The Wrapup

By Adam Caparell - November 05, 2006

So Michigan and Ohio State got their scares today against two unlikely opponents. I guess what we saw was a case of Michigan and Ohio State simply overlooking their opponents. Troy Smith didn’t have a huge day and the Wolverines basically won thanks to their defense making the late stop that it did.

Granted, Illinois has been playing better football this season, but Ball State playing Michigan so tough was a big surprise.

Now with that one game out of their system – we were bound to see a game like this out of them one of these weeks – all that separates these two teams from meeting in their Armageddon matchup is Northwestern for the Buckeyes and Indiana for the Wolverines.

You have to figure that both are going to be extremely focused next week. They’re just two weeks away from the game that everyone is dying to see played.

But, in light of Saturday's results, I don’t think there is any real for concern for either team. Mike Hart had a fumble. It finally happened and chances are you won’t see it again. Chad Henne threw a bad pick. Not totally unexpected. Michigan’s defense gave up a few big plays, but when it really mattered most, the Wolverines put their foot down and kept Ball State out of the end zone.

Lloyd Carr thought this kind of outing was good for his team. We’ll ultimately see next week, but I agree with him. They got their bad one out of their system and they'll be locked in on Indiana.

Same goes for Ohio State. Jim Tressel said his team will learn from the game. They will because Tressel is a great coach and learned a lesson as to why you can’t get caught looking ahead – despite everyone saying they aren’t.

I think we’ll see both teams pound their opponents next week.

- The ACC just continues to be a mess. One week you think you have it figured out and then the weekend comes and it’s a jumbled mess by Sunday.

Maryland is having itself a season. They weren’t impressive early on – especially in that game against West Virginia – but they just narrowly lost to Georgia Tech and have been steadily winning every since, reeling off four in a row. The Terps took care of Florida State and Clemson in back-to-back weeks and are now tied for lead in the ACC’s Atlantic Division with…

Wake Forest, who got a big win – a win I didn’t think they’d get – over Boston College, forcing some key turnovers and taking advantage of some opportunities that Boston College presented the Demon Deacons.

Wake is now 8-1 for the first time since 1944 and will head down to take on Florida State where they haven’t won since 1959. The way Wake’s playing – coupled with the way Florida State is playing – there’s no reason why the Demon Deacons shouldn’t move to 9-1.

At least Georgia Tech took care of their business against lowly N.C. State and has a strangle hold on the Coastal Division.

The Atlantic Division will come down between Maryland and Wake. Wake was picked to finish last in the division in the preseason. Nov. 25 is the matchup between the two and it will be the game of the year in the ACC if things hold up as is. Just truly unbelievable.

- Doesn’t seem to be much of a secret as how to beat Clemson. Slow down that running game and you’re golden. You have to make Will Proctor beat you, not James Davis and C.J. Spiller, and Proctor couldn’t do it. A killer mistake by Clemson cost them dearly when Davis rushed for a TD, only to have the play nullified by an illegal procedure penalty. They settled for a field goal.

Clemson’s offense, that looked so mighty just a few weeks ago, has only managed to put 19 points on the board in their last two games which, not coincidently, are two losses.

- I think it’s become abundantly clear that Texas is the best one loss team in the nation. Better than Florida, better than Auburn and any other one loss team. Vince who?

- Funny what a game against Stanford will do for you when you’re looking to rebound as was the case Saturday for USC. The Trojans took care of the Cardinal with a tidy 42-0 drubbing. Not sure how many people realize the realistic chance that Stanford will go 0-12 this season. Stanford is at Washington next week, then hosts Oregon State and ends the year at Cal. Good luck without Trent Edwards.

- Giving up 26 points to North Carolina – the amount you were supposed to win the game by – does not paint Notre Dame in a nice light? The Irish didn’t come close to fixing their defensive problems in this one and probably won’t this year. Just think about this: the Tar Heels hadn’t scored more than 20 points against a I-A opponent this season.

- Another team that doesn’t have much of a defense – Cal – was its usual explosive self against UCLA. Marshawn Lynch isn’t getting the due he deserves right now. He only scored another pair of touchdowns as the Bears won their eighth straight. You ask me, there’s maybe a handful – at most – of other offenses you’d take over Cal’s. They can put yards and points on the board in a hurry.

Best Win: LSU. We’ll give it to the Tigers because they won in Neyland Stadium for only the second time. They never, never, win in Knoxville. But JaMarcus Russell did enough to get the Tigers a huge win and cement their status as the best two-loss team in the nation. The secondary made some great plays, but had to be bailed out by Russell’s late comeback. Didn’t think I’d see that in Neyland Stadium, but Russell showed some real mettle.

The Tigers also handed Tennessee a heavy blow. Gone is their chance at the SEC East title which was clinched by Florida with the Gators win over Vanderbilt and the Vols loss.

Worst Loss: Washington State. How do you lose to Arizona at home? Mind-boggling for a team that was looking to make some strides in the Pac-10 and starting to make an impression nationally.

They had a beautiful chance to clinch a bowl berth for the first time since 2003 – in front of the home crowd in Pullman – and watched as Arizona’s defense got the job done. They sacked Alex Brink four times and held the Cougars to only 45 yards on the ground.

Took A Step Forward: Maryland, Wake Forest, Houston, Kentucky, Wisconsin

Took A Step Back: Washington State, Georgia, Alabama, Iowa

“(We’re going to) Play our asses off!” – LSU coach Les Miles who looked ridiculously pissed and possessed when interviewed by CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson before the beginning of the second half. Miles almost looked like he was going to choke Wolfson with his hands extended on both sides of her head, angrily moving them up and down throughout what seemed like a 10 second interview.

AC Top 10
1. Ohio State
2. Michigan
3. Louisville
4. Texas
5. Auburn
6. Florida
7. Cal
8. USC
9. LSU
10. Notre Dame

Posted by Adam Caparell at 12:53 AM on November 05, 2006

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