JoePa wins No. 400, Cam Newton keeps cruising; more Snaps
Coach Joe Paterno has accomplished a feat that will likely never be duplicated
Absent evidence Auburn did anything wrong, Cam Newton remains Heisman leader
Michigan's OT win wasn't pretty, but it puts Rich Rodriguez on more solid footing
You'll read plenty about Joe Paterno's 400th win in the next few hours, but consider these facts as you ponder a feat that likely will never be duplicated.
Paterno won his first game in 1966. That year, Florida quarterback Steve Spurrier won the Heisman Trophy. Spurrier went on to become a Hall-of-Fame level college coach. Entering Saturday, Spurrier had 183 wins. To pass Paterno, Spurrier would have to average 11 wins a season for 20 more seasons. He would be 85 years old.
Florida's Urban Meyer is recognized as one of the game's best coaches, and he was relatively young when he became a head coach in 2001 at Bowling Green. Saturday, Meyer won his 102nd game. At an average of 11 wins a season, Meyer would have to coach for 28 more seasons to pass Paterno. Meyer would be 74 years old. That's quite a bit younger than JoePa is now, but Meyer already has retired once.
Alabama's Nick Saban also is regarded as one of the era's best coaches. Saban entered Saturday with 126 wins. At 11 wins a season, Saban would have to coach for 25 more seasons. Saban would be 84 years old.
The coach Paterno beat for win No. 400, Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald, was born eight years after Paterno won his first game.
After he threw for a career-high 317 yards in a 62-24 win against Chattanooga (RECAP | BOX), Auburn quarterback Cam Newton spoke to reporters at length for the first time since reports surfaced accusing a man of attempting to shop Newton's services to Mississippi State during Newton's recruitment last year.
Newton said he couldn't speak directly about the accusation or the NCAA's investigation into them, but when asked if he could provide a defense, Newton was adamant that he'd done nothing wrong. He also said this.
"I love Auburn, and that's all I've got to say," Newton said. "God has blessed me right now... When God be blessin', the devil be messin'."
Indeed. It may have had something to do with the competition, but the drama this week certainly didn't seem to affect Newton on the field. That makes sense, though. Newton has known about this accusation for months. He also has known for months that the NCAA is looking into the accusation. He probably wasn't that surprised when word finally leaked.
The question now is how this will affect Newton going forward. Some Heisman voters already have said they will not vote for him. Absent actual evidence that Auburn committed wrongdoing in his recruitment, I'd have a hard time leaving him off my ballot.
Watch the full Newton interview below:
Stanford clearly defined the Pac-10 pecking order Saturday with a 42-17 thumping of Arizona on Saturday. The Cardinal are clearly the second-best team, and a berth in the Rose Bowl isn't out of the question -- if Oregon and Stanford each win out.
In the meantime, Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck may have taken another step toward becoming the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft -- whenever the redshirt sophomore decides to turn pro. Luck threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns Saturday.
"He played a tremendous game," Cardinal coach Jim Harbaugh said. "Some of the throws he made in some really tight, tight areas. Those are big-boy throws. Those are big-league type of throws when you're putting a ball on the line 35, 40 yards down the field staring into a rush. It's very NFL-like the way he executes out there on the field."
Anyone who watched Stanford demolish a good Arizona team also probably came away with a greater appreciation for Oregon. Remember, the Ducks beat Stanford by three touchdowns on Oct. 2 and have crushed everyone in their path since. Every impressive win by Stanford only makes that win look even better.
Things are about to get even worse in Austin.
On Saturday, Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert threw three more passes to Kansas State players than Wildcats quarterback Collin Klein did, and the Longhorns fell behind by 39 en route to a 39-14 loss.
Klein completed two of the four passes he attempted, and the Longhorns defense failed to stop the Wildcats, despite knowing they would run on nearly every play. Meanwhile, Texas coaches continued to allow Gilbert to throw the ball to the wrong team. Why didn't they turn to backup Case McCoy? Allow Coach Mack Brown to explain.
"I asked about [putting McCoy] in with about seven minutes left," Brown told reporters. "But he wasn't loose, and by the time he started warming up, it was too late."
Texas, which has lost its last three home games, returns to Austin to face Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are much better. At this point, Thanksgiving opponent Texas A&M appears better, too. Assuming the Longhorns beat Florida Atlantic on Nov. 20 -- can we assume that? -- they'll have to win one of those two games to become bowl eligible.
The news was much brighter for the Lone Star state's other Big 12 public schools. Texas A&M whipped Oklahoma, 33-19, and the Aggies defense deserves a ton of the credit for the win after stuffing the Sooners on the goal line on three possessions. Meanwhile, Texas Tech quarterback Taylor Potts came off the bench to lead the Red Raiders to a 24-17 win against Missouri.
Texas A&M is still in the hunt for the Big 12 South title, but a loss to Oklahoma State in Week 4 means the Aggies would need to win out and get quite a bit of help. Ryan Tannehill, who played receiver in that game in Stillwater, was excellent Saturday in his second career start at quarterback, but the star was linebacker Michael Hodges, who finished with 19 tackles and two sacks. The Aggies finish with Baylor, Nebraska and Texas. Anyone who watched tape of Saturday's games will concede that Texas A&M could potentially win all those games.
Meanwhile, in Lubbock, Potts may have won back his starting job after he relieved Steven Sheffield and threw for three touchdowns to lead the Red Raiders to their biggest win of the season. Texas Tech's passing game got a lot of help from the rushing attack, which piled up 198 yards. Baron Batch ran for 134 yards on 28 carries.