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Strange Saturday Precedes Release Of BCS Standings

by Dave Congrove
October 18, 2009

Florida, Texas and USC barely escaped the upset bug, but it bit Virginia Tech, Ohio State, Nebraska and Kansas on the eve of the first BCS Standings for 2009.

I said in my pre-game report that this week's games would provide the answers to some big questions as we hit the official halfway point of the season. Has Texas belonged in the national title talk? Has Notre Dame improved enough to wage a decent battle with USC? Is Virginia Tech the ACC kingpin? Is Cincinnati the new beast of the Big East?

The answers were "maybe", "no", "apparently not", and "looks like it".

Texas edged Oklahoma 16-13 in the Cotton Bowl. The Sooners lost QB Sam Bradford on their second series, but it was the 5 Sooners' turnovers and the negative 18 rushing yards that ultimately cost them the game.

In South Bend, USC held a 34-14 lead in the 4th quarter and nearly gave it all away. Notre Dame closed the gap to 34-27 with 7:28 left, then spent the last 4:12 moving the ball from its own 22 to the Trojans' 4. The drive ended with 3 consecutive incompletions, the last one coming on the final play of the game. USC has taken 8 straight in the series.

Virginia Tech lost 28-23 at Georgia Tech, but Cincinnati rolled 34-17 at USF on Thursday night.

Ohio State fell 26-18 at Purdue; Nebraska was crushed 31-10 at home by Texas Tech; and Kansas lost 34-30 at Colorado.

Meanwhile, Florida needed a 27-yard FG with 9 seconds left to beat Arkansas 23-20 at "The Swamp". Combined with Alabama's 20-6 home win over South Carolina, the Tide may pick up several more No. 1 votes when the new Coaches' and Harris polls are released on Sunday.

Alabama, however, managed to grab another double-digit victory. The Tide overcame four turnovers to beat South Carolina 20-6.

REALLY?
It's hard to top a 1-win Purdue team beating a 1-loss Ohio State team, but some of Saturday's other games left me shaking my head in wonderment.

After a 5-0 start, Auburn's 21-14 loss at home to Kentucky was the second straight defeat for the Tigers and the first SEC win of the year for the Wildcats.

Clemson crushed the ACC's Atlantic Division leader, Wake Forest, 38-3. And Virginia moved to the front of the Coastal with a 20-9 win at Maryland though the Cavaliers are only 3-3 overall.

Idaho improved to 6-1 overall, 3-0 in the WAC, with a 35-23 home win over Hawaii.

A week after getting dismantled 66-14 at Texas Tech, Kansas State moved to the front of the Big 12 North with a 62-14 home pounding of Texas A&M.

Navy needed overtime to beat SMU 38-35 in Dallas.

The oddest thing I saw all day was the referee in the battle of Techs (Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech) roll the ball on a first-down measurement after the chains were set. That maneuver turned a 4th-and-inches into a first down. I'm not suggesting this was a "cheat", and Georgia Tech would have almost certainly converted on the next play - but I've never seen that done before and I've been covering college football a long time.

EARLY WEEK
Cincinnati won 34-17 at USF on Thursday night. QB Tony Pike injured his wrist just before halftime, then aggravated it on the first series of the second half with his team clinging to a 17-10 lead. But Zach Collaros entered and ran for a 75-yard touchdown on his third play to extend Cincinnati's lead to 24-10. USF should stop agreeing to play on Thursday night - or at least ask Chris Fowler and Erin Andrews not to show up. The Bulls are 1-5 overall on Thursday nights and winless when Fowler and Andrews are working the game.

Another Big East game on Friday night saw Pitt win 24-17 at Rutgers.

Boise State remained undefeated, but the 28-21 win at Tulsa may not be treated kindly by voters in the Coaches' and Harris Polls which are part of the BCS equation. Everyone who votes had an opportunity to watch the Wednesday night game that would have gone to overtime had Tulsa completed a 4th-down pass to a wide open receiver in the closing moments. The computers won't penalize the win as they don't adjust for margin of victory, but the humans have no such limitations and it will be impossible for them to ignore the fact that the Golden Hurricane got clobbered 45-0 by an Oklahoma team that has lost twice.

The marathon college football week started Tuesday with Louisiana-Monroe's 16-10 win over Arkansas State. This used to be battle of Indians vs. Indians, but political correctness has made this a game between Warhawks and Red Wolves. Is 'Warhawks' better than 'Indians', and when did 'Warhawks' become one word? At any rate, the win improved the Warhawks' Sun Belt record to 3-0.

UNBEATEN TEAMS:
Kansas and USF each suffered its first defeat of the year, reducing the unbeaten list to just 7 teams - Alabama, Boise State, Cincinnati, Florida, Iowa, TCU, and Texas.

WINLESS TEAMS:
FAU was the only team to break through with its first win of the season, leaving 6 teams still in search of their first victory of the season - Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Miami (Ohio), New Mexico, Rice and Western Kentucky.

FBS vs. FCS:
The FBS was 1-0 vs. the FCS this week, improving to 80-5 on the year. FBS teams are 455-42 (.915) in such games since 2003.

Here are the results of every FBS loss to the FCS this season:
9/19: Central Arkansas 28, Western Kentucky 7
9/12: New Hampshire 23, Ball State 16. New Hampshire also has wins at Army in 2008 (28-10), Marshall in 2007 (48-35), and Northwestern in 2006 (34-17)
9/5: Richmond 24, Duke 16; William & Mary 26, Virginia 14
9/3: Villanova 27, Temple 24

This year, 87 FBS play a total of 94 games against FCS foes. Duke, Kansas State, Mississippi, North Carolina, N.C. State, Rutgers and USF each play two FCS teams.

STREAKS:
Florida has 16 straight victories. The Gators won 23-20 vs. Arkansas.

Iowa has 11 straight victories. The Hawkeyes won 20-10 at Wisconsin.

Texas has 10 straight victories. The Longhorns won 16-13 vs. Oklahoma in Dallas.

Boise State has streaks of 22 consecutive home wins, 52 consecutive regular season home wins, and 38 straight conference home victories. BSU has never lost at home to a fellow WAC member (32-0). 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 4-1 in their last five matches against BCS conference schools. Boise State won 28-21 at Tulsa.

Oklahoma has 26 straight home victories. The Sooners lost 16-13 vs. Texas in Dallas.

Utah has 10 straight conference wins, and 13 straight home wins. The Utes won 35-15 at UNLV.

Alabama has 19 straight regular season wins. The Tide won 20-6 vs. South Carolina.

Western Kentucky has lost 14 straight overall and 19 straight to FBS teams. The Hilltoppers lost 30-22 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette.

Miami (Ohio) has lost 12 straight overall. The RedHawks lost 28-7 at Ohio.

New Mexico has lost 10 straight overall. The Lobos were idle.

Ball State has lost 9 straight after winning 12 in-a-row. The Cardinals lost 31-17 vs. Bowling Green.

North Texas has lost 14 straight Sun Belt games. The Mean Green lost 44-40 vs. FAU.

NEW COACHES:
(See Coaching Changes for details)

There are 22 new college football coaches in the FBS ranks this season. 18 have secured their first victory. 5 teams have yet to defeat a FBS school (Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Miami (Ohio), New Mexico and Utah State).

TEAM W-L COACH LAST GAME
Army 3-4 Rich Ellerson Lost 27-13 at Temple
Auburn 5-2 Gene Chizik Lost 21-14 at Kentucky
Ball State 0-7 Stan Parrish Lost 31-17 vs. Bowling Green
Boston College 5-2 Frank Spaziani Won 52-20 vs. N.C. State
Bowling Green 3-4 Dave Clawson Won 31-17 at Ball State
*-Clemson 3-3 Dabo Swinney Won 38-3 Wake Forest
Eastern Michigan 0-6 Ron English Lost 28-6 vs. Kent State
Iowa State 4-3 Paul Rhoads Won 24-10 vs. Baylor
Kansas State 4-3 Bill Snyder Won 62-14 vs. Texas A&M
Miami (O.) 0-7 Michael Haywood Lost 28-7 at Ohio
Mississippi State 3-4 Dan Mullen Won 27-6 at Middle Tennessee
New Mexico 0-6 Mike Locksley Idle
New Mexico State 3-4 DeWayne Walker Lost 45-7 at Louisiana Tech
Oregon 5-1 Chip Kelly Idle
Purdue 2-5 Danny Hope Won 26-18 vs. Ohio State
San Diego State 2-4 Brady Hoke Lost 38-28 vs. BYU
Syracuse 2-4 Doug Marrone Idle
Tennessee 3-3 Lane Kiffin Idle
Toledo 4-3 Tim Beckman Won 20-19 vs. Northern Illinois
Utah State 1-5 Gary Andersen Lost 35-32 vs. Nevada
Washington 3-4 Steve Sarkisian Lost 24-17 at Arizona State
Wyoming 4-3 Dave Christensen Lost 10-0 at Air Force
*-Dabo Swinney took over halfway through last season when Tommy Bowden stepped down after a 3-3 start. Swinney was 4-3 over the last 7 games of the season.