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SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
11/11/2006 11:34:00 PM

Saturday Observations Part III

Oakland Arena
Kyle Williams (right) and the Wildcats knocked Selvin Young and Texas out of the title hunt.
AP
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- You wanted a BCS shakeup? You got it. In terms of postseason ramifications, I can only think of one Saturday in the BCS era that rivaled this one -- and that was the last day of the season in 1998, when undefeated UCLA and Kansas State went down.

Auburn? Out. Cal? Done. Texas? Sayonara.

Florida? Still alive … but very badly burned. Ditto Boise State's at-large hopes.

And let's not forget Louisville's loss to Rutgers two nights ago which opened the door for this whole one-loss rat race in the first place. (Speaking of which, I would think Rutgers is now going to rise a lot higher in the polls than I originally anticipated.)

Where to begin?

· I must confess, I was not overly familiar with first-year Kansas State coach Ron Prince before tonight, but he earned my respect in a big way against Texas. Knowing full well the 'Horns secondary had been shaky this season, Prince flat-out attacked them Saturday night despite starting a freshman quarterback (Josh Freeman).

In one particularly bold sequence in the third quarter, K-State ran consecutive halfback passes (the first one was technically from a receiver) that went for 28 yards and an 18-yard touchdown. Obviously, losing QB Colt McCoy in the first quarter hurt Texas –- but it didn't cause the 'Horns to give up 45 points.

· It pains me that I did not get to see the end of the South Carolina-Florida game live. Considering what was at stake –- not only would Florida's national title hopes have been dashed, but Urban Meyer would have had to face 365 days of listening to how Steve Spurrier owns him -– you don't get a much bigger field-goal block than that.

Give the Gators credit for pulling it out, but their performance just confirms what I've been saying the past couple weeks that Florida is hanging on for dear life at this point. The two-QB system worked to perfection on their game-winning drive, with Tim Tebow coming in for the key fourth-down conversion and touchdown run, but would you take the Gators over Arkansas right now?

· Of course you wouldn't, because the Razorbacks are the hottest one-loss team in the country –- and Darren McFadden has got to be climbing up that Heisman chart. What a tremendous big-game performance the sophomore had against Tennessee: 30 carries for 181 yards (the overwhelming majority of it before halftime) -- and he threw a 12-yard touchdown as well.

· What a wild two weeks it's been in Tucson. Arizona, seemingly headed toward its third straight mediocre season under Mike Stoops, turns around and beats Washington State and Cal in consecutive weeks to put itself in position for a potential bowl berth. You've got to feel for Bears QB Nate Longshore, who's had a fantastic season but threw three critical interceptions Saturday. The good news is he has a chance to redeem himself in a bg way next week against USC.

· Boise State raised and then crushed the hopes of other BCS at-large aspirants with its dramatic comeback to beat San Jose State. Anthony Montgomery's 37-yard field goal with four seconds left preserved the Broncos' undefeated record. Had they lost, the Fiesta Bowl suddenly would have been wide open.

· Nebraska wrapped up the Big 12 North and added to Texas A&M's season of heartbreak on Zac Taylor's touchdown pass with nine seconds left. The Aggies trailed 21-10 at halftime, rallied back to take a 27-21 lead, then lost on that play. If you recall, A&M also lost to Texas Tech on a last-second touchdown and lost to Oklahoma last week when the Sooners converted that late fourth down.

· I give Miami all the credit in the world for fighting to the finish against Maryland today, just five days removed from the murder of Bryan Pata. The 'Canes fell behind 14-0 early in the second quarter but eventually crawled back to 14-13 behind backup QB Kirby Freeman. With the win, the Terps keep pace with Wake Forest at the top of the ACC Atlantic; the two meet on Nov. 25.

· You never know what will happen on any given week in the Pac-10. Not only did Arizona beat Cal, but UCLA, which looked awful the past few weeks, routed Oregon State, which came in on fire. And Stanford gets its first win in convincing fashion, 20-3 over Washington.

· Well, now we know: Xavier Lee was not the answer. By the way, remind me to stop doubting Wake Forest.

· Finally -- guess what, folks: It's officially Ohio State-Michigan week.
posted by Stewart Mandel | View comments |

Comments:

Posted: 12:14 AM   by Emil Valdez
Stewart,
No one should now be doubting the mighties one and two - looking forward to next week to find out who will be victorious.
Posted: 12:19 AM   by Anonymous
I'd say the games today really left the door open for USC, if they can manage to win out.
Posted: 12:33 AM   by Anonymous
My Sat. Observations:

Auburn is overrated and was overrated coming into the UGA game. Tuberville is a whiner, so maybe he'll tuck his tail between his legs and shut up, please. The ACC and Pac 10 are both whacky conferences. WOW!! Congratulations to Stanford for it's first win. The Clemson Tigers lost their heart after the Va.Tech game and have yet to recover it. Florida has been exposed. Spurrier is a good coach, but still a jackass. Watching the Ga. Tech/North Carolina game, in a word...BRUTAL!!
Oh yeah! Finally Michigan destroys Ohio State next week...that defense is for real!
Posted: 12:36 AM   by Anonymous
As a Texas fan, while I do think Texas would have won if Colt had played the whole game (I think he would have been good for at least three more points), you're right: when your defense plays that poorly, you don't deserve to win, no matter who your QB is. As painful as it is to say this, Texas just didn't deserve to win tonight. And the two big RB's fumbling at crucial moments don't help either. Bottom line: Texas lost straight up, and it was definitely not because of their freshman QB. If anyone were to tell me that would be the case at the start of the year, I would have scoffed. It's amazing what can happen in a single season.

Of course, if college football had some sort of playoff system (even if it only involved the 10 BCS teams), this loss wouldn't sting as much, because I still think Texas will win the Big 12 and would hence make it into said playoffs; but there's no use discussing that here....
Posted: 12:46 AM   by Anonymous
Ok so the Gators are hanging on for dear life, however how do you blame a team that has just traveled the toughest road in all of College Football. They went 3-1 against quality opponents with a combined record of 31-11 (LSU, Auburn, Tennessee, Georgia). The Gators demonstrated that they have a very suspect run defense now that Marcus Thomas has been dismissed from the team. The Gators D is average at best, however they keep winning and that's the bottom line.
Posted: 1:04 AM   by Anonymous
That Texas game ought to show that it ain't just the Big East that has defensive troubles. Also, why is it that one-loss Florida, who wins so ugly I feel like I should put a paper bag over the TV, has the inside track to the national title game over one-loss Arkansas, who crushed Tennessee? Hopefully the SEC championship game will right the ship. Both teams could still lose again, but right now Arkansas is the best SEC team (with LSU a close second).
Posted: 1:05 AM   by Anonymous
Did anyone else just watch College Gameday Final and hear Kirk H. say "I think Michigan has a very good chance." Anyone else think this was just to make up for his previous comments?
Posted: 1:23 AM   by D
What I laugh was all the team complaining that they are better than Michigan and that they should get a shot for the BCS national championship. Well, it is likely that either Florida/Arkansas winner, USC/Norte Dame winner (assuming USC beats Cal), West Virginia/Rutgers winner, or Michigan/Ohio State loser.

Ain't this crazy?
Posted: 1:38 AM   by Anonymous
I bleed Orange and Blue, but any Gator fan touting that our team is "NC worthy" is delirious. We'd be lucky to scrape a win vs Arkansas in the SEC title game...and to sbyrd24 that said Florida had the 'toughest road'...that was pre-season. I think USC now owns the toughtest schedule (although it took a hit with Cal going down).
Posted: 1:44 AM   by dipthought
We dont think we wont mind arkansas jumping ahead of us in BCS, since then the sec championship game win at atlanta would be even bigger and would probably propel us ahead of osu-michigan and usc-notredam winner. One thing to note though, a couple of years back, these were the type of games florida lost. How things have turned around.
Go Gators!
Posted: 1:47 AM   by easting
Texas' loss would be huge in the Big XII had the zebras got the call right OU/Oregon. Yeah, I know, but it's still hard to swallow. A Texas win at A&M will still get them to the Big XII Championship game. Now if the Horns lose....
Posted: 2:01 AM   by Anonymous
Why does no one mention Wisconsin when talking about all the one-loss teams? With the win at Iowa on Saturday, the Badgers locked an 11-1 season with their only loss AT No. 2 Michigan. Notre Dame gets respect, and the Irish have an equally soft schedule and were crushed on their home field by Michigan. I realize teams five through 11 in the Big Ten are way, way down, and the SEC is the deeper conference this year. But the nation is in love with Ohio State and Michigan, but no one will give UW any props for rolling though the same conference with relative ease. And because of the stupid rules the BCS have, only Michigan and OSU will get BCS berths, and UW will be headed to the Capital One bowl again. I just hope that after the Badgers whip up on an SEC team - see last year's 24-10 win over Auburn - they'll get some preseason hype next year so they can be in the converstion in November.
Yep, Stew, you were right--Texas is SOOO much better than ND, they sure did deserve that #4 ranking, despite exactly the same body of work as the Irish...

It's okay, though--I'm sure you'll find an excuse to bump Wake Forest, Rutgers, West Virginia, Arkansas, UCONN, BYU, and East Carolina above ND. And of course, you'll keep Texas above ND, because...they were better than ND last year, right?
Posted: 2:08 AM   by Anonymous
Michigan - Ohio State has all of the flavor of last year's national title game - Southern Cal and Texas. The Wolverines clearly have the better defense and the Buckeyes have the better offense. A lot of people think Ohio State will win this game with home field advantage and because of their recent success in the match-up, but this Michigan team is not the same team that blew that 4th quarter lead last year. Troy Smith is great, but a great Texas defense beat him last year. Look out of the upset next week!
USC says: Four down and two to go, with one guaranteed to fall next week. One blocked extra point by Florida is all that spoiled an almost perfect day for the Trojans.
Posted: 2:34 AM   by Anonymous
With a USC loss, it looks like we may get a Mich-OSU rematch after all (because we all know Florida will lose to Fla St and then beat Arkansas in the SEC championship). There is no way Notre Dame could get in the NC ahead of Mich if both have one loss since ND's loss was to Mich.
Posted: 4:45 AM   by Anonymous
Its a beautiful day when whining Tommy Tuberville and Mack Brown both lose.
Posted: 7:57 AM   by Gordon
Arkansas is the most under rated one lost team in the country. Beating Auburn should have said something, yet the poles have them rated 11th and Auburn rated 5th. Then they blow out #13 Tennessee. This week they should be ratred in the top 5 or 6. This is a very young team.
Hey Stew, how about 5 things I got wrong last week, maybe that's how you should start off your blog entries.
Posted: 10:25 AM   by Joe
You and Mark May need to get together and throw a party or something. Assuming USC gets by Cal on Saturday (big if), the winner of the USC/ND game will have 2-4 wins against BCS top 25 teams. If UM beats OSU, OSU would have only 1 (Texas). If USC proves themselves against Cal, clearly the winner of the USC/ND game is #2 behind the OSU/UM undefeated champ.

All the SEC apologists also owe Tommy Tuberville a huge debt of thanks. He's managed to get their one-loss teams in the discussion despite NO credibility with non-conference victories. They beat up on each other, and we assume they're great. It seems to me that the SEC's new darling, Arkansas, got THUMPED by USC.
Posted: 10:57 AM   by Anonymous
To all the AP voters....

Please remember Sept 23rd (Louisville 24 beats Kansas State 6...@ Kansas State)

...and if Kentucky is truly the #2 team in the "mighty" SEC East...Sept 3rd (Louisville 59 throttles Kentucky 28) (UK beats Georgia...Georgia beats Auburn...blah, blah, blah) Enough already about the SEC. It's an overated conference!

Please show the Big East and Cardinals some respect!! They deserve to drop, but further than Texas or Auburn or Cal...no way! A 2nd half disaster and a 3 point loss to a talented Rutgers team.
Posted: 11:28 AM   by Anonymous
Texas should be embarrassed to work this hard and to screw it up with a loss to K state. Also why would you send your rookie quarterback on a qb sneak on the goal line and risk him being hurt? Whoever made that call was a complete idiot and should be punished. Not to mention their secondary is terrible and needs a lot of work, I thought they were better than that. They dug their grave now they’re going to have to sleep in it. With this terrible showing I can only hope they lose the rest of the season.
Posted: 11:28 AM   by gmenirish
Apparently the audience has selective memories. They have sort memories when it comes to history. For example, Notre Dame beat Florida State yet finished the seasom number two in the polls, while Florida State finished number one. That was a little over ten years ago, so there is an example of a sort memory. So I don't want to hear how unfair that is if Notre Dame is ranked ahead of a one loss Michigan, cause it happened to the Domers already.

However, when it comes to Notre Dame getting dismantled at home, the voters have a very good memory. Yet not such a good memory for Arkansas, Texas and California,(prior to this weeks games). When it comes to the Irish squeaking out victories, the pollsters remember that when they make the polls, yet squeakers by Florida, Auburn, Texas, etc. aren't remembered by the voters.

This is called selective memory. You only remember what you WANT to remember.
Posted: 11:29 AM   by Anonymous
joe, "clearly" the winner of the usc/nd is #2? only if usc proves themselves against cal? what part of california do you live in? wait a minute, is this pete carroll? usc beat arkansas WITHOUT darren mcfadden, now a heisman candidate. that game, from the arkansas perspective, was 3 quarterbacks ago as well. and usc will prove something against cal? prove what? is that the cal that got drubbed by tennessee, who got beat down by arkansas? is that the cal that got beat by arizona, who got destroyed by 50 by lsu? i'm not gonna use the tired arguement that if these teams (usc, cal, texas, etc.) were in the sec they'd be subpar, because that's just silly. there are great teams in every conference that could compete in any conference. but by the same token, spare us the "weak non-conference game" sob story about the sec. the only conference with more non-conference wins than the sec is the big east. so forget the sec and the pac-10 and let rutgers play for it all if they win out! no?
Posted: 11:44 AM   by Anonymous
Why is everyone so down on ND's schedule? They haven't played any 1-AA teams, not a whole lot of the others can say that. Michigan and Ohio State are both good candidate for the MAC and C-USA titles. They played 3 games against non-BCS conference schools. I think USC is the only team that can claim less then that. Florida is playing a 1-AA team in NOVEMBER. Where is the outcry about that? It's just typical ND bias. Their schedule is in the top 30 in the country according to the Saragin ratings and ahead of quiet a few of these teams getting credit for getting through the mediocre SEC.
Posted: 11:59 AM   by ElGrande92
I'm laughing at the ABC pre-game commentators who said that Kansas State might have a chance if Colt McCoy switches sidelines and plays for KSU. I keep wondering if they are snickering now?
Posted: 12:06 PM   by Anonymous
Well, Well Stew, sure glad Texas backs upyour claim that there better than Notre Dame!!
...................Ha
Posted: 12:24 PM   by Anonymous
Stewart,

As lethargic as UF's offense has been, why do you keep mentioning that you would choose Arkansas over UF if we already know they are going to face each other in the SEC Championship game. You don't have to choose between the two, you just have to wait to see how things play out. Why aren't you stating that you would pick Michigan over Ohio State or vice-versa? I know why, because they have to face each other as well! Besides, UF's defense and special teams are playing great right now. And for all who are impressed with the Hogs win over the Vols, remember the Vols started with a freshman QB on the road.
Posted: 12:38 PM   by gmenirish
Stewart,

What's that feel to your writing today. Although you didn't openly post it in your Saturday Obsevation Column, it seems even YOU can't predict college football. Notre Dame out of the equation, huh? Not anymore. UCLA isn't good! They sure looked good yesterday. Texas is better than Notre Dame, really? Seems like you ate some humble pie yesterday. Let me guess this week's Power Ratings for Notre Dame...14. You didn't want to move them down but you had no choice because of Boston College's, Wake Forest's performances and let's throw in Georgia too.

How obvious can you make your disliking of ND this week? Seems like you ate some humble pie yesterday.
Posted: 12:50 PM   by Allowishes
Florida will not lose to Florida State...anybody see the Wake game? The reason they are in the conversation and Arkansas is not is because they have played a tougher schedule so far. Do I need to remind everyone that all the sports writers in the country are saying that the SEC is one of if not THE toughest conference this year? The Razorbacks are a one dimensional team and will lose in the SEC title game. USC loses to Cal and Rutgers loses to West Virginia. Hello BCS...Go Gators!
Posted: 1:01 PM   by Anonymous
Stewart -

May the BCS IMPLODE! IF Rutgers is undefeated from a BCS conference they have every right to play for the national Championship! Maybe this will be the straw.....to implement a 32 team field for a playoff...eliminate conference championships and go to the dance....NCAA, just think of the revenue (give the players 1 week off for exams).

Only IF???? What a gift to the football fan!
Posted: 1:01 PM   by Anonymous
Everyone is asking which one loss team has the best shot at going to the bcs title game. In my opinion whoever loses between Michigan and Ohio State will only have one loss and is deserving of the Title game.
Posted: 1:17 PM   by Chris
SEC - Sans Emperors Clothing. Why is it that when Pac-10 teams beat up on each other, it's perceived as conference weakness, yet when SEC teams beat each other week-in and week-out, it's perceived as conference superiority, despite a horrific out-of-conference schedule (particularly on the road)? Could someone please explain that one to me - like I'm a five-year-old?

On a similar note, bring on the "If McFadden was healthy" choruses that crescendo with every Arkansas win. Go ahead and use that tired argument, SEC (and Ark) apologists, but only if you also aknowledge that the 11 Hogs on the other side of the ball gave up 50 to a "struggling" Pac-10 offense - at home. When it's all said and done, USC will potentially have beaten 5 top-25 teams, three of them in a row, in a rebuilding year to boot. Nobody else can say that, not even a team from the naked SEC.
Posted: 2:50 PM   by Drew
If ND beats USC look for them to be pushed into the NC Game. Then also look for them to give up about 45 points to either OSU or UM. The real NC games is in six days.
Posted: 3:07 PM   by perry
Joe - I seem to remember USC falling to an unranked Oregon State team after barely squeaking by Washington , Washington State and Arizona State. Adn Cal, the second best that the PAC 10 has to offer got THUMPED by Tennessee week 1 as well, which is arguably the SEC's fourth best team.
Posted: 3:27 PM   by Anonymous
It's time for Wake Forest to get some recognition. THEY ARE FOR REAL. Both ABC and ESPN described the Saturday night as "Wake pulverized Florida State 30-0. FSU has NEVER been shut out in Tallahassee during the B. Bowden era.

Also the re-emergence of the Georgia Bulldogs against a #5 rated Auburn Tiger squad should het the Dawgs back on track. I particularly liked the comment that Tra Battle was Auburn's leading receiver!!
Posted: 3:30 PM   by Anonymous
I seriously doubt that the loser of the OSU-Michigan game will get the opportunity for a rematch in the NC game. However, if OSU wins and if Notre Dame beats USC, there is NO WAY that a 1-loss Notre Dame team should be ranked higher than a 1-loss Michigan team that dominated ND!
Posted: 3:52 PM   by mikes1160
Mark May may be wrong, but Mandel deserves our wrath, Irish fans: he puts us #10 on his AP ballot this week. If you see him in the street, don't put the brakes on.....
Posted: 4:06 PM   by Anonymous
At least Mandel actually watches games, unlike some of the posters here who play the USC thumped Ark card...the same people would by crying if OSU lost a game troy smith and antonio pittman didnt play in.

Its funny how people give an intact Cal a pass getting smoked by a middle of the road SEC team, but dont cut Ark any slack when they lose without a qb or rb.
Posted: 4:15 PM   by Anonymous
question: i am from oklahoma and hear the local media view on the horrid calls from the OU vs. oregon game, booting bomar and losing adrian peterson. will any of these be taken into acccount for bcs selection or final rankings from the national voices?
Posted: 4:48 PM   by Anonymous
Nov 18—Game 1 of OSU/UM Championship
Jan 8—Game 2...
Posted: 5:07 PM   by Anonymous
Stewart, What happens if ND ends up number three and Michigan loses to OSU - Do we see a rematch of the OSU vs Michigan in the championship game? Or God forbid OSU loses in a tight game with Michigan do you put the number three a nod over OSU?
Posted: 5:22 PM   by Anonymous
Pete - Give the players 1 week off for exams? It's student-athlete, not athlete-student. Extending the season through exams would favor schools with lower academic standards. I'll happily deal with all the BCS controversies if more players graduate with real diplomas.
Posted: 5:42 PM   by Anonymous
Mandel, I'm noticing a pattern here. Every season, you underestimate USC and eventually they end up proving you wrong. This is usually followed by an apology... Your behaviour is exactly the reason why the AP is no longer used in the BCS calculation. Don't worry your not by yourself in this club. Along with Herbstreit, James and few other self absorbed idiots the media bias lives strong. The only question in my mind is whether the source of bias is stupidity or financial gain... After this w/e, the 3 top teams are Ohio State, Michigan and USC. Any 3 of them could win on any given Saturday.
Posted: 6:28 PM   by Anonymous
To the defender of the Notre Dame schedule. If Notre Dame can beat Army on Saturday, the Irish will claim the Commander's Cup. Of such an accomplishment against that level of competition, all Notre Dame fans can be proud.
Posted: 7:14 PM   by trojan Dave
If Ohio St. & Michigan play again in the BCS bowl, it will be like a boy kissing his sister!(Nobobdy will like it but the brother & sister).
Posted: 7:39 PM   by Anonymous
So the most impressive thing that USC accomplished this week was letting other teams let the look good. "IF" Texas beat K-State, "IF" Loiusville held on against Rutgers, "IF" Florida was more impressive...we get it!!! Ohio State and Michigan struggled against 2 teams weaker than 2/3 of Notre Dame's schedule, but that didn't hurt them. USC has lost to an unranked team, leave it at that. They are as impressive than Notr Dame, Wake Forest, or any other team out there.
But drop this entitlement attitude. Oklahoma started feeling entitled and despite stellar seasons they still dropped two straight championship games.
So quit trash talking other people's schedules if you refuse to play like a championship caliber team ALL season yourself.
BTW Go Cal!!!!
Maybe that'll shut USC fans and their sense of entitlement up.

Sincerely, and avid Oklahoma State fan
Posted: 7:59 PM   by Loso08
Man I really wish you Notre Dame fans would give it up. You're sub-par. Period. Did you guys already forget watching your Irish behinds getting handed to you against Michigan? How about squeaking out wins - at home - to poor teams like UCLA? Yeah, you'll get your BCS bowl if you win out but if I hear one more Irish fan claim rights to the title game, I'm going to puke. I target my angst at Notre Dame alone simply because the other over-rated team that gets way too much credit and title talk, Texas, got beat by, uh, Kansas State. Good grief. Here's to watching the winner of Ohio St./Michigan playing Rutgers (assuming they beat WV) for the title. Peace.
So by the logic mentioned above (to paraphrase, the U of M defense is not the same as it was last year and Troy will not be able to get a win in the 4th because the Texas defense beat him last year), wouldn't you think that the OSU team is ALSO not the same as it was last year? Oh, and I believe Troy and co. beat a similar Texas defense this year...I am just saying. U of M is good, but you gotta try to make sense in your reasoning.
Posted: 8:09 PM   by Loso08
Now that overrated Texas is finally out of the picture, I'd like to direct my disgust with how high Notre Dame continues to get ranked. Maybe everyone forgot already how they got their Irish behinds handed to them against Michigan. Or, maybe everyone forgot how they narrowly escaped losing to poor teams like UCLA and Michigan State. So you guys are going to have two consecutive winning seasons - that's great. Congrats. But you are nowhere near being title contenders. Move over and let a team who deserves to be there - Rutgers - have a shot. Please Stewart - back me up on this one. Assuming Rutgers beats WV, why would they not get a shot at the title? Undefeated winners of BCS conferences deserve it - not one-loss, America's sweethearts who get embarrassed by real teams.
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