Off the Grid: TCU keeps up beat, so do offenses

by | Special to CBSSports.com
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That giant, guttural yell you just heard in unison were large contingencies of football fans in Fort Worth and Boise going all primal upon hearing that there will be no games of leap frog by Alabama in the BCS standings.

The Red Elephant's 24-21 loss at LSU has improved the profile of TCU and Boise State and their BCS chances, should those two teams finish the regular season unbeaten. But looking at how this season has gone, nobody can be assured of anything going according to plan. In fact, did you know that Saturday saw more Top 25 teams go down to defeat than any other Saturday of the season?

Yep, things are friggin' crazy out there in college football land. Buckle in people. We've still got four weekends to go.

Here's how the good, the bad and the ugly looked in college football:

The Good

1. Team of the day: TCU
Won at Utah 47-7. Damn! That score is pretty hard to believe. No. 3 beats No. 5 and looks like No. 1. The Frogs out-yarded potent Utah 558-199 in an unlikely track meet victory. Andy Dalton was impressive again as TCU gets one step closer to Frog-hopping its way to a BCS title game showdown. Though sadly, they still need help.

Texas A&M DE Von Miller is a defensive force when healthy. (US Presswire)  
Texas A&M DE Von Miller is a defensive force when healthy. (US Presswire)  
2. Player of the day: Von Miller, DE, Texas A&M
This guy is no man... he's a monster! After sitting out a couple of games with an injury, the defensive dynamo for Suck-face-after-touchdowns U. was a man possessed Saturday night in College Station in the win over Oklahoma. With Miller back in the lineup, A&M's defense looked like a totally different animal as Miller had eight tackles, three for losses and 1.5 sacks. The Ags held Oklahoma to four-and-outs inside the A&M 10-yard line three times, two of those predicated on Miller's penetration into the OU backfield. THAT'S a gig-em Aggies growl there.

3. Coach of the day: Joe Paterno, Penn State
Beat Northwestern 35-21. Let's call this guy the "Coach of the Ages" instead of just for the day. On Saturday, JoePa picked up his 400th win of his illustrious career over the Wildcats. My favorite stat from his first year of coaching in 1966? Gasoline cost 32 cents a gallon when old white socks and high-waters started his career.

Oh, and did I mention yet that JoePa's program has never been on probation and never even been under investigation? Chalk this dude up as legendary.

4. Boise State's defense
Don't forget about the Broncos here after their 42-7 killshot of Hawaii. I'm sure most of the talking heads and mindless media won't give this one much of a sniff, but this was a wildly impressive defensive display. Bryant Moniz of the Warriors had thrown for over 300 yards in all but one of Hawaii's games this year, but that violent BSU defense held him to a mere 127 yards through the air in this major-league clampdown. The Broncos defense also sacked him a season-high seven times.

5. LSU's coaching staff
Yep, I said it. I really did. Les Miles and the boys out-freakin-coached Satan Nick and the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Bayou Bengals' 24-21 win. That fake punt early in the third, that 4th-and-1 reverse flip to DeAngelo Peterson that led to the go-ahead touchdown run and Jarrett Lee's 3rd and 13 conversion to Reuben Randle for 46 yards on the late drive just proved it was more than simple Mad Hatteration that took down the venerable Tide on Saturday.

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The Bad

1. Tank Job of the Day: Utah
(I was going to say Texas again, but we've piled on them enough this season) The Utes lost at home vs. TCU by a 47-7 score. You have GameDay at your house, you're wearing these fly-lookin' uniforms and your crowd is decked out in psycho-black clothing. And this is what you give us? Peee-you!

But to be fair to the Utes, I have thought all along that they were still a year away from greatness. So check back with us in early November of 2011 for the Big Red.

2. Defense across the board
A total of 30 teams scored 40+ points in games this week in FBS play. I didn't stutter, that's thirty scores of 40 or more, and that doesn't even include Kansas State's 39 points vs. Texas, where the Wildcats seemed to show mercy at the end. Gah! What in the name of Dick Butkus is going on here in major college football?!

(And as a point of emphasis, I don't use exclamation points very often in my columns.)

3. The Stoops Brothers
Head coaches Bob (Oklahoma) and Mike (Arizona) lost at Texas A&M 33-19 and at Stanford 42-17, while brother Mark (D-coordinator Florida State) lost to North Carolina, 37-35.

There's been no report yet on whether any of the Stoops' sons lost their Pop Warner football games earlier in the day.

4. The SEC non-conference slate
Who the hell ARE these teams the monster conference is playing? Ole Miss beat 2-5 Louisiana-Lafayette, Tennessee won at 1-7 Memphis, Georgia squashed 1-8 Idaho State, Kentucky blasted 2-7 Charleston Southern, Auburn beat FCS Chattanooga by 38 and Florida played somebody named Vanderbilt and won by a couple hundred... oh wait, nevermind that last one.

This hasn't been a vintage SEC year and when you schedule these kind of tomato cans, well, it should hurt their cause. (Emphasis on "should")

5. Akron
OK, Zips, you have to buy the next round of beers for everyone in the bar.

With their 37-30 loss to Ball State in double overtime and New Mexico's last second field goal to beat Wyoming 34-31, the Zips are the last remaining winless team in FBS college football.

The Ugly

College football overtime. That ugly Illinois-Michigan 67-65 pillow fight is a perfect example. Do we really need these kind of basketball scores? OK, three new rules for overtime, starting right now:

1 -- Teams start their OT drives at the 50, not the 25.

2 -- Extra points are two-point tries from the 10 yard line, no kicks.

3 -- If the score is still tied after two overtimes, the game ends in a tie.

No muss. No fuss. That's it.

The No-Brainers

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

1. We're just a few slip-ups away from a much-anticipated (AND much-hated) TCU-Boise State BCS title game.

2. I think the SEC championship game should just be a rematch between two West division teams, because the East is suckin' eggs.

3. With Michigan State, Wisconsin, Ohio State and Iowa, the Big 10 has the best top four of any conference.

4. Stanford is the best one-loss team in the country.

5. Considering what happened Saturday, we are getting closer to both Joe Paterno and Mack Brown retiring, for different reasons.

The Hero

Brendon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State: The Cowpokes' sharpshooter was 34 of 42 for a school-record 435 yards and three TDs in the 55-28 win over Baylor. Thirteen of his passes hit the hands of newly-reinstated Justin Blackmon, who accounted for 242 total yards from scrimmage in receptions and reverses. And not only that, the victory also puts Okie State in the driver's seat in the Big 12 South at 4-1.

The Goat

Demarlo Belcher, WR, Indiana: In the 18-13 loss to No. 16 Iowa, Belcher had the ball hit his hands on a 4th-and-10 pass with 35 seconds left in the game, only to see him drop it without contact in the Iowa end zone, finishing the final threat for upset-minded IU. To Belcher's credit, he ended the game with seven catches, but he and his Hoosiers really needed that eighth catch for the win over Iowa.

Best comment

Joe Paterno on the stadium P.A. after his 400th win: "People asked me why I stayed here so long. You know what? Look around, look around. I stayed here 'coz I love you all. Now that the celebration is over let's go beat Ohio State."

Worst Comment

Tony Barnhart, CBS: "LSU should leap over Nebraska because they struggled at Iowa State."

Mr. Southern Football forgot that LSU struggled at home vs. horrible Tennessee, on a neutral field vs. depleted North Carolina and got a lucky bounce to beat Florida. Too many black eyes, dude.

Add to Heisman list

Andy Dalton, QB, TCU: Went 21 of 26 for a career high 355 yards and three TDs in the blowout of Utah. In fact, it's hard to believe that one of the winningest quarterbacks in college football history hasn't been put on this list already. But this will make up for that season-long slight.

Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State: The dude was magic on Saturday, gathering 13 catches for 173 yards and a TD, plus going 69 yards on a reverse for another score. Once again, he was a man among boys out there.

Take off Heisman list

Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama: Didn't have a horrible game at LSU (21 carries, 97 yards, TD), but you know how those fickle Heisman voters are. You can't play for a team that won't play in the BCS title game or on a team with two losses. Lord no, that drops you to the unconsidered faster than a lightning delay.

Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma: It wasn't all his fault as some shoddy blocking was squarely to blame for the 33-19 loss at Texas A&M. Jones ended the night going 36 of 59 for 290 yards with a TD and interception. But with the loss, OU drops to 3-2 in Big 12 play, dashing his Heisman hopes.

Best coaching job

Turner Gill, Kansas: It wasn't the best coaching job early on, falling behind 45-17 early in the fourth quarter vs. Colorado. But Gill and Co. didn't give up, running their offense completely downhill the rest of the way and scoring 28 points in the final frame to beat the Buffs 52-45. Wow.

Worst coaching job

Paul Rhoads, Iowa State: You're in overtime, against the No. 7 team in the country. You've got the crowd. You've got momentum. You've got the home-field advantage. You just scored a TD. Everything's going downhill for your Cyclones. But now you get your punter/placeholder to throw a fake extra-point pass into a stiff wind on a do-or-die two-point conversion? No wonder it got intercepted.

And by the way, isn't there an unwritten rule that you play for the tie at home in those situations?

Tweet of the Day.

Jerry Palm, CBS and CollegeBCS.com, after East Carolina lost 76-35 to Navy on Saturday: "If East Carolina was auditioning for the Big East today, they probably got a 'Don't call us, we'll call you.'"

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