Miami Suffers Second Straight Defeat;
Oklahoma Rallies Past Texas A&M
by Mike Mitchell
For the second consecutive year Miami has lost back-to-back games. Clemson stormed back from a 17-3 halftime deficit to pull out a 24-17 overtime win in the Orange Bowl, dropping Miami (6-2, 3-2) to fourth place behind Virginia, Virginia Tech and Florida State in the ACC standings.
Last year, Miami lost two straight games to Virginia Tech and Tennessee.
Virginia Tech watched North Carolina miss a 54-yard field goal with a minute left and beat the Tar Heels 27-24. The Hokies (7-2, 4-1) squandered a 27-14 third quarter lead and North Carolina (4-5, 3-3) drew within three points when they blocked a Virginia Tech punt and recovered it in the end zone for a score with over 10 minutes left in the game. The game was played in Chapel Hill where the Tar Heels upset Miami 31-28 last week.
Virginia (7-1, 4-1) blanked Maryland 16-0.
Oklahoma spotted Texas A&M a 14-point lead on three separate occasions but rallied in the second half for a 42-35 win at Kyle Field to stay unbeaten and on course for a possible BCS Championship shot.
Oklahoma (9-0, 6-0) held the Aggies (6-3, 4-2) to just 7 points in the second half after trailing at the intermission 28-21. The Aggies had a last-ditch effort come up short when two Hail Mary passes fell incomplete in the final 9 seconds.
Texas (8-1, 5-1) had even bigger trouble in the early stages of their game with Oklahoma State (6-3, 3-3). The Longhorns fell behind 35-7 in the second quarter but caught back up to the Cowboys well before the third quarter was history. Texas went on to post 49 unanswered points in a 56-35 win.
The soap opera that is the Big 12 north took another plot twist Saturday when Iowa State upset Nebraska and moved into a first-place tie in the division.
The Cyclones improved to 5-4 over-all, 3-3 in conference play. The Cornhuskers backpedaled to the same record. Colorado (5-4, 2-4) is a full game behind the leaders. Kansas State and Missouri are also 2-4 in the conference but both are only 4-5 over-all.
Iowa State never trailed the 'Huskers and led 34-14 at the end of the 3rd quarter.
A touchdown with 30 seconds left in the game completed Illinois' comeback from a 19-0 deficit and the Fightin' Illini beat Indiana 26-22. The win snapped Illinois' 14-game losing streak to Big Ten teams and 6-game slide over-all.
Ohio State took a 17-0 lead on Michigan State, only to see the Spartans charge back to a 19-17 advantage in the fourth quarter. But the Buckeyes scored the game's' final 15 points for a 32-19 win.
Wisconsin (9-0, 6-0) remained undefeated with a 38-14 win over Minnesota. Michigan (8-1, 6-0), the only other team in the Big 10 without a conference loss, was idle.
West Virginia (8-1, 4-0) stayed in control of the Big East with a 42-21 win over Temple. Surprising Syracuse (5-4, 3-1) sits behind the Mountaineers in second after their 38-31 double-overtime win over Pittsburgh (5-3, 3-2). Boston College is also still in the hunt for the league title after the Eagles (6-2, 2-1) beat Rutgers 21-10.
West Virginia hosts BC next week and ends the season at Pittsburgh on November 25.
Southern Miss (5-2, 4-1) lost for the first time in CUSA play as Cincinnati (5-4, 4-2) capitalized on four USM turnovers for a 52-24 win in Hattiesburg. The Golden Eagles' loss puts Louisville (6-1, 4-0) in sole possession of first place. Southern Miss had won 13 straight CUSA games.
The Cardinals outscored Memphis 56-49 on Thursday night at Liberty Bowl Stadium to remain unbeaten in conference play (6-1, 4-0) while the Tigers dropped their second straight game.
Southern Miss and Louisville do not play each other.
UAB entered Wednesday night's contest with USF just a game behind Southern Miss and a half-game behind Louisville for the top of the CUSA standings. But the Blazers suffered their second consecutive upset loss as South Florida ran to a 45-20 win.
Alabama at Birmingham (5-3, 3-2) has allowed 52 points per game in its last two contests (they fell 59-55 at Tulane in their last outing) after giving up an average of 23.5 in their first six game. For the Bulls (3-4, 2-3), the victory ended a three-game losing streak.
Among Independents Notre Dame downed Tennessee in Knoxville in Saturday's biggest non-conference game. The Irish improved their record to 6-3 with the 17-13 upset win.
Nay (7-2) was handed just its second loss of the season as Tulane routed the Midshipmen 42-10.
A 43-yard field goal on the last play of the game completed Akron's comeback from a 28-14 deficit in the final 2:18 and the Zips zapped Marshall 31-28 on Friday night. The Herd led by as much as 28-7 in the third quarter.
Akron has a four-game winning streak for the first time since the 2000 season as the Zips' rally in front of a sparse crowd in their home Rubber Bowl Stadium put the MAC east in chaos. With the season winding down there are now three teams in the division with one loss - Miami (Ohio), Marshall and Akron.
Miami took a 23-16 win from Toledo on Tuesday night's MAC showdown that started the college football week early. The win kept the RedHawks in the running to repeat as east division champions.
Marshall (5-4, 5-1 east) has already defeated Miami (6-3, 5-1 east) but still has two conference games remaining. The Thundering Herd goes to Bowling Green (7-2, 5-1 west) next week and ends the season at home against lowly Western Michigan (1-7, 0-5 west). Marshall has to win both of those games and hope Akron loses one of their final two games to claim the division title.
Miami would have to win both of its two remaining conference games -road trips to Western Michigan and Akron - and hope for another Marshall loss to be able to win the division.
Akron (5-4, 5-1) can win the east division if they win at Ohio (3-6, 1-5 east) next week and at home over Miami in their season finale on November 20. The Zips have never won the MAC title.
Meanwhile, Toledo still controls its own destiny in the west thanks to a schedule that pits them against the division's other top contenders in their last two games. The Rockets (6-3, 5-1 west) play at Northern Illinois (7-2, 6-0 west) next Tuesday and finish at home against Bowling Green on November 23 as Toledo concludes the season with three straight Tuesday night games.
Bowling Green rolled 52-0 over Western Michigan on Saturday.
Brigham Young is starting to find its offense. The Cougars exploded for 36 points in the second half of their 49-16 road win over San Diego State. They have put over 40 points on the board in back-to-back weeks for the first time since the 2001 season when they broke the 40-point barrier ten times in fourteen games. BYU (5-4, 4-1) is the closest challenger to Utah (9-0, 5-0) in the Mountain West.
Utah remained undefeated with ease, rolling over Colorado State 63-31. It was 42-10 at halftime and 56-10 before Urban Meyer called off the dogs. The Utes go head-to-head with BYU on the Cougars' home turf on November 20.
Air Force (4-5, 2-3 MWC) went out-of-conference to hand Army (2-6, 2-4 CUSA) a 31-22 setback and keep the Falcons' hopes alive for bowl eligibility. Air Force finishes the season with home games against San Diego State and Colorado State.
Wyoming (6-3, 3-2) became just the second team besides Utah to become bowl-eligible from the Mountain West when the Cowboys edged UNLV (2-7, 1-4) in triple overtime 53-45.
California recovered from a 27-14 second quarter deficit to beat Oregon 28-27. The Bears (7-1, 5-1) are now the only team besides USC (9-0, 6-0) to have fewer than two league losses in the PAC-10.
USC fought back from an early 13-0 deficit in the fog to subdue Oregon State 28-20 in Corvallis.
Arizona earned its first conference win of the year, 23-13, over Washington. Both the Wildcats and Huskies were winless in PAC-10 play heading into that game.
Arizona State (7-2, 4-2) stayed in position to receive a nice postseason reward with a 34-31 win over Stanford (4-5, 2-4). The Cardinal saw its bowl chances diminish.
Also, Washington State kept UCLA from becoming bowl-eligible with a 31-29 win over the Bruins. UCLA slipped to 5-4 over-all while WSU improved to 4-5.
Georgia (8-1, 6-1) had no trouble with Kentucky in a 62-17 annihilation in Lexington that kept the Bulldogs' SEC east title hopes alive.
South Carolina (6-3, 4-3) became eligible for a postseason affair with a 35-32 win over Arkansas (3-5, 1-4). Florida (5-4, 3-4) kept its bowl hopes alive with a 34-17 win over Vanderbilt (2-7, 1-5). The Commodores will stay home for the holidays for the 30th straight year.
SEC west leader Auburn (9-0, 6-0) was idle. Meanwhile, Alabama became bowl-eligible with a 30-14 win over Mississippi State (3-6, 2-4). The Bulldogs were eliminated from bowl consideration.
On Friday night, North Texas continued their dominance of the Sun Belt conference with a
27-17 win at Louisiana-Lafayette. The Ragin' Cajuns could not overcome two early turnovers that produced 14 quick points for the Mean Green.
WAC leader Boise State (8-0, 5-0) was idle as was second-place UTEP (6-2, 4-1). Hawaii's Timmy Chang set the new NCAA career passing yards record with 15,303, supplanting Ty Detmer of BYU who passed for 15,031 from 1988-1991. Last week, Chang crept within 14 yards of the record when Hawaii was bombed 69-3 at Boise State. Unlike that debacle, Chang set the record in a 34-23 win at home over Louisiana Tech.
David vs. Goliath:
Goliath won the only battle over David on Saturday. Just one game featured a 1-AA team trying to tackle a 1-A school and Troy State prevailed over Florida Atlantic 24-6 in what designated as a Sun Belt conference game for the Trojans.
1-AA schools have won just 6-of-55 games against their 1-A brethren and Florida Atlantic has half of those wins.
Florida Atlantic, coached by former Miami Hurricanes' coach Howard Schnellenberger, is in a transition year as the Owls prepare for their move up to 1-A and the Sun Belt conference next season. Florida International (FIU), coached by Don Strock, is joining them.
If FAU and FIU were in the Sun Belt this year, the Owls would currently be in 5th place with a record of 6-2, 2-2. FIU would be last at 2-4, 0-3.
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 two outright upsets against the Vegas spreads. It is 37-22 ATS for the season with its upset picks.
This week, it nailed the "upsets" of Tulane over Navy and Northwestern over Penn State.
No Blemishes: Auburn, Boise State, Oklahoma, USC, Utah and Wisconsin began, and ended, the weekend with perfect records. Auburn and Boise State were 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. The Broncos were idle.
USC extended the nation's second-longest winning streak to 18 with a 28-20 win at Oregon State. The Trojans have won 19 straight home games and 13 consecutive PAC-10 games.
Utah has won 13 straight games.
Auburn has 11 consecutive wins. The Tigers were idle.
Iowa has won 17 straight home games.
North Texas has won 23 straight over Sun Belt conference foes. The Mean Green beat Louisiana-Lafayette 27-17.
Central Florida ran the nation's longest losing streak to 13 games when they failed to convert an extra point in overtime and fell 17-16 to Ohio.
Temple's 42-21 loss to West Virginia was its 12th straight Big East loss.
Southern Miss had its streak of 13 consecutive CUSA wins snapped by Cincinnati in a 52-24 loss in Hattiesburg.
Illinois beat Indiana 26-22 to end a string of 14 consecutive Big Ten losses.