Around the College Football Landscape

Posted: October 3, 2010 by ciottas2cents in BCS, Ciotta, Football, NCAA

Saturday was the first really big weekend of the season and we learned a lot about the contenders and pretenders across the nation. Some teams performed exactly how we expected while others laid eggs. Some other teams lost games but things are not as bad as they may seem. Here is some notes and observations from this past weekend’s slate.

Alabama stuffed Florida 31-6 in what has become the premier rivalry in the SEC. The last three years have provided some great action between these two teams but this one was a bit of a letdown. A closer look at the box score however, reveals that it may not have been as bad as it seemed for the Gators.

Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson combined for just 110 yards with Ingram averaging a paltry 3.9 ypc on 12 attempts. The Tide also was held to only 273 total yards and was beaten in time of possession by nearly five minutes. This despite four Gator turnovers that stalled Urban Meyer’s offense time and again. Not too bad a showing in Tuscaloosa for a rebuilding team still finding their way. If things continue to go to form, these teams will play each other again in December for the SEC title on a neutral field. Continued improvement from the Gators and a similar defensive effort could lead the Gators to the upset.

The Ohio State Buckeyes have been number one in my poll all season but after Saturday I dropped them to third after they struggled with Illinois while  Alabama and Oregon were impressive in big wins against top ten opponents. I still believe that this is a great team but they have much to prove. Two notes on Illinois. I’m a fan of seeing guys who transfer make something of it and Jarred Fayson, a Florida transfer had 8 catches for 83 yards. Trulon Henry, the brother of Arrelious Benn who spent five years in a prison in West Virginia for robbing a grocery store in 2003 had two interceptions. Good to see a kid turn his life around and find a way to make something of himself.

Boise State, TCU, and  Auburn took care of business against weak opponents while combining to win 138-3. Boise and TCU did’nt have a choice of their opponent but Auburn continues the SEC tradition of playing garbage teams like UL Monroe(who beat Bama three years ago). Step it up guys because the Pac Ten is currently the best conference in the country.

Speaking of the Pac Ten, another week of great games was on display for all to see headlined by Oregon hosting Stanford. This game looked like it would be a blowout with Stanford looking dominant up 21-3 in the 1st quarter but The Ducks finished with a furious flurry of points outscoring the Cardinal 49-10 the rest of the way. Oregon rushed for 388 yards against a solid defense with LaMichael James leading the way with 257. I thought the winner of this game would run the table and play in Glendale come January and I’m sticking with it.

Washington stunned USC with a last second field goal for the second straight year. Jake Locker had perhaps his best game of his career passing for 310 yards and rushing for 110 against a USC defense that looks nothing like it had during the Pete Carroll era. Despite arguably the nation’s most talented defensive line the Trojans continue to get shredded. Locker was most impressive coming back from a big hit near the goal-line to complete a jump pass to Deandre Goodwin for 18 yards on fourth down during the Huskies winning drive. Allen Bradford continued to look like the nation’s top running back as far as NFL talent with 223 yards. Not bad for a guy who was supposed to play linebacker.

UCLA was looking to avoid a letdown after back-to-back wins over ranked teams from Texas. Through most of the middle two quarters UCLA looked like they could lose to Washington State as the defense struggled to stop the Cougars on third down and overall just appeared to play without anger or emotion. It was’nt until a goal-line stand and subsequent 99 yard drive that stole all the momentum that UCLA looked to take control of the game. The running game was impressive again but backup quarterback Richard Brehaut and the Bruin passing game continued to struggle.

Turnovers again cost the Sun Devils a game this week as Arizona State fell to Oregon State 31-28. Vontaze Burfict might be my favorite player to watch. You never know what he will do next.

A sloppy Red River Rivalry game ended with Oklahoma defeating Texas 28-20. This game had less intrigue than in years past due to the Longhorns upset defeat at the hands of UCLA last week and Oklahoma looking pedestrian against Cincinnati and Air Force. Landry Jones and DeMarco Murray were solid for the Sooners in the victory.

With their coach in the press box following a heart attack two weeks ago, the Michigan State Spartans defeated Wisconsin with a solid performance. Even though MSU turned the ball over three times they outgained the Badgers 444-289. Wisconsin was held to three for eleven on third down and Kirk Cousins threw touchdown passes to three different receivers in the 34-24 win.

The LSU tigers again found a way to win and stay undefeated with a 16-14 victory over the Tennessee Volunteers thanks to a second chance to win it after a Tennessee penalty. The Tigers are leaning on a two quarterback system which means they have no quarterback. I don’t know how this team keeps winning but the wake-up call could be coming this week against Florida.

Denard Robinson continued to win games single-handedly for the Wolverines. The leading Heisman Trophy candidate has been dazzling this year and is on pace for the greatest season ever by a dual threat QB. Robinson has passed for 1008 yards with seven touchdowns and one pick while also being sacked only once. Robinson has also rushed for 908 yards and 8 touchdowns in only five games to lead the nation in rushing. With Robinson in the lineup this team looks like they can run the table. If he gets hurt they could lose the rest of their games. I have never seen a team so reliant on one guy.

This was an exciting week of college football and did a bit to separate some of the top teams in the country. Anything can happen but it appears that Oregon-Alabama could be our title game match-up. If I was picking now I would go with Oregon. I don’t think Bama can hang with the Ducks combination of speed and tempo but until they lose I will keep Bama #1


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