8 Of Top 25 BCS Teams Take A Hit
by Mike Mitchell
The BCS Standings encountered a train wreck over the five-day college football week with losses by eight of the top twenty-five teams. No. 16 Bowling Green was the first to fall when Miami (Ohio) clobbered the Falcons 33-10 last Tuesday. On Saturday, seven more went down to defeat including three of the top six - No. 3 Florida State, No. 4 Miami (Fla.) and No. 6 Virginia Tech.
Also taking it on the chin were No. 11 Iowa, No. 19 Oklahoma State, No. 20 Michigan State and No. 24 Missouri.
TCU may be one of the biggest benefactors of the week's events as the No. 9 Horned Frogs remained undefeated when Louisville's game-ending field goal attempt was blocked by the crossbar. TCU won, 31-28.
Miami (Fla.) saw its 26-game home winning streak come to an end with a 10-6 loss to Tennessee. Virginia Tech had ended Miami's streaks of 39 regular season wins, 27 Big East wins, and 18 road wins with their 31-7 rout of the Hurricanes in their last outing.
Clemson snapped a 11-game losing streak to Florida State as Bobby Bowden's son, Tommy, defeated his father's team for the first time in five tries, 26-10. It was also Clemson's first win over the Seminoles since FSU joined the ACC in 1992. And he did it on Dad's 74th birthday, knocking him out of the BCS championship and preventing him from clinching another conference title - at least for now. Tommy may have also saved his job as head coach of the Tigers.
Pittsburgh beat Virginia Tech for the third straight season, 31-28, as they scored the game-winning touchdown with under a minute to play and then intercepted Marcus Vick to seal the deal. Heisman Trophy candidate Larry Fitzgerald caught eight passes for 108 yards and extended his NCAA record of consecutive games with a touchdown reception to 15.
But Pittsburgh's win overshadowed a brilliant performance by the Hokies' Kevin Jones who rushed for a school record 241 yards and all four Virginia Tech scores, including touchdown runs of 13 and 80 yards that came just two minutes apart and catapulted Tech from a 24-14 deficit to a 28-24 fourth quarter lead. Tech's Ernest Wilford had 6 catches for 131 yards.
Iowa lost to Purdue, 27-14. Oklahoma State was roped by Texas, 55-16. Michigan State was shelled by Ohio State, 33-23. And Missouri was upset by Colorado, 21-16.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma handed Texas A&M its worst beating ever, 77-0, as the Sooners exacted revenge on the team that derailed their national title hopes last year when the Aggies scored a 30-26 upset.
Oklahoma also fell to Oklahoma State last season and they avenged that defeat last week with a 52-9 whipping of the Cowboys.
Four of the top ten teams in the BCS Standings were idle - No. 2 USC, No. 7 LSU, No. 8 Michigan, and No. 10 Georgia.
Mississippi snatched one of Saturday's biggest wins, a 24-20 escape of Auburn that was preserved by the dropping of a wide-open touchdown pass for the Tigers in the closing seconds of the game. The Rebels are 6-0 in the SEC and in the hunt for their first conference title since 1963. They are the only team in the west division not to win a divisional title since the conference split into two divisions in 1992.
On Friday night, New Mexico took advantage of a fumbled shotgun snap by Colorado State's Bradlee Van Pelt with just over a minute remaining and beat the Rams, 37-34, for the first time since 1995 on Wes Zunker's 33-yard field goal as time expired.
The Lobos dramatically improved their bowl chances with the win, climbing to 6-4 over-all and 3-2 in the Mountain West. Rocky Long's team hosts Air Force next Saturday and closes at Wyoming on November 22. Victories in both games would assure his team of no worse than second place in the conference.
On Thursday night, Arkansas beat South Carolina, 28-6, and New Mexico State subdued Utah State, 26-21.
Matt Jones came off the bench on the second series to throw three touchdown passes as the Hogs upped their record to 3-3 in the SEC west and 6-3 over-all, keeping a possible trip to the Cotton Bowl in their sights. To get there, they will have to win their remaining three games which include a season-ending visit to LSU after home games against New Mexico State and Mississippi State.
Finally! Duke beat Georgia Tech 41-17, its first win over an ACC opponent in nearly four years. Duke hadn't won a game against any of their conference opponents in this millennium. The Blue Devils had lost 30 consecutive ACC games in a streak that dated back to November 13, 1999.
The win gave Ted Roof his first victory since being named interim coach when Carl Franks was fired.
Arizona snapped an 8-game losing streak with a 27-22 win over Washington. It was the first home win over a PAC-10 team since October 13, 2000 when the Wildcats beat Washington State 53-47 in three overtimes. It was also the first for interim head coach Mike Hankwitz who took over when John Mackovic was fired five games into the season.
Still Streaking: Army has lost 12 straight after its 31-3 drubbing at the hands of Air Force.
SMU has lost 10 consecutive games after falling 41-6 to Louisiana Tech.
Vanderbilt's 35-17 loss at Florida ran their losing streak against SEC foes to 23 games. The Commodores had already clinched their 21st consecutive losing season.
Baylor fell to 5-57 lifetime in the Big 12 with its 62-14 loss to Texas Tech.
Navy lost to Notre Dame for the 40th consecutive time when the Irish pulled out a 27-24 win on a 40-yard field goal as time expired. The Irish' domination of the Midshipmen is an on-going NCAA record streak.
Nebraska has the second-longest such streak. Their 24-3 win over Kansas is the 35th consecutive time that the Cornhuskers have beaten the Jayhawks. Incidentally, those two teams have played every season for 98 years which is also an NCAA record string. Over-all, they've met 110 times with Nebraska now holding an overwhelming edge of 86-21-3.
Conference Realignment: Rice, SMU and Tulsa will leave the WAC to join CUSA. Marshall and Central Florida are leaving the MAC to join CUSA.
Louisville, Cincinnati and South Florida all left CUSA to fill the Big East slots vacated by Boston College, Miami (Fla.) and Virginia Tech when they opted to move to the ACC.
Utah State and New Mexico State are headed to the WAC from the Sun Belt.
Joe Paterno's woes continued with Penn State's 17-7 loss to Northwestern, the sixth straight defeat for the Nittany Lions. JoePa is now 338-108-3 in 38 seasons at Penn State.
For the record, Bobby Bowden has the most career 1-A wins. Bowden is 340-98-4 in 38 seasons, 28 at Florida State.
Tracking the new coaches: There were eighteen head coaching changes in the off-season and all of them now have at least one win this year. But there have been four new coaches taking over teams since the season began and three of them earned their first victories on Saturday.
Eastern Michigan's Al Lavan was victorious in his first game as the Eagles beat Central Florida, 19-13. EMU had lost eight straight when Jeff Woodruff was canned and Lvan was named interim replacement. Their only previous win this season came in the opener over 1-AA East Tennessee State.
Mike Hankwitz is 1-4 with Arizona following the Wildcats' 27-22 win over Washington.
Ted Roof is 1-2 at Duke after the Blue Devils clobbered Georgia Tech, 41-17.
John Mumford is 0-4 with Army after the Cadets lost 31-3 to Air Force.