>Wednesday Lunch: Another One Bites the Dust

Posted: October 27, 2010 in ncaafb
Tags: , ,

>By Dylan Davis
This is getting a little bit ridiculous. For the third Saturday in a row, the top ranked team lost on the road to a ranked conference foe. This week, AP #1 Oregon travels to southern California to face the Trojans; could the Ducks make it a four in a row? Oklahoma-Missouri was the biggest upset of the day, but it wasn’t even close to being the biggest college football game. It was overshadowed by the Giants game, which was on at the same time, but also by the ridiculous outing Cam Newton had against a supposedly stout LSU defense. Let’s get right into what we learned on Saturday.

  • Michigan hired Rich Rodriguez as their head football coach two years ago to bring his spread option offense to Ann Arbor and bring the Wolverines a title. While Michigan has sputtered to get out of its own way much of the time, the spread option is the offense of choice for many of the top teams in the nation. Oregon and Auburn occupy the top two spots in all the polls and both run variations of the spread option. Almost every team in the top 25 uses the spread option as a part of their offensive arsenal, but after seeing what the Ducks and Tigers have done, we may see more dual threat quarterbacks running this in the future.

  • Not only are offenses employing the spread option to annihilate defenses, they’re speeding up the tempo. Oregon and Auburn are once again great examples of how more is better. The offenses are keeping it simple so they can execute at a higher level, but they are cranking up the tempo so that defenses can’t keep up. We saw the Oklahoma Sooners do this two years ago when they had Sam Bradford leading the charge, and that team scored over 50 points a game. There are now defensive schemes being created to contain the spread, but a fast tempo has no answer.

  • Virginia Tech lost a nail biter to Boise State to start the year then promptly were embarrassed by James Madison at home. At that point, they dropped out of the national title race, and thus, out of the national conscience. Since those losses, the Hokies have been on a tear. They have not lost a game and their offense has been clicking with the best of them. Tyrod Taylor has finally figured out how to blend his arm and athleticism and all of the weapons at his disposal are finally reaching their potential. While they have most likely dropped themselves out of contention for a title spot, they can still help Boise State’s strength of schedule with 10 wins. I expect to see them in the ACC title game, and most likely advancing to a BCS bowl.

  • Once again, Boise State trounced an inferior opponent. Once again, a team ranked ahead of the Broncos lost. Yet, once again, the Broncos stayed in the third slot, and the TCU team directly behind them in the polls crept even closer to overtaking them for that spot. It’s been said many times that this is Boise’s best chance so far to capture the national title, but the way things are going, they may not get there. It’s been shown all of this year that undefeated teams from power conferences will jump the Broncos no matter what. As we get closer to the end of the year, we may even see a team like Alabama jump into the top two with 1 loss. That doesn’t even count TCU, which would almost certainly gain a spot with a win over ranked Utah. The Utes could jump the Broncos if they beat the Horned Frogs and went undefeated themselves. A lot of things could happen for Boise to be kept out of the ranks, and it’s looking more and more like a real possibility.

  • The ending of the Iowa-Wisconsin game was a classic, but I was confused how Les Miles was coaching two games at once. His LSU Tigers were taking one on the chin at Auburn, but he was the only one who could have mangled a clock situation as horribly as the Hawkeyes did down the stretch against Wisconsin. Iowa trailed by 3 with time running out. They got a first down and were ready to spike the ball, but instead Kirk Ferentz decided to use his last timeout instead. This backfired when Adam Robinson was tackled in bounds on the next play and time ran out with the Hawkeyes down by 3. I don’t know what Ferentz was thinking, but he probably cost his team a shot at overtime against a ranked conference rival.

Heisman Watch:

    1. Cam Newton (QB Auburn) – His performance against a great LSU defense was absolutely stupendous. He shredded the Tigers for over 200 yards rushing and did not throw an interception. He is still leading the SEC in rushing and is second (behind Kellen Moore) in the NCAA in passing efficiency. Most years the Heisman is given to the best player on the top ranked team because the voters are lazy and don’t want to do research, but so far this year, Cam Newton is deserving. He should continue to put up numbers, but the big test will be the showdown against Alabama to end the year. (Will’s note: Just look at this run. Insane.)
    1. LaMichael James (HB Oregon) – James had another huge performance against an overmatched UCLA defense. He leads the nation in yards-per-game on the ground and fits the best player on a top team corollary. If Oregon can beat USC and Oregon State behind big games from James, he may sneak by Newton for the trophy.

    1. Justin Blackmon (WR Oklahoma State) – Blackmon was arrested earlier this week on suspicion of DUI, but his numbers are absolutely mind-boggling. Even though he was matched up with the top corner in the nation, Prince Amukumara, he still continued his ridiculous pace. He has over 60 receptions, over 1000 yards receiving, and 14 touchdowns on the year. If Oklahoma State can stay in the Big 12 south title race and Blackmon puts up huge numbers, he will stay in this race and vault his draft status even more.

    1. Kellen Moore (QB Boise State) – Like I said above, Moore has the highest efficiency numbers in the country, but if he doesn’t do it in nationally televised games, it may not matter to the voters.

    1. Denard Robinson (QB Michigan)- The Wolverines were off this week, so I can’t completely knock Denard out of the top five. He has to have another monster outing and win in every game this year if he wants to stay in the race. Injuries are also a huge concern.

Week 9 Games of the Week:

  • Michigan State vs. Iowa: This is the Spartans last major hurdle in their quest for an undefeated season. I think Iowa playing at home will come out with a vengeance trying to prove that last weeks loss to the Badgers was a fluke. If the Spartans win this, I’ll finally start to believe in them. Pick: Iowa-28 Michigan State-24

  • Missouri vs. Nebraska: The Huskers showed last week that their offense is legit as they put up huge numbers against Oklahoma State, but the Cowboys torched their defense. Missouri, on the other hand, looked great on defense against the top ranked Sooners in the upset, but I think they’ll have issues coming out and proving they’re legit. This game could decide who plays for the Big 12 title, and I think that turns out to be the Huskers. Pick: Nebraksa-23 Missouri-20

  • Oregon vs. USC: This is the week I finally jump on the bandwagon of top-ranked teams losing on the road. This is all USC has to play for this year and the Ducks have had some issues on the road this year. Everyone has been telling them how great they look (including me), and this sets up perfectly for a loss. USC has just enough firepower on offense to squeak by the Ducks in my upset special. Pick: USC-30 Oregon-28

That’s all the time we have for today, join me next week as I recap all the weeks exciting action and look forward to the biggest non-BCS conference game of the year.


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