This week did not disappoint. Stanford was able to beat Oregon and Baylor was able to shut down Oklahoma and proved that offense wasn’t the only thing they should be known for. Alabama put on a show against conference foe LSU and showed why they are the number one team in the country. We are now down to about a month of regular season college football left. And just can’t bring myself to start watching basketball yet.
How I Fared: I was 5-1 this week, bringing my overall total to 43-24. Wow, that is 67 games so far. To quote myself from my week 11 preview, “I don’t think the Bears will put up 70, but maybe between 30-50 points.” I’m just saying, Baylor scored 41 points. I also said Stanford would beat Oregon by less than a TD and they won by 6 points (technically, that’s a TD, but a TD implies 7 points). And I said Alabama would win by more than 2TD, and they did. I had a good week overall. I am very proud of myself for picking those 3 games correctly and predicting other aspects of the games as well.
5Stanford 26 3Oregon 20 (Thursday); What a game this was! Stanford held Oregon scoreless for almost 50 minutes. Even doing that, they almost fell to the Ducks. Oregon scored 20 unanswered points in the final 10:11 of the game, but Stanford’s 26 would prove to be too much. After the Ducks cut the lead to just 6 with 2:12 to go, they were unable to recover an onside kick and the Cardinal was able to run out the clock for the win. Stanford had the ball for 42:34 in this game, but only outgained Oregon 377-312. Oregon also fumbled twice in this game while Stanford had no turnovers. Stanford is now in the lead of the Pac 12 North, but they have to face USC next week. Stanford QB Kevin Hogan was 7/13 for 1-3 yards and a rush TD. Tyler Gaffney rushed for 157 yards and a TD. The leading scorer for the Cardinal was K Jordan Williamson who was 4/5 of FGs from 19, 34, 26 and 30 yards. For the Ducks, QB Marcus Mariota was 20/34 for 250 yards and 2TDs. One TD went to Daryle Hawkins and the other went to Pharaoh Brown. The other Oregon score came on a blocked FG that Rodney Hardrick returned 65 yards. For the second year in a row, Stanford has been able to put out the fire of the Oregon offense. Now Stanford needs some help (losses by others) if they want to make it to the national championship.
Virginia Tech 42 11Miami(FL) 24; Once again, Virginia Tech makes me lose points on my ESPN Pick’Em game. But this week it is because they won. I really should just stop picking games in the ACC. The only sure pick is Florida State, but I don’t even trust that 100%. But I’ve said it before, Miami really isn’t that good at all, and they just keep proving me right. They do not deserve to be ranked in the top 15, or in my opinion the top 25. Virginia Tech was able to outdo Miami is just about every aspect of the game. The Hokies had the ball for almost 40 minutes and also outgained Miami 549-352. I don’t understand how a beat down by Virginia Tech didn’t knock Miami out of the top 25 but Virginia Tech’s close loss to Duke knocked them out. Miami has to go to Duke this week, so we will see how good the Blue Devils really are. VT QB Logan Thomas was 25/31 for 366 yards and 2TDs. Joshua Stanford had 107 receiving yards and caught a TD and Demitri Knowls also caught a TD. The big scorer for the Hokies was Trey Edmunds, who rushed for 74 yards and 4TDs. Miami QB Stephen Morris was 16/29 for 324 yards and 2TDs. One went to Allen Hurns, who also had 142 receiving yards, and the other went to Stacy Coley. Virginia Tech gets a struggling Maryland team later this week.
15Texas A&M 51 Mississippi State 41; Once again we see that while Texas A&M can be explosive on the offensive side of the ball, they are lacking on the defensive side. With about 11 minutes left in the 4th quarter, the Aggies were up 24 points on the Bulldogs. Mississippi State was able to score 14 unanswered to cut the lead to 10 points with 2:19 to go, but couldn’t get any closer. Mississippi State did get the ball back with 31 seconds left but after a quick 23 yard gain, they were unable to move the ball again and time ran out. This game worried me because Arkansas plays Mississippi State on the 23rd. It should definitely worry A&M fans. If they give up 41 to Mississippi State, how will they fare against good team in a bowl game? One thing Aggie fans don’t need to worry about as much as their defense is Johnny Manziel. He was 30/39 for 446 yards, 5TD and 3INT.Travis Labhart and Malcome Kennedy caught 2TDs each and Nehemiah Hicks caught the other. Mike Evans also had 116 receiving yards. Trey Williams ran for 154 yards and a score with Ben Malena rushing for a TD as well. Mississippi State QB Dak Prescottwas 14/26 for 149 yards, 2TD and an INT. Tyler Russel threw for 77 yards and a TD and Jameon Lewis also threw a TD pass. De’Runnya Wilson caught 2TDs, Joe Morrow caught a TD as well. LaDarius Perkins caught a TD and rushed for one, and Josh Robinson ran for a TD for the Bulldogs. Surprisingly, Mississippi State outgained Texas A&M 556-537. 299 of the 556 yards came on the ground for Mississippi State. A&M gets a bye this week while Mississippi State welcomes 1Alabama to Starkville with the hopes of pulling the biggest upset of the year. But Alabama has a better defense than the Aggies.
22Arizona State 20 Utah 19; Utah almost took down another ranked Pac 12 opponent at home. But Arizona State decided they would not be another victim of the Utes. The Sun Devils struck first, but then Utah scored 19 unanswered. Taylor Kelly was not about to let his team go down. Kelly was responsible for all 3 of Arizona State’s scores. He was 19/31 for 144 yards a TD and 2 rush TDs. The pass TD went to Richard Smith with 2:37 remaining to put ASU in the lead. Marion Grice did not score, but he did rush for 136 yards. For Utah, QB Travis Wilson was 6/21 for 121 yards, 2TD and 2INT. Dres Anderson and Sean Fitzgerald each caught a TD. Kicker Andy Phillips was 2/2 on FGs to keep them in control. The two INTs came on the last two drives for the Utes. ASU was able to run out the clock and get out of Utah with the win. Utah goes to Oregon this week and Arizona State gets Oregon State.
Pittsburgh 28 23Notre Dame 21; Because of this loss, Notre Dame now finds it next to impossible to get into the BCS. Even though they are 7-3, the losses are not good ones. Two late interceptions and a turnover on downs killed the Irish. The two teams traded TDs the first 3 quarters, but Pitt was able to hold Notre Dame in the 4th to come out with a win. This loss knocked Notre Dame out of the top 25 once again, and they might have a hard time getting back in. Pittsburgh QB Tom Savage was 22/35 for 243 yards and 2TDs, both to Devin Street. James Connor rushed for the other two. For the Fighting Irish, QB Tommy Rees was 18/38 for 318 yards, 2TD and 2INT. TJ Jones had 149 receiving yards and a TD in the air and one on the ground, and DaVaris Daniels also caught a TD. Notre Dame has a bye this week and Pittsburgh goes to North Carolina this week.
Texas 47 West Virginia 40 OT; This was a must win game for Texas, and they were able to hold on. Once again this West Virginia team continues to confound me. They can’t seem to decide if they are a good team or a bad team. This game also brings into question the caliber of Texas. The Longhorns have now won 6 games in a row, all in conference. As the score of this game shows, this was a shootout. At one point in the 3rd quarter, West Virginia went up by 10 points. Texas answered with two touchdowns to finish the 3rd quarter. Despite this, Texas still needed to kick a FG with 13 seconds left to send the game into overtime. In OT, Texas was able to score a TD and hold on to win. Texas QB Case McCoy was 17/49 for 283 yards, 3TD and an INT. Mike Davis, Jaxon Shipley and Alex De La Torre each caught a TD. Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron each rushed for a TD, but RB Johnathan Gray was injured in the game. Kicker Anthony Fera was 4/4 and was the leading scorer for the Longhorns. WVU QB Paul Millard was 16/32 for 259 yards, a TD and 2INT. The TD went to Mario Alford. The workhorse for the Mountaineers was Charles Sims who rushed for 93 yards and 3TDs. Dreamius Smith also rushed for a TD. Texas has to face 12th ranked Oklahoma State this weekend in Texas. It will be a must win for both teams if they want to have a chance at beating Baylor and winning the Big 12.
Nebraska 17 Michigan 13; The crowd in the Big House was not enough to carry the Wolverines to a Big 10 win. Michigan has now lost two in a row and 3 of their last four games, putting the Big 10 title out of reach. After losing to Minnesota, Nebraska has been able to win its last two games and set them up for a major game against the leader in the Legends division, Michigan State. What started as a promising season for the Wolverines has now become a forgettable one. The stat of the game was -21. That is the amount of rush yards Michigan had. Nebraska scored first and took a 10-0 lead into the 2nd quarter. Michigan then scored 13 unanswered. But Nebraska was able to answer with a TD with about two minutes to go, and the Huskers would hold onto the lead. Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong Jr. was 11/19 for 139 yards and a TD. Ameer Abdullah rushed for 105 yards and a TD and caught the game winning TD as well. Michigan QB Devin Gardner was 18/27 for 196 yards and a TD to Devin Funchess. Kicker Brendan Gibbons was 2/2 on FG for the Wolverines. Michigan gets Northwestern this week and needs a win on the road, but this Northwestern team has lost 5 in a row and are hungry for a win.
Utah State 28 UNLV 24; Once again, UNLV was unable to get the elusive 6th win of the season. For the second week in a row, the Rebels have lost at home. They get a bye this week to prepare for Air Force. Utah State became bowl eligible with this win. The teams traded scores, but UNLV had to settle for a FG early in the 2nd quarter, and that came back to haunt them in the end. With about 11 minutes left in the game, UNLV scored a TD to take a 3 point lead, but Utah State scored with just under 4 minutes to go and UNLV was unable to score again. UNLV had 1st and 10 at the Utah State 16 yard line with under a minute to go, but were unable to get any closer and turned the ball over on downs, securing the win for the Aggies. Utah State QB Darell Garretson was 16/28 for 288 yards and a TD to Shaan Johnson. Travis Reynolds had 129 receiving yards and Travis Van Leeuwen had 112. Joey DeMartino rushed for a TD and Bruce Natson rushed for 2 more. UNLV QB Caleb Herring was 17/39 for 252 yards, 2TD and an INT. Those TD passes were to Marcus Sullivan and Maika Mataele. Tim Cornett rushed for 115 yards and a TD as well. Hopefully UNLV will use this bye week well and get a win on the 21st.
Ole Miss 34 Arkansas 24; Sadly, the streak continues. Arkansas was in striking distance in the beginning of the third when Kiero Small rushed for a TD that was set up by a 31 yard catch by Javontee Herndon. But then the Arkansas defense allowed two long TDs. Bo Wallace threw a 75 yarder to Ja-Mes Logan, and then a 52 yarder to Donte Moncrief. On Arkansas’s next drive, Brandon Allen threw a pick in the end zone, but the defense was able to hold on. Arkansas scored again bringing the lead to 10 and gained the momentum. Ole Miss went for it on 4th and 6 from the ARK33 and the pass was intercepted by Eric Bennett and he took it all the way to the Ole Miss 23 yard line, but a(nother) bad call brought the ball back to the Arkansas 7. The Hogs had a long drive that was capped by a missed 58 yard FG with 38 seconds to go. Except for TDs in 3rd, the Arkansas defense played a very good game, and for the first time in what has seemed like forever, Arkansas forced not one, but TWO turnovers. (Ok, they did well when it came to stopping the rush, only allowing 103 rush yards. Bo Wallace was able to pass for 416 yards.) And the offense did well too. Overall, I was satisfied. But, once again, Arkansas took a knee before going into the half. I know I have talked about this before, but it really bothers me. There were 35 seconds left in the half and Arkansas had all three timeouts left. In my opinion, the only time it is acceptable to take a knee is at the end of the game when you are ahead. That is a privilege. Taking a knee going into the half is giving up on your players. I’m going to take you back to 2010. 12Arkansas and 5LSU were playing in War Memorial Stadium. Arkansas is at their 20 yard line and there are 6 seconds left in the first half. The game is tied at 14. A coach (who will not be named) called a timeout. Instead of being satisfied with a tie, a play is called just to see if something can happen. Ryan Mallett gets the snap and uses that cannon of an arm to connect with Cobi Hamilton for an 80 yard TD pass. The Hogs used that momentum and led the rest of the game. Had Mallett taken a knee, maybe the game would have ended differently, or maybe it would have ended the same. But, you never know what could happen if you don’t try. In those 35 seconds, maybe Alex Collins, Jonathan Williams or Korliss Marshall could have broken a long run, or Allen could have hit Herndon, Horton, or Henry for a long pass. Maybe Allen could have been sacked. But we can’t know if they take a knee. The way the Hogs have played this season, they need to take advantage of every opportunity they get. Taking a knee is a victory formation, and, in my opinion, should never be used when the team is not leading.
1Alabama 38 13LSU 17
2Florida State 59 Wake Forest 3
6Baylor 41 10Oklahoma 12 (Thursday)
8Missouri 48 Kentucky 17
9Auburn 55 Tennessee 23
14Oklahoma State 42 Kansas 6
16Fresno State 48 Wyoming 10
19UCLA 31 Arizona 26
20Louisville 31 Connecticut 10 (Friday)
21UCF 19 Houston 14
24Wisconsin 27 BYU 17
Kansas State 49 25Texas Tech 26
Louisiana-Lafayette 41 Troy 36 (Thursday)
Eastern Michigan 35 Western Michigan 32 OT
San Diego State 34 San Jose State 30
Vanderbilt 34 Florida 17
Minnesota 24 Penn State 10
Arkansas State 42 ULM 14
New Mexico 45 Air Force 37
TCU 21 Iowa State 17
Western Kentucky 21 Army 17
Cincinnati 28 SMU 25
USC 62 California 28
Syracuse 20 Maryland 3
Duke 38 North Carolina State 20
Stats and Scores from ESPN.com