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College Football – Week 11 – Only 5 Unbeaten Teams Left, Iowa Ends Penn State’s BCS Title Hopes
There are only 5 undefeated teams left in Division 1-A football and Penn State is not one of them. The 5 perfect records belong to Alabama (10-0), Texas Tech (10-0), Boise State (9-0), Utah (10-0) and Ball State (9-0).
Joe Paterno’s Nittany Lions went 9-0 and climbed to No. 3 in the AP Top 25 poll before taking a trip to Iowa on Saturday (11-8-08) and losing to the Hawkeyes 24-23 on a 31-yard field goal. with a second on the left.
Daniel Murray, who hadn’t made a field goal since the start of the Iowa season and lost his job to a freshman, finally got a second chance. Murray had taken on the kick-off duties, but when it came to the windy playing conditions and the need for experience, coach Kirk Ferentz called on Murray.
Murray drilled it down the middle and the icy Iowa fans went wild, flooding the field with mad excitement. It happened because Penn State lost a 9-point lead in the 4th quarter. Iowa won the last quarter 10-0. The Hawkeyes were helped by Shonn Greene’s rushing 117 yards and 2 touchdowns, and Ricky Stanzi’s 15-of-25 passes for 171 yards.
The win was Iowa’s biggest in years and its first against a Top 5 team since 1990. The Hawkeyes improved to 6-4, becoming bowl eligible. The Hawkeyes’ 4 losses this year have been 12 points overall. Last week they lost to Illinois on a 46-yard field goal with 24 seconds left. This week, it was their turn to win with a last-second placement.
Penn State’s chance to make the national championship game evaporated. The kiss of death for Penn State was the fact that Iowa was an unranked team and Penn State played on the road. The Nittany Lions’ new goals will be a Big Ten title and a Rose Bowl berth on New Year’s Day.
For the first time this season, all of the AP Top 25 Poll teams played, with 17 of the 25 winning teams and 5 huge wins among the winners playing against other ranked teams. They included:
No. 1 Alabama on the road against No. 15 LSU in overtime, 27-21, with star quarterback John Parker Wilson scoring on a stealth 1-yard kick. The Crimson Tide had a chance to win the game in regulation play, but a 29-yard field goal attempt by Leigh Tiffin was weak and blocked.
LSU had the first chance in overtime but even gave away a field goal when Jarrett Lee threw his 4th interception and was picked for the 3rd time in the game by Alabama’s Rashad Johnson, who tied a school record in the process. The Tide canceled another field goal try, having already missed twice, and Wilson scored on the spot to give Alabama a spot in the SEC Championship Game.
No. 2 Texas Tech at home to No. 8 Oklahoma State, 56-20, as the Red Raiders scored touchdowns on 7 straight possessions.
No. 7 Southern Cal at home against No. 21 California, 17-3, in an impressive display of defense. The win was the 6th in a row for the Trojans who have beaten opponents 231-23 since losing 27-21 as 25-point favorites at Oregon State. They’re the Trojans, always losing a game to an unranked team, apparently they wake up late in Hollywood.
10th Utah at home against 11th Texas Christian in a squeaker, 13-10. Utah had gone 9-0 and climbed to No. 10 playing one of the weakest schedules west of the Mississippi River. The Utes are part of the Mountain West Conference, and if they hadn’t played at TCU, they wouldn’t have faced a quality team worth talking about; they still face BYU in their last game.
North Carolina’s No. 19 at home against Georgia Tech’s No. 22, 28-7, scoring 3 touchdowns in the 4th quarter.
Twelve other Top 25 teams have won against ranked opponents, including:
No. 4 Florida on the road against Vanderbilt, 42-14, as Tim Tebow threw for 3 touchdowns and ran for 2 more. The Gators clinched the SEC East Division title and will face SEC West Division title holders Alabama for the SEC Championship.
Texas No. 5 at home against Baylor, 45-21, as Longhorn Colt McCoy threw for 5 touchdowns and 300 yards. No. 6 Oklahoma on the road over Texas A&M in an easy, 66-28 rout. Boise State No. 9 at home against Utah State, 49-14, as Kellen Moore threw for 362 yards and 2 touchdowns. No. 12 Ohio State on the road against Northwestern, 45-10, as Terrelle Prior threw for 3 scores and Chris “Beanie” Wells added 2 more on the floor.
No. 13 Missouri at home against Kansas State, 41-24, as Jeremy Maclin scored 3 touchdowns and racked up 278 all-purpose yards. No. 14 Georgia on the road over Kentucky, 42-38, getting the TD go-ahead on a pass from Matthew Stafford to AJ Green with 1:54 left. No. 16 Ball State at home over Northern Illinois 45-14. #17 Brigham Young (BYU) at home over a San Diego State team 1-9 41-12.
No. 18 Michigan State at home against Purdue, 21-7, as Javon Ringer scored twice and the Spartan defense made superb third saves. No. 24 Florida State at home to Clemson, 41-27, on coach Bobby Bowden’s 79th birthday (yes, the guy is 79 and still coaching), and after the son was fired of Bowden, Tommy, as head coach of Clemson last month. No. 25 Pittsburgh at home to Louisville, 41-7, as the Panthers turned 4 Cardinal turnovers into scores.
The 7 losing Top 25 teams—besides #3 Penn State—that lost to unranked teams included:
No. 20 West Virginia at home to Cincinnati in overtime 26-23. West Virginia is one of those teams that can’t stand prosperity, they’ve been in and out of the AP Top 25 all season. No. 23 Maryland on the road to Virginia Tech, 23-13.
For the 8 losing teams in the AP Top 25 this week, that’s pretty much what legendary coach Lou Holtz said, “When all is said and done, more is said than done.”
When the new AP Top 25 poll came out on Sunday, 4 teams were missing – West Virginia, California, Georgia Tech and Maryland. Replacing them were 2 new teams-No. 22 Cincinnati and No. 23 Oregon State-and 2 returning teams-No. 24 South Carolina (Gamecocks left the ballot after Week 1) and No. 25 Tulsa (Golden Hurricanes came in Week 8, were ejected last week and returned this week).
In other games of note this week:
Boston College at home shut out Notre Dame 17-0 in their annual Catholic Bowl game.
An 8-2 Western Michigan team of growing Mid-American conference stature hosted and beat Illinois of the Big Ten, 23-17.
A 4-5 Mountain West Conference Wyoming team hosted and beat Tennessee of the Southeastern Conference, 13-7. Could Tennessee sink lower? Some fans had to read this result THREE times to believe it was true.
Hawaii defeated New Mexico State 42-30 to tie its record at 5-5 and a win before bowl eligibility.
East Carolina became bowl eligible with its 6th win, an overtime win over Marshall, 19-16.
That’s it. That’s all. I am leaving. Another four weeks and the regular season is over, then bowl season surfaces and a few big winners will rake in big bucks for their football programs. A few of the bowl games will be great, we just don’t know which ones.
Copyright © 2008 Ed Bagley
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