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College Football Season

Upsets Deal Major Blows To Nebraska, Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Wisconsin

Missouri and Texas A&M Lose Halftime Leads In SEC Openers

by Dave Congrove
September 8, 2012

The second week of the college football season took down several of the nation's top teams while the SEC debuts of its two newest members became disappointing for the home folks.

Missouri and Texas A&M looked fairly solid for a half as each took leads into the locker room after two quarters of action. The respective second halves belonged to Georgia and Florida as two of the league's eastern division heavyweights outscored their foes by a combined 42-10 after intermission.

A sloppy first half by both squads saw the Bulldogs fall behind 10-9 in Columbia, only to outscore Missouri 32-10 in the second half and 17-0 in fourth quarter. Earlier in the day, Florida was down 17-7 in the second quarter before cutting the deficit to 17-10 just before the break. The Gators blanked the homestanding Aggies 10-0 in the second half to capture the 20-17 win.

The computer had Missouri winning by 0.27 and Florida prevailing by 1.11.

Those games were ultimately overshadowed in their own conference, and nationally, by an astonishing Arkansas loss to Louisiana-Monroe. Down 28-7, the Warhawks scored 21 unanswered points in the final 20:41 of regulation to tie the game and then topped the Razorbacks in overtime 34-31. The tying touchdown was scored on a 4th-and-10 pass from Kolton Browning who would also scamper 16 yards on 4th-and-1 for the winning points as head coach Todd Berry repeatedly rolled the dice.

It gets even worse for Arkansas which was nearly a 25-point computer favorite in the contest. The Hogs host Alabama next week in Fayetteville and may be without QB Tyler Wilson who was held out of the second half after sustaining a head injury. Arkansas also saw cornerback Tevin Mitchell leave the field by ambulance after a helmet-to-helmet hit in the 4th quarter.

The preseason forecast, based on the Congrove Computer Rankings at, had Arkansas projected to win the SEC. The Hogs entered the week ranked 13th by the computer while UL-M was ranked 80th.

Oklahoma State was the computer's top-ranked team and a 21-point favorite at Arizona, but their anticipated 21.49-point margin of victory became a 21-point loss. The Cowboys jumped to a quick 14-0 lead and were poised to roll again after smashing Savannah State 84-0 on opening weekend. However, Rich Rodriguez' 70th-ranked Wildcats responded with a 30-0 run and eventually crushed the Cowboys 59-38. Oklahoma State fought back and cut the lead to 30-28 in the 3rd quarter, but Arizona finished the game on a 29-10 run. The Cowboys had 167 yards in penalties and 4 turnovers to offset a 636-501 advantage in total yards. The Wildcats needed overtime to finally subdue Toledo in week one.

49th-ranked UCLA upset No. 5 Nebraska 36-30 in Pasadena, exposing the 'Huskers as another possibly over-rated team from the Big Ten. Conversely, the Bruins are looking like one of the most-improved teams in the country as they moved to 2-0 under first-year head coach Jim Mora, Jr.

No. 74 Oregon State upset 31st-ranked Wisconsin 10-7 in Corvallis as 8.64-point computer underdogs. The Badgers were limited to 35 yards rushing and Montee Ball was kept out of the endzone for the first time in 22 games. Wisconsin saw its winning streak versus non-conference opposition come to an end at 33 games which was the second-longest such streak in the country.

LSU, ranked 14th by the computer, posted its 39th straight win over a non-conference foe when it manhandled the 41st-ranked visitors from Washington 41-3 in Baton Rouge.

Utah State on Friday night brought an end to 15 years of frustration against state rival Utah by emerging with a 27-20 victory in overtime. The 25th-ranked Utes had taken 12 straight in the series which went on hiatus in 2009 and 2010.

The computer predicted a 10.28-point win for Utah, considered in the preseason to be USC's only serious challenger in the PAC-12 south division. While the outcome has no bearing on conference records, the loss of Utes' QB Jordan Wynn could have a significant impact on the remainder of Utah's season. Wynn left the game with a shoulder injury late in the first half and watched the second half from the sideline with his arm in a sling.

Utah missed a 52-yard field goal at the end of regulation. Utah State missed a field goal and an extra point in the contest.

After Utah State jumped in front 13-0 in the first quarter and led 13-3 at halftime, the Utes tied it at 13-all in the third quarter. The Aggies weathered the storm and reclaimed the advantage at 20-13 with just under 10 minutes left in the 4th. Utah later re-tied it with 4 minutes left in regulation.

Utah State scored a touchdown in the top-half of the extra period and Utah had the potential game-tying touchdown negated by an offensive interference penalty. Two subsequent plays yielded a short gain and an incomplete pass in the front-left corner of the endzone.

A 72-game schedule began on Thursday night when Pittsburgh followed up its 31-17 opening week debacle of a loss to Youngstown State with a blowout 34-10 loss at Cincinnati in a Big East conference game.

That outcome was no surprise to the computer which forecasted a 16.28-point Bearcat win. Cincinnati jumped to a 14-0 lead less than 5 minutes into the game.

The rankings also projected Pittsburgh to finish the 2012 season with a 5-7 overall record and 2-5 conference mark. Whereas, that seemed excessively negative before the season began, it's now beginning to look like the most positive outcome Pitt could hope for under first-year head coach Paul Chryst.

Chryst, the former offensive coordinator at Wisconsin (2005-2011), is Pitt's sixth head coach in just a little more than a season. Since the tail-end of the 2010 regular season, Pitt has forced out Dave Wannstedt as head coach, played a bowl game under Phil Bennett as acting head coach (2010 season BBVA Compass Bowl), hired and fired Michael Haywood without coaching a game (arrested on a domestic violence charge), hired Todd Graham and lost him to resignation after one season, played a bowl game under Keith Patterson (2011 season BBVA Compass Bowl) and hired Chryst as Graham's official successor.

Since chasing off Wannstedt on December 7, 2010, Pitt has won 7-of-16 games and, more importantly, only 4 of its last 13.

Notre Dame downed Purdue in South Bend on a 27-yard field goal with 7 seconds remaining, handing the Boilermakers a 5th straight loss in the series, its longest since dropping 11 straight from 1986-1996.

Penn State missed four field goals in a 17-16 loss at Virginia, the last of which came from 42 yards out as time expired.

FIU needed a regulation-ending 30-yard field goal to tie Akron and a 39-yarder in overtime to hand the Zips their 10th loss overall and 21st consecutive road loss. The setback also makes new head coach Terry Bowden 0-2.The homestanding Golden Panthers were favored by just under 35 points.

Rice kicked a 45-yard field goal as the clock hit 0:00 for a 25-24 victory at Kansas. The Owls trailed 24-13 early in the 3rd quarter.

USF scored two touchdowns in the final 2:37 to rally for a 32-31 win at Nevada.

Wake Forest topped North Carolina 29-28 on a touchdown with 2:09 left at Winston-Salem.

UNLV blew all of a 14-0 halftime lead vs. FCS member Northern Arizona and lost 17-14 on a 33-yard field goal with 12 seconds left in the game. That's the same Northern Arizona which was whacked 63-6 last week at Arizona State.

Memphis has now lost 35 of its last 40 games dating back to the 2008 St. Petersburg Bowl. The Tigers came up short 33-28 at Arkansas State on Saturday after losing their opener 20-17 to FCS member Tennessee-Martin.

FCS member Sacramento State converted a 30-yard field as time expired to knock off Colorado. Colorado State, which beat Colorado last week, fell 22-7 to FCS member North Dakota State.

On the same night that Arizona upset Oklahoma State, the Arizona State Sun Devils blasted Illinois 45-14 after being picked to lose by 6.72.

Wisconsin (at Oregon State), Nebraska (at UCLA), Purdue (at Notre Dame), Penn State (at Virginia) and Illinois (at Arizona State) were all road losers on Saturday, and Iowa lost at home 9-6 to rival Iowa State. Even though Michigan won, it continued to show it's a "Not Quite Ready For Prime-Time Player" with a 31-25 win over 28.37-point computer underdog Air Force in Ann Arbor. Brady Hoke's gang has now under-performed predictions versus the Falcons and Alabama by a combined 53.84 points.

The Big Ten victors being hailed on Saturday were Northwestern (23-13 vs. Vanderbilt), Michigan State (41-7 at Central Michigan), Ohio State (31-16 vs. UCF), Indiana (45-6 at UMass) and Minnesota (44-7 vs. FCS member New Hampshire).

It must have been ordained that the state of Mississippi's SEC teams would win 28-10. Ole Miss and Mississippi State each posted that score in their respective victories over UTEP and Auburn, and both did so as computer underdogs. It had UTEP winning by 2.45 and Auburn by 4.58.

Savannah State was an infamous 84-0 loser at Oklahoma State in week one and was playing at Florida State on Saturday. Thanks to the weather, the 55-0 outcome was 29 points closer because the game was called with 8:59 to play in the 3rd quarter when the third storm-related delay was issued. FSU had a 48-0 lead in the second quarter when the second delay occurred, after which both teams agreed to continue with a running clock.

FBS vs. FCS:
FBS teams went 23-4 this week versus their FCS counterparts to improve to 54-8 (.871) on the season. Since 2003, FBS schools are 692-63 (.917) in such games, but their overall winning percentage has declined each of the last two weeks.

FBS teams have already lost 2 more games to FCS schools than in all of 2011 when they were 91-6 (.938).

This year, 101 FBS teams play a total of 108 games against FCS foes. UTSA is in its first year of transitioning from the FCS and plays 4 such schools. Cincinnati, Florida State, Pittsburgh and Texas A&M each play two such games.

UNLV lost to a FCS school for a second straight year when it fell 17-14 to Northern Arizona on Saturday after leading 14-0 at halftime. Sacramento State has upset an FBS team in each of the past two seasons, defeating Colorado 30-28 Saturday and Oregon State 29-28 last year. North Dakota State has scored such a victory in each of the last 3 seasons, beating Colorado State 22-7 on Saturday, Minnesota 37-24 last season, and Kansas 6-3 in 2010.

Here are the results of the FBS losses to FCS schools this season:
9/8: Sacramento State 30, Colorado 28
9/8: North Dakota State 22, Colorado State 7
9/8: Illinois State 31, Eastern Michigan 17
9/8: Northern Arizona 17, UNLV 14
9/1: Youngstown State 31, Pittsburgh 17
9/1: Tennessee-Martin 20, Memphis 17
8/30: McNeese State 27, Middle Tennessee 21
8/30: Eastern Washington 20, Idaho 3

TCU - 9 straight wins overall. 24 straight conference wins. Won 56-0 vs. FCS member Grambling State on Saturday.

Northern Illinois - 8 straight conference wins and 16 straight home wins. Won 35-7 vs. FCS member Tennessee-Martin on Saturday.

LSU - 19-game home winning streak. 39-game non-conference winning streak. Won 41-3 vs. Washington on Saturday.

Arkansas State - 8-game conference win streak. Won 33-28 vs. Memphis on Saturday.

Virginia Tech - 13 straight wins in true road games (at opponents' venue). Won 42-7 vs. FCS member Austin Peay on Saturday.

Kansas - Lost 11 straight FBS games. Lost 25-24 vs. Rice on Saturday.

Tulane - 12 straight losses overall. Lost 45-10 at Tulsa on Saturday.

Akron - 10 straight losses overall, 21 straight road losses. Lost 41-38 in OT at FIU on Saturday.

New Mexico - 23 straight road losses. Lost 45-0 at Texas on Saturday.

Mississippi - 14 straight conference losses. Won 28-10 vs. UTEP on Saturday.

28 teams have a new college football coach in the FBS ranks this season. Last season saw 24 new head coaches, 10 of whom matched or exceeded the W-L record of their predecessors' final season.

Here are this week's games for each new head coach:

Team Coach Game
Akron Terry Bowden (0-2) Lost 41-38 in OT Saturday at FIU
Arizona Rich Rodriguez (2-0) Won 59-38 Saturday vs. Oklahoma State
Arizona State Todd Graham (2-0) Won 45-14 Saturday vs. Illinois
Arkansas John L. Smith (1-1) Lost 34-31 Saturday vs. Louisiana-Monroe in Little Rock
Arkansas State Gus Malzahn (1-1) Won 33-28 Saturday vs. Memphis
Colorado State Jim McElwain (1-1) Lost 22-7 Saturday vs. North Dakota State (FCS)
FAU Carl Pellini (1-1) Lost 31-17 Saturday at Middle Tennessee
Fresno State Tim DeRuyter (1-1) Lost 42-25 Saturday at Oregon
Hawaii Norm Chow (0-1) Sept. 15 vs. Lamar (FCS)
Houston Tony Levine (0-2) Lost 56-49 Saturday vs. Louisiana Tech
Illinois Tim Beckman (1-1) Lost 45-14 Saturday at Arizona State
Kansas Charlie Weis (1-1) Lost 25-24 Saturday vs. Rice
Massachusetts Charley Molnar (0-2) Lost 45-6 Saturday vs. Indiana
Memphis Justin Fuente (0-2) Lost 33-28 Saturday at Arkansas State
Mississippi Hugh Freeze (2-0) Won 28-10 Saturday vs. UTEP
New Mexico Bob Davie (1-1) Lost 45-0 Saturday at Texas
North Carolina Larry Fedora (1-1) Lost 28-27 Saturday at Wake Forest
Ohio State Urban Meyer (2-0) Won 31-16 Saturday vs. UCF
Penn State Bill O'Brien (0-2) Lost 17-16 Saturday at Virginia
Pittsburgh Paul Chryst (0-2) Lost 34-10 Thursday at Cincinnati
Rutgers Kyle Flood (2-0) Won 26-0 Saturday vs. Howard (FCS)
Southern Miss Ellis Johnson (0-1) Sept. 15 vs. East Carolina
Texas A&M Kevin Sumlin (0-1) Lost 20-17 Saturday vs. Florida
Toledo Matt Campbell (1-1) Won 34-31 Saturday at Wyoming
Tulane Curtis Johnson (0-2) Lost 45-10 Saturday at Tulsa
UAB Garrick McGee (0-1) Sept. 15 at South Carolina
UCLA Jim Mora (2-0) Won 36-30 Saturday vs. Nebraska
Washington State Mike Leach (1-1) Won 24-20 Saturday vs. Eastern Washington (FCS)


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