I watched a lot of football yesterday. Like, all of it. From 11:00 a.m. to the end of the Aggie game, I was in front of a television. Not even the wonderful ACL Fest could pry me from my perch on the couch; no, yesterday was the Big Day of the year, and I wanted to take it all in. I saw all or parts of the following games:
Iowa 27 Iowa State 17
The Cyclones just came apart at the seams in the second half. If I'm a Cyclone fan, I'm pretty displeased with the gameplan for the second half, which apparently involved going away from what worked pretty well in the first half of play. For their part, Iowa did what they had to, and improved on their subpar first half. Albert Young was his usual solid self, and Drew Tate made the right throws at the right times. It's only going to get worse for Iowa State, which embarked on a brutal six game stretch yesterday. With that frustrating loss, the prospects for success look grim. We'll be previewing this Cyclone team all week here at BON, as they visit Austin next Saturday.
Michigan 47 Notre Dame 21
Everyone's seen all the highlights, and there's pages and pages of analyis on what happened in this game, so let me offer a slightly different take on this contest. A memo to all the pundits - bloggers and MSM alike - who want to play the "This Coach is a genius" and "This Coach is a bum" card on all the obviously good coaches: Shut up. Just shut up. Lloyd Carr is not a miracle worker, but he's a damn fine coach. I've defended him consistently in this space, and yesterday's contest was crystal clear validation that the man isn't a bum. And on the flip side, Charlie Weis is no genius. He's just a good football coach. Some weeks, you look good. Others, you look bad. Carr outcoached Weis on this particular Saturday, and in the future, the reverse will inevitably happen along the way. No coach is perfect, and everyone's game plans fall apart from time to time. I, for one, feel damn glad that Michigan won, and so convincingly. If only to shut up those pundits for a week or two.
Oklahoma 33 Oregon 27
No, I didn't turn off the game early. I saw it. I'm just noting what the final score should have been. Look, Oklahoma dug their own grave with the abysmal defense, but let's just get this out there for discussion: what's the point of having instant replay if, upon review, the right call isn't made? Actually, no need to answer; it's a rhetorical question. I hope the Pac 10 rebukes the clowns that blew the end of that game. It was borderline criminal. Probably just karma for Stoops being such a prick. Not excusable, still.
Auburn 7 LSU 3
If you thought that was a "boring" game, you're not the same kind of college football fan that I am. The tension and drama in that game was terrific, even if it was the defense that was putting on the show. The pass interference brouhaha is interesting, but the call was not decisive, I didn't think. Hard to imagine that ball being caught anyway. For Auburn, their first huge test is passed, if barely. The schedule is as favorable as an SEC one can be, but the conference is head and shoulders above any other, and it's not particularly close. It's going to be tough to run the table.
Texas 52 Rice 7
Positional breakdowns over the next two days here on the site, but a quick note that it was exactly what we needed/wanted to see. Colt had a terrific bounceback game, the offense went vertical when it needed to, Shipley was utilized beautifully, the running game was pounding (and not abandoned), and the defense completely shut down Rice. No complaints at all here.
Florida 21 Tennessee 20
Kudos to the Gators for a gutty, tough win. Leak played maddeningly - mostly good, but with a few head-scratching plays: wrong reads, silly slides, and so forth. I've been praising this defense since July, and they were the real heroes last night. A great performance and a huge win on the road. I thought the Vols, for their part, played well enough to win, but they were outmatched by Urban Meyer last night. The Gator offense, my question mark, is playing better than expected. This is a legitimately dangerous team.
USC 28 Nebraska 10
Not a bad road effort from Nebraska, but they never really threatened the Trojans. Their inability to run the ball on the Trojans sealed their fate early. For all the talk about the losses of the Heisman winners, the real story ought to be how improved this defense is. Sometimes you get amazing Heisman players that help you win championships. Mostly, though, championship teams have above average offenses with terrific defenses. I'm not betting against the Trojans any time soon. They're going to be tough to beat.
Texas A&M 24 Army 20
I was rooting pretty hard for Army; I'll say it. Forget my Big 12 allegiances, those Army kids played incredibly hard, and well enough to win. The Aggies were pathetic defensively, and uninspiring offensively. I can admire McGee for his grit and determination, but he's pretty average when it's all said and done. Poor play aside, the Aggies did win, and they'll continue to plod through their cupcake schedule undefeated for now. The team will improve some, too, but any thoughts about this team being a Top 15 team are sorely misplaced.
Rice breakdown continues next.