-Another week, another round of outrageous scores:
West Virginia 48, Texas 45
Ohio State 63, Nebraska 38
Clemson 47, Georgia Tech 31
Stanford 54, Arizona 48 (OT)
I know a lot of people tend to (consciously or not) equate high scores with quality football games but as a defense enthusiast I consistently object to this fallacy. I remember everyone bitching and moaning about last year's epic regular season defensive battle between Alabama and LSU that LSU won 9-6 because it was, ostensibly, so "boring." It's sad how short the attention spans of sports fans are. Me, I love a good defensive battle. But every now and then you see a game with great defense AND great offense. They're a rare species but that's what makes them so special. If you want to see what I mean, dig up a video of the 1971 "Game of the Century" between Nebraska and Oklahoma.
|Johnny Rodgers's (white jersey, center-left) famous "Man, Woman, and Child" punt return TD in the 1971 "Game of the Century"|
-As the internet's foremost expert on the Miami Hurricanes and their in-state rivals (FSU, UF), I feel it is my duty to educate my loyal readers on the Seminoles' rich history of having their season blown up by lowly North Carolina State. Yes, Jimbo Fisher has carried on a time-honored Seminole tradition with his first inexcusable loss to the Wolfpack as head coach. In fact, since 1998, a ranked FSU team has been upset by an unranked NC State team SIX times--THREE of those times, the 'Noles were ranked in the top 10. Perhaps worst of all, four of the games were broadcast on ABC (2006 and 2010 were on ESPN). Let's have a look at this long and sordid history...
1998: #2 Florida State travels to Raleigh in Week 2 and gets spanked 24-7 on national TV in their only regular season loss--a loss that didn't even keep them out of the BCS National Championship Game (which they lost to Tennessee), mostly because they beat 5 ranked teams that year (3 of them by 20+ points)
2001: NC State strolls into Doak Campbell Stadium and beats #10 Florida State 34-28...they went on to finish 7-5 with a loss in the Tangerine Bowl (NC State, not FSU)
2002: After a 9-0 start, NC State climbs to #10 in the nation before losing three straight and falling out of the top 25. The following week, #14 Florida State rolls into town and is sent away with a 17-7 loss.
2005: A 3-4 NC State team rolls into Doak Campbell Stadium and hands #8 Florida State a devastating 20-15 loss on their way to winning 4 of their last 5.
2006: This is probably my favorite (at the very least it's tied with 1998). NC State starts out 2-2 with wins over Appalachian State and #21 Boston College and losses to Akron and Southern Miss. #16 Florida State comes to town and leaves with a 24-20 loss. NC State proceeds to lose EVERY SINGLE GAME AFTER THAT, finishing 3-9.
2010: NC State 28, #16 Florida State 24
...and now we can add to that legacy...
2012: NC State 17, #3 Florida State 16
|As much as I loathe the Gators, this is pretty great|
-Don't we all feel better now that we've dispensed with the ridiculous notion that somehow because Stanford beat USC and Washington beat Stanford, the Huskies deserve to be ranked? I said Oregon would dispense with this notion by the end of the first half. It didn't even take that long. It was 21-0 at the end of the first quarter.
-Of course, it's only fair that since I get to gloat about calling Oregon's thrashing of Washington, I also point out how totally off base my pick in the Georgia/South Carolina game was. I thought Georgia would win this one handily but they didn't even get on the scoreboard until there were about two minutes left. Fail.
|This is what college football is all about|
#15 Texas vs. #13 Oklahoma -- ABC -- 12pm
Have I ever mentioned how much I love rivalry games? I so do love rivalry games. They truly are the #1 thing that sets college football apart from pro football--and pretty much every other sport. Sure, you have your Yankees/Red Sox and your Duke/North Carolina but no other sport has anywhere near as many intense rivalries as college football. The Red River Rivalry is among the greatest, even if this year's game will be the first to not feature at least one top ten team since 1999. You just can't deny the pageantry of the Texas State Fair and the traditional noon start time--it almost has the atmosphere of a bowl game in October. As for the game itself, I would expect a shootout, and with Landry Jones's struggles and David Ash's...whatever the opposite of struggles are...Texas will likely win a shootout. A Red River Shootout. BAZINGA!
Hobbitcore sez: Texas
|Manti Te'o is leading the Irish D to 2nd in the nation in scoring defense|
#17 Stanford @ #7 Notre Dame -- NBC -- 3:30pm
I want so badly to pick the Cardinal in this one but this Irish defense is for real. They're actually 2nd in the nation in scoring defense. No that's not a typo. SECOND. As in #2. In the nation. Manti Te'o and co. are on a mission and as much as it pains me to say it, they're a legit national title contender this year. Whether or not they can handle success remains to be seen but they can definitely handle Stanford.
Hobbitcore sez: Notre Dame
#22 Texas A&M @ #23 Louisiana Tech -- ESPNU -- 9pm
You know it's a wonky year in college football when freaking Louisiana Tech is ranked. This is a team ranked 3rd in the nation in scoring offense and 109th in scoring defense, winning their five games by an average score of 53.2 to 35.8 (games against the likes of Houston, Rice, Illinois, Virginia, and UNLV, no less). A&M responded to a heartbreaking home loss to the Gators by reeling off four straight wins and are in the top 15 in both scoring offense and scoring defense. Yeah, this one isn't rocket science.
Hobbitcore sez: Texas A&M
GAME OF THE WEEK
#3 South Carolina @ #9 LSU
Stupid Gators always have to ruin everything. This could be a top five matchup. Even so, it's still a top ten matchup, so I'm happy. Call me crazy but I have a hard time buying into SC as the #3 team in the land, even after their shellacking of the Bulldogs. Not only that but this week they'll be stepping into what is probably the hardest atmosphere to play in: Tiger Stadium at night. To me, it's not a matter of if but rather when the Gamecocks will screw this up. My gut tells me it will be tonight.
Hobbitpick: LSU 17, South Carolina 9
|Heisman hopeful RB Marcus Lattimore needs a big game for the Gamecocks to stay undefeated vs. LSU|
Keys to the Game
-Follow the Gators' blueprint (quick passes to the edges to get the LSU front seven moving East/West and open up running lanes for RB Marcus Lattimore)
-Get LSU QB Zach Mettenberger rattled (unleash DE JaDeveon Clowney; that guy is enough to terrify a pack of grizzly bears)
-Don't turn the ball over (LSU's offense lives off of turnovers; if you can starve them, you've already won)
-Protect Mettenberger (if the freshman's jersey starts getting dirty, things could get ugly)
-Keep SC QB Connor Shaw in the pocket (he's dangerous with his legs and that threat could open up huge lanes for Lattimore)
-Establish the run (keep the ball out of Shaw's and Lattimore's hands)
1. QB Geno Smith (West Virginia)
2. QB Collin Klein (Kansas State)
3. QB Braxton Miller (Ohio State)
2. QB Collin Klein (Kansas State)
3. QB Braxton Miller (Ohio State)
ACC: Florida State over Virginia Tech
Big XII: West Virginia
Big East: Louisville
Big Ten: Michigan State over Wisconsin
Pac 12: Oregon over USC
SEC: Alabama over South Carolina
BCS Championship: Alabama over Oregon
Fiesta Bowl: Notre Dame over West Virginia
Sugar Bowl: LSU over Clemson
Orange Bowl: Kansas State over Florida State
Rose Bowl: Texas over Michigan State