Ten Things from Week Four
Posted By:Wes Mewbourne Tags:
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1. Heisman Race All Twisted
Denard Robinson went out with a knee injury against Bowling Green, but not before this play. Ryan Mallet took a few steps back against Alabama with three clutch interceptions. Case Keenum is gone for the season after last week's injury against UCLA. Don't look now, but the top two contenders might just be Kellen Moore from Boise State and Andrew Luck from Stanford. Don't rule out last year's winner Mark Ingram (Alabama) or the defensive player du jour Patrick Peterson (LSU). Terelle Pryor is still in the mix, and Denard Robinson could still come back this week. Sit tight cause it's gonna be a bumpy ride.
2. Boise Wins Again (but will it matter?)
The Broncos have done everything that's been asked of them this year. They started by traveling across the country to beat Virginia Tech and two weeks later they host - and beat - Oregon State. Later on, they will play a Nevada team that is ranked for the first time since 1948. Yet the more they win, the more other teams seem to overshadow them. It's a shame, really, since they have built the most successful team in the last 4 years. In that span, they have only lost 4 games. Sure you could argue the whole schedule thing, but the fact reamains that all bowl games are a glorified scrimmage and the only on that really matters is the National Championship. Since Boise has built the brand, they should be afforded the opportunity to defend it on the sport's biggest stage. Alas, by the time anyone reads this, their schedule, and their team, will be fading from the collective memories of the pollsters.
3. Auburn Owns the Palmetto State
After a grueling dogfight on The Plains last week against Clemson, Auburn played host to South Carolina. In what looked to be a hangover loss, a the Gamecocks jumped out to a 20-7 lead, the Tigers fought back to force four turnovers in the second half en route to a 35-27 upset. Cam Newton was superb in the running game, but once again didn't hit 200 yards in the air. He didn't need to, though, since the Auburn defense snagged four turnovers in the fourth quarter to help give them a lead they wouldn't lose. The offense got closer to the goal of 80 plays (OC Gus Malzahn said last week if they could reach that number, then they would have a good chance to win), but ultimately it was the defense that came through when it needed. They will use this week's game against LA-Monroe to rest up before going to Kentucky and hosting Arkansas and LSU the following three weeks.
4. Big Trouble in the Big Twelve?
The three-headed monster of Nebraska, Texas and Oklahoma went a collective 2-1 against UCLA, Cincinatti and South Dakota State. Texas was drubbed by 22 at home to UCLA. The Huskers and Sooners won by a combined margin of 16 points to teams with a combined record of 1-6 (the lone win was Cincy over FCS Indiana State a week ago). Not exactly the showings we expected a week from Red River and two weeks from the revenge game of the year, especially if one of the three want to play for all the marbles in Glendale.
5. Shout Out to the PAC-10
As of the latest polls, they now have four legitimate top 20 teams - all undefeated. Sure one of them is USC, which is banned from post-season play, but Oregon, Stanford, and Arizona have all proven quite impressive thus far. Whichever of the three can win that round robin will have a nice spot in Pasadena waiting on them. This week, the Ducks play host to the Cardinal (one of the few schols whose nickname doesn't end in 'S') in what could be the bigest game in the PAC-10 this year. That is, until the winner plays the Wildcats...
6. Goodness, Big Ten
Space it out a little, guys. The Big Ten is tied for a national best six undefeated teams, but none of them have played a conference game. This past weekend, they played a schedule that included such juggernauts as Austin Peay and North Colorado. Their foes, as a conference, were a combined 16-24. Two of them (Temple and Toledo) had winning records. Toledo actually upset Purdue, while Temple almost gave JoePa and Co. their worst defeat in 50+years. I'm not against playing cupcakes at all - I am a fan in the SEC afterall. All I'm saying is space it out through the season a bit more. Give your conference a few good matchups each week so you're relevant week in and week out.
Cincy lost a fumble (and a touchdown early), muffed a punt to give OU a td and still almost pulled it out. Texas had 5 turnovers in a 22 rout at the hands of UCLA. Arkansas threw interceptions each of the last two times they had the ball, and once before in the endzone. Temple threw an interception and fumbled on their last two possessions in a potential upset in Happy Valley. Long story short, you can't win if you don't take care of the football. Period. It's a lesson that not everyone learns, I guess, because everywhere you looked, teams were giving the ball away. WIth the heart of conference play at hand, it will be interesting to see how teams continue to play.
8. Curious Call
About halfway through the third quarter, the UAB Blazers were in the middle of mounting their biggest road comeback. They lined up for a field goal, down 23-15 to Tennessee, and coach Neil Calloway called a timeout - to challenge that the Vols had too many men on the field. Now, far be it from me to second guess the pros that get paid for making decisions like this, but I have never heard of challenging to cal a penalty. I know you can't challenge a penalty that's called, but it was curious to see the challenge flag for an uncalled penalty. Unfortunately, it didn't work, because the field goal bounced off the upright and the Blazers eventually fell in double OT, 32-29.
9. Game of the Week Review - Alabama at Arkansas
Alabama answered its biggest question of the year. Can its defense step up when it's needed the most? Yes. Though the Bama D gave up over 300 yards in the first half, it clamped down in the second, grabbing two key interceptions late to set up the go ahead score and seal the win. Mark Ingram gashed the Arkansas defense for 157 yards and two touchdowns just one month removed from knee surgery. Ryan Mallet excused himself from the Heisman discussion with three crucial interceptions - one in the endzone and two in the fourth quarter to seal their fate. Although Arkansas was the trendy pick to knock off the defending champs, Alabama showed that they are still king of the mountain.
10. Game of the Week Preview - Florida at Alabama
I came really close to giving this nod to Stanford at Oregon. Heck, I wanted to give it to Texas/Oklahoma until they both played like crap. I'm still a big believer that the biggest game should most often times have the highest ranked, and therefore best teams in the country. With Alabama overcoming its first real test of the season, and Florida finding its own hidden gem in Trey Burton (who set a school record with six touchdowns against Kentucky). Couple that with two top 10 rankings - numbers one and seven, respectively - and the recent history of the series (winner of the past two games has gone on to win a crystal football) and you ahve the makings for a gigantic clash of titanic proportions. My guess is that Alabama's confidence outperforms Florida's inexprience on offense and notches win number 19 in a row, 31-24.
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