Sunday, December 04, 2011

Week 14: Nothin' left but the bowls

Playing 30 minutes is sufficient: I didn't think LSU was capable of playing such a totally and completely inept half of football. The fact that they did and still beat a top-15 team by five touchdowns is pretty ridiculous. The numbers at halftime Saturday: no first downs, eight total yards, no offensive points. Guh. It could have been 20-0 Georgia but instead was 10-7 because (a) LSU's defense is pretty good under any circumstances and (b) Tyrann Mathieu might be the best player in the country. Video:

Absurd. BTW, crossing the goal line before celebrating is usually the way to go:

Don't be DeSean Jackson plzkthx. Anyway, Georgia was winning 10-7 at halftime; one forced fumble and one more ridiculous punt return later, it was 21-10 LSU and the game was over. LSU had 46 total yards at that point. It only got worse once the offense actually started, like, getting first downs and stuff. What's crazy is that I'm not sure LSU can play any worse; this team might have the lowest floor of any team I've ever watched. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I gotta agree with Gary Danielson: No matter what happens in the BCS title game, LSU deserves at least a share of the national championship. A one-loss LSU is still the best one-loss team in the country based on a split with Bama, a ridiculous resume and pretty much everything else.

That's a paddlin': There was a question on College GameDay's Twitter feed the other day along the lines of "Oklahoma State has to beat Oklahoma by ___ to move up to No. 2." Whatever number I would have put in there would have been totally unreasonable but probably no bigger than the actual margin. It was an absolute whoopin' from beginning to end ... well, kind of. Oklahoma played fine for most of the first half and got inside the Oklahoma State 40-yard line four times but got a total of zero points because of a pick, two crappy series and this disastrousness:

This happened about two possessions later and was even more derpy:

Oklahoma State could have produced zero points on offense and still won. It was 44-3 after three quarters and could have gotten really ugly if Mike Gundy hadn't gone into run-out-the-clock mode the rest of the way. I wonder if he's reconsidering now. Anyway, like I said last night, I'm now willing to acknowledge that Oklahoma State might be Alabama-level good. A pretty good team can't beat Oklahoma by a million points. The Iowa State game just seems so inexplicable now. It's kind of weird and dumb to think about how different things would be in the alternate universe in which Iowa State has a mediocre kicker and Oklahoma State is unbeaten and a unanimous No. 2 despite being the exact same team. /headasplode.

As for Oklahoma, I don't know what happened to Landry Jones. He didn't throw a touchdown pass in any of the last three games, and while the Baylor game was kinda fluky because of the nonstop Tebow Heavy deployment with Blake Bell, the last two games were against Iowa State's mediocre pass defense and Oklahoma State's pretty-good-but-not-exactly-dominant pass defense; his combined line in those games was 49 of 97 for 506 yards with no TDs and four picks. Was Ryan Broyles that important to the Oklahoma offense? Maybe. The drop-off was both immediate and drastic.

Thank you, Wisconsin: The Big Ten championship game: It was awesome. It was exactly like the first Wisconsin-Michigan State game except filled with "lol wut" plays that would have seemed basically normal in a Tuesday night MAC game but seemed totally ridiculous in the Big Ten championship game. Here's one ...

... and here's another ...

... and here's another:

Entertainment FTW. The Wisconsin offense did whatever it wanted on the first three drives and then disappeared while Michigan State scored 22 straight points (just like last time) to go ahead 29-21 at the half. I don't understand why Wisconsin sucks so much in the second quarter against Michigan State. Anyway, nothing of significance changed until Wisconsin had a fourth-and-6 at the MSU 43 with about four minutes left in the game, at which point Russell Wilson did a bunch of amazing things and Jeff Duckworth (?) did an even amazing-er thing:

Wow. Wisconsin then got the ball back but got stopped and had to punt with a little under two minutes on the clock. FYI, Wisconsin's had some similar situations this year that haven't ended well. This one did end well via the ultimate "SPARTY NOOOO" moment:

Hahahahahahahaha. Without the penalty, that's a Michigan State touchdown and a freakin' Rose Bowl berth. With it, Wisconsin wins. Spartyfreude: It's delicious. BTW, Montee Ball finished with his usual four touchdowns and now has an absolutely ridiculous 38 this season. He'll tie Barry Sanders' mind-boggling record with one more in the Rose Bowl, which seems pretty doable.

Clemson makes no sense: I just don't understand how this team got blown out three times in the last month around obliterations of a pretty good Virginia Tech team. Clemson hadn't given up fewer than 28 points since the beginning of October (!) and then gave up 10 to Va. Tech. David Wilson had 32 rushing yards on 11 carries. Logan Thomas had 2 yards (yup, 2) on 12 carries and went 22 of 44 with a touchdown and two picks. No comprendo. And Tajh Boyd went absolutely ham against a typicall elite Virginia Tech defense, going 20 for 29 for 240 yards with three touchdowns and no picks and running for 28 yards and a TD (it was a QB sneak, but still). Solid. Dabo Swinney got carried off the field, which was probably awesome considering that the options were "9-4 and a definite possibility of getting fired" and "school's first-ever ACC championship and a spot in the Orange Bowl." He's safe for at least another year, maybe longer since there's a good chance Clemson finishes 11-3 with a BCS win over West Virginia (guh). Virginia Tech (for some reason) is headed to the Sugar Bowl despite playing zero BCS-conference teams outside the ACC and losing twice to the only ranked team on the schedule. In other words, Boise State got hosed.

End of the road for Houston: That was ... ummm ... unexpected? It can't be underestimated how well the Southern Miss defense played; Case Keenum threw 67 times and finished with 373 yards, two touchdowns and two picks, one of which was a pick six. That's not good. Houston had easily its lowest point total of the season, and that's gonna be a problem when the defense gives up 35 points and close to 500 yards. Austin Davis outplayed Keenum by a mile and finished with 8.5 yards per attempt and four touchdowns. I kind of assumed after the Tulsa game last week that Houston was just too good on offense to lose to anybody at the C-USA level; I was obviously wrong. There's a reason I never put Houston in the top 10. BTW, I wonder if it's worth it for Conference USA to have a revenue-generating conference championship game that ends up costing the conference about $18 million in BCS money. Just a thought. At least Houston ended up in a pretty good bowl game (unlike Boise) against a pretty good Penn State team. I'll watch that.

Oregon whatever: There's not much to say. UCLA started with the ball and was trailing 7-0 about 90 seconds into the game. Darron Thomas and LaMichael James combined for 448 total yards and six touchdowns, and it could've been 10 if Oregon hadn't taken the fourth quarter off. UCLA actually played reasonably well on offense but had no chance despite Gus Johnson making it sound like it was a spectacularly thrilling game. Also, Kevin Prince = dead:

Yeesh. He got hit just as hard later and somehow still finished finished the game. I award him 1,000,000 meaningless toughness points. It should also be noted that Oregon has now won the Pac-whatever three straight times since Chip Kelly took over. Yes, Oregon is becoming a dynasty.

It's MAC-tastic: The underrated game of the week was unquestionably the MAC championship game between Ohio and Northern Illinois. Ohio led 20-0 at halftime and 20-7 midway through the fourth quarter. NIU got a 32-yard touchdown pass, stopped Ohio near midfield, got some help from a 13-yard punt (lol) and scored on a 22-yard touchdown pass to tie it with about three minutes left. Ohio then went three-and-out and punted with 1:18 on the clock. NIU could've taken a knee but didn't and got 27 yards on the first play and 15 yards on the third and then won it on a chip-shot field goal as time expired. That's a clutch/ballsy way to win a title.

The Big East: It's not good. I'm totally in favor of getting rid of the AQ concept. That is all.

Player of the Week: I'd like to use this space to point out that North Texas running back Lance Dunbar had a ridiculous 313 yards (!!!) and four touchdowns against North Texas on Saturday. He averaged 7.8 yards on 40 carries.

Post-everything top 10: I've already said my piece about the teams at the top. The difference between LSU and Alabama is so microscopic that I just can't put anybody else at No. 2; matchups aren't relevant here. Oklahoma State is a lot closer to second than anybody else is to third, if that matters. The teams at the bottom are a mix of "whatever" and "because somebody has to go here." I'm not really sure what to do with Oklahoma since the pre-Broyles-injury Oklahoma was awesome and the post-Broyles-injury Oklahoma was blah. I'm also not sure if I can put Michigan in the top 10 without angering the gods and therefore will stick with Arkansas.

1. LSU
2. Alabama
3. Oklahoma State
4. Oregon
5. Stanford
6. USC
7. Boise
8. Oklahoma
9. Wisconsin
10. Arkansas


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