The Wrapup

By Adam Caparell - November 12, 2006

How do we properly put into perspective what went down Saturday? I think chaos sums it up nicely.

Texas, Auburn and Cal all lost. Florida should have, narrowly winning Saturday evening. In fact, the Gators had no busines winning. But regardless, it was not a day to be a one-loss team around the country that still had BCS championship aspirations.

But if you hate the BCS and want to see the thing blown up, Saturday was your kind of day. Louisville’s loss last Thursday basically guaranteed that the Michigan-Ohio State winner will be playing a one loss team. Unless things just get crazier than we can all imagine and Rutgers somehow ends up in the national championship picture – if, of course, they end the year undefeated. But things really got weird with all the crucial losses and close calls that we saw.

Personally, I was rooting for every upset across the board. I’m on the Rutgers bandwagon. They’re not a bad team. I think they would have a legitimate shot at beating some of these top teams at a neutral site. And the Scarlet Knights are the best story in the country this year. If you love a rags to riches story and root for the underdog, Rutgers is your team this season.

But the thing that was so disappointing, or perplexing, depending on how you look at it Saturday was that all these one-loss teams had a ton of motivation to go out there and win and move a step closer to their title dreams with Loisville officially removed as an obstacle. Voters were searching for a new No. 3 team, crucial points in both poll and the computer rankings were out there for the taking. And those three teams - all vying for that coveted spot - came up small.

But was Auburn’s loss to Georgia really that much of a surprise? Those two teams are old, old rivals and the funny thing about this rivalry is that the road team has lately come away with a win. Auburn had some problems tackling Saturday. That means Auburn - even if they’re having a horrible year like the Bulldogs this season – should have no trouble in Athens come next year..

It was right out there for the Tigers. Keep winning, hope for an Arkansas loss at some point, but chances are you were going to be right there in the mix for a possible national championship shot. That went out the window with Brandon Cox’s three interceptions in the first half on eight passes. Cox threw another one in the second half, the running game barely managed any yards as the offense totaled a paltry and pathetic 171 yards of total offense. Cox was just plain awful.

And the defense is certainly not without fault, either. The Tigers haven’t allowed that many points since 2002. It was just a bad effort on Auburn’s part.

Cal lost to an Arizona team that has shown improvement, but one they had no business losing to. Nate Longshore has had one heck of a season, but he threw one really bad, telegraphed pick for a TD and threw that pick on the final drive when you just expected the Bears to go down for a touchdown.

Gigantic win for Mike Stoops. The Wildcats could be on their way to a bowl game.

But the Bears losing takes a little juice out of next week's game with USC. It'll still be a great matchup, but it gets taken down a notch with the loss. Wondering if they were overlooking the Wildcats at all? Must have been the case.

Tough loss for Texas in falling to Kansas State and even worse loss if injured QB Colt McCoy can’t go for any extended period of time after hurting his shoulder. The Longhorns should still be in line for a berth in the Fiesta Bowl if they can win the Big 12 championship.

The one thing you can say about Texas is they still put up a bunch of points without McCoy in the game. But that Texas secondary, that’s a little shaky and can be beat, was exploited for some big plays.

But congrats to Ron Prince for getting that big, big win. He’s a great guy, well spoken, cerebral, family oriented and just as concerned about his players academics as he is their performance on the football field. He’s someone you should root for.

Florida should have lost against South Carolina if their line could have completed their job. South Carolina just couldn’t get it done on special teams. Steve Spurrier missed his chance to pull off one major upset and put a nice little feather in his cap for the season.

The Gators once again were not impressive offensively. What is wrong with Chris Leak? He’s a winner and he probably doesn’t get the kind of credit he really deserves, but he’s not playing very well as of late. And that talk about the Heisman for him earlier this year practically seems like a joke right now.

Florida better drop in the polls. They haven’t been impressive at all lately. And they needed all those plays in special teams to escape – and you can’t emphasize escape enough – at home, none the less. Special teams is so frequently the difference, yet almost always overlooked.

- Michigan and Ohio State won. So thankfully, finally, expectedly we’re going to get that Armageddon game between the Wolverines and Buckeyes. Unfortunately, get ready for the hype and hoopla to be shoved down your throat this week. If you’re a Big Ten hater, you’re not going to be able to wait for this upcoming week to be over. But if you’re a football fan, a sports fan, you can’t beat what we’re going to have on our hands next Saturday.

Both teams were focused and took care of business, especially Ohio State and Troy Smith who was productive, to say the least. Another four touchdown passes for Mr. Heisman. He got a nice little rest in this one.

- That question about who is the best one-loss team in the nation? There’s a pretty clear answer right now. It’s Arkansas. They’re doing it with a pounding running game and an offense that can mix it up and give you some different looks. And the defense hasn’t been all that bad either. They’re actually pretty athletic. I don’t know if they’re as athletic as Florida’s D, but they have some playmakers and game changers.

Those BCS chants are more than warranted for the Razorbacks. If they played right now, I’d love Arkansas over Florida. We’ll only have to three more weeks to actually see it.

- Wake Forest exercised some demons (no pun intended) by beating Florida State in Tallahassee. They hadn’t won there in ages and had a great showing against the Seminoles.

It is just brutal at Florid State right now. No set quarterback, an anemic offense. The Seminoles were shutout for the first time under Bobby Bowden and for the first time since 1973 and now sit at 5-5. To say changes need to be made is an understatement.

- Not a bad little win for Wisconsin in Iowa without QB John Stocco. Again, the Badgers are about the most quiet one-loss team in the nation. Granted, they’re not on par with some of the best one-loss teams in the nation, or two loss teams for that matter. The Big Ten, despite the fact that they have the best two teams in the nation in Michigan and Ohio State, is not full of very good teams. There’s a big drop off after the Buckeyes, Wolverines and Badgers.

- You know, Notre Dame didn’t do a that bad of a job against Air Force’s option. Granted, the Falcons still managed 200 yards, but that’s a reasonable number to allow Air Force to gain and the Irish basically had their way on the road.

- I guess Stanford won’t be going winless this season and I figured they were a sure bet to do so. They beat Washington and that’s a bad loss to the Cardinal for the Huskies. Looks like Isaiah Stanback’s absence is really hurting Ty Williangham’s team.

Best Win: Thursday it was Rutgers and for the week, it’s the Scarlet Knights. But for Saturday we’ll go with USC who handled a good Oregon team, beating the Ducks soundly. The Trojans were able to run the ball with some authority and got some turnovers as well.

Worst Loss: It’s a close call for this one. I’ll give the nod to Texas. It’s kind of softened with McCoy’s injury, but there was a ton out there for Texas. Being so highly ranked in the polls, they had the most to lose by losing. And they lost all hope of defending their national title in Manhattan.

Took A Step Forward: Arkansas, Arizona

Took A Step Back: Texas, Washington, Pittsburgh

“Everything. Everything…This was an inept day.” – Florida State coach Bobby Bowden on what went wrong with his team in the Seminoles loss to Wake Forest.

AC Top 10
1. Ohio State
2. Michigan
3. Arkansas
4. USC
5. Notre Dame
6. Florida
7. Rutgers
8. West Virginia
9. LSU
10. Texas

Posted by Adam Caparell at 01:53 AM on November 12, 2006

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