After two weeks of upset Saturdays we finally had a blowout Saturday. Time to review the wreckage.
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So, Michigan finally ended that nasty seven-year futility streak against the Buckeyes with a 40-34 win. It was a great game (despite some really suspect officiating toward the end of the fourth quarter) and all that remains now is for Michigan fans to buy some billboards along the Ohio border. With a countdown clock that shows how many days it’s been since Ohio State has beaten Michigan. And another billboard on Ohio’s side of the border showing Urban Meyer pointing at Michigan while smirking.
Penn State got hammered by Wisconsin 45-7. This wasn’t really shocking but how come the second-best team in the country with the best defense only beat Penn State 27-11 in week two? Has Alabama really improved greatly since Week 2? I watched that 45-21 game against Georgia Southern and I’m not buying the "greatly improved" theory. I will say this: If you get in the BCS, great! But if you don’t beat LSU, thanks for advancing the push for a playoffs.
Off to the ACC, where a bad Boston College team beat a decent Miami team and N.C. State did the unthinkable. Normally, a 41-14 lead in the third quarter looks like a decent lead for Maryland, doesn’t it? It wasn’t. N.C. State scored 42 unanswered points — including five touchdowns in the fourth quarter — and beat the hapless Terps 56-41. For the win.
It was not a good day in Hoo-ville. Virginia was overwhelmed by Virginia Tech 38-0 and the Cavaliers made the Hokies look like a top-five team. The Hokies will play Clemson — let’s hope they show up — for the ACC Championship next week.
Clemson lost again, this time to South Carolina 34-13. So why is Clemson such a head case? Maybe it’s about incentive. Playing Virginia Tech next week and then having to beat them to get a shot at the bigger prize — playing the Big East champ in a bowl where seats will be selling on Ebay starting at $1.99 — doesn’t exactly give you goosebumps, does it? Or maybe, this is just Clemson being Clemson.
There is some good news for Gators fans. Florida avoided snapping a 294-game non-shutout streak when they finally scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter against Florida State. It was a beautiful moment in the Swamp. Meanwhile, Florida State won 21-7 and John Brantley made everyone cry.
SEC coaches are very well paid. That, we know. But there is one coach that blows everyone out of the water when it comes to financial brilliance and that man is Houston Nutt. According to CNBC sports business reporter Darren Rovell, Nutt has "made $9.2 MILLION in buyouts in the last 5 years" just from Arkansas and Ole Miss. Nutt will not be retained at Ole Miss but he went out in style — laying a big, fat three-point egg in his 31-3 Egg Bowl loss to Mississippi State.
How bad is it to be a Tennessee football fan right now? The Vols lost to Kentucky, their hoops program is 3-2 and their former coach Lane Kiffin posted a 10-2 record while under sanctions. Oh … and Vanderbilt is going bowling.
New York Times columnist Pete Thamel tweeted that Akron Coach Rob Ianello was informed he was fired as the team’s head coach while he was in the car, driving to New York for his mother’s funeral. It’s never a good time to fire someone, but — if it’s true — on their way to their parent’s funeral? Come on, Akron. Who the heck do you have lined up that makes this termination so pressing? Since 2000, you’ve had four winning seasons. The doors aren’t bending from pressure.
So, the fireworks are set for the first Pac-12 Championship after Oregon defeated Oregon State 49-21 and USC beat UCLA 50-0. We won’t bore you with the gore (Barkley 35 of 42, 424 yards, 6 TDs and a couple new passing touchdown records) but it was like "blood in the water" according to USC’s Nickell Robey. More gore? It was the first time in USC history that two wide receivers had at least 10 catches in one game and Robert Woods broke a single-season reception record (USC and Pac-12) with his 103rd catch.
UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel had a great explanation for what went wrong. "We got ourselves in too many 3rd-and-longs," he said. This is true. They also got themselves in too many 1st-and-10’s when their offense took the field. According to a Los Angeles Times article, Rick Neuheisel’s chances of being retained at UCLA are "bleak." Athletic Director Dan Guerrero told the Times, "That we’re preparing to play for the Rose Bowl should be exciting to all Bruin fans." Exciting? No. Excruciating? Yes.
Luckily, Neuheisel is not deterred by this devastating loss and told the media that the Bruins "hopefully play a whale of a game next Friday." Right, and hopefully gasoline will be 28 cents a gallon. Meanwhile, USC players showed up to the postgame press conference in T-shirts that read: "USC Football 2011 South Division Champions." The bitch is back.
Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly was a wee bit unhappy with his team’s sloppy play at Stanford — he appeared to be dropping f-bombs on the sidelines. The Irish were shut out in the first half, rallied with 14 points in the second but ultimately lost 28-14. Next stop for the Irish? We’ll take a guess and say Orlando, Fla., at the Champs Sports Bowl facing Florida State. And we’ll also predict a win, a top 10 preseason ranking for 2012, half of the country ticked beyond words and either Regis or Dr. Lou preaching, "If we’re not relevant, why do you keep talking about Notre Dame"? Great point.
I’d go over the Big East scenarios, but once again, I’ve got nothing. You’re welcome.
Instead, let’s go over the final games and do the predictions.
Pac-12: UCLA vs. Oregon. (welp)
SEC: LSU vs. Georgia (I’ll take Georgia because maybe we can actually get three SEC teams in the BCS — Alabama, LSU and Georgia. Besides, I love chaos.)
ACC: Virginia Tech vs. Clemson (Virginia Tech over a lost Clemson)
Big Ten: Wisconsin vs. Michigan State (Wisconsin because Michigan State got a beatdown from Notre Dame.)
Big 12: Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State (Oklahoma State. It’s time.)
Big East: Louisville. (At least some people in Kentucky will be happy.)