Sunday, October 16, 2005

Week Seven Thoughts

Despite Penn State's horrible, terrible, screw job loss because of the referee's decision to put two seconds back on the clock and lose for seventh straight time to Michigan, 27-25, it was an all around memorable day in college football.

Perhaps in the most surprising upset of the day, Virginia, ten years after their memorable first win over Florida State, defeated the Seminoles 26-21 to knock them from the ranks of the unbeatens. The Cavaliers still look like a decent team to me, I bumped them into my Top 25 this week, and I think they are capable of making some noise in the ACC. Florida State needs to get their act together with Boston College still hanging tough. So far the Eagles' only loss was at the hands of Boston College. Much like Virginia Tech last season, BC is off to a fast start in their first season in the ACC.

The Big Ten race went into absolute chaos as Penn State lost to Michigan, Wisconsin knocked off Minnesota, Northwestern beat Purdue on the road and Ohio State rolled past Michigan State. Penn State, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Ohio State and Iowa are all tied for the Big Ten lead right now. Penn State has already beaten Northwestern and Ohio State and play Wisconsin in early November. The Lions do not play Iowa. Wisconsin lost to Northwestern last Saturday and Iowa has already lost to Ohio State. Needless to say, it will be an exciting stretch run in the Big Ten. The only teams truly out of the race are Illinois and Indiana.

The Penn State-Michigan game was absolutely painful to watch. The Nittany Lions gave a less than stellar effort on defense, allowing Mike Hart to gain some (really) tough yards on the ground and consistently left Michigan wide outs wide open. Two such incidents allowed for Mario Manningham's two touchdown catches. As a good fan and good writer I shouldn't sit here and criticize the referees but that would be impossible. They were simply terrible- again. I admit that the Wolverines have beaten PSU far and square in the early games of the infamous streak but the last two have been absolutely ridiculous. The "no-catch" in 2002 that could have set up the game winning field goal and no in 2005 the mysterious two seconds reappearing. The refs gave Michigan great spots the entire game. On one run, Michigan looks to be about a yard short but the ref moved the ball up an entire yard and gave it to them. The Big Ten hates Penn State. It gets sickening after awhile. This game just makes me wish even more that Penn State could team up with West Virginia and help make the ACC into a 14 team super conference. Penn State belongs in the ACC. Last I checked, Pennsylvania was a middle atlantic state, not midwestern.

Ohio State and Michigan State played a downright ugly game. Michigan State made some horrible mistakes, the biggest of which was the botched field goal attempt at the end of the second quarter. Ohio State really gained back momentum at that point, taking it all the way back for a touchdown. Michigan State regained the lead in the second half but that was really the turning point. Santonio Holmes' final touchdown could have easily been stopped by the Spartans the defender made his first mistake by looking off of Holmes and instead focusing on Ted Ginn or the snap from center. Holmes was easily abole to adjust and come back in to make the catch and run.

Purdue is just a terrible team. The loss to Northwestern 34-29 (ironically the same score by which the Wildcats lost to Penn State) confirmed that. Meanwhile Northwestern looks like a pretty good team. Boy am I glad that Penn State played them early and escaped with a victory. I wouldn't want to play them right now, they look dangerous and should at least strike some fear into the Big Ten's big boys. At 4-2, I bumped them in my Top 25 this week. The Wildcats looks like, at worst, a 6-7 win team to me. I think they might even be a little better than that. Tyrell Sutton may be the best tailback in the Big Ten by the time he graduates.

West Virginia took control of the Big East on Saturday, knocking off Louisville 46-44 in Morgantown. The Mountaineers have really been flying under the radar this season at 6-1, their only loss to Virginia Tech. They will get into the Top 25 this week and clearly look capable of running the table in the Big East and reaching a BCS bowl at 10-1. Having beaten Louisville and Rutgers, they have, sadly, gotten past the class of the Big East this season.

Alabama barely escaped Ole Miss, winning 13-10 on a last second field goal. While it certainly was far from an impressive performance by the Tide, every team has that scare everntually. The defense was stelllar, as usual. and Ken Darby ripped off a very nice run in the third quarter to get Bama back into it after trailing at half time. With Florida State's loss, Alabama will move into the Top 5 for the first time in a very, very long time.

LSU defeated Florida 21-17. The Gators are now two games back of Georgia in the SEC East and a loss in the World's Largest Outdorr Cocktail Party would spell the end of the the Gators' hopes of a BCS bowl. Perhaps even a New Year's Day bowl. Not an outstanding first season for Urban Meyer as the Gators may be a loss away from dropping out of the Top 25.

Southern Cal and Notre Dame played a classic South Bend and it couldn't have ended in a crazier fashion. I have never seen anything quite like those final seven seconds. Leinarts's fumble out of bonds, the fake spike that ended up being a Leinart QB sneak to win the game for the Trojans. It was a well played and exciting game that will be talked about as a legendary game in the USC-Notre Dame rivalry. I have to give credit to the Notre Dame defense. I didn't think that they were capable of holding USC under 45 points but they got the job done, unfortunately the offense just didn't have enough.

Cal lost to Oregon State and may drop out of the Top 25. It looks like still undefeated UCLA will have the best chance to knock off the Trojans before the Rose Bowl.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You aren't serious, right? Why would the Big Ten hate PSU? It's not like you've dominated the leage like FSU dominated the ACC. PSU adds a wonderful pedigree and proud history to the conference. There were some bad spots that Michigan benifitted from, but do you think that they were the product of a pre-designed vendetta against your school?

Sunday, October 16, 2005  
Anonymous MAIZE AND BLUE FOREVER said...

It's just loser's paranoia. "We wuz robbed". Approach the Wolverine's den with caution, Lions. You paid the price, now lick your wounds and live to fight another day. Sorry about your guy's broken arm, by the way. This is one of the classier Penn State blogs. I like the way you just blithely went on to other topics after covering your loss.

Sunday, October 16, 2005  
Anonymous Andy said...

I might be annoyed with the Big Ten if I were a Penn State fan, our worst stretch of my lifetime started a few years after we joined, and twelve years later they still refused to rename the conference the Big 11 in respect to our presence. The real reason this absurdity marches on is that the Big 10 commish's office keeps idly hoping they can lure a 12th team, but never really doing anything, because a couple of the coaches and ADs are against it. I'd love to see Pitt join the conference -- good athletics, good basketball, good rival for Penn State besides Michigan State, and NOT NOTRE DAME. But the conference has never gotten that serious about it.

As far as twice in a row in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Penn State finished a 10-year rotation from '93 to '02, in which both teams hosted 5 times. Then it was Penn State's turn to be omitted from Michigan's schedule for 2 years (or vice versa, depending on perspective). Now a new 10-year cycle has begun during which the teams will play every year, only this time, the first installment was at Michigan. I hope this clears up allegations of the scheduling being some kind of conspiracy. In 2017, Penn State will host the first game of the third 10-year cycle...unless there's a 12th team sometime in the next dozen years.

Monday, October 17, 2005  
Blogger The Nittany Blog said...

Pitt doesn't deserve to be in the Big Ten. They're football is subpar in the Big East, they play in a rented NFL stadium and only draw minimal crowds. The only Big Ten team they could outdraw is Northwestern and MAYBE Indiana. The basketball program would definitely be an asset to the Big Ten but I would sooner take West Virginia than Pitt. Yeah, they have some idiot fans but so does every Big Ten school. If PSU can geographically fit into the Big Ten, so can West Virginia. I bet they would jump at the chance to escape the Big East and play in a real conference.

Monday, October 17, 2005  

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