Yep, Boise State has lost. And I admit, I nearly busted both MCLs jumping off that bandwagon. If you're looking for BCS chaos, TCU is still alive for that. But in the same tone your mother used to tell you "Oh grow up!" I'll say this: Oh come on! Do you really think that BCS chaos is going to change anything?
Even if Auburn and Oregon were to lose next week and the BCS spits out TCU and Stanford as the two teams, how much will it matter? Chaos has never solved anything in our sport. Miami in 2000. Nebraska in 2001. USC in 2003. Auburn in 2004. A two-loss champion in 2007. TCU and Boise in 2009. See what I mean? All chaos. No change. Same crappy system.
So even with the rivalry weekend in the books, we go fumbling toward the postseason just as we always have, and just as it always will be as long as school presidents are deciding things.
1. Comeback Friday
For those of you who stayed up until nearly 2 a.m. Eastern time and the conclusion of the Boise-Nevada game, how good was Friday? Auburn, Oregon and the Wolf Pack all posted incredible second-half performances to pull out unlikely wins. Friday definitely had a March Madness feel about it, though don't ever confuse that great event with anything you see in our corrupt sport of college football.
|Torrey Smith was the go-to guy for Maryland in knocking N.C. State out of the ACC title game. (AP)|
Had 14 catches for 224 yards and four touchdowns in the Terrapins' 38-31 win over North Carolina State. Smith's clutch performance was also accentuated by a nice slam dunk over the crossbar after one of his TD catches while also knocking the 'Pack out of the ACC title game.
3. The clutch pedal on Auburn's wild ride
You're down 24-0 at Alabama with what Gary Danielson is calling the loudest crowd he's ever heard. And you come back and win? That's strong work, Plainsmen. If Cam Newton didn't have the Heisman wrapped up already, well then it is now (yeah, I know, Mr. Obvious here). The Big Fig Newton rallied his team from behind for the eighth time in 12 games, three of those being by double-digits. But this one is obviously the most impressive considering the setting, the circumstances and the daggers it produced in Tide hearts.
4. How about this? Chris Ault for national Coach of the Year
Yeah, I know Gene Chizik will probably win it, but Ault led his Nevada team to an 11-1 record, a WAC title and to the biggest win in school history against Boise State on Friday night. Not bad, all on its own. But also consider this, Ault's innovative "Pistol" offense has become all the rage in college football. Coaches everywhere, feel free to send him a thank you card.
5. The non-repeat championship games
Very few repeat matchups and meaningful games are on tap for next weekend:
Big 12: Nebraska vs. Oklahoma (probably)
Now isn't this how Nebraska's final Big 12 game should be, playing a great rivalry game one last time? I suggest they screw playing in Arlington and move this one to either Norman or Lincoln. That's where this rivalry belongs anyway.
ACC: Florida State vs. Virginia Tech
FSU beats Florida 31-7 and proves to be the team we've finally been waiting to see. And Tech didn't let off the gas in its 37-7 win over Virginia, earning the first unbeaten ACC regular season since 2000.
C-USA: Central Florida vs. SMU
OK, if Ault isn't National Coach of the Year, maybe SMU's June Jones should be. The calm-demeanored magician has directed his 'Stangs to their second straight bowl season after going 1-11 in his first year. Wow.
MAC: Miami Univ. vs. Northern Illinois
Speaking of miracles, how about the RedHawks? They've gone from 1-11 last season to the MAC title game this year. Kudos to coach Michael Haywood.
There's nothing worse than losing to your rival or seeing your season blow up right in front of you. That's what made this weekend even more dire than any others this season. For instance, not since the "Punt, 'Bama, punt!" game of 1972 will the Auburn-Alabama game have a more painful finish for Crimson Tide fans. And Boise State's second-half meltdown cost it possibly the only chance for a national title it will ever have. And how big is the grumbling over Rich Rodriguez after Michigan's ugly loss at Ohio State? These examples are, of course, just the tip of the iceberg.
2. The Big Ten
It's a drag that three teams end up tied at the top of the old Western League with Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State all at 7-1 and no definitive champion. Shamefully, MSU and OSU didn't even play each other. Looks like Wisconsin will get the bid for the Rose Bowl, based on their BCS ranking, but that championship game can't get here soon enough.
3. Iowa's lack of clutch
In all five of the Hawkeyes' losses, they've had the lead or were tied in the fourth quarter before letting it slip away. Against Minnesota on Saturday, it was the same scenario, as Iowa took a 24-20 lead at the 11:35 mark. But the Gophers' Duane Bennett scored on a 6-yard run with 4½ minutes left and the Hawkeyes couldn't recover.
4. The U
Miami lost to South Florida 23-20 in overtime, then lost its head coach to the chopping block. Too bad Randy Shannon's 28-22 record wasn't good enough for the school, because he improved academic performance, had fewer players on the police blotter and forged his players into better citizens in general.
5. Coaching decorum
After Bo Pelini's demonic meltdown at A&M last week, we got more of the same elsewhere this week. Watching Mike Stoops of Arizona go nearly nose-to-nose with the refs in the UofA loss to Oregon and Bobby Petrino of Arkansas getting red-faced with numerous f-bombs and s-bombs a foot from the refs, it appears that the NCAA's big sportsmanship campaign has fallen on deaf ears where it mattered most.
Ohio State president Gordon Gee telling us who belongs in the BCS
We don't need comments from girly-boys who have never put on a jock strap and don't understand the best interest of college football, or their own team. Especially from someone who wears a freakin' bow tie.
Five things that were painfully obvious from college football this weekend:
1. A playoff sure would've helped Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin monetarily and national title-wise a lot more than the BCS.
2. Regardless of schedule, it's nearly impossible to go unbeaten no matter who you are.
3. I know next weekend is more important, but rivalry week brings out the best drama of the season.
4. Kellen Moore could've had his Heisman moment on the last-second bomb to Titus Young if not for the missed field goal a play later.
5. Auburn may have the mentally toughest team we've seen this decade.
Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
The strapping signal-caller was just 13 of 23, but his 320 yards included touchdowns of 85, 80 and 39 yards against the fourth-best pass defense in the country in the 31-23 win over No. 5 LSU. What is the biggest reason he's the hero here? How about the $10 million jump in payday the Hogs are going to get in a BCS bowl game.
Kyle Brotzman, K, Boise State
I don't really need to go into this one, do I?
Sean McDonough, during Ohio State-Michigan game
"Dr. Gee didn't seem to have a problem with Butler playing in the NCAA basketball tournament last March. They played in one of those 'Little Sister's of the Poor' conferences and nearly beat mighty Duke and nobody said they weren't worthy of playing for a national championship. Maybe Gee should vote for a playoff and let those teams decide if they're worthy on the field."
LSU play-by-play man Jim Hawthorne after Arkansas scored on an 80-yard pass on the last play of the half
"Arkansas is just trying to pour a little salt in the wound here with the extra point try."
Soooooo, should the Razorbacks have just genuflected and not taken the extra point right before halftime?
Todd Ellis, South Carolina radio color commentator
"The SEC championship is the biggest title in amateur sports."
Look, we know it's big, but would he really prefer his Gamecocks win the SEC title instead of the national title?
Best postgame jab
Jeff Horton, interim coach at Minnesota
After upsetting No. 24 Iowa 27-24, Horton walked into the interview room beaming and announced, "I'd like to announce that I've just accepted the head coaching job!"
Not knowing if he was kidding or not, the interview room reacted with nearly hushed silence.
Most awkward post-game moment
Rich Rodriguez, Michigan, when asked his feelings after the loss to Ohio State
"I'm ticked! What, you want me to jump out there and hold hands with all those Buckeye fans and sing Kumbaya?"
Stat of the weekend
Oklahoma 16 of 27 on third down in the 47-41 win over Oklahoma State
The biggest conversion being the 89-yard TD pass from Landry Jones to Cameron Kenney on third and 12 to put OU up by nine with just over three minutes remaining.
Biggest off-the-radar win
Akron 22-14 over Buffalo
The Zips avoid going el zippo in the win column with a W in their final game. QB Patrick Nicely played nicely, going 13 of 24 for 193 yards, three TDs and, most important, no interceptions. Akron finishes 1-11.
Best off-the-radar performance
Ben Chappell, QB, Indiana
The Hoosier Q was 31 of 50 for 330 yards and three touchdowns in the 34-31 OT win at Purdue. Chappell ends his career as the all-time leader in completions, attempts and completion percentage for IU. Chappell also holds the school's single-season record for yards passing with 3,295.
Michigan State-Penn State
Bronco Nagurski, Dick Butkus and Red Grange would be proud. These two played a tough-as-nails Big 10 game in snow flurries, temperatures in the 20s and on natural grass. MSU won 28-22 to earn its share of the Big 10 title.
Worst performance in weather
USC, lost to Notre Dame 20-16 in a driving L.A. torrential mist
Why? Because in the final two minutes, wide receivers Brandon Carswell and Ronald Johnson both dropped crucial in-the-hands passes. Johnson's drop would've scored the go-ahead touchdown. C'mon guys, it can't always be sunny and 72 in California, ya' bad-weather wimps.