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TCU Makes Boise Blue;
Stanford's Luck Runs Out

LSU, Oklahoma State, Houston Are Only Remaining Undefeated Teams

by Dave Congrove
November 13, 2011

Stanford and Boise State stumbled on Saturday, leaving LSU and Oklahoma State in even better position to claim their shot a BCS Championship pairing. And maybe Houston's undefeated record must now be taken a little more seriously.

LSU, No. 1 in the BCS Standings and the Congrove Computer Rankings, methodically put away a vastly improved Western Kentucky team 42-9. The Hilltoppers came in to the contest on a 5-game winning streak.

Oklahoma State, No. 2 in the BCS, destroyed Texas Tech 66-6. Since upsetting Oklahoma 41-38 in Norman on October 22, the Red Raiders have dropped 3 straight by at least 32 points per game and have been outscored 159-33. Two of those losses have come in Lubbock to Iowa State and the Cowboys by a cumulative score of 107-13.

Houston remained perfect by crushing Tulane 73-17 on Friday night to improve to 10-0. The Cougars haven't been getting much love in the rankings, though, as they've faced the 6th easiest schedule in the FBS, according to the Congrove Computer Rankings. Interestingly, it was a Tommy Bowden-coached Tulane team that went undefeated in 1998 and finished ranked 7th in the polls and 10th in the BCS.

While Oregon at Stanford earned the title of "BCS Game Of the Week", the TCU-Boise State game was the more entertaining contest. Both games boiled down to turnovers.

Stanford had 4 giveaways against Oregon and wound up minus-3 in that department for the game. The two biggest came in the fourth quarter when an Andrew Luck pass deflected off the hands of his own receiver into the arms of Boseko Lokombo who raced 40 yards for a pick-6 with roughly 5minutes left in the game. The play extended Oregon's lead from two possessions to three, and the ensuing kick-off was then fumbled and recovered by the Ducks to end any possible comeback threat.

The final score of 53-50 ended Stanford's 17-game winning streak which it began after losing by a freakishly similar 52-31 score at Oregon on October 2nd last year. The biggest difference is that Stanford led last year's game by as much as 18 points where it never once owned a lead in Saturday's contest. Luck was also picked off twice in last season's loss, meaning that Oregon owns 4 of Luck's meager 13 interceptions over his last 23 games.

Boise State was driving to hammer the final nail in TCU's coffin when the friendly blue turf of Bronco Stadium suddenly turned into a booby-trapped pit of horrors. With 2:26 left to play and a 35-28 lead in-hand, walk-on junior running back Drew Wright fumbled at the TCU 27-yard line. A minute and 21 seconds later, Casey Pachall hit Brandon Carter with a 25-yard touchdown pass to make it 35-34. Gary Patterson, had coach of the Horned Frogs, wanted no part of overtime so Pachall connected with Josh Boyce on a 2-point conversion toss for a 36-35 lead.

The Broncos did catch a break when TCU's kick-off went out-of-bounds to give Boise State a very short field. And they caught a second break when a questionable interference penalty on a badly overthrown 4th-and-10 desperation pass gave them a new set of downs at the TCU 35 with 44 seconds still on the clock. But three plays later, horror struck again when freshman kicker Dan Goodale missed wide right on a 39-yard field goal attempt and the Broncos found themselves suddenly ejected from the BCS title chase.

Missed field goals also doomed Boise last year in its 34-31 overtime loss at Nevada, but close losses in big games can rarely be blamed on a single play or player, a sentiment echoed by Boise State QB Kellen Moore after the game.

Both losses were created by inspired performances by the opposition.

Last year, it was Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick, RB Vai Taua and receiver Rishard Matthews that combined to do inflict most of the damage on a highly-ranked defense. This year, it was largely Pachall, Carter and Boyce. Pachall threw for 473 yards and his 5 TD's covered distances of 74, 75, 69, 2 and 25 yards. Three of the TD throws went to Boyce, as well as a pair of 2-point conversions, and the other two scores went to Carter.

TCU claimed its 22nd consecutive Mountain West Conference victory, while Boise State lost a conference home game for the first time since 1998 when they played in the Big West. Also snapped were Boise State streaks of 10 overall wins, 35 home wins and 65 regular season home wins.

Boise State, which joined the Mountain West this season, was 40-0 in home conference games as a member of the WAC from 2001-2010. The Broncos are now 1-1 in home conference games with their new league.

Other anticipated battles this week included top 25 BCS matchups of Virginia Tech-Georgia Tech, Auburn-Georgia and, of course, Nebraska-Penn State.

Virginia Tech outrushed Georgia Tech and ultimately outscored the Yellow Jackets 37-26 to eliminate them from the ACC Coastal division title race. Clemson clinched the Atlantic division title on Saturday with a 31-28 comeback win at home over Wake Forest. A 43-yard field goal as time expired secured the Tigers' victory and completed the rally from a 28-14 3rd quarter deficit. The Demon Deacons would have had the inside track to the ACC Championship game had their lead held up. Virginia Tech and Virginia each control their destiny in the Coastal division title chase, but only the Hokies can secure the division this week. Virginia Tech would be assured of a return trip to Charlotte if it wins at home on Thursday night against North Carolina, but only if Virginia loses on Saturday at Florida State. That's the only scenario that would prevent their head-to-head battle in Charlottesville from becoming a de facto playoff game on November 26th.

If Auburn vs. Georgia had been a boxing match instead of a football game, "no mas" would have been the appropriate shout from the Auburn sideline. The Bulldogs took the Tigers to the woodshed in a 42-7 whupping in Athens. It was the largest beatdown administered by either team in the series since a 41-0 Georgia win in 1946. Georgia's 8th straight win after an 0-2 start puts it in position to win clinch the SEC East when it hosts hapless Kentucky next week in its final conference game of the season.

UNHAPPY VALLEY
Penn State's rally from a 17-0 deficit fell short in a 17-14 loss to Nebraska in the school's first game without Joe Paterno as head coach since 1965. By now, the circumstances surrounding Paterno's firing are well documented. I'm just relieved to see that Mike McQueary wasn't allowed to coach in the game. For awhile, that wasn't going to be the case, but public outcry led to McQueary being placed on "administrative leave". McQueary, of course, is the receivers coach who witnessed the alleged child sex abuse occur in 2002 and wasn't man enough to stop it or, at the least, report it immediately to the police. His inaction ultimately cost Paterno his job, but McQueary still wasn't man enough to resign from his own post. Former assistant Jerry Sandusky is public enemy No. 1 in this story and the alleged serial pedophile will get his day in court, but if proper action had been taken by McQueary in 2002, Saturday would have been a much brighter day - the case would have been settled long ago, other children would have been spared being victimized, and Paterno would have almost certainly been on the sidelines.

The one question I want answered by McQueary is simple, "How in God's name did you simply walk away?" from what you witnessed?

ELSEWHERE:
- A QB sneak in overtime by former Miami Hurricanes QB Robert Marve lifted Purdue to a 26-23 home victory over Ohio State.

- A blocked 31-yard field goal attempt as time expired gave West Virginia a 24-21 upset win over Big East leader Cincinnati at Paul Brown Stadium. It was only the first conference loss for the Bearcats while every other team in the conference has at least two. But Cincinnati will be without starting QB Zach Collaros for the rest of the regular season after suffering a fractured right ankle in the 2nd quarter.

- Florida State is riding a 5-game ACC winning streak after beating Miami 23-19. But the 'Noles won't return to the ACC Championship game as was expected in the preseason, and its best bowl prospect may be the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando.

- In its first season under Hugh Freeze, Arkansas State is 8-2 and in command of the Sun Belt after downing Louisiana-Lafayette 30-21. A win at Middle Tennessee next week will secure the conference crown for the Red Wolves. Though the Ragin' Cajuns lost on Saturday, first-year head coach Mark Hudspeth has already led them to 8 wins (8-3) for the first time since 1993. Hudspeth's team trailed 20-7 at the half before rallying for a 21-20 lead at the end of the 3rd quarter, but Arkansas State tallied the last 10 points of the game. The victory gave the Red Wolves an 8-win season for the first time since 1987 when they were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the 1-AA playoffs.

- Utah beat UCLA 31-6 for its 3rd straight PAC-12 victory. The Bruins were coming off a 29-28 upset of Arizona State last week. Arizona State was upset again on Saturday, 37-27 at Washington State. Those developments leave Utah at 3-4 in the conference while the Sun Devils and Bruins fell to 4-3. Wins over Washington State and Colorado to close out the season could lift Utah to the PAC-12 South division title.

- Nevada improved to 4-0 in the WAC with a 42-28 win over Hawaii in Reno. I have to admit that it's difficult to feel bad for a team that, after a loss, flies home to a Pacific island paradise. "Book 'em, Danno".

- Baylor found itself down 24-3 at lowly Kansas before forcing overtime with a 21-point 4th quarter. The Bears comeback was complete when the Jayhawks elected to go for 2 points on their first overtime possession and failed, handing Baylor a 31-30 win. Many people are suggesting that Turner Gill be booted after just two seasons as head coach at Kansas, but they have obviously forgotten the condition of the program he inherited from Mark Mangino. Gill gives Kansas the best opportunity to be successful in the near future.

- Another Big Twelve game took 4 overtimes to decide the outcome as Kansas State outscored Texas A&M 53-50. The schools were tied at 31-all at the end of regulation. The loss drops the Aggies to 5-5 after they were a consensus Top 10 team in the preseason.

- Southern Miss averted the upset home loss to UCF when it batted down a 2-point conversion pass with no time remaining ion the game. The Golden Knights scored on the final play of regulation to pull within 1 point after the Golden Eagles fumbled deep in UCF territory. The 30-29 victory improves USM to 9-1 and drops UCF to 4-6. Southern Miss can clinch CUSA's West title with a win on Thursday at UAB.

OH, THAT CRAZY MAC:
For the second straight week, the college football slate opened on a Tuesday with a MAC game void of any defense. A week ago, it was Northern Illinois outscoring Toledo 63-60 in a regulation, 4-quarter contest. This week, it was Toledo topping Western Michigan 66-63.

Northern Illinois maintains the inside track to the West division title while Ohio holds the lead in the East division. The Huskies host Ball State this Tuesday night while Frank Solich's Bobcats visit Bowling Green.

By the way, if you like basketball scores at football games, Toledo will be back in action on Friday night at Central Michigan.

COMPUTER SUCCESS:
The Congrove Computer Rankings went 4-0 on the upsets it forecasted this week. It was also 4-0 against the spread with those games. Over the last two weeks combined, the computer has gone 9-1 with its upset picks and 10-0 against the spread.

FBS vs. FCS:
No FBS team played an FCS school this week. FBS teams are 87-6 (.935) in such games for the year and 634-55 (.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.

STREAKS:
Stanford - A 53-30 loss to Oregon halted a 17-game winning streak.

Boise State - A 36-35 loss to TCU ended streaks of 10 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 previous 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.

Oklahoma State - 11 straight wins overall. The Cowboys won 66-6 at Texas Tech.

LSU - 11 straight wins overall. The Tigers won 42-9 vs. Western Kentucky.

Houston - 10 straight wins overall. The Cougars won 73-17 at Tulane on Thursday.

TCU - 22 straight conference wins. The Horned Frogs won 36-35 at Boise State.

Virginia Tech - 12 straight road wins. The Hokies won 37-26 at Georgia Tech.

New Mexico - A 21-14 home win over UNLV ended a streak of 12 straight losses overall. But the Lobos have still lost 20 straight road games.

FAU - 12 straight losses overall. The Owls of Boca Raton lost 41-7 at nearby rival FIU of Miami on Saturday.

Colorado - 21 straight road losses. The Buffaloes won 48-29 at home over Arizona.

Mississippi - 12 straight conference losses. The Rebels lost 27-7 vs. Louisiana Tech.

LATEST COACHING CHANGES:
Joe Paterno was fired from Penn State on November 9th. The shocking development came 11 days after Paterno won an FBS record 409th division 1 football game, passing Eddie Robinson as the all-time wins leader. The move came in the wake of a hailstorm of revelations regarding former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky's alleged sexual abuse of minors on the Penn State campus. Paterno was targeted for dismissal for admittedly not notifying police when he was told of a 2002 incident involving Sandusky and a minor, reportedly witnessed by Mike McQueary, currently a receivers coach who was a graduate assistant at the time. He instead referred the matter to PSU administrators. Defensive coordinator Tom Bradley was named interim head coach and is 0-1 in that capacity.

It was reported on November 7th that Houston Nutt was forced to resign from Mississippi, effective at the end of the year. The Rebels have lost 12 straight SEC games.

Tulane's Bob Toledo resigned on October 18th. Named offensive line coach Mark Hutson interim head coach. The Green Wave are 0-4 under Hutson.

Mike Stoops was fired from Arizona on October 10th. Named defensive coordinator Tim Kish as interim head coach for the remainder of the season. The Wildcats are 1-3 under Kish.

Mike Locksley was fired from New Mexico on September 25th. Named defensive coordinator George Barlow as interim head coach for the remainder of the season. The Lobos are 1-5 under Barlow.

NEW COACHES:
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.

Based on their performances so far this season, only 6 of these teams are guaranteed of equaling or exceeding their predecessor's win total from a year ago. Another 6 teams have no chance of matching or outperforming their predecessor. (2011 Coaching Changes).

Two games this week pitted new head coaches against each other as Hugh Freeze and Arkansas State beat Mark Hudspeth and Louisiana-Lafayette, and Don Treadwell's Miami RedHawks fell at Steve Addazio and the Temple Owls. Jon Embree and Colorado beat Arizona, led by interim head coach Tim Kish who, as pointed out above, took over for Mike Stoops a month ago.

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

Team Coach Game
Arkansas State Hugh Freeze (8-2) Won 30-21 vs. La.-Lafayette
Ball State Pete Lembo (6-4) Idle
Colorado Jon Embree (2-9) Won 48-29 vs. Arizona
Connecticut Paul Pasqualoni (4-5) Idle
Florida Will Muschamp (5-5) Lost 17-12 at South Carolina
Indiana Kevin Wilson (1-9) Idle
Kent State Darrell Hazell (4-6) Won 35-3 at Akron
Louisiana-Lafayette Mark Hudspeth (8-3) Lost 30-21 at Arkansas State
Maryland Randy Edsall (2-8) Lost 45-21 vs. Notre Dame at Landover, Md.
Miami (Fla.) Al Golden (5-5) Lost 23-19 at Florida State
Miami (O.) Don Treadwell (4-6) Lost 24-21 at Temple (Wednesday)
Michigan Brady Hoke (8-2) Won 31-14 at Illinois
Minnesota Jerry Kill (2-8) Lost 42-13 vs. Wisconsin
North Carolina Everett Withers (Interim) (6-4) Idle
North Texas Dan McCarney (4-6) Won 38-33 at Troy
Northern Illinois Dave Doeren (7-3) Won 45-14 at Bowling Green (Tuesday)
Ohio State Luke Fickell (Interim) (6-4) Lost 26-23 in OT at Purdue
Pittsburgh Todd Graham (5-5) Won 21-14 at Louisville
San Diego St. Rocky Long (6-3) Won 18-15 at Colorado State
Stanford David Shaw (9-1) Lost 53-30 vs. Oregon
Temple Steve Addazio (6-4) Won 24-21 vs. Miami (O.)
Tulsa Bill Blankenship (7-3) Won 59-17 vs. Marshall
Vanderbilt James Franklin (5-5) Won 38-8 vs. Kentucky
West Virginia Dana Holgorsen (7-3) Won 24-21 at Cincinnati at Paul Brown Stadium