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West Virginia, Missouri, Ohio State
Jump to the Front of the Pack

by Mike Mitchell
November 25, 2007

Note to LSU - don't let a game go to three overtimes.

Arkansas handed LSU its second loss this season, and both occurred in triple-overtime. The Razorbacks intercepted the Tigers' two-point conversion pass to seal the 50-48 stunner in Baton Rouge on Friday. LSU's only other loss this season also occurred in triple-overtime when it fell 43-37 at Kentucky on October 13.

The loss by the No. 1 team in the BCS Standings helped to continue a feeding frenzy for a spot in the BCS title game, and laid the foundation for another fantastic Saturday in college football.

No. 2 Kansas failed to seize the opportunity to ascend to the top slot when the Jawhawks lost 36-28 to No. 4 Missouri. The annual Border Showdown became the Big 12 North championship game and a playoff game on the road to the BCS title. Kansas trailed 28-7 before mounting a furious fourth quarter rally that closed the gap to 34-28 with 2:03 left, but Missouri recovered the ensuing onside kick. Only 17 seconds remained when Kansas finally got the ball back on its own 11-yard line and the Tigers promptly came up with a sack for a safety.

Missouri will play Oklahoma next week for the Big 12 title. The Sooners clinched the Big 12 south division with a 49-17 home rout of Oklahoma State.

Thanks to the losses by LSU and Kansas, No. 3 West Virginia will almost certainly be No. 1 when the new BCS Standings are released Sunday evening after the Mountaineers rolled over Connecticut 66-21 to win the Big East title. West Virginia only led 24-14 at halftime, but scored 42 unanswered points after intermission before the Huskies managed a touchdown with just 1:29 left in the game.

No. 5 Ohio State should move up to No. 3. The Buckeyes were safe at home on Saturday, watching the action unfold on TV. Ohio State completed an 11-a campaign with a win at rival Michigan last week.

Several other weekend games determined division or conference champions.

Tennessee blew all of a 31-14 third-quarter lead but managed to beat Kentucky for the 23rd straight time, 52-50, in four overtimes. Kentucky tied the game on a chip-shot field goal on the final play of regulation and had a chance to claim victory in the second overtime, but had a 35-yard field goal attempt blocked. The Vols won when the Wildcats failed to convert their two-point conversion attempt in the fourth OT. The win clinched the SEC East for Tennessee and the Volunteers will face LSU in the conference championship game in Atlanta next Saturday.

Georgia was a 31-17 winner at Georgia Tech, and the Bulldogs would have backed into the SEC Championship if Tennessee had completed its collapse at Kentucky.

Virginia Tech outscored Virginia 10-0 in the fourth quarter and beat the Cavaliers 33-21 to capture the ACC Coastal division title. The Hokies get a rematch with Boston College for the conference championship next Saturday in Jacksonville. The Eagles defeated Virginia Tech 14-10 on October 25th when they scored 14 points in the final 2:11 of the game.

Boston College defeated Miami 28-14 for its first win over the Hurricanes since the Doug Flutie Hail Mary in 1984. The Eagles ended a 15-game losing streak to Miami and kept the 'Canes (5-7) out of the bowl season for the first time since 1997, and just the third time since 1983.

The CUSA championship will be played in Orlando next Saturday between Central Florida and Tulsa, a rematch of the 2005 title game won by Tulsa. UCF claimed the CUSA East division, beating UTEP 36-20 in Orlando. The Golden Hurricane held off Rice 48-43 in Houston to take the West division in head coach Todd Graham's first season. Graham was the head coach at Rice last season. The Golden Hurricane had 592 yards of total offense in the win, but allowed 697. The teams combined for 979 yards passing with Tulsa throwing for 443 and Rice tossing for 536.

BYU clinched its second consecutive Mountain West title with a 17-10 home win over rival Utah. The Cougars trailed 10-9 before they scored the game-winning touchdown with just 38 seconds left in the game. Brigham Young has won 15 straight Mountain West contests.

Without the services of QB Dennis Dixon at its disposal, the Oregon Ducks have waddled off into the sunset. Oregon lost its No. 2 ranking and a shot at the BCS title game when it fell at Arizona two weeks ago after Dixon was lost for the season with a torn ACL. On Saturday, Oregon also lost backup quarterback Brady Leaf late in the first quarter and UCLA handed the Ducks a 16-0 defeat in Pasadena for their first shutout loss since 1985.

Oregon's loss to UCLA, combined with USC's Thursday night win over Arizona State, means the Trojans control their own destiny and only need to defeat the rival Bruins next Saturday to land the PAC-10's automatic bid to a BCS bowl game, most likely the Rose Bowl. Arizona State would have claimed the PAC-10 title with the combination of a win on Thursday and the Oregon loss on Saturday.

In its 44-24 win over the Sun Devils, USC scored 27 unanswered points after Arizona State knotted the game at 17-apiece with 11:29 to play in the second quarter.

The Bruins became bowl eligible with their win, and the weekend results also give UCLA a chance to take the conference title with the combination of an upset over USC next week and an Arizona State loss to Arizona.

On Friday, Hawaii won its first outright WAC title in school history while halting Boise State's stranglehold on the crown. The Warriors improved to 11-0 over-all with the 39-27 win in Honolulu. Hawaii will finish the season next week at home against Washington. Whether or not the Warriors will receive enough votes to garner a BCS bid remains to be seen, and any chance at all will hinge on defeating the Huskies to finish unbeaten. Hawaii was only 15th in last week's BCS Standings while placing 13th in both voter polls. The Warriors' average placement among the six computer components was 22nd.

Boise State finished the season at 10-2. The loss was just the second in the last 48 WAC games for the Broncos who are 52-4 all-time in the conference. Boise State had won six straight meetings with Hawaii since a 34-19 loss in 1999.

Texas likely played its way out of the Big 12 title game with a 38-30 upset loss at Texas A&M. The Longhorns never led, and trailed 38-17 after a Texas A&M touchdown pass with 11:39 left to play. Texas' attempt at a late comeback fell short of preventing the Aggies' second consecutive win over their fiercest rival. But the Texas A&M win could not save head coach Dennis Franchione's job as head coach.

Franchione resigned less than an hour after the contest and will not coach the Aggies (7-5) in a bowl game. He had been under considerable fire all season and ended his five-year tenure with a record of 32-28. Under his watch, Texas A&M was a lackluster 19-21 in Big 12 games and 3-12 against rivals Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Texas. Defensive coordinator Gary Darnell was named interim coach for whatever bowl game Texas A&M gets invited to.

Oklahoma controls its own destiny and can clinch the outright Big 12 South division title with a win at home over Oklahoma State on Saturday. However, an Oklahoma loss would create a three-way tie between the Sooners, Longhorns and Cowboys. In that instance, the team ranked highest among them in the final BCS Standings would advance to the title game.

After trailing 35-24 at halftime, Colorado reeled off 34 unanswered points to take a commanding 58-35 lead and went on to thrash the Nebraska Cornhuskers 65-51.The teams combined for 30 points in the final 4:16 of the contest. Colorado became bowl eligible at 6-6.

Nebraska head coach Bill Callahan was fired Saturday morning after his team finished 5-7 while allowing an opponent to post over 40 points for the sixth time this season. The Cornhuskers allowed 455 points in their 12 regular season games this year. It took Nebraska 23 games prior to the start of this season to surrender 452 points. Prior to Bill Callahans's arrival as head coach, the 'Huskers had gone to a bowl game in 35 consecutive seasons. With Callahan at the helm, Nebraska has missed the postseason twice in four years.

Meanwhile, Mississippi State rallied from a 14-0 deficit in the final 7:51 and beat Ole Miss 17-14 on a 48-yard field goal with 12 seconds left. The victory improved the Bulldogs final record to 7-5 over-all, 4-4 in the SEC for their first winning season since 2000. The Rebels dropped to 3-9 over-all, 0-8 in the SEC for their fourth consecutive losing season. The last three came under the guidance of Ed Orgeron who was promptly fired Saturday morning. The Rebels were just 10-25 over-all, 3-21 in the SEC, in Orgeron's three seasons at the helm.

Central Michigan sunk Akron 35-32 when it scored the game-winning touchdown with 1:31 remaining to be played. The Chippewas will face Miami (Ohio) next week in the MAC championship game.

In other Friday games, Wyoming lost 36-28 at Colorado State and Toledo was rocked 37-10 at Bowling Green as the Rams and Rockets both failed in their final bids to become bowl eligible. Both teams finished 5-7 as the Cowboys lost their last four games and the Rockets dropped their final two. Bowling Green concluded the season at 8-4 to secure the best over-all record of any MAC team, but the Falcons had already been eliminated from the MAC title game. Colorado State ended its season at just 3-9.

The college football week began Tuesday with another Trojan team, Troy, cruising past Middle Tennessee State 45-7 in a Sun Belt conference clash. Troy's home game with FAU next week became the Sun Belt Conference championship game after FAU romped over rival FIU 55-23 on Saturday night in the next-to-last game that will ever be played at the famed Orange Bowl.

For the second straight week, Nevada failed to become bowl eligible when it was upset 27-24 at San Jose State. Now, the winner of next week's game in Reno between the Wolf Pack and Louisiana Tech will become 6-6 while the loser will definitely stay home.

OTHER BOWL SITUATIONS
Memphis improved to 7-5 with a 55-5 win in triple-overtime over SMU and accepted a bid to the New Orleans Bowl which it won in 2003. The Tigers won 5 of their last 6 games after a 2-4 start.

The winner of Maryland at N.C. State was going to become bowl eligible and the Terrapins made an emphatic statement with a 37-0 whitewashing of the Wolfpack.

Miami (Ohio) lost 38-29 at Ohio and fell to 6-6 over-all. Despite having clinched a berth in the MAC title game, the RedHawks would still miss the bowl season if they don't win the conference championship game next week against Central Michigan. Ohio became bowl eligible with the win at 6-6.

South Carolina dropped to 6-6 with a 23-21 loss at home to Clemson. The Tigers won on a 35-yard field goal as time expired to hand the Gamecocks their 9th loss in the last 11 games of the series. After a 6-1 start, South Carolina could easily be left out of the bowl picture thanks to a five-game losing streak to end the season.

Alabama is another team from the SEC that is bowl eligible at 6-6 but may not receive a bid. The Crimson Tide lost 17-10 at Auburn to end the season with four straight losses. It was also their sixth consecutive loss to the Tigers.

Vanderbilt had four chances to become bowl eligible after improving to 5-3 on October 27 with a non-conference win over Miami (Ohio). But Saturday's 31-17 home loss to Wake Forest left the Commodores at 5-7 and out of the bowl picture once again. Vanderbilt has not been to a bowl game since 1982 and has only been to three bowl games in its history.

Kansas State also had four chances to become bowl eligible, but lost each of its final four games. The Wildcats lost 45-29 at Fresno State on Saturday.

Louisiana-Monroe became bowl eligible at 6-6 with a 17-11 win at rival Louisiana-Lafayette and secured their first non-losing season since 1993.

NEW RECORDS
Colt Brennan's 5 TD passes vs. Boise State made him the NCAA career TD pass leader with 126, surpassing Ty Detmer's 121. He also broke Detmer's record for most touchdowns responsible for with 136.

UNBEATEN TEAMS
Hawaii is the only team left with an unbelmished record after Kansas fell to Missouri 36-28 in what  became the Big 12 North playoff game. Hawaii won 39-27 at home over Boise State on Friday to claim the WAC title.

WINLESS TEAMS
FIU is the only winless team. The Golden Panthers fell 55-23 at home to FAU. They will get one more chance for a win before the season is over when they host North Texas next week.

Idaho failed to beat a team from the bowl subdivision. The Vandals lost 24-19 at home to rival Utah State.

FBS vs. FCS
The divisions were re-named late last year. 1-A was given the new moniker of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) while 1-AA was labeled the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

2 FBS teams played FCS schools this week. North Texas escaped Western Kentucky 27-26 when the Hilltopper's 38-yard field goal attempt fell short with a minute to play. The errant kick was set-up by a high snap. In the other FBS-FCS matchup, Houston throttled Texas Southern 59-6.

Those were the last of 80 such games played this year. The FBS schools went 70-10 to improve to 290-35 (.892) since 2003.

The ten losses were:
Appalachian State 34, Michigan 32 (Week 1)
Nicholls State 16, Rice 14 (Week 1)
Northern Iowa 24, Iowa State 13 (Week 2)
Southern Illinois 34, Northern Illinois 31 (Week 2)
New Hampshire 48, Marshall 35 (Week 3)
McNeese State 38, Louisiana-Lafayette 17 (Week 3)
North Dakota State 44, Central Michigan 14 (Week 4)
*-Western Kentucky 20, Middle Tennessee 17 (Week 4)
North Dakota State 27, Minnesota 21 (Week 8)
Delaware 59, Navy 52 (Week 9)

This season, 78 bowl subdivision teams faced schools from the championship subdivision. WAC members New Mexico State and Hawaii double-dipped.

*-Western Kentucky is currently in transition to become the ninth Sun Belt Conference football playing institution and the 120th Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I-A) member. The Hilltoppers will play six SBC teams in 2008 and will be eligible for the conference title and a bowl berth in 2009.

STREAKS
Hawaii has won 12 straight games over-all, and 15 consecutive WAC games. The Warriors won 39-27 at home over Boise State on Friday to claim their first WAC title.

Kansas had its 11-game winning streak snapped in a 36-28 loss to Missouri. That defeat also snapped the Jawhawks' run of 14 consecutive regular season wins.

Boise State had its 10-game winning streak halted in a 39-27 loss at Hawaii, failing to win at least a share of the WAC title for the first time since 2001. It also halted the Broncos' string of 17 consecutive WAC wins. Remaining intact are Boise State's string of 43 consecutive regular season home games, and perfect home record against their fellow WAC conference members (28-0). Those strings will continue into next season.

BYU now has the nation's second-longest winning streak at 8 games. The Cougars won 17-10 at home over Utah.

FIU owns the nation's longest current losing streak at 23 games. The Golden Panthers lost 55-23 at home to FAU.

Minnesota has lost 10 straight. The Golden Gophers have completed their season (1-11)

Idaho has lost 10 straight.  The Vandals lost 24-19 at home to Utah State.

SMU has lost 10 straight. The Mustangs fell 55-52 in 3 OT's at Memphis.

NEW COACHES
The 2006 season featured 11 new head coaches. Five led their team to a bowl game.

This year, there are 24 coaching changes for the highest number since 2001 when there were 25. We'll track their progress throughout the season.

This week, there were two games where new coaches faced each other - Tulsa won 48-43 at Rice, while Miami fell 28-14 at Boston College.

FIU is the only team that has yet to snag a win with its new head coach. Idaho failed to defeat an FBS team.

Here is how each of the new coaches are faring, in order, by won-loss record.

Boston College, 10-2 under Jeff Jagodzinski, won 28-14 at home over Miami.
Arizona State, 9-2 under Dennis Erickson, lost 44-24 at home to USC on Thursday.
Air Force, 9-3 under Troy Calhoun, had already completed its regular season.
Tulsa, 9-3 under Todd Graham, won 48-43 at Rice.
Cincinnati, 9-3 under Brian Kelly, won 52-31 at Syracuse.
Central Michigan, 7-5 under Butch Jones, won 35-32 at Akron on Friday.
Indiana, 7-5 under Bill Lynch, had already completed its regular season.
Michigan State, 7-5 under Mark Dantonio, had already completed its regular season.
Alabama, 6-6 under Nick Saban, lost 17-10 at Auburn.
Louisiana Tech, 5-6 under Derek Dooley, is idle.
Louisville, 5-6 under Steve Kragthorpe, is idle.
Miami (Fla.), 5-7 under Randy Shannon, lost 28-14 at Boston College.
N.C. State, 5-7 under Tom O'Brien, lost 37-0 at home to Maryland.
North Carolina, 4-8 under Butch Davis, won 20-14 at home in OT over Duke.
Tulane, 4-8 under Bob Toledo, lost 35-12 at East Carolina.
Army, 3-8 under Stan Brock, is idle.
Stanford, 3-8 under Jim Harbaugh, lost 21-14 at home to Notre Dame.
Iowa State, 3-9 under Gene Chizik, had already completed its regular season.
Rice, 3-9 under David Bailiff, lost 48-43 at home to Tulsa.
North Texas, 2-9 under Todd Dodge, won 27-26 at home over FCS member Western Kentucky.
UAB, 2-10 under Neil Callaway, lost 46-39 at Marshall.
Idaho, 1-11 under Robb Akey, lost 24-19 at home to Utah State.
Minnesota, 1-11 under Tim Brewster, had already completed its regular season.
FIU, 0-11 under Mario Cristobal, lost 55-23 at home to FAU.