The Wrapup - Week 7

By Adam Caparell - October 14, 2007


It's officially The Year of the Upset. We've had a few wacky weekends and just when you think things are about to return to normal, we have the top two teams in the nation lose on the same day for the first time since Sept. 21, 1996 and scramble up the polls yet again. Just in time, of course, for Sunday's season premiere of the BCS rankings.

We'll start with the No. 1 team in the nation - LSU - who was shocked in triple overtime.

Kentucky deserves as much credit for winning this game as LSU deserves blame. The Wildcats didn't back down from the Tigers and despite missing some important personnel and lacking the caliber of athletes the Tigers possess, they got a huge victory to remain among the leaders in the jumbled SEC East race.

The LSU defense looked really tired down the stretch and nothing said it more than that final shot of Glenn Dorsey chewing on his mouthpiece on the LSU sidelines moments before the final play of the game. He looked absolutely spent, just wanting the game to be over. The Kentucky offensive line deserves a ton of credit for not giving up a sack to the best defense in the nation. Sure, Andre' Woodson was pressured and knocked down a number of times, but they didn't allow the Tigers to wrap him up once. Woodson threw for three touchdowns and carried the majority of the load on offense.

I would have never thought that Kentucky would win this game without Rafael Little, the talented running back who was out with a bruised thigh. But Derrick Locke stepped in admirably and gave the Tigers problems all day, darting in and out of tackles and getting a few extra yards when it looked like he was going nowhere. He only ended the day with 64 yards on the ground, but they were a pretty impressive 64 yards. Kentucky really moved the ball rather well against the Tigers and they need to thank the offensive line for its unheralded job.

The loss showed that LSU is far from perfect, highlighting the fact the Tigers actually have some issues at quarterback. Winning masks a lot of problems, but Matt Flynn had a bad game, throwing a number of short passes and missing receivers. The Tigers also has a number of drops that didn't help matters much, but Flynn failed on a number of occasions to get the ball to his receivers and finished an awful 17-of-35 for a measly 130 yards.

I would have personally liked to have seen more Ryan Perrilloux down the stretch, but Les Miles knows his team best. It's just that Perrilloux gives you so many more options than Flynn does and - this is the classic second guess here - on the failed fourth down conversion I thought that with an injured Jacob Hester on the sidelines Perrilloux could have given the Kentucky defense something else to think about on that final, fateful play. But again, that's the classic second guess. I just think Perrilloux needs to have more than five carries per game. Especially if you're going to stay committed to the two quarterback system.

So with LSU losing for the first time this season, No. 2 Cal was poised to take over the top spot with a win over Oregon State. The fans in Berkeley were chanting, "We're No. 1. We're No. 1." It turned out to be premature as this year's trend continued with the Bears getting knocked off by Oregon State.

Chalk up the Cal loss to rookie nerves and one huge mistake. Kevin Riley, a redshirt freshman starting in place of injured Nate Longshore, admitted to playing nervous at the beginning of the game and the Cal offense struggled to put much together until late, despite Justin Forsett's 150 yards against the nation's best rushing defense.

But what's going to haunt Riley the rest of the season - and the rest of the Bears as well - is the bonehead play on the final snap of the game as Riley failed to throw the ball out of bounds and instead he held on to the ball for a meager 2 yard, clock killing gain. With only a few ticks left, time expired before the Bears could get on the field to attempt what would have been an easy, chip shot game-tying field goal. The shot of Jeff Tedford throwing his clipboard down to the turf, followed by his headset and a few coarse words screamed at no one in particular, said it all. It was just one of those days in the ever increasingly unpredictable year.

So I guess the one thing we've learned, more than anything after Saturday, as we officially hit the midway point of the season, is that no team is safe. Everyone is capable of losing. No was LSU was going to lose, or Cal for that matter. They were just too good to fall, too talented, too motivated against conference opponents to get picked off.

So much for that thinking. You'd figure by now the old cliche of any given Saturday would have resonated. But I'm going with a new motto for the rest of the season: when in doubt go with the underdog.

Quick Hits

-- No let down for South Florida this weekend. The Bulls bulldozed UCF despite thoughts from many that USF would be looking past the Knights with Rutgers coming up next Thursday.

And more impressively, the real Bulls defense showed up to play Saturday, holding the nation's leading rusher - Kevin Smith - to just 81 yards - 91 yards below his average - and UCF could only muster 145 yards of offense. The Bulls have not allowed a 100-yard rusher in their last 14 games and the last time they allowed one it was Ray Rice rushing for 212 in last year's game between Rutgers and USF.

The Bulls forced another three turnovers, improving their already impressive turnover margin. The best teams in the nation are always amongst the leaders in that category. And USF, validating its high ranking, is right up there.

-- Another undwhelming offensive performance from the Trojans. They're going to lose at least one more game. They can't keep struggling this badly on offense against the likes of Oregon, Oregon State and Cal and expect to come away with wins. No way they should have barely got by Arizona.

-- Oklahoma got the 10 point win over Missouri and continued to put that unexpected loss to Colorado way behind them. The Tigers never win in Norman - they've lost 16 straight games there since the mid '60s - but put up a fight in this one.

Chase Daniel had a fine game, but the Sooners defense did a number of the Tigers rushing game and with the losses by LSU and Cal, the Sooners are positioning themselves quite nicely to seriously contend for the national title. Their remaining schedule features a ton of home games and their toughest game may come against Oklahoma State in the season finale before they probably meet the Tigers again in the Big 12 Championship game. Oklahoma is a great offensive team that plays more than enough defense to almost always walk away winners. If you don't think they're legitimate title contenders, I'd love to hear the explanation why.

-- Boston College had a nice win over Notre Dame and took care of business in South Bend. But the Eagles are still an underwhelming Top 5 team. They have a lot of talent on offense and a pretty solid defense, but they just don't strike me as Top 5 material. Something tells me they're going to go down in two weeks at Lane Stadium. They'll have plenty of time to prepare for it now that their bye week is coming up, but I'm just not sold on the Eagles being Top 5 material. Kind of like Wisconsin, only the Eagles can actually stop people and tackle.

-- Why did Illinois lose? Because they couldn't run the ball. The Hawkeyes did a great job of holding the Illini - the Big Ten's best rushing attack - in relative check, slowing down the option game and holding Rashard Mendenhall to only 67 yards. The Illini ran for just 137 yards - 124 below their average and the more you make them pass, the better your chances are.

But Illinois actually should have won the game. On what looked like the go-ahead 83-yard touchdown pass to Joe Morgan from Eddie McGee, the apparent score was called back due to an ineligible receiver downfield. Penalties are a problem with young teams and this penalty cost Illinois big time. Illinois would be forced to punt shortly after the play was called back and McGee - in for Juice Williams - would eventually throw the game ending pick to give Kirk Frenetz a desperately needed win over a ranked opponent.

-- Nebraska is officially a disaster. They can't tackle anyone, can't make a stop and were absolutely embarrassed by Oklahoma State in the worst home loss for the Cornhuskers since 1958. What's even more embarrassing is that contract extension Bill Callahan got before the USC game.

Biggest Winners: Kentucky, Oklahoma, USF

Biggest Losers: Cal, Illinois, Wisconsin, Nebraska

Player of the Day: Chris Brown. The Oklahoma running back only had 67 yards on 13 carries for the Sooners. But he had three second half touchdowns in the Sooners 10-point win over Missouri.

Stat of the Day: 10. Number of teams in the Top 10 this year that have lost to an unranked opponent.

Quote of the Day: "It's not his fault whatsoever. He played his heart out down the stretch to get us in that situation. We didn't lose the game because of that play." -- Cal coach Jeff Tedford on Bears QB Kevin Riley's inopportune run to end the game.

Top 10 Teams In The Nation
1. Ohio State
2. LSU
3. USF
4. Oklahoma
5. South Carolina
6. Oregon
7. Boston College
8. USC
9. Kentucky
10. Florida

Posted by Adam Caparell at 01:02 AM on October 14, 2007
Comments (1)

Comments

I think the ASU Sundevils are being overlooked

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