The Wrapup - Week 14

By Adam Caparell - December 02, 2007

Few things in life are easy. And predicting, analyzing and understanding college football is not one of those things because Saturday night we saw more of the unexpected and more of the chaos that has come to exemplify the 2007 season.

No. 1 and No. 2 went down and went down hard. Missouri and West Virginia were poised to play for the national title if they could just take care of business in their respective regular season finales, but neither did.

And in the Mountaineers case, their loss to rival Pittsburgh was nothing short of stunning. West Virginia, quite simply, was did in by itself. The Mountaineers couldn't stop the Pitt offense on key plays and the pair of early missed field goals proved to be gigantic with West Virginia's losing by six points. Maybe West Virginia was a little tight, maybe they were looking ahead and maybe the play calling was suspect, but bottom line is Pittsburgh deserves a ton of credit in this one.

They did a phenomenal job of holding the Mountaineers to nearly 300 yards less offense than they had been averaging all season. They made big tackles, didn't allow Steve Slaton to do anything and forced a few turnovers and probably contributed to Pat White's dislocated thumb that was a big reason why the Mountaineers won't be playing for the national title.

Interestingly, West Virginia's two losses this season involved White missing time with an injury. That first loss against USF with the thigh injury set them back in the poll and Saturday his thumb injury - that caused him to miss a significant amount of time - was a big reason why the offense sputtered. Sometimes the play of the quarterback is overrated. It never is in West Virginia's case. White is the driving force for West Virginia and he carried the Mountaineers down the stretch. No one on the Mountaineers offense stepped up when he went out.

Rich Rodriguez put it quite nicely. West Virginia picked the worst time to play its worst offensive game in several years and now they'll be relegated to a BCS bowl, but not the one they thought they'd be playing in.

As for Missouri, we saw the more talented, more physical and more accomplished Sooners end the dream run that was the Tigers ascent up the BCS standings this past month.

Chase Daniel had his worst game of the season, throwing an interception and no touchdowns meaning you can now you can kiss his Heisman hopes goodbye. But he wasn't the reason they lost. The Tigers were helpless stopping the Oklahoma running attack and couldn't capitalize on scoring opportunities - that's why they lost to Oklahoma for the second time this season. Sam Bradford also out-shined Daniel, throwing for two touchdowns, but give this win to the Sooners defense who held Missouri to under 30 points for the first time this year.

So now the question, of course, is where does this leave us with the BCS. The No. 2 team in the nation lost for the seventh time this season and we had another top 10 team lose to an unranked team.

Here's what we figure will happen first and foremost: Ohio State will be slotted into the top spot in the BCS. Sitting at No. 3 while the two in front of them lost, the Buckeyes will be playing for a national title for the second straight season which is amazing to think considering all they lost from last season's national runner-up and how much losing occurred the past three weeks to allow them to move back into the top 2.

The question is who will they face? Well, the likely candidates seem to be Virginia Tech and LSU right now. Virginia Tech came into the weekend as the No. 6 team in the BCS standings, one spot ahead of the Tigers. But with both winning conference titles Saturday, over highly ranked opponents, they're going to fight it out with the voters to earn that prized spot on their ballots. Let's hope voters remember the drubbing LSU gave Tech back in September and don't foolishly slot them ahead of the Tigers. That would be a huge to LSU injustice and a gross oversight on the voters part. But let's give them the benefit of the doubt and say they don't.

Georgia, who was the fourth team in the BCS standings, could be hurt by sitting idle. We've seen it in the past where teams not playing fall in the BCS rankings and you'd have to think voters would have a hard time slotting a Georgia team over a Virginia Tech or LSU team, teams that won conference championships while the Bulldogs didn't even win their own division.

But who knows. We're going to have to wait until 8 pm ET Sunday to get the official word - or chances are the results will get leaked a few hours early as always seems to be the case - but right now we honestly have no idea what's going to happen, who the national title participants are going to be. If you lke suspense, you must be loving this.

As for the other, outside candidates: Is Oklahoma in play for the national championship game? Possibly, albeit unlikely. How about USC? They're playing arguably the best football in the nation - along with Georgia - the past month, but the Trojans may have too big of a hill to climb.

All I know is these are the matchups I'd like to see that we surely won't. These are wacky, unconventional and will never happen, but I think they'd make for some good games and interesting contests.

BCS Championship: USC vs. Georgia. Two teams playing the best football in the country.
Sugar Bowl: LSU vs. West Virginia. Let's see what the Mountaineers offense can do against the Tigers defense.
Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Ohio State. If you like defense, this is for you.
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Kansas. We never saw it in the regular season, so let's see it now.
Rose Bowl: Illinois vs. Arizona State. Would keep the Rose Bowl officials happy with the Pac-10-Big Ten matchup and viewers happy with good offenses on display.

Quick Hits

-- Maybe Les Miles was raging because Michigan didn't offer him the kind of money he thought he deserved?

But all kidding aside, Miles was hot and bothered about the all the speculation surrounding his supposed departure to Michigan the past week and he put that to rest with his 50-some-odd-second press conference before the SEC Championship game. He said he's not going anywhere and he then watched his Tigers go out and win him an SEC title.

Or should he send a thank you note and a little bubbly to Erik Ainge?

Ainge had an absolutely awful game, completing exactly half of his 40 passes for 249 yards and a pair of interceptions - one of which gave LSU the lead for good and the other clinched the game. Phil Fulmer was up in arms over that last interception and Ainge certainly didn't play like the best quarterback in the country - as Fulmer thinks of him as.

Perrilloux, on the other hand, was named the game's MVP and did more than an admirable job filling in for Matt Flynn. He's going to be the man for LSU next year and showed you his arm on some impressive throws today. He still makes some poor decisions and still needs some refinement, but there's no denying his abilities.

But just like all his other teammates, Perrilloux could not emerge from the game unscathed. We saw him with that big wrap on a bloody finger, a finger that's most likely battered and bruised like the rest of the Tigers. Seriously, is there a more banged up team in the entire nation than LSU right now? Everyone on the defense seems to have something nagging them. Flynn was out. Trindon Holiday was hurt coming in. So was Glenn Dorsey, Craig Steltz and too many to list. No other team in the country needs a break as badly as the Tigers. The next month off should serve them well.

-- They still carry around the stigma of that beat down in the Bayou earlier in the season, but Virginia Tech showed it's definitively one of the better teams in the country with another excellent defensive effort against Boston College in the ACC Championship game. This time around, the Hokies took care of the Eagles, as opposed to letting them off the hook like they did back in October, because of some pretty good quarterback play out of Sean Glennon and Tyrod Taylor and a few key defensive stops.

Matt Ryan put some nice numbers, but had to throw the ball 52 times and Tech once again made Ryan move around outside the pocket and when that's happened this year it usually has not meant success for the Eagles.

Prime example came on Ryan's final push to get the Eagles into the end zone with a little over 2:00 remaining. With his pass protection beginning to break down, Ryan looked to scramble out of the pocket, roll out to his left and look to find an open Eagle on 4th and 4. Only unlike the last time he rolled out to his left in a critical spot against Virginia Tech there was no Eagle waiting in the end zone to catch his miracle pass. Vince Hall was spying Ryan the whole time and throwing off his back foot Ryan gave himself almost no chance of completing his last gasp effort.

Virginia Tech looked to have a national championship pedigree when the season began. But offensive struggles early on in the season were a big reason why that talk didn't last very long - and the defense didn't exactly live up to its high expectations - yet they ended up where everyone figured they be: in Jacksonville and as ACC champs. And they actually could be playing in New Orleans, not Miami if they're very, very lucky.

-- My how far Cal has fallen. Jeff Tedford, what happened? How about Stanford who strung together some nice wins for coach Jim Harbaugh in his first season with the Cardinal.

-- Props to UCF's Kevin Smith who ran for another 284 yards Saturday in UCF's win over Tulsa in the C-USA Championship game. Smith finished the regular season with 2,448 yards, on a record 415 carries, leaving him in second place on the NCAA's single-season rushing list, trailing only Barry Sanders. It'll be interesting to see if the 6-foot-1, 211 pound junior sticks around for his senior season. Remember, George O'Leary is Smith's head coach and O'Leary spent three years as the Vikings defensive coordinator in the NFL so he'll be able to easily gauge Smith's NFL stock. Smith seems to have the kind of size teams would be looking for and he's got some explosiveness and speed - and he's also shown he can be a horse, carrying to ball 30 or more times on seven different occasions this season.

-- It's a two man race for the Heisman. Pat White, you're out. Chase Daniel you're out. It's down to Tim Tebow and Darren McFaddden.

It should be Tebow winning it, but there still seems to be a lot of anti-Tebow sentiment out there. And I'll say it again: Dennis Dixon deserves votes. Look how Oregon fell apart without him. Lost three straight to end the season.

Biggest Winner: Ohio State, LSU, Virginia Tech, USC, Dave Wannstedt (win and a contract extension)

Biggest Loser: West Virginia, Missouri, Karl Dorrell, Boston College, Rose Bowl

Player of the Day: Pitt defense. They allowed just 183 yards of total offense out of West Virginia in their stunning upset.

Stat of the Day: 13:23. Difference in time between Pitt's time of possession and West Virginia's.

Quote of the Day: "I've got a championship game to play, and I'm excited about the opportunity of my damn strong football team to play. It's unfortunate that I had to address my team with that information this morning.

"I represent me in this issue, please ask me after. I'm busy." -- LSU coach Les Miles during his impromptu news conference to say he's remaining with the Tigers and not jumping ship to the Wolverines.

Top 10 Teams In the Country
1. LSU
2. USC
3. Georgia
4. Ohio State
5. Virginia Tech
6. Oklahoma
7. Florida
8. West Virginia
9. Missouri
10. Kansas

Posted by Adam Caparell at 02:35 AM on December 02, 2007
Comments (2)


Sigh...another Hawaii Hater...

ou ,ohio state for national championship

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