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College Football – Week 13 – Fantasy Season at Texas Tech is Over, Oklahoma Kills the Dream, 65-21

It’s been a grand and glorious 10 weeks for the No. 2-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders with an unbeaten 10-0 record and huge wins over Nebraska, Texas A&M, Texas and Oklahoma State. . They looked unbeatable, unstoppable and headed for the BCS National Championship Game.

Then a funny thing happened when they took a trip to No. 5 ranked Oklahoma, who lost to Texas 5 weeks ago. Either someone forgot to tell the Red Raiders, or they forgot to listen, that Oklahoma leads the nation with 23 home wins.

No one had to remind the Sooners, they remembered vividly, bludgeoning the Red Raiders along the head with a 2×4 in a stunning 65-21 thrashing. Earlier, quarterback Sam Bradford threw for over 300 yards and 4 touchdowns, and DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown rushed for 5 more scores.

Both teams arrived with explosive offenses. The two were 2 of the top 3 teams in the nation in passing and scoring offense, averaging 788 yards and 98 points per game combined. Statistically, the two teams were even in run defense and goal defense. Both were equal in pass defense and their pass defense stats were poor.

What should have been a great exciting game turned into a great game for Oklahoma. Texas Tech ended up sucking water from a pond in Louisiana.

Three other ranked teams lost to other ranked opponents. No. 16 Brigham Young lost to No. 8 Utah, 48-24. No. 17 Michigan State lost on the road to No. 7 Penn State, 49-18. No. 20 Pittsburgh lost on the road to No. 19 Cincinnati, 28-21.

Four other ranked teams lost to unranked opponents, which is never a good idea if you want to curry favor with those involved in the National Weekly Ranking. These kinds of losses can cost teams thousands of dollars in lost bowl revenue by being overtaken by powers to be at bowls with richer payouts.

The losers included the No. 18 LSU Tigers who lost at home to Mississippi, 31-13. The No. 22 Maryland Terrapins who were slapped at home by Florida State, 37-3 (I know, little edible turtles. I don’t know how long a Maryland homer spent thinking about that nickname for a football team, but I suspect it must have been hours after exhausting all reasonable names). The No. 23 Miami Hurricanes (FL) who lost at home to Georgia Tech, 41-23. The No. 25 North Carolina Tar Heels, who were slapped at home by arch-rival North Carolina State Wolfpack, 41-10.

Thus, 8 of the 18 AP Top 25 Poll teams lost this week (44%), and 4 of the 8 lost to unranked teams. On the bright side, 10 of the top 18 ranked teams (56%) won and went on to advance, 6 of them with a vengeance. The 5 fanny kickers besides Oklahoma included:

No. 3 Florida (10-1) who beat 1-AA The Citadel 70-19, scoring on its first 7 possessions, racked up 512 yards of offense in the first half alone and became the Conference’s first team in the Southeast (SEC) to score at least 42 points in 6 consecutive games. I love Florida but it’s so inappropriate to play 1-AA teams, even early in the season much less late.

No. 7 Penn State at home to No. 17 Michigan State 49-18. The Nittany Lions showed that the Spartans (though 9-3) really aren’t ready to play and beat big teams just yet. Penn State’s Daryll Clark threw for a career-high 341 yards and 4 touchdowns and the Nittany Lion’s defense held Spartan Javon Ringer to 42 yards (that’s not Ringer, that’s an inept offensive line from the State of Michigan controlled by Penn State).

No. 8 Utah at home to No. 16 Brigham Young 48-24. The win was huge for the Utes, who have a 12-0 undefeated season, a Mountain West Conference championship, a date in the BCS Bowl Series and a victory over BYU for the first time in 3 years.

No. 10 Ohio State at home to rival Michigan 42-7. The Buckeyes utterly humiliated a now dysfunctional Wolverine team led by first-year coach Rich Rodriquez, handing Michigan their worst loss to Ohio State in 40 years. Michigan is 3-9 on the year and a shambles of what was once a proud and successful program. Rodriguez, who has built huge success in West Virginia, has a lot of work to do.

No. 15 Texas Christian (TCU) at home on Air Force 44-10. Andy Dalton threw 2 TD passes and ran for 2 more scores as the Horned Frogs (what a name for a team) racked up a 10-win season. The other 4 winners were:

No. 9 Boise State on Nevada Highway 41-34. The Broncos were lucky to come out of that game undefeated as Nevada won the second half, 31-17. When you allow 34 points to a 6-5 team, you’re not as good as your record says.

No. 14 Ball State on the road at Central Michigan 31-24. Central Michigan went into this game 8-2 and the Cardinals needed a touchdown in the 4th quarter to win this one.

No. 19 Cincinnati at home to Pittsburgh 28-21, scoring its first win over the Panthers in 8 games. Despite a broken arm, Tony Pike threw for 3 touchdown passes, and you thought Pittsburgh was tough.

No. 21 Oregon State on the road against Arizona, 19-17, on a final 24-yard field goal by sophomore kicker Justin Kahut. It was sweet redemption for Kahut, who missed an extra run attempt that would have leveled the game late in the 4th quarter.

If the Oregon State Beavers beat their arch-rival – the Oregon Ducks – in their last game, they would qualify for the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1965. That’s because the Beavers managed to thwart their visit to Southern California earlier in the season.

Seven Top 25 teams were inactive this week-No. 1 Alabama, No. 4 Texas, No. 6 Southern California (USC), No. 11 Oklahoma State, No. 12 Missouri, No. 13 Georgia and No. 24 Oregon.

Going into the final two weeks of regular season play, there are only 4 undefeated teams left – No. 1 Alabama (11-0), No. 8 Uath (12-0), No. 9 Boise State (11 -0) and No. 15 Ball State (11-0). Utah will go undefeated as their season is over. Alabama hosts rival Auburn State on Saturday, Boise State hosts Fresno State on Friday, and Ball State hosts West Michigan on Tuesday (11/25/08).

In other news this weekend, the 0-10 Washington Huskies traveled to Pullman to take on their 1-10 rivals Washington State Cougars in a game I dubbed the “2008 Losers Bowl.” Losers Bowl seemed like a decent title since Washington State’s only win came against 1-AA Portland State, so they really had a combined 1-A record of 0-20.

The winless, hopeless Huskies lead the nation in one category – they have the longest losing streak in Division 1-A, 13 straight losses. This matchup got exciting towards the end as Washington held a 10-point halftime lead and a 3-point lead with 56 seconds left.

The Huskies, however, allowed the Cougars to go from their own 20 to the Husky 11, where second Nico Grasu threw a 28-yard field goal on the last play of regulation to tie the game at 13. Ironically, the Husky kicker Ryan Perkins missed a 28-yarder about 3.5 minutes earlier.

The teams traded field goals on their first overtime possessions, but Perkins missed again from 37 yards on Washington’s second possession. Four tries later, Grasu had one for the same 37 yards to give the Cougars their first 1-A win of the season and their third victory over Washington in the past 4 years.

The rest of what happened over the weekend was just window dressing for a group of teams that were going nowhere at around 1,000 miles per hour.

Copyright © 2008 Ed Bagley

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