Oregon stuns USC, gains control of Pac-10
“There’s a new king in the Pac-10.”
That’s what many pundits will be saying after Oregon’s daunting victory over USC. A couple games remain on the schedule, but Oregon is clearly the best team in the Pac-10 at this point. Oregon is still only undefeated Pac-10 team in conference play, while USC now has two losses. You can’t argue with that.
The Ducks came fully prepared to play this assumed Pac-10 championship game at the Autzen Zoo. Chip Kelly did something magical to this squad after their loss to Boise State, because the Ducks have been on a tear ever since. The Trojans, on the other hand, have recently looked shaky against Notre Dame and Oregon State. Strangely, their offense has been clicking while their defense has surrendered at least 27 points in their last two contests.
Many have ignored these performances but continued to criticize Oregon’s defense. Fact is, the Ducks have gotten it together on both ends of the field. Facing their toughest opponent yet in USC, the Trojans could only muster 109 yards rushing 160 receiving. Their quarterback Matt Barkley did throw two touchdown passes, but USC couldn’t convert third downs, as they finished 3-12 for the night.
Oregon quarterback Jermiah Masoli has taken a fair amount of criticism for his passing game. Like Tim Tebow, he likes to run the ball, but is often ineffective at involving his entire offense, unlike the Heisman winner. While four of Oregon’s five touchdowns came off rushing, Masoli did throw for 220 yards, including a nice touchdown pass to Jamere Holland. Most importantly, he looked confident out there, going great lengths to utilize his teammates.
Take a look at this: Oregon had over 600 yards of total offense. So much for USC’s impenetrable defense. We’ll see where Oregon ends up, but they truly should be proud of this win.
Florida walks over Georgia in rivalry game
Greetings from “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party!” Of course, I’m not really in attendance, nor am I supposed to refer to this game by that moniker given the unsavory connotations. Since 2006, SEC officials have been calling it “The Florida–Georgia/Georgia–Florida Game.” How boring, but I understand their decision.
Since 1990, Florida has gone 16-3 in this game, following the domination by Georgia during the 70s and 80s. Last year, Florida got their redemption against Georgia after the notable “Gator Stomp” in 2007. Despite the intense rivalry, Florida was predicted to wipe out their opponents today. Simply put, Florida needed to have a huge day offensively to solidify their status as the No. 1 team in the nation. Although they weren’t dominant last week in their win over Mississippi, Alabama wasn’t impressive either.
To their fans’ delight, the entire Gators team showed up in Jacksonville in today’s 41-17 route over Georgia. Coach Urban Meyer decided to open up Florida’s passing game, which has been an issue all season. In doing so, he also strengthened Tebow’s Heisman campaign. Tebow completed 15 of 21 passes for 164 yards and two touhdowns (both to Riley Cooper). Of course, Tebow still ran the ball, scoring two touchdowns on 18 carries. With the first, Tebow surpassed Georgia alum Herschel Walker’s SEC record for rushing touchdowns. Tebow now has 51 to Walker’s 49.
All in all, Georgia’s flimsy defense was just what Florida to make an impact in the polls. Their defense is practically flawless week after week, so it should please Urban Meyer that his offense can overpower as well.
Man, we’re coming down to the wire. It’ll be very interesting to see what happens with Florida and Alabama.
Iowa has giant fourth quarter, defeats Indiana
This game wasn’t pretty. Actually, it was downright brutal at times. There were nine turnovers in total, but this isn’t to say either Indiana or Iowa’s defenses were stellar. Indiana exposed the Hawkeyes’ defensive weakness throughout the first three quarters. Yet, Iowa’s offense exploded out of nowhere in the fourth, leading their team to a 42-24 victory.
Nevertheless, people will continue to downgrade Iowa’s high ranking. Now with a 9-0 record, it’s tough to devalue their season. We’ll see how the rest of today’s games play out, but Iowa is currently one of seven undefeated teams in the Top 25. They don’t demonstrate great football by any means, but damn are their games exciting to watch. They have trailed in eight of their nine competitions this year, and have managed to come back to take each one.
Nevertheless, Iowa and quarterback Ricky Stanzi were shoddy at best until the fourth quarter. People will cite this as justification to knock Iowa down a few slots in the rankings. I completely agree with that sentiment. Iowa, the No. 4 team in the nation, should not trail a meager Indiana squad for most of the game. Stanzi threw five (I know) interceptions today. That’s inexcusable — he would be benched if it wasn’t for their record. But how in the hell have they managed to remain undefeated? The fourth quarter.
Somehow, Stazi came out with an undeterred confidence and immediately connected with star receiver Marvin McNutt for a 92-yard touchdown pass. Minutes later, Stanzi found Derrell Johnson-Koulianos for a 66-yard touchdown. By then, Iowa had found their groove. Stanzi continued to feed the ball to running back Brandon Wegher, who is subbing for the injured Adam Robinson. Wegher exceeded expectations, scoring three touchdowns on 119 yards and 25 carries.
While Iowa fans are drunk on happiness, detractors of the BCS system are fuming. With their improbable season, Iowa’s game against Ohio St. is going to be essential viewing. Who expected that?
SEC to fine, suspend coaches for criticizing refs
The SEC has decided that it will fine and/or suspend coaches that criticize game officials.
Commissioner Mike Slive, in his eighth season with the conference, was given full discretion by the league’s athletic directors and presidents to hand out the punishment. He will determine the amount of fines and lengths of suspensions on a case-by-case basis.
“On rare occasions over the last seven years there were several private reprimands and that took care of the matter,” Slive told the AP in a telephone interview. “On occasion there were public reprimands and that took care of it. It became clear to me after last week that I was no longer interested in reprimands and the conference athletic directors and university presidents unanimously agreed.
“For the foreseeable future there will be no reprimands,” Slive added. “We will go right to suspensions and fines.”
The Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-10 and Mountain West conferences also use public reprimands, fines and suspensions as possible penalties for coaches who are publicly critical of officiating.
I don’t blame SEC head coaches for griping about the refs, because the officiating has been brutal in that conference. But I also don’t think this is a bad decision for the higher ups in the SEC to muzzle their coaches as long as they’re going to do their part to punish officials that don’t call the games fairly. If most of the top conferences use public reprimands, I don’t see why the SEC shouldn’t either.
Plus, let’s be honest – it’s never a bad idea to keep Lane Kiffin from running his mouth at all times.
Clausen waiting until after season to discuss NFL
According to a report by the Chicago Tribune, Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen won’t discuss his possible future in the NFL until after the Irish’s regular season is over.
So the Notre Dame coach laid out the plan for discussing an NFL future with junior quarterback Jimmy Clausen: It won’t be discussed until the regular season is over.
“We’re not even going to address the subject until the first week in December,” Weis said Thursday night. “We’ve already addressed the fact that we’re not going to address it. So we’re just worrying about the next five games, starting with Washington State. First of all, let’s see how we play. But we’ll revisit it then.”
Clausen is currently the nation’s No. 2-rated passer. After the jump, there are more Weis words on Thursday’s pertinent topics, including who will punt for the Irish this weekend…
I agree with Weis in that Clausen should wait until the season is over to figure out whether or not he wants to enter the draft. With a month left in this year’s college season, Clausen has enough on his plate these days and doesn’t need to worry about the NFL quite yet. (Even though he’ll obviously need plenty of time to make a decision like that.)
Whenever Clausen does decide to turn pro, I hope he’s ready for all the comparisons to Brady Quinn. I’m not saying they’re the same player, but the media will immediately compare the two and how Quinn has struggled so far in the NFL.