College Football Recap Week 4

The first weekend of truly meaningful games wasn’t short on drama (or unexpected blowouts). In case you missed it, this is what happened while I spent last Saturday with three television sets in front of me, eating homemade pulled pork sandwiches and jambalaya and drinking micro brews with a group of friends:

– The weekend’s most exciting game took place Friday night, as Kansas blew a 20-10 halftime lead at South Florida. I have to say, either coach Jim Leavitt gave a rousing pep talk at halftime or the Jayhawk defense was spent after the end of the first half, because South Florida hung 17 points on the board in the 3rd quarter. Kansas QB Todd Reesing was impressive in leading two scoring drives that tied the game late in the 4th quarter, and was driving again with a potential game-winning field goal in his sights, but a risky pass was intercepted and returned into Jayhawk territory. South Florida kicked the game winning field goal as time expired to win a highly entertaining battle and remain undefeated.

– USC absolutely manhandled Ohio State at home, surprising no one apparently except for me. I’m not sure why I keep proclaiming the superiority of the Buckeye defense. They’ve shown time and time again that their domination on defense applies only to mediocre competition, and that in big games against top teams, they can’t seem to get the job done. Offensively, no one expected them to be very productive without Chris Wells, but I’m guessing even with their star tailback they might have managed only about another ten points or so in a best case scenario. They just looked out of sync on both sides of the ball, just as they have in their past two national title appearances. All of a sudden, Penn State and Wisconsin are looking like formidable foes to contest for the Big Ten title.

– Fresno State missed a big opportunity at home against Wisconsin, losing 13-10 in somewhat of a snoozer in which the Bulldogs missed three field goals. They certainly proved that they belong in the BCS discussion, but likely needed this game to get there.

– The SEC action was summed up in two words: Defensive Struggle. Georgia narrowly won at South Carolina after Knowshon Moreno powered into the end zone late in the fourth quarter to give the Bulldogs a 14-7 victory and keep their title hopes alive. More hilariously, Auburn won at Mississippi State 3-2 with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th. You have got to be kidding me.

– With the exception of USC, the Pac-10 had an incredibly rough weekend. Actually, that’s an understatement. The day started off badly as California was never a factor until it was too late against a struggling Maryland team that was coming off a loss to Middle Tennessee State. It got worse after BYU whipped UCLA 59-0, probably the biggest surprise of the day considering the huge win against Tennessee that the Bruins were riding high on, and the extra week that they had to prepare for a team they faced twice last season. Arizona State lost a close one at home to UNLV (in football?) and Arizona lost to New Mexico (yikes!) Aside from that, Oregon was very lucky to escape against a Purdue team that they probably should have buried, and Washington was never a factor against Oklahoma. USC should walk through this conference and a spot in the national championship is all but a certainty now.

-And how can I possibly ignore the most amazing moment anyone will witness all season, as Charlie Weis got his legs taken out from under him from behind by his own player, suffered a horrific knee injury and caused a mini-earthquake across South Bend. Amazingly, Notre Dame capitalized on three Michigan turnovers inside their own 20-yard line, added a couple of long passes from emerging QB Casey Clauson, and won easily over their arch rival. Why does it always seem like the obvious favorite in this game loses every year? I’m done betting on this game.

TOP 25 OF THE MATTY

  1. USC (2-0)
  2. Georgia (3-0)
  3. Florida (3-0)
  4. Missouri (3-0)
  5. Oklahoma (3-0)
  6. Texas Tech (3-0)
  7. Wisconsin (3-0)
  8. LSU (2-0)
  9. Alabama (3-0)
  10. Auburn (3-0)
  11. Ohio State (2-1)
  12. Texas (2-0)
  13. South Florida (3-0)
  14. Kansas (2-1)
  15. Wake Forest (2-0)
  16. Clemson (2-1)
  17. Penn State (3-0)
  18. Illinois (2-1)
  19. Oregon (3-0)
  20. BYU (3-0)
  21. East Carolina (3-0)
  22. Fresno State (1-1)
  23. West Virginia (1-1)
  24. Utah (3-0)
  25. Vanderbilt (3-0)

GAMES TO WATCH THIS WEEK:

#3 Florida at Tennessee, 2:30 PM CST, CBS: This is a huge game for Phil Fulmer and company at home against a team with their eyes on a second national title in three years. With 100,000 in orange and an improving offense, this is a winnable game for the Vols if their defense can stop Florida’s dynamic offense.

#15 Wake Forest at Florida State, 6:00 PM CST, ESPN2: The ACC is a bit down this year, but this will be one of the most important games during the conference season.

#8 LSU at #10 Auburn, 6:45 PM CST, ESPN: Prediction- this will be a defensively oriented game. Still, the winner should emerge as the favorite in the SEC West.

#2 Georgia at Arizona State, 7:00 CST, ABC: The Bulldogs had better not look as rusty on offense as they did last weekend, because they’re heading into a pit of fire in Tempe against an angry Sun Devil team that has the offensive firepower to make this interesting.

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