What we learned:
- The Irish did the unthinkable on Saturday night in Norman. A majority of the country felt this was going to be the end of their undefeated season. The Irish defense stepped up again and held the Sooners to just 15 rushing yards. I can't say enough about the play of star linebacker and Heisman contender Monte Te'o, who had 11 tackles and the key interception that led to the Irish's 46-yard field goal that iced the game. What was so surprising was the Irish offense. The Irish put up 403 yards on a physical Sooner defense. Sophomore quarterback Everett Golson played great and showed great maturity in his biggest game as a starter. Golson made a clutch 50 yard pass to wide receiver Chris Brown right after the Sooners had tied the game up. Golson then ran it in for the game winning touchdown. The Irish are now third in the BCS, and have a very good chance of going undefeated. The problem for the Irish is that if Kansas State and Oregon continue to go unbeaten they will most likely be left out of the national title game. They do not have a strong schedule down the stretch and do not have a conference championship game like Oregon.
Do not overlook the Georgia Bulldogs.
- Just when everyone was counting the Dawgs out, they came out and shut down the #2 Florida Gators to gain control of the SEC East Division. The Georgia offense didn't look great with Aaron Murray throwing three interceptions, but Florida looked even worse with six turnovers. The Georgia defense lived up to what they were supposed to be this season. The Dawg defense gave up only 75 yards to a team that has relied heavily on the run the whole season. The defense also put pressure on Gator quarterback Jeff Driskel the entire game. The Dawg defense caused Driskel to throw two interceptions and put the ball on the ground three times, with one being recovered by the Dawgs. Two key plays that helped Georgia win was when Jeff Driskel's pass from the five-yard line was intercepted in the end zone by Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo as time expired in the first half. The other key play came late in the fourth quarter when Georgia was up 17-9. Florida tight end Jordan Reed caught a 13 yard pass from Jeff Driskel and tried to get into the end zone, but Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones knocked the ball loose and it went out of the end zone for a touchback. All the Bulldogs have to do is win this week at home against Ole Miss (5-3) and at Auburn (1-7) to clinch a spot in the SEC Championship Game.
The USC Trojans are in big trouble.
- The Trojans disappointed again and lost their 2nd Pac-12 game of the season. The Trojan offense put up 618 total yards and Matt Barkley threw for 493 passing yards and three touchdowns. Wide receiver Marqise Lee had a career day and set records with 345 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions. These statistics looked great, but there is simply no discipline for this Trojan team. The Trojans turned the ball over five times and had 13 penalties for 117 yards against Arizona. Arizona quarterback Matt Scott threw all over the Trojan defense and Scott, along with running back Ka'Deem Carey, rushed for 100 plus yards on the Trojan defense. I can't emphasize how bad the play calling was for the Trojans in the remaining minute of the Arizona game. Matt Barkley threw a deep ball, instead of spiking the ball or throwing a short pass to get into field goal position. It wasted precious time off the clock and caused them to have to throw a hail mary to win the game. That was just bad football in my opinion. For a team that was supposed to be a national title contender, they might not even win their own division. If USC loses at home against #4 Oregon this weekend, there is a very good chance they don't make the Pac-12 Championship. I think it's fair to say that if the Trojans make the Pac-12 Championship game they will be going on the road.
The Arizona Wildcats control their destiny in the Pac-12 South Division.
- The Wildcats are said to be one of the best 5-3 teams in the country. I am not even sure how you can say you're a good 5-3 team, unless you are settling for mediocrity. I will just go along with it though. The Arizona Wildcats had a statement win this past Saturday against #9 USC 39-36. With this win, the Wildcats control their destiny and have a chance to play in the Pac-12 Championship. The Wildcats were blown out 49-0 on the road at Oregon and had two heartbreaking losses to Oregon State and Stanford. The Wildcats could easily be 7-1, but couldn't come up with wins when the game was on the line. Quarterback Matt Scott continues to look impressive in Rich Rodriguez's system and is leading the Wildcat offense to an average of 354.4 passing yards per game. Arizona must travel to Pasadena this weekend to take on the UCLA Bruins. If Arizona beats UCLA, USC loses to Oregon, and Arizona State loses to Oregon State this weekend, watch out for the Cats. Arizona would now win in a tiebreaker with USC. The Wildcats would need to beat weak opponents Colorado and Utah, as well as a season ending rivalry game at home against Arizona State to win the Pac-12 South Division.
- I am going to discuss the BCS again. After Notre Dame won a tough road game at Oklahoma, they passed Oregon in the BCS rankings. What is a little bit surprising is that the Irish are still not very much higher than the Ducks in the rankings. Here are the four finalists in the BCS Championship race.
If Alabama goes into Death Valley and beats LSU, I am almost positive we will see the Crimson Tide in the national title game. The Kansas State Wildcats have key wins and will play another ranked team #24 Oklahoma State at home Saturday night. The Wildcats will also play a few quality teams after this game, such as TCU and Texas. The problem for Kansas State is that they do not have a conference championship and it could hurt them on the last weekend of the season. Notre Dame may have had a great win Saturday night, but will be passed by Oregon if they defeat USC on Saturday. The Fighting Irish have to easy of a remaining schedule and could end up playing a three loss USC squad in their only remaining quality game. It's hard to believe, but the Irish may go undefeated and be left out of the title game. Lastly, the Oregon Ducks may feel like they are not getting any love, even though they are probably the 2nd best team in the country. What is great for Oregon is that they have quality games remaining that could help them reach 2nd place in the BCS Standings. Oregon travels to #17 USC this weekend and a win would leap them over Notre Dame. If Stanford can beat Oregon State the week before they travel to Oregon, it could put Stanford in the Top 10. That will be a quality win for the Ducks. If Oregon State can stay at one or two losses that will be helpful when the Ducks travel to Corvallis for the Civil War. The fact that Oregon has a conference championship will help them as well. The Ducks have the best chance to make the BCS Championship game if they can win out.
sources: espn.com & teamrankings.com