Seven Teams Suffer Their First Defeat
by Mike Mitchell
10/17/04 1:45 am edt
14 teams entered the college football week with unblemished records and half of them failed to survive as Arizona State, Louisville, Navy, Oklahoma State, Purdue, Southern Miss, and Virginia all suffered their first losses of the season.
There were three games where both teams entered the combat with unbeaten records and two proved to be real barn-burners. Purdue missed a tying field goal in the closing seconds and fell to Wisconsin, 20-17. On Thursday night, Miami (Fla.) had to overcome a 24-7 halftime deficit to edge Louisville 41-38 on Frank Gore's 1-yard plunge with 49 seconds left.
The third game between undefeated schools turned out to be a rout when USC clobbered Arizona State 45-7.
Virginia figured to give Florida State fits in Tallahassee but the Cavaliers went down without much fuss. The Seminoles sent UVa packing with a 36-3 knockout. Of course, FSU had to do this in the same week that I anointed Virginia as my top team in the ACC and make me look like an imbecile. Thank you very much.
Oklahoma State didn't fare much better against Texas A&M. The Aggies invaded Stillwater with a vengeance, jumping out to a quick 20-0 lead before the Cowboys even got on the board. A&M extended their advantage to 36-6 at the end of three quarters and went on to capture a 36-20 victory.
A couple of other schools were not very competitive in digesting their first losses, either. Navy was dismissed from the unbeaten ranks by Notre Dame, courtesy of a 27-9 shellacking in East Rutherford, New Jersey. And Southern Miss had their Golden Eagle wings clipped by Alabama as the Tide rolled 27-3.
Meanwhile, Auburn ran its record to 6-0 with a 38-20 pounding of Arkansas to remain the SEC's only representative on the short list of teams with perfect records.
Boise State avoided its first loss by scoring 10 points in the game's final 1:24, including the game-winning 46-yard field goal with 3 seconds left, to slip past Tulsa by the uncomfortably close margin of 45-42.
Oklahoma's win over Kansas State wasn't quite as close as the Broncos' encounter, though the Sooners were in peril much of the game. The Wildcats held leads of 7-0, 14-7 and 21-17 before the Sooners struck for the game's final 14 points and escaped with a 31-21 victory at Manhattan.
Utah had an easy time with North Carolina as the Utes piled up a 46-16 win and improved to 6-0.
The seven teams that remain undefeated are Auburn, Boise State, Miami (Fla.), Oklahoma, USC, Utah and Wisconsin.
In other games, Army won for the second straight week. The Black Knights fell behind South Florida 21-7 but then rolled off 28 unanswered points and left Tampa with a 42-35 victory to end a 9-game road losing streak. Army ended a 19-game losing streak last week with a 48-29 home win over Cincinnati.
One of the biggest surprises of the week has to be Minnesota's 51-16 loss to Michigan State. Just last week, the Golden Gophers were minutes away from being a 6-0 football team and in the hunt for the Rose Bowl. Now, they find themselves at 5-2 over-all and just 2-2 in the Big 10.
Certainly, Iowa's 33-7 annihilation of Ohio State was unexpected. The Buckeyes are 0-3 in the Big 10 for the first time since 1988. As quickly as Ohio State's fortunes ascended under Jim Tressel, the wheels have abruptly fallen off.
On a lesser level, Arkansas State's 13-9 win over Troy was a definite eye-opener. Troy began the year with wins over Marshall and Missouri and played South Carolina tough. But their other three games have resulted in an inexplicable loss to a pedestrian New Mexico State team, a win over lowly Utah State, and now a loss to the same Arkansas State team that was blown out 45-17 by Middle Tennessee last weekend.
Earlier in the week, UAB improved to 3-0 in CUSA and 5-1 over-all with a 41-25 home win over TCU on Friday night. On Wednesday night, West Virginia picked off Dan Orlovsky three times and pocketed a 31-19 win over Connecticut in its Big East opener.
Computer Hits and Misses: The computer has a perfect mark on straight up picks with 25 teams, including 5 in the PAC-10 conference. It has a perfect ATS record with just one team - Fresno State - but has missed just one ATS pick with 11 teams.
The computer has not made a single correct ATS pick on Arkansas games and has just one correct ATS pick with 14 teams
It is 35-18 ATS with Sun Belt teams.
Computer Nails The Upsets Again: The computer's weekly picks based on the Congrove Computer Rankings picked three outright upsets against the Vegas spreads. Over the last two weeks its upset picks have gone 7-4 SU and 8-3 ATS. This week, it nailed the "upsets" of Akron over UCF, Iowa over Ohio State and New Mexico over UNLV.
No Blemishes: Seven teams have made it to this point without losing a single game - Auburn, Boise State, Miami (Fla.), Oklahoma, USC, Utah and Wisconsin.
Seven teams lost for the first time this weekend. Arizona State lost to USC, Louisville fell to Miami (Fla.), Navy succumbed to Notre Dame, Oklahoma State lost to Texas A&M, Purdue was beaten by Wisconsin, Southern Miss was knocked off by Alabama, and Virginia was dropped by Florida State.
There are no undefeated teams in the Big East, CUSA, MAC or Sun Belt. Additionally, there are no unbeaten teams in the north division of the Big 12 or the east division of the SEC.
Streaking: Boise State has won 17 straight games over-all, 22 straight at home, and 21 straight over WAC foes after a close encounter with Tulsa which the Broncos won 45-42 on a last-second field goal.
USC extended the nation's second-longest winning streak to 15 with a 45-7 dismantling of Arizona State which entered the game undefeated and on a 6-game winning streak. The Trojans have won 18 straight home games and 10 consecutive PAC-10 games.
North Texas has won 20 straight over Sun Belt conference foes. The Mean Green was idle this week.
Southern Miss has beaten 12 consecutive CUSA opponents.
Central Florida ran the nation's longest losing streak to 10 games with a 26-21 home defeat to Akron.
Iowa State has lost 13 consecutive Big 12 games after a 19-14 setback at Colorado.
Illinois has lost 12 straight Big 10 games after falling at 30-19 at home to Michigan.
Temple has lost 10 straight Big East games after losing 16-6 at Rutgers.
Goliath Slays David: Two 1-A schools took on 1-AA teams this past weekend. Florida International, which will join the Sun Belt next year, lost to future league rival Louisiana-Monroe 28-20. Florida A&M didn't fare nearly as well. The FAMU Rattlers lost 62-0 at Virginia Tech. For the year, 1-A teams have won 44-of-50 games against their 1-AA brethren. Florida Atlantic has notched half of the lower division's wins. FAU, a 1-AA team transitioning into Division 1-A and joining the Sun Belt next season, opened the year with consecutive road wins over Hawaii, North Texas and Middle Tennessee.