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College Football Season

That's Why It's Called "Shock-tober"

Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Notre Dame go down to defeat

by Dave Congrove
October 23, 2011

We've been waiting for this week to happen - the first big upset weekend of the 2011 college football season. Though losses only befell 2 of the top 18 teams in the Congrove Computer Rankings, those two took out the computer's then-No. 1 and No. 5 schools - Oklahoma and Wisconsin.

The Badgers lost 37-31 in dramatic fashion with Michigan State recording a Doug Flutie-like moment in history with a 44-yard Hail Mary pass on the game's final play. Originally the catch, off a tip from a Badger defender, was ruled short of the end zone, but replay overturned the call on the field. Wisconsin had just completed a 14-point 4th quarter comeback on a touchdown with 1:39 left in the game. The Badgers established a 14-0 lead in the games' opening 6:32 before being outscored 31-3 over the next 45 minutes.

Oklahoma was never that close in a 41-38 home loss until a furious attempt at a rally fell short. Texas Tech raced to a 24-7 halftime advantage and stretched it to 31-7 lead on its first possession of the second half. The Sooners pulled to within 31-24 on the first play of the 4th quarter, but the Red Raiders scored the next 10 points to regain control at 41-24. With the game seemingly in hand, Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville played it close to the vest and Oklahoma took advantage. After cutting the lead to 41-31, the Sooners would have closed to within a TD with 2:52 left, but a second missed field goal in the game hit the right upright. Oklahoma still managed to get the ball back after a 3-and-out and scored a touchdown with 1:26 to go but the ensuing onside kickoff was recovered by the Red Raiders. The loss snapped a 39-game home winning streak and was just the 3rd for head coach Bob Stoops in his 78 home games at Oklahoma. A storm that arrived just before kickoff caused a 1 hour, 35 minute delay to the start of the game.

A number of upsets occurred "off the radar" of the rankings, but left their impact in other ways.

Notre Dame saw its BCS bowl hopes diminish, if not disappear entirely, with a 31-17 home loss to USC. Though the Trojans have dominated the series by winning 9 of the last 10 meetings, the Irish were a 10.61-point computer favorite to win their second straight over the Trojans. Instead, Brian Kelly's troops saw their 4-game winning streak come to an abrupt halt and their record fall to 4-3.

The Big East was over-run with upsets as West Virginia, Rutgers and USF all lost games in which they were favored. On Friday night, West Virginia was trounced 49-23 at Syracuse and Rutgers took a narrow 16-14 defeat at Louisville.

On Saturday, Cincinnati had a 20-point 4th quarter and scored the game-winning touchdown with 12 seconds left to win 37-34 at favored USF. A 2-yard run completed a 70-yard, 7 play drive in just over a minute after the Bearcats had fallen behind again when the Bulls scored a TD with 1:27 to go. The win leaves Cincinnati alone atop the Big East standings at 2-0 in the conference, but Rutgers is only a 1/2-game back at 2-1 and, in typical Big East fashion, 5 more schools are 1-1. USF is at the bottom of the pack at 0-3 in the conference and 4-3 overall.

The MAC had its share of surprises Bowling Green repelling Temple 13-10 and Eastern Michigan knocking off Western Michigan 14-10. The Falcons and Eagles were both underdogs by at least 11 points.

In addition to Wisconsin's loss in the Big Ten, Illinois was upended 21-14 at Purdue to incur its second straight defeat after a 6-0 start.

In Conference USA, Central Florida was a 26-24 loser at UAB on Friday night and Memphis ended a 15-game losing streak to FBS teams with a 33-17 win at Tulane.

In the Sun Belt, Western Kentucky won its third straight game and snapped an 18-game home losing streak with a 42-23 upset of Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns. Louisiana entered the contest with a 3-0 Sun Belt mark and 6-1 overall record, but the computer actually picked the Hilltoppers to win. WKU is now 3-4 overall and 3-1 in the Sun Belt. They were 2-22 in their first two seasons as a full-fledged Sun Belt member, and just 2-19 vs. Sun Belt teams since 2008.

Army and Navy each fell to 2-5 and in jeopardy of failing to qualify for their bowl arrangements. Both have automatic bids if they win at least 6 games, but the Black Knights made it tougher on themselves with a 44-21 loss at Vanderbilt in a game that was not an upset. However, Navy's loss was a huge upset as the 12.97-point home favorites lost 38-35 to an East Carolina team that it routed 76-35 in Greenville last year.

Joe Paterno secured his 408th victory in Penn State's 34-24 win at Northwestern. He ties Eddie Robinson (Grambling State) for 2nd place for coaching victories in any division, but trails Joe Gagliardi of St. John's (Minnesota) who has 481 wins and is still coaching.

Florida State has won consecutive games over Duke and Maryland by the same 41-16 score after losing consecutive games to Clemson and Wake Forest by identical 35-30 scores.

FBS vs. FCS:
Two FBS teams played FCS schools this week and both were victorious, raising the record of FBS teams to 85-6 for the year (.934) and 632-55 (.920) since 2003.

Here are the results of the FBS losses to FCS schools this season:
9/24: North Dakota St. 37, Minnesota 24
9/24: Sam Houston State 48, New Mexico 45 (OT)
9/24: Southern Utah41, UNLV 16
9/17: Indiana State 44, Western Kentucky 16
9/3: Richmond 23, Duke 21
9/3: Sacramento State 29, Oregon State 28

93 FBS teams play a total of 97 games against FCS foes this year. Four schools play two such games - Air Force, Eastern Michigan, N.C. State and Wyoming.

Boise State - Beat Air Force 37-26 in its Mountain West Conference home opener. The Broncos have streaks of 9 overall wins, 35 home wins, 65 regular season home wins, and 47 straight conference home victories. BSU joined the Mountain West this season. The Broncos were 40-0 in home conference games as a member of the WAC from 2001-2010. Boise State's last home loss to a conference foe occurred in 1998 when they were a member of the Big West and fell to Idaho in the final regular season game. The Broncos are 7-1 in their last eight matches with BCS conference schools. (Next: at UNLV on Nov. 5).

Stanford - Beat Washington 65-21. 15 straight wins overall. (Next: at USC on Saturday).

Oklahoma - Lost 41-38 to Texas Tech. Ends winning streaks of 11 wins overall and 39 at home. (Next: vs at Kansas State on Saturday).

TCU - Beat New Mexico 69-0. 20-game conference winning streak. (Next: vs. BYU at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington on Friday).

Virginia Tech - Beat Boston College 30-14. 10-game road winning streak. (Next: at Duke on Saturday).

Memphis - Beat Tulane 33-17. Ends losing streak of 15 games to FBS teams. (Next: at UCF on Saturday).

New Mexico - Lost 69-0 to TCU. Has losing streaks of 10 games overall and 19 on the road. (Next: vs. Air Force on Saturday).

FAU - Lost 38-14 to Middle Tennessee. 10 straight losses overall. (Next: vs. Arkansas State on Nov. 5).

Colorado - Lost 45-2 vs. Oregon. 20 straight road losses. (Next: at Arizona State on Saturday).

Latest firings:
Mike Stoops from Arizona on October 10th. Named defensive coordinator Tim Kish as interim head coach for the remainder of the season.

Mike Locksley from New Mexico on September 25th. Named defensive coordinator George Barlow as interim head coach for the remainder of the season.

At the start of the season, 24 FBS teams had a new head coach. Last season saw 23 new head coaches, only 8 of whom matched or exceeded the W-L record of their predecessors' final season.

Stanford is the only school with a new head coach that remains undefeated. Only 15 teams with a new head coach have defeated at least 1 school from a "Big 6" conference - Ball State, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Miami (Fla.), Michigan, North Carolina, North Texas, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, San Diego State, Stanford, Temple, Vanderbilt and West Virginia.

None of last week's games pitted new head coaches against each other.

Here is how each of the new head coaches is faring this season:

Team Coach Game
Arkansas State Hugh Freeze (5-2) Won 34-16 vs. FIU (Tuesday)
Ball State Pete Lembo (5-3) Won 31-27 vs. Central Michigan
Colorado Jon Embree (1-7) Lost 45-2 vs. Oregon
Connecticut Paul Pasqualoni (3-4) Idle
Florida Will Muschamp (4-3) Idle
Indiana Kevin Wilson (1-7) Lost 45-24 at Iowa
Kent State Darrell Hazell (1-6) Idle
Louisiana-Lafayette Mark Hudspeth (6-2) Lost 42-23 at Western Kentucky
Maryland Randy Edsall (2-5) Lost 41-16 at Florida State
Miami (Fla.) Al Golden (4-3) Won 24-7 vs. Georgia Tech
Miami (O.) Don Treadwell (2-5) Lost 49-28 at Toledo
Michigan Brady Hoke (6-1) Idle
Minnesota Jerry Kill (1-6) Lost 41-14 vs. Nebraska
North Carolina Everett Withers (Interim) (5-3) Lost 59-38 at Clemson
North Texas Dan McCarney (3-5) Won 38-21 vs. Louisiana-Monroe
Northern Illinois Dave Doeren (5-3) Won 31-30 at Buffalo
Ohio State Luke Fickell (Interim) (4-3) Idle
Pittsburgh Todd Graham (3-4) Idle
San Diego St. Rocky Long (4-2) Idle
Stanford David Shaw (7-0) Won 65-21 vs. Washington
Temple Steve Addazio (5-3) Lost 13-10 at Bowling Green
Tulsa Bill Blankenship (4-3) Won 38-20 at Rice
Vanderbilt James Franklin (4-3) Won 44-21 vs. Army
West Virginia Dana Holgorsen (5-2) Lost 49-23 at Syracuse (Friday)


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