Florida Among Five To Fall From Unbeaten List
Mississippi State, Oregon State, Rutgers and Ohio also lose for first time
Eleven teams went into the ninth week of the college football season with unblemished records and only six came out the other side unscathed.
Mississippi State was no match for top-ranked Alabama as the Bulldogs didn't even post a score until there was 4:39 remaining in the game at Tuscaloosa. The 38-7 loss was Mississippi State's fourth straight to the Crimson Tide and its worse since a 38-0 shutout in 2003.
Florida fell 17-9 to Georgia in Jacksonville in what may have been the day's biggest shocker, especially in light of the Bulldogs 35-7 loss at South Carolina and slim escape of Kentucky. The Gators aided Georgia's cause by supplying six turnovers, the last of which was a fumble into the end zone in the closing three minutes when Florida would have had a 1st-and-goal inside the 5 if Jordan Reed hadn't been stripped while trying to hurdle another defender. The Gators would have clinched the SEC East with a win, but now Georgia controls its own destiny.
Oregon State failed in its bid to post a 7-0 record for the first time in school history with a 20-17 loss at Washington, but the Beavers still control their own destiny with upcoming games at Stanford and Oregon in November.
Rutgers was discarded from the undefeated deck in a nonconference game with Kent State. The 35-23 loss ended any longshot chance the Scarlet Knights had of backing into the BCS title game, but doesn't effect their Big East title hopes as they and Louisville still sport perfect conference marks. Louisville, a 34-31 overtime winner over Cincinnati on Friday night, has to visit Rutgers in the final regular season game.
Ohio was a 23-20 loser at Miami (Ohio) as a last-second save failed when QB Tyler Tettleton was sacked on a 1st-and-goal at the RedHawks' 7-yard line on a play that began with only 9 seconds left and no timeouts. The Bobcats could have sent the game to overtime by kicking the field goal, but head coach Frank Solich opted for one more pass play to the end zone. Unfortunately for Ohio fans, Tettleton said he lost track of the timeouts, took too long, and was sacked.
So, the number of undefeated teams has dwindled to six with five weeks remaining in the season (excluding the lone December 8 encounter of Army-Navy). Alabama leads the list that also includes Kansas State, Oregon, Notre Dame, Louisville and bowl-ineligible Ohio State.
Kansas State once again flexed its muscle and tossed aside Texas Tech like the Red Raiders were 98-pound weaklings at Muscle Beach. A close 13-10 advantage at halftime became a 55-24 laugher behind my Heisman Trophy frontrunner, QB Collin Klein, who threw 2 TD passes and ran for 2 more scores.
Oregon drubbed Colorado 70-14 after establishing a 28-0 lead at the end of the 1st quarter and a 56-0 advantage at halftime.
Notre Dame tallied the final 17 points of the game in a 30-13 win at Oklahoma. The Irish were only up 10-6 after three quarters and the game was tied at 13-apiece in the fourth after Oklahoma became the first team this season to score a rushing touchdown on the Notre Dame defense. The loss marks the first time ever in the Bob Stoops era that Oklahoma has lost two home games in a single season and was just the fifth loss in Norman under his watch (79-5).
Louisville survived its home game with Cincinnati by intercepting a pass in overtime and then getting a second chance at kicking the winning 30-yard field goal. The Cardinals trailed 24-14 late in the 3rd quarter before registering 17 straight points to take a 31-24 lead. Cincy tied it at 31-31 with 1:03 to play in regulation to prolong the game. It appeared the game was headed to a second overtime when the snap sailed over the holder's head on the field goal attempt, but Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones had called time out just before the snap to ice the kicker. The following snap was perfect and so was the kick.
In the ineligi-BOWL, a 7-7 defensive battle became a different story in the second half as Ohio State opened up leads of 28-10 and 35-16 at Penn State before prevailing by a final margin of 35-23.
Because both the Buckeyes (9-0, 5-0) and Nittany Lions (5-3, 3-1) are on postseason probation, the Leaders division berth into the conference championship game is Wisconsin's to lose. And that's the case even after the Badgers did lose for the first time in 22 home games, 16-13 in overtime to Michigan State Saturday.
Meanwhile, Nebraska (6-2, 3-1) took over the Legends division with a 23-9 home win over Michigan (5-3, 3-1). The Cornhuskers' closest pursuers are Northwestern (6-2, 3-2) and Iowa (4-4, 2-2), but the path won't be easy for either team to get to the top of the division even though Iowa still has the Wolverines and 'Huskers ahead on the schedule and Northwestern has yet to face Michigan. The Wildcats are hurt by last week's heartbreaking loss to Nebraska, and Iowa gave ground to Northwestern on Saturday with its 28-17 loss in Evanston.
In a pair of key PAC-12 games on Saturday, USC was upset 39-36 at Arizona to drop the Trojans to 6-2 and out of the BCS title hunt. That result opened the door for UCLA which edged Arizona State 45-43 on a 33-yard field goal as time expired. The Bruins are 3-2 in the conference, a half-game back of USC (4-2) and essentially a game up on the Sun Devils (3-2) in the PAC-12 South. UCLA hosts USC on November 17.
Florida State's 48-7 trouncing of Duke on Saturday kept the 'Noles in control of the ACC Atlantic and brought Miami and Virginia Tech solidly back into the ACC Coastal picture. The Blue Devils, 'Canes, Hokies and North Carolina all have a pair of conference losses, but the Tar Heels are ineligible for the ACC Championship game while the Hokies have already beaten both Georgia Tech and Duke and visit Miami on Thursday.
Florida State (8-1, 5-1) and Clemson (7-1, 4-1) are the only ACC teams with fewer than 3 overall losses and less than 2 conference losses. Clemson decked Wake 42-13 on Thursday.
In Conference USA, Central Florida has a minimum 2-game lead on the field in the East division and Tulsa leads the West division. The Knights and Golden Hurricane are the only CUSA teams with perfect league records. UCF won 54-17 at Marshall on Saturday and has already defeated 2nd-place East Carolina. Tulsa was idle this week.
Among Independents, Navy won 56-28 at East Carolina for its fourth straight win and is now back in the bowl picture with a 5-3 record. BYU improved its bowl outlook by rambling to a 41-17 win at Georgia Tech to improve to 5-4. However, Army was eliminated from bowl consideration as a 30-22 home loss to Ball State dropped the Black Knights to 1-7.
In the MAC, Kent State has sole possession of the lead in the East division while Northern Illinois and Toledo are tied for the West division's top spot. The Golden Flashes have never played in the MAC Championship game since its inception in 1997 and have just 1 MAC title to their credit (1972).
Boise State is the only team with an undefeated record in Mountain West conference play. The Broncos have a 1/2-game edge on Fresno State, San Diego State and Air Force and don't have to face the Falcons. Boise State hosts the Aztecs next Saturday after winning 45-14 at Wyoming this week. Air Force was 48-31 upset winner at home over Nevada on Friday.
Georgia and Alabama are currently on course for an SEC Championship collision. The 'Dawgs only have to hold serve over Ole Miss at home and hapless Auburn on the road. It's much more difficult for Alabama which goes to LSU next Saturday and still has to host Texas A&M before entertaining rival Auburn in the regular season finale.
For the second consecutive week, the slate opened on Tuesday night and once again Louisiana-Lafayette lost a Sun Belt battle. Two weeks ago, the Ragin' Cajuns journeyed to North Texas and blew a 20-6 lead to lose 30-23. This week, ULL was blown out 50-27 on its home field by Arkansas State.
Louisiana-Monroe is the only Sun Belt team with an unblemished conference record and the only one which controls its own destiny.
Utah State and Louisiana Tech are 3-0 and 2-0 in WAC play, respectively, and could determine the title when they meet in Ruston, Louisiana on November 17. At 2-1, San Jose State isn't out of the race but has already lost to the Aggies.
WEEKEND PREVIEW FOLLOW-UP:
I mentioned in my preview article that Minnesota had played three Big Ten games and lost all three while scoring 13 points in each of them. Well, the Golden Gophers broke out of that mold on Saturday and rolled 44-28 over Purdue for just their fifth conference win in the last three seasons and their first win over the Boilermakers since 2009.
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER:
North Carolina sunk rival N.C. State 43-35 with an 18-0 fourth quarter that culminated with Gio Bernard's 74-yard punt return for the winning score with only 13 seconds remaining in the game.
A 1-yard TD pass with 12 seconds left lifted Texas to a 21-17 win at Kansas and allowed the Longhorns to escape the embarrassment of becoming the team to end the Jayhawks' losing streaks of 17 straight FBS games and 17 straight conference games.
FAU upset Troy 34-27 on a 22-yard TD pass with 17 seconds remaining in Boca Raton. The Trojans had just gone ahead 27-26 on a 31-yard run with 1:49 left. The win was FAU's first in Sun Belt play since November 13, 2010, breaking strings of 14 consecutive conference losses, 7 FBS losses and 6 losses overall.
FBS vs. FCS:
FBS teams are 89-10 (.899) on the year vs. FCS teams and are 727-65 (.918) in such games since 2003.
No such matchups took place this week.
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.
Here are the results of the FBS losses to FCS schools this season:
9/29: Stony Brook 23, Army 3
9/15: Cal Poly 24, Wyoming 22
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
Alabama - Won 12 straight overall. Won 38-7 vs. Mississippi State on Saturday.
Oregon - Won 11 straight overall and 13 straight road games. Won 70-14 vs. Colorado on Saturday.
Northern Illinois - Won 13 straight conference games (MAC), 19 straight home games and 8 straight overall. Won 48-34 at Western Michigan on Saturday.
LSU - Won 22 straight home games and 41 straight nonconference games. Idle this week.
Wisconsin - Saw 21-game home winning streak come to an end. Lost 16-13 in OT vs. Michigan State on Saturday.
Southern Miss - Lost 8 straight overall. Lost 44-17 at Rice on Saturday.
Akron - Lost 24 straight road games, 19 straight FBS games and 13 straight conference games (MAC). Lost 35-14 at Central Michigan on Saturday.
Kansas - Lost 17 straight FBS games, 17 straight conference games and 16 straight road games. Lost 21-17 vs. Texas on Saturday.
UNLV - Lost 20 straight road games. Lost 24-13 at San Diego State 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:
||Terry Bowden (1-8)
||Lost 35-14 Saturday at Central Michigan
||Rich Rodriguez (5-3)
||Won 39-36 Saturday vs. USC
||Todd Graham (5-3)
||Lost 45-43 Saturday vs. UCLA
||John L. Smith (3-5)
||Lost 30-27 Saturday vs. Mississippi (Little Rock)
||Gus Malzahn (5-3)
||Won 50-27 Tuesday at Louisiana-Lafayette
||Jim McElwain (2-6)
||Won 42-27 Saturday vs. Hawaii
||Carl Pellini (2-6)
||Won 34-27 Saturday vs. Troy
||Tim DeRuyter (6-3)
||Won 49-32 Saturday at New Mexico
||Norm Chow (1-6)
||Lost 42-27 Saturday at Colorado State
||Tony Levine (4-4)
||Won 45-35 Saturday vs. UTEP
||Tim Beckman (2-6)
||Lost 31-17 Saturday vs. Indiana
||Charlie Weis (1-7)
||Lost 21-17 Saturday vs. Texas
||Charley Molnar (0-8)
||Lost 49-7 Saturday at Vanderbilt
||Justin Fuente (1-7)
||Lost 44-17 Saturday at SMU
||Hugh Freeze (5-3)
||Won 30-27 Saturday vs. Arkansas (Little Rock)
||Bob Davie (4-5)
||Lost 49-32 Saturday vs. Fresno State
||Larry Fedora (6-3)
||Won 43-35 Saturday vs. N.C. State
||Urban Meyer (9-0)
||Won 35-23 Saturday at Penn State
||Bill O'Brien (5-3)
||Lost 35-23 Saturday vs. Ohio State
||Paul Chryst (4-4)
||Won 47-17 Saturday vs. Temple
||Kyle Flood (7-1)
||Lost 35-23 Saturday vs. Kent State
||Ellis Johnson (0-8)
||Lost 44-17 Saturday at Rice
||Kevin Sumlin (6-2)
||Won 63-21 Saturday at Auburn
||Matt Campbell (8-1)
||Won 25-20 Saturday at Buffalo
||Curtis Johnson (2-6)
||Won 55-45 Saturday vs. UAB
||Garrick McGee (1-7)
||Lost 55-45 Saturday at Tulane
||Jim Mora (6-2)
||Won 45-43 Saturday at Arizona State
||Mike Leach (2-6)
||Lost 24-17 Saturday at Stanford