Everyone knows how fun and frustrating dominoes can be. The process of setting everything into place is arduous. To get every single piece in place without a hiccup is nearly impossible. The slightest flinch or mistake could cause all your hard work to come crashing down in an instant. For many teams this weekend, it either happened or almost happened. This is why we love College Football. This is what drives fans crazy and breaks our hearts. For some though, it lifts their spirits and causes an uncontrollable but beautiful chaos.
The Mighty Fall One by One
It all started on what will be one of the most memorable Friday the 13th Gamedays. The air was thick and the night was eerie. Syracuse got things started with this creepy film putting Clemson on notice. The Orange dominated Clemson from start to finish in every facet of the game. From the preparation to the game plan, Syracuse looked like it belonged to be in the Top 10. Then once the game started, the Tigers looked like they were the 3-3 team. It was ugly and sloppy. Syracuse was far from perfect but the Orange were the better team on Friday.
The California Golden Bears also had some tricks up their sleeves. For fans, trick or treating came early as the defense played mind games on Washington State all night long. These mind games plagued the Cougars all night and wound up providing the Bears with 7 treats. Cal forced Nick Falk to throw 5 interceptions and one fumble. The Heisman contender was flustered all night and the demons in his head after this one, may linger for quite some time. The Bears dominated the game with defense. I know, that is very strange. Both these teams are in the Pac12, they don’t play defense, do they?
Chris Petersen may not have to cry anymore (well at least after he gets over losing to ASU). The Washington head coach was very distraught about playing so late that east coast viewers weren’t staying awake to watch his dominant *cough cough* Huskies. The Devils came out on Saturday and spoiled any thoughts of riding off into the sunset with another win. Again, with the strange occurrences, Washington was beat with a smothering defensive performance by a fellow Pac12 member. Something is happening that is affecting the Earth’s magnetic field, is the rapture coming?
It was just a bad weekend for most Tiger fans. Granted one of these Tigers had to lose but Auburn lost in exhilarating fashion. The Tigers from the plains were playing in the (other) Death Valley. The day after a superstitious Friday, Auburn went ahead 20-0. Something happened. Something mysterious. Ed Orgeron, LSU Head Coach, realigned his chi and reinvigorated his group of Tigers. Down by 20, LSU started their hunt. They cut into the lead and scored their first points with 9:19 left in the second quarter. After allowing an answer, in the form of a field goal, LSU pounced again and again. They ran all over their prey and came out salivating after Auburn imploded.
And Those Were Just the Top 10 Losers!
Georgia, who has dominated every opponent with a defense that is just nasty, was in the middle of a Michael Vick style dogfight. Another group of Tigers came in ready to snatch up its prey but the Bulldogs were ready. Whenever Georgia scored, Missouri followed, at least until the middle of the second quarter. UGA finally began to play defense and shutdown any attempt by Missouri at mounting a comeback. After going up 24-21, the Bulldog’s defense forced 5 straight drives that ended in a punt or turnover. By the time Missouri was able to score again, they were down by 26.
The Sooners almost Soonered (according to David Pollack, that’s a thing now), again this weekend against Texas. The #12 team in the country, suffered an embarrassing loss in their game against Iowa State just the week before. In that game, the Sooners were up 17-3 and lost 38-31. In the Red River Rivalry, they held a 20-0 advantage. Unlike Auburn, they kept fighting. With 8:01 left in the game, Texas went up 24-23 for a short-lived lead. The Sooners avoided Soonering for the second week in a row by answering with a long touchdown pass (just a minute and 8 seconds later) that sealed the game.
When you have nothing to lose and everything to gain, you take risks. You take risks that ultimately cause you to lose. Utah’s head coach may not survive this decision but that is left to be determined. The Utes came into their game with #13 USC as the underdog. Utah came out in the first half swinging like Connor McGregor against Mayweather. At halftime, things looked good for the Utes with a 14-point lead. A back and forth uneventful third quarter saw USC cut into the lead and entering the fourth quarter up 21-14, the Utes showed signs of fading. Like Mayweather, USC started punching Utah in the gut. With back-to-back 11 play drives (totaling 181 yards), the Trojans took their first lead 28-21. Utah wasn’t done just yet. With 42 seconds left in the game, the Utes managed to push back the defense from USC to score and make it 28-27. The bad decision comes next. Going for the jugular, the Utes opted to go for the two-point conversion that failed miserably and left fans wondering, why.
Another Top15 team was in trouble late as well. #11 Miami hosted unranked GT and this game was awesome. Escaping their scheduled Thursday Night contest, the Canes needed every bit of the clock to escape the Yellow Jackets onslaught. With another unranked team leading by two scores, the Hurricanes had to find life. Down 14-3, Miami refused to go away. They started with a FG and would add a Touchdown to cut Georgia Tech’s lead to one before halftime. Mark Richt is a trickster but not a very good one. Miami tried an onside kick to start the second half and it backfired. It could have cost them the game. GT returned it 42 yards for a score. How often do you see that? After GT kicked a FG to go up 24-13, Miami had seen enough. The Canes kicked a FG and then scored a touchdown with 13:36 left in the game. Unfortunately, they failed the 2-point conversion, sound familiar? Following 5 combined punts and only 2:24 left in the game, Miami got the ball back on their own 8-yardline. With 8 seconds left on the clock, Miami kicked a FG that started from the GT 7. The game was over and Richt saved from his onside blunder.
Other Top 25 Shockers
Michigan (ranked #17) traveled to face an unranked Indiana team that just suffered a deflating 45-14 loss to Penn State two weeks prior. I think the Hoosiers were a bit angry. Michigan started out red hot and took the 13-0 lead over Indiana (again, sound familiar). After back-to-back scores by Indiana to cut the gap to three, the Wolverines added a touchdown. Leading 20-10 against one of the worst offenses in the country, Michigan fans felt okay. That wouldn’t last long. The Hoosiers scored twice in the final 4 minutes of the game and forced Overtime. That was all Indiana had left. Michigan scored a Touchdown and the shutdown Indiana to escape. PSU, OSU and Wisconsin are coming.
Navy, why? The Midshipmen had provided us with great games all year. Their contest against Memphis was no different, except for the end result. I don’t understand what it was this week, but somehow, Tigers were involved in a lot of heartbreak and celebration. The Tigers from Memphis took down an undefeated Navy team that just ran out of steam. The Navy should research nuclear technology for athletes as well, not just their ships.
Where do we go from here?
The slate of games for next Saturday looks promising! There will be more upsets, more heartbreak and more WOW moments.
Syracuse @ Miami
Michigan @ Penn State
USC @ Notre Dame
Louisville @ FSU
Oregon @ UCLA
LSU @ Ole Miss
Tennessee @ Alabama
West Virginia @ Baylor
- Penn State
- Ohio State
- Oklahoma State
- Virginia Tech
- Notre Dame
- Washington State
- Michigan State
- West Virginia
- Texas A&M
Others considered for 23-25, South Carolina, Florida State, Iowa, Mississippi St & San Diego State
Alabama, Georgia, Penn St, TCU
Who’s on the Outside Looking In?
Clemson, Miami, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, Ohio St, Washington and USC
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