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Tag:Oregon
Posted on: October 28, 2010 3:54 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2010 4:39 pm
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

Fourteen months ago they played in the season opener. It was one of those made-for-TV games moved to a Thursday night so the entire country could see Oregon take on upstart Boise State.

It wasn't a vintage Oregon team -- USC was favored to win the Pac-10 again -- but it would soon become an infamous one. Boise was in its fourth season under straight-ahead coach Chris Petersen. Oregon's Chip Kelly took the field in his first game as a head coach.

By the end of the night, Kelly probably didn't know if he'd make it to his second game. His world spun out of control after LeGarrette Blount committed one of the most heinous acts in the history of the game, punching Boise State's Byron Hout after Hout taunted him.

It's not easy to fast forward 14 months. It's mind-numbing. Boise won that night 19-8 showing further proof that it had "arrived." Oregon looked in disarray, the BCS being the BCS the Ducks could have lost all their non-conference games and still the Rose Bowl. They made it to Pasadena in much better shape setting the stage for this week.

The teams that took the field that night are now the two best in the country according to the human polls that a lot of folks put their faith in. It's complicated because the BCS standings say otherwise. For now let's embrace change as Oregon travels to USC. (Boise beat Lousiana Tech on Tuesday.) The last time a Pac-10 team other than USC was No. 1 was Washington in 1992. A WAC team hasn't been ranked this high since BYU won the 1984 national championship ...

Bad news for Auburn? In the middle of the Newtonian euphoria let WWL drop this curd in the punch bowl. Yes, Cam Newton can play quarterback in NFL, so says veteran personnel guru Gil Brandt. Bad news for Tigers everywhree: It could be after this season. Newton is four years out of high school and could, maybe should, leave after this season.

"If you drafted today and [Tim] Tebow was there and Cam Newton there who would you take?" Brandt said. "I can't compare him to anybody else." ...

Nebraska's Taylor Martinez can pass, you just didn't know it. The Huskers' quarterback entered the NCAA pass statistics this week for the first time since Week 2. Because Martinez hadn't averaged the requisite 15 passes per game to be listed in the NCAA stats, he wasn't listed in the top 100. But look at his newly listed pass efficiency numbers after a 23-for-35, five-touchdown performance against Oklahoma State: Martinez is 20th nationally, directly behind Oregon's Darron Thomas and Wisconsin's Scott Tolzien. Not bad company.

Martinez is (almost) a 60 percent passer who can run (at times). It adds up to inconsistency. If WWL were guiding Missouri's defense this week it would copy Texas' approach two weeks ago. Assign a second-level spy to Martinez and create a stalemate at the line of scrimmage. When Martinez is running wild, he takes advantage of overpursuing defenses with his 4.4 speed. Missouri's defense has better athletes than Texas. Will it matter? ...


Army (hosting VMI) is averaging 30 points (30.6) for the first time since 1985 ... What's the big deal in Chris Rainey returning to the lineup following his "time to die" blast? In the two games he did play, Florida's speedster had 16 yards in total offense ... Ole Miss' Jeremiah Masoli is one of four quarterbacks nationally to average 50 yards rushing and 180 yards passing per game. Cam Newton is not one of the four ... Missouri leads the country in red zone defense (11 scores in 21 opponents' penetration of the 20) ... It's never a good thing when the NCAA has to clear your best player two days before a game. Oklahoma State said Thursday the NCAA had cleared receiver Justin Blackmon of any NCAA wrongdoing stemming from his DWI earlier this week. The concern, no doubt, for the NCAA was where Blackmon got the tickets for Monday's Cowboys-Giants game. School officials say Blackmon was the designated driver with friends but police in Texas smelled alcohol in the car. Blackmon was cited for misdemeanor DWI for being underage. Props to coach Mike Gundy who swiftly suspended Blackmon for the Kansas State game ... Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly is having an All-American season. He leads the country with 13.9 tackles per game. Kuechly has made at least 10 tackles in 15 straight games ... TCU is the only I-A team that has not allowed a 200-yard passing game.

Posted on: October 26, 2010 11:55 am
Edited on: October 26, 2010 1:47 pm
 

National Notes

All Cam Newton all the time? Seems like it especially with the question of the week that has risen up on various talk shows, Twitter accounts and in my brain:

Is Cam Newton better than Tim Tebow? At this point in time the answer is yes. Cammo is bigger (6-feet-6, 250 pounds), stronger (watch him bulldoze those linebackers) and faster than the Gainesville god known as Tebow. Newton won't approach Tebow's numbers because this might be his one and only season at Auburn.

The irony is that Florida had him and let him get away. Actually, Newton admits he let himself get away. The laptop incident didn't help but Newton was being redshirted and had an ankle injury in his final semester with the Gators. Tebow and John Brantley were ahead of him on the depth chart, making it easier for Newton to transfer.

After becoming the national juco player of the year, Newton found the perfect coach (offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn) with the perfect offense at Auburn. The rest you've watched each Saturday. The latest accomplishment was setting the SEC season rushing record by a quarterback -- with four games left.

"He's the best facilitator of the football as a college quarterback," said Pete Cordelli, a former Notre Dame assistant. "He runs his football team like he's a point guard. It's Showtime on the Plains. Who can you take and put on the other 119 teams  and make them better? Can you imagine him at Oregon or Oklahoma? Imagine if he was at Penn State, we wouldn't be talking about Paterno retiring. Imagine him at Ohio State?"

That's a lot of imagining but only one team has him. 


* The next question is whether Newton will go Prince on us and change his name to a symbol: N - mg = ma

(The equation is deciphered below)

* By the way, don't blame Urban Meyer. He's got enough problems. Critics want the Florida coach to get rid of lawbreakers (you might have heard there have been quite a few), but they want to blame him for letting Cam I Am for "getting away."

* If the top of the polls look unfamiliar, they should. Oregon is No. 1 for the second consecutive week in the AP poll. Other than USC, the last Pac-10 team to be ranked No. 1 in the AP poll was Washington in 1992 (five weeks). No. 2 Boise State is the highest ranked WAC team since BYU won the national championship in 1984.

* Boise rant of the week: At what point do 47-point beatdowns of WAC teams in some way equal a seven-point win over LSU. That's why I think Boise could win the SEC East, Big 12 and Big Ten.

* During this Alabama bye week, Nick Saban visited the Touchdown Club of Memphis. One snarky attendee  gave Nick his props and summed up the season properly -- at least from an Alabama perspective: "Congratulations on winning the BCS national championship last year and producing a Heisman Trophy winner. I know expectations are high in the state of Alabama and people expect another national champion and another Heisman winner. Fortunately, those expectations appear to be in reach. Auburn is No. 1 in the BCS and Cam Newton appears to be the leading candidate for the Heisman."

* What's the antidote for arrogance? Mack Brown is trying to figure that out. According to him, that's what Texas has been playing with for too long. Brown who called out his players after the Iowa State loss and, in the process, might have indicted his own motivation skills.

There is no excuse with bowl-bound Baylor coming in. The Longhorns roster routinely is comprised of the best players in Texas, some of the best in the country. Try to explain, then, how Baylor leads the Big 12 South eight weeks into the season. You can't.


* Sometimes we write too much about the winners, the BCS, bowl games, NCAA reprobates. This space is dedicated to the feel-good stories of late October.

Baylor clinched a bowl berth for the first time in 15 years after that Kansas State win. The season looked encouraging but Bears fans had learned not to assume anything. Quarterback Robert Griffin was coming off a blown-out knee. It lost at TCU by 35 earlier in the season.  Griffin now is arguably the best quarterback in the Big 12.
 
Western Kentucky broke a nation-leading 26-game losing streak in beating Louisiana-Lafayette. Akron and New Mexico now share the national lead; each have lost eight in a row. Oh, and another warning for the next Vince Lombardi at Minnesota: The Gophers are next with a seven-game losing streak.

Remember when Ron Zook was on the hot seat? Illinois' coach is a respectable 4-3, having beaten Penn State in the process. Its three losses are no disgrace, to Michigan State, Ohio State and Missouri. Those schools have a combined record of 22-1.

No shame either for Iowa State's Paul Rhoads. The Cyclones are now 4-4, chasing a bowl after beating Texas. Their four losses are to Iowa, Kansas State, Utah and Oklahoma. Combined record: 23-5.

Seven games into his second season, Syracuse's Doug Marrone has the Orange at 5-2, in second place in the Big East, a half-game behind Pittsburgh. (Pittsburgh has beaten Syracuse already so it has the tiebreaker)

For only the second time and for first time in six years Baylor and Iowa State won a Big 12 Conference game on the same day. Also for only the second time in Big 12 history, Texas and Oklahoma lost on the same day when coached by Bob Stoops and Mack Brown.

* Why could Cameron Newton nickname himself "N - mg = ma"? That is more or less the mathematical representation of Newton's first law of motion: An object in motion tends to stay in motion. If I were Newton, Cam not Sir Isaac, I'd copyright that sucker.

 


Posted on: October 24, 2010 2:35 am
Edited on: October 24, 2010 10:48 am
 

BCS Week 2 projection

It looks like it's going to be good week for Auburn in the BCS.

The way things are going, though, a week is as much the Tigers can hope for at this point. They seem to be the biggest beneficiary of Missouri's upset of BCS No. 1 Oklahoma on Saturday night. The Tigers are projected to be No. 1 in the BCS on Sunday, followed by Oregon according Jerry Palm's projected BCS standings. Auburn came into Saturday No. 4 in the BCS.

The projection was made before the coaches' and Harris polls -- the two human components of the BCS -- were released on Sunday. Palm said the ranking depends on what the voters do with Auburn after its victory over LSU. Auburn began the day No. 5 in both the Harris and coaches' polls. If the Tigers were to jump over TCU -- No. 3 in Harris, No. 4 in coaches' -- then it could be safely in the top two in the BCS.

After that impressive 60-13 win over UCLA on Thursday, Palm projects that previous No. 1 Oregon will be No. 2 in the BCS. Losses by Oklahoma, LSU and Oklahoma State mean there are seven undefeated teams remaining, only four of them (Auburn, Missouri, Oregon and Michigan State) are from BCS conferences.

Auburn can't celebrate too much. Missouri's victory marked the third consecutive week a No. 1 has gone down on the road. The Tigers travel to Ole Miss this week. For the second consecutive week the BCS and human polls seemingly will be split with Auburn No. 1 in the BCS and Oregon No. 1 in the AP and coaches' polls.

Auburn would become the 13th No. 1 team in the history of the BCS, the fifth from the SEC. The official BCS standings will be released Sunday night.

Posted on: October 22, 2010 9:58 am
Edited on: October 22, 2010 10:38 am
 

Defense of No. 1 Oregon's ranking is offense

How does that taste Alabama?

Is there hope Oklahoma?

How about you LSU, Auburn?

Forget about the non-BCS schools. They're all but out of it. Oregon just laid a nuclear whipping on UCLA that sends a clear and present message: Resistance is futile by you puny humans.

OK, so it was only UCLA but can you think of a better first-game No. 1 defense -- in history? I'm going to spend Friday trying to look it up. Point being, that as we wring our hands about the SEC's chances at a fifth consecutive national championship one thing is clear. Oregon is the only team in the country that controls its own destiny in the BCS.

It is No. 2 (in the BCS) with a bullet and there is not much resistance in front of it. The Ducks face just one currently ranked team (Arizona) the rest of the way. Good for their prospects, bad, perhaps for their BCS numbers. But when you're No. 1 and winning by an average of 39.3 points maybe it doesn't matter.

You say victory margin doesn't count in the BCS? Bull feathers. It impresses the voters. This wasn't New Mexico or Portland State. This was UCLA which at times has had a pretty good defense. If Oklahoma struggles with Missouri and LSU and Auburn grind it out at Jordan-Hare, voters won't have a hard time deciding who is No. 1 in the polls -- at least for another week.

Look for more of these carpet bombings in the future. Blowouts don't count in the BCS? They really do. Those human polls (Harris and coaches) are still two-thirds of the formula, right?
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: October 21, 2010 5:33 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2010 11:10 am
 

Halfway Son of Weekend Watch List

BCS bowl projections halfway through the season:

BCS championship: Oregon* vs. Alabama*
Rose: Boise* vs. Iowa*
Fiesta: Nebraska* vs. West Virginia*
Orange: Florida State* vs. Ohio State
Sugar: Auburn vs. Oklahoma

*-automatic qualifier

Notes: Oregon and Alabama win out to advance to the championship game. Alabama beats both LSU and Auburn assuring that there will be no undefeated teams in the SEC. It then beats the SEC East champion to advance. Despite one loss, it vaults over undefeated Boise, the TCU/Utah winner and perhaps even Oregon.  It doesn't matter for the Ducks who stay in the top two because undefeated Boise, Utah/TCU can't catch it in the BCS standings. Meanwhile, other current undefeateds Auburn, LSU, Michigan State, Oklahoma and Missouri also lose locking in Oregon. Alabama would be playing for the first back-to-back national championship since Nebraska in the 1990s. Oregon would be playing for its first.

--The Fiesta Bowl would gladly welcome Nebraska which it hasn't had since 2000. West Virginia would be making a second trip to the Valley of the Sun in four years.

--The Orange Bowl gets one of its more intriguing matchups as Florida State returns to the big time returning to a BCS bowl for the first time since 2005. Ohio State has to settle for an at-large berth after failing to win a sixth consecutive Big Ten title. The Buckeyes return to the Orange for the first time since 1977.

--The Sugar is filled with two at-large participants. Oklahoma returns to New Orleans for the first time since the 2004 (2003 season) national championship game loss to LSU.


Ranking the remaining MICs

11. Urban Meyer, Florida: Let's not forget that 20 years ago, Florida football didn't matter. Post-Zooker, Meyer made it a bigger national power than it was under Spurrier.

12. Joe Paterno, Penn State: No matter how his career ends, JoePa will leave the program in great shape.

13. Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech: An example of having patience with a good coach. Beamer started out terribly but the administration allowed him stay. Now he's one of the best in the country.

14. Al Golden, Temple: The nation's hottest young coach has got it back to the point where the Big East should consider inviting back the Owls.

15. June Jones, SMU: The first and only coach to lead the Ponies to a bowl game since the death penalty. That's good enough for me.

16. Mike Riley, Oregon State: Beavers win eight or nine each year and are always a factor in the Pac-10 race. Don't forget the Civil War is in Corvallis this year.

17. Larry Blakeney, Troy: In the same category as Snyder and Paterno on a smaller scale. Would Troy even exist without Blakeney?

18. Pat Hill, Fresno: Never won a WAC title but kept the Bulldogs relevant to the point that they're jumping to the Mountain West.

19. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State: It's early but all the signs are good that FSU will soon be back on the national scene.

20. Bronco Mendenhall, BYU: Like Meyer, Bronco is allowed a down year.

21. Bo Pelini, Nebraska: If the NFL doesn't come calling, Nebraska will begin winning championships again under Bo.

22. Bret Bielema, Wisconsin: Saturday's win allowed BB to make this list. Ohio State was his second win over a ranked Big Ten team. Barry Alvarez' hand-picked guy is trending upward.

23. Greg Schiano, Rutgers: The momentum has slowed since 2006 but Rutgers is back among the living under Schiano to the point that the Big Ten is sniffing around.

24. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern: Operating with a low budget against Big Ten giants, the Wildcats are more than competitive with Fitz.

Oregon set the school season scoring record Thursday in the season's seventh game. The Ducks have 386 points and are averaging more than 55 points per game ... Strange how two Big Ten programs defined themselves by invoking Vince Lombardi this week. First Minnesota AD Joel Maturi said, "It's not like he would be replacing Vince Lombardi," of the new coach after firing Tim Brewster. Then Rich Rodriguez said this about his struggling defense: "Listen, Vince Lombardi could come too and [it's] not going to fix some of the problems we have on defense." ... Ohio State (at Minnesota) hasn't lost consecutive games since 2004 ... TCU has lost one fumble this season ... Texas A&M has lost 12 consecutive televised games dating back to 2008. The Aggies play at Kansas Saturday on Fox Sports Net ...

In this Week of the Head Shot in the NFL, it's interesting to note that Arkansas' Ryan Mallett was knocked out of Saturday's game with a concussion. He practiced Tuesday and will play Saturday against Mississippi ... The last six Auburn-LSU games have been decided by six points or less ... Mississippi State is ranked for the first time in nine years ... Until BYU kicked a field goal in Saturday's 31-3 loss, TCU had not allowed a point in almost three games -- 175 minutes, 10 seconds. A third straight complete shutout would have marked the first time in college football since Boston College in 1992.

 

Posted on: October 21, 2010 11:53 am
Edited on: October 21, 2010 11:56 am
 

Pac-12 divisions announced

The new Pac-12 divisional alignment is expected to be announced by commissioner Larry Scott during a Thursday afternoon press conference.

USC AD Pat Haden may have revealed the alignment speaking last week to a Trojan booster group. Haden reportedly told the boosters that the divisions would be split along what seem to be north-south lines. In one division would be Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, Stanford and Cal. In the other division: USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah.

There is no word on the conference scheduling alignment. The SEC uses a 5-2-1, eight-game conference schedule with one designated rival from the opposite division. The Big Ten adopted the same scheduling model beginning in 2011. It will eventually go to a nine-game conference schedule. The Pac-12 is expected to stay with its current nine-game conference schedule when it splits into divisions next season.

The conference is still determining the location of the conference championship game. Scott will speak at 2:30 pm ET in San Francisco.

Posted on: October 15, 2010 4:04 pm
 

Mailbag, 10/15

A wise man once wrote ... "They are numerous and belligerent. They are fervent and many. They are passionate and unmoving. They are misguided they are scarlet and gray."

That wise man is me.

There seems to be this movement afoot to rationalize Ohio State's No. 1 ranking with a result from last season. Yeah, I know, seems weird to me too. While I understand that the polls are half reputation, you don't earn the No. 1 ranking in October based on a game that was played in January. But that certainly seems to be the feeling in Columbus where the Buckeyes not ARE No. 1 in both polls but, damn it, deserve it over every other team in the country.

You know why? It beat Oregon in the Rose Bowl. Oregon, without the quarterback who played in that game. Oregon, which is stronger now than it was in Pasadena. Oregon, which is a season older and wiser.  Last season's Oregon.

Guys and gals, is that the best you can come with in making your argument? Ohio State is better than No. 2 Oregon because of a game played 10 months ago, but you can't tell me why Ohio State is better than the 12 other undefeated teams in I-A? Way to settle an argument.

You people destroy your own argument. Boise beat Oregon last season too. Shouldn't it be, at least, a co-No. 1 with the beloved Buckeyes?

Cue the myopic, Buck-hater e-mails. I know they're coming. My point if you can calm down for a second, Brutus: There is nothing you can tell me that Ohio State has done this season to convince me it is the clear-cut No. 1. That's why I ranted Sunday.

I'm not hating on the Bucks. I happen to like The Senator in a nebbish, Firestone-regional-manager kind of way. It's hard to anger him, which is probably why his teams play so well. They're consistent and, mostly, unflappable. But let's all take a deep breath here in the middle of October. Ohio State may be No. 1 in the three polls that matter right now. That doesn't mean it should be. I believe in poll diversity. I've seen Boise State just as much as Ohio State. I marvel at what Oregon has been able to accomplish without that quarterback who played in the Rose Bowl (Jeremiah Masoli). Who's faster than Nebraska's Taylor Martinez?

Look outside the boundaries of Ohio, Ohio. There is some great football being played out there. Maybe you'll find out Saturday night in Madison. Maybe you won't. Just don't come at me with 10-month old arguments. There's a fantastic season being played out there too.


From: Ed Champagne

Is Bama good or is Penn St. BAD?

Bubbly:

The answer lies in the middle. Until the Clubbing In Columbia, I thought Alabama was a world-beater. After getting through Arkansas and Florida, it looked like South Carolina would be the easiest task in the three-game slog. I was wrong. South Carolina was better than we thought and, suddenly, Bama has troubles running the ball. For now, the best team in the SEC is Auburn.

As much as that upsets Alabama, it's true. Teams change throughout the season. Penn State was way overrated. As Alabama and others have proved, Joe Paterno doesn't have a playmaker on either side of the ball. The Nits are 3-3 halfway through the season and have a ways to go to get to bowl eligibility (six wins) which would net Joe is 400th career win. Penn State isn't bad, it's just not good. To paraphrase a former Arizona Cardinals coach:  "Penn State is who we thought they were."



From: Tim


Dennis, I know you guys like to create controversy but when it starts to hurt your credibility I have to try to redirect your marketing efforts. Boise State would absolutely get hammered playing a Big Ten schedule. The best teams in the overrated WAC would only be mediocre in the Big Ten. Treasure your job - they are hard to come by these days. Good luck.

Large 11 Honk:

Sorry you made bail, but I'm going to burst your bubble. I've been saying publicly for a while that Boise State could win the Big Ten this year. SEC East too. Big 12? Tell me they couldn't line up with Nebraska. I don't know how much of Boise you've seen in person but give them the eye test. That would require you watching them play. Get back to me. I'll help get you a ticket.



From: Sarah


Dear Dodd, Did you not have Ohio State at No. 2 in your pre-season poll? All they've done is kick the crap out of people, with a dominating defense and a Heisman-contending quarterback. What else would you have expected them to do so far that warrants your whining? Boise's win over Virginia Tech is not the least bit impressive after VT goes down to James freaking Madison. Put Boise in a real conference and let them play a real schedule, then we'll talk. This whole fascination with Boise is a joke and a cop out by writers, like yourself, to continue hating on Ohio State.

Just Another Mypopian:

"Kick the crap out of people"? If you want to call Eastern Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Marshall and Indiana "people", that's a stretch. They are body bags. Air. They've renamed themselves "The Lettermen" because they mail it in. You conveniently forgot about that little struggle in Champaign. And I don't mean Ed Champagne.

 Nice win over Miami, by the way. The Canes are so far out of the polls, they have to look up to see the bottom of West Virginia's cleats.

The reality is that Boise has accomplished more ON THE FIELD than Ohio State has this season.


From: Keith

Dennis, You are smarter than me, so please find a way to talk about an elephant-in-the-room topic for all of the reasonable, rational college football fans. Don't know how many of those are left, but there are at least a few of us.

Here's my topic: Much of the controversy surrounding BCS vs. non-BCS teams is pedigree. But riddle me this: how many current Alabama players -- or insert your favorite traditional power players or coaches -- were there when Bear Bryant was there? How many current LSU players were on the squad in 2007 when the title was won? Point: players, especially starters, are different every year. Five years ago all of them were in high school, or even junior high! Coaches change all the time, etc. What Alabama did ten years ago means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING today, and what they did last year still matters very little.


Time Traveler:

You've been reading my mind, Mr. Spock. A lot of the polls are built on reputation. It's why Lindsay Lohan continues to get acting roles. She might have her snoot halfway up a brick of cocaine, but she sure does look good on screen.

Few want to give Boise cred because the program has been good for 10 years. Alabama has been good for 10 DECADES! That's the difference. Line 'em up on the field and let's see what happens. Better yet, line 'em up in NCAA 11. I still haven't bought my copy yet.

Coaches and players change all the time but voters don't, it seems.


From:
  Rick

Oregon reminds me of a Little League Pop Warner type team! They are a controlled group that have gone berserk! I believe their players truly believe that they can outscore anyone! Like great golfers, they play their game - and then some, not worrying about what their opponent does. It would be interesting to see them play Boise State, followed by Alabama! Opinion? They would outscore both.

Acid Washed:

Dude, you're so all over the board I'm afraid you've had too much organic coffee (or something) out there in Eugene.

You besmirch Pop Warner teams everywhere suggesting they don't play any defense. You ever see Snoop Dogg's team. They beat the heck out of you. There's a league in central New York that leads the country in torn ACLs caused. I'm insulted at your blanket reference to Pop Warner football. It's better than you think. Ask Eastern Michigan.

 

Posted on: October 10, 2010 11:24 pm
Edited on: October 11, 2010 10:44 am
 

The Day After In College Football

Les Miles is going to hell. The man has obviously traded his soul for football wins.

That's the only logical conclusion after what we saw Saturday night. A fake field goal led to the eventual winning touchdown for LSU at Florida. Not just any fake field goal. With less than a minute to go, holder Derek Helton flipped the ball over his head to kicker Josh Jasper. The ball bounced once and, amazingly, right into the hands of Jasper who ran for the first down.

There was so much wrong with the play that it seemed finally Crazy Les had outfoxed himself. First, there was the question of whether Helton's flip was a forward pass. By the slimmest of margins, it was ruled a backward pass which was a key distinction. A fumble on fourth down can only be recovered by the fumbler. But since the ball was ruled a backward pass it can be advanced. Helton, the holder, was not ruled down even though his knee was on the ground for the attempt. There is a special exemption on such plays for holders who can initiate a backward pass while still being on a knee.

Of course, Miles knew on this before extending his contract with the devil that promises his soul to Lucifer in exchange for some extremely good fortune on the field. Right? Is there room on Broadway for "Damn Tigers"?

**Nebraska is back in a familiar spot, No. 2 in national rushing. Most of the improvement is because of redshirt freshman Taylor Martinez who is quickly becoming one of the program's best quarterbacks. Here is a glimpse at Martinez' dramatic effect on the offense:

Nebraska's 21 rushing touchdowns have covered 668 yards, an average of 31.8 per run. That rushing yardage surpasses the team's total on all 36 scoring plays from scrimmage last season (555 yards).

Also last season, Nebraska had six touchdown runs of 10 or more yards. This season they have 15 TD runs of 10 or more yards, 11 of 20 or more yards.
 
Martinez as a passer: Last season three of Nebraska's 16 touchdown passes were of 33 yards or longer. This season, three of five TD passes have been that long. Those five TD passes have averaged 42.3 yards. The Huskers averaged 22.7 yards per scoring pass last season.
 
Also, Martinez is averaging 34.9 yards on his nation-leading 12 rushing TDs. Denard Robinson has nine rushing touchdowns have averaged 28.7 yards.
 

**Texas A&M has had at least four turnovers in four consecutive games. That's a staggering total of 18 for the season. Only New Mexico (20) has more. Last year, 25 teams didn't turn it over 18 times all season.

**In leading the country in total offense (567 yards) and scoring offense (54.33 points), Oregon is averaging more than seven touchdowns per game. There are still three teams that haven't accumulated seven touchdowns all season (Louisiana-Monroe, New Mexico State and San Jose State). At the current pace, the Ducks would surpass Oklahoma's modern-day record of 702 points in a season set in 2008. Oregon is on pace to score 706.2 points in one less game (13) than OU did in '08 (14).

Despite missing a game due to a suspension, Oregon tailback LaMichael James is leading the nation in rushing (169.6 yards per game) and is on pace to run for 2,000 yards. James is also the active career leader in yards per game (133).

**After losing to New Mexico State it's hard to find another victory on the schedule for New Mexico coach Mike Locksley (career record, 1-17). New Mexico (0-6) still has to play ranked teams Air Force and TCU in the Mountain West.

**Arizona State is the worst BCS conference team in the red zone. It has scored on only 22 of its 32 drives inside the 20. Only 15 of those have resulted in touchdowns.

**Army is the only team not to have thrown an interception this season.

**In the last two seasons, Boise State's Kellen Moore has thrown 53 touchdowns and only four interceptions.

**Texas (3-2) will be trying to avoid its first three-game losing streak since 1999 when it plays at Nebraska this week.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com