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College Football Season

Weekend Recap:
Oklahoma Obliterates Texas Tech

by Mike Mitchell and Dave Congrove
November 23, 2008

Conference championships at-a-glance
ACC: Boston College (Atlantic) and Virginia Tech (Coastal) control their destiny.
Big East: Cincinnati controls its' destiny.
Big 10: Penn State clinched BCS bid; conference co-champs with Ohio State.
Big 12: Missouri (North) vs. Oklahoma, Texas or Texas Tech.
CUSA: East Carolina will represent the East; Houston controls its' destiny in the West.
MAC: Buffalo will represent the East; Ball State controls its' destiny in the West.
MWC: Utah won outright title.
PAC-10: Oregon State controls its' destiny for Rose Bowl berth.
SEC: Florida (East) vs. Alabama (West).
Sun Belt: Troy controls its' destiny.
WAC: Boise State won outright title.

Weekend Recap
Oklahoma obliterated Texas Tech 65-21 in the week's top BCS-related matchup. The No. 5 Sooners stormed to a 42-7 halftime lead and finished with over 600 yards of offense. The Red Raiders would have clinched the Big 12 South division title with a win, but now find themselves as the last team in the discussion in a three-way tie with the Sooners and Texas. All are 10-1 overall, 6-1 in the conference.

If all three win next week, the higher-ranked team in the BCS Standings would face Missouri in the conference championship game. Texas Tech's only chance of advancing is an Oklahoma State upset of the Sooners in Stillwater next Saturday. Texas hosts Texas A&M on Thanksgiving Day, and Texas Tech hosts Baylor on Saturday.

No. 4 Florida is oft-mentioned in the discussion of teams likely to advance to the BCS title game. The Gators probably didn't hurt themselves on Saturday, even though they played FCS member The Citadel, because they won 70-19.

Several of the top-ranked teams sat on the sidelines this week as No. 1 Alabama, No. 3 Texas and No. 6 USC were idle.

Other games from this week determined that Penn State is the Big Ten's automatic BCS bowl entrant; Utah is the Mountain West champ; and Boise State is restored as king of the WAC after bowing to Hawaii last year; Buffalo will play for the MAC title as champions from the East division; and East Carolina will play for the CUSA title as champions from the East division. We already knew that Alabama and Florida will play for the SEC title; and Missouri will play for the Big 12 title.

Yet to be decided are both division races in the ACC, the Big East, Big 12 South, CUSA West, MAC West, PAC-10, and Sun Belt.

Penn State (11-1, 7-1) punched a Rose Bowl ticket with a 49-18 home rout of Michigan State. Earlier in the day, Ohio State dusted Michigan 42-7 as Big Blue's first season under Rich Rodriguez ended with the most losses ever in a single season by the storied program. The modest lopsided result in the past 40 years of the rivalry left the Wolverines at 3-9 and in the midst of a five-game losing streak for the first time in school history.

Utah (12-0, 8-0) secured the outright Mountain West title, and a likely at-large BCS bowl berth, with a 48-24 destruction at home over rival BYU (10-2, 6-2).

Boise State (11-0, 7-0) claimed the outright WAC title with a 41-34 win at Nevada (6-5, 4-3), but is obviously playing for something bigger than securing a Humanitarian Bowl bid. A win at home against Fresno State next week means an undefeated season, but Utah's success will almost surely keep the Broncos from advancing to a BCS bowl game.

In last week's BCS Standings, Utah was ranked the highest of all the teams from non-traditional BCS conferences that are vying for the coveted spot. Entering the week, Utah was ranked 7th, Boise State 9th, BYU 14th, TCU 16th, and Ball State 17th. TCU beat Air Force 44-10 on Saturday, and Ball State won earlier in the week. BYU, of course, lost to the Utes.

The only "outsiders" to play in past BCS bowl games are Utah, Boise State and Hawaii. The Utes (2004) and Broncos (2006) each played in Fiesta Bowls, and Hawaii played in last season's Sugar Bowl.

The champions of the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, PAC-10 and SEC automatically qualify their champions, but one additional conference champion from CUSA, MAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt, WAC can also automatically qualify if:

(1) ranked among the top 12 teams in the final BCS standings; or

(2) ranked among the top 16 teams in the final BCS standings and ranked higher than the champion of one of the conferences whose champion has an annual automatic berth in a BCS bowl.

North Carolina (7-4, 3-4) had all kinds of trouble with rival N.C. State (5-6, 3-4). The line favored the Tar Heels by 11, and the computer had them as a 15-point choice, but the Wolfpack won 41-10 and eliminated North Carolina from the Coastal division race in the ACC. N.C. State has won 3 straight games and can become bowl eligible with a home win over Miami next week.

Virginia was also eliminated from the Coastal race with a 13-3 loss at home to Clemson. The Cavs and Tigers both need wins over their arch-rivals in their final games to become bowl eligible. Clemson hosts South Carolina. Virginia visits Virginia Tech which controls its' destiny in the Coastal, and will return to the ACC Championship with a win over the Cavaliers. The Hokies overcame five 1st-half turnovers to beat Duke 14-3 and eliminate the Blue Devils from bowl consideration.

Miami entered Thursday night's game in control of its' own destiny for the Coastal title, but allowed 470 yards as Georgia Tech crushed the 'Canes 41-23. The game wasn't even as close as that sounds as the Yellow Jackets built a 41-10 lead through three quarters. The victory was the fourth straight for the Yellow Jackets over the Hurricanes, and snapped Miami's 5-game winning streak. The Ramblin' Wreck have taken 8-of-10 from Miami dating back to 1970.

The Atlantic division is down to Boston College or Florida State. The Eagles eliminated Wake Forest with a 24-21 win in Winston-Salem, and Florida State eliminated Maryland with a 37-3 shelling of the Terps in College Park. Boston College returns to the ACC Championship game if it beats Maryland at home next Saturday, and Florida State walks in the back door if the Eagles lose to the Terrapins.

Cincinnati controls its' destiny in the Big East after a 28-20 home win over Pitt. The Bearcats would snare the conference's automatic BCS bid with a home win over Syracuse next Saturday. West Virginia, which won 35-21 at Louisville, can steal the bid if Cincinnati loses next week and the Mountaineers defeat Pitt and USF in their final two games. If the conference should end with three or more teams tied for first - and it could happen - the bid would go to the team with the highest ranking in the final BCS Standings.

East Carolina clinched Conference USA's East division with a 17-13 win at UAB.

Houston (7-4, 6-1), Rice (8-3, 6-1) and Tulsa (9-2, 6-1) are tied for the CUSA West lead and one will likely host the conference championship game. The Cougars beat UTEP 42-37 and will claim the division title if they beat Rice next week.. The Owls beat Marshall 35-10 and can win the division by beating Houston, but only if Tulsa loses to Marshall next week. The Golden Hurricane clobbered Tulane 56-7 and win the division if they beat Marshall, but only if Houston loses to Rice.

On Friday night, Buffalo (7-4, 5-2) rallied from a 27-7 deficit in the 3rd quarter to clinch the MAC East with a 40-34 win in double overtime at Bowling Green (5-6, 3-4). The Bulls completed their comeback by scoring two touchdowns in the final 2:29 of regulation, and a 25-yard run in the second overtime netted the victory. It was Buffalo's fifth straight win after starting the season 2-4. In three seasons, Turner Gill has taken Buffalo from perennial doormat to the cusp of a conference championship. The Bulls were 10-69 in seven seasons before his arrival in 2006. Gill's first season resulted in a rough 2-10, 1-7 MAC campaign, but Buffalo is 12-11 overall and 10-5 in the MAC over the last two seasons.

Part of Buffalo's success goes to its mastery of overtime. Four of its' last six games have gone extra distance, and Buffalo is 3-1 in those contests with victories in the last three. The last two games went to 4 OT's and 2 OT's, respectively, giving Buffalo 32 quarters of football in its' last six contests, or an average of 5.33 quarters per game.

Ball State (11-0, 7-0) scored the final 14 points of the game to rally to a 31-24 win over Central Michigan on Wednesday night, thwarting the Chippewas' run for a third straight MAC title. Ball State, ranked 17th in the BCS Standings, will host Western Michigan on November 25 for a chance to win the division and face Buffalo for the MAC title. Oh yeah, an undefeated season will also be on the line for the Cardinals. Central Michigan was eliminated from the division title race as the best it can do is tie Ball State's conference record but lose out on the head-to-head tie-breaker. However, the Chippewas (8-3, 6-1) still have to be considered as a lock for a bowl bid.

Western Michigan (9-2, 6-1) is still alive in the MAC West title chase, but because they have already lost to Central Michigan, the Broncos need Central Michigan to lose at home to Eastern Michigan on November 28. That game comes three days after Western Michigan visits Ball State on November 25th which, of course, the Broncos must win.

Oregon State (8-3, 7-1) beat Arizona 19-17 on a 24-yard field goal as time expired, and the Beavers can claim the PAC-10's Rose Bowl berth with a home victory over rival Oregon in the "Civil War" on December 6. Interestingly, USC (9-1, 7-1) could go to the national championship game as the conference's No. 2 bowl qualifier while Oregon State gets the conference's automatic top bid due to its' earlier win over the Trojans. USC or Oregon State could also still win the conference title outright. The Trojans would need to win at UCLA on December 6 and have Oregon State lose to the Ducks. Oregon State gets the outright title if it beats Oregon, and the Trojans lose to the Bruins.

Troy (7-4, 5-1) took command of the Sun Belt as it rolled to a 48-3 home win over Louisiana-Lafayette (5-6, 4-2). The Trojans can in the title outright with a home victory over Arkansas State on December 6. The Red Wolves (5-5, 3-2) beat FAU 28-14 to eliminate the Owls (5-6, 3-3) from repeating as conference champions. FIU (4-6, 3-3) was also eliminated with a 31-27 loss at home to Louisiana-Monroe. Arkansas State can win the conference's automatic bid to the New Orleans Bowl if it finishes with wins at North Texas and Troy. Louisiana-Lafayette could still wind up in a three-way tie with Troy and Arkansas State. As each team would be 1-1 against the others, the tie would be broken by their records against the fourth-place team, fifth-pace team, etc. until the tie is broken. If none of that settles the issue, the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation would decide who receives the New Orleans Bowl invitation.

Other Games Of Interest

Tennessee salvaged a modicum of respect from this season by handing Vanderbilt a 20-10 setback in Nashville. The Commodores are just 1-5 in their last six games after starting the season 5-0.

LSU lost 31-13 at home to Ole Miss and slipped into 3rd place in the SEC West, behind the Rebels. Houston Nutt coached Mississippi to wins in the same season over both of the most-recent BCS champions - Florida and LSU. Ole Miss is currently 7-4 after going 3-9 last season.

Northwestern beat Illinois 27-10 to prevent the Illini from becoming bowl eligible a year after they played in the Rose Bowl.

Iowa walloped Minnesota 55-0 as the Hawkeyes finished the season with three straight wins, and five wins in their last six games. The Hawkeyes finished 8-4 overall, 5-3 in the Big 10. For the Golden Gophers, it was their fourth straight loss to end the season 7-5 overall, 3-5 in the Big 10, after getting off to a 7-1 start.

Notre Dame saw its' bowl stock become severely diminished with a 24-23 home loss to lowly Syracuse. The Irish fell to 6-5 and conclude the season at USC next Saturday. Frustrated fans - mostly Notre Dame students - pelted their own team with snowballs during the game despite repeated pleas to stop from the public address announcer.

Washington is one game away from a winless season after a 16-13 loss at rival Washington State in the Apple Cup. It was the first win of the season over a FCS team for the Cougars.

UNLV (5-7, 2-6) blew its' chance to become bowl eligible, losing 42-21 at lowly San Diego State (2-10, 1-7) as the Aztecs captured their first conference win on their last opportunity to do so.

On Friday night, Fresno State (7-5, 4-3) made itself more bowl attractive with a 24-10 win over San Jose State (6-6, 4-4). The Spartans ended their season with three straight losses.

The college football week got underway Tuesday night with very little fanfare as Northern Illinois became bowl eligible with a 42-14 rout at Kent State. In his first season as head coach, Jerry Kill has helped guide the Huskies (6-5, 5-3 MAC West) to a 4-win improvement over the 2007 record of 2-10 in Joe Novak's final season. NIU will host Navy in a non-conference home game next Tuesday.

25 teams played their final regular season game - Air Force, BYU, Colorado State, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State, Louisiana-Monroe, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, San Diego State, San Jose State, Stanford, TCU, UNLV, Utah, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

New Mexico finished its' season last week.

The week ended Sunday night with USF (7-4, 2-4) beating Connecticut (7-4, 3-3) 17-13 in Tampa.

4 teams still remain unbeaten: Alabama, Ball State, Boise State, 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).

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

Washington State beat Washington 16-13 in 2 OT's on Saturday to give the Cougars their first win over a FCS team this season.

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).

Two games were scheduled this week that matched FBS teams with FCS opponents, and they were the final such games of the year. Florida beat The Citadel 70-19, but Wisconsin didn't have it so easy as Cal Poly missed an extra point in overtime and the Badgers later scored, and converted their PAT, for a 36-35 escape. Cal Poly missed a total of three PAT's in the game. The Mustangs were the No. 3 team last week in the FCS rankings and defeated FBS member San Diego State in the opening week of the season.

FBS teams went 85-2 (.977) against FCS teams this season, and are 375-37 (.910) since 2003.

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

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

ACC teams played 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

Utah has won 13 straight games. The Utes beat BYU 48-24.

Alabama has won 12 straight games. The Tide was idle this week, and host Auburn on November 29.

Texas Tech had its' 12-game winning streak snapped in a 65-21 loss at Oklahoma.

Ball State has won 11 straight games. The Cardinals won 31-24 at Central Michigan on Wednesday.

Boise State has won 11 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 41-34 at Nevada.

Oklahoma has won 23 straight home games. The Sooners beat Texas Tech at home 65-21.

BYU has won 18 consecutive home games. The Cougars lost at Utah 48-24.

Washington has the longest losing streak in the nation at 13 games, and has lost 8 consecutive home games. The Huskies fell 16-13 at Washington State in the Apple Cup rivalry.

SMU has lost 9 overall, 16 straight conference games, 15 consecutive road games, and 20 straight to FBS teams. The Mustangs are idle, and host Southern Miss on November 29.

Iowa State has lost 10 straight overall, and 17 consecutive road games. The Cyclones lost 38-30 at Kansas State.

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.

Only one team with a new coach has yet to defeat an FBS school - SMU.

Arkansas 4-7 Bobby Petrino Lost at Mississippi State 31-28
Baylor 4-7 Art Briles 11/29, at Texas Tech
Colorado State 6-6 Steve Fairchild Won at Wyoming 31-20
Duke 4-7 David Cutcliffe Lost at Virginia Tech 14-3
Georgia Tech 8-3 Paul Johnson Defeated Miami (Fla.) 41-23
Hawaii 6-5 Greg McMackin Defeated Idaho 49-17
Houston 7-4 Kevin Sumlin Defeated UTEP 42-37
Michigan 3-9 Rich Rodriguez Lost at Ohio State 42-7
Mississippi 7-4 Houston Nutt Won at LSU 31-13
Navy 6-4 Ken Nuimatalolo 11/25, at Northern Illinois
Nebraska 7-4 Bo Pelini 11/28, vs. Colorado
Northern Illinois 6-5 Jerry Kill Won at Kent State 42-14
SMU 1-10 June Jones 11/29, vs. Southern Miss
Southern Miss 5-6 Larry Fedora 11/29, at SMU
Texas A&M 4-7 Mike Sherman 11/27, at Texas
UCLA 4-6 Rick Neuheisel 11/28, at Arizona State
Washington State 2-10 Paul Wulff Defeated Washington 16-13 in 2 OT's
West Virginia 7-3 Bill Stewart Won at Louisville 35-21

Midseason Change:      
Clemson 3-2 Dabo Swinney Won at Virginia 13-3

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 - Announced October 13 that Tommy Bowden had agreed to step down. Dabo Swinney became interim head coach.

Washington - Announced October 27 that Ty Willingham was fired, effective October 27.

Tennessee - Announced November 3 that Phillip Fulmer was forced out, effective the end of the season.

Toledo - Announced on November 3 that Tom Amstutz will step down at the end of the year.

Kansas State - Announced November 5 that Ron Prince was fired, effective the end of the season.

Syracuse - Announced November 16 that Greg Robinson was fired, effective the end of the season.

Utah State - Announced November 17 that Brent Guy was fired, effective the end of the season.

New Mexico - Announced November 17 that Rocky Long stepped down, effective immediately. The Lobos' season is over.

Wyoming - Fired Joe Glenn November 23.

San Diego State - Fired Chuck Long November 23.

Purdue - Joe Tiller announced in January that this would be his last season, and former assistant Danny Hope was hired away from Eastern Kentucky to become his successor. Tiller is 86-62 in 12 seasons at Purdue, and is 125-92-1 when you include his 6 seasons at Wyoming from 1991-1996. Purdue is just 3-8 (1-6, Big Ten) this year and hosts rival Indiana (also 3-8, 1-6) for the Old Oaken Bucket on Saturday.


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