Notre Dame and Texas Fall While Stanford Wins Season Opener
Georgia avoids elimination from BCS title talk with win over South Carolina
One of the most intense rivalries in college football came one step closer to an end on Saturday when Notre Dame bowed 41-30 at Michigan. It's the last time the two teams are scheduled to meet in Ann Arbor in the foreseeable future, and the final scheduled game in the series will take place next year in South Bend.
Michigan served notice that it could be a genuine contender for the title with it's 16th straight home win since the arrival of Brady Hoke as head coach. Hoke is the first coach of the Wolverines to win his first 16 home games since the legendary Fielding H. Yost over a century ago.
Despite the streak, Notre Dame was a 7.28-point computer favorite to win the contest and was ranked 2nd in the my Congrove Computer Rankings going into the game. The Irish plunged to 16th with the loss.
Texas also took a big hit with a 40-21 loss at BYU. The Longhorns were favored by 5.81 and were ranked 4th prior to the game. Texas dropped to 25th after the setback. The Cougars were just a week removed from a 19-16 upset loss at Virginia in the season opener on the same field where Oregon, the computer's new No. 2 team, drubbed the Cavaliers 59-10 on Saturday.
This week's losses by Texas and Notre Dame, together with Georgia's loss at Clemson last week, means that 3 of the top 5 teams in the computer's projected final regular season rankings have already put a game in the loss column.
The computer still managed to go 31-9 over the weekend in contests between FBS schools, and is 68-16 on the year.
Aside from Notre Dame and Texas, the computer missed on Florida's 21-16 win at Miami, Cincinnati's 45-17 loss at Illinois, Indiana's 41-35 home loss to Navy, USC's 10-7 home setback to Washington State and Tulane's 41-39 failure at home vs. upstart South Alabama. It also had Wake Forest favored in its 24-10 Friday night loss at Boston College and it had picked an Arkansas State upset at Auburn (the Tigers won handily, 38-9).
Georgia did manage to bounce back from last week's defeat with a necessary 41-30 home win over South Carolina in an SEC opener. The Bulldogs likely have to win-out to have any chance at playing in the BCS National Championship Game. A 1-0 start in the SEC standings helps tremendously.
Top-ranked Stanford, the computer's preseason favorite to win the BCS title, was one of 6 teams to open the 2013 campaign a week after the other 119 schools. The Cardinal methodically put away nearby rival San Jose State 34-13.
Arizona State, Kansas, Memphis, Navy and UTEP also opened their seasons over the weekend.
A WEAKENED MOUNTAIN WEST:
The 12 teams in the Mountain West Conference, half of which have relocated from the now-defunct WAC in the last three years, have combined to win just 2 games over nonconference FBS teams and both took overtime to be accomplished. New Mexico edged UTEP 42-35 on Saturday and Fresno State survived Rutgers 52-51 on the opening night of the season. San Diego State is also responsible for one of the FBS' 11 losses to FCS schools as Eastern Illinois thumped the Aztecs 40-18 on Labor Day weekend.
You can blame Boise State for instigating the WAC's downfall. The Broncos migrated to the Mountain West after the 2010 season in search of a stronger conference to help it compete for BCS bowl games. But the MWC then lost TCU to the Big 12, Utah to an expanded PAC-12, and BYU to its desire to become an independent. Boise has yet to play in a BCS game since leaving the WAC where it twice earned invitations to the Fiesta Bowl.
FBS vs. FCS:
FCS schools racked up 3 more wins over the weekend to give them a total of 11 victories over FBS schools. The lower division won just 10 games during all of the 2012 season.
FBS newcomer Georgia State has lost its first two games to FCS schools and the Panthers face their third and final such school in two weeks. Samford took a 31-21 win last week and UT-Chattanooga romped 42-14 over Georgia State this week.
The other FBS losers were UMass (24-14 to Maine) and Western Michigan (27-23 to Nicholls State). Nicholls was on a 9-game losing streak overall and a 21-game losing streak to FBS or FCS schools. The Colonels are now 3-19 all-time vs. the FBS, having defeated Arkansas State in 2001 and Rice in 2007.
Other FCS schools made their big boy counterparts work for it. Richmond had N.C. State on the ropes the entire game before falling 23-21 in Raleigh; New Hampshire led Central Michigan until the 4th quarter of a 24-21 ball game; a failed 2-point conversion with under 6 minutes left kept James Madison on the losing end of a 35-33 seesaw battle at Akron; and Portland State ultimately lost 37-30 at Cal after holding the lead at three different times.
FBS teams were 32-3 vs. FCS schools and are now 65-11 on the year (.855) and 759-73 (.912) since 2003. FCS teams won just 10 games all season a year ago.
106 FBS schools will played a total of 110 games against FCS foes in 2013. Clemson and Georgia Tech each face two such schools while FBS newcomer Georgia State will play 3 FCS teams.
Here are the results of the FBS losses to FCS schools this season:
8/29: Towson 33, Connecticut 18
8/29: Southern Utah 22, South Alabama 21
8/30: Samford 31, Georgia State 21
8/30: North Dakota State 24, Kansas State 21
8/31: Northern Iowa 28, Iowa State 20
8/31: Eastern Washington 49, Oregon State 46
8/31: Eastern Illinois 40, San Diego State 18
8/31: McNeese State 53, USF 21
9/7: UT-Chattanooga 42, Georgia State 14
9/7: Maine 24, Massachusetts 14
9/7: Nicholls State 27, Western Michigan 23.
Eastern Washington, McNeese State and North Dakota State also had wins vs. FBS teams last year.
Ohio State - Won 14 straight overall. Won 42-7 vs. San Diego State on Saturday.
Notre Dame - Saw its 13-game regular season win streak end. Lost 41-30 at Michigan on Saturday.
Northern Illinois - Won 21 straight at home and 17 vs. conference foes. Was idle this week.
LSU - Won 43 straight regular season nonconference games. Won 56-17 vs. UAB on Saturday.
Michigan - Won 16 straight home games. Won 41-30 vs. Notre Dame on Saturday.
Oregon - Won 16 straight road games. Won 59-10 at Virginia on Saturday.
Southern Miss - Lost 14 straight overall. Lost 56-13 at Nebraska on Saturday.
Akron - Lost 27 straight road games, 23 straight FBS games and 16 straight conference games (MAC). None of those streaks were broken with its 35-33 win at home vs. FCS member James Madison on Saturday.
Kansas - Lost 21 straight FBS games, 21 straight conference games and 19 straight road games. None of those streaks were broken with its 31-14 win at home vs. FCS member South Dakota on Saturday.
UNLV - Lost 23 straight road games. Lost 58-13 at home to Arizona on Saturday.