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Big College Football Saturday

After another wild day of college football, here are some observations:

- Barring a slew of wild upsets that let a 2-loss team into the mix, the real contenders for the final four spots is now down to nine teams – Mississippi State and Alabama from the SEC, Florida State from the ACC, Oregon and Arizona State from the Pac 12, TCU and Baylor from the Big 12 and Ohio State and Nebraska from the Big Ten.

- Ohio State made a huge statement with its road demolition of Michigan State as they posted 49 points on Sparty’s vaunted defense. Suddenly the Buckeyes are in the mix though they probably need some help.

- I don’t have much sympathy for Auburn despite their two late fumbles (other than feeling bad for the individual players who messed up). Auburn rode good fortune to get to the BCS championship game last year, so they really can’t gripe about some bad luck this year. Also, their defense blows.

- Alabama pulled out a huge win against LSU, but they’re getting a ton of love based on reputation. This isn’t the same dominating Alabama team.

- The TCU/Baylor debate will become heated as it’s hard to figure out who should be ranked higher. Also, with Ohio State playing at Minnesota this week, the Buckeyes and TCU will have a common opponent for sake of comparison. TCU beat the Gophers at home 30-7, so Ohio State needs to beat Minnesota handily, and they can also help themselves if they thump Minnesota on the road.

- Arizona State got a huge win against Notre Dame, though they benefited from a slew of turnovers. The Ohio State win over Michigan State was probably more impressive as it was on the road and they overcame two of their own turnovers and got none from Sparty. If you take into account the eye test, you’ll see the Buckeyes are as talented as any other team. They’re just young and you’ll need to overlook a bad, early-season loss against Virginia tech after they lost Braxton Miller and had inexperienced freshman TJ Barrett starting in his place. Now we see just how good Barrett can be.

That said, it looks like the SEC, ACC and Pac 12 teams control their own fate. How it plays out for the others is anyone’s guess.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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For second straight year, kicker costs Boise State shot at BCS

Boise State Broncos defensive tackle Chase Baker (97) sacks Louisiana Tech Bulldogs quarterback Ross Jenkins (11) on fourth down during the first half at Bronco Stadium in Boise, Idaho, October 26, 2010. REUTERS/ Brian Losness (UNITED STATES)

That cigar smoke you see floating over your house is coming from BCS headquarters, where they’re lighting them up at a furious pace for the second straight season.

Boise State lost to TCU 36-35 today, and just like in last year’s shocking loss to Nevada, the Broncos missed a very makeable field goal at the end of the game. This time, it was Dan Goodale who missed a 39-yard kick as time expired to give the Horned Frogs the win in stunning fashion.

Like last year, the Boise State defense gave up a late lead, and that’s probably where a lot of the blame lies. But watching Goodale miss that kick certainly had to give Boise fans flashbacks to Kyle Brotzman’s miscue against Nevada. One big difference with this is that unlike Brotzman, Goodale hasn’t built up a ton of goodwill around campus for having been a spectacular kicker throughout his career.

The loss puts an end to any hopes the Broncos had of possibly squeezing into the national title game, and probably douses all hopes of getting into a BCS game at all.

And how’s this for schadenfreude? The game was played in Boise only because the Mountain West was trying to stick it to TCU as it was set to leave for the Big East. That worked out well, didn’t it?

TCU forgets how to play defense

Baylor defeated TCU 50-48 in a thriller last night, finishing with 564 yards in total offense. TCU coach Gary Patterson had harsh words for his defense after the game, singling out the play of his corners, but he needs to look in the mirror as Lee Corso pointed out this morning on ESPN. TCU lost a bunch of players on defense from last year’s tough squad, and Patterson should have known he had weaker corners. He should known he had to play more conservative defense. Instead, he left his corners out there alone on an island and they got torched. Then he had the nerve to call them out after the game. His own arrogance got him in trouble but he won’t admit it.

Rodgers brothers, Brian Kelly’s debut among five things to watch for on opening weekend

Dec 22, 2009; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Oregon State Beavers running back Jacquizz Rodgers (1) heads up field against the BYU Cougars in the 2009 Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium. BYU defeated Oregon State 44-20. Photo via Newscom

I’m assuming you’re excited today.

I know I am. As nice as Thursday was for college football lovers, there’s nothing quite like the first full Saturday of college football. I could barely sleep last night, as thoughts of TCU’s defense, Brian Kelly’s debut in South Bend and Erin Andrews — on the set of Gameday … pervs — danced through my head.

Before I get into the five things you should look out for today, a brief introduction: My name is Paul Costanzo and I’ll be guiding you through your college football Saturdays this season. I’m not a college football expert, by any means. I’m just a huge fan who happens to have a journalism degree. I’m also a good friend of Anthony’s, so if I suck at this, you can direct all your hate mail to him. You can read me daily in the Times Herald newspaper out of Port Huron, Mich.

But enough about me, let’s get to the games. Read the rest of this entry »

Preseason Coaches Poll out: Alabama No. 1

TUSCALOOSA, AL - APRIL 17: Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram #22 warms up prior to the start of the Alabama spring game at Bryant Denny Stadium on April 17, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Dave Martin/Getty Images)

No surprise here: Defending champs Alabama has the No. 1 ranking in the preseason Coaches Poll.

From FOX Sports.com:

Boise State will begin the season ranked No. 5. The Broncos, like Alabama, finished last season 14-0. They beat TCU in the Fiesta Bowl.

The Crimson Tide got 55 of 59 possible first-place votes. The other four went to Ohio State, which is No. 2 in the newspaper’s ranking.

Florida is third, followed by Texas, which lost to Alabama in the BCS title game in January.

Virginia Tech is sixth, followed by TCU, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Iowa to round out the top 10.

Nos. 11 through 15 are Oregon, Wisconsin, Miami, Penn State and Pittsburgh. They are followed by LSU, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Arkansas and Florida State, which will be without Bobby Bowden as coach for the first time in 35 years.

With all that has happened in college football over the past couple of months, it’s hard to fathom that actual games will be starting in a few weeks. Football is almost upon us!

Couple things that I’m interested in seeing:

- How TCU bounces back from its dud in the Fiesta Bowl.

- How Texas QB Garrett Gilbert fairs in his first full season after getting thrown to the wolves in the BCS title game.

- What the Tim Tebow-less Gators will look like (it’s felt like an eternity since Tebow wasn’t the one taking snaps from under center).

- What Mark Ingram has in store for an encore performance.

- What Nebraska’s defense looks like without Ndamukong Suh, who was perhaps the most dominant defensive player in college football last year.

What has your attention heading into the new college season?

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