No. 1 Kansas State and No. 2 Oregon Fall
Losses by top two in BCS and CCR open the door for Notre Dame and Alabama
A week after top-ranked Alabama left its fans in despair after falling to at home to Texas A&M, the Crimson Tide are not only back in the race, but likely in firm control of their destiny.
Kansas State and Oregon both fell flat on Saturday in their very first game after ascending to 1st and 2nd last week in the wake of 'Bama's demise. Even though the Wildcats and Ducks were each about to face very good teams, both were projected by my Congrove Computer Rankings to be double-digit winners. Kansas State was a 10.59-point pick at Baylor and was crushed 52-24, while Oregon was forecasted to beat Stanford at home by 12.97 and lost 17-14 in overtime.
Kansas State's loss was only Baylor's second Big Twelve victim all year and the Bears entered the contest with a 4-5 overall record. Baylor's only previous win in the conference and come at the expense of last-place Kansas two weeks ago, and yet the Bears managed to defeat the high-flying Wildcats by the same 28-point margin.
Oregon was the highest-scoring team in the country, averaging almost 55 points per contest. The Ducks also led the nation in average margin of victory at 32.5 per game.
As bad as the final score turned out to be, Kansas State was still in the game halfway through the third quarter before Baylor scored the next 17 points. The teams were scoreless in the 4th period and, after Kansas State turned the ball over on downs at the Baylor 1-yard line with a round 8 minutes left, the Bears ran off over 7 minutes of clock.
Stanford's win at Oregon was much more dramatic as it took a booth replay to overturn an incomplete pass call at the back of the endzone with 1:35 left in the game. A 41-yard Oregon field goal missed off the left upright in overtime and the Cardinal followed with a successful 37-yard try to claim the win, but not until after QB Kevin Hogan almost fumbled the opportunity away.
Meanwhile, Notre Dame skunked Wake Forest 38-0 in South Bend and Alabama cruised to a 49-0 win over FCS member Western Carolina.
The Irish close out the season at USC next Saturday while Alabama only has to survive a home date with Auburn.
The Trojans are hurting with USC falling to 7-4 after a 38-28 loss at UCLA handed the Bruins the PAC-12 South title. Quarterback Matt Barkley threw a pick on the game's first play and left the field on USC's last drive after a blind-side hit. He left the stadium with his right arm in a sling and his playing status for the finale with Notre Dame is uncertain.
Auburn got its second win in three weeks on Saturday, but both victories have come against weak nonconference opponents. A 42-7 win over New Mexico State on November 3 and a 51-7 ripping of FCS member Alabama A&M on Saturday have only been enough to get the Tigers to 3-8 overall and they are likely to end the season with the school's first-ever 0-8 performance in the SEC. Head coach Gene Chizik's dismissal seems inevitable, though he is just two seasons removed from leading the school to its first national title since 1957.
ACC Atlantic - Florida State (10-1, 7-1) locked up a spot in the ACC Championship as the Atlantic Division champion with a 41-14 win at Maryland. Either Georgia Tech or Miami will represent the Coastal, depending on how the 'Canes fare next week at Duke. It is also unknown if Miami will opt-out of the postseason in an attempt to lessen the severity of the penalties that will be levied by the NCAA.
CUSA West - Tulsa (9-2, 7-0) beat UCF 23-21 on Saturday. UCF (8-3, 6-1) only needs a home win over UAB next week to set up a rematch for the conference title.
MAC East - Kent State improved to 10-1, 7-0 with a 31-24 win at Bowling Green on Saturday. The Golden Flashes have never played in the MAC Championship game and won its only conference title in 1972.
MAC West - Northern Illinois is also 10-1, 7-0 after notching its third straight MAC West crown with Wednesday's 31-24 home victory over Toledo. The win earned the Huskies the right to defend their conference title.
PAC-12 South - UCLA claimed the PAC-12 South with its 38-28 win over USC. The Bruins would face Stanford two weeks in-a-row if the Cardinal win next week when Stanford plays at UCLA. The Ducks only get in if the Cardinal lose and Oregon wins at Oregon State.
WAC - Utah State squandered all of a 41-17 lead at Louisiana Tech, but then won 48-41 in overtime to secure the WAC's primary bowl bid which could send it to either the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise or the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego.
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. Arkansas State won 41-34 at Troy on Saturday and MTSU won 20-12 at South Alabama. The Blue Raiders host Troy next week while the Red Wolves are idle.
Ohio State eked-out a 21-14 overtime win at Wisconsin after 3rd-string Badger QB Curt Phillips threw a 5-yard pass to Jacob Pedersen to forge a 14-all tie with just 8 seconds left in regulation. Wisconsin's other score came in the 2nd quarter when Montee Ball tied the FBS career record with his 78th touchdown (72 rushing, 6 receiving) and broke the career scoring record with 470 points. Miami (Ohio) RB Travis Prentice set the records of 78 TD's 468 points from 1996-1999.
LSU scored a touchdown on a 1-yard plunge with 15 seconds left for a 41-35 win over Ole Miss in Baton Rouge.
West Virginia lost its fifth straight game, 50-49, at home to Oklahoma on Landry Jones' 5-yard pass to Kenny Stills with 24 seconds left. The 5-5 Mountaineers visit Iowa State before hosting Kansas in the season finale.
Expected to be three of the top teams in the preseason, Arkansas, Michigan State and Virginia Tech are among those teams that have fallen far short of expectations. The Razorbacks will miss the bowl season after dropping to 4-7 with a 45-14 loss at Mississippi State. The Spartans lost 23-20 at home to Northwestern on Saturday and must win at Minnesota next week. The Hokies improved to 5-6 by winning 30-23 in overtime at Boston College and must defeat Virginia at home next week.
Clemson QB Tajh Boyd threw 5 TD passes and ran for 3 more scores in a 62-48 home win over N.C. State. The Tigers are locked out of the ACC title game despite a 10-1 overall record and 7-1 conference mark, but are in-line for a BCS at-large bowl bid.
Air Force secured a spot in the Armed Forces Bowl with a 21-7 win on Friday over Hawaii.
Southern Miss fell to 0-11 with a 34-33 home loss to UTEP on Saturday. After USM scored with 2:48 left in the game, a simple PAT would have tied the game. Instead, first-year head coach Ellis Johnson opted for a 2-point conversion attempt that resulted in an interception. Virtually every preseason source picked the Eagles to finish 1st or 2nd in CUSA East and none picked them below 3rd.
Houston fell to 4-7 with a 44-41 loss at Marshall. No reputable predictor picked the Cougars to finish below second and most picked them to win CUSA West.
Miami beat USF 40-9 to drop the Bulls to 3-7 with gams to play against Cincinnati (away) and Pittsburgh (home). South Florida was picked to win the Big East by Phil Steele and Game Plan magazines, but the team actually had a wide range of prognostications that put it anywhere from 1st to 6th in the conference. As it stands now, the Bulls are in the basement of the 8-team league.
Tennessee - Vanderbilt beat Tennessee 41-18 on Saturday to eliminate the Vols from bowl contention at 4-7, 0-7. Tennessee, which is 1-14 in the SEC in the last two seasons, fired head coach Derek Dooley on Sunday and said offensive coordinator Jim Chaney will coach the Vols' season finale at home next week against Kentucky. Vanderbilt finishes 5-3 in the conference for its most SEC wins in a season since 1935.
Western Michigan - Bill Cubit was formally fired after Saturday's 29-23 loss at home to Eastern Michigan. It was EMU's first conference win of the year in the MAC and only its second of the season. The team finished the season 4-8 overall and 2-6 in the MAC to drop his 8-year record to 51-47 overall and 36-27 in the MAC. He led the team to bowl games in 2006, 2008 and 2011, prior to which the school had only appeared in two in its history (1961 and 1988). The Broncos have never won a bowl game.
REALIGNMENT - HERE WE GO AGAIN:
ESPN.com was reporting Saturday that Maryland and the Big Ten could be getting together. Their story said Rutgers would be asked to join the ACC if Maryland defects. A later revised version of the story said both Maryland and Rutgers could be headed to the Big Ten.
FBS vs. FCS:
Seven FBS teams - all from the SEC - went 7-0 vs. FCS schools on Saturday. FBS teams are 97-10 (.907) on the year in such matchups and 735-65 (.919) in such games since 2003.
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
Oregon - Saw its 13-game overall win streak end, but still owns a 15-game road winning streak. Lost 17-14 in overtime vs. Stanford on Saturday.
Notre Dame - Won 11 straight overall. Won 38-0 vs. Wake Forest on Saturday.
Ohio State - Won 11 straight overall. Won 21-14 in OT at Wisconsin on Saturday.
Northern Illinois - Won 15 straight conference games (MAC), 21 straight home games and 10 straight overall. Won 31-24 vs. Toledo on Wednesday.
LSU - Won 41 straight nonconference games. Won 41-35 vs. Ole Miss on Saturday.
Michigan - won 14 straight home games (2nd-longest in nation). Won 42-17 vs. Iowa on Saturday.
Southern Miss - Lost 11 straight overall. Lost 34-33 vs. UTEP on Saturday.
Akron - Lost 25 straight road games, 21 straight FBS games and 15 straight conference games (MAC). Idle this week. Visits Toledo next Tuesday, 11/20.
Kansas - Lost 20 straight FBS games, 20 straight conference games and 18 straight road games. Lost 51-23 vs. Iowa State on Saturday.
UNLV - Lost 21 straight road games. Lost 28-23 vs. Wyoming 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:
||Terry Bowden (1-10)
||Idle this week. Tuesday, 11/20 at Toledo
||Rich Rodriguez (7-4)
||Won 34-24 Saturday at Utah
||Todd Graham (6-5)
||Won 46-7 Saturday vs. Washington State
||John L. Smith (4-7)
||Lost 45-14 Saturday at Mississippi State
||Gus Malzahn (8-3)
||Won 41-34 Saturday at Troy
||Jim McElwain (3-8)
||Lost 42-14 Saturday at Boise State
||Carl Pellini (3-8)
||Lost 34-24 Friday vs. FIU
||Tim DeRuyter (8-3)
||Idle this week. Saturday, 11/24 vs. Air Force.
||Norm Chow (1-9)
||Lost 21-7 Friday at Air Force
||Tony Levine (4-7)
||Lost 44-41 Saturday at Marshall
||Tim Beckman (2-9)
||Lost 20-17 Saturday vs. Purdue
||Charlie Weis (1-10)
||Lost 51-23 Saturday vs. Iowa State
||Charley Molnar (1-10)
||Lost 29-19 Saturday vs. Buffalo
||Justin Fuente (3-8)
||Won 46-9 Saturday at UAB
||Hugh Freeze (5-6)
||Lost 41-35 Saturday at LSU
||Bob Davie (4-8)
||Lost 31-24 Saturday vs. Nevada
||Larry Fedora (7-4)
||Won 37-13 Thursday at Virginia
||Urban Meyer (11-0)
||Won 21-14 in OT Saturday at Wisconsin
||Bill O'Brien (7-4)
||Won 45-22 Saturday vs. Indiana
||Paul Chryst (4-6)
||Idle this week. Saturday, 11/24 vs. Rutgers
||Kyle Flood (9-1)
||Won 10-3 Saturday at Cincinnati
||Ellis Johnson (0-11)
||Lost 34-33 Saturday vs. UTEP
||Kevin Sumlin (9-2)
||Won 47-28 Saturday vs. Sam Houston State (FCS)
||Matt Campbell (8-3)
||Lost 31-24 Wednesday at Northern Illinois
||Curtis Johnson (2-9)
||Lost 28-23 Saturday vs. East Carolina
||Garrick McGee (3-8)
||Lost 46-9 Saturday vs. Memphis
||Jim Mora (9-2)
||Won 38-28 Saturday vs. USC
||Mike Leach (2-9)
||Lost 46-7 Saturday at Arizona State