What happened in college football this weekend simply does not compute.
Sure, experts will punch the numbers into various ranking formulas. The computer programs will spit out new numerical grades. The statistical pecking orders will shift.
But can the various BCS ranking systems really make sense of all this competitive carnage?
Let us recap:
Oklahoma State seemed headed toward the BCS Championship Game. Cowboys coach Mike Gundy seemed likely to collect his $500,000 bonus for reaching that game, as specified in his contract. No. 2 OSU rolled to a 24-7 lead at Iowa State and seemed to be gathering steam towards its showdown game with Oklahoma. Then the Cowboys collapsed and lost 37-31 in overtime. The Cyclones had been 0-56-2 all-time against opponents ranked in the top six nationally.
“I don't know if I have ever been 10-1 and felt so empty,” offensive coordinator Todd Monken told the Tulsa World. “We just never seemed to get in a flow. Give (the Cyclones) credit for why that happened. We had plenty of opportunities and we just didn't do it.”
With Oklahoma State down and out, No. 5 Oklahoma had a chance to move up. But it lost at Baylor, a Big 12 (Minus-4) upstart that was winless in 20 previous games against the Sooners. Bears quarterback Robert Griffin III marched his team the length of the field in the game’s final 51 seconds and hit Terrance Williams for the winning 34-yard TD strike.
Wrote Tulsa World columnist Dave Sittler: “Last summer, OU coach Bob Stoops said it was ‘about time’ the Sooners won another national title. But a home loss to a bad Texas Tech (5-6, 2-6) team, coupled with the Sooners' first-ever loss to Baylor, means that OU has already run out of title time with two games left.”
USC is on NCAA probation, so it can’t go to a bowl game. But the Trojans CAN ruin another team’s season, as No. 4 Oregon can attest. Southern Cal built a 38-14 lead over the Ducks, then barely held on for the 38-35 road upset. Ducks kicker Alejandro Maldonado missed a potential game-tying 37-yard field goal on the game's final play.
So USC played ultimate spoilers in the BCS chase. “That's all we can play for until next year,” safety Jawanza Starling told the Los Angeles Times.
No. 7 Clemson took an untimely powder, losing to North Carolina State 37-13. That loss, combined with the Oregon and Oklahoma failures, kept Oklahoma State alive in the BCS hunt. It also boosted the hopes of Arkansas.
College Football News pundit Pete Fiutak broke it down:
After Iowa State’s win over OSU, No. 3 Alabama appeared to have a clear shot to finish in the top two as long as it won its final two games. After beating Georgia Southern, and after all the upsets, the Tide is unlikely to fall out of the top two if they beat Auburn.
However, the biggest winner is Arkansas, who before this weekend needed to beat LSU and win the wacky three-team SEC tie-breaker to play for the national title. Now, the Hogs might be in the BCS championship picture even if they don’t represent the West in the SEC title game.
QUARTERBACKS ON FIRE!
- Baylor’s Robert Griffin III obliterated the Oklahoma defense for 551 yards. “The dude has the ability to just go out and take over a game,” Baylor linebacker Elliot Coffey told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “He went out and showed that.”
- Iowa State’s Jared Barnett, a redshirt freshman, threw for 376 yards and three touchdowns Friday night to lead the upset over Oklahoma State. He also rushed for 84 yards in the historic victory.
- Houston’s Case Keenum went 30 of 45 for 318 yards in an easy 37-7 victory over SMU. He has completed 1,427 passes in his career, passing former Texas Tech staltwart Graham Harrell for the top spot in major college football history.
- Missouri’s James Franklin: He passed for 172 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 152 yards and two more touchdowns to rally the Tigers past Texas Tech 31-27. Mizzou trailed the Red Raiders 14-0 after the first quarter.