Run and Shoot: 11 Lessons Learned from Week 5

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11 Lessons Learned from Week 5

Uh-oh, here we go again. Nine. Nine ranked teams took it on the chin in college football this weekend. Six of those losses were levied by unranked opponents too. If today was any indication, that pesky, seemingly over-used phrase - parity - may just be rearing its ugly head again this year. Hell, it may be rearing its ugly shoulders, torso, arms and legs as well.

(See, he can smile. Well, sort of. This is actually as close as it gets for a grin from Alabama coach Nick Saban after his team pasted the Dogs between the hedges in Athens.)

Here are the 11 things we learned from another sanitarium-like weekend of college football.

Lesson 1-
Nobody's national championship hopes have gone down the drain.

It's September people. It doesn't matter if it's an ambush in Corvallis, a Rebel Yell in the Swamp, a Big House collapse or a black celebration in Athens. Unimpressive? Sure. Dead in the water for a title run? It's September people.

Lesson 2-
Looks like 2008 is quickly beginning to resemble 2007 on the madness scale.

For just the fifth time since the BCS was instituted in 1998, six ranked teams lost to unranked opponents in a single weekend. Last year, it happened three times in all.

This weekend, these were the ranked victims to unranked winners:

1. USC - 21
Oregon State - 27
For the second time in three years, the Trojans lose to inspired Beavers in Corvallis. More on this below.

Ole Miss - 31
4. Florida - 30
Tebow finally puts up Heisman-like numbers. But UofF committed three TOs. First win over a top five team for the Johnny Rebs since 1977 when they bum-rushed eventual national champ Notre Dame.

(Kentrell Lockett and the boys crash the party on Florida's extra point try. Hard to believe the difference came down to a special teams play. That's when the Swamp went quiet for the first time in a long time.)

9. Wisconsin - 25
Michigan - 27
The Wolverines had 21 yards, five TOs and hearty round of resounding boos from their fans in the first half but rallies for the biggest comeback in Michigan Stadium history. A UW penalty led to a missed two-pointer with 13 seconds left. Ouchie!

(If you notice in this Goodyear Blimp-o-cam view, the Badgers illegally lined up for their first two-point conversion that would've tied the game with only three players in the UW backfield, causing the flag. Their second try was unsuccessful.)

Navy - 24
16. Wake Forest - 17
First win over a ranked opponent for the Midshipmen since 1985. Really now, how did Wake lose this game? Another ACC black eye.

Maryland - 20
20. Clemson - 17
Coach Tommy Bowden just signed a contract extension, but I'm not sure why. This was UMd's fifth straight win over a ranked opponent. Nice turnaround Coach Fridge.

Houston - 41
23. East Carolina - 24
Well ECU, your short ride is officially over. Didn't see THIS happening either way.

And one more thing before we move on. All those teams that are out there snickering at these teams getting toppled, like Oklahoma, Alabama, LSU, Texas and Missouri, we hear you cheering the upsets and filling up the chat rooms with choke-pokes at them. Enjoy it while you can because your upset-where-you-least-expect it is coming too. And that right soon.

Lesson 3-
As I stated well before this week, USC did NOT have an easy road to the BCS title game and we should not be so shocked at any loss along the way.

The reasons for another flameout were painfully obvious in Thursday night's loss to Oregon State.

• USC always wins in non-conference (except when Vince Young decides to play the game of his life), but struggles in the Pac 10.
• Nobody overlooks a weak opponent like the Trojans do, even with 10 days to prepare.
• USC tends to forget that Pac 10 teams aren't in awe of them.
• USC's wins over Virginia and Ohio State weren't all that impressive after all. For chrissakes, UConn beat UVa 45-10 and we all see how the Buckeyes have struggled vs. Ohio and Troy.
• USC remains one of the most undisciplined teams in the country. Dumb penalties, poor decisions and inability to make the simple plays doomed them again in Corvallis.

(Hard to believe Trojan CB Kevin Thomas had this ball bounce off his hands...)

(... and end up landing softly into the hands of OSU WR James Rodgers, giving the Beavers a 21-0 lead four seconds before the end of the first half.)

Lesson 4-
Alabama is young, inexperienced and as scary as Stephen King's evil clown to the rest of the SEC.

Do you remember the 1992 Dallas Cowboys? That's what this team is like. Way, way ahead of schedule. Everyone knew Nick Saban would lead this program back to respectability, but THIS far, THIS soon? That landslide of the Junkyard dogs was unbelievable.

Talk about "buying in" to what a coach does, this team is chock full of new players at key positions, but they played with the cool of seasoned vets. Of course, it also helped that the Dogs, who came in as the most penalized team in the country, had six flags and three turnovers in the first half alone to help John Parker Wilson and Co. pad their score.

That first half was almost enough to make St. Nick smile... and the rest of the SEC run for the cover of their mama's apron.

Lesson 4a-
Georgia doesn't like Top 10 matchups between the hedges.

With tonight's loss, UGa is now 0-3 in home field top 10 showdowns. In a battle of six vs. seven, Auburn beat Georgia 35-20 in November of 1971. Then, ten years ago Tennessee came in No. 4 to take on the No. 7 Bulldogs and won 22-3.

Lesson 5-
Penn State deserves much more of a sniff at the No. 1 spot.

Didn't you guys notice the Nittany Lions completely dismantled that same Oregon State team to the tune of 45-14? Yep, not a misprint.

Unlike the over-hyped Trojans, the Lions proved they could tackle players small in stature. The rugged Paternos held Jacquizz Rodgers to 99 yards rushing in 22 carries in their avalanche win over the Beavers.

And in today's 38-24 win over No. 22 Illinois, you might've noticed they allowed nearly 150 yards less offense than did the Missouri Tigers in their game with the Illini. On the other side of the ball, with tonight's 38 points, the Lions have also scored more points in their first five games than any other squad in the 122-year history of the program.

Lesson 6-
The two biggest benefactors of this weekend's upheaval may just be BYU and Utah.

We knew going into this season that these two Beehive Staters with BCS busting mindsets would need a fair amount of chaos to reach the big gala ball on January 8th. Well, step one in the process happened this weekend with all the upsets. But think about this as well, these two meet in November in Salt Lake City. If both are unbeaten (which is plausible) then that means Utah will have beaten that same Oregon State team and BYU will also have beaten UCLA by 59 points, a team that beat Tennessee.

So these two have their positive points. And this season is already beginning to resemble 1984's chaos. And just look how that benefitted the Cougars.

Lesson 7-
It's painfully obvious, the Big 12 and SEC need to play each other more often.

(And I don't mean in bowl games, which are mostly freakish displays played 40 days after the end of the regular season.)

If these two conferences are going to claim to be the best in the country, they've got to play each other more than just today's Texas-Arkansas matchup. And yes guys, that means somebody has to play a road game.

By the way, in that Horns-Hogs game, UT won 52-10. Now, does that mean the Big 12 is better?

Lesson 8-
The ACC is better than the Big 12.

Okay, okay, hold off on the angry Emails. What I mean is they are better than the Big 12 North.

Virginia Tech - 35
Nebraska - 30

Colorado - 21
Florida State - 39

Two impressive wins for one unimpressive conference. Love how Tech went into a hostile night crowd that was the biggest in Big Red history and played with aplomb. Tyrod Taylor was one cool customer, though Husker penalties helped salt the game away. Four straight wins for Tech? Hot diggity, there's hope for Beamer's boys after all. And when was the last time Florida State looked this impressive? They played like they really DO want coach Bowden to overtake JoePa after all.

Couple these two losses with the Big East battles where Kansas lost at South Florida and K-State lost at Louisville and you see why the Big 12 South is still many lengths ahead of the Northern boys. Help us Obi Wan Missouri, you're our only hope.

Lesson 9-
We found out who plays the best football in the states of West Virginia, Kentucky, Nevada, New Mexico and Indiana.

Here are some of the big in-state rivalries that crowned state titles in college football today:

Marshall - 3
West Virginia - 27
It's been a tough season for the Mountaineers already, so winning SOME kind of title is a much-needed positive. Although Pat White injured his thumb in the 3rd quarter and didn't return, the 'Herd was held to 158 total yards.

Western Kentucky - 3
Kentucky - 41
The Cats had already beaten Louisville back in week one so this was all that stood between the Big Blue and the Bluegrass title. The 'Toppers were held to 157 total yards. UK enters SEC play at 4-0.

Nevada - 49
UNLV - 27
Wolf Pack QB Colin Kaepernick put on a Vince Young-type clinic, going 11-for-16, 176 yards and two TDs in the air and an amazing 19 carries, 240 yards and three TDs on the ground.

(To the victors go the hugs from pretty blondes. Colin Kaepernick celebrates his incredible performance in the win over rival UNLV.)

New Mexico - 35
New Mexico State - 24
The Lobos gave up an 84-yard TD pass on the first play of the game, but it was all UNM from there, as they pull out their sixth straight win in the series.

Notre Dame - 38
Purdue - 21
Wow. The Irish DO have a football team worth mentioning, now at 3-1. It must've been the newly shorn locks of Jimmy Clausen, or his career-high 275 yards passing. This win helps UND match its win total from 2007. Irish eyes are finally smiling.

Lesson 10-
We discovered again why Beano Cook is still the greatest personality in college football.

Here's five of his top quotes from his stint on Sirius satellite radio today...
1- On Tommy Bowden's new contract he signed.
"Two things mean nothing today: A coach's contract and the word of a politician."

2- On Lee Corso picking Bama to win in front of an angry Georgia crowd.
"Lee Corso picked Alabama and then needed a police escort to get past all those Georgia fans because down there, they don't hang you in effigy, they hang you in person."

3- On Nick Saban's re-working of Alabama
"They're the Columbo team. Because if you remember the TV show, he'd show up at a crime scene and the bad guys would think, 'Aw look at this small guy with the trench coat, I'm gonna get away with this.' Then, about halfway through the show, Columbo had figured everything out and the bad guy knew he was in trouble. That's what the SEC is thinking right now. They know they're in trouble with Alabama."

4- On the Mississippi win at Florida.
"I don't understand why Arkansas pushed Houston Nutt out. You can see how they're losing now. And you knew Ole Miss would be good again with Nutt, but this is their biggest win in 30 years."

5- On USC's loss at Oregon State in prime time.
"The Thursday night jinx against highly ranked teams has hit again. To be honest, it's getting too big. In a couple of years, you'll be hard pressed to find a top-ranked team that will agree to go on the road on a Thursday night anymore."

Lesson 11-
Most of the college football world doesn't care about the Big 10, but guess who does? McCain and Obama.

Don't mean to bring politics into this, since Beano knows you can't trust a word out of their mouths, but while watching the Ohio State-Minnesota game on the Big 10 Network today I saw endless amounts of presidential ads for both candidates. Shows how important swing states like Ohio and Michigan are.

(Ooh, an ominous shadow overtakes the body of a sleeping infant in this political TV ad. Very good imagery there people. Ya' gotta LOVE the lies and scare tactics used in political ads - and I mean from both parties, this is just one example. Too bad truth doesn't work.)

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