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College Football Season

Texas A&M Serves Alabama Slammer

Louisville gets squeezed; Florida, FSU Avoid Upsets

by Dave Congrove
November 11, 2012

Top-ranked Alabama suffered its first loss of the season as Texas A&M intercepted a pass at the goal line with under two minutes to play to secure a 29-24 win. Louisville also tumbled from the unbeaten ranks with a 45-26 smackdown at Syracuse, surrendering the top spot in the Big East to Rutgers.

The Crimson Tide had their BCS Championship hopes dented, though not completely eliminated. Alabama will still play for the SEC Championship unless it takes a highly unlikely loss at home to Auburn in two weeks. If that were to happen, Texas A&M would merely need a home win over Missouri for the opportunity to play for the conference crown in its inaugural season in the SEC.

Auburn couldn't even score a point on its home field against Georgia on Saturday as the Bulldogs triumphed 38-0 to secure the Eastern division.

BCS No. 2 Kansas State, 3rd-ranked Oregon and 4th-ranked Notre Dame all won their contests on Saturday. The Wildcats were held to their lowest point total of the season in a 23-10 win at TCU. The Ducks scored the last 35 points of the game to turn a 24-17 third-quarter lead into a 59-17 demolition at Calfiornia. The Irish took a closer-than-expected 21-6 win at Boston College.

Notre Dame is 10-0 for the first time since 1993 when the Irish got to 10-0 before losing at home to Boston College in the final regular season game.

BCS No. 6 Florida (CCR No. 6) and No. 10 Florida State (CCR No. 5) needed last-minute heroics to avoid the upset bug. The Gators scored 14 points in the final 1:42 to storm back past Louisiana-Lafayette 27-20 in "The Swamp". A 36-yard blocked punt return with 2 seconds remaining provided the winning margin. On Thursday, the Seminoles prevailed 28-22 at Virginia Tech on a touchdown pass with 40 seconds left in the game.

Meanwhile, Oregon State blew a 23-14 lead and bowed 27-23 at Stanford. The Cardinal head to Oregon next Saturday to see which teams gets the upper-hand in the PAC-12 North race. Oregon's season finale is at Oregon State and Stanford's last game is at UCLA. The Bruins have the outright lead by a game over USC in the PAC-12 South and host the Trojans next week. UCLA held off a late Washington State rally for a 44-36 win in Pullman on Saturday.

Michigan won 38-31 in OT over Northwestern in Ann Arbor to keep pace with Nebraska in the Big Ten Legends division. The Leaders side was clinched by Wisconsin with a resounding 62-14 win at Indiana.

Two other thrilling overtime games saw Missouri kick Tennessee 51-48 in a 4-overtime affair at Knoxville, and Texas Tech shake off Kansas 41-34 in two extra possessions in Lubbock. The Jayhawks were trying to halt numerous losing streaks, but instead saw them extended to 19 FBS games, 19 conference games and 18 road games. Tennessee's loss leaves the SEC with three teams that haven't won a conference game. The Vols are 0-6 while Kentucky and Auburn are each 0-7.

The ACC Coastal is a complete mess with no team better than 4-3 in the conference and no worse than 2-4. Five of the six teams are still mathematically alive and the only which isn't is North Carolina because it is on probation and ineligible for the postseason. Miami lost 41-40 at Virginia on Saturday while Georgia Tech won a 68-50 track meet at North Carolina. It's so crazy that Virginia Tech can still get to Charlotte if it wins its last two games, combined with a Duke win over Georgia Tech followed by a Blue Devils loss to Miami. Though Miami would still be in the Coastal lead, the Huricanes are considering putting themselves on probation for the postseason.

Ohio was upset at home by BGSU on Wednesday to set up an important game at MAC East-leading Kent State on November 17. Even after Toledo was upset 34-27 at home by Ball State on Tuesday, the MAC West is still a 2-team race between the Rockets and NIU which meet at DeKalb this coming Wednesday.

The Mountain West is a 3-way battle with Fresno State, San Diego State and Boise State. SDSU and Fresno State are both 8-3, 6-1 while Boise State is 8-2, 5-1. Fresno State won at Nevada on Saturday while the Aztecs beat Air Force and Boise State rolled at Hawaii. Boise State has already beaten Fresno State and faces Colorado State before closing out the season at Nevada. Fresno State owns a win over SDSU and only has a home game remaining with Air Force. The Aztecs only have a trip to Wyoming remaining on the schedule are virtually assured to end the season with only the one conference loss to Fresno State.

Fresno State scored three touchdowns on defense in its 52-36 win at Nevada with a fumble recovery in the endzone, another fumble returned and an interception return.

UCF (8-2, 6-0) has solid control of CUSA's East division, essentially leading East Carolina by 2 games since it owns the head-sup tie-breaker. Tulsa is also 8-2, 6-0 and leads the West division by two games over SMU, but the Golden Hurricane must travel to SMU next and play UCF at home in the season finale. Aside from Tulsa, UCF's remaining opponents are UTEP and UAB.

Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee each have 1 Sun Belt conference loss and appear headed toward a de facto conference championship game when the Red Wolves host the Blue Raiders on December 1. Prior to the game, Arkansas State has to defeat a dangerous Troy team on the road this coming Saturday, and MTSU has to host Troy the following week.

Louisiana Tech hosts Utah State next Saturday in a battle of the top two WAC teams. Louisiana Tech barely survived on Saturday in a back-and-forth contest at Texas State. Louisiana Tech eventually won 62-55, but not before the Bobcats had three one-TD leads in the first half and Louisiana Tech let a pair of 14-point leads get away. Utah State was idle this week.

San Jose State is still in the WAC hunt and has a home date with Louisiana Tech on November 24, but the Spartans are handicapped by their loss to the Aggies on October 13.

Since beginning the season 5-0 and being ranked as high as No. 4 in the Coaches' Poll (No. 2 in the CCR Top 124), West Virginia has dropped four straight Big 12 games and has no chance of claiming the conference title. The Mountaineers still need one more win just to become bowl eligible. They host Oklahoma next week before traveling to Iowa State and finishing back in Morgantown against Kansas.

Virginia Tech needs to wins in its last two games to become bowl eligible and salvage its 19-year bowl string. The Hokies visit Boston College before wrapping up the regular season at home vs. Virginia.

At this point, only four ACC teams are bowl eligible. Clemson and FSU are 8-1 while Duke and N.C. State are 6-4.

Conference USA and the Big East each have just three bowl eligible teams at this point.

None of the Big Ten's bowl eligible teams will have fewer than two losses. Nebraska is 8-2 while Michigan, Northwestern and Wisconsin are 6-3. Minnesota became bowl eligible at 6-4 with its win at Illinois on Saturday.

FBS vs. FCS:
FBS teams are 90-10 (.900) on the year vs. FCS teams and are 728-65 (.918) in such games since 2003.

UTSA edged McNeese State 31-24 this week. Middle Tennessee lost to McNeese State on opening weekend.

This year, 101 FBS teams play a total of 108 games against FCS foes. UTSA is in its first year of transitioning from the FCS and plays 4 such schools. Cincinnati, Florida State, Pittsburgh and Texas A&M each play two such games.

Here are the results of the FBS losses to FCS schools this season:
9/29: Stony Brook 23, Army 3
9/15: Cal Poly 24, Wyoming 22
9/8: Sacramento State 30, Colorado 28
9/8: North Dakota State 22, Colorado State 7
9/8: Illinois State 31, Eastern Michigan 17
9/8: Northern Arizona 17, UNLV 14
9/1: Youngstown State 31, Pittsburgh 17
9/1: Tennessee-Martin 20, Memphis 17
8/30: McNeese State 27, Middle Tennessee 21
8/30: Eastern Washington 20, Idaho 3

Alabama - Had 13-game win streak snapped. Lost 29-24 vs. Texas A&M on Saturday.

Oregon - Won 13 straight overall and 15 straight road games. Won 59-17 at California on Saturday.

Northern Illinois - Won 14 straight conference games (MAC), 20 straight home games and 9 straight overall. Was idle this week. Hosts Toledo on Wednesday.

LSU - Won 41 straight nonconference games. Won 37-17 vs. Mississippi State on Saturday.

Michigan - won 13 straight home games (2nd-longest in nation). Won 38-31 in OT vs. Northwestern on Saturday.

Southern Miss - Lost 10 straight overall. Lost 34-6 at SMU on Saturday.

Akron - Lost 25 straight road games, 21 straight FBS games and 15 straight conference games (MAC). Lost 22-14 vs. UMass on Saturday.

Kansas - Lost 19 straight FBS games, 19 straight conference games and 18 straight road games. Lost 41-34 in 2 OT's at Texas Tech on Saturday.

UNLV - Lost 21 straight road games. Lost 33-11 at Colorado State on Saturday.

28 teams have a new college football coach in the FBS ranks this season. See how they are faring versus their predecessor.

Here are this week's games for each new head coach:

Team Coach Game
Akron Terry Bowden (1-10) Lost 22-14 Saturday vs. UMass
Arizona Rich Rodriguez (6-4) Won 56-31 Saturday vs. Colorado
Arizona State Todd Graham (5-5) Lost 38-17 Saturday at USC
Arkansas John L. Smith (4-6) Lost 38-20 Saturday at South Carolina
Arkansas State Gus Malzahn (7-3) Won 45-23 Thursday vs. Louisiana-Monroe
Colorado State Jim McElwain (3-7) Won 33-11 Saturday vs. UNLV
FAU Carl Pellini (3-7) Won 37-28 Saturday at Western Kentucky
Fresno State Tim DeRuyter (8-3) Won 52-36 Saturday at Nevada
Hawaii Norm Chow (1-8) Lost 49-14 Saturday vs. Boise State
Houston Tony Levine (4-6) Lost 41-7 Saturday vs. Tulsa
Illinois Tim Beckman (2-8) Lost 17-3 Saturday vs. Minnesota
Kansas Charlie Weis (1-9) Lost 41-34 (2 OT) Saturday at Texas Tech
Massachusetts Charley Molnar (1-9) Won 22-14 Saturday at Akron
Memphis Justin Fuente (2-8) Won 37-23 Saturday vs. Tulane
Mississippi Hugh Freeze (5-5) Lost 27-26 Saturday vs. Vanderbilt
New Mexico Bob Davie (4-7) Lost 28-23 Saturday vs. Wyoming
North Carolina Larry Fedora (6-4) Lost 68-50 Saturday vs. Georgia Tech
Ohio State Urban Meyer (10-0) Idle. Next game 11/17 at Wisconsin
Penn State Bill O'Brien (6-4) Lost 32-23 Saturday at Nebraska
Pittsburgh Paul Chryst (4-6) Lost 24-17 Friday at UConn
Rutgers Kyle Flood (8-1) Won 28-7 Saturday vs. Army
Southern Miss Ellis Johnson (0-10) Lost 34-6 Saturday at SMU
Texas A&M Kevin Sumlin (8-2) Won 29-24 Saturday at Alabama
Toledo Matt Campbell (8-2) Lost 34-27 Tuesday vs. Ball State
Tulane Curtis Johnson (2-8) Lost 37-23 Saturday at Memphis
UAB Garrick McGee (3-7) Won 38-31 Saturday vs. Marshall
UCLA Jim Mora (8-2) Won 44-36 Saturday at Washington State
Washington State Mike Leach (2-8) Lost 44-36 Saturday vs. UCLA


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