Why does Stanford have to be just good enough to ruin everything yet not good enough to make or win the national title? These are the things I think about.
Because as Matt Barkley fades from the Heisman discussion and USC is forced to once again reload, we have no one to blame but Stanford. And even though he's not on the team now, this is the face I want you to think about when you realize another wrench has been thrown in our gears of hope.
So now we're back to what is probably this week's theme: next in line. Who is rising? Who takes the place of USC in the rankings? What new teams do we have to believe in? Let's decide together.
Quick, Selective Hits On The BCS Top 25
1) Alabama (58): I really have nothing new to say about these all-defense world beaters. So let's disrespect them by talking about one of their biggest rivals. Dudes, did you *see* that Auburn Hail Mary? It's so fantastic because the QB has to escape pressure, roll out and prevent himself just from falling over, then do one of those sweet Mike Vick running throws. And after all that calamity? The WR makes an almost mechanical, automatic catch. It's as if no one was in the end zone but him. Yes, I know that play didn't decide the game, but since they eventually went on to take it in OT, you know it directly affected the outcome.
2) LSU (2): Well, it didn't take long for Alabama-LSU to reassert their respective dominance in the polls. This feels horrible, just like last year. I also see Georgia looming three spots below. Puke.
3) Oregon: All I have is you, and you are all that I care about.
- Why *wouldn't* the high schooler who rushed for 10 TDs and over 600 yards be an Oregon commit?
- Do do do do do
4) Florida State: I've been clamoring for weeks how I want to see FSU play in a big-huge game, and it appears we've finally arrived.
5) Georgia: ESS EE SEE, ESS EE SEE, ESS EE SEE ... No disrespect to UGA, but does anyone seriously think they're going to make the national title this year? I mean, they're in the Top 5. Logically, they should have a chance, but, man, that, like, never would happen. I also like that the SEC hatred is so high, we're literally just rooting for *other* SEC teams to knock off more hated SEC teams. So gosh darn counterproductive.
6) Oklahoma: They still feel under-the-radar to me, but they're a good one to have in our back pockets.
7) South Carolina: It's hard to put into words how much I enjoyed this "South Carolina Trainer Eyefucking Bruce Ellington" video. It's not even slightly. It's all the way. Eleven out of ten. The highlight of the 2012 Cocks season, so far.
8) West Virginia: They haven't played a single body, but Geno Smith's numbers thus far are siiiiiick. Most impressive is probably the "no way he ever, ever keeps this up" 88% completion percentage. Those make video games look modest.
9) Stanford: Beat SC, and they're all the way up in the Top 10. Hello, Stanford. You know what'd be funny? If the Cardinal ended up having a better season post-Luck. Talk about the Ewing Theory.
10) Clemson: Clemson Tom sez, "Somebody told me that Clemson is starting to have swagger. Where I'm from, we call that walking."
11) Notre Dame: Super impressed with ND's win over Michigan State last week. These moments of legitimate, deserved attention for Notre Dame are so rare and infrequent that I can't even remember the last time something like this happened. On the negative side, this Brian Kelly headline about short-circuited my brain.
13) USC: Seriously guys, how did you let this happen? HOW?!
14) Florida: I'd like to be the first to apologize to the Florida Gators. Florida Gators, I totally doubted your ability to go 3-0. Hell, 2-1 seemed kinda remote. But you shut me up. I thank you for letting me keep my face, though -- some of us weren't so lucky.
...Seriously, what is the real explanation for that?
15) Kansas State: Until K-State breaks the Top 10, I think I'm going to continue to use their spot to talk about random stuff. Can I interest you Jawan Jamison of Rutgers and his famed "circle button" move? No? How about 2-Pac talking about Tony Danza? No?! Seriously?!?
16) Ohio State: Braxton Miller teabagged everybody, lifted up my fantasy team, and we all went home winners, but that's not to imply Cal didn't do cool stuff. Peep this highlight from their RB.
18) Michigan: Freshman TE Devin Funchess scored a touchdown last week in his debut as a starter for my college fantasy football team. If Braxton Miller hadn't put up 1,000,000 points, we probably coulda used the big man's contributions. Instead, shit just was gratuitous.
21) Michigan State: You know how I know I really do hate you? I didn't spend a second even *considering* rooting you over Notre Dame. Over Notre Dame! The team everybody in America roots against under just about every circumstance. Man, I might still even root the *SEC* over Notre Dame, and you weren't likable enough to earn that. Says a lot.
22) Arizona: RichRod is still undefeated, but, unfortunately, if you know anything about this week's slate, it might not last all that long.
23) Mississippi State
24) Boise State: 'Eyyyy, welcome back.
25) Nebraska: Nebraska has really been a joy to watch this year.
Dropped from rankings
Tennessee: Deadspin said someone had a sign that said "Vols Deep" at GameDay last week. That's just good form. And though you lost, Tennessee, Lacey Mitchell posted some quality pictures of one of your (presumably) biggest fans directing traffic.
Brigham Young: Went down to Utah -- who just lost to Utah State -- after this truly excruciating sequence. If you're not going to watch the video (and really, I'm not going to blame you), Doc Saturday's Graham Watson breaks down the stretch.
With Utah up 24-21, BYU completed a long pass to put itself within range of a long field goal. Instead of kicking, the Cougars attempted to gain a little more yardage. The pass from quarterback Riley Nelson sailed out of bounds, and as the final seconds ticked off the clock, players, coaches and students rushed the field.
But it wouldn't be the BYU-Utah rivalry if it ended that way.
A review of the clock showed that one second remained when the pass was incomplete, allowing BYU to try for a 51-yard field goal.
So, the field was cleared and BYU attempted the kick.
It was blocked. Players, coaches and fans again stormed the field. The problem: The holder had picked up the ball and tried to advance it. Because the fans had rushed the field before the play was ruled dead, Utah was assessed a 15-yard penalty. BYU was given an untimed down to try another kick.
Seriously, can't make this stuff up.
So BYU kicker Riley Stephenson, now 15 yards closer, lined up to tie the game and force overtime. The kick went up, looked good and then…
The kick banged off the left upright, and Utah ended up winning anyway.
Suck it, BYU. That'll teach you to embarrass Mike Leach on national television.
* * *
John L. Smith, take us to this weekend's slate.
Any Sweet Games This Weekend?
BYU at Boise State (24): Eh.
Friday Night Lights
Maryland at West Virginia (8): "Sweet," you say, "West Virginia is finally playing a BCS team. Let's see how their offense looks." ... "Yeah," I say, "but Maryland lost to UConn last week."
Whatever, I'm still excited.
Kentucky at Florida (14): Again, a game that could be cool if, you know, Kentucky didn't lose to Western Kentucky last week.
UAB at Ohio State (16): This has to be tOSU's last easy game, right? Yes, I'm aware they probably should have lost last week. And I don't even know why I'm complaining about their schedule. Braxton Miller will lead me to the promised land.
Virginia at TCU (17): Virginia is, like, my go-to boring BCS team when I'm trying to come up with one off the top of my head, but TCU is undefeated, so... OK.
Bowling Green at Virginia Tech: Haha, forgot Virginia Tech isn't ranked, this game sucks.
Central Michigan at Iowa: How bad is this game? So bad I'm *going* to it. Awww yeah. Taking in my first live college football game of the year. What up, Iowa City?
Missouri at South Carolina (7): I could definitely be talked into this one.
Oregon State at UCLA (19): Ha, well, I mean, they're both undefeated. And yes, Oregon State is 1-0. No, they haven't had two bye weeks. They had that one game cancelled back in Week 1. Battle of the unbeatens!
Colorado at Washington State: They say Colorado sucks and Wazzu's mediocre and this game will be painful to watch, but I'm calling a double-digit Cougar victory.
Florida Atlantic at Alabama (1): I hate you, Alabama. I seriously hate you. Not only did you get their Week 1 'neutral site' game in the South, not only did you get bulletin board material from *Western Kentucky* prior to Week 2, not only did you catch Arkansas in shambles Week 3 after losing their QB, but you play FAU this week *and* you somehow, SOMEHOW got *more* bulletin board material. FAU defensive end Cory Henry, you're up.
"They ain’t what people think," Henry said. "They’re good and everything but they can be beat, too. They just execute well. They just execute and beat you."
And Henry was not through. He was then asked if FAU had any kind of advantage.
"We got speed against them," he said. "You got speed you can win."
One really starts to get themselves in trouble with the "They ain't what people think" line, but saying "They can be beat" is pretty harmless. I will give him bonus points for basically calling out SEC Speed with his closing arguments. Aaaagh. Nick Saban has to be so pleased by this. Hate.
California at USC (13): Ugh, SCREW YOU, USC. I don't even feel bad for you anymore; I'm just pissed.
LSU (2) at Auburn: MEH.
Louisville (20) at Florida International: MEHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
Rutgers at Arkansas: This is probably the worst game I've ever seen. Not even John L. Smith could make me smile.
Michigan (18) at Notre Dame (11): I really can't get over how appropriately ranked Notre Dame is. That ranking is just so... appropriate!
Though it's not the game of the week, it's probably close. Ever since Big Blue got crucified in Week 1, their season definitely lost an edge. And though the ND-Michigan rivalry is a fierce as ever -- seriously, the last three games have all been decided on, like, the final play and all by four points -- I find myself mentally at ease with everything. Hell, Notre Dame is playing well, they probably deserve to snap their losing streak to the Wolverines. Not that Michigan hasn't bounced back since the 'Bama trouncing. It's trending up. I mostly just hope for a good game because, despite how quick the media is to anoint M or ND as 'back' any time anything happens, this rivalry really has been top notch for years now. Hopefully outsiders can sift through the B.S. to actually notice that.
Oh, and this was so 'eh'.
Vanderbilt at Georgia (5): Bleeee-ooooh.
Kansas State (15) at Oklahoma (6): Good gracious, I love this game. It's offensive. By that, I mean they both should have competent offenses. I love these 'vault' games where the winner just commands national respect. K-State has more to gain, but a victory for OU would really say something, too. Best of luck, gents.
Clemson (10) at Florida State (4): Game of the Week. Florida State's moment is finally here. A home game against a Top 10 team to truly prove the 'Noles are back. I love everything about it. And Clemson. Top 10! How cool is that? I asked Clemson Tom to hit us with a preview, and here's what he wrote me:
Clemson is going into Dork (Doak) Campbell Stadium on Saturday to face off with the Florida State Seminoles. ESPN and all the other major sports outlets have basically dubbed FSU as the next powerhouse in college football. It seems like everyone in America automatically believes ESPN when they say something, but they are just analysts who are paid to give their opinion, which is often given to them. They aren't God, they cannot see the future.
This Saturday, no matter what the experts may have predicted, when the ball gets spotted, all bets are off! I expect a high scoring football game. Florida State can beat Clemson, and Clemson can beat Florida State. Both are young and can score points.
I'd like to say this could be the next heavyweight bout, but I think it's more around a Mayweather versus Pacquiao kind of fight. Expect the stadium to be loud and extremely passionate. Expect me to have well over a case of beer flowing my system and a few Red Bulls in my veins.
It's games like this that make me love college football over any other sport in the entire world. And that includes badminton.
Haha, what a close. I really do hope for greatness here.
Arizona (22) at Oregon (3): Mark this as the only time I will be rooting against Oregon this season. My respect and admiration for RichRod is just too high. I seriously would probably root him over Michigan if they somehow made the national title. And it's not a RichRod vs. Michigan thing. It's a justice vs. injustice thing. I digress.
Anyway. Games like this Wildcats-Ducks one are precisely the reason I was so excited to see this additional influx of spread offense coming into the Pac 12 in the first place. And as Mike Leach comes around the block, this will only continue. I want less of a game and more of a display here. This is football in my favorite kind of way. Pile them points.
Iowa bound, suckers. Wait, I'm the sucker. Damn it!
Bobby Loesch is a weekly contributor to SBN Chicago. He can be reached at bobbyloesch [at] gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @bobbystompy.