OK so it isn’t full blown clarity but in the wake of a handful of big games in week 5 the list of BCS Championship contenders was definitely trimmed down a bit. Alabama, Ohio State and Oregon all advanced and Boise State and TCU are still hanging out on the fringe.
Another handful of teams are still hanging around with no losses and of those I think that Oklahoma, Nebraska and Auburn are the most interesting.
I will talk more about that later in the week but for now let’s take a quick look at the week that was.
Texas A&M 35 at Oklahoma State 38
This was a fun game to watch without having a stake in it but I have to think that Okie Light and TAMU fans were all pulling their hair out. Anything resembling defense was pretty much nonexistent but it was pretty fun to watch these two teams spread one another out and run up and down the field.
BYU 16 at Utah State 31
After back to back ugly outings Utah State showed back up and looked a lot more like the team that scared Oklahoma in week one. Damn.
Miami 30 at Clemson 21
I made this comment in my preview of this game. "If Jacory Harris throws 2 picks or less Miami wins." He threw exactly two and the Canes won by 9. Who knew?
Navy 6 at Air Force 14
With this W the Falcons have the inside track on winning the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy for the first time in 7 years. I was honestly surprised by the lack of offensive production in this one but I suppose that can happen when both defenses are intimately familiar with the triple option attack. Navy has definitely taken a step back this season.
Tennessee 14 at LSU 16
Is Les Miles the luckiest guy alive or what? Tennessee had this one in the bag then botched a substitution on the last play of the game and got called for having too many players on the field in the midst of celebrating like they just won the National Title. After they got the field cleared and lined up for one last play LSU punched it in for six and won. Boy that hurts.
Wisconsin 24 at Michigan State 34
Michigan State has a good football team. Wisconsin is no slouch and Sparty not only beat them on the scoreboard but also owned the clock with 36 min TOP and out gained Wiscy 444 to 292. Sparty’s game against Denard Robinson next week is very interesting.
Texas 20 at Oklahoma 28
This game seemed really bizarre to me and it has everything to do with Texas. Statistically the game was pretty even but the Horns hurt themselves with untimely penalties and several other self inflicted setbacks. Now having watched the Horns play a few times I think it is safe to say that they are suffering from a nasty combination of rookie QB, general underachieving and a coaching staff that appears to be out scheming itself. For a much more detailed view on the issues in Austin I recommend a scroll through the posts over at Barking Carnival.
Virginia Tech 41 at NC State 30
Check it out the Hokies are acting like they might try and get it back together. They are 2-0 in the mess that is the ACC. Maybe they can get a rematch with Boise in the Orange Bowl.
Florida 6 at Alabama 31
Urban’s offense looked pretty decent right up until their first drive ended with Trey Burton’s jump pass getting picked off in the end zone. After that it was all Tide. Unless Auburn can pull the upset in the Iron Bowl a repeat trip to the BCS Championship looks likely for Little Nicky.
Stanford 31 at Oregon 52
This was one of those games where I came away thinking that Harbaugh and his staff were going to be beating each other up on Sunday morning. Stanford jumped out to a big 21-3 lead at the end of the 1st quarter then appeared to completely abandon their game plan.
Despite averaging 5.7 yds/rush on 31 carries for a total of 177 yards Stanford decided to throw the ball 46 times on the night. Luck completed 29 of those for 341 yards but also threw two costly picks in addition to two TD’s. Stanford still won the TOP battle with 33:28 on the night but it seemed to me that if they had continued to pound on Oregon they might have been able to run for 300 and keep the Oregon offense on the sidelines. Then again I’m just a guy on a couch.
That said Oregon’s offense is definitely explosive and they hung 28 unanswered on the Trees in the 2ndhalf. Should they survive the season unscathed and play the Tide in the BCS Championship watch Bama beat them with the game plan that Stanford abandoned.
Notre Dame 31 at Boston College 13
The Irish picked up a much needed win on the road at BC. I know BC isn’t great this year but after losing to them 6 straight times prior to last season and not having won in Chestnut Hill since 98’ I thought this was a good W.
Overall the Irish defense played well. They gave up one long TD pass with a blown coverage in the 1st quarter, held BC to two field goals following turnovers in the 2nd quarter and shut the Eagles out in the second half. They also held the BC rushing attack to a total of 5 yards on the night. Yeah 5 yards!
I reviewed the game today with a focus on the front 7 and kicked it around with The Coach some. We will try and get another edition of "Conversations with the Coach" up later this week that talks a little more about how the front 7 and in particular the front 3 are doing in relation to how it is drawn up.
The offense still isn’t where it needs to be but they got the job done. As Crist continues to progress in the system the offense as a whole will follow. He definitely still looks like a first year starter at times. The biggest glaring issue is that the Irish need to stop putting the ball on the ground. In general the offense still just looks a little off at times and tends to stop themselves far too often with a combination of miscues. Two costly fumbles, a handful of drops by the WR’s, an INT and another handful of errant tosses by Crist pretty much cover a series of self inflicted wounds that kept the Irish from hanging 50 on the Eagles.
I am really encouraged at how the defense is coming along and the special teams are also encouraging. The kick coverage units continue to be very good and Bennett Jackson was a welcome addition in the return game. Ruffer also continues to be money as the place kicker and hit his 13th straight. I like it.
If this offense can close the gap a little bit we could be in for a nice run down the stretch. Pitt is very similar to BC offensively so I would like to see another solid performance from the D next weekend while the offense continues to work.
For the long version check out our own Eric Murtaugh’s wrap up on the game.
Penn State 3 at Iowa 24
This one was ugly. Penn State will likely lose 3-4 more times before it is all said and done.
What do you think?