'Canes, 'Noles, Gators Lose On Same Day For the First Time Since October 14, 1978
by Mike Mitchell
On a day that saw several upsets, a host of near upsets and a slew of close games, the Sunshine State's big three lost on the same day for the first time in over 26 years.
Maryland 20, Florida State 17.
Georgia 31, Florida 24.
North Carolina 31, Miami (Fla.) 28.
Florida State and Florida never held the lead in their games against Maryland and Georgia. Miami led North Carolina for just over five minutes in a span that bridged the first and second quarters.
Georgia beat Florida for only the second time in their last fifteen tries and snapped a six-game losing streak to the Gators. Ron Zook, unceremoniously dumped after last week's loss at Mississippi State but staying on as Florida's lame-duck head coach, lost for the first time in three meetings with the Bulldogs.
Miami's loss was the most dramatic. The Tar Heels won the game on the last play, a 41-yard field goal from a freshman kicker.
Saturday provided plenty more drama.
Baylor may have actually trumped North Carolina for the shock of the day. The Bears stunned Texas A&M 35-34 in overtime to hand the Aggies their first conference loss of the season just a week before what would have been a showdown of conference unbeatens with Oklahoma. Baylor coach Guy Morriss opted to try a two-point conversion and win the game in the first extra period, rather than play for a tie and risk losing in another stanza. The gamble paid off as Baylor ended an 11-game losing streak to Big 12 schools and halted a 13-game skid to Texas A&M. A week ago, Iowa State halted their 13-game skid to conference teams with a 26-25 squeaker over Baylor.
Oklahoma was nearly upended at Oklahoma State. The Cowboys had a chance to tie it and force overtime but a 49-yard field missed left with eleven seconds remaining in the game. The Sooners prevailed 38-35 and Bob Stoops improved to 2-2 against Les Miles.
Michigan rallied from 17 points down with seven minutes left in the game and forced overtime when Michigan State missed a game-winning field goal on the last play of regulation. Three overtimes later, the Wolverines prevailed 45-37 when the Spartans failed to answer Michigan's touchdown pass and successful two-point conversion. Other than the final score, the Wolverines' only lead was in the first overtime when a field goal put Michigan up briefly 30-27.
After beginning the year on fire, Purdue has dropped three straight games by a field goal or less to fall to 5-3. Saturday, Northwestern handed the Boilermakers a 13-10 loss.
Indiana delivered a surprise of its own on Saturday - a 30-21 upset of Minnesota. The Hoosiers' strange season now includes wins over Oregon and the Golden Gophers while losing badly to Kentucky in what is still the Wildcats' only win.
Wisconsin, the only unbeaten team in the Big Ten, was idle on Saturday.
In the PAC-10 California has now blanked the state of Arizona 65-0. They beat the Wildcats 38-0 last week and took care of the Sun Devils 27-0 on Saturday.
Undefeated USC continued its winning ways with a 42-12 rout of Washington State.
Auburn clinched the SEC West with a 35-14 win at Ole Miss. The Tigers are 9-0, 6-0 and two-and-a half games ahead of LSU.
The SEC East finds Tennessee and Georgia both at 7-1, 5-1 but the Vols have the upper hand courtesy of their 19-14 win at Georgia back on October 9.
A good chunk of CUSA took the weekend off including front-runners Southern Miss and Louisville. Further down the pecking order, Cincinnati surged into fourth place in the conference with a 21-10 win over TCU. The Bearcats have now rallied with two good wins after becoming the first team to lose to Army in nearly two years.
Speaking of Army, the Cadets were going for their third straight win on Saturday. Instead, East Carolina pocketed a much-needed 38-28 victory in Greenville.
In the Big East, West Virginia staked out leads of 14-0 and 35-17 but Rutgers kept bouncing back. Two late Scarlet Knights' TD's left the final score at 35-30 for the Mountaineers after a failed onside kick by Rutgers allowed WVU to run out the clock.
Syracuse kept its bowl hopes alive with a 42-30 win over UConn to stop a two-game losing streak. The Orange (4-4, 2-1) jumped to third in the conference with the victory while the Huskies (5-3, 2-3) slipped to fifth.
Utah moved to 8-0 with a 51-28 win at San Diego State to top the Mountain West. State rival BYU (4-4, 3-1) is the closest team to the Utes and they will face each other on November 20. The Cougars were idle Saturday.
On Friday night, Timmy Chang entered the game at Boise State hoping to set the NCAA career passing yardage mark but fell 14 yards short. Instead, he'll go back to Hawaii with the dubious distinction of owning the NCAA career record for most interceptions thrown at 74, breaking Mark Herrman's record of 73 set at Purdue in the late 1970's.
Chang tossed four interceptions in the 69-3 loss as Boise State extended their NCAA-best winning streak to 19. The Broncos have also won 24 straight at home and 23 straight over WAC foes. Boise State entered this week as one of seven teams with unblemished records.
Thursday night, Bryan Randall rallied Virginia Tech with two long touchdown passes and a two-point conversion throw while Josh Minor intercepted two Georgia Tech passes and returned one for a score - all in the final 5:44 of the game as the Hokies pulled out the 34-20 win. Virginia Tech moved up to third place in the ACC with a conference record of 3-1 (6-2 over-all). The Yellow Jackets fell to 3-3 in the conference and 4-3 over-all.
David vs. Goliath: Goliath won the battles over David on Saturday. Just two games featured 1-AA teams trying to tackle the 1-A schools. Navy beat 1-AA power Delaware 34-20 and New Mexico State outscored Florida International 56-31. FIU is in a transition year as the Golden Panthers, coached by Don Strock, prepare for their move up to 1-A and the Sun Belt conference next season. Florida Atlantic, coached by former Miami Hurricanes' coach Howard Schnellenberger, is joining them.
1-AA schools have won just 6-of-54 games against their 1-A brethren and Florida Atlantic has half of those wins.
Computer Streak: The computer picks on this site have a streak of their own involving Boise State. It has correctly picked the winner of 36 consecutive regular season Bronco games dating to November 10, 2001. It is 17-18 ATS on those games.
Computer Nails The Upsets Again: The computer's weekly picks based on the Congrove Computer Rankings picked three outright upsets against the Vegas spreads. It is 35-20 ATS for the season with its upset picks.
This week, it nailed the "upsets" of Clemson over N. C. State, Texas Tech over Kansas State and New Mexico over Colorado State.
No Blemishes: Auburn, Boise State, Miami (Fla.), Oklahoma, USC, Utah and Wisconsin entered the weekend with perfect records and all but Miami survived. Wisconsin was idle.
There are no undefeated teams in the ACC, 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 19 straight games over-all, 24 straight at home, and 23 straight over WAC foes after a 69-3 implosion of Hawaii.
USC extended the nation's second-longest winning streak to 17 with a 42-12 rout of Washington State. The Trojans have won 19 straight home games and 12 consecutive PAC-10 games.
Utah has won 12 straight games and Auburn has won 10.
North Texas has won 22 straight over Sun Belt conference foes. The Mean Green beat Louisiana-Monroe 45-30.
Southern Miss, which was idle, has defeated 13 consecutive CUSA opponents.
Central Florida ran the nation's longest losing streak to 12 games with a 20-3 loss at Marshall.
Illinois has lost 14 straight Big 10 games after a 23-13 setback to Iowa.
Temple, which was idle, has dropped 11 straight Big East games.
Baylor ended its 11-game losing streak to Big 12 teams with a 35-34 overtime upset of Texas A&M.