Whaddaya know. I take a few weeks off, and suddenly up is down, black is white, dogs and cats are sleeping together - it's mass hysteria. (One point to the first to identify the source material there.)
When last we spoke, Mack was getting fired, Diaz was getting crucified, the Texas defense was M.I.A., Alabama was #1, Notre Dame was a top ten team, and the aggies were starting their slow, inevitable spiral toward the bottom of the SEC drain.
Fast-forward a few weeks, and Mack is back, Diaz has started to save face (albeit with a bit of help, if rumors are to be believed), the Texas D is showing signs of life, Alabama looks mortal, Notre Dame looks overrated, and the aggies look like a legitimate threat to test Alabama in Tuscaloosa. (Man, that last bit was hard to type.)
Stewart Mandel thinks Alabama-Oregon is a given. Personally, I don't see it. Oregon's best win is currently USC (#19 BCS), with remaining games against Cal, Stanford (#14), Oregon State (#11), and the Pac-12 championship. If they get USC again in the P12CG, the Trojans will likely be coming off wins against ASU and UCLA (#18) and a loss to Notre Dame (if they can shut down OU in Norman, they can shut down USC in LA). A 4-loss USC team isn't going to give UO a boost in the BCS ratings. If they get UCLA, the Bruins will likely be coming off a pair of wins (Washington State and one of USC/Stanford) and a loss (the other of USC/Stanford - surely they don't win both of these). So while 3 of UO's final 4 opponents are currently BCS-ranked teams, they all play each other (more or less) in the coming weeks and I suspect the BCS benefits to UO will be miniscule.
K-State, on the other hand - already with a sizable lead in the BCS rankings over UO - plays at TCU, at BU, and closes out their season at home against the 'Horns (#17). Texas is likely to move up in the rankings before their showdown with the Purple Wizard, thanks to the aforementioned Pac-12 teams knocking each other out, SEC teams knocking each other out, Nebraska and Clemson being themselves, etc. Long story short - I think if KSU wins out, they play for all the marbles.
Also courtesy of Mandel, the weirdest and most-amazing statistic you will see this week, guaranteed: Kansas State has scored 111 points off turnovers this season. Their opponents have scored 0 points off turnovers. I have said it before and I will say it again: KSU is like Ice Man in Top Gun; they just wait for you to make a mistake and then they kill you. Cold as ice.
West Virginia: Welcome to a real conference. Three losses in a row. Early-season Heisman candidate taken off the ballot. Fans demanding coaching changes. Oh, and by the way - you're at Stillwater this week and hosting the Land Thieves next week. Care to make it 0-5, or will you pull it all together and go 1-4? And just think - if Texas had played defense then like they're playing now, that would've been a loss, too.
Notre Dame: Will somebody please knock these bozos off already? I know, "that's why they play the games," but c'mon - the Domers should've lost to Pitt. Seriously. How does a kid miss a 33-yard field goal to lift his unranked team over the #3 team in the country? And then turn around and make a 44-yarder in OT? That's criminal. Luck of the Irish, indeed. But I suspect we're stuck with them; no way they lose to BC or Wake; perhaps USC can pull off the upset.
Finally: Ala-freaking-bama and LSU. I fully expected this game to be a snooze-fest (my first text to my dad during the game: "LSU 3-0. A shootout!"). But it turned out to be pretty exciting. Multiple touchdowns were scored on offense. Unfortunately, Les Miles happened. That man is too stupid to win. The fake field goal was dumb, particularly in a league where three points is an almost insurmountable lead to overcome. I can almost understand going for it on 4th-and-1, but not running Texas's patented "run it into the back of the pile" play against Alabama. I know the Tide defense is fast, but come on - use one of your fast backs to stretch the field and dive forward for three feet. Oh, and one more thing - you've done a brilliant job of exposing 'Bama's nonexistent offense all night; whatever you do, don't go into a prevent defense on their last drive. That would be catastrophic.
Here's what I'm looking forward to this week:
- ISU at Texas. Can UT defend its home turf against a solid, well-coached Iowa State squad that held OU to five touchdowns last week? (Don't laugh; that's four fewer than Texas held them to.)
- KSU at TCU. This is likely going to be the best-coached team Kansas State will see this year. TCU will be amped up to get the #2 Wildcats at home (well, as amped up as you can get for an 11am start). Does Optimus Klein's injury affect the Purple people?
- WVU at OSU. This should be fun. OSU's third-string QB came in and performed admirably last week against K-State; if he gets the reins again this week, how does he hold up against WVU's defense (chuckle)? And also - how is it that every backup QB on OSU's roster is better than any QB on UT's roster? How does that happen exactly?
- aggie at Alabama. Another 11am kickoff. As Phil Dunphy would say, "Why The Face, TV execs?" WTF indeed. Saban has been complaining about fast-snap offenses all season, even going so far as to suggest the NCAA implement some rules to limit how fast they can snap the ball. Sounds like he's worried about having to defend it. As much as I would hate to have to listen to already-unbearable aggies after a win against #1 Alabama, I would sure like to see the Tide go down - and it would go a long way toward derailing the SEC's 7th-straight MNC appearance. A side benefit? It would hasten the SEC's inevitable buyer's remorse with their purchase of East Texas A&M (pretty sure they're already there with Mizzou).
- San Jose State
- Kent State
- Utah State
- S. Carolina
- Oregon St.
- N. Illinois
- Texas Tech