USC's loss throws title race into tizzy
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Eric Moneypenny / Special to
Posted: 10 days ago
Ohio State and Michigan held ground, while USC fell victim to Oregon State and a hot-handed quarterback.

A USC loss? Well, that's just great. Now, unless a tech dude with a soft spot in his heart for an undefeated Big East champion hacks into the BCS computers, or a congressman from the Boise, Idaho district successfully gets a wild new anti-BCS law passed SOON, we're pretty much guaranteed a BCS champion-ship game that includes a one-loss team.


And no, I'm not trying to scare you because it's Halloween week-end. I'm actually booing. Ever since the USC loss, I've been sitting around my house booing. You see, we've been spoiled with undefeated one versus two matchups for all the marbles, and now all we're gonna be left with Ohio State or Michigan against Texas.

Maybe West Virginia can stay the course and somehow stay above Texas in the standings, but it seems doubtful should Texas run the table and win the Big 12. And while I love watch-ing Pat White and Steve Slaton, even (Ohio State or Michigan) vs. West Virginia doesn't exactly feel like the USC-Oklahoma or USC-Texas matchups from recent years.

So, should West Virginia, Louisville, and Rutgers all wind up beating up on each other in the next month, we're gonna be left with a one-loss team playing for the big football trophy, and Tommy Tuberville will be asking for a college playoff more often than Tommy Tutone asked for Jenny's phone number. And yes, the USC loss is good news for teams ranked 8, 6, 7, 5, 3, or 9, so it's almost like a new season will be ringing in next weekend. A new season decided as much by computers and formulas as much as on the field. It's probably best to not worry about it, but just sit back, and watch the season continue to unfold.

  • They call Florida-Georgia the "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party", so I think it's time we came up with some names from some of the other matchups from this Saturday.

    For instance, we should've called Florida State vs. Maryland the "World's Largest Outdoor Underachieving ACC Program Party."

    Or, Michigan State vs. Indiana could've been the "World's Larg-est Wait Until Basketball Season Starts Party."

    Which of course, would've made Syracuse vs. Cincinnati the "World's Second Largest Wait Until Basketball Season Starts Party." Kinda wordy, but maybe it'll catch on...

  • Florida State is now 2-4 in the ACC. Unbelievable. La-dies and gentlemen, the Florida State Seminoles are now offi-cially in sole possession of last place in the ACC's Atlantic Divi-sion. I'm having almost as much of a hard time believing that as I am that this week's Law & Order guest star is Chevy Chase.

    For the past few years, I've been with that portion of Seminoles fans who'd like to see Jeff Bowden removed as offensive coordi-nator, but moved to another position on the staff.

    After all, you can't fire family, but watching some of Jeff Bow-den's offenses is kind of like watching Tommy Callahan learning how to sell brake pads. The days of the "Fast Break" offense feels like eons ago, and half of the time, the recent FSU passing game makes Thad Busby look like Charlie Ward in comparison. In fact, ever since QB Chris Weinke left, the 'Noles offense has-n't been anywhere close to the unit they were throughout the 1990s, when they were regularly hanging 40, 50, or 60 points on their then-hapless ACC foes.

    But the weird thing is, the younger Bowden's play-calling didn't even seem to be the major problem in the Maryland loss. FSU gained twice as many total yards as the Terps, held the ball nine minutes longer, and STILL lost. So, when you can't really point the finger at Jeff Bowden, which direction should you point it? And, which finger should you use?

    Does some sort of major coaching change need to be made in Tallahassee? It's a really tough call. Remember, you can't dump a head coach if you've already built an actual statue of him on campus. Pretty sure that's some sort of a law. But I can't help but think that a Mark Richt-type would have the 'Noles hov-ering somewhere other than the ACC cellar right now, no matter how hard the injury bug's biting. But even then, I find it hard to use injuries as an excuse. Every single off-season, Florida State recruits such great talent that they should be able to absorb an onslaught of injuries better than almost any program in college football.

    I want to see Florida State good again. To me, they're the flag-ship football program of the ACC. They shouldn't be sitting at the bottom of the conference, and they shouldn't be trying to sal-vage their season so they can go to a bowl game in Boise or Charlotte. Whatever Florida State's REAL problem is, they have a ton of stuff to figure out, and hopefully they'll figure it out before next season starts.

  • Florida State being bad wouldn't bother me if the ACC didn't seem so terrible this season... Don't get me wrong, I grew up in ACC Country, right on Tobacco Road actually, so I kinda consider myself an "ACC Guy". But this season, the conference is atrocious. Check it out...

    • Florida State stinks.
    • Miami's a disaster.
    • Clemson blew it this week.
    • Virginia Tech's a bit down from recent years, but only good enough to possibly ruin Clemson's season.
    • Boston College is gonna go to the championship game, and they're only around because Syracuse didn't join.
    • Georgia Tech's basically a defense and an all-world receiver that has a quarterback that can't consistently get him the ball.
    • North Carolina's a sunken ship looking for a new captain.
    • Maryland and Virginia both seem like they should be WAY better at this point in their coaches' tenures.
    • N.C. State's the same as Maryland and Virginia, yet observ-ing their offense from afar is almost physically painful.
    • Wake Forest is 7-1 now, and 7-5 by the end of next month.
    • Duke is Duke. Okay, I gotta be honest with you guys. I feel like I'm being far too negative this week. I'll leave Duke alone.

  • It doesn't bother me that South Carolina QB Syvelle Newton threw three interceptions in the 31-24 loss to Ten-nessee. Newton's still the best thing that's happened to the South Carolina offense since Spurrier arrived. And yeah, WR Sidney Rice is great, and should dominate in the NFL, but I can't imagine where South Carolina would be this season without Newton running around making plays.

  • Best performance by a Cougar since "Talladega Nights" ... Washington State QB Alex Brink went 29 for 39 with 422 yards and three TDs, leading his Cougs to a 37-15 smacking of UCLA.

  • If you feel like you had a lazy Saturday ... Feel free to take comfort in the fact that even if you never left your couch, you still rushed for more yards than Texas Tech did against Texas (-1 yards on 13 attempts).

  • Right now, Oregon State quarterback Matt Moore is playing out of his gourd. Much has been said about the Beavs taking out USC, but they've won three straight now, and Matt Moore is playing the best football of his career. The past three games, the former UCLA QB is 51 of 73 (69.9 percent) for 749 yards. For a large part of Moore's college career, he's been a fully operational interception machine (he threw 19 picks in 2005). Against USC, he showed how far he's come along under Mike Riley's tutelage, tossing zero gifts to the Trojans.

    As far as USC goes, I still can't believe they dropped this one with Oregon, Cal, and Notre Dame looming in the coming weeks. For the better part of three quarters, it felt like USC switched uni-forms with Oregon State in the spirit of Halloween weekend. It was eerily spook-tacular. Luckily for USC, they get Stanford next, which is almost like a bye week.

  • Next time you get a chance to catch Virginia on TV, please, sit there and marvel at Virginia's All-American defensive end Chris Long. I did this for about thirty minutes during Vir-ginia's 14-7 win over North Carolina State on Saturday. Long, (son of Howie), is 6-foot-4, 290 pounds, and possesses a motor that honestly never stops. The guy's a beast.

    During Saturday's game, not only did Long notch a sack, he was also throwing offensive tackles around like they were inconse-quential running backs, chasing down plays, and generally mak-ing life incredibly hard on the opposition.

    The most impressive part is, Long usually lines up at defensive end in a 3-4 scheme, which is generally considered a glorified defensive tackle. In the pros, a guy lining up in that spot of the 3-4 usually tries to tie up the offensive linemen so the lineback-ers can run free. That's not necessarily what Chris Long does; he's just a wrecking ball. Really, really fun player. Plus, Long seems to attract so much of the offensive line's attention, it's to-tally allowing freshman defensive lineman Jeffery Fitzgerald to make a ton of plays in his own right. With Fitzgerald's 11 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks on the season, don't be surprised to see him popping up on most, if not all, freshman All-America lists at the end of the year.

  • For those of you interested in astronomy, check this out: In my lifetime, I've seen Halley's Comet more times than I've seen Navy beat Notre Dame. If you were born after the 1963 football season, you're probably in the same group. Luck-ily, Navy's got until the year 2061 to tie it up.

  • It was a pretty tough week for a couple head coaches that were awesome college quarterbacks back in the '80s. Former Nebraska great Turner Gill's Buffalo team received a much anticipated 41-0 thumping against Boston College. Even worse, former Iowa standout Chuck Long's San Diego State Az-tecs fell victim to a 16-14 upset against I-AA Cal Poly. Overall, Gill and Long are a combined 2-13 on the season. Good thing Flutie and Robbie Bosco aren't D-I head coaches this year.

  • In all of college football, arguably the most fun team to watch is Hawaii. I had a chance to catch most of Hawaii's 68-10 thrashing of Idaho, and wow, the Warriors are really playing out of their minds right now. They've won five straight, and check out these scores from during the streak: 44-9, 41-34, 68-37, 49-30, and 68-10. Now, we've known for years that June Jones' Hawaii teams like to fling the ball around, so they've al-ways been entertaining, but this year's version is my hands-down favorite. The Hawaii home games usually start at 12:05 a.m. EST, which is funny, since compared to most college teams, it feels like the difference between watching a late-night talk show and watching a primetime sitcom.

    First, you've got Colt Brennan hurling about five touchdowns a game, and he's surrounded by seemingly dozens of talented pass-catchers. When they aren't throwing the ball, they're hand-ing it off to their 250-pound running back Nate Ilaoa, who's run-ning wild over everyone. When Ilaoa comes out of the game, they replace him with a 350-pound running back, senior Reagan Mauia. Variety is the slice of life, so I can kick back and watch a team that throws for 400 yards, then hand the ball off to guys that outweigh defensive tackles any day.

  • Temple beat Bowling Green 28-14, making it the Owls' first win since Nov. 13, 2004. That's right, dudes. Party at Cosby's!

    Eric Moneypenny is a frequent contributor to

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