My Record in Week 8: 9-1
Best Game from Week 8: #17 Texas Tech 56, #23 TCU 53 (3OT)
We finally had a weekend where no team was bit by the upset bug. The #2 Florida Gators took care of business in "The Swamp" as they chomped up the #7 South Carolina Gamecocks 44-11. The #4 Kansas State Wildcats went into Morgantown and laid a smack down on the #13 West Virginia Mountaineers. Wildcat Heisman front-runner Collin "Optimus" Klein accounted for all seven touchdowns and racked up 323 passing yards on an inferior Mountaineer defense. The Oregon Ducks went into Arizona State looking to be tested and scored 43 unanswered points in a matter of 18 minutes. The Ducks checked out of Tempe four minutes into the second quarter and ended up winning the game 43-21. #5 Notre Dame found themselves in a tussle with BYU and held on in the fourth quarter to win 17-14. #6 LSU also found themselves in a tough game in College Station against the #18 Texas A&M Aggies and were able to hold on 24-19.
What we learned:
The West Virginia Mountaineers are finding out what life is like in a tougher Big 12 Conference.
- It happened again. The West Virginia Mountaineers were blown out once again to another Big 12 Conference opponent. In West Virginia's last two games, the Mountaineers have been outscored 104-28. The Mountaineer defense has given up 1,155 yards in two games and quarterback Geno Smith threw his first two interceptions this past Saturday against Kansas State. The Mountaineers get a bye this upcoming weekend and then host an offensively explosive team in TCU on November 3rd. Everything about the Mountaineers has to get better, especially the defense which is giving up an average of 39.9 points per game.
The Big Ten is starting to sort itself out.
- Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, Nebraska, and Northwestern all went into the weekend needing to get wins to separate themselves from one another in the Big Ten Legends Division. The Michigan Wolverines finally snapped their four game losing streak to in-state rival Michigan State on a game-winning 38-yard field goal by Brendan Gibbons with just seconds remaining. This gave the Wolverines their 900th win in program history. The Michigan State Spartans are now pretty much out of the picture as they have already lost three conference games. The Iowa Hawkeyes hosted a surprisingly tough Penn State team in Iowa City and were completely outplayed. The Hawkeyes were down 38-0, until they were able to get 14 points in the fourth quarter. Iowa looked awful and I'm not sure they will be able to bounce back this weekend at Northwestern. The Nebraska Cornhuskers and Northwestern Wildcats played a barnburner in Evanston. The Wildcats appeared to be wide awake and were leading the Huskers 28-16 with 8:31 left in the fourth quarter. The Huskers found it within themselves to comeback and took the lead with 2:08 left in the game with a touchdown pass from Taylor Martinez to Ben Cotton. Northwestern then came down and missed a 52-yard field goal that went wide right with 1:10 remaining. The Huskers found a way and escaped with the victory. Right now it appears that the game between Michigan and Nebraska this upcoming weekend could decide who wins the Legends Division. If Michigan wins in Lincoln that will put them in a good position and they will be in the driver's seat with a 4-0 conference record. If Nebraska wins, it will be a battle until the very end of conference play with Michigan.
Duke is in the ACC Coastal Division hunt.
- This was one of the biggest stories of Saturday. The Duke Blue Devils are bowl eligible for the first time since 1994. It took a fourth down touchdown pass from Sean Renfree with 13 seconds left in the game to get the win. Duke had to comeback and beat Tobacco Road rival North Carolina after they had blown a ten point lead with 3:12 left in the game. Not only did Duke become bowl eligible, but they are now in the ACC Coastal Division race. The Blue Devils are currently in first place with a 3-1 conference record. Virginia Tech has struggled this season and was the the pre-season heavy favorite to win the division. The Blue Devils do have to play at #12 Florida State this weekend and then host #18 Clemson the following weekend. If Duke does not win one of these games, their hopes of winning the division will most likely be over.
- There is so much discussion over the current BCS rankings and why the Oregon Ducks are not getting the respect they deserve. Kansas State and Notre Dame are also the two other teams in this discussion. There is no debate that Alabama is number one and that Florida is number two. This is not a big deal, because if these two teams happen to go undefeated one of them will lose in the SEC Championship game. The problem is what separates Kansas State, Oregon, and Notre Dame if all of them happen to go undefeated, which I highly doubt will happen. I assume that only one of these teams stays undefeated. Here are the résumés of all three teams.
Key wins: at #6 Oklahoma and at #13 West Virginia
Oklahoma is currently 5-1 and 8th in the BCS
West Virginia is currently 5-2 and 19th in the BCS
Kansas State also has a home win over ACC opponent Miami (FL) and beat a ranked Iowa State team on the road. Kansas State will play their third straight ranked opponent this weekend at home against #14 Texas Tech. Texas Tech's only loss this season was at home against Oklahoma. Kansas State will finish their season with games against teams that have .500 or better records. Oklahoma State and TCU are both currently 5-2, while Texas is ranked 23rd with a 5-2 record.
I realize if there was an eye test Oregon would be the number three team in the country, but their schedule has weakened them tremendously. It's tough playing in a conference where only two or three of the nine teams you play in conference are up to your skill level. The Big 12 gives Kansas State that edge of being higher in the BCS, even though they probably are the fourth best team in the country. As for Notre Dame, this team has a great defense, but their offense is not very good. Their schedule is not as impressive either because of the lack of consistency of Big Ten teams. Notre Dame wins games ugly against teams that to be honest are not very good.