Run and Shoot: 11 Lessons Learned from Week 12

« When College Football Lost Its Cool | Main | 11 Lessons Learned from Week 13 »

11 Lessons Learned from Week 12


This week in college football had all the excitement of the tour of a box factory.

Just about everything went as planned. Nobody in the Top 10 lost. In fact, those teams won by an average of 30 points. Nothing Earthshaking anywhere else on the college football landscape. Okay, maybe LSU's 28-point comeback against Troy, sure. But if you look at the final score of 40-31, you just shrug your shoulders.

Don't worry. While we motor on to next week hoping for something of substance, there were still some lessons to be learned from this bland college football weekend. Tell you what, let's cue the hyperactive rave music that they use on Access Hollywood and get to the lessons. It'll give this Saturday wrap-up a totally new dynamic, I swear.

(If Tim Tebow and Company keep playing as well as they have the last few weeks, Florida will be in the driver's seat for the BCS title game. Meanwhile, he's probably telling CBS's Tracy Wolfson, "You buy a hat like that and you get a bowl of soup with it.")

Lesson 1-
Gregg Doyel is right... well, half-right. Florida will be in the BCS title game.

I can't imagine these guys losing a game. Not with the way Urban Meyer has them playing. They remind me of the Russian national hockey team when they're on their A-game.

Just when I thought the Gators were due for a close call - you know how 19-22 year olds will take a week off from time to time - they lay out THIS 56-6 whitewashing over South Carolina. It was sooooo, Spurrier-esque and all. The Gators prove once again they are still pretty angry about that inexplicable defeat to Ole Miss. I mean, really angry. The Gamecocks came in allowing only 256 yards a game to their opponents. Florida had that early in the second quarter, on its way to a total of 519 yards.

The Gators have The Citadel and Florida State left to play before they go to the SEC championship game and dismantle Alabama. But let's be honest here, if any voter in any of the polls puts Florida behind Texas Tech and Alabama, they're living a lie. The Gators are the best team in the country right now.

Lesson 2-
This weekend had more revenge themes than a Chuck Norris movie.

Alabama 32 - Mississippi State 7.
It didn't look good early, and sure, the Tide needed some special teams magic and all. But in the end the Tide put to rest that inexplicable two-year losing streak to Coach Croom's boys.

(Bama's Javier Arenas gets his mates fired up before the Mississippi State game. Arenas ended up returning one punt for a touchdown and a second punt down to MSU's two yard line.)

Ohio State 30 - Illinois 20.
This time there was no drama as the Bucks roll. And a lot of that can be attributed to the fact that Terrelle Pryor is in a Buckeye uniform. The freshman wunderkind ran for 110 yards and teamed with Beanie Wells (143 yards) to grind out a win in Champaign.

Cincinnati 28 - Louisville 20
The Bearcats got off to a 6-0 start last season before the Cards crashed their party, starting a 3-3 tailspin down the stretch. But in Papa John's Stadium on Friday night, UC ended five years of frustration with the win in the rain. They also climbed to the top of the Big East standings, improving to 4-1 and 8-2 overall.

(Cincinnati players grab the Keg of Nails and celebrate the win over Louisville.)

Vanderbilt 31 - Kentucky 24
Twice in the last three years, all Vandy needed was a win over the Cats and they would've become bowl eligible. They lost on both occasions. But Saturday saw D.J. Moore catch two TDs and pick off two UK passes, the second one coming with two minutes left in the game, to help VU improve to 6-4.

Lesson 3-
We discovered that it was also a "Revenge of the Twos" weekend.

In the words of Austin Powers, who does No. 2 work for? Well, the following teams were all ranked No. 2 in the polls last year and got upset, but exacted some revenge for those hiccups this weekend.

USC 45 - Stanford 23.
With a 17-all tie at halftime, it looked like we might have a replay of last year's shocking upset in the Coliseum. But once again Pete Carroll proved to be one of the best halftime coaches in college football, as SU had the clamps put on them in the second half.

Boston College 27 - Florida State 17.
In 2007, Matt Ryan and Co. were No. 2 and playing at home before FSU came in to pull out a 27-17 upset. Here, the score was the same but the roles reversed with FSU being the ranked team this time.

Oregon 55 - Arizona 45.
Last year's Dennis Dixon injury changed the entire complexion of the national championship race. This time, the Ducks didn't have that crushing moment. Nor did they have the crushing defeat that deflated the team like it did last year.

Lesson 4-
Miami may not be completely "back" yet, but they're close.

Prepare yourself people, the Hurricanes-a-comin'. Thursday's 16-14 win over Virginia Tech saw a young team that grew up in front of our eyes. All those frosh and young starters Randy Shannon's charges has been playing with are starting to believe, especially on defense. D-end Marcus Robinson looks like he may be a beast-in-the-making, after gathering three sacks. Props to D-coordinator Bill Young who had his boys flying around and putting pressure on Tech. Their six team sacks was the key to the win.

The Canes are now 4-2 and in first place in the ACC Coastal Division and surely showing signs of a great team in the near future. But their final two games are risky ventures on the road at Georgia Tech and N.C. State.

Lesson 5-
Speaking of the ACC, it just doesn't pay to be ranked in that conference.

All three ranked ACC teams went down to defeat on Saturday, with No. 16 North Carolina losing at Maryland 17-15, No. 19 Florida State losting 27-17 at home to Boston College and No. 24 Wake Forest losing at N.C. State. 21-17.

In fact, this entire season has been a mish-mash of poor performances by ranked teams in the ACC this year. Seven of the 12 ACC teams have been in the Top 25 rankings at some point this season, but their stay has usually been short, since ACC teams are currently just 8-15 this season when playing as a ranked team. Miami, you’re the next one to the Top 25 podium. Don't screw it up.

Lesson 6-
We've found the college equivalent of Frank Reich and the Buffalo Bills.

It's Jarrett Lee and LSU. On Saturday night, in a half-empty Tiger Stadium, Lee led LSU back from a 31-3 second half deficit to beat Troy 40-31. Thanks mostly to the frequent Trojan receivers dropping numerous passes and to 30 fourth quarter points from an LSU offense that seemed to be going downhill in the second half.

And here I was at halftime all ready to write about how Troy was the best team in the state of Alabama. My how things change so quickly.

(LSU jogs out for the second half of the Troy game to thousands of people dressed up as empty stadium seats.)

Oh but don't worry, in digging that 28-point hole, Lee made sure to go ahead and throw his seventh pick-six of the season. But Lee would rebound despite getting benched in the first half, and finish the game 20-of-34 for 216 yards. Remember people, he's a frosh, he'll get better.

Lesson 7-
We learned that "Black Out" games are not only as common as belly buttons these days, they usually don't work either.

Go ahead, waste a large amount of money on another order of black uniforms, encourage the students to paint their bodies black and what the hell, pipe in AC/DC's "Back In Black" over the loud speakers, it’s probably not going to help.

Florida State decided to jump on the fad this week and ended up getting soundly whipped by visiting Boston College 27-17, dropping the 'Noles out of first place in the ACC Atlantic Division. In fact, I'm thinking out loud here, but has a "Black Out" game worked for anyone this year? With Georgia getting pile-driven by Alabama earlier this season, the most notable Black Out games appear to be the ones that don't work.

(Coach Jag joked after the win at Blacked-Out Florida State that he had his team dress up in black T-shirts on their way to the stadium, just to screw with the gods of Black Magic... if that Black Out superstition actually worked.)

And in case you're wondering, Colorado and San Diego State trotted out in all-black unis this weekend as well, both to dour results. And yes, I realize these teams wear all-black more often. But knowing what we know now, maybe they shouldn't.

Lesson 8-
Most game trophies are weak.

There are a few that aren’t so bad, like Wisconsin beating Minnesota 35-32 to win Paul Bunyan's Axe. That’s pretty cool. A giant 30-pound axe colored red on one side and gold on the other. I dig that. There's also the old oaken bucket that goes to the winner of the Indiana-Purdue game. Not bad. And who couldn't love "Floyd of Rosedale," the bronze pig trophy played between Iowa and Minnesota?

(Paul Bunyan's Axe is probably the coolest trophy in college football.)

But then there are these embarrassing ones. Like how Cincinnati beat Louisville, 28-20 on Friday night to win the "Keg of Nails." Sounds like a fraternity prank. Or how Missouri beat Iowa State on Saturday to win the Telephone Trophy, a half-gold, half-red phone trophy. Yes, thank you Ma Bell.

(Meanwhile, what the hell is THIS? A trophy with a phone at the top of it? That's weak.)

There are other pretty bad ideas out there as well (the Arkansas-LSU "boot" that is simply a trophy made out of the geographic shape of the two states or the "Peace Pipe" game between Bowling Green and Toledo), but we'll get to them later.

Lesson 9-
That loud "pop" you heard turned out to be the sound of No. 23 Tulsa's bubble bursting.

Two weeks ago the Golden Hurricane was being mentioned as a possible BCS buster. Then a loss at Arkansas laid those plans to waste. After re-configuring their goals, TU still had a Conference USA title to play for.

Well, nothing like a horrendous 70-30 loss at Houston to put those hopes to rest. Tulsa turned the ball over five times and allowed the Coogs' Case Keenum to throw a career high six touchdowns and go 24-of-37 for 402 yards.

And 70 points? It's as if the ghost of John Jenkins resurrected there on the Robinson Stadium sidelines again. The last time Houston scored 70+ in a game? A 73-3 clubbing of Louisiana Tech in 1991. Still, nothing compares to the UofH's 100-3 win over Tulsa in 1968, still the highest score attained in a game between two major college opponents.

Lesson 10-
If your team didn't get on TV somewhere this weekend, then they must have zero appeal.

According to what I could find, there were 37 college football games on TV this week. That includes games on ABC, CBS, the ESPN networks, CBS College Sports, The Mtn., Versus, The Big Ten Network, Fox Sports and Raycom.

So if I'm doing my math correctly, then 45 major college teams didn't get to be on TV this week. That number shrinks to 40 when you consider teams like Texas Tech, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Pitt and TCU had the week off.

Keep in mind people, even Fox Sports saw fit to televise the Baldwin-Wallace vs. Capital game.

Lesson 11-
If you're going to play the lottery anytime soon, here are some lucky numbers you can use.

2 – The number of first downs LSU had in the first half vs. Troy.
4 – The number of ranked opponents that Maryland has beaten this season, after Saturday's 17-15 win over No. 16 North Carolina.
6 – The number of points USC gave up to Stanford in the second half (on the last play of the game), bringing their season total points surrendered after halftime to 19.
8 – The number of losses Michigan now has on the season, the most in program history.
25 – The number of losses in a row for Indiana State, after Saturday's 28-0 spanking by Northern Iowa.
26 – The number of years its been since Vanderbilt was last bowl eligible.
211 – The number of yards Shonn Greene of Iowa rushed for vs. Purdue, bringing his season total to 1,585.
217 – The number of receptions Clemson's Aaron Kelly has in his career, the most in ACC history.
623 – The approximate number of fans that remained in Tiger Stadium for the second half of the LSU win over Troy.

(I don't know if you noticed this, but that damn TV commercial must've been shown about 50 times in the games I watched on Saturday. How are they able to afford their media buy? Are that many saps actually selling their old gold for a cheap return?)

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


DI-A College Football

↑ Grab this Headline Animator