2-1 Notre Dame could be in worse shape. They now travel to Purdue to face an average Boilermaker team. Michigan State has two weeks in a row fallen via a late td pass. Last week Central Michigan burned them. MSU now faces Wisconsin on the road. Oddly enough, the Spartans had won the previous six meetings at Notre Dame Stadium.
Georgia 52, Arkansas 41 - I missed this one - just flat out missed it. I have a lot of respect for Araksnasa as year in and year out they are a dang solid football team. And with Joe Cox not exactly impressing me in his first road outing (a ten point performance in a loss to Oklahoma State), I thought the Hogs would beat the Dawgs. Nope. Cox proved me wrong by leading Georgia to over 50 points. He wen 18 of 26 for 375 yards and 5 scores in the win. The D still gave up 41, which makes 78 points in two weeks for them, but UGA is now 2-1 and has won two games in a row.
South Carolina 38, FAU 16 - The Gamecocks put a real good scare into the home crowd at Williams-Brice Stadium, leading the lowly Owls just 17-16 at halftime. But a 21 point third quarter put all of those worries to rest as USC pulled away and then surrendered zero second half points. It would be hard not to have been looking ahead if you are a Gamecock. Thursday night, top-5 Mississippi comes to town, and I really think South Carolina will defeat them. I will do a big preview on this game and have it up Wednesday afternoon.
Texas 34, Texas Tech 24 - Texas remains unbeaten and the top challenger to Florida at this point in the hunt for the national title (with a few others). Colt McCoy and the 'Horns got redemption from last year's loss that kept Texas for playing for a title. As expected, TTU and their new quarterback, Taylor Potts, lit up the skies all night long. They didn't win in the end, but they kept the game close and exciting. Potts slung it 62 times last night, completing 46 of them. In the end hea had 420 yards and three touchdwon passes, but it was not enough. A University of Texas record crowd of over 101,000 folks took in this game.
And finally the Clemson report.....
Clemson 25, Boston College 7 - Sometimes there are just ugly games, and this was one of them. In the rain (and apparently lighting), this game had interceptions, fumbles, penalties and weather delays. It was just one of those games that isn't going to jump out in your mind in ten years as a great game to remember. But in the end, if you are a Clemson fan, you simply take the "W" in the ACC Atlantic standings, and you move on. You focus on the positives in the game, such as that kicker Richard Jackson had 6 field goals in the win, tying a school record.
The saving grace for those wearing orange did in fact, ironically, come in the form of lighting - CJ Spiller. He had a 77-yard punt return in the first quarter that sparked the soaking wet crowd to life and energized the Tiger defense. He also had many nice runs both between the tackles and outside on the way to 219 all-purpose yards. In just three games, Spiller has a kick-off return, a punt return, and a touchdown catch. He is a running back and the only thing missing so far is a rushing td! The guy is flat-out a top-notch college football player, and if he stays healthy will keep the Tigers in most every game. He is a differnce maker, and there is no other way to put it. When he was recruited out of high-school as a five-star running back, I knew he would be exciting. He has been better than I have ever hoped he would be.
Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker, who played so solidly against GT on the road last week, struggled a bit against BC. Again, the weather conditions were off, but some of his throws were very telepathed, and he seemed a bit shaky in the pocket compared to normal. He was even yanked from the game at one-point and replaced briefly by jinxed Clemson back up Willy Korn, who lost 8 yards on his first three plays, and later had a running back fumble on his other possession. I am not sure if he played any more than that I was in and out of the stands many times due to the weather delays. I am a big Dabo Swinney fan, but Coach Swinney needs to leave Korn on the sideline with a clip-board in his hands, in my opinion. Korn is a great kid, and a very quality young man to have on your team, but for some reason he is cursed at CU, and Parker is our number one. You go with your number one at all times in big situations, and having Korn in the game when the game was still a close game is questionable to me.
The Clemson defense again is proving to be a solid unit. After giving up just 16 offensive points to GT, the Tigers held Boston College to seven points and just 55 yards for the day. Up front, Ricky Sapp and DeQuan Bowers are really coming forward as great Tiger defenders. and I cannot say enough about the play of DeAndre McDaniel in the secondary. The guy was in on seemigly every tackle yesterday, and delivered exciting plays all day long. The Tiger defense forced BC into three interceptions and had 9 tackles for loss.
Next up for the Tigers is a big home date with top-15 TCU. the Frogs will offer a stiff test for the Tigers, but also a chance to jump back into the top-25. Clemson should have a positive attitude and a, air of excitement to play a high-ranked team such as TCU. The loss to GT hurt, but even with an early conference loss, the Tigers are still perfectly alive in the ACC Atlantic division race and a win this weekned could also get them back in the national picture just a bit.
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