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Longhorns Lassoed; Alabama Survives

by Dave Congrove
September 26, 2010

Texas became the first preseason top five team to lose this season as UCLA rolled into Austin and ripped the Longhorns 34-12. Meanwhile, Alabama was issued a reprieve by Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallet who threw three crucial interceptions to help the Tide erase a 20-7 deficit and leave Fayetteville with a 24-20 win.

The Texas loss will make it difficult for the computer's preseason projected BCS title game matchup to come to fruition. It had forecasted a championship game battle between the Longhorns and Boise State. After the weekend's events, the Broncos are ranked 1st and Alabama is 2nd. TCU, Ohio State and Oregon round out the top five of the latest Congrove Computer Rankings.

The coaches have Alabama, Ohio State and Boise State as their top three. The sportswriters concur, but are not a part of the BCS formula that consists of the coaches' poll, the Harris Poll and six independent computer formulas.

The Harris Poll, which in past seasons has been released the last weekend of September, just unveiled its member voting panel on Friday and will not issue its first rankings for 2010 until October 10.

The first BCS Standings of the year will be compiled on October 17.

Boise State kept its BCS Championship game aspirations alive with a 37-24 home win over Oregon State, notching its third straight home victory over the Beavers and 17th consecutive overall win. It doesn't hurt the Broncos that fellow WAC member Nevada won 27-13 at BYU to improve to 4-0, but the 55-38 loss by Fresno State (2-1) at Ole Miss doesn't help. Aside from the Wolf Pack and Bulldogs, Boise State's remaining WAC foes are a cumulative 7-16.

Ohio State had plenty of mercy on Eastern Michigan as it substituted players at will in a 73-20 rout of the Eagles.

The Big Ten conference played a creampuff schedule, but apparently some teams failed to get the memo that everyone was supposed to win with relative ease. Sure, the Buckeyes rolled, and Wisconsin annihilated poor little FCS member Austin Peay 70-3, but Purdue lost 31-20 to Toledo and Minnesota was upended 34-23 by Northern Illinois. also, Northwestern eked-out a 30-25 win over visiting Central Michigan

Meanwhile, Penn State had to rally to beat Temple 22-13. Its the 35th straight time that the Owls have failed to come away a winner against the Nittany Lions, and their 28th straight loss in the series. It's the current longest streak of domination for one team over another.

The fourth-longest such streak belongs to Kentucky which extended its losing streak in the series to 24 games with a 48-14 loss in Gainesville. While the Gainesville police have become accustomed to booking football players, there is no truth to the rumor that the entire Kentucky team was issued a citation for "failure to appear".

Florida State and Virginia Tech blanked their ACC opponents to take the lead in their respective divisions. The Seminoles walloped Wake Forest 31-0 to end a two-game losing streak to the Demon Deacons in Tallahassee, while the Hokies won 19-0 to end a two-game losing streak at Boston College.

N.C. State is tied with the 'Noles in the Atlantic after its stunning 45-28 win at Georgia Tech. The Hokies and Wolfpack knock heads this coming Saturday in Raleigh while FSU visits Virginia.

The Big East continued to struggle against nonconference FBS teams. Pitt was blown out 31-3 at home by Miami on Thursday night; Cincinnati lost a close one to Oklahoma 31-29 at Paul Brown Stadium, home of the Cincinnati Bengals; West Virginia bowed 20-14 at LSU; and Rutgers fell 17-13 at home to a short-handed North Carolina team that is still missing a dozen players from suspensions amid ongoing NCAA investigations.

Six Pac-10 teams opened conference play with Arizona, Oregon and USC all emerging victorious. The Wildcats had a defensive standoff with California for over 58 minutes before driving the field to take a 10-9 home win over the Golden Bears. The Ducks fell behind 24-17 at Arizona State, but then reeled off 28 unanswered points in a 42-31 victory. And Lane Kiffin became the first USC head coach since Jess Hill in 1951 to begin his Trojan career with four straight wins as the Trojans downed Washington State 50-16.

UCLA wasn't the PAC-10's only big nonconference winner. Stanford ended its 7-game losing streak at Notre Dame with a 37-14 win. The Cardinal ended a 7-game overall losing streak to the Irish with last year's 45-38 win at Stanford.

The Big 12 had some issues but, other than the Texas loss, escaped unscathed. Nebraska managed a 17-3 home win over FCS member South Dakota State, Kansas State needed a last-minute comeback to subdue UCF 17-13, and Oklahoma had that close 31-29 win in Cincinnati. But Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas and Missouri all won by 17 points or more. Colorado, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas Tech were all idle.

UCF's heartbreaking defeat at Kansas State wasn't the only close loss for a CUSA team over the weekend. UAB took Tennessee to double-overtime before losing 32-29. The Blazers missed four field goals in the game, including a 54-yarder with less than a minute to go in regulation. The teams exchanged field goals in the first overtime, but the Volunteers countered UAB's field goal in the second extra period with a 25-yard touchdown pass on first down.

A couple of league games in CUSA saw Houston beat Tulane 42-23 with 3rd-string QB Terrance Broadway starting in place of the injured Case Keenum and Cotton Turner. As a result, the Cougars ran for 175 yards and passed for 174.

Army improved to 3-1 for its best start since 1996 with a 35-21 win at Duke. It was also the Black Knights' first win over the Blue Devils since 1996 (0-2). Army currently has the best record among major independents as Navy is 2-1 and Notre Dame is 1-3.

The computer was 36-13 in picking the past week's winners. It has now picked the winner of 83.3% of all games played this season and nearly 80% of all head-to-head FBS matchups.

STILL UNBEATEN:
Nine teams lost for the first time over the weekend, leaving 25 schools with unblemished records.

STILL WINLESS:
6 teams picked up their first win over the weekend, leaving just 6 winless programs - Akron, Eastern Michigan, FIU, New Mexico, New Mexico State and Western Kentucky.

FBS vs. FCS:
FBS teams went 9-0 vs. FCS schools, and are now 72-6 (.923) in such games this season. Since 2003, FBS teams are 536-48 (.918) vs. FCS teams.

Here are the results of every FBS loss to the FCS this season:
9/4: Jacksonville State 49, Mississippi 48 (2 OT's)
9/4: North Dakota State 6, Kansas 3
9/11: Gardner-Webb 38, Akron 37
9/11: Liberty 27, Ball State 23
9/11: South Dakota 41, Minnesota 38
9/11: James Madison 21, Virginia Tech 16

This year, 85 FBS teams play a total of 90 games against FCS foes. Five schools play two such games - Arizona State, Ball State, San Jose State, Syracuse and Virginia.

STREAKS:
Boise State has streaks of 17 overall wins, 28 regular season wins, 27 home wins, 57 regular season home wins, and 42 straight conference home victories. BSU has never lost at home to a fellow WAC member (36-0). The Broncos' last home loss to a conference foe occurred in 1998 when they were a member of the Big West and fell to Idaho in the final regular season game. The Broncos are 6-1 in their last seven matches against BCS conference schools. Boise State won 37-24 vs. Oregon State.

Alabama has 18 straight wins overall and 28 straight regular season wins. The Tide won 24-20 at Arkansas.

Oklahoma has 33 straight home victories. The Sooners won 31-29 vs. Cincinnati at Paul Brown Stadium.

Utah has 20 straight home wins. The Utes won 56-3 vs. San Jose State.

Western Kentucky has lost 24 straight overall and 29 straight to FBS teams. The Hilltoppers lost 24-12 at USF.

Eastern Michigan has lost 16 straight overall. The Eagles lost 73-20 at Ohio State.

Colorado State ended its' losing streak at 12 games. The Rams won 36-34 vs. Idaho.

Washington State lost its 12th straight game to FBS schools. The Cougars lost 50-16 vs. USC.

NEW COACHES:
Of the 24 new head coaches this year, only 1 is undefeated - Lane Kiffin at USC. Kentucky's Joker Phillips was undefeated going into this past week's slate, but the Wildcats ran into a 48-14 buzzsaw at Florida.