The Wrapup - Week 8

By Adam Caparell - October 21, 2007


Another week, another set of upsets. And we had more than a few in the Top 10 again. We saw No. 6 South Carolina lose, along with No. 10 Cal and No. 8 Kentucky Saturday. But in all actuality, we only had two upsets because Kentucky's loss was not an upset.

Florida, the 14th-ranked team in the nation this week, came into the game as seven points favorites. And because of yet another Heisman Trophy worthy performance out of their do-everything-quarterback, the Gators reasserted themselves in the SEC East and avoided season suicide that would have been a third straight loss.

We predictably saw a shootout with Kentucky and Florida in Lexington and we saw Tim Tebow yet again take the Gators on his back to a crucial win that quite possibly could keep them alive in the national championship picture - albeit slim - considering how the losses seem to be mounting up for everyone in the Top 10.

Florida's defense did just enough to keep Andre' Woodson out of sync in the first half as he missed three potential touchdowns - but one of them one was Steve Johnson's fault - and deal his Heisman candidacy a little blow while Tebow elevated his. He took a beating to do so, but it's not a surprise considering he was practically the whole offense for the Gators for what seems like the seventh time this season. Tebow accounted for roughly 70 some odd percent of the Gators offense and we'll see if that shoulder injury it looked like he suffered will effect him down the road.

Urban Meyer has to get his running backs into the mix because he's going to get Tebow killed one of these games. They barely carried the ball at all Saturday with Tebow taking the bulk of the attempts. He did a great job with those play actions to himself - as Gary Danielson described them - and showed some great patience and power in a number of his runs. He also showed off his arm, connecting on big plays with his receivers - and not just Percy Harvin, either.

We finally saw some of that big play offense out of the Gators that was severely lacking against Auburn and LSU for the most part. When the Gators can rack up a handful of those 30-40-50 yard plays, they're tough to stop.

Florida showed, beyond a showdown of a doubt, that they're the best two loss team in the nation. They're Top 5 material with Top 5 talent. But they also showed how the defense has a ways to go, how young it is and how they have holes to address. Granted, Kentucky is a pretty good offense and they were going up against one of the best quarterbacks in the country. But Florida will give up yards and they did that Saturday. They're vulnerable against the pass yet they actually did what LSU couldn't against the Wildcats last week: sack the quarterback. It was a big reason why Woodson struggled in the first half and they got to him a few times down the stretch. The Gators finished with an astounding six sacks.

The Gators didn't show you the total package Saturday. But they showed you the offense is in decent shape - as long as the quarterback is.

And the agony/ecstasy of the bettors around the country. Kentucky scored that final touchdown of the game to pull within eight. But thanks to a rule instituted before the start of last season, the Wildcats didn't have to attempt the extra point at the end of regulation because it was meaningless to the outcome of the game. Had the Wildcats kicked the extra point that would have put them within seven - and the line on the game stood at 7. Good for those who had the Gators. Bad for those who had the Wildcats and the points.

Quick Hits

-- Gary Crowton showed some kind of onions with that final call that clinched the game for LSU as the Tigers completed their incredible comeback over Auburn.

LSU drove the field like a champion as time was winding down, right after Auburn scored to regain the lead. Matt Flynn directed the offense into field goal position and it looked like the Tigers would be lining up for a roughly 40-yard field goal to give them a two point win. But instead of taking a timeout, Les MIles took yet another gamble and he's incredibly lucky that it paid off. Flynn tossed a touchdown with one second remaining to Demetrius Byrd and the Tigers survived - big time. It could have backfired on him, but I don't think the clock would have expired on an incomplete pass. Byrd came down with it with a few ticks left on the clock. If it had been tipped up and batted around then that's a different story. But an incomplete pass wouldn't have destroyed the Tigers.

Champions have comeback ability and the Tigers have now comeback like champions in two big games. The Tigers came back against Florida a few weeks, down by 10 in the second half. And they were down again to Auburn late in the second half, but showed a ton of poise - most especially Flynn who rebounded with a better performance this week after last week's disappointment in Lexington. It almost looked like the Tigers turned on a switch in the second half, really getting the offense rolling. They pretty much saved their national championship hopes, and their SEC Championship hopes as well, with that drive showing us all they can. And watch out if Early Doucet is finally back in the lineup week in and week out.

The Tigers now they get a much deserved week off to gear up for that Alabama game. Les Miles is definitely going to need it considering the media onslaught that will surely follow him and the Tigers in a little over a week. But they have to work on those dropped passes. It's killing them and Flynn as well. He's gets criticized for that poor completion percentage, but he can only do so much. His receivers have to help him out a little.

Tommy Tuberville may have come up short in this one, but he nearly directed another huge win for his Tigers. He's such a good coach and doesn't get nearly enough credit for it. I think Auburn showed you a lot in this one. They've beaten Florida, maybe should have beaten LSU and have they're offense in pretty good shape right now. No one wants to play Auburn. They beat you up and take you to the brink - every time.

-- If only Steve Spurrier had a quarterback. Whether it's Blake Mitchell or Chris Smelley, Spurrier can't find anyone who can play consistently - and Mitchell can't seem to keep the ball out of opponents' hands - and it continues to cost him. This time it was Vanderbilt springing the surprising upset on the No. 6 team in the nation - in Columbia no less - and 13.5 point favorites.

But this loss should be hung on the offensive line who allowed Vanderbilt to pressure and sack the Gamecocks quarterback combo all day long. The couldn't get anything going via the running game and right now the Gamecocks offense looks like a total mess.

-- Those looking for an impressive victory for Ohio State didn't get it out of the Buckeyes against Michigan State. But at least they survived, which is more than some of the Top 10 could say Saturday.

The Buckeyes are 8-0 - albeit a soft 8-0 - despite turning the ball over too many times against the Spartans after it looked like they were going to cruise. The big play combo of Todd Boeckman and Brian Robiskie made yet another appearance on a 50-yard TD pass and Chris Wells ran for an astounding 221 yards against the soft Spartans defense. But the Buckeyes had trouble taking care of the ball and they need to thankful their defense is so good because otherwise it might be a different story. Javon Ringer was held to roughly 120 yards below his season average and Brian Hoyer did not do very much.

-- USC should have gained a little confidence out of its drubbing of Notre Dame. The Trojans had fun to the tune of 38 points and Mark Sanchez had himself a nice game with four touchdowns on 21-of-38 passing for 235 yards. But USC had too many penalties. A team that's supposed to be as good as they are can't continue to average eight penalties a game.

The Irish may have hit rock bottom as their gauntlet of a schedule eases up after this. Charlie Weis even intimated as much when he was asked as much after the game.

"I'm going to answer that very cautiously, because I don't want to be called sarcastic using New Jersey rhetoric," Weis said. "So let me just say people better enjoy it now, have their fun now."

-- There's no excuse for Cal to lose to UCLA, rivalry game or not. The Bruins are the Jekyll and Hyde of college football. You never know what you're going to get with them. But Cal should not lose to a team that lost badly to Notre Dame at home the week before. To think of the opportunity the Bears had last week, to be the No. 1 team after LSU lost before they were upset by Oregon State. Now they're going to find themselves barely in the Top 25 Sunday.

Biggest Winners: Florida, LSU, Missouri

Biggest Losers: South Carolina, Cal, Kentucky, Tennessee, Bill Callahan

Player of the Day: Tim Tebow. Here's the final stat line: 18-of-26, 256 Yds., 69.2 Pct., 4 TD, 0 INT, 202.71 Rating, 20 Att., 78 Yds., 1 TD. How is he not the Heisman frontrunner right now? He puts up a line like this every week.

Stat of the Day: 465. Oregon's total rushing yards against Washington. You read that right.

Quote of the Day: "That's the sorriest team in the SEC we lost to. We should've won that game." -- South Carolina safety Emanuel Cook on the Gamecocks loss to Vanderbilt. Cook got it wrong. Saturday, the Gamecocks were the sorriest team in the SEC. Most especially that offense.

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

Posted by Adam Caparell at 01:02 AM on October 21, 2007
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