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Poised to fill the vacancy at No. 1, third-ranked Missouri (5--1) face-planted at home (page 34), bowing 28--23 to No. 17 Oklahoma State (6--0). Looking loose in the clutch in Columbia, Cowboys quarterback Zac Robinson thoroughly outplayed Heisman front-runner Chase Daniel, who threw his second, third and fourth interceptions of the season. That game went final as Florida was pulling away from No. 4 LSU. In their most impressive outing of the season the 5--1 Gators established themselves as the class of the SEC East, piling up 475 yards of total offense against the defending national champs. The 51--31 romp in the Swamp jumped Florida six spots in the new AP poll, to No. 5.
No, 2008 is not shaping up to be the Year of the Upset, and not just because that title was already bestowed on 2007. The fact is, as currently constituted—with parity enforced by scholarship limitations and spread offenses successfully employed, it seems, by everyone but Auburn—college football is the sport of upsets. Best get used to it.
THE GIANT-SLAYING wasn't confined to the college game last weekend. Milling in the crowd outside the Cotton Bowl after the game, waiting for a glimpse of Jordan Shipley, was his father, Bob, who was having an excellent weekend even before his eldest son amassed 225 yards of offense and scored two touchdowns against the top-ranked team in the country.
At the Longhorns' hotel last Friday night, Jordan had received a series of increasingly implausible texts from Buddy Echols Field at Coppell (Texas) High, where Bob coaches the Cowboys. After trailing 14--0, then 35--22, Coppell upended Southlake Carroll, ranked third in the country, 57--53 in double overtime. Chipping in with four catches for 34 yards was sophomore wide receiver Jaxon Shipley, who got a hug from his big brother outside the Cotton Bowl on Saturday.
Brown often marvels at the apparent on-field telepathy between McCoy and Shipley, whose friendship precedes their tenure as Longhorns. Bob Shipley and McCoy's father, Brad, were teammates at Abilene Christian in the early 1980s. Later, when Bob served as offensive coordinator at the school and Brad was the coach at San Saba High, Colt and Jordan would take on all comers in pickup games on the grass berm outside A.B. Morris Stadium.
"I was in his wedding," says Bob of Brad. Asked if Brad was in his wedding, Bob replies, "No one was. Sharon and I eloped."
Guile and elusiveness, it would seem, run in the family. Coached by his father at Burnet High, Jordan became the top receiver in Texas schoolboy history, with 264 catches for 5,424 yards and 73 touchdowns. He ran 10.41 in the 100 meters, was clocked at 4.37 in the 40 and had his pick of colleges. His old man couldn't really blame him when Jordan passed on Abilene Christian to become a Longhorn.
Coached by his dad at Jim Ned High in Tuscola, Texas, McCoy followed Shipley to Austin a year later. The QB often accompanies his friend to Burnet, some 40 miles from Austin, for a bit of home cooking and outdoor adventure. (Bob's parents still live there.) On a typical day they rise, go hunting (in fall and winter) or fishing (spring and summer), then repair to the Burnet High field with a bag of footballs.
On the Monday of Oklahoma week, in the woods outside Burnet, Jordan bagged a seven-point buck—the first deer he'd ever taken with a bow and arrow. "He was excited about that," says his mother. He was more excited the next day, when offensive coordinator Greg Davis unveiled a zone-flooding, four-receiver set (three on one side of the field, one on the other) that Texas hadn't shown this season. Lining up as the innermost receiver on the loaded side, Shipley would probe for open spaces in the middle of the field, where Davis suspected the Sooners might be vulnerable.
As Bradford & Co. nonchalantly devoured 74 yards in eight plays for Oklahoma's second touchdown, the Sooners looked every inch the best team in the country. They looked that way right up until the moment Shipley fielded the ensuing kickoff on his four-yard line, high-stepped through a phalanx of converging Crimson jerseys at the 25 and didn't slow down until the score was 14--9.