The Wrapup

By Adam Caparell - October 22, 2006

It was a pretty wild Saturday that saw some history, another incredible comeback and a plethora of performances that helped sort out the national picture a little more. Here’s what I think we’ve learned and what I come away from Saturday with. . .

Georgia Tech apparently can’t tackle anyone. CJ Spiller’s 50-yard TD reception was the worst offense by the Yellow Jackets on the night as two defensive backs got burned right out of their shoes by Spiller’s moves. He wasn’t even touched.

James Davis ran all over the Tech D as well. Clemson is the team in the ACC now. Georgia Tech was seriously exposed in this one. It looks like we may have a Boston College-Clemson dual down the stretch to see who makes it from the Atlantic Division to the ACC Championship in only six more weeks. Too bad that the two best teams in the conference happen to reside in the same division.

And remember back to that BC-Clemson game earlier this season? The Tigers should have won that double OT game and should be undefeated right now.

Shame on me for not realizing just how good the Clemson running game can be. Davis was the leading rusher heading into the game in the ACC, but I had no idea how dominant and how imposing the Tigers could be. Spiller and Davis are some duo.

I think Georgia Tech is a better defense than they showed – they’re not great, by any means – but they’re not bad. Best bet to beat Clemson: make Will Proctor throw it as much as possible, especially with Chansi Stuckey injured. Georgia Tech failed miserably at that and got burned, big time.

And how does Calvin Johnson not get a reception? He had never had a game before this one without at least two receptions. He’s the best receiver in the nation, a guaranteed Top 10 NFL draft pick and more talented than anyone on that field, and Tech couldn’t get him the ball.

- As for the comebacks: Notre Dame saved its season with that 35-second comeback over a banged up UCLA team. But the Irish still have problems, still have questions at several positions on the field. Yet it’s funny how wins tend to put them on the back burner.

Great story with Michigan State. Too bad it probably won’t help John L. Smith keep his job. But it’s always nice to put down that you own the greatest comeback in Division I-A history in your media guide for next year.

The one thing you can’t knock Smith on is his emotional attachment and investment he puts into his team and players. The results may not be there, but it seems like he lives and dies with his team.

- Nebraska looks like it, in fact, can compete with some of the top teams in the nation. It just can’t win them yet. In a measuring stick game, the Cornhuskers showed they can play with a top team. That’s a big step up from that poor showing against USC.

And Colt McCoy is going to be some kind of quarterback. He’s only a redshirt freshman. He looks so poised and composed you think he’s been under center for 18 games, let alone eight. He didn’t have one of his best games, didn’t have an exceptional game, but helped lead his team to a tough road win. So much for that quarterback controversy with him and Jevan Sneed.

- Wisconsin is quietly winning and moving up the rankings. They’re not doing anything spectacular, but with their only loss coming to Michigan, the Badgers are putting together a nice season so far under first year coach Bret Bielema. They don’t play Ohio State this year and could easily finish 11-1 with the only real tests coming against Penn State at home and Iowa remaining on the schedule.

- Texas A&M avoided disaster with their overtime win against Oklahoma State. A&M better hope that this game wasn’t a harbinger of things to come. Oklahoma State is not a good football team.

- The No. 2 team in the nation – surprise, surprise – actually won Saturday. Michigan held up its end of the bargain with Ohio State, who took care of business against Indiana. No, Michigan didn't have the greatest of games Saturday, but their defense is just ferocious. I think it’s time to anoint the Wolverines the top D in the nation. Michigan seemingly cleared the lone hurdle – we think – before the game with the Buckeyes Nov. 18. It wasn't an overly impressive win against the Hawkeues, but how can you see the Wolverines losing with that defense between now and then with Northwestern, Ball State and Indiana all that remains until the 18th rolls around.

- Interesting question to pose: Who’s the best one-loss team in the nation? Clemson certainly made a great case tonight. I like Texas, just over Cal, based on the overall talent the Longhorns have, but I think you have to go with Florida as the best of the one-loss teams.

Biggest Win: Rutgers won a game that many thought they wouldn’t. They went into Pittsburgh, beat a good Pitt team and ran right down their throats. Ray Rice just impresses time and time again. While Troy Smith has a strangle hold on the Heisman, Ray Rice has to have garnered some consideration with the kind of season he put up and the kind of performance he gave Saturday.

I don’t think we can consider the Big East a two team league anymore. Rutgers has to be taken seriously. They are a legit team. Are they as good as Louisville and West Virginia. I’d still say no. But the matchups with those two will certainly be interesting and worthy of closely watching.

Worst Loss: Well, it was shaping up to be Notre Dame, but we’ll go with Georgia Tech for getting absolutely man-handled by Clemson. Tech had a golden opportunity to show a lot of people just how good they are, but they just looked totally outmatched and overwhelmed by the Tigers. At stake was the claim as the ACC’s best. Guess who owns it?

Took A Step Forward: Rutgers, Clemson

Took A Step Back: N.C. State, Oregon, Miami

"He's the real deal. He got into the secondary so fast (on the 63-yard run) we didn't have time to react." – Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt on Rutgers RB Ray Rice who torched the Panthers for 225 yards and a TD.

AC Top 10
1. Ohio State
2. Michigan
3. West Virginia
4. Texas
5. USC
6. Louisville
7. Clemson
8. Tennessee
9. Auburn
10. Cal

Posted by Adam Caparell at 01:14 AM on October 22, 2006

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