Top Teams Survive On the Eve
of 2008's First BCS Standings
by Mike Mitchell and Dave Congrove
October 19, 2008
Aside from BYU's loss on Thursday, each of the top ten teams in the Congrove Computer Rankings survived the final weekend of action prior to Sunday's unveiling of the first BCS Standings for 2008. BYU was also the only victim among the top ten of the Coaches' and Harris polls, which are components of the BCS Standings.
BYU was reminded that Fort Worth is where winning streaks go to die for Mountain West teams. Three years ago, Utah brought an 18-game streak to TCU and lost. Two years ago, BYU ended TCU's 13-game string. This time around, TCU avenged that loss by stopping BYU's streak at 16 games. The 32-7 thumping also put a halt to the Cougars' run of 18 straight conference wins and 11 consecutive MWC road victories.
BYU, undefeated and ranked 6th in the CCR Top 120 heading into the game, dropped to 6-1 overall and 2-1 in the MWC. The 20th-ranked Horned Frogs improved to 7-1 overall, 4-0 in the conference. TCU's defense has now allowed 7 points or less in 6 of its 7 games against FBS schools. BYU entered the game having outscored its previous four opponents 158-17.
Cougar QB Max Hall was sacked four times, fumbled once, and was intercepted twice. Meanwhile, TCU piled up 410 yards.
No. 12 Utah, a fellow conference member and BYU's main rival, remained undefeated with a 49-16 triumph over Colorado State on Saturday to remain in contention for a BCS bowl berth. The Utes have won 9 in-a-row.
Boise State is also still in the running for the college football postseason version of a holy grail. On Friday, redshirt freshman quarterback Kellen Moore threw three touchdown passes to lead the undefeated and 10th-ranked Broncos past Hawaii 27-7. Boise State picked off five passes, including three by sophomore cornerback Brandyn Thompson, as the Broncos won their 47th consecutive regular season home game. Boise State has never lost at home to a WAC opponent (30-0).
15th-ranked Tulsa outscored UTEP 77-35 to remain unbeaten and in the BCS bowl hunt. The score was 28-28 after a first quarter that saw the Golden Hurricane score on a passes of 97, 51 and 24 yards, and a 94-yard kickoff return. Tulsa's Brennan Marion averaged 38.8 yards on 6 catches, three of which went for touchdowns. The Golden Hurricane have won 9 straight, and have scored 56 or more points in five games this year.
Undefeated and 19th-ranked Ball State was idle.
Of course, the holiest of the college football grails is the BCS title game and Texas will undoubtedly be ranked at the top of the BCS Standings after dismissing 9th-ranked Missouri 56-31. The Longhorns entered the game as the top team in the two major polls that participate in the BCS, the Coaches' and Harris polls. Texas now leads the series 6-1 since the formation of the Big 12 in 1996, and the Tigers still haven't won in Austin since 1896.
The computer's second-ranked team, Penn State, ended a 9-game losing streak to Michigan. The Nittany Lions trailed 17-14 at halftime but shut out the Wolverines 32-0 in the second half for a 46-17 win. Penn State rode the wave of a safety, partially blocked punt an a forced fumble on consecutive Michigan possessions to pull away after intermission and extend its' winning streak to 9 games. The Nittany Lions visit Ohio State next week and the winner will become the only remaining team with an unblemished conference record in the Big Ten.
No. 13 Ohio State destroyed 24th-ranked Michigan State 45-7 in East Lansing. It was 21-0 in the 1st quarter. Terrelle Pryor passed for 166 yards and a TD, and ran for 72 yards and a score. The teams entered with identical records of 6-1 overall, 3-0 in the Big 10.
3rd-ranked USC served Washington State another embarrassing home defeat. The 69-0 debacle marks the fourth time this season that the Cougars have surrendered 63 or more points. It was the third time this year that the home crowd had to witness it.
No. 4 Alabama nearly blew a 24-3 halftime lead over Ole Miss, but hung on to sink the Rebels 24-20 for its' 8th straight victory. Mississippi was a 20-point computer underdog, but the Rebs were a 29-point dog when they won at Florida on September 27.
No. 5 Florida was idle.
No. 7 Oklahoma bounced back from last week's loss to Texas with a 45-31 win over 16th-ranked Kansas in Norman. The Jayhawks have lost 5 straight to the Sooners after taking three in-a-row from 1995-1997. Oklahoma won its' 21st consecutive home game as Sam Bradford threw for 468 yards and 3 touchdowns. Todd Reesing passed for 358 yards for Kansas, but was also intercepted twice.
No. 8 Texas Tech picked up its' ninth straight win, 43-25 at Texas A&M.
In all, 52 games were on this week's schedule.
Maryland shutout 25th-ranked Wake Forest 26-0, begging the question, "What's the deal with the Terrapins?" In the last three weeks, Maryland has won at Clemson, gotten skunked 31-0 at Virginia, and then blanked one of the ACC's best teams.
As for Clemson, maybe it wasn't the head coach after all. The Tigers fell 21-17 at home to Georgia Tech and are 3-4 on the season. Clemson was playing for the first time since head coach Tommy Bowden stepped down on Monday. His assistant, Dabo Swinney, is interim head coach. The Tigers battled back from a 14-3 deficit to take a 17-14 lead in the 3rd quarter, but Josh Nesbitt's 24-yard pass to a wide open Demaryius Thomas with 5:22 left provided the game-winning points for the Ramblin' Wreck. Apparently, the computer over-rated Clemson, too. Even though it projected Clemson as just a 3rd-place team in its' division this year, it did have the Tigers as a 10.80-point pick in this game.
Meanwhile, 23rd-ranked Boston College beat Virginia Tech 28-23. The Hokies are now 16-2 all-time in ACC road games and both losses have come at Chestnut Hill. Frank Beamer's squad jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead on an interception return and a fumble recovery on the ensuing kick-off. After that, the Eagles outscored the Hokies 28-9 while preventing them from scoring a single offensive touchdown.
Virginia rallied in the final two minutes to force overtime with North Carolina, then beat the Tar Heels 16-13 in the extra period. With last week's over Maryland, the Cavaliers have picked up back-to-back ACC victories to improve to 4-3 overall, 2-1 in the conference.
Georgia Tech takes over the Coastal division lead with a 3-1 conference record. Virginia and Virginia Tech are 2-1. However, Virginia Tech owns the head-to-head tie-breaker against the Yellow Jackets. The Atlantic division has Boston College, Florida State, Maryland and Wake Forest with 2-1 conference marks.
Vanderbilt once again failed to become eligible to go to its' first bowl game since 1982. The Commodores lost 24-14 at 11th-ranked Georgia. Vandy never led and the score was never tied after Georgia went up 7-0 in the first quarter. The Commodores chances to secure a postseason bowl bid are dwindling. They should be a hefty favorite at home against Duke next week, but will likely be the underdog in their last four games and a 6-6 record does not guarantee a bid. Vanderbilt began the season with five straight wins, but has now lost its' last two games. In 2005, the Commodores finished 5-6 after beginning the season at 4-0.
No. 17 LSU scored the final 14 points of the game in a 24-17 win at South Carolina. over the Gamecocks would improve their record to 5-1 overall, 3-1 in the SEC. After all, LSU is the defending national champion and it got there last year after a two-loss season.
Kentucky trailed Arkansas 20-7 with less than 5 minutes left, but scored twice in under two-and-a-half minutes for a 21-20 win.
In the PAC-10, Arizona beat California 42-27 to give the Golden Bears their first conference loss. Arizona, Oregon, Oregon State and USC now have the PAC-10's best conference record at 3-1. Oregon was idle, while Oregon State won 34-13 at Washington. Stanford fell to 3-2 with a 23-20 loss at UCLA that occurred on a 7-yard touchdown pass with 10 seconds left in the game.
In the Big East, co-leader Pitt beat Navy 42-21 in a non-conference game while West Virginia was idle and awaits Auburn on Thursday. The Panthers and Mountaineers are both 2-0 in the conference, and idle Cincinnati is 1-0. All the other members have at least one conference loss, including UConn which fell 12-10 at Rutgers. USF improved to 6-1 overall, 1-1 in the Big East, with a 45-13 rout of Syracuse.
In the MAC, Toledo lost 38-7 at Northern Illinois after winning 13-10 at Michigan last week. In a key battle between two west division teams, Central Michigan (5-2, 4-0 MAC West) beat Western Michigan (6-2, 4-1 MAC West) 38-28. Ball State is 7-0, 3-0 in the MAC West.
Akron (4-4, 2-2) is the only team with a .500 conference record in the East division. The Zips beat Eastern Michigan 42-35.
Buffalo went to overtime for the second week in-a-row, but this week provided a better result as the Bulls beat Army 27-24. Last week, Buffalo lost in overtime to Western Michigan 34-28.
Troy and Louisiana-Lafayette are the only teams left with unbeaten conference records in the Sun Belt. The Trojans (4-2, 3-0) won 33-23 at FIU (3-4, 2-1) to end the Golden Panthers' winning streak at three games, and the Ragin' Cajuns (4-3, 3-0) rallied past Arkansas State 28-23 to hand the Red Wolves (4-3, 2-1) their first conference loss.
In another Thursday night game, Florida State (5-1, 2-1 ACC Atlantic) scored the last 13 points of the game to rally past N.C. State 26-17 in Raleigh. Graham Gano kicked four field goals and sealed the deal with a 53-yarder with 1:53 to play. The Wolfpack squandered leads of 10-0 in the 1st quarter, 10-6 at halftime, and 17-13 after the first play of the 4th quarter as they failed to land their first ACC victory.
The number of undefeated teams is now down to 9: Alabama, Ball State, Boise State, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Texas, Texas Tech, Tulsa, and Utah.
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.
Only 2 teams remain winless - North Texas and Washington.
Last season, FIU beat North Texas in its final regular season game to avoid being the only winless team. FIU was one of two schools to go winless in 2006 (Duke was the other).
WINLESS AGIANST FBS:
8 teams have yet to beat a FBS school this season: Idaho, Kent State, North Texas, SMU, Syracuse, Washington, Washington State and Western Kentucky.
Four teams broke through on Saturday as Louisiana-Monroe, Miami (Ohio), Rutgers and UAB all won their contests. The Warhawks beat North Texas 35-23, the RedHawks downed Bowling Green 27-20, the Scarlet Knights edged Connecticut 12-10, and the Blazers topped Marshall 23-21.
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).
There were no games this week matching FBS schools with FCS teams.
FBS teams are 82-2 (.976) against FCS teams this season, and 372-37 (.910) 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:
||Teams In Conf.
||Games vs. FCS
||Avg. Per Team
BYU had the nation's longest current winning streak snapped at 16 games when the Cougars lost 32-7 at TCU on Thursday. The Cougars had also won 18 consecutive MWC games, and 11 straight MWC road games.
Penn State has won 9 straight games. The Nittany Lions beat Michigan 46-17.
Texas Tech has won 9 straight games. The Red Raiders won 43-25 at Texas A&M.
Utah has won 9 straight games. The Utes beat Colorado State 49-16.
Alabama has won 8 straight games. The Tide defeated Ole Miss 24-20.
Boise State has won 47 consecutive regular season home games, and the Broncos have a perfect home record against their fellow WAC conference members (30-0). Overall, they have won 36 straight conference home games since losing to Idaho in the final game of the 1998 season in the Big West. Boise State hosts Hawaii on Friday night.
North Texas and Washington share the nation's longest losing streak.
North Texas has lost 8 straight games. The Mean Green lost to Louisiana-Monroe 35-23.
Washington has lost 8 straight games. The Huskies lost to Oregon State 34-13.
Idaho has lost 22 straight to FBS schools. The Vandals lost 46-14 at Louisiana Tech.
SMU has dropped 17 straight games to FBS teams. The Mustangs lost to Houston 44-38.
Kent State has dropped 13 straight to FBS teams. The Golden Flashes are idle.
UAB ended its' losing streak to FBS schools at 12 games. The Blazers beat Marshall 23-21.
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.
Two teams have yet to defeat an FBS school - SMU, and Washington State.
Colorado State, Hawaii, Houston, Northern Illinois, SMU, Southern Miss, Texas A&M, and Washington State have yet to defeat a team from one of the "big 6" conferences (ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, PAC-10 or SEC).
||Lost at Kentucky 21-20
||Lost at Oklahoma State 34-6
||Lost at Utah 49-16
||Lost to Miami (Fla.) 49-31
||Won at Clemson 21-17
||Lost at Boise State 27-7
||Won at SMU 44-38
||Lost at Penn State 46-17
||Lost at Alabama 24-20
||Lost to Pitt 42-21
||Won at Iowa State 35-7
||Defeated Toledo 38-7
||Lost to Houston 44-38
||Lost at Rice 45-40
||Lost to Texas Tech 43-25
||Defeated Stanford 23-20
||Lost to USC 69-0
||10/23, vs. Auburn
||Lost to Georgia Tech 21-17