ESPN dubbed it “separation Saturday” and in many ways it was. Seven games sent nationally ranked teams head to head, and while most of the losers (sorry Miami) still have most of their goals within reach; life gets much tougher for those that didn’t get it done this weekend. Here’s our weekly of some of the most notable things from the weekend.
Hey Brady, you have another free weekend in December —– Notre Dame’s quarterback will still have a terrific year and will likely be one of the top three picks in the NFL draft. But he is no longer the favorite, shoot he’s barely a candidate for the Heisman Trophy. Quinn committed four turnovers in helping Michigan destroy the Fightin’ Irish in South Bend. You cannot recover form a day like that on national television. Ohio state quarterback Troy Smith is now the clear leader in the clubhouse with Adrian Peterson of Oklahoma earning respect as a one-man offense. And, you have to pencil Chris Leak’s name into the conversation. Leak is posting fine numbers (65.5%, 799 yds. 10/3), he is quarterbacking a top ten team and his assault on career milestones won’t hurt, either. If the Gators keep winning, he’ll get that trip to NYC.
The unsaid may soon be said in Seminole nation —– Any time a Garnet and Gold partisan talks about getting Bobby Bowden to retire he or she is quickly quieted. That could soon be changing in a major way. Once again, Florida State struggled mightily to even resemble a collegiate offense in losing to Clemson, totaling just 204 yards. The seven-point setback (27-20) was only close because of the Tigers’ inept place kicker who had two low kicks blocked; turning four possible Clemson points into nine for FSU. Despite some inane predictions nationally and right here in Florida, the Noles are not national contenders. They are not even favorites to win their division in the ACC. How much more is a (Seminole) nation to take?
Gripes much louder in Coral Gables —– No matter how bold and feisty the Seminoles get about the state of their program, it will be a blip on the radar screen compared to what’s going to take place in South Florida. Miami was humiliated by Louisville; despite the Cardinals losing quarterback Brian Brohm for much for the second half. Not only that, but once again Miami failed to score a second half point. That’s the fourth time in their last five games against division one teams that Miami has lost AND was scoreless after intermission. Six weeks ago I wrote that this being a pressure year on Larry Coker was absurd. I stand (actually sit) corrected.
More ACC blues —– After a pretty impressive season in ’05 the Almost Competitive Conference is at it again. Saturday saw Miami get destroyed by Louisville (31-7), NC State was blown out by Southern Miss (37-17) and for good measure, Virginia was beaten by Western Michigan (17-10). Bowls with ACC tie-ins better pick up the pace on ticket sales NOW!
Strange officiating unavoidable —– LSU is driving for a possible winning touchdown at Auburn, but a key pass interference call was later reversed… not by replay, but by the officials on the field AFTER they announced the penalty. Oklahoma loses to Oregon in the final minute after three bizarre calls from the Pac-Ten crew on hand. Is it really that tough guys?
TCU is the ’06 BCS spoiler —– The Horned Frogs won an exhilarating field goal contests with Texas Tech 4-to-1 on Saturday to stamp the team as the best bet to crash the BCS party. TCU has a weak schedule and a good enough defense that they just might run the table.
Burning Mississippi —– Folks in the Magnolia state can celebrate that Southern Miss win, because the Golden eagles are the best team in all of Mississippi. It was a humiliating day in Starkville as Mississippi State scored 22 unanswered points in the fourth quarter and still lost 32-29 to Tulane. Meanwhile Ole Miss was held scoreless in the second half in a 31-14 loss at Kentucky.