College Football- Week 9 Recap and Week 10 Preview

Another week has passed and another undefeated has fallen. In a weekend lacking much punch, USC’s shocking loss at Oregon State stuck out like a sore thumb. I knew it was only a matter of time before USC’s lackluster play caught up with them, but I honestly didn’t see the Beavers knocking them off. After this loss and narrow wins over Arizona State, Washington State and Washington, it appears that either the middle of the Pac-10 has improved in quality or that USC has taken a big step backwards. It’s probably a combination of the two. After watching the Trojans come back from so many deficits in similar situations over the past three seasons, I believed they had another miracle in them, and they came a missed two point conversion from putting the game into overtime after trailing 31-10 in the third quarter. All I can say is it’s about time somebody held on to the lead. Rough waters loom ahead for USC, who still has games against Notre Dame, California, Oregon and UCLA, all of whom are more talented than Oregon State. But hats off to the Beavers nonetheless for this giant victory.

So where does this leave the national title picture? If you ask me, West Virginia now controls its own destiny. Win out, and it would be tough to deny the Mountaineers a shot at the title that they would most certainly lose to Ohio State or Michigan. Additionally, in my mind, even if West Virginia loses to Louisville it would be hard to justify a Big-10 rematch for the title, as much as I would love to see it. A one-loss SEC champ is probably in the driver’s seat in this scenario, although that could get complicated if Ohio State is somehow the loser in a couple weeks. I can’t imagine an undefeated Louisville would be able to jump a one loss SEC champ. We will wait and see…

Briefly, some other notes:

  • Hoooooooooosiers! I don’t think I’ve witnessed a thrashing at the hands of the mighty Indiana football team like the one I saw my boys give Michigan State since sometime in the early 1990s. This was easily the highlight of my day. But seriously, Indiana has established itself as a middle-of-the pack Big 10 football team with an offense that can’t be ignored. Consider the fact that star receiver James Hardy, who set a school record Saturday with FOUR TD receptions, did not play in the disappointing home losses to Southern Illinois and Connecticut. Transform those into wins, and IU would be an unfathomable 7-2 entering their final three games. One can dream…Nevertheless, the Hoosiers stand a good chance to go bowling, as they sit at 5-4 with winnable games at Minnesota and at Purdue ahead.
  • The ACC picture got cloudier as Virginia Tech routed Clemson Thursday night and made an abolsute fool out of me. It looks like a Georgia Tech-Boston College final is likely. Florida State lost again and is reeling, and Miami couldn’t save its season at Georgia Tech either.

TOP 25 OF THE MATTY, games through 10/30

  1. Ohio State (9-0)
  2. Michigan (9-0)
  3. West Virginia (7-0)
  4. Texas (7-1)
  5. Notre Dame (7-1)
  6. Louisville (9-0)
  7. USC (6-1)
  8. Arkansas (7-1)
  9. Auburn (8-1)
  10. Florida (7-1)
  11. Tennessee (7-1)
  12. California (7-1)
  13. LSU (6-2)
  14. Boise State (8-0)
  15. Boston College (7-1)
  16. Oklahoma (6-2)
  17. Rutgers (8-0)
  18. Wisconsin (8-1)
  19. Clemson (7-2)
  20. Georgia Tech (6-2)
  21. Wake Forest (7-1)
  22. Texas A & M (8-1)
  23. Virginia Tech (6-2)
  24. Nebraska (6-3)
  25. Oregon (6-2)

HEISMAN WATCH

  1. Troy Smith, Ohio State
  2. Steve Slaton, West Virginia
  3. Brady Quinn, Notre Dame
  4. Ray Rice, Rutgers
  5. Mike Hart, Michigan

GAMES TO WATCH

#3 West Virginia at #6 Louisville, Thursday, 6:45 CST, ESPN

Make no mistake, this is the biggest game in the history of Thursday night football, and the Big East is loving every minute of it. The atmosphere will be electric, and the home field advantage will certainly benefit Louisville. With Louisville at full strength, this would have been an even better matchup, but the loss of Michael Bush early on certainly detracts from the Cardinal offense. Louisville has still been able to put up points, but I see West Virginia’s defense getting the better of them here even on the road. Louisville will have a tough time stopping the dynamic offensive attack of Pat White and Steve Slaton. Huge implications are on the line here, and it should be a high scoring battle, but I look for the Mountaineers to prevail. A title pass won’t be automatic either way, as both teams still face formidable foes in Pittsburgh and especially Rutgers. West Virginia 41, Louisville 31.

 #13 LSU at #11 Tennessee, 2:30 CST, CBS

What is the story with LSU’s schedule? Auburn, Florida, and Tennessee ALL on the road? The Tigers were my pick to win the SEC but I obviously overlooked the difficulty of winning on the road in this tough conference. This time though, LSU is in an absolute MUST win situation, and has the superior athletes to get the job done, even at Rocky Top. Tennessee’s passing game has been the bread and butter of its offense, and may struggle against LSU’s tough secondary. LSU needs to get the ball moving on offense and has the personnel to accomplish it. I’ve got to stick to my guns on this one. LSU 23, Tennessee 14.

#15 Boston College at #21 Wake Forest, 6:00 CST, ESPN 2

This sounds more like a top-tier basketball matchup, but this pigskin contest has BCS implications as the winner figures to land atop the ACC Atlantic. I’ll again go with the visiting team in a close one here, as BC has proven itself against tougher competition. This is a huge statement game for the Demon Deacons and they have an opportunity to win it on their home field, but honestly, if Wake Forest ends up in the conference championship, what does that say about the ACC? Boston College 20, Wake Forest 17

#8 Arkansas at South Carolina, 6:45 CST, ESPN

South Carolina is bound to knock somebody off soon, especially at home, but I don’t see this being the team. The Razorbacks are playing as well as anyone in the SEC behind the running of Darren McFadden and I look for them to get a huge win on the road here before bigger foes Tennessee and LSU travel to Fayetteville.  Arkansas 30, South Carolina 17.

#16 Oklahoma at #22 Texas A & M, 7:00 CST, ABC

I have a soft spot for the Sooners this season after all they’ve gone through, and they proved me correct last week as they defeated Missouri on the road. The Aggies pose a tougher test in a more difficult environment, but I feel like the OU defense is finally coming together and playing like everyone expected them to–possibly because the offensive difficulties have necessitated as much. I’ll stay on the bandwagon, no pun intended. Oklahoma 21, Texas A & M 17

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