The Wrapup - Week 5

By Adam Caparell - September 30, 2007


If you saw this weekend coming, a weekend in which half of the Top 10 lost, then you made yourself quite a bit of money because the odds against it happening anytime soon are slim to none.

Think about it. We saw the Nos. 3, 4, 5, 7 and 10 teams go down and three of them came at home in which all were at least two touchdown favorites (No. 4 Florida, No. 7 Texas and No. 10 Rutgers) and one road team (No. 3 Oklahoma) was a 23 point favorite.

So what did all the madness from Saturday teach us. A number of things. The first off being college football is unpredictable. For the most part.

Who could have seen Oklahoma's defense playing so poorly against Colorado?

Who could have seen Tim Tebow struggling like he did to get Florida on the board?

Who could have seen Ron Prince and Kansas State beat up the Longhorns for the second straight season?

And who could have seen Rutgers fall at the hands of a mediocre ACC team?

Well, upon further review, the Rutgers loss shouldn't be all that surprising.

That vaunted Rutgers defense that so many people have praised, claiming its the best in the Big East, did not live up to the hype Saturday, getting outplayed by the Terps to the tune of 239 yards on the ground. A Top 10 team doesn't give up nearly 240 yards on the ground at home to a team it's better than on paper. But then again, Rutgers is better of paper because their track record this year comes against the likes of Buffalo, Navy and Norfolk State before the Terps. The Scarlet Knights easy schedule fooled people into thinking they were Top 10 material.

How desperately does Florida need Tim Tebow to be on top of his game in order to win against LSU next weekend? That's not some earth-shattering revelation, but Tebow did not turn in his best game of the season and the Gators suffered their first home loss under Urban Meyer. Auburn actually out-gained Florida and defensively the Tigers kept Florida's big play capabilities under wraps. Chances are next weekend LSU should be able to do the same considering, oh, they only have the best defense in the country. Florida has a must win game against the best team in the nation. Talk about a big test for a young team.

Oklahoma's defense was exposed today, allowing Colorado to rack up yards on the ground. And while I believe they were robbed by a bogus replay reversal late in the fourth quarter, the fact of the matter is the Sooners defense didn't make stops in their first close game of the season - they were averaging 60-plus points per game heading into this game and literally clobbering opponents on their way to a 4-0 record. But the offense sputtered, Sam Bradford came down to earth and Bob Stoops suffered a tough September defeat on the road for the second straight year.

And as for the Longhorns? They're just not that good and probably are just a soft team. When you nearly lose to Arkansas State and UCF - teams should absolutely rip apart - something has to be wrong and I think it starts with the defense. They're just not a tough defense and when you're not a tough defense and you're quarterback turns the ball over the way Colt McCoy has the past several weeks, eventually it's going to get you. It did Saturday. Big win for Kansas State and a very good man in Ron Prince.

The other Top 10 teams obviously won. USC had a tough time against Washington while LSU cruised against Tulane. Cal was the big winner of the day with its first road victory in Eugene in 20 years and Ohio State and Wisconsin got wins - although the Badgers look anything but the Big Ten favorites I though they'd be heading into the season.

But those five all won and survived and a lot of teams didn't Saturday. Clemson suffered its first defeat and so did Oregon. But as we found out last year, one loss isn't going to totally kill your national title hopes. We've only got a handful of top-ranked teams that are still undefeated and two pairs will play each other down the road (USC-Cal and Wisconsin-Ohio State) while LSU hosts Florida next weekend in an elimination game for the Gators. For certain we have an elimination game next weekend between Oklahoma and Texas. And who would have thought that heading into this weekend?

Quick Hits

-- Why did Cal win its big game against Oregon? A big reason was DeSean Jackson. The star wide out has been held in check early this season because of a thumb injury, but he seemingly put that behind him as he caught 11 balls for 161 yards and 2 TDs as Oregon seemed content to let Nate Longshore throw his way all day long - how they could allow that is beyond anyone. Oregon let Jackson accumulate more receiving yards Saturday than he did through the Bears first four games.

East Coast fans really missed out Saturday when ABC/ESPN regionalized its slate of 3:30 games meaning they did not see Cal-Oregon. Instead, they were subjected to Maryland-Rutgers and Michigan State-Wisconsin. I guess that's the price they pay for Rutgers being good. The only problem was the Scarlet Knights were bad Saturday and the East Coast missed a great finish between the Ducks and Bears that went down to the final play.

-- USC did not win pretty and they're probably going to lose some first place votes in Sunday's AP poll. The Trojans have been shaky in some of its road ventures the past few years, the biggest example being the Oregon State game last season. But the Trojans beat a game Washington team mostly with their defense, allowing just 190 total yards of offense.

Another thing to keep an eye on with the Trojans: they had 16 penalties for 161 yards. Surprising for a Pete Carroll team. Those are astronomical numbers. Hel can't be happy about that.

Penalties are something Urban Meyer has railed about this season with his young team and they only added to their season total Saturday with another seven. Then again, it was three below their average. But Florida is a very young team, you'd expect more mistakes from them compared to the veteran Trojans.

-- Did Florida State ever need that win over Alabama? Good for Bobby Bowden who finally got to beat his favorite team growing up. Maybe the Seminoles have found a quarterback in Xavier Lee. Florida State actually moved the ball somewhat against the Crimson Tide. There really were some encouraging signs from the Seminoles. You'd have to think that Jimbo Fisher will go with Lee for next weekend's game against North Carolina. They're not going to officially announced until Monday. But come on? It's going to be Lee.

-- Penn State? Officially exposed as an overrated Big Ten team that had no business being in the Top 10. The talk two weeks ago about the Nittany Lions being a national championship/Big Ten contender was comical to me. Anthony Morelli has always had consistency problems and basing their "greatness" on the teams they played in the first three weeks - FIU, Notre Dame and Buffalo - was nothing shot of comical. For the second stragiht year the Nittany Lions look like they're going to fall short of their lofty expectations. I know it's still early - we're not even in October yet - but looks like Penn State is nothing but an afterthought.

-- UConn is now 5-0 because the Huskies have played absolutely nobody. I hope UConn fans aren't getting their hopes up too high with this team. It's going to come crashing down very soon. After a week off, UConn takes on Louisville, USF, Rutgers and Cincinnati four straight weekends. Randy Edsall has helped himself with this fast start, removing a little bit of the heat that's been placed on him. But just look at who they've beaten to get to this point: Duke, Maine, Temple, Pittsburgh and now Akron. UConn is only one win away from bowl eligibility amazingly, but the way the year ends they might not make it.

Same deal with Purdue. They're probably going to break through into the AP Top 25 after their win over Notre Dame, but let's take a step back and look at who the Boilermakers have beaten: Toledo, Eastern Illinois, Central Michigan, Minnesota and now the Irish. Purdue has Ohio State next weekend. Let's see them score 30-plus points against the Buckeyes.

-- And quickly reverting back to Friday night, anyone surprised by West Virginia's loss to USF needs to take a closer look at the Bulls - a much closer look and become familiar with the best team in the Big East. For the second straight year, USF beat up the Mountaineers because the Bulls have the only defense in the BIg East with the kind of speed to stop Pat White, Steve Slaton and company. West Virginia's offense did very little Friday as it's spread attack was unable to get into spaces against the Bulls simply because the Bulls have the talent to close those gaps quicker than any other team in the league. Everyone was high on the Rutgers defense, but the best unit in the Big East is USF's, bar none.

The best team in the Big East happens to be the Bulls. Who would have thought that after the first month of the season?

And another thing: Steve Slaton has shown a penchant for some costly fumbles in big games. You would expect better from such a talented player in the spotlight.

And a third: that West Virginia-Louisville game in November could actually be meaningless if things continue to break the way they have.

Biggest Winners: Cal, Colorado, Auburn, Florida State, Illinois

Biggest Losers: Big East, Big 12 South, Florida, Syracuse

Player of the Day: Wes Byrum, K, Auburn. He kicked two field goals in Auburn's upset of No. 4 Florida, including the game-winning 43-yarder.

Stat of the Day: 62. Combined rushing yards of C.J. Spiller and James Davis in No. 13 Clemson's upset loss to Georgia Tech.

Quote of the Day: "At no point in that game did I feel comfortable enough to turn around and hand it off." Urban Meyer on Florida's inability to run the ball against the Tigers.

10 Best Teams In The Country
1. LSU
2. USC
3. Cal
4. Ohio State
5. Oklahoma
6. Florida
7. Oregon
8. USF
9. Kentucky
10. Boston College

Posted by Adam Caparell at 01:20 AM on September 30, 2007
Comments (4)

Comments

The Big East was exposed this week. So much for being one of the top couple of conferences. NO WAY

Just so we know, how would you have ranked Boston College if it had lost to an unranked team as Oklahoma and Florida did?

How much of ranking is based on expectations for teams, rather than on-field performances?

A slight oversight in not seeing the Wisconsin Badgers in the Top Ten. They are a team that hasn't lost and that's what counts. How many more weeks of being undefeated do they need until they are seen as real contenders?

"UConn is now 5-0 because the Huskies have played absolutely nobody...It's going to come crashing down very soon."

Well put Mr. Caparell.
A seven game losing streak down the stretch it not out of the question. The next big win Edsall gets will be his first.

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