College Football Overtime (cont.)
My reaction to the latest AP and coaches polls:
Overrated: West Virginia (AP: No. 11. Coaches: No. 14)
The Mountaineers have played one opponent of any significance, LSU, and lost. Now they're on the cusp of the Top 10? Let's pump the brakes, AP voters.
Underrated: Kansas State (AP: No. 12. Coaches: No. 16)
AP voters got the memo, but what are you waiting for coaches? With their 41-34 win at Texas Tech, the 6-0 Wildcats have now beaten four straight bowl-bound teams yet remain behind seven one-loss teams.
Each week, I'll update my projected BCS lineup (as necessary) based on the latest week's games. Here's this week's edition:
Title game: Alabama vs. Oklahoma
Rose: Oregon vs. Wisconsin
Fiesta: Oklahoma State vs. Stanford
Sugar: LSU vs. Boise State
Orange: Clemson vs. West Virginia
There's really nothing to see here until someone loses.
No. 1 LSU imposed its will over Tennessee throughout Saturday's 38-7 win in Knoxville, but never more so than a 99-yard second-half drive in which it gained all 99 yards on the ground. Six different players carried the ball. "Our running game is really strong right now, and our offensive line is blocking so well and playing smart football," said Tigers quarterback Jarrett Lee, who was 10-of-14 for 115 yards and two scores. "We're keeping the ball in our hands and it's helping us right now."
Oklahoma receiver Ryan Broyles broke the NCAA's career reception record when he made his 317th catch Saturday night against Kansas, a 57-yard touchdown, part of a 13-catch, 217-yard performance. The previous record-holder, Purdue's Taylor Stubblefield, sent Broyles a congratulatory e-mail earlier in the week, but apparently Broyles wasn't too caught up in history. "Had to fish Broyles' record-setting gloves out of trash," tweeted OU sports information director Kenny Mossman. "He tossed 'em."
Every Heisman candidate needs a signature moment, and Alabama running back Trent Richardson may have achieved his Saturday against Ole Miss. Seemingly walled in to heading out of bounds, Richardson executed the football equivalent of a crossover dribble to shake off Rebels defensive back Senquez Golsen to finish a 76-yard touchdown run. Richardson set career highs with 183 yards (his sixth straight 100-yard game) and four touchdowns.
Even Jim Tressel never drew up anything as conservative as Ohio State's 17-7 win over previously undefeated Illinois. Riding reinstated running back Dan Herron (114 yards on 23 carries) and a dominant defense, quarterback Braxton Miller attempted just four passes, completing one of them -- a 17-yard touchdown to Jake Stoneburner. "The gameplan was to win," said coach Luke Fickell. "However we had to do it, we were ready to do it."
Miami quarterback Jacory Harris is quietly producing a solid senior season. Benefiting from the tutelage of new offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch, Harris ranks eighth nationally in pass efficiency, completing 67.2 percent of his passes (up from 54.8 last season) with a 12-to-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio. His 20-of-30, 267-yard, three-TD performance helped the 'Canes (3-3) rebound from last week's Virginia Tech heartbreaker with a 30-24 win at North Carolina (5-2).
As if Oklahoma State's opponents didn't have enough to deal with defending against Brandon Weeden, Justin Blackmon and Joseph Randle, enter sophomore tailback Jeremy Smith. Saturday at Texas he broke touchdown runs of 30 and 74 yards, continuing a season-long streak of scoring at least one touchdown every game. "We never know who's going to be the guy that makes big plays for our offense. ... Jeremy's just kind of been there the last few weeks," Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said.
Boise State's first Mountain West conference game looked a lot like its old WAC mismatches. The Broncos (6-0) racked up a staggering 742 total yards in a 63-13 demolition of Colorado State (3-3). Kellen Moore (26-of-30, 338 yards, four touchdowns) may be the face of the program, but running back Doug Martin had a career day, rushing for 200 yards and three touchdowns in just over a half.
Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill stole some thunder from Baylor's Robert Griffin III with a 415-yard, six-touchdown performance in the No. 17 Aggies' 55-28 win over the 20th-ranked Bears (4-2). Shedding its previous second-half woes, A&M closed the game with 21 straight points after Baylor got to within 34-28. RGIII didn't go down quietly, however, throwing for a school-record 430 yards. He became the third quarterback this year to break his school's record against A&M.
John Brantley injury or not, it's hard to overstate just how pitiful Florida's offense has been since entering conference play. The Gators (4-3) managed just six points and 194 total yards Saturday against Auburn's 77th-ranked defense. Apparently coordinator Charlie Weis' decided schematic advantage can only do so much for a team with two freshman quarterbacks, a mediocre offensive line and no game-breaking receivers.
Washington's 52-24 win over Colorado gave the Huskies (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) at least 30 points in each of their first six games, a first in school history. Washington is also 5-1 for the first time in a decade. It's beginning to sound like a broken record, but give credit again to quarterback Keith Price (21-of-28, 257 yards, four touchdowns, no picks), who now ranks fifth nationally in pass efficiency and second in touchdowns (21). Next week he goes head-to-head with Heisman front-runner Andrew Luck.
Cal coach Jeff Tedford can only dream he has a top-five quarterback as poor play from that position continues to haunt the Bears (3-3). Zach Maynard threw three interceptions and lost a fumble in last Thursday's 30-9 home loss to USC, wasting a superb performance from Cal's defense. There was no shortage of grumbling in the AT&T Park stands (I was sitting in them) toward Tedford, the once revered coach who has now lost six straight conference games.
Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas wasn't nearly as dominant against Wake Forest as he was last week against Miami, but he was effective enough (17-of-32 for 280 yards and two touchdowns, 11 carries for 30 yards and two scores) to help the Hokies (6-1, 2-1 ACC) cool off the Demon Deacons (4-2, 3-1), 38-17. Coupled with Georgia Tech's (6-1, 3-1) loss to Virginia, Frank Beamer's team may be back in the driver's seat in the ACC's Atlantic Division.
SMU (5-1, 3-0 Conference USA) asserted itself as Houston's chief competitor in the conference with a 38-17 rout of UCF (3-3, 1-1), which came in allowing 17.6 points per game. Now perhaps they can take their budding rivalry to the Big East.
Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish became just the 10th player in FBS history to both rush (229 yards on 14 carries) and pass (203) for 200 yards in a game in Saturday's 51-22 win over Western Michigan.
Remember when Todd Graham's Tulsa teams were putting up 600 yards? Graham's Pitt Panthers (3-4) managed just 120 in a 26-14 home loss to Utah.
Iowa got over its recent hex against Northwestern (five losses in the last six meetings) with a 41-31 victory, but the most impressive feat took place in the stands.
College Football Championship Week roundup: Michigan State spoils Ohio State's BCS hopes
Spartans spoil Ohio State's BCS title hopes