Well that was an uneventful week in college football. Nothing happened. Nothing at all.
Just some national title hopes dashed and mass carnage in the top 25. Three national title contenders suffered severe tire blowouts on the road to the championship, and several other ranked teams were upset.
Top 25 Chaos
Remember how upsets had been few and far between this year? Just a week ago, several national title favorites emerged unscathed.
Not so this week.
Every one expected the Red River Shootout to be a blowout, they just didn’t expect it would be Oklahoma on the losing end. The Sooners had looked dominant on both sides of the ball and were facing a Texas team whose struggles have been well-documented. Oklahoma was a two-touchdown favorite and had won the previous two meetings by a combined score of 118-38, yet the Sooners only managed 263 total yards. Texas won 36-20, and despite all the criticism of coach Mack Brown, the Longhorns are undefeated in Big 12 play.
It’s not surprising that Georgia lost, considering the rash of injuries the Bulldogs have suffered on offense. What is surprising is that they were handily beat by Missouri, a team that struggled last season in its first year in the SEC and wasn’t expected to do a whole lot in 2013. Despite losing starting quarterback James Franklin to a shoulder injury, the Tigers weathered a second-half Georgia rally and pulled away for a 41-26 win. The upset marked the first time the Tigers had defeated a top-ten opponent on the road since 1981, and Mizzou is now 6-0 heading into a suddenly much more intriguing game against Florida.
The biggest surprise, however, was Utah’s stunning upset of Stanford. A week after throwing six interceptions in a loss to UCLA, Utah quarterback Travis Wilson played relatively mistake-free and lead a Ute offense that was able to move the ball on Stanford’s vaunted defense. Stanford’s Ty Montgomery, the hero against Washington, ran another kick back for a touchdown, but it wasn’t enough as Utah’s defense made a valiant goal-line stand with under a minute to go to preserve the win and had Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan his first loss in 11 games as the Cardinal’s starter.
Those three grabbed the headlines, but #19 Northwestern suffered a letdown after nearly beating Ohio State the week before, getting crushed by Wisconsin 35-6. Michigan was doomed by conservative play-calling and shaky kicking in a four overtime loss to Penn State.
As for the rest of the contenders, Clemson had a shaky showing against Boston College but managed to pull out a 24-14 victory. Ole Miss gave Texas A&M all it could handle before the Aggies won 41-38 on a last-second field goal. The rest had an easier time: Alabama waxed Kentucky 48-7, Baylor beat Kansas State 35-25, LSU defeated Florida 17-6, and Oregon had no problems with Washington. The Huskies hung tough for awhile, but the Ducks, led by Heisman hopeful Marcus Mariota, were just too much and came away with a 45-24 win.
Looking Ahead to Week 8
Week 8 has a lot to offer. An intriguing matchup between Louisville and Central Florida kicks things off on Friday night. On Saturday, undefeated Mizzou hosts Florida and its vaunted defense. Beating Georgia opened a lot of eyes, but if the Tigers can keep things rolling without their starting quarterback against a tough Gator squad, then things get really interesting in Columbia.
Texas A&M takes on #24 Auburn in a game that figures to be defense-optional in another enticing SEC contest.
The Pac-12 once again has plenty to offer viewers. Explosive Arizona State takes on a Washington team that gave Stanford and Oregon all they could handle, but will the Huskies have anything left in the tank? Elsewhere, undefeated and #9 UCLA travels to Stanford in a big game for both teams.
The biggest matchup of the day, however, is the ACC showdown–pretty much the de facto conference title game–between two undefeated and top-five teams in #5 Florida State and #3 Clemson. Each team has a dynamic quarterback, precocious youngster Jameis Winston for Florida State and seasoned veteran Tajh Boyd for Clemson. Florida State has been more impressive of late, but the Seminoles haven’t won in Death Valley since 2001. The Tigers are shakier on defense, but they do lead the nation in sacks with 24.
Featured image via AP Photo/Rick Bowmer