Illinois, Georgia Tech, Michigan and Baylor all lost on Saturday. God, Georgia Tech?!? They were playing Virginia! The Perfect Offense couldn’t lose to Virginia! Innocence…slowly being…ripped…away.
Three of those four schools were handed their first loss of the year. Baylor lost their second, but this was the one that took them from “interesting underdog” to “team with a nice offense and absolutely no defense.” You know, the same category Oklahoma State has occupied for the last five years or so.
What all four teams do have in common, however, is their new place as “pretenders” since they’re no longer undefeated and had virtually every one of their weaknesses exposed.
I had thought Georgia Tech was the one team in that list that was legit. Probably just to insult me even more, Virginia coach Mike London and others basically said they only won because they had two weeks to prepare for The Perfect Offense. Apparently, their plan was to make Tech quarterback Tevin Washington keep the ball instead of handing it to the B-back or pitching to one of the A-backs. And, yes, the Cavaliers held the Yellow Jackets under 300 yards rushing for the game, but the real killer is Washington’s inability to pass efficiently Saturday. He ended just 2-8 without any of the killer long plays they usually have.
Illinois was always a house of cards. While they were playing good defense most of the year, and they mostly did on Saturday too, their offense played right into the Buckeyes’ weakened hands. You have to throw to beat the Buckeyes, and Illini quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase just isn’t there yet. The Illini tried to keep the ball on the ground, but stopping the run is what the Buckeyes do even when they suck.
Baylor’s defense let them down again, and their offense couldn’t keep up with the insanely hot Aggie offense. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was the better quarterback on the field Saturday, something you don’t get to say often when Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III is playing.
And then there’s Michigan, who lost 28-14 to an unbelievably beatable Michigan State team. Give credit to the Spartan defense because Michigan couldn’t make any big plays and were so inefficient that they had seven straight punts at one point in the second half. Michigan State proved that Michigan needs Denard Robinson to beat you because they have no other weapons to speak of. But for one more Saturday, it was like Jim Tressel had come back in spirit, possessed the body of Mark Dantonio, and orchestrated the game perfectly just like when he was at Ohio State.
A shot at the national title was never really likely for any of these four teams, but their most optimistic fans probably realized Saturday that none of these four are as good as previously thought. Then they started wondering if they’re going to need a reservation at a hotel in El Paso, Texas or Detroit, Michigan in January instead of somewhere, you know, nice.
Now that all four teams’ weaknesses have been exposed, they’re going to be ridiculously hard to gamble on for the rest of the year. Even in games against weaker teams, it will be impossible to tell how they’ll do because everyone has the blueprint on how to beat them now. The predictability of certain parts of college football is what makes it easier than the NFL to gamble on, but not for these four teams. Everything’s going to be a grind from here on out.
Now I’m pretty much complaining to complain because a team I like (Georgia Tech) lost while a few teams who are equally weak managed to come back and win shootouts. Lame.
Next Duck Up
Oregon won 41-27 against Arizona State despite losing LaMichael James last week and quarterback Darron Thomas during the game. Backup quarterback Bryan Bennett kept the Oregon offense rolling and Kenjon Barner was pretty much just as good as LaMichael James would have been plus or minus about 50 yards. Arizona State was completely overwhelmed in the second half and made the Pac-12 South look like the much, much weaker half of the conference. Which it is.
Clemson just wanted to make sure you were paying attention
The Maryland Turnover Machine did everything they could to get the upset, but it all turned out to be abstract representations of cubes, circles, and the emotional/artistic recovery in East Berlin after the Soviet collapse. It’s possible Maryland was not operating at full power since their color scheme for their uniforms actually kind of made sense. Kind of. Next on the heart attack list for Clemson is the North Carolina Tar Heels.
59-7? What, did Wisconsin forget their balls in the locker room? Pansies. Indiana has been destroyed by some good teams, and that was hardly a beating at all. I bet the hospital won’t even admit us. Pssh.
Kansas State is just fine, thank you
A 41-34 win at Texas Tech might not seem like much to most people, but the Wildcats were getting crushed in the first half before utterly dominating the second half. Now they’re 6-0 and it’s exactly like the Ron Prince Era never happened, as depressing a thought as that is for EDSBS commenters.
Wait, Oklahoma State won?
Apparently, the Cowboys figured out they really do have a better team than Texas. And I have to give credit to the lede in the Yahoo! Sports article for correctly pointing out that it’s the Texas defense that’s much, much worse than usual as well. Sure, the UT offense is terrible, but the defense is soft, and I have to give Jim Vertuno credit for pointing it out. Sorry, Mack Brown. It’s going to be a much longer rebuilding process than you thought.
On a side note, I saw Chip Kelly and the College Gameday guys discussing exactly this problem. Erin Andrews or some one, maybe Herbstreit, pointed out that teams running the spread offense tend to have softer defenses because they don’t have to practice against tough-running teams like Kansas State et al. Kelly, of course, disagreed with this idea, but Texas is a primary example to prove it since the Longhorns’ spread offense has essentially abandoned the run.
Until last night, that is. Texas lost for the first time under Mack Brown when rushing for over 200 yards as a team. Guess you kind of have to run it when David Ash is your quarterback. Next time some one compares him to Tim Tebow, even if it’s just on a physical basis, I’m going to harm a small animal. Do you really want that on your conscience, announcers?
Penn State is king of the cripple fight
I watched them beat Indiana a few weeks ago and I still have no idea how Penn State is 6-1 and 3-0 in the Big Ten, tying them for the lead with Wisconsin in the, GUH, Leaders Division. Yet the Nittany Lions are, in fact, 6-1 after beating Purdue 23-18 in yet another truly dull game, or so I’m told because there was no way I was going to watch it.
There’s always one game like this in the SEC every year…
…And South Carolina and Mississippi State played it on Saturday. The Gamecocks won that pillow fight 14-12 but lost their one true offensive weapon, running back Marcus Lattimore, to a knee sprain. That probably has a lot to do with why this game sucked, but one of these happens every year, so it probably would have sucked anyway.
My favorite part of the yearly SEC crapfest is getting to say this: No, this game didn’t happen because it was a TITANIC DEFENSIVE STRUGGLE. Both offenses suck and showed it for four quarters. That’s all that happened.
By the way, that’s called the Florida State/Miami Rule in honor of all those awful games ESPN insisted on hyping and then defending as “defensive.”
Week Seven Record: 11-2 W/L, 10-3 AS
2011 Season Record: 72-23 W/L, 53-39-3 AS