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College Football Season

Missouri, Boise St., Utah Clinch;
Five Teams Remain Perfect

by Mike Mitchell and Dave Congrove
November 16, 2008

Missouri clinched the Big 12 North; Boise State claimed at least a share of the WAC; and Utah clinched at least a share of the Mountain West.

Meanwhile, Florida destroyed South Carolina; Maryland took down North Carolina; Oregon State beat Cal; and Notre Dame got revenge on Navy.

The weekend also saw all five unbeaten teams remain that way as Alabama, Boise State, Utah and Ball State all won. Texas Tech was idle.

The Tide rolled to a 32-7 home win over Mississippi State; the Red Raiders were idle; the Broncos romped at Idaho 45-10; the Utes won 63-14 at San Diego State; and Ball State took a 31-16 win at Miami (Ohio) on Tuesday.

Among other top-ranked teams, USC won 45-23 at Stanford; Florida handed former head coach Steve Spurrier his worst loss ever in the 56-6 pasting of South Carolina in Gainesville; Texas rolled over Kansas 35-7, Penn State downed Indiana 34-7, and Ohio State beat Illinois 30-20. Oklahoma was idle.

Missouri's win, in combination with Kansas' 35-7 loss to Texas, locked up the Big 12 North division for the Tigers.

The Big 12 South currently belongs to Texas Tech with a 6-0 conference record. Texas (6-1) and Oklahoma (5-1) are close behind. The Red raiders travel to Norman to face the Sooners next week, and close at home against Baylor. But a win over the Sooners is all Texas Tech needs to secure the title as it already owns the heads-up tie-breaker with the Longhorns.

The SEC championship game has been set since last week - Florida will take on Alabama in Atlanta on December 6.

A 50-game schedule began Tuesday and ran each day through Saturday.

Friday night, Cincinnati moved closer to securing the Big East title with a 28-20 win at Louisville. The Bearcats claimed the "Keg of Nails" and paused Louisville's domination of the series - the Cards had won 5 in-a-row over Cincy, and 9 of the last 10. The series, which began in 1929, is led by Cincinnati 27-20-1. For the season, Louisville has lost three in-a-row to drop to 5-5. Cincinnati has won three straight to improve to 8-2, 4-1 in the conference.

The Bearcats entered the week in a three-way tie for first with Pitt and West Virginia, but control their own destiny as they defeated the Mountaineers last Saturday and host Pitt next week. Cincinnati closes its' Big East schedule at home against Syracuse on November 29 before playing at Hawaii on December 6, giving the school 13 regular season games.

The two leaders of the MAC East went at it on Thursday night in Akron's final game at the 68-year-old Rubber Bowl Stadium. In a game fitting of two teams tied for a division lead, this one took 4 OT's before Buffalo finally prevailed 43-40 over the Zips. Next season, Akron will begin playing in a new facility on campus. Three of Buffalo's last five games, and two of Akron's last five, have been decided in overtime.

In the MAC West, Ball State and Central Michigan are both undefeated in conference play and face each other at Mount Pleasant on Wednesday. The Cardinals took care of business on Tuesday night with a 31-16 win at Miami (Ohio), raising their record to 10-0 for the first time in school history. The Chippewas won 33-30 at Northern Illinois on a 40-yard field goal in overtime, after blowing a 30-6 lead late in the third quarter.

Western Michigan is still mathematically alive in the MAC West after dropping Toledo 27-17, but needs Central Michigan to lose to both Ball State and Eastern Michigan. The Broncos visit Ball State on November 25.

Miami has a 1/2-game lead over Georgia Tech in the ACC Atlantic after its' 16-14 home win over Virginia Tech on Thursday night, but the Hurricanes visit the Yellow Jackets this Thursday night.

Maryland took sole possession of 1st-place in the Atlantic with its' win over the Heels, in conjunction with losses by Florida State and Wake Forest. The 'Noles lost 27-17 at home to Boston College, and Wake Forest lost 21-17 to N.C. State. Boston College, which is a game behind the Terps, visits Wake Forest next Saturday and finishes at home against Maryland on the 29th. Florida State is a 1.2-game back, but goes to Maryland next week.

USC and Oregon State were the only PAC-10 teams with just one conference loss when the week began. USC's loss, however, was to Oregon State so the Trojans need help from the Beaver's opponents. They didn't get it from Cal on Saturday as Oregon State prevailed 34-21 over the Golden Bears, ending a string of five straight wins by the visitor in the series.

In USC's win, the Trojans had to break away from a 17-17 halftime tie to beat Stanford 45-23 and avoid another shocking loss to the Cardinal. Stanford won 24-23 last year in Los Angeles.

Utah has the upper hand in the Mountain West and coinched at least a tie for the conference title with its' 63-14 romp at San Diego State. BYU can tie for the conference title and steal the MWC's top bowl position when it visits the Utes next week. The Cougars won 38-24 at Air Force on Saturday, eliminating the Falcons from title consideration. TCU was idle, but could also tie for the conference lead if BYU Utah and the Horend Frogs beat Air Force at home next week.

In the CUSA East, East Carolina entered the week a game ahead of Marshall, and with a head-to-head win over the Herd. The Pirates lost 21-3 at Southern Miss, but Marshall lost 30-14 at home to UCF. So, East Carolina remains in the lead with a 4-2 conference mark.

In the CUSA West, Tulsa entered the week a 1/2-game in front of over Rice, and a full game over Houston. But the Cougars beat the Golden Hurricane going away, 70-30, avenging last year's 56-7 loss at Tulsa. That leaves the Cougars, Golden Hurricane and idle Rice all tied at 5-1. Houston finishes at Rice on November 29. Tulsa defeated the Owls 63-28 earlier this year.

Louisiana-Lafayette is no longer undefeated in Sun Belt play (4-1), falling 40-29 at FAU (3-2). Unbelievably, the Owls could still repeat as conference champions even though they began the weekend two games behind Louisiana. That's because no one had played more than five conference games in a league where the round-robin schedule gives each team seven. FAU would need Troy to stumble, though, as it has already lost to the Trojans. Arkansas State (2-2) and FIU (3-2) are also still mathematically alive. Troy (4-1) is in the best shape to challenge for the league crown as it sits just a game behind the Ragin' Cajuns and hosts them next weekend. Troy also hosts the Red Wolves in the season finale.

Boise State's 45-10 win at Idaho clinched at least a share of the WAC title, and the conference's top bowl berth. The undefeated Broncos are firmly in the hunt for an at-large BCS bowl bid, and are not completely out of the picture for a title shot.

Michigan fell 21-14 to Northwestern to fall to 3-8 overall, 2-5 in the Big 10. The eight losses are the most in a single season in the 129-year history of the school's football program. Meanwhile, the WIldcats improved to 8-3 and are assured of their best finish since 2000.

Ohio State, Michigan State and Penn State are all 6-1 in the Big 10 and next week's games will determine the final pecking order. The Buckeyes host Michigan, while the Spartans and Nittany Lions go toe-to-toe at Beaver Stadium.

Navy's frantic last-second comeback bid fell short in a 27-21 loss to Notre Dame in Baltimore. The Midshipmen trailed 27-7 before scoring a touchdown with 1:39 left. A successful onside kick led to another touchdown 18 seconds later, and another onside kick put Navy in position to win. But the final drive went nowhere and the Irish became bowl eligible (6-4) while avenging last year's loss in South Bend that ended their 43-game winning streak in the series.

Wisconsin rallied past Minnesota 35-32 in Madison. The Badgers (6-5) became bowl eligible while the Gophers (7-4) lost their third straight game.

Arizona cut a 48-17 4th-quarter deficit to 48-45, before ultimately falling 55-45 at Oregon.

LSU trailed Troy 31-3 in 3rd quarter before scoring the final 37 points of the game for a 40-31 victory.

Vanderbilt became eligible to go to its' first bowl game since the 1982 Hall Of Fame Game. The Commodores started the season 5-0, then dropped four straight, but they were finally able to get over the hump with Saturday's 31-24 upset at Kentucky. A 6-6 record doesn't necessarily secure a bid, but Vanderbilt has two winnable games left on the schedule - home vs. Tennessee next Saturday, and at Wake Forest to end the season.

New Mexico became the first, and only, team to finish its' season this week when it lost 20-6 at Colorado State. The disappointing Lobos (4-8) will miss the postseason after being projected as a 10-2 team in the preseason.

5 teams still remain unbeaten: Alabama, Ball State, Boise State, Texas Tech, and Utah.

Only Hawaii made it through the 2007 regular season unscathed, and the Warriors were blown out 41-10 by Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. It was the first season since 2002 that no team recorded a perfect record.

Boise State was the only team to finish the entire 2006 season undefeated, while Texas did it in 2005. Auburn, USC and Utah all had unblemished records in 2004.

Washington is the only remaining winless team.

Last season, FIU beat North Texas in its final regular season game to avoid being the only winless team. FIU was one of two schools to go winless in 2006 (Duke was the other).

4 teams have yet to defeat a FBS school: SMU, Washington, Washington State and Western Kentucky.

FBS vs. FCS:
The divisions were renamed late in 2006. 1-A was given the new moniker of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) while 1-AA was labeled the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

No games are scheduled this week that match FBS teams with FCS opponents.

FBS teams are 83-2 (.976) against FCS teams this season, and 373-37 (.910) since 2003.

Here are the losses by the FBS so far this season:
Cal Poly 29, San Diego State 27 (Week 1)
New Hampshire 28, Army 10 (Week 2)

This year, 82 different FBS teams will participate in a total of 87 games that will pit the FCS against the FBS. Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Texas Tech and Western Kentucky each play two such games.

ACC teams have more games versus FCS schools than any other conference. Here is the number of FCS games for each conference:

Conference Teams In Conf. Games vs. FCS Avg. Per Team
ACC 12 14 1.167
Big East 8 7 0.875
Big 12 12 10 0.833
Big 10 11 9 0.818
MWC 9 7 0.778
WAC 9 7 0.778
SEC 12 9 0.750
Independents 3 2 0.667
MAC 13 8 0.615
CUSA 12 7 0.583
Sun Belt 9 5 0.555
PAC-10 10 2 0.200
Totals 120 87 0.725

Alabama has won 12 straight games. The Tide beat Mississippi State 32-7.

Texas Tech has won 12 straight games. The Red Raiders were idle.

Utah has won 12 straight games. The Utes won 63-14 at San Diego State.

Ball State has won 10 straight games. The Cardinals beat Miami, Ohio on Tuesday 31-16.

Boise State has won 10 in-a-row overall, 18 consecutive home games, 48 straight regular season home games, and has never lost at home to a fellow WAC conference member (31-0). Overall, the Broncos have won 37 straight conference home games since losing to Idaho in the final game of the 1998 season in the Big West. Boise State won 45-10 at Idaho.

Oklahoma has won 22 straight home games. The Sooners were idle.

BYU has won 18 consecutive home games, but were on the road this week for a 38-24 win at Air Force.

Washington has the longest losing streak in the nation at 12 games, and has lost 8 consecutive home games. The Huskies lost 27-7 at home to UCLA.

SMU has lost 9 overall, 16 straight conference games, 15 consecutive road games, and 20 straight to FBS teams. The Mustangs lost 36-10 at UTEP.

NEW COACHES: The 2007 season featured 24 new head coaches. Nine led their team to a bowl game. This year, there were 18 coaching changes in the offseason, and one more took place when Tommy Bowden stepped down from Clemson on October 13.

Two teams with new coaches have yet to defeat an FBS school - SMU, and Washington State.

Colorado State, Hawaii, Houston, Northern Illinois, SMU, Southern Miss, and Washington State have yet to defeat a team from one of the "big 6" conferences (ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, PAC-10 or SEC).

Arkansas 4-6 Bobby Petrino 11/22, at Mississippi State
Baylor 4-7 Art Briles Defeated Texas A&M 41-21
Colorado State 5-6 Steve Fairchild Defeated New Mexico 20-6
Duke 4-6 David Cutcliffe Lost at Clemson 31-7
Georgia Tech 7-3 Paul Johnson 11/20, vs. Miami (Fla.)
Hawaii 5-5 Greg McMackin 11/22, vs. Idaho
Houston 6-4 Kevin Sumlin Defeated Tulsa 70-30
Michigan 3-8 Rich Rodriguez Lost to Northwestern 21-14
Mississippi 6-4 Houston Nutt Defeated Louisiana-Monroe 59-0
Navy 6-4 Ken Nuimatalolo Lost to Notre Dame (at Baltimore) 27-21
Nebraska 7-4 Bo Pelini Defeated Kansas State 56-28
Northern Illinois 5-5 Jerry Kill Lost to Central Michigan in overtime 33-30
SMU 1-10 June Jones Lost at UTEP 36-10
Southern Miss 5-6 Larry Fedora Defeated East Carolina 21-3
Texas A&M 4-7 Mike Sherman Lost at Baylor 41-21
UCLA 4-6 Rick Neuheisel Won at Washington 27-7
Washington State 1-10 Paul Wulff Lost at Arizona State 31-0
West Virginia 6-3 Bill Stewart 11/22, at Louisville

Midseason Change:      
Clemson 2-2 Dabo Swinney Defeated Duke 31-7

COACHES WHO WON'T BE BACK: The 2008 season wasn't close to being over when jobs started opening up for 2009. Here are the teams with vacancies heading into next season:

Clemson - It was announced on October 13 that Tommy Bowden had agreed to step aside, and left the reigns to Dabo Swinney on an interim basis.

Washington - Ty Willingham was told on October 27 that he was out at the end of the season.

Tennessee - It was revealed on November 3 that Phillip Fulmer had been forced out at Tennessee, effective the end of the season.

Toledo - It was announced on November 3 that Tom Amstutz will be replaced at the end of the year.

Kansas State - It was revealed on November 5 that Ron Prince isn't welcomed back at Kansas State next season, but he will finish the year.


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