The best part about this time of the season? The unlikely heroes always emerge.
Before Saturday, if you had asked anyone in Big Ten country who would make the most important runs in the Wisconsin-Iowa game, they would have offered a list of
They would have been wrong.
The most important runs in Wisconsin's 31-30 win came from
Now, the Badgers must keep winning and watch the scoreboard. They need some help to win the Big Ten. The easiest way is if Michigan State loses twice. Failing that, the Badgers need to hope for a three-way tie of some sort (either Iowa, Michigan State, Wisconsin or Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin). That might leave the Badgers at the mercy of the BCS standings, but at least they suffered the first loss and started back up the polls earlier.
Also, I realize Iowa coach
The Heisman Trophy is
Newton is compiling touchdown production stats similar to those
Saturday, Newton couldn't do much through the air (86 passing yards), but he did plenty on the ground, rushing 28 times for 217 yards and two touchdowns
Congratulations, Virginia Tech, you're now eligible to return to the SI.com Power Rankings. Because I have a twisted moral code that rewards teams that win head-to-head matchups, I couldn't in good conscience rank the Hokies while they had the same record as James Madison, which beat Virginia Tech on Sept. 11.
Well, I could have, but then I would have had to rank James Madison one spot higher. I wasn't going to do that. But thanks to Villanova's 14-7 win against the Dukes on Saturday, James Madison is now 4-3. With the résumés no longer equal, Virginia Tech -- which has played well since the loss -- can re-enter the poll.
A lot of Virginia Tech fans e-mailed me during the week complaining that the Hokies weren't ranked. I explained to those people that I'd rather be an idiot in their eyes than a hypocrite in everyone else's. If the Hokies wanted to be ranked higher, they shouldn't have lost to an FCS team in the first place.
In this week's Power Rankings, I wrote that we would find out whether I had Oklahoma State underrated or accurately rated at No. 20.
For once, I got one correct.
National title contenders don't give up half a hundred at home. They just don't.
Oklahoma State is good -- on offense.
But the defense got gashed through the air and on the ground by a quarterback who got yanked for poor play last week. Championship teams don't let that happen.
Cal is the nation's most schizophrenic team.
The Bears crush Colorado, then get creamed by Nevada. They respond by playing Arizona tough and creaming UCLA. Then they fall behind 42-0 at the half to USC.
So what does Cal do Saturday? Naturally, it hammers Arizona State, 50-17
That has to make Oregon State's
A win over Nebraska last week in Lincoln proved Texas has talent. A 28-21 loss to Iowa State this week in Austin proves the Longhorns are immature and lack leadership
Bear in mind that this is the same Iowa State team that lost by a combined score of 120-27 to Utah and Oklahoma in the past two weeks. The Longhorns should have blown the Cyclones off the field, but they couldn't score.
The problems at Texas seem awfully similar to the issues at Florida -- another marquee program that suffered its third loss of 2010 at home against a perennial conference bottom-feeder (last week against Mississippi State). Making the comparison more interesting is the fact that some of the major problems of one -- or both -- might have been solved had one player made a different decision during his recruitment.
Current Gators quarterback
Meanwhile, in Gainesville, Florida might have had a better shot at recruiting Floridian
If Newton is playing for Florida instead of Auburn this season, the Gators haven't lost three games. If Gilbert had faced any legitimate competition for the starting job -- or gotten beaten out by someone who performed better -- the Longhorns haven't lost three games, either.
Saturday began with three undefeated AQ-conference teams (Michigan State, Missouri, Oklahoma State) seemingly getting short shrift compared to their fellow undefeateds. Of those three, Michigan State was the only team no one expected to lose.
If not for a fumble on the goal line in the second quarter, that's exactly what would have happened. Michigan State escaped Northwestern with a 35-27 win
Nearly every team that goes undefeated has to survive a game like this. Michigan State quarterback
Next week's game against Iowa should determine once and for all whether the Spartans deserve a place in the BCS title picture. No one will argue the quality of Michigan State's win against Wisconsin, but Michigan could turn out to be quite mediocre, and Notre Dame's third loss in four years to Navy suggests the Fighting Irish aren't very good at all. But a win against the Hawkeyes in Iowa City could earn the Spartans the respect they desire.
Hopefully, they've got another fake kick in the playbook.
Earlier today, I joked on Twitter that Missouri, Northwestern and Syracuse --which feature three of the nation's top journalism schools -- should play a round-robin every year for the Editor-in-Chief's Trophy.
That could be a pretty interesting set of games. Northwestern looked quite good against Michigan State on Saturday. Meanwhile, Syracuse stunned West Virginia, 19-14, in Morgantown to turn the Big East race on its ear
1. Syracuse coach
2. The Big East really, really stinks and has no business owning an automatic qualifying spot in the BCS.
That leaves Missouri, which will carry the banner for ink-stained wretches everywhere -- not this one; I went to a football factory instead of a journalism factory -- against the No. 1 team in the BCS standings later tonight.
A few guys screamed at the top of their lungs when the remote came out Saturday at Shakespeare's Pizza in Columbia, Mo. Northwestern theoretically still had a chance to tie the score against Michigan State, but someone wanted the channel changed. This did not make the assembled Missouri and Oklahoma fans happy.
When the channel was flipped, the protests turned to cheers. Texas trailed Iowa State by two touchdowns late in the fourth quarter. When the Cyclones finally finished off the Longhorns, the place exploded.
I imagine that's exactly how every bar in Boston sounded Friday night when the Yankees fell to the Rangers.