NCAA FB

Week 4 review: Are there any good teams?

Share This Story

foxsports admin

 
   
 
It's a long season. Heck, it was a long month in college football. The whole of college football seems to be working through some sort of bipolar thing. Who are these guys? The level of ineptitude of most teams is exceeded only by their ability to accomplish the spectacular. And vice-versa. And so it was with the three biggest games of the final weekend in September, which seemed to be a fine time to toast and speak in reverent tones about Penn State, California and Miami. These undefeated clubs were ready to vault to the tippity-top and join the ranks of national championship short-listers. But then they got clobbered. Significantly, they got whipped by teams that had proved to be terribly flawed. But the good Hawkeyes, the good Ducks, the good Hokies all showed up on the same day — much better than any Iowa, Oregon, or Virginia Tech teams had previously looked this season. Maybe they were saving their A games for the day we were ready to write them off. Or something. This month we've seen quite a few blindside upsets of teams overlooking unheralded opponents. Rather, these were critical games in conference (and national) races. And in each case, the Top 10 team could not stand in and hit for the whole game. Remember where their opponents started September:
  • Iowa needed to block two field goals in the final seconds to escape with a one-point victory over Northern Iowa. The Hawkeyes had gotten to 3-0, but their upset victory over Penn State last season was thoroughly identified as a key reason why they had very little chance of beating the Nittany Lions again.
  • Oregon had been embarrassed by Boise State, to the point of their star running back getting suspended for the season for throwing a sucker punch instead of a postgame handshake. The Ducks were 2-1, but had no touchdown passes, and were a shell of the 40-point machine they had been in recent seasons.
  • Virginia Tech weren't exactly competitive at the line of scrimmage against Alabama (the Hokies were outgained 498 to 155). They had somehow gotten to 2-1, thanks to a rout of Marshall and a fluke against Nebraska, and they were quite possibly the most one-dimensional team in the Top 25.

    The complete top 25

    A most upsetting Saturday has scrambled the rankings once again. See the full AP poll 25 here.
    But Iowa gave a black eye to Penn State's White Out, outhitting and outplaying the fifth-ranked Nittany Lions in every phase of the game (21-10), and turning their budding Heisman Trophy candidate (Daryll Clark) into just another helplessly harassed quarterback. And Oregon made Cal's Jahvid Best look like the fourth-best runner in the game, much less America — and the other three were Ducks rolling to a 42-3 rout of the sixth-ranked Bears. What's more, Jeremiah Masoli suddenly returned to being the quarterback who led Oregon to its 10-win season last year, rather than the scatter-armed, tentative thrower of 2009. And Virginia Tech simply took apart ninth-ranked Miami, 31-7. The erstwhile one-dimensional Hokies got big passes from Tyrod Taylor early, and otherwise pounded the Hurricanes on both sides of the ball and shutting down QB Jacory Harris. So, suddenly, the Hawkeyes, the Ducks, and the Hokies have to be recategorized as the teams with the greatest potential in the Big Ten, Pac-10, and ACC. But, to maintain the theme of this season, these three are just as likely to fumble away their newfound status. Oregon is liable to not show up against lowly Washington State (and with the looks of new Cougar freshman QB Jeff Tuel, the Ducks better not go to sleep on that one), Iowa will find a way to lose (or lose momentum) against Arkansas State, and Virginia Tech could manage to fall to Duke (yes, even Duke!).

    Curse of Top 10 ranking

    Saturday's results, along with the Thursday night egg-laying by fourth-ranked Ole Miss, means that 10 different Top 10 teams lost games in September — at least two per week, capped by this fell-flat-on-their-face foursome. So, as we move into October — still two weeks before the first BCS rankings are figured — only 10 teams in the AP Top 25 are undefeated. And of those 10, three of them are named Boise, TCU, and Houston, which do not have the pedigree or conference deemed by the computers and human voters to be considered for the BCS national championship. Alabama, Texas, and, Florida, for what it's worth, are the only teams that have managed to look like they deserve to be ranked in the top five.

    BCS busters

    Before folks get carried away, remember this: BCS rules state that only one team from the non-BCS conferences must be invited to one of the five BCS games (Rose, Fiesta, Sugar, Orange, and BCS championship game). So, even if more than one of them run the table, only one would get a BCS invitation. A question getting ready to nag voters: How high should Boise State, TCU, and Houston be ranked ... now and in future weeks? And go ahead and add Cincinnati to that list. Should they rise to the top of the polls simply through attrition?

    Cardinal's in

    Pac-10 leader Stanford is doing its business with all phases. They did a nice job of bottling up Washington QB Jake Locker, turned Toby Gerhart loose for 200 yards rushing, and helped Chris Owusu do his thing when he scored for the third time this season on a kickoff return. For what it's worth, the NCAA record for most kickoff returns for TDs in a season is five, set by Tulsa's Ashlan Davis in 2004. The record book doesn't say if a player has previously returned the opening kickoff for a score in back-to-back games, as Owusu has.

    Heisman hex

    downlevel description
    This video requires the Adobe Flash Player. Download a free version of the player.
    It was a tough week for Heisman Trophy candidates, with Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead, Cal's Best, Penn State's Clark, and Miami's Harris biting the dust hard. Not as hard as Tim Tebow bit it, though, with his apparent concussion. On the other end of the spectrum, though, there was Texas' Colt McCoy having a big performance (28-for-35, 286 yards, 3 TDs), and the gutsy Jimmy Clausen bringing Notre Dame back against Purdue, despite his toe injury.

    A field General?

    If you didn't see a replay of the Indiana completion that was ruled an interception that ended the Hoosiers-Michigan game, you didn't see the profanity-laced nutout unleashed by IU coach Bill Lynch. It was the kind of snap job not witnessed by IU fans since the General's departure. And for good reason: It was clearly a simultaneous catch (which by rule goes to the offensive player) in which defender Donovan Warren wrestled the ball away from receiver Damarlo Belcher after the players were on the ground. It was the kind of thing that has been happening to Indiana for generations. And amazingly, Michigan is 4-0.

    Notre Dame's "conference" schedule

    Notre Dame completed its Big Ten record at 2-1, and now it starts its Pac-10 part of the schedule. The Irish take on three Pac-10 teams in October — facing Washington at home this week, and following a bye, USC and Washington State. Then, at the end of the year, it's a trip to Stanford.

    A glance ahead

    This is perhaps the least compelling set of games of any Saturday remaining of the season. Sure, there are many important games as league races begin to heat up, but some of last week's results served to undermine the significance of this week's games.
  • Oklahoma at Miami: Will Bradford play? Which Miami team will show up?
  • Michigan at Michigan State: Will Forcier be healthy? Can Wolverines keep escaping and remain perfect?
  • USC at California: They were supposed to be unbeaten, but alternately laid eggs the past 2 weeks.
  • Air Force at Navy: Navy had the close loss to Ohio State; Air Force is 3-1.
  • Wisconsin at Minnesota: Badgers have been the least impressive of all 4-0 teams ... but 4-0 is 4-0.
  • LSU at Georgia: Two powers still trying to find their stride heading into midseason.
  • Washington at Notre Dame: Irish have been banged up, but keep on ticking.
  • UCLA at Stanford: Bruins come off a bye to try to cool off Pac-10 leader.
  • Tagged: Duke, Virginia Tech, Iowa, Michigan, Penn State, Michigan State, Indiana, Boise State, Arkansas State, Marshall, Ohio, California, Stanford, Washington, Washington State, USC, Oregon, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tulsa, Navy, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Texas, Cincinnati, Houston, Air Force

    More Stories From foxsports admin

    College Football Pick'em on FOX


    NCAA FB Videos

    Sumlin annoyed by media's Manziel questions Posted: Jul 16, 2014
    Kevin Sumlin responds to questions about life after Johnny Football by toying wi...

    AJ Pasquale's journey back to UCLA Posted: Jun 17, 2014
    UCLA football ops intern AJ Pasquale describes his own personal journey after th...

    Winston issued adult civil citation Posted: Apr 30, 2014
    Get the latest news surrounding Jameis Winston's recent shoplifting fiasco.

    Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

    More Than Sports on MSN

    Fox Sports Store

      itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
      Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
      Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
      Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
      Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
      Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
      Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
      adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
      adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
      Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
      Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash