Future may be bright for Arizona, bleak for USC; more midday Snaps
If USC couldn't stop Arizona, it stands little chance of stopping Oregon next week
Kansas State looked great and should move up to No. 3 after Florida's loss
The ACC and Big East offered painful reminders of why they get no respect
Arizona 39, No. 10 USC 36: USC controls its destiny in the Pac-12 South for one more week. Unfortunately for the Trojans, they're about to play Oregon. Oregon runs essentially the same offense that went wild on USC's defense Saturday for 588 yards -- Chip Kelly learned a lot of the basic principles from current Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez -- except Oregon has elevated that offense to something resembling perfection. The other difference is that Oregon plays much better defense than Arizona. It won't be a shootout. Matt Barkley will not throw for 493 yards as he did against Arizona. It probably won't be close. USC may still back its way into the Pac-12 title game, but the Trojans beating the Ducks twice is about as likely as Calvin Klein hiring me to model underwear.
Meanwhile, Arizona could have a bright future. The Wildcats could take control of the South race next week with a USC loss and a win at UCLA. That's no gimme, but if Arizona can get past the Bruins, they've got doormats Colorado and Utah before a Black Friday matchup with Arizona State for the Territorial Cup and possibly the South title. For Arizona, the biggest question this week surrounds the availability of quarterback Matt Scott. Scott threw for 369 yards and ran for 100, but he left late in the game with an apparent head injury. Junior B.J. Denker, a junior college transfer who joined the Wildcats this past summer, finished the game. [RECAP | BOX]
No. 12 Georgia 17, No. 3 Florida 9: SI.com's Holly Anderson has a full report on a game neither offense seemed to want to win, but I'll leave you with some reading. If Georgia beats Ole Miss and Auburn and wins the SEC East after losing 35-7 to South Carolina, expect Steve Spurrier to bring up this idea again.
Also, Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones simply destroyed the Gators. He finished with 13 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. His biggest play came when he stripped Florida tight end Jordan Reed deep in Georgia territory when it appeared the Gators might find a way to tie the score late. If you haven't already read it, take a few minutes to read the magazine profile I wrote on Jones earlier this month. He's an incredibly cool guy who has dealt with some serious stuff in his life. [RECAP | BOX]
No. 4 Kansas State 55, No. 15 Texas Tech 24: The Wildcats keep crushing everything in their path. In fact, they look so good that it's difficult to imagine any of their final four opponents beating them. If they do wind up 12-0, we could be heading toward some serious BCS controversy. If Alabama and Oregon also go undefeated, someone is getting left out. Alabama is safe as long as it keeps winning, but Kansas State and Oregon are a different story. The human voters prefer Oregon by a little. The computers prefer Kansas State by a lot. With Florida losing, Kansas State should move up to No. 3 in the human polls, which should widen the Wildcats' advantage over Oregon in the BCS standings.
Bill Snyder is not the type to let his team get caught up in the hype, but remember, Oklahoma State looked unbeatable last year until the night the Cowboys got beat. Any of those three teams at the top could lose, and all of them have some quality opponents to go. Still, Kansas State's defense is filthy. Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege had thrown for 13 touchdowns in his past two games, and the Wildcats held him to two touchdowns (one in garbage time) and intercepted him once. Meanwhile, Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein generated four more touchdowns (two rushing, two passing). Not sure whether he'll win on Dec. 8, but Klein will be watching the skaters at Rockefeller Plaza on Dec. 7. [RECAP | BOX]
Kent State 35, No. 18 Rutgers 23: I included that previous game so none of the Big East homers can accuse me of ignoring the ACC's mediocrity. Now, here goes. Ladies and gentlemen, the Big East!
Why does the Big East get zero respect? Because undefeated Big East teams lose to MAC teams in the middle of the season. Rutgers didn't let Dri Archer get loose on a kickoff return, but Scarlet Knights quarterback Gary Nova did throw six interceptions. This leaves Louisville as the lone undefeated Big East team. The league's hopes rest with the Cardinals. This game also brought up one other question. How in the heck did the Golden Flashes get crushed by Kentucky? [RECAP | BOX]
Miami (Ohio) 23, No. 23 Ohio 20: The Bobcats probably weren't going to bust the BCS anyway, but it would have been fun to watch them try. Oh well. At least this sets up some intriguing MACtion down the stretch. [RECAP | BOX]
SI Now Live Friday December 20, 2013
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