Tigers Still Alive, National Recap
Posted By:Brett Haynes Tags:
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The college football world saw some upsets yesterday as Iowa and Oregon and Notre Dame all went down. But one upset that didn't happen was in Clemson, where the Tigers took care of business against Florida State, 40-24, to stay in the driver's seat of the ACC Atlantic. Clemson is seeking its first ever berth in the ACC Championship game. Alabama was another team that avoided the upset, playing tough to beat LSU and securing their shot to take on Florida in the SECCG.
It was the weekend of upsets in the college football world. The three teams mentioned above - along with Penn State - all fell to unranked teams. Northwestern, Navy and Stanford provided the shakeup that has happened in this week's poll. Penn State fell victim to a more expectant opponent in Ohio State, but that, too, was an upset. It seems that in the past few weeks everyone from ESPN's crew to our fans on Fans25 have been talking about how Oregon is one of the best teams in the land. One must wonder if we all know very little or if Stanford is better than we give them credit for.
Alabama. In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the Crimson Tide played a hard-fought game with LSU. This game is most always a defensive struggle, and this year was just a little different - as I predicted. While defense was still the theme of the game (7-3, LSU, at halftime), the two teams did provide just enough points to keep it entertaining. A 24-15 Bama win gives them the SEC West, and secures them a berth in the SEC Championship game in December. They still must play two more SEC games, but have mathematically secured their ticket to Atlanta.
Notre Dame. In South Bend, things are going to get ugly after the home team just got beat at home by Navy, 23-21. Now hold on a minute before thinking I am about to bash the Irish. I am not. In fact I kinda like ND. As the owner of this site, it helps me to have ND doing well as they are good for chatter. So with that said, I hope this loss comes as a blessing in disguise for the Irish. They are obviously not a very good football team in year five under Charlie Weis. Personally, I find him hard to listen to and look at, and I think Notre Dame deserves a much better face for its football program, no pun intended at all. Notre Dame needs a new coach - period. Whether Urban Meyer takes on the challenge, or ND finds someone else out there, it needs to happen. There is too much history, loyalty and passion at that school to have a team that is losing to Navy.
Oregon. What in the world happened here?! I mean, yes, I know the Ducks are going to give up some points sometimes, but I though for sure that 41 points would give them a win over freakin' Stanford. Like I said above, either Stanford is under-rated, or that Oregon defense needs some serious help. 52 points is a gargantuan amount of points, and it came against a so called top-10 team. I like the Duck offense a lot, but top level football is all about defense, and the Ducks are in bad shape there apparently. I am not trying to call out Oregon here because they were just on a nice winning streak, but this is why we need a playoff. A true national champion will not give up 52 points to anyone, and Oregon was getting outside national title talk by many folks across the media.
Iowa. Boy, talk about your team MVP. Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi got the Hawks into the end zone less than a minute into the game in what looked like a game that was going to go Iowa's way from the start. But then he got hurt in the 2nd quarter, and back up James Vandenberg could not lead the team to any more points. Northwestern managed 17 of their own, and the upset of the day went down. You cannot really blame the Hawkeye defense here as 10 points really isnt that many to give up (Stanzi gave up 7 on the play he was injured). But sometimes when freak things happen like injuries, the defense must find a way to shut the door against a much lesser opponent. Instead, they gave up some points, and the offense was anemic. Now, Iowa must concentrate on beating Ohio State or this dream season may not even see them win their conference.
Clemson. The Tigers were all but out of the ACC race if you went back four weeks to a loss to a lowly Maryland team. At 1-2 in the ACC, and the likes of Miami, Wake and FSU still on the conference slate, Clemson was feeling that 2009 was a wash and that the program may have made a bad move in hiring in-experienced Dabo Swinney. But if you fast-forward back to today, things are looking up to put it lightly. 19 unanswered points in the 4th quarter put FSU away, 40-24, and Clemson is the clear division leader in the ACC Atlantic. Yes, the Tigers are still extremely capable of blowing this opportunity to win their division as they must beat two more conference foes. However, this team is playing very good football right now as is riding a four game winning streak, and the next two opponents are teams they will be favored substantially over. The Tigers have a combination of a Heisman caliber player on offense in CJ Spiller, and a defense that features the ACC's top defensive line and the nation's leader in interceptions (8) at safety in DeAndre McDaniel.
Nebraska. If ever a program needed a big win, it was Bo Pelini and his Husker team. The "black shirts," as the Nebraska defense is called, stepped up to the plate in a HUGE way, limiting the Sooners to just 3 points, but oddly 325 yards. Landry Jones was in at quarterback for injured Sam Bradford, and threw five interceptions. Three of those picks went to one guy - Matt O'Hanlon. Zach Lee of Nebraska attempted just nine passes in this defensive struggle. The Huskers managed just 180 yards for the game, but got the points when they had to. Coach Pelini said after the game that this was one of his biggest ever wins to be a part of. As I have said before, it is terrible that these two schools do not meet every season. A trip to Kansas is up next, and then a show down with Kansas State in Lincoln to likely decide the Big 12 North.
Ohio State. The Buckeys have now climbed right back into the Big 10 championship picture with an Iowa loss to Northwestern combined with their big road win over Penn State. Now, they get to host the Hawkeyes this coming weekend in what will surely be an unbelievably electric atmoshpere in Columbus. When Terrell Pryor is playing well, OSU is hard to stop. In this game - in a very hostile environment - he went 8 for 17 for 125 yards and two scores as OSU scored in each quarter. Penn State and LSU were my top 1-loss teams, and they both lost this weekend.
South Carolina. With Clemson winning, and South Carolina losing, one probably thinks I am on here having fun bashing my rival. That is hardly the case. South Carolina is a program that also deserves a better coach. Steve Spurrier, in my opinion, has done little to improve the level of play in Columbia. There are many, many talented young coaches, and I believe South Carolina is going to need to start scoping one out. A tie game at the half, Spurrier was outcoached 23-6 in the second half. That my friends is one team making adjustments, and the other team not. On a two-game skid and with Florida and Clemson ahead, another win will be tough for the Gamecocks.
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