September is now in the books and the buy games that pad stats and the win column of many teams are now pretty much over. Despite the overall lack of intriguing matchups in September I think that after four weeks of play we still have a pretty decent idea of where teams are.
In the first week of October we will see the first of many pivotal games that match Top Ten teams against one another. The full fledged race to the BCS is almost upon us. Before we jump into next week let’s take a quick look at the week that was.
Miami 31 at Pitt 3
Despite not playing all that well the Canes easily handled The Stache and Pitt. My biggest take away from this one is the degree to which Pitt is one dimensional on offense. Both Dion Lewis and Ray Graham remain a factor in the rushing attack and Graham in particular had a nice game against Miami but the Panthers have almost zero ability to throw the football. Against Pitt defenses can put 8 in the box and go to work.
TCU 41 at SMU 24
The Horned Frogs are sitting at #5 in both the AP and USA Today polls and are quietly cruising towards an undefeated season. They will be back in the BCS come January.
NC State 45 at Georgia Tech 28
I have to admit that I was a little surprised by this one and it was my own fault. Based on the way GT had played up to that point I should have given them a lot less credit. The Jackets are really struggling on defense right now particularly against the pass. Russell Wilson took advantage and has now thrown for 1100 yards and 11 TDs for NC State. Those are pretty impressive numbers through 4 games.
Virginia Tech 19 at Boston College 0
I watched the vast majority of this one and BC looked pretty bad. The similarities of this game to the Pitt vs. Miami contest are eerie. Like Pitt, BC has almost zero passing attack as Shinskie went 11 of 25 for 130 yards and 2 INTs. Word on the street is that he will be benched against ND this week. Montel Harris had over 100 yards rushing against the Hokies but that was about all the Eagles had in the way of an offense against what is arguably the worst Bud Foster defense of the decade. Like Pitt BC also plays respectable D but when you can’t move the football effectively you aren’t going to score many points.
Alabama 24 at Arkansas 20
Due to the way the ND game went I actually did a little bit better job this week of paying attention to TV #2. I was able to flip back and forth a bit between this game and the Texas vs. UCLA debacle. The Hogs started the game by going 74 yards in 2 plays for a TD and continued to stay on top of the Tide until the final six minutes of the game. Mallet threw a pick with 6 minutes remaining that resulted in Bama’s go ahead TD that made it 24-20. The Hogs had one last shot when they got the ball back with 3:18 remaining but Mallet quickly threw another interception that iced the game for Bama. Those final 6 minutes makes one wonder if Mallett is on the Bama booster payroll.
UCLA 34 at Texas 12
This game was definitely the shocker of the day. I can’t even remember the last time I saw Texas look that bad. It was honestly a little too brutal to watch so I allotted the vast majority of my TV #2 time to the Bama vs. Arkansas game.
If there is another program out there with a fan base as rabid as Notre Dame’s it has to be Texas. Just go check out this post game write up on Barking Carnival from EyesOfTX and the 200 some odd comments beneath it.
Stanford 37 at Notre Dame 14
I already beat this one up a little bit so I won’t rehash anything here. It was a beat down. Moving on.
Oklahoma 31 at Cincinnati 29
The Sooners screwed around in this one but managed to hang on for a close victory in the end. The Sooners run ruled Florida State in week two but in their three other games they have beaten Utah State by 7, Air Force by 3 and now Cincy by 2. Dicey.
South Carolina 27 at Auburn 35
This was a pretty good game. Both teams look pretty solid and appear to have the potential to give Bama and Florida a run for their money when they face off. Auburn QB Cam Newton ran for 176 yards and 3 TDs then threw for another 2 TDs in the 4th quarter to pull out the W. It was a PlayStationesque performance.
Oregon State 24 at Boise State 37
Boise State looked good but not great while knocking off the Beavers. I’ll buy that the Broncos are a Top 5 team but I really hope they don’t get a title shot. With their schedule it just isn’t fair.
West Virginia 14 at LSU 20
Horn fans rejoice, Leslie Miles pulled yet another victory out of his magic hat. These two teams combined for a paltry 400 yards of offense and in the end a punt return TD was the difference. LSU might be the sloppiest 4-0 team in the country. The Bayou Bengals will definitely drop a few down the stretch but perhaps not enough to run Miles off just yet.
Oregon 42 at Arizona State 31
This was a weird game. Arizona State outgained the Ducks to the tune of 597 to 405 but made enough mistakes to lose the game. Oregon obviously has an explosive offense but I’m not so sure about that defense. Watching them struggle against Stephen Threet and the Devils made me think that Webfoot U might be in for a long night when Stanford rolls into Autzen next weekend.
What were your observations from week 4?