The Super Six
Georgia reminded everyone of its potential, while the Irish passed the toughest test of what is becoming an intriguing and unbeaten season, their latest “Return to Glory” refrain.
The Tide toyed with previously undefeated Mississippi State, winning 38-7. A.J. McCarron, who leads the nation in passing efficiency, has yet to throw a pick in 177 attempts.
Up Next: at No. 5 LSU
The Ducks, who have the nation’s No. 1 scoring offense (53.88 points per game), actually outscored their average in the first half Saturday versus woeful Colorado (56-0).
Up Next: at No. 18 USC
Kansas State (8-0)
Quarterback Collin Klein trails only Alabama’s McCarron in passing efficiency, while the Wildcats have scored at least 50 points in four of their five home games.
Up Next: Oklahoma State
Notre Dame (8-0)
The Fighting Irish, second only to Alabama in scoring defense, have now beaten five teams that were ranked at the time they met. No. 8 Oklahoma was the highest-ranked victim.
Up Next: Pittsburgh
The Tigers had a week off to prepare for Alabama, but the news out of Baton Rouge that four former players, including Tryann Mathieu and Jordan Jefferson, were busted for possession of drugs may ripple through the locker room.
Up Next: No. 1 Alabama
The Bulldogs and linebacker Jarvis Jones reminded us just how physical they can be, and how unlimited their potential, in Saturday’s win over Florida. Georgia can win out and head to the SEC title game versus either Alabama or LSU – and a win there would possibly provide a springboard to Miami.
Up Next: Mississippi
Fun With the Transitive Property
It’s a meaningless exercise, but it is fun and someone does it every year, so let us try here:
Colorado, which is ranked 120th, or last, in scoring defense and 114th in scoring offense, and which allowed 55 first-half points at Fresno State and 56 first-half points Saturday at Oregon, may be the worst team in an AQ conference. Nevertheless, earlier this year the Buffs (1-7) beat Washington State…
… and Washington State (2-6) beat UNLV… and UNLV (1-8) beat Air Force… and Air Force (5-3) beat Nevada… and Nevada (6-3) beat Cal… and Cal (3-6) beat UCLA… and UCLA (6-2) beat Nebraska… and Nebraska (6-2) beat Michigan… and Michigan (5-3) beat Michigan State…and Michigan State (5-4) beat Boise State… and Boise State (7-1) not only has the exact inverse record as the Buffs, but also the same previous coach once removed as Colorado: Dan Hawkins.
*The nation’s least appreciated – and lowest ranked – unbeaten is Louisville, which outlasted Cincinnati in overtime on Friday night to move to 8-0. The Cardinals have trailed in the second half of each of their last four games, all versus unranked teams, which may be why no one is taking them very seriously.
*The injury to Marcus Lattimore, and to a lesser extent, Florida’s Solomon Patton, underscore how violent the game is. Both plays were rushing plays and each ball carrier was near the line of scrimmage when their devastating tackles took place.
*Giovani Bernard is a star in the making, if not one already. The North Carolina tailback rushed for 135 yards, caught eight passes for another 95, and returned a punt 74 yards for the game-winning touchdown versus N.C. State. Bernard, a sophomore, is now 1st in the nation in punt returns and 2nd in the nation in rushing and is the only RB from an AQ conference in the top six in the latter. He averages more than seven yards per carry.
By the way, did you get a look at UNC’s chrome helmets on Saturday?
*As brutal and exciting as the annual Florida-Georgia game was, 34 penalties in full made for a staggeringly slow four-hour cocktail party. CBS analyst Gary Danielson was clearly annoyed. During a fourth-quarter play review, where the result should have been obvious (at least to Danielson and us), he quipped, “Apparently, nobody in the replay has a flight to catch tonight.”
*Tommy Rees, Notre Dame: one play, one toss, one critical 3rd-down conversion to tight end Tyler Eifert. How did everyone on Oklahoma not know that Rees would throw it to Eifert?
• Only Phillip Thomas of Fresno State, with seven interceptions, has more picks this season than Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o, who has five (as do two others). Te’o never had an interception in his three previous seasons.
*Navy, which began the season 1-3, has won four straight. The victory streak coincides with the insertion of freshman Keenan Reynolds as starting quarterback. On Saturday the Midshipmen scored 56 points and rushed for a season-high 512 yards in their win at East Carolina. What this means: Bad news for Army, which is 1-7 despite leading the nation in rushing – for now.
*Speaking of streaks, Tulsa has won seven straight. The Golden Hurricanes are 7-1 following a season-opening loss at Iowa State, and could be the latest to add to John L. Smith’s annus horribilis at Arkansas next Saturday. Tulsa leads the nation in sacks, with nine different players having at least two.
*Northwestern beat Iowa to move to 7-2. The Wildcats had double-digit leads midway through the fourth quarter versus both Penn State and Nebraska in games that they eventually lost. That’s all that may be standing between Pat Fitzgerald’s squad and a 9-0 start. Every team has ifs and buts, but Northwestern has the most acute case of it this season.
*USC tailback Silas Redd is averaging 80 yards per game rushing this season. Redd averaged 90 yards per game rushing last season at Penn State. Redd’s replacement, Zach Zwinak, who had seven yards rushing all of last season – on one carry – is averaging 51.4 yards per game rushing.
*A fun trend we’re noticing is teams adopting an aspect of another team’s tradition to defuse its potency. After Todd Gurley of Georgia rushed for a touchdown in the first quarter of the Florida game, the freshman did two gator chomp gestures followed by an “X” gesture with his arms. In between the 3rd and 4th quarter of Saturday’s Michigan State-Wisconsin game from Madison, most of the Spartans players did the “Jump Around” dance themselves. Both Georgia and Michigan State won.
*USC’s Marqise Lee has next-level speed. Lee had 16 catches for 345 yards and two TDs of 44-plus yards in the Trojans’ 39-36 loss at Arizona. Baylor’s Terrance Williams is special, too, of course.
*Two MAC schools are 8-1 — Northern Illinois and Toledo – and another pair are 7-1. On Saturday the Golden Flashes ruined Rutgers’ perfect season, just as the Rockets had done earlier in the month to Cincinnati. Toledo’s only defeat was an overtime loss at Arizona, while the Huskies lost by one at Iowa (Kent State was blown out at Kentucky). Ohio lost on Saturday, but beat Penn State earlier this season. The MAC > Big East and maybe even the MWC in 2012.