SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
10/28/2006 11:45:00 PM
Saturday Observations Part III
All season long, nearly every time we’ve heard Colt McCoy’s name, it’s been accompanied by the words, “he’s not Vince Young, but …” Well, here’s another one: No, he’s not Vince Young (who is?), but McCoy’s performance Saturday night at Texas Tech was positively Vince-esque.
Did anyone else have a serious case of déjà vu watching this game? It seems like every year Texas has at least game –- always at night, and always against Texas Tech or Oklahoma State -– where it falls behind by a huge amount right off the bat, then calmly, gradually rallies to the win. Saturday, the ‘Horns were behind 24-7 midway through the second quarter when their redshirt freshman quarterback went to town: a 28-yard touchdown to Jordan Shipley, a 45-yard touchdown to Limas Sweed, a 28-yard touchdown to Quan Cosby.
But without question, the play of the night involved McCoy’s feet. On third and 5 with 1:31 left and Texas clinging to a 35-31 lead, McCoy took the snap, rolled right, saw nobody open, ran back to the left, turned up field and, in an eyebrow-popping burst of speed, raced straight past at least three Tech defenders for a game-clinching 33-yard gain. Remind you of anybody?
The final stats will show that Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell shredded the ‘Horns’ defense (41-of-61, 512 yards, three TDs, one INT), but the large majority of it came in the first half. Give credit to Texas coordinator Gene Chizik for making the necessary halftime adjustments and McCoy (21-of-31, 330 total yards, four TDs, one INT) for leading the comeback.
∙ Funny how quickly things can change in a week. Last Saturday night, I was singing the praises of Clemson and declaring the Tigers the class of the ACC. A week later, there’s a three-way tie for first in the ACC’s Atlantic Division -- and Clemson, following its Thursday night drubbing by Virginia Tech, isn’t one of the three. They would be Boston College, Wake Forest and Maryland, all 3-1 in the conference.
∙ The Terps (6-2) sure have come a long way since the start of the season. It wasn’t that long ago Ralph Friedgen was expressing some doubts about QB Sam Hollenbach (a seemingly annual tradition in College Park), but the senior threw three touchdowns in Saturday night’s 27-24 win over Florida State. I still wouldn’t put much faith in Friedgen’s team to win the division, but they’re at least going to be playing in a bowl game for the first time in three seasons.
∙ Both quarterbacks were impressive in the Tennessee-South Carolina game. While Syvelle Newton’s three interceptions certainly didn't help the Gamecocks, the only reason they were even in the game was due to Newton’s playmaking ability (230 yards passing, 82 rushing). Erik Ainge, meanwhile, just continues to shine. With almost no help from his running game, Ainge (21-of-29, 255 yards, two TDs, no INTs) picked apart a solid South Carolina defense
∙ The least-publicized 8-1 team in America is Texas A&M, and seeing as the Aggies’ 31-21 win over Baylor wasn’t televised, I have no particular insight to offer you. All I know is the upcoming stretch run in the Big 12 South is going to be awfully tough for everyone, as Texas and Oklahoma both play Texas A&M and Oklahoma State.
∙ Besides Cal, the hottest team in the Pac-10 is Washington State. The Cougars (6-3) followed up their upset of Oregon with a resounding 37-15 win at UCLA. That same Bruins defense that largely stifled Brady Quinn and Notre Dame had no such answers for Wazzu QB Alex Brink, who threw for more than 400 yards.
∙ The Mountain West race is as good as over. BYU’s 33-14 win at Air Force combined with TCU’s 26-3 rout of Wyoming gives the Cougars (6-2, 4-0 MWC) at least a two-game edge over everyone else. I don’t know how John Beck and Co. lost to Arizona in their opener, but they’ve sure been impressive ever since, including taking Boston College to overtime on the road.
∙ Sorry -- I’ve got to go. As I write this, Borat is making a surprise appearance on Saturday Night Live, and this is bound to be the funniest thing this show has seen in years. As he would say: Very nice!
Is anyone shocked that USC lost. Their talent was depleted from last years team and they been scarping by week in and week out since the first week of the season. It was a matter of time, with their upcoming schedule I wouldn't be shocked to see USC at 10-2 or 9-3. Woohoooooooo!
Congrats, Mack Brown! Not only were the refs on your side (stiffing Tech out of a first down on the 4th down pass, and the phantom pass interference), but now since USC lost you can go make your crybaby plea to the media to put your team in another BCS bowl! Hey, maybe you'll face Ohio State again! After all, it's not your team's fault that your conference is so weak and you'll face a 3-or-4 loss team in the Big 12 title game, right?
Seriously, enough BCS... it's time for a playoff system. Enough paper champions.
The results of today's games have make the reminder of the season quite interesting. Refs decisions are part of the game and we have to live with them (Remember Reggie Bush pushing Leinart for a TD in South Bend?). In any event, by the time all is said and done OSU and Rutgers or Louisville might be left as the only undefeated teams. If that is not the case, we are going to have a bunch of teams with one loss fighting for consideration to play for the National Championship. West Virginia, in my opinion, has not faced any worthy oponent and their real level will start to show this coming Thursday. I would not be surprised if they ended up with two losses
Yeah, Congrats Mack Brown!! That spot on the fourth down catch was reviewed and it showed an accurate spot... Both 4th down spots actually. The pass interference, I'll give you, IF you give me back the fumble that wasn't. Cry to somebody else bud. You try playin those pass-crazy tortilla chunkin clowns every year. Ask Tedford... Leach is a maniac! Didn't have enuff guts to say which team you're cryin' for... ??
Congratulations Anonymous! You made it eight words into your comment before you whined about the refs! Now you can cry about a game from two seasons ago! BTW, who won that Rose Bowl the 'Horns so undeservedly made it to? Oh yeah, Cal obviously should have been there instead.
I'm sure you can't see the irony of calling anyone else a crybaby after those comments, and I really have no idea to whom you refer when you say "paper champions". I think your 'Horns hatred has you in a state of pathological denial. And I say bring on a playoff, too. With the current BCS standings, Texas would be a pretty low seed. I wonder how much Ohio State or any other high seed would really like drawing lowly ol' Texas in the first round...
If "style" points count then Texas should not be #4 or even in the top 5. First, they got whipped (at home) by Ohio State. Then in the last 3 weeks: they gave up 31 points to Baylor, was given a gift by Nebraska and then they had to survive against Texas Tech. A top 5 team doesn't get pushed to the limit 2 weeks in a row by average teams.
We know damn well that Tech was robbed last night, any idiot who's not a longhorn (and even some of them) could see that. I was at the game. Every time Tech got some momentum going, the refs found a way to stop them. I can almost understand the spot on that 4th and inches, but the 4th and 15 was ridiculous. The receiver gained nearly 16 yards on the play and the replay views showed that quite clearly, but the offical was unwilling to overturn. I truly hope this isn't part of a bigger picture involving ut going to a bigger bcs bowl and thus bringing more money to the Big XII. Let us all pray that this was just a fluke of a game for the officials and not an involved scheme. Tech deserved that win, and it was taken from them, that much is plain to see.
Stop crying Raider fans! Championship teams find a way to win. You are just pissed that your gimmick football almost worked. You are mad that despite the Longhorns pass defense getting absolutely embarassed, you still don't know how to win a big game. I was at the game, and I will tell you this... every single Raider fan around us were saying 21-0 wasn't enough. See, they know... they know Tech doesn't know how to win a big one. The non-pass interference call, well the refs payed the Horns back on the non-catch interference call against Tech a little later in the game. Bad calls go both ways.
The Horns still need a bunch of help to defend their title. They may actually even drop in the BCS since Nebraska lost to a dreadful Oky State team.
Big 12 weak? Please, when the dust settles the Big 12 will have 5 teams in the top 25, 1 of which (Hook 'em) will be in the top 3. And if Mack wasnt a coach at one of the most successful football programs ever he would be a politician. You cant fault a coach for advocating his program and players, especially when they truely deserve it. And Colt should be getting some Heisman talk too.
BYU lost to Arizona at Arizona by three after a PAC-10 official called a BYU receiver for a non-existent pushing off offensive interference while catching a TD pass that would have put BYU up in the 3d quarter (don't know if it was the same PAC-10 crew that officiated the OU-Oklahoma game, or if they were their cousins), but nonetheless would have won if not for a late missed field goal. It lost to Boston College at BC in triple overtime after missing a makable field goal in regulation and another in overtime. No other 6-2 team in the country can claim that it would be 8-0 but for two missed field goals on the road against two BCS-conference teams (their field goal kicker hasn't missed since and has made a couple from 50+ yards). If BYU can get by Wyoming and Utah on the road, it will be 10-2, and deserving of a top 15 ranking. Other than Boise State, which may end up undefeated and top 10, BYU will be the best of the non-BSC teams. If they end that way, they will face the PAC-10's 4th place team -- maybe WSU or Oregon -- in the Las Vegas Bowl (Oregon would be an interesting game -- pitting U of O's offensive co-ordinator and former BYU head coach, Gary Crowton, against his former BYU defensive co-ordinator and hiw successor as BYU head coach, Bronco Medenhall). Let's hope a PAC-10 officiating crew doesn't show for that game.
A joke? To have the defending national champions, with one loss, in the top 10? Please sir, I ask you to remove yourself from medication and realize the absurdity of your comment. Texas went into Lincoln, Nebraska and won, not by a fluke, but by a forced turnover. And then, the next week, they travel to Lubbock, and beat a very respectable Texas Tech team who happened to match up well against our secondary. Did I happen to mention we beat Oklahoma as well? Are these teams not 'good' by your standards? Texas will finish the season with one loss and play in a BCS bowl.