Run and Shoot: 11 Lessons Learned from Week 13

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11 Lessons Learned from Week 13

Sam Bradford called it "the most fun he's ever had playing in a football game."

Brian Kelly said it was "the biggest win in Cincinnati school history."

Mike Leach said, "Judging by how they handled us and the fact that we beat Texas, I'd say Oklahoma deserves to be rated higher."

Joe Paterno said, "I'm planning on coming back, yeah. I never planned otherwise."

Joe Tiller said, "This win won't change my mind, I'm done with coaching."

Greg Robinson called Syracuse's win at Notre Dame "truly a great day for our program."

And Barack Obama said he "doesn't know a single fan who disagrees with him that there should be a playoff in college football."

Yes people, this was a statement week in college football. And now, as we head into Thanksgiving week, we're down to just two more weekends of action. And though it doesn’t always hold true when it comes to politicking for the BCS, action is always supposed to speak louder than words.

(The refs are howling at football players that don't hear them. Texas Tech and Oklahoma players get into a skirmish before the kickoff of their game in Norman.)

(...Ohio State and Michigan show that they don't like each other too much either.)

(...Utah and BYU get into a slap and tickle fight in the pre-game of the Holy War.)

(...and Louisville and West Virginia get a little pushy as well. It's always funny to me that six or seven old guys with no protection are the ones trying to break up fights between dozens of angry, well-armored, college guys who aren't exactly Rhodes Scholar candidates.)

So with that, here are the 11 Lessons we learned from this week in college football.

Lesson 1-
There actually IS such a term as "student-athlete" in major college athletics.

I'm sure you've heard by now, but Florida State's Myron Rolle, a free safety on the Seminole football team, found out that he earned a Rhodes Scholarship on Saturday afternoon in Birmingham, Alabama, then flew on a private jet (hopefully not one provided by a rich FSU booster) to Maryland's Byrd Stadium.

Once there, he entered the game against Maryland with just over a minute left in the first half and played the rest of the game, helping FSU dismantle Maryland by a 37-3 count.

So that means, while the rest of his teammates were humming some inane rap song with a bad clap-track and a guitar riff ripped off of a heavy metal ballad, Mr. Rolle was thinking about his prestigious days of study in England he'll have before becoming a really wicked-good neurosurgeon. That's a student-athlete story we can all cheer for.

Lesson 2-
We discovered why the Ghost of Barry Switzer never completely goes away from Norman.

After treating Texas Tech like junior high tackling dummies, we realized that Coach Switzer's old philosophy of "Hang a half-a-hundred on 'em by halftime then send the players into the stands to sign autographs" is back in 2008. In their last four games, the Sooners have scored 58, 49, 38 and 42 in the first half alone.

Sure, the Big Red getting a win over Tech on Saturday night wasn't a shock, but to see them Switzerize the Raiders without breaking so much of a sweat was like a cold bucket of water getting poured on you while you are sleeping. Guess this defense has overcome the Ryan Reynolds injury, don'tcha think? Holding Tech to five straight scoreless possessions to start the game is a good indication of that. And to be honest, if OU gets by Okie State this coming weekend, regardless of the score, the Sooners deserve to be one of the top two teams in the country. No ifs, and or buts.

But one question: Why was Sam Bradford still in the game late in the third quarter throwing touchdown passes while his team had already put up more than 50 points?

Lesson 3-
We now know of five reasons why OU should be ranked No. 1 at this moment.

1- Ours is a "what have you done for me lately?" sport.
Remember how LSU got into the national title game after winning the SEC title game? A week prior to that the Tigers lost to Arkansas at home. We have a short memory. And our short term memory tells us that Oklahoma is playing the best football in the country right now, even though I said the same thing about Florida last week.

2- Unlike anybody else out there in college football, the Sooner defense figured out a way to stop Tech's offense.

3- With Cincinnati knocking on the BCS door and TCU improving to 10-2, OU's non-conference wins (which were lopsided at that) may be the most impressive of all the top flight teams.

4- Oklahoma didn't lose to an unranked team at home, like some people did.

And 5- Florida's SEC wins are starting to look weaker and weaker as those teams begin to wilt.

(Hey li'l missy, how about dinner at my place? Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly has the Bearcats one win away from a BCS bowl game, thus improving the non-conference schedule that Oklahoma played this season.)

Lesson 4-
Hate to rehash lessons here, but we learned that the ACC doesn't deserve any more Top 25 spots again this season.

Last week's Lesson No. 5 talked about how ACC teams that were playing as ranked teams had gone just 8-15 in those games. Make that 8-18 as this week we saw that unusual trend continue, and get markedly worse.

Georgia Tech beat No. 23 Miami, 41-23.
North Carolina State lambasted No. 22 North Carolina 41-10.
Florida State Myron Rolle'd No. 24 Maryland 37-3.

So, yes, do the math. Just to prove this whole ACC fraud thing isn't a fluke, these three ranked teams lost by an average of 24 points.

Lesson 5-
Without Joe Tiller, Purdue football would never have dug itself out of college football purgatory.

(Just like Robert Patrick in the movie Terminator 2, Danny Hope is just a newer, sleeker version of the man he'll be replacing at Purdue next year. Can you say "replicant"?)

The Boilermakers were some kind of inspired on Saturday. They sent the best coach in school history off with a resounding 62-10 win over Indiana to secure the Old Oaken Bucket one last time for their outgoing coach. Of course, this also begs the question, where has THIS kind of effort been all season long? But I digress. Needless to say, Purdue will miss the big guy from Wyoming.

Check out these high points of the Tiller era:
- Prior to his arrival in 1997, Purdue had only played in five bowl games.
- Took Purdue to bowl games in 10 of his 12 years.
- His 87 wins is the most of any coach in Boilermaker history
- In 2000, brought the Boilers to their first Rose Bowl since 1966.
- Prior to Tiller, Purdue had gone 12 straight years with losing records.
- His 2006 team featured a school-record 15 Academic All Big 10 players.

Lesson 6-
Penn State is really slapping itself silly over that pathetic Iowa loss now.

Sure, the 11-1 Lions will head to the Rose Bowl for only the third time in school history. That's nice. That’s a nice little cross country trip to play a game in a warm climate that doesn't mean a whole lot. And the way the Lions looked in their 49-18 win over Michigan State on Saturday, this team appeared much more BCS title game worthy anyway.

Ah, but there's that last-second loss at Iowa peering its ugly head out of the rat hole. That loss could go down as this year's biggest inexplicable choke of the season. Especially when you look at how well the fighting Nittanies played on Saturday. They racked up 557 yards of offense and went 13-for-17 on third down conversions. The Lion defense also held Javon Ringer to just 42 yards rushing with a longest gain of nine yards.

Lesson 7-
The Rose Bowl should go ahead and sever its tie-ins with the Big 10 and Pac 10.

Talk about a no-win situation, the Rose Bowl doesn't appear to be making many fans this season. Once again its Big 10-Pac 10 contract is going to assure us of something we all don't really want to see.

First, if Oregon State wins the Civil War on Saturday, the Rose Bowl gets a rematch of a game already played this season: OSU vs. Penn State. Then, if Oregon beats the Beavers, USC will once again be stuck playing a Pac 10 team on January 1st. And the way those games have gone lately, its not making those "prove it" people in the SEC or Big 12 very satisfied. In fact, it probably wouldn't surprise me if Trojan fans themselves wouldn't mind seeing Oregon State beat UO, just so the Trojans can play in a BCS game against some new blood, preferably from the South.

(The Oregon State sideline nearly sees their Rose Bowl hopes go up in smoke as they watch the last second field goal that beat Arizona.)

Lesson 8-
This is the time of year where we find out all those people with the philosophy of "the regular season IS a playoff" are the biggest hypocrites in sports.

Case in point: Utah is unbeaten. That’s 12-0. And to the Utes credit, their schedule was no gimme either. On Saturday Brian Johnson and Co. witch-slapped No. 16 BYU in the Holy War 48-24, behind Johnson's near-perfect 30-for-36, 303 yard day with no turnovers. Oh yeah, and the No. 1 team in the country is also unbeaten. So if that stays that way, then these "regular season is a playoff" people have to admit that Utah vs. Alabama is the only true matchup for the title game.

(Head coach Kyle Whittingham - middle - enjoys the last few minutes of the win over BYU. That blue canister you see in the bottom left of the picture is an ice bucket that is about to be poured over his head.)

And no people, I'm not saying that's the way I think and that Utah should be in the BCS title game, I'm just showing you that anyone that doesn't want a playoff because the regular season IS a playoff, that's their matchup and they should be happy with it.

Oh wait. Boise State and Ball State are unbeaten too. Aye-yaye-yaye!

Lesson 9-
The Notre Dame players didn't deserve to get pelted with snowballs from the student body. But the administrators that gave Charlie Weis a 10-year contract sure do.

With Saturday's inexcusable 24-23 loss to Syracuse, a 20-point underdog with a lame duck coach, Weis is now 28-20 in his tenure. That comes out to a 58% winning percentage, or, roughly the same percentage that Tyrone Willingham and Bob Davie had when they got the boot from Play Like A Champion U.

And of course, the sad part is that this Flailing Irish team is now 6-5 and about to be a sacrificial lamb for USC's defense. That bloodletting will leave them at 6-6, with most of those wins coming against some of the worst teams in major college football. Yet, these slappies will still get to go to a bowl game. Gah!

Lesson 10-
The major college school presidents aren't the only greedy, fat white guys that don't want to have anything to do with playoffs.

Harvard beat Yale in "The Game" on Saturday 10-0 to improve to 9-1 and won a share of the Ivy League championship. But the Crimson is not allowed to participate in the I-AA (now called the FCS, or something like that) playoffs. Why? Because Ivy presidents won’t lift a "playoff ban" that has existed since 1951. And what are some of the reasons for this presidential ban on the Ancient Eight playing in the post-season?

- The playoffs interfere with exams.
- No post-season helps "maintain the integrity of Ivy League football."
- It also helps prevent the "escalation in intensity and player size."

So you think you're frustrated with no playoffs in major college football? Try that reasoning from what is supposed to be a league full of highly intelligent people.

Oh, on a side note, somehow the Ivy League allows post-season play for every one of its other 30 sports, some of which also occur during finals.

Lesson 11-
ESPN taking over the BCS from Fox is about the best off-field news all season.

The big Fox network never should’ve had a hand in televising college football's biggest games. That’s an NFL network trying to do the college thing and it stuck out like an insurance salesman at a rave party.

They've looked stuffy and awkward as hell trying to pull off the BCS announcement show, using Chris Rose as the master of ceremonies. Also big points off for Chris Meyers as the main sideline reporter, him being no Erin Andrews, of course. And I hope I never have to see Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer try to act like journalists again, interviewing college players and coaches. Plus, is it Fox that is responsible for having the national champion winning coach hurriedly put on a black leather jacket before they go up on the stage to receive the crystal ball trophy?

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