Sunday, October 2, 2011

Strange Events Define Week 5 of College Football

Blocked kicks, missed extra points, controversial fumbles, questionable fumbles, poor play calling, bad clock management, fumble recoveries, TD returns, game changing interceptions and long runs were all a part of a wild and wacky Week 5 in college football on the first day of October.  All a part of the NCAA football experience. 

LSU, ranked #1, made little mystery out of its one-sided victory over young and limited Kentucky.  Although they did not cover the projected spread, they accomplished redemption of the last upset crafted by Kentucky when LSU was last ranked #1.  But the 35-7 victory sent a message that LSU is not planning on coming back to the field.  Any efforts to dethrone the Tigers will be based on a school's "A" game.

#3 Alabama touting an undefeated 4-0 record and possibly the best defense in the country to go with a top ten offense, would go to the dangerous "Swamp" for a road test at one of the toughest opponent venues in the country.  Alabama would simply manhandle and grind their way to solid control of the game against a promising #12 Florida Gators, led by the offensive specialist, Head Coach Wil Muschamp.  But a Nick Saban coached team would be far  superior with Trent Richardson, Marquis Maze and Eddie Lacy ripping through the Gator Swamp to record a 38-10 win for the National Championship contending Crimson Tide, who has to play LSU before the season ends.

#2 Oklahoma rolled over Ball State, 62-6 in no surprising fashion and is still a mystery as a contender or pretender.  Landry Jones threw for 425 yards and 5 touchdowns, but coach Mike Stoops squad is expected to have a couple of real test in the near future.  For now the Sooners have to be considered a contender.

#4 Boise State, much like LSU, saw revenge for their opponent for a previous upset last year, when Nevada was ranked #17 and the Broncos were ranked #2, to have their National Championship hopes dashed sending them to a consolation BCS Bowl, but no championship discussions.  Unranked today Nevada, was picked apart surgically, with 169 rushing and 160 passing, by the Kellen Moore led Broncos,  30-10  in this stay alive contest, for the "stepchild" of the NCAA, on their run for the BCS Championship.

Andrew Luck and the Stanford Cardinals has little trouble with UCLA 45-19, Luck threw for 227 yards and three touchdowns and was extremely efficient going 23-27 through the air.  The #6 Stanford (4-0) appears to be on a collision course with Oregon for the PAC 12 championship, but has to have the slight edge with Luck under center, the leading Heisman candidate and the heir apparent to the No. 1 NFL Draft slot.

Russell Wilson has been the find of an era for #7 Wisconsin (4-0).  The two-sport athlete has become the piece that may just get a very consistent football program to the championship level in just one season.  The NC State transfer and graduate student QB has led a very impressive offense to go along with a very solid and physical Badger defense.  It proved to be too much for the "Big Red" machine of Lincoln, Nebraska as the Badgers, under the field leadership of Russell, dominated the Cornhuskers 41-17.  The battle of the Big Ten powers proved to be more of a massacre than a fair fight.

#18 Arkansas gave #14 Texas A&M a "welcome to the league" come-from-behind stunner 42-38, after the Aggies led 35-17 at the half, only to be out scored in the second half 25-3 by the aggressive play of the Hogs and Tyler Wilson, who threw for over 500 yards, most in the second half.   With A&M set to join the SEC next year, which should move Arkansas from the Western Division of the conference to the East, to accommodate today's victim, the Hogs were not hospitable in the treatment of their future member.

#10 South Carolina (4-1) can't get past Auburn (4-1) again and the hopes of a perfect and special season eludes the Gamecocks again.  Now the Spurrier coached team, must find a way to get a QB on the field to get the ball in the playmakers hands.  The future success will be based on trying to recover and win the SEC.  This offense as of today cannot get it done.  Roster says yes, but play calling and execution say no.  The Gamecocks lose a close one 16-13 at home and remain winless against Auburn 0-7, three of those losses in Columbia, SC.  

The South Carolina arch rival, made their statement to be looked upon as the elite of the ACC, with a commanding win against the hosting Hokies of Va. Tech 23-3.  The game was a solid defensive dominance, with avery efficient offensive game plan and productive offensive series.  #13 Clemson (5-0) just outplayed the pride of Virginia football and took control of the ACC with their third consecutive win against a ranked opponent, and higher ranked in each case.  The road proves to be no problem for the team from Death Valley.

Robert Griffin III has been putting up unbelievable numbers for #15 Baylor 3-0 going for four straight against 3-0 Kansas State.  Griffin came into this game with more TD passes, 13, than incompletions, at 12 for the highest efficiency rating of all college programs.  Griffin took his 85% accuracy to K-State and completed 23-31 for 346 yards and five TD's, but one mistake a late interception, his first of the season, gave K-State (4-0) the field position to get close enough to kick the game winning FG, for a 36-35 upset of Baylor (3-1) and dampen the great season start for the Bears.  Griffin, a Heisman candidate, has 18 TD's and 21 incompletions and 1 interception.  But worst of all, the great performance ended in a loss to an unbeaten K-State 4-0 (3-0, 1-0).

Marcus Lattimore's second average statistical performance will have him losing ground on Stanford's Luck and the emerging Russell Wison, while Oregon's LaMichael James continues as the nations leading rusher ahead of Lattimore.  Richardson of Alabama, Baylor's Robert Griffin III and Denard Robinson of Michigan continue to put up Heisman numbers.   For More on The Heisman Watch

Who will emerge as the two BCS Championship teams, LSU-Oklahoma, Alabama-Wisconsin, Oklahoma-Boise State, Alabama-Oklahoma, Boise State-Alabama, Clemson-Alabama, Clemson-Wisconsin, Stanford-Boise State or a new combination of contenders after the second half of the dust of the season settles.