The Wrapup - Week 10

By Adam Caparell - November 04, 2007


Apparently there's something bad about being No. 2 this year and we saw the second ranked team in the nation go down yet again Saturday, severely shaking up the national title picture.

Thanks to a great outing by Drew Weatherford and some poor decisions by Matt Ryan, Boston College lost its first game of the season and in all likelihood played itself out of national title contention.

Weatherford, the embattled FSU quarterback who has been shuttled in and out of the lineup all season long, had himself quite the game and the Boston College defense came up small when the Eagles really needed some stops.

But the blame needs to be shared equally with BC QB Matt Ryan, who tossed three interceptions and followed up a bad overall game in that win against Virginia Tech with another poor performance. This time he couldn't mask the bad body of work with a miraculous come from behind victory. He completed just half of his passes and failed to spark the offense.

Credit is due to Florida State. The up and down Seminoles - you never know which team you're going to get on any given Saturday - may have played their best game of the season. The running game got going, Weatherford was efficient and the defense was able to get to Ryan in the pocket and move him around. We saw an athletic defense give Ryan problems when Virginia Tech moved him around over a week ago. Florida State did much of the same. Athletic defenses are tough to deal with, especially when you have a relatively undersized line like Boston College now features. FSU forced four turnovers and when you turn the ball over four times it almost always spells doom.

But this loss shouldn't come as that much of a surprise. Florida State played the exact kind of game they needed to play: a low-scoring affair that demanded precision and some big plays from its offense and then let the defense to do what it's capable of doing. The elements of an upset were there on the table before this one and Bobby Bowden's boys played their cards perfectly.

Now BC will find itself on the outside looking in of the national title picture. And no one will benefit for more from the loss than LSU who should jump up to No. 2 in the BCS rankings when they're released Sunday afternoon. But only after they barely pulled out the win Saturday in Tuscaloosa.

LSU seems to thrive living on the edge right now. The Tigers came from behind to knock off Alabama in Saban Bowl I and did it thanks to an all-out blitz on third down late in the fourth quarter and another huge fourth down conversion - something that's quickly becoming a Les Miles specialty.

Matt Flynn found Early Doucet for a 32-yard touchdown on a fourth and four from the Alabama 32 that tied the game after Doucet made some Crimson Tide miss. On the next possession, LSU forced a John Parker Wilson fumble by safety Chad Jones on an all out blitz. Just a few plays later LSU was up for good.

Alabama's inability to run the ball was huge, as Wilson was forced to throw the ball 40 times - and he only completed 14 of those passes. Granted, three of those passes went for touchdowns and he completed some big passes, but with Wilson dropping back into the pocket most of the game LSU sent its best at the Crimson Tide and sacked him seven times.

If nothing else, LSU is surviving week after week. Sure they don't look as impressive as they did the season's first few weeks, but that's a product of the SEC where every game is so grueling and taxing and escaping with a win is all you need to do. You rarely get an easy one in the SEC and winning on the road in Alabama - or anywhere in the SEC for that matter - is ridiculously tough. Hopefully voters keep that in mind.

LSU looks to be in great shape right now. Its remaining schedule is more than navigable and they should take care of whoever they play in the SEC Championship game meaning they will control their destiny in the national championship race.

But as for Oregon, the other candidate to move into BC's vacated spot, they took care of another national title contender by handing Arizona State its first loss of the season. Arizona State finally stepped up in class, finally played in a tough environment and finally was exposed as a big boy pretender. The Oregon offense rolled over the Sun Devils defense that came in as one of the better statistically in not only the Pac-10, but the country, so Arizona State was exposed.

Oregon's going to get a lot of love and we'll see where they shoot up in the BCS rankings. Probably will slot in third as there looks to be too much of a gap between the Ducks and LSU to make up in one week.

Dennis Dixon had another great game with four TD passes, but left the game hurt so that bears close watching. He's the trigger man of that offense. They're still a good team without him, but such a different team without him. He does things very few, if any, can do in the country. He's playing on such a high level right now, maybe playing better than any other player in the nation.

Quick Hits

-- Saturday's action should also heavily affect the Heisman race. Dennis Dixon is going to shoot up people's boards, and most likely lead a lot of people's mock ballots. Matt Ryan has taken a huge hit with this loss. Another miracle comeback and chances are he just might have sealed it up Saturday. But he couldn't and the race looks to be wide open - no surprise there. Tim Tebow looks to be back in the mix. As long as Dixon stays healthy he's probably going to get an invite to New York.

Another guy who needs more attention for the Heisman - Chris Wells.

-- The Buckeyes admitted afterward - at least a few of them did - that there was some trepidation on the sideline when they were faced with a touchdown deficit late in the third quarter - they knew if things didn't turn around quickly there season was on the line.

But it didn't take very long for that deficit to turn into a big Buckeyes win, doing it how they've done throughout the season, with defense and their rushing attack. Chris Wells ran for three scores and the Buckeyes held Wisconsin to only 12 yards rushing. Without P.J. Hill - who sat out the game with a bruised foot - the Badgers couldn't get much going on the ground and that meant Tyler Donovan had to drop back more often than not. And all Ohio State did was finish things the game with 10 sacks and 13 TFLs.

Biggest plays for Wisconsin in this one were the bothced fake punt - a miscommunication between punter Ken DeBauche and the sidelines - and the two fumbles the Badgers coughed up inside their own 25 yard line - their own two turnovers of the game. Todd Boeckman's numbers weren't spectacular, but he was very good in throwing another two touchdowns and few other big pass plays. It's his first year as the starter, but the 23 year old continues to play with poise.

-- Got the Missouri-Colorado game totally wrong. Thought we'd see a big effort out of the Buffalos on defense, but the Tigers proved to be way too much. They just put up a ridiculous amount of yards against Colorado, a defense that gave the equally, if not more, talented Oklahoma Sooners so much trouble in that early season upset. And talk about undisciplined, Colorado had 12 penalties.

-- Can Kansas play a team that has a legit defense? They've played no good defensive teams so far and until they play a good defense team - probably wouldn't come until the Big 12 Championship game - I'm still not sold on the Jayhawks. I guess the win at Colorado was somewhat impressive considering they upset the Sooners, but the Big 12 is just so underwhelming this season.

Look no further than the team Kansas beat Saturday - Nebraska. To think this team was considered Top 20 worthy at one point this season.

-- UConn's offense paced it for a change, a big departure from how the Huskies have generally won their games this year. That bodes well considering the Huskies are now in the meat of their schedule. After a soft slate to begin the season, November is a bear. They've got a road trup to Cincinnati next weekend, followed by a home contest with Syracuse, and then that showdown with West Virginia in Morgantown. They're going to need the offense they showed Saturday against Cincinnati and most definitely against the Mountaineers.

-- This would have to classify as rock bottom for Notre Dame. The last time the Irish lost to Navy was 1963 and after Saturday's loss in South Bend Notre Dame sits at 1-8 on the season. But the loss to the Midshipmen shouldn't come as much of a surprise. The Irish actually did a respectable job against the run, holding Navy well below their average with only 258 yards on the evening. But in the third overtime the Irish couldn't convert on the two point conversion - the Navy defense finally made a big stop - and the longest continuous intersectional rivalry in the country finally had a different winner for the first time in over four decades.

Is 1-11 a distinct possibility for Notre Dame? After Saturday, you'd have to say so. Can you really call any of Notre Dame's remaining games against Air Force, Duke and Stanford givens? And any speculation about Charlie Weis being on the hot seat is ridiculous. He just signed a 10-year contract extension. He's not going anywhere.

Biggest Winners: Navy, LSU, Ohio State, Florida State

Biggest Losers: Boston College, Notre Dame, Arizona State, USF

Player of the Day: Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State. Wells ran for three second half touchdowns against Wisconsin, three of the four the Buckeyes scored in their come from behind victory.

Stat of the Day: 17 starters on LSU who were recruited by Nick Saban to Baton Rouge. One who wasn't, freshman safety Chad Jones, arguably made the biggest play of the day in the Tigers win over Alabama.

Quote of the Day: "When our backs are against the wall, we play our best. When we need to make plays, we make them." -- LSU DT Glenn Dorsey

Top 10 Teams In The Country
1. Ohio State
2. LSU
3. Oregon
4. Oklahoma
5. West Virginia
6. Boston College
7. Missouri
8. Kansas
9. Georgia
10. Michigan

Posted by Adam Caparell at 01:22 AM on November 04, 2007
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