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Upsets Sting Four Top 10 Teams

by Mike Mitchell
September 28, 2008

A year ago this week, six of the top ten teams in the Congrove Computer Rankings went down to defeat. This weekend claimed the top three teams, plus 10th-ranked Wisconsin. 18th-ranked Wake Forest was thrown in for good measure.

Mississippi blocked 2nd-ranked Florida's extra point late in the game and held on for a 31-30 win in Gainesville. Ole Miss has won the last two meetings in "The Swamp", and three of the last four meetings overall. The Gators were 23-point favorites by the oddsmakers, and a nearly 29-point pick by the computer. Mississippi entered the game ranked 78th by the computer, and had lost nine straight SEC games.

Jevan Snead threw 2 TD passes and ran for another score. Snead is a former Florida recruit who opted to go to Ole Miss when he learned Tim Tebow was being recruited by the Gators.

Tebow threw for 319 yards and a touchdown, but was held to just 7 yards rushing on 15 carries. His attempted quarterback draw on 4th-and-1 at the Ole Miss 32-yard line with under a minute to play came up well short of a first down and effectively sealed the win for the Rebels. Gator fans will be scratching their heads for awhile, wondering why head coach Urban Meyer did not opt for a QB sneak or even a field goal of between 48 and 49 yards.

Saturday night, 11th-ranked Alabama stormed to a 31-0 halftime lead and was never seriously threatened by 3rd-ranked Georgia in a 41-30 win. Thirteen of Georgia's points came in the final three minutes of the game.

Oregon State pulled off the unthinkable Thursday night as it took down top-ranked USC 27-21 for its second consecutive home upset of the Trojans. The Beavers built a 21-0 halftime lead, then withstood USC's attempted second half rally.

This show was orchestrated by "Rodgers and Hammer-them", not to be confused with Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Jacquizz Rodgers carried 37 times for 186 yards and two touchdowns, the second one coming with under three minutes left in the game after an overthrown Mark Sanchez pass was intercepted at the USC 30-yard line by Greg Laybourn and returned to the two. Rodgers bowled over on the next play to make it 27-14.

Sanchez then led USC on a quick march to the end zone to cut the lead to 27-21 with 1:19 left. The drive was shortened by a kick-off return that allowed the Trojans to start at the Oregon State 40-yard line. But the Beavers recovered the ensuing onside kick with 1:19 to play to ice the game.

Jacquizz's older brother, James Rodgers, added two receiving touchdowns in the first half.

Oregon State was a 24-point underdog by the experts, and a slightly less than 12-point underdog by the computer, after losing 36-28 at Stanford and getting routed 45-14 at Penn State. They rebounded with a 45-7 home win over Hawaii in week three, but entered the game with USC ranked 46th in the CCR Top 120 and are now just 2-2 overall, 1-1 in the PAC-10. USC falls to 2-1 with the loss and hosts Oregon in its next game on October 4.

The computer's preseason analysis projected Georgia and Ohio State as this season's national title game participants. To say the least, both teams have a lot of work to do to get back in the championship mix.

The weekend upsets did not stop with the top three teams.

Michigan stunned 10th-ranked Wisconsin 27-25 as the Wolverines overcame a 19-0 halftime deficit. The Badgers missed on a 2-pt. conversion try with 13 seconds left in the game to give Rich Rodriguez his first signature win with the Wolverines.

No. 18 Wake Forest was upset at home 24-17 by Navy. Wake QB Ryan Skinner threw four picks and lost a fumble after throwing 133 consecutive passes without an interception.

The weekend events would seem to make it a forgone conclusion that Oklahoma will rise to the top spot when the new polls and rankings are released on Sunday. The Sooners were never threatened by 15th-ranked TCU in a 35-10 Oklahoma rout.

Other top teams that avoided the upset bug were Texas, Penn State, and LSU. The Longhorns routed Arkansas 52-10 (their third win this season by that same score); the Nittany Lions methodically put down Illinois 38-24; the Tigers managed a 34-24 win over Mississippi State.

No. 6 Missouri and 9th-ranked BYU were idle.

In other games Saturday, Northwestern improved to 5-0, the ACC took a couple of games from the Big 12, Auburn survived Tennessee, and Notre Dame improved to 3-1.

With its 22-17 win at Iowa, Northwestern is undefeated after five games for the first time since 1962.

The Hokies opened up a 28-10 lead in the 3rd quarter, and held on for a 35-30 win at Nebraska. It was the 'Huskers first loss under Bo Pelini, and Virginia Tech's fourth straight win after suffering an opening week upset loss to East Carolina in Charlotte. It was only Nebraska's third nonconference home loss since 1991.

in another ACC-Big 12 battle, Florida State beat Colorado 39-21 in Jacksonville.

Auburn survived Tennessee 14-12, dropping the Vols to 1-3 for their worst start since 1994 when they also started 1-3 in Phillip Fulmer's second full season in Knoxville.

Notre Dame improved to 3-1 with a 38-21 win over Purdue.

East Carolina lost 41-24 at home to Houston, marking the Pirates' second consecutive loss to an unranked team after beginning the year with upset wins over two ranked teams, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. ECU lost 30-24 in overtime last week at North Carolina State.

North Carolina went to the third QB on the depth chart, Cameron Sexton, to rally for a 28-24 win at Miami. The victory wasn't in the books until the final play of the game when the Tar Heels swiped a pass off the outstretched hand of a Hurricane receiver in the back of the end zone before he could secure the football. It would have been Miami's winning touchdown.

The last game of the weekend was San Jose State's 20-17 win at Hawaii where the Spartans scored 13 unanswered points in the second half to upset the Warriors. San Jose State took advantage of six Hawaii turnovers, including 4 INT's and 2 fumbles, and secured the win on a 47-yard field goal by Jared Strubeck with 1:49 left. Strubeck, who was just 3-of-8 coming into the game, kicked a 50-yarder with 9:32 remaining to tie the score at 17-all. The loss ended Hawaii's 15-game winning streak against WAC foes.

In other games played earlier in the week, Tulane beat SMU 34-27 on Thursday night to hand the Mustangs their 14th straight defeat to FBS teams.

On Friday night, Connecticut rallied from a 21-10 deficit in the 3rd quarter for a 26-21 win at Louisville. Lawrence Wilson intercepted a Hunter Cantwell pass and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown with under three minutes left to play provided the winning points. Backup quarterback Zach Frazer, a sophomore, orchestrated the rally after senior starter Tyler Lorenzen was sidelined by a foot injury. Donald Brown ran for 190 yards and a TD for the Huskies who improved to 5-0 in winning the Big East conference opener for both schools. Louisville fell to 2-2 this season and has lost 5-of-8 conference games since Steve Kragthorpe took over as head coach.

UNBEATEN TEAMS:
The list was shortened considerably this weekend as Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, Nebraska, TCU, USC, Wake Forest and Wisconsin all lost for the first time.

27 teams started the week with unblemished but only 18 emerged unscathed.

Still afloat are Alabama, Ball State, Boise State, BYU, Connecticut, Kentucky, LSU, Missouri, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Texas, Texas Tech, Tulsa, USF, Utah and Vanderbilt.

Only Hawaii made it through the 2007 regular season unscathed, and the Warriors were blown out 41-10 by Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. It was the first season since 2002 that no team recorded a perfect record.

Boise State was the only team to finish the entire 2006 season undefeated, while Texas did it in 2005. Auburn, USC and Utah all had unblemished records in 2004.

WINLESS TEAMS:
FIU, Ohio, San Diego State, Rutgers and UTEP all won for the first time this season.

That leaves just three teams winless - Army, North Texas and Washington.

FIU was one of two schools to go winless in 2006 (Duke was the other), and had lost 26 of its last 27 games. The Golden Panthers won 35-16 at Toledo on Saturday

Idaho failed to beat a team from the bowl subdivision last season and has yet to do so this year.

FBS vs. FCS:
The divisions were re-named late in 2006. 1-A was given the new moniker of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) while 1-AA was labeled the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

FBS teams were 5-0 against the FCS on Saturday, are 80-2 (.976) against FCS teams this season, and 370-37 (.909) since 2003.

Here are the losses by the FBS so far this season:
Cal Poly 29, San Diego State 27 (Week 1)
New Hampshire 28, Army 10 (Week 2)

This year, 82 different FBS teams will participate in a total of 87 games that will pit the FCS against the FBS. Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Texas Tech and Western Kentucky each play two such games.

ACC teams have more games versus FCS schools than any other conference. Here is the number of FCS games for each conference:

Conference Teams In Conf. Games vs. FCS Avg. Per Team
ACC 12 14 1.167
Big East 8 7 0.875
Big 12 12 10 0.833
Big 10 11 9 0.818
MWC 9 7 0.778
WAC 9 7 0.778
SEC 12 9 0.750
Independents 3 2 0.667
MAC 13 8 0.615
CUSA 12 7 0.583
Sun Belt 9 5 0.555
PAC-10 10 2 0.200
Totals 120 87 0.725

STREAKS:
BYU owns the nation's longest current winning streak at 14 games. The Cougars have also won 17 consecutive MWC games. BYU was idle.

Georgia had its' 11-game winning streak snapped in a 41-30 home loss to Alabama.

Boise State has won 45 consecutive regular season home games, and the Broncos have a perfect home record against their fellow WAC conference members (28-0). Boise State was idle.

Hawaii saw a 15-game winning streak against WAC teams come to a close with a 20-17 home loss to San Jose State.

Army has lost 10 straight games. The Black Knights lost 21-17 at Texas A&M.

UTEP ended its' 9-game losing streak with a 58-13 home rout of UCF.

Idaho has lost 19 straight to FBS schools. The Vandals fell 45-17 at San Diego State.

SMU has dropped 14 straight games to FBS teams. The Mustangs lost 34-27 at Tulane on Thursday night.

Kent State has dropped 11 straight to FBS teams. The Golden Flashes fell 41-20 at Ball State.

UAB has a 10-game losing streak against FBS schools. The Blazers lost 26-13 at South Carolina.

Mississippi ended a 9-game SEC losing streak with a 31-30 upset at Florida.

Duke ended a 25-game losing streak in ACC games with a 31-3 romp over Virginia.

NEW COACHES:
The 2007 season featured 24 new head coaches. Nine led their team to a bowl game. This year, there are 18 coaching changes.

Three teams have yet to defeat an FBS school - Hawaii, SMU, and Washington State.

Only Baylor, Duke, Georgia Tech, Michigan, Mississippi, Navy and UCLA have defeated a team from one of the "big 6" conferences (ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, PAC-10 or SEC).

TEAM W-L COACH LAST GAME
Arkansas 2-2 Bobby Petrino Lost at Texas 52-10
Baylor 2-2 Art Briles 10/4, vs. Oklahoma
Colorado State 2-2 Steve Fairchild Lost at California 42-7
Duke 3-1 David Cutcliffe Defeated Virginia 31-3
Georgia Tech 3-1 Paul Johnson 10/4, vs. Duke
Hawaii 1-3 Greg McMackin Lost to San Jose State 20-17
Houston 2-3 Kevin Sumlin Won at East Carolina 41-24
Michigan 2-2 Rich Rodriguez Defeated Wisconsin 27-25
Mississippi 3-2 Houston Nutt Won at Florida 31-30
Navy 3-2 Ken Nuimatalolo Won at Wake Forest 24-17
Nebraska 3-1 Bo Pelini Lost to Virginia Tech 35-30
Northern Illinois 2-2 Jerry Kill Won at Eastern Michigan 37-0
SMU 1-4 June Jones Lost at Tulane 34-27
Southern Miss 2-2 Larry Fedora 10/4, vs. UTEP
Texas A&M 2-2 Mike Sherman Defeated Army 21-17
UCLA 1-3 Rick Neuheisel Lost to Fresno State 36-31
Washington State 1-4 Paul Wulff Lost to Oregon 63-14
West Virginia 2-2 Bill Stewart Defeated Marshall 27-3


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