Week 3 Recap
'Bama Signs Off A&M; UCLA Scores 38 Unanswered at 'Huskers; Michigan Survives Akron
Alabama avenged its only loss in 2012, Nebraska got blasted in the 2nd half, and Michigan barely managed to get past a school that has now lost 24 straight FBS games. It was all part of a college football weekend that had a whacky ending when Wisconsin got too cute for itself - and the refs - on the final play at Arizona State.
Johnny Autograph - I mean Johnny Football - well, let's leave it at Johnny Manziel - threw a pair of interceptions that helped Alabama break open a close game. The Tide then held off a late charge to beat Texas A&M 49-42 in College Station.
A 14-14 tie was broken with a 4-play, 80-yard drive after Manziel was intercepted in the endzone. 'Bama went up 28-14 just before halftime and Manziel's second pick, thrown early in the 3rd quarter, was returned 73 yards for a 35-14 Tide lead. After that, Nick Saban's squad maintained a 2-3 TD lead until A&M closed it to the final margin with 15 seconds left in the game. Alabama recovered the ensuing onside kick to clinch the win.
UCLA rallied from a 21-3 first-half deficit to cream the Nebraska Cornhuskers 41-21 in Lincoln. The Bruins were playing in honor of a walk-on freshman who tragically died last weekend when he was struck by a car while walking in his hometown of San Clemente. The classy Nebraska faithful helped honor Nick Pasquale before the game and both teams wore his number '36' on their helmets.
Michigan served notice a week ago that it could be a genuine contender for the BCS title with a 41-30 win over Notre Dame. Who'd have thought beating Akron a week later would prove to be more difficult? Though the Zips have finished each of the last 3 seasons with a 1-11 record, they were game for the challenge of taking on the Wolverines in "Big House". Akron saw a 10-7 3rd quarter lead evaporate into a 21-10 deficit, only to surged back in front 24-21 with 4:10 to play in the game. Michigan put it's final points on the board 1:21 later, only to have the Zips drive to the Michigan 2-yard line before denying them on a 2-yard rush attempt and a 4-yard pass effort.
Michigan, of course, had the famous home loss to FCS member Appalachian State in 2007. A loss on Saturday to Akron would have been worse. At least Appalachian State was s solid FCS school with national title pedigree. Akron has been a MAC doormat for three years and has now dropped 24 straight games to FBS foes.
But Akron's near-win might not be the craziest thing that happened this weekend. Wisconsin's 32-30 loss at Arizona State possibly takes that cake.
In the 32-30 win for the Sun Devils, the Badgers failed to tie it on a 2-point conversion pass late in the game. But Wisconsin got the ball back with 1:36 to play at its own 17 after a punt and moved into position for a game-tying 30-yard field goal attempt with 18 seconds left. But with no timeouts remaining, the Badgers inexplicably opted to run a play to set the ball up between the hash marks and got too cute for their own good in the process.
Here's what happened - QB Joel Stave ran left, took a quick knee and placed the ball on the ground. He then backed off the ball and tried to begin preparations to spike it on the next to play to stop the clock. But an ASU player jumped on the ball and wouldn't get up; other players and officials couldn't comprehend what just took place; Stave couldn't rally his own troops to the line and he was powerless to call a time-out without incurring a penalty that would have run out the clock anyway; so the final seconds ticked away to :00 with nothing more happening. The officials ran off the field and the dazed and confused home crowd at Arizona State hesitantly celebrated the weird win.
A booth reviewed clearly should have occurred if for no other reason than to let the officials get their heads straight. The proper ruling, to the dismay of ASU fans, likely would have been a delay of game penalty against Arizona State for the delay tactic of laying on the football - a 5-yard penalty would have been assessed and Wisconsin would have had an untimed down to kick a short field goal. At least, that's the best sense I can make from it all. It will be interesting to hear what the league officials will have to say in the next 24-48 hours.
Meanwhile, other weekend action saw Texas suffer a second straight beatdown. This week, Ole Miss invaded Austin and pounded the Longhorns 44-23. Last week, Texas was run out of Provo 40-21 by BYU. Many prognosticators had Texas bouncing back into national prominence this year and my Congrove Computer Rankings projected Mack Brown's team as a solid BCS title contender. So much for that.
After all was said and done on the field this weekend, Oregon replaced Stanford at No. 1 in the computer rankings. The Ducks crushed Tennessee 59-14 while the Cardinal were unimpressive in a 34-20 win at Army.
The computer correctly picked the winner in 37 of the 45 games pitting FBS schools against each other, and its 27-18 mark against the spread included a 9-3 record involving outright upset picks for 12 games.
A WEAKENED MOUNTAIN WEST:
The 12 teams in the Mountain West Conference, half of which have relocated from the now-defunct WAC in the last three years, have combined to win just 3 games over nonconference FBS teams. Each of the first two took overtime as New Mexico edged UTEP 42-35 in week 2 and Fresno State survived Rutgers 52-51 on the opening night of the season. This past weekend, UNLV managed to trip up Central Michigan 31-21. San Diego State is also responsible for one of the 13 FBS losses to FCS schools as Eastern Illinois thumped the Aztecs 40-18 on Labor Day weekend.
You can blame Boise State for instigating the WAC's downfall. The Broncos migrated to the Mountain West after the 2010 season in search of a stronger conference to help it compete for BCS bowl games. But the MWC then lost TCU to the Big 12, Utah to an expanded PAC-12, and BYU to its desire to become an independent. Boise has yet to play in a BCS game since leaving the WAC where it twice earned invitations to the Fiesta Bowl.
FBS vs. FCS:
FBS teams were 13-2 vs. FCS schools this weekend and are now 68-13 on the year (.840) and 804-78 (.912) since 2003. FCS teams won just 10 games all season a year ago.
106 FBS schools will play a total of 110 games against FCS foes in 2013. Clemson and Georgia Tech each face two such schools while FBS newcomer Georgia State will play 3 FCS teams.
Here are the results of the FBS losses to FCS schools this season:
8/29: Towson 33, Connecticut 18
8/29: Southern Utah 22, South Alabama 21
8/30: Samford 31, Georgia State 21
8/30: North Dakota State 24, Kansas State 21
8/31: Northern Iowa 28, Iowa State 20
8/31: Eastern Washington 49, Oregon State 46
8/31: Eastern Illinois 40, San Diego State 18
8/31: McNeese State 53, USF 21
9/7: UT-Chattanooga 42, Georgia State 14
9/7: Maine 24, Massachusetts 14
9/7: Nicholls State 27, Western Michigan 23.
9/14: Fordham 30, Temple 29
9/14: Bethune-Cookman 34, FIU 13
Eastern Washington, McNeese State and North Dakota State also had wins vs. FBS teams last year.
Ohio State - Won 15 straight overall. Won 52-34 at California on Saturday.
Northern Illinois - Won 21 straight at home and 17 vs. conference foes. Won 45-35 at Idaho on Saturday.
LSU - Won 44 straight regular season nonconference games. won 45-13 vs. Kent State on Saturday.
Michigan - Won 17 straight home games. Won 28-24 vs. Akron on Saturday.
Oregon - Won 16 straight road games. Won 59-14 vs. Tennessee on Saturday.
Southern Miss - Lost 15 straight overall. Lost 24-3 at Arkansas on Saturday.
Akron - Lost 28 straight road games, 24 straight FBS games and 16 straight conference games (MAC). Lost 28-24 at Michigan on Saturday.
Kansas - Lost 22 straight FBS games, 21 straight conference games and 20 straight road games. Lost 23-14 at Rice on Saturday.
UNLV - Lost 23 straight road games. Won 31-21 at home vs. Central Michigan on Saturday.