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Off the Grid: Feeling a great void

by | Special to

Roadblock Saturday? Try "Everyone is Overrated Saturday."

How do I know this? I spent part of my college football Saturday at the Clemson-Boston College game in Chestnut Hill and watched as a two-win Eagles team took down the same team that was one dropped pass away from beating No. 1 Auburn earlier this season. Yep, B.C. looked better against Clemson than the "No. 1" team did.

Quarterback Robert Griffin III and the Bears had plenty to celebrate Saturday. (AP)  
Quarterback Robert Griffin III and the Bears had plenty to celebrate Saturday. (AP)  
But unlike a lot of teams, that so-so Auburn team survived its road game at Ole Miss, even if the defense was flat at times. Same goes for Oregon's win at USC, even as sieve-like as they were. But they should count their blessings since previously unbeaten Missouri and Michigan State didn't survive road tests. This weekend reminded me that there are no great teams out there.

Feel free to argue your team all you want, I'm not completely sold on anyone.

The Good

1. Team of the day: Baylor
Won at Texas (30-22) for the first time since 1991. Man alive, have Baylor fans have been waiting for this day, or what? The Bears got two fourth-quarter touchdowns from Robert Griffin III to snap a 12-game skid vs. the Horns. BU (6-2, 4-1 Big 12) took over first place in the Big 12 South.

2. Player of the day: Roy Helu Jr., RB, Nebraska
Had 307 yards on 26 carries and three TDs, all from 50-plus yards out, in the 31-17 win over Missouri. That single-game total is now the new high-water mark by a Nebraska I-back. Holy I.M. Hipp!

3. Quarter of the day: The First
Iowa used an interception return for a touchdown and 144 yards of offense to take a 17-0 lead over Michigan State in the first. Nebraska outgained Missouri 256 yards to 48 yards in getting out to a 24-0 lead on its way to a big win. Nevada beat pesky Utah State by 14 points (56-42) after they raced to a 14-0 lead by the end of the first. And just for the ultimate opening quarter domination, Illinois held onto the ball for 13:45 for a 14-0 advantage.

4. The Heisman front-runners
Nothing wrong with Cam Newton or LaMichael James, that's for sure. Cam threw for 209 yards and two TDs during an 18-of-24 passing day. But he also added a touchdown catch to his repertoire in the 51-31 win over Ole Miss. James ran for 239 yards and three TDs in the 52-32 win over USC.

5. The lovable losers
The Baylor Bears weren't the only ones reveling in dressing down some old tormentors.

 UConn earned its first win over West Virginia in seven tries in Friday night's 16-13 win.

 North Carolina State snuffed out a three-game losing streak to Florida State in Thursday's 28-24 win.

 ACC whipping-boy Virginia used a relentless defense to knock off No. 22 Miami, 24-19.

 Oregon gets the first win in the Coliseum vs. USC since 2000 with the 52-32 pasting.

The Bad

1. The Tank of the day: Notre Dame
Lost 28-27 vs. Tulsa. Despite this being another down cycle season for the Golden Domers, the Golden Hurricane's win is being called one of the biggest in school history. But in reality, this was just another bad mark against the snake-bitten Irish. An end zone interception thrown by Notre Dame backup QB Tommy Rees with 36 seconds left ended what could have been a potential winning field goal drive.

2. Michigan State and Missouri.
Dropped from the ranks of the unbeaten with losses at Iowa (37-6) and at Nebraska (31-17.) Neither team was really in the game and there wasn't much doubt after the first-quarter gun sounded. MSU was particularly awful, gaining only 258 total yards and tossing three INTs. Then of course, the Tigers couldn't even get two-hand touch tackles on Roy Helu Jr. in their own secondary. So it's a wash.

3. The state of Washington
Washington lost to Stanford 41-0 and Washington State lost to Arizona State 42-0. That's 83-0 combined. The two teams combined for 27 yards rushing. Ewwww!

4. Miami
Lost at Virginia 24-19. The Hurricanes came into the game with the best defense in the ACC, but got pushed around big-time by that Virginia offense for the first three quarters. Miami eventually made a run at the Cavs, despite losing QB Jacory Harris to injury in the second quarter, but UVa was able to hold on.

5. ABC/ESPN's televising choices.
OK, so they showed the Oregon-USC game in prime time. Good. But they also subjected people in Big 10 country to Ohio State-Minnesota in the same time slot. What did those nice people do to deserve that?

The Ugly

Injuries. With players like Miami's Jacory Harris, Louisville's Bilal Powell, Nebraska's Taylor Martinez and Notre Dame's Dayne Crist and Armando Allen all going down to injury, their teams suffered noticeably.

The No-Brainers

Five things that were painfully obvious from college football this week:

1. Lots of good teams in college football, no great teams.

2. The wins by Iowa over Michigan State and Nebraska over Missouri weren't upsets.

3. For teams like Texas, Notre Dame and Michigan, it's even worse than we thought.

4. The Virginia Tech Hokies are dominating the ACC just as we thought they would.

5. Utah had an impressive win at Air Force but is still not getting enough publicity.

The Hero

Virginia coach Mike London. Led his team to a 24-19 win over No. 22 Miami. The shot of coach London having to be physically held up as he walked off the field as he was overcome with emotion was pretty cool.

The Goat

San Jose State CB Brandon Driver. Not only did he allow New Mexico State's Taveon Rogers to catch the winning pass as the game clock expired, he also wouldn't get up off of Rogers after the catch. That caused the rest of the Aggies to start piling on the two players in celebration. The refs eventually were able to unpile the Aggies and get Driver out from under the pile.

Best comment

Mike Leach on CBS College Sports, during the TCU-UNLV game: "What I'd like to do is throw it virtually every down one game and run it every down the next game. Then I'd brag about how balanced I am."

Worst comment

Mark Jones: "What a great story Jeremiah Masoli was at Oregon."

Add to Heisman list

Roy Helu Jr., I-back, Nebraska. Had a school-record 307 yards and touchdown runs of 66, 73 and 53 yards.

Evan Royster, RB, Penn State. Had 150 yards and two TDs in the 41-31 win vs. Michigan. He also passed Curt Warner for the school rushing marking of 3,398 yards.

Take off Heisman list

Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri. Had a 18-for-42, 199-yard day in the loss to Nebraska.

Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan. You know how Heisman voters don't allow for a great players' team to lose, right? Well, D.R. still had a great game with 190 yards passing and 191 yards rushing.


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