This week was supposed to just be an appetizer for the next two. But instead we got plenty of great games, including two classic overtime games in South Bend and Tucson. The appetizer left me more than satisfied, like the southwest egg rolls at Chili's. I could eat just those for dinner and be fine with it. But we have even more over the next two weeks. Rivalries and conference championships galore. Let's get to the links.
Virginia Tech Hokies
Despite the lack of buzz, Tech-UVa game still important for many (Bill Roth)
"It wasn’t that long ago that the buildup for this game captured the attention of the entire Commonwealth and the anticipation of the battle between the Hokies and ’Hoos was topic No. 1 from Annandale to Jonesville, and every city and burg in between. However, the Hokies have won nine of the past 10 meetings, turning rivalry week into … well … ‘rivalry weak.’"
Grand Finale (The A-Line)
"Well, there is little to be said about last Saturday’s game. Tech was supposed to win and did. Tech was supposed to win by a lot and did. The Hokies sent the seniors out in style, blasting an injury-riddled NC State team and coaching staff [be well, Dana Bible], setting the stage for the Grand Finale of the regular season and algroh’s coaching career. More on the exit of the Great NFL Legend shortly."
It’s Hate Week Motherfuckers (College Game Balls)
"I’d like some Hokie, any Hokie to come out and say, in the most politically correct way of course, just how hard we’re going to mash those silk panty wearing French majors less-than-mean-mugs into the turf on Saturday while in front of our home crowd at Lane Stadium North. I want my left over dark meat re-moistened with the delicious salty tears of Cavalier fans from all over the Commonwealth."
ACC division winners set (Annette)
"It’s a different story now, though, as Georgia Tech and Clemson have established themselves as the best in the ACC. Both teams should be favored heading into this weekend’s rivalry games against Georgia and South Carolina, and as long as they’re not looking ahead to Dec. 5, the should continue their winning streaks into the title game."
ACC Football Power Rankings, Nov. 23 (ACC Sports Journal)
"The top of the league looks pretty good – especially when compared with the view early in the season. Clemson was considered a perpetual underachiever, North Carolina once stood 0-3 in the ACC and Florida State was about to chase Bobby Bowden into unwanted retirement. The heat won’t dissipate when the Noles fall to Tim Tebow this week, but at least FSU is bowl-bound after its own 0-3 beginning to conference play."
OTB’s ACC Power Poll: Week 12 (On The B.Rink)
"After a long, crazy regular season, the ACC Championship Game is set and so is the number of ACC teams making a bowl. We have probably the best game possible with Clemson vs. Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship Game as it was great in September and both teams have improved since then. The Eagle Bank Bowl will remain ACC-less as we only have 7 teams and BC/FSU are fighting over San Francisco now. NC State, Maryland, Virginia, and Duke all did they what they do best with losing. Rivalry games-a-plenty are coming next week for our last full week of ACC football."
Now begins a very unproductive week (From The Rumble Seat)
"It's something that's just another odd thing about being a Tech fan. Tech fans find [almost] more joy in georgie failing than Tech success. While I don't completely support that, it is something that I have accepted, so I just let it be! The "To Hell with Georgia" edition of The Technique should be out sometime later today so be on the lookout for the always comical piece on U[sic]GA."
Florida State 29, Maryland 26
Florida State Pulls Out 29-26 Win Over Maryland (Tomahawk Nation)
"Florida State had a sparse crowd for what was Mickey Andrews' last game. It was also senior day. And Judging by the attendance at the game, 'Nole fans just aren't interested in the product FSU is putting on the field. This was an important weekend for recruiting and it will be very interesting to see what the recruits at the game on official visits felt about the atmosphere and the program."
Defensively Random and Flowingly Meaningless Thoughts (Scalp Em)
"In noting the empty areas in the stands of Doak Campbell stadium, Mrs. BFT commented "must be a late arriving crowd." Of course this was well into the fourth quarter when she mentioned that. Must have been a late arriving crowd for the next home game. In September next season."
Maryland-Florida State Report Card and Helmet Stickers (Testudo Times)
"Coaching: C-. Torn here, too. On the one hand, I was pleasantly surprised by the playcalling most of the day, and Friedgen even showed some balls when he went for it on 4th once or twice. In fact, for most of the day, this was a B+ performance, especially on the offense. Then came the end of the game."
Clemson 34, Virginia 21
Clemson clinches the ACC Atlantic! (Shakin The Southland)
"Finally....Clemson has won something. Dabo has done in 1.5 what Tammy couldn't figure out in 10. I almost feel optimistic about Clemson football again. Since I was at the game, I made a point to look at coverages and other things that you can't see on TV, like route running. I was not particularly impressed with it, but our seniors are better at route running than they were earlier in the season."
The Tigers are Going to Tampa (Block-C)
"With North Carolina beating Boston College this afternoon, the Tigers are guaranteed a trip to the ACC Championship game and a rematch against the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets."
North Carolina 31, Boston College 13
UNC 31, Boston College 13 (Carolina March)
"Any time either offense was on the field (so, you know, almost all the time) it was a disaster waiting to happen. Today, UNC was better has causing the disasters, and they were able to end BC's home winning streak, Tampa hopes, and put themselves in the driver's seat for a New Year's Day bowl. All things considered, a pleasant afternoon."
UNC 31 Boston College 13 (Tar Heel Fan)
"I am a little shocked. Why? Because I have no idea how this team has posted an 8-3 record with essentially very little from the offense. I am also finding it difficult not to bang my head against a concrete wall when I think about UNC losing to UVa. At some point I’ll get over it."
Headlines: Tar Heels 31, Eagles 13 (BC Interruption)
"Brian: I don't think there is any way to sugarcoat a 5 turnover performance. Shinskie threw some poor passes and the North Carolina defense had a field day on Saturday. As the game wore on, you could make the case that Shinskie outplayed UNC quarterback T.J. Yates, but you can't spot a good team like North Carolina 21 points and expect to win."
UNC Game Notes (Eagle All Access)
"Turnovers were clearly the story of this game. The two teams combined for 10 turnovers in the game (Boston College had six). North Carolina was able to capitalize with two defensive scores and 151 total yards in interception returns. BC also had some key interceptions to keep them in the game, including a pick in the end zone by Roderick Rollins."
Second viewing thougths and grade report: North Carolina (Eagle in Atlanta)
"Shinskie's mistakes were clearly the big issue. I did like that Spaz's guys fought back and made it interesting. What caused me to nudge Spaz down though was kicking field goals down 21. Hindsight showed that it wasn't the difference, but once again I think it reflects attitude. You are down big and have a chance to turn the game."
National College Football
BCS & Complete Conference Races and Analysis (BCS Evolution)
"I have finally pushed Cincinnati and TCU over the leaders with a loss. I also corrected last weeks over zealous placement of TCU ahead of Cincinnati. Cincinnati will pass TCU if both win out."
No news is good news for 'Horns, Gators, Tide (Dr. Saturday)
"The more things change ... well, actually, we wouldn't know about that. We knew going into the weekend that there was infinitesimal chances of movement at the top, so to dispense with the formalities: The top seven is identical to last week's top seven, which was identical to the top seven the week before that."
Tennessee 31, Vanderbilt 16
Wes Brown gives his all for Tennessee on Senior Day (Rocky Top Talk)
"Why the exception for Brown? His knees were a complete and total wreck, and everyone knew pretty early on that Brown only had so many snaps left to give, but he'd left no doubt in the minds of the coaching staff that he would be ready when the ball was snapped. The trick with Wes was saving those snaps for when they really mattered."
Florida 62, FIU 3
A New Season Begins (Alligator Army)
"There are only three games in front of the Gators now. Today's 62-3 win over Florida International was merely a practice, a diversion before the most important games in Florida history."
Ole Miss 25, LSU 23
Post Game: LSU (Red Cup Rebellion)
"Shay Hodge was the MVP of the game, in my opinion. You don't have a 100+ yard day against Patrick Peterson unless you ate your Wheaties. He runs great routes, has impossibly quick cuts, and has a pretty excellent set of hands. If you think we miss Mike Wallace this year, wait until we have to replace Shay."
Ole Miss 25 - LSU 23: Quick Thoughts (And The Valley Shook)
"The horrible decision to wait 15 seconds to call our last timeout was indefensible. The decision to try to spike the ball instead of rushing the field goal unit out was less so. The field goal unit probably would not have been able to get the snap off. Unfortunately, the proper thing to do in that situation was probably to try to run a play to the end zone."
Kentucky 34, Georgia 27
Kentucky 34, Georgia 27 -- Postmortem (A Sea Of Blue)
"Georgia utterly dominated Kentucky in every respect except for the one that mattered -- the final score. Georgia played a beautiful first half, and came back in the second half and did nothing but turn the ball over. This was not a good game by the Dawgs after that first half, and they really lost their composure in the second."
If I was you, if I was you I wouldn't treat me the way you do . . . (Hey Jenny Slater)
"But nothing, and I mean nothing, on that list matches the embarrassment of our fans booing our own players on Senior Day (followed by most of them leaving with two minutes left in the game, with the rest staying only to boo some more). You can doubt our players' ability, hope certain players get playing time instead of others, be disappointed in decisions they make on the field, even dislike them as people if you must -- but you never, ever boo them."
Texas 51, Kansas 20
Texas Buries Kansas 51-20, Improves To 11-0 (Burnt Orange Nation)
"The outcome was: fantastic. Though Texas has for some time been locked into "win and they're in" territory, even now not all wins are created equal. We're 11 wins deep into this thing, and tonight's punishing win over the Jayhawks might be my favorite to date (OU excepted, always).The offense turned in its most encouraging performance, the defense got a healthy test from Kansas' strong receiving corps, and -- I'm damn happy to say -- the seniors walk out of DKR one last time, having played well, won impressively, and remaining on track to achieve all their goals."
Nebraska 17, Kansas State 3
Nebraska Ends Kansas State's Season And Wins the Big 12 North (Corn Nation)
"Let's not kid ourselves. The Huskers have plenty of football left. First, there's the derelicts from Boulder, and then there's that championship game against Texas, who clinched the Big 12 South with a 50-21 win over Kansas. There's still a chance to have an incredible season."
Texas Tech 41, Oklahoma 13
Post Game Thoughts :: Oklahoma Sooners Edition (Double-T Nation)
"The Result :: So Sweet: I had not even considered a blowout on the Texas Tech side of the ledger. It seemed to me that such a result was truly inconceivable, considering all of the factors that have caused this season to be somewhat of a disappointment were virtually non-existent for most, if not all of this game. Huge props goes to the Texas Tech defense who just out-hit the Sooner offense on Saturday. I get the feeling that they were not expecting the type of athlete and player that was on the field on Saturday."
Absolutely Pathetic (Crimson And Cream Machine)
"This was absolutely an awful performance all around. It was the worst regular season loss points-wise since October 8, 2005 when an unranked OU team fell to #2 Texas 45-12. It was possibly the most embarrassing loss since the Orange Bowl fiasco against USC (55-19) at the close of the 2004 season. And it was the worst regular season loss to an unranked team since a 34-3 drubbing by Texas in the 1998 Red River Rivalry. It was probably, without a doubt, one of the worst losses of Bob Stoops' tenure - if not the worst."
Ohio State 21, Michigan 10
Well There’s a Red House Over Yonder (Eleven Warriors)
"On the excitement scale, the 106th edition of The Game probably left a little bit to be desired. The Buckeyes jumped out to a quick lead, were ahead 14-3 at the half and then traded second half touchdowns with the Wolverines on their way to a 21-10 victory. But on the satisfaction scale, Tressel’s 8th win in nine tries against Michigan delivered that same euphoric rush fans of the program are becoming all too familiar with this decade."
The Penitent Man (mgoblog)
"This is definitely what happened: brokers snapped up the publicly available tickets and when game time rolled around the double-digit favorites are naturally more inclined to pay the premium to get into the stadium. There were some traitorous bastards who need to be hung by their figgins, but most of it was just Michigan fans not buying available tickets. Which means everyone complaining about how the stadium looked on TV has scarlet and gray on their hands."
Iowa 12, Minnesota 0
Not the 12-0 We Wanted Most, But a 12-0 We'll Gladly Take (Black Heart Gold Pants)
"Really, this was as vintage a 2009 Iowa game as any this season. The offense struggled through injuries to key contributors but put up enough points to take a double-digit lead, and the defense choked the opposing offense to death long before the final whistle sounded. It's never been pretty, but at the end of the day, you cannot argue with this: it's another 10-win season for Kirk Ferentz and the Iowa Hawkeyes. Well done, men. Well done indeed."
Throwing It All Away (The Daily Gopher)
"Fast forward to today. I've got the same feeling after watching the Gophers stumble to what really was their third shutout in Big Ten play this year (one TD against Ohio State in garbage time). Obviously, this is not because of any heavyweight victory, but because of the team itself. This season was thrown away by Tim Brewster in early 2009."
Penn State 42, Michigan State 14
Too Easy, Drill Sergeant! Penn State 42, Michigan State 14 (Black Shoe Diaries)
"Newsome came in, wasn't allowed to throw, and the teams traded garbage touchdowns. In the end, though, it was exactly what we needed to start the Great Debate with Iowa, who sputtered to a 12-0 win against a Decker-less Minnesota that has given up at least 20 points to every FBS team on the schedule."
Multitude of Casualties - Penn State 42, Michigan State 14 (The Only Colors)
"The biggest positive - any shred of credibility this defensive scheme had was obliterated last afternoon by 6 PM. That means changes will have to be made by Narduzzi, Dantonio, etc., because if they want to remain competitive; bend but don't break won't cut it anymore. One of the reasons MSU was so successful last year was that in the games they won, they won the turnover battle in almost every game."
Northwestern 33, Wisconsin 31
'Cats Take Program to Next Level with 33-31 win (Lake the Posts)
"The program is officially on the cusp of taking it to the next level. There is a very realistic possibility of back-to-back 9 win seasons as NU. barring a wild decision by the Outback Bowl (and picking NU over Wisconsin), will face an ACC opponent in the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando (see below for bowl scenarios). It's way too early to get in to projecting 2010 next year, but you get the sense "off years" will be bowl years from here on out. What a day - Northwestern entered the day with a rare, but possible scenario of ending up in Detroit and end with an outside shot at a January 1 bowl game (won't happen, but technically it could). Rejoice in purpleness. What a day!"
They are who we thought they were (Bucky's 5th Quarter)
"The signs were there. Even in some of UW's most impressive wins, there have been issues that continually rear their ugly head. Go back to the Michigan State win when a blowout turned into a 38-30 win when the secondary gave up two long touchdown passes in the final minutes. Go back to the Indiana win when a dominating performance by the rush defense was spoiled by a poor performance by the cornerbacks and the Badgers ended up with a nail-biting 31-28 victory."
California 34, Stanford 28
Where Does Shane Vereen's Effort Rank Among Greatest Big Game Performances? (California Golden Blogs)
"Add Shane Vereen to the list of greatest Big Game performers, perhaps the best of the Tedford era. 42 carries, 193 yards, 3 touchdowns, gutted out first down after first down after touchdown. Like Hydro says, he runs dirty, and he got plenty mud on his boots tonight. We needed every yard tonight and Shane delivered the most thrilling Big Game win in ages."
More Big Game Kvetching (Various Provocations)
"There’s been a narrative that’s sprung up that Harbaugh should’ve entrusted the game to Toby Gerhart’s broad shoulders in the red zone on the final drive, and should’ve run Gerhart even more throughout the game; I don’t disagree with the logic, but it ignores a crucial point: Gerhart wasn’t really all that great yesterday. Set aside his 61 yard gallup—he had 75 yards on 16 carries, for a 3.9 yards per carry. Make no mistake, for whatever reason, Gerhart wasn’t that spectacular."
Oregon 44, Arizona 41 (2OT)
Props To The Cats, But UA Fans Aren't Ready For Prime Time. (Addicted To Quack)
"Congratulations to Arizona fans, a handful of jerks - and hundreds of presumptuous students - have given you a nice juicy black eye. After all that transpired, off the field, it makes what happened on the field all that much sweeter. Like I said, UA fans - at least some of them - clearly aren't ready for the big stage. Enjoy your trip back to the Las Vegas Bowl after USC feeds you the rest of your bad-karma buffet."
Masoli’s approach: Handle with carefree (George Schroeder)
"Jeremiah Masoli pushes the envelope. Plays on the edge. And other cliches like that. ... He improvises, and keeps trying to find a gap, a seam, until the very last possible instant in every play. Sometimes it goes wrong—two fumbles, an interception, another almost INT. Often, it goes very right—three rushing touchdowns, three passing touchdowns, a spectacular comeback to win in double-overtime at Arizona."
Cardiac Cats: Arizona 41 vs. Oregon 44 (Arizona Desert Swarm)
"Party Foul: Arizona Fans. What the hell is going on in Tucson? The reports around the web are horrible and make us look like absolute crap. What a joke! Arizona better get their act together or we will lose recruits if that is the kind of atmosphere in Tucson."
Oregon State 42, Washington State 10
Beavers Win! Ducks Win! A Civil War for the ages, and the Roses! (Building The Dam)
"This is the chance for both the in state institutions. No beating the other guy just to spoil their season this time. Turns out the Pac-10 Conference has a Championship game too, and without bothering with divisional play. Both programs have arrived at the big time; are you really ready for some serious football?"
Connecticut 33, Notre Dame 30 (OT)
The greatest win in UConn football history. (The UConn Blog)
"Who could have ever dreamed this would ever be possible in the 1960s, when Yale used to mop the floor with ol’ State U? Who could have ever dreamed this would ever be possible in the 1990s, when UConn lost to New Haven and had no real commitment for the football program? Who could have ever dreamed this would ever be possible in 2001, when UConn made the jump to Division I-A, a backwater school with no tradition, recruiting out of crappy trailers in the shadow (physical and otherwise) of Gampel Pavilion?"
Good night, sweet prince (Rakes Of Mallow)
"Well, if there was any doubt - and there shouldn't have been any, but just in case - that ought to do it. A second straight Senior Day loss will do that. Hundred yards games from Armando, Golden and St. Michael go for nothing as the Irish defense has no answer for UConn's running game down the stretch."
Syracuse 31, Rutgers 13
Just Like Old Times: Syracuse Dominates Rutgers 31-13 (TNIAAM)
"Enjoy this one, folks. What a great send-off for the seniors who will not have to say they never beat Rutgers. It wasn't long ago a four-year SU senior expected to beat the Scarlet Knights all four times. For now, we're extremely happy with this one. And we're looking forward to getting the next one sooner than later."
Knightmare at the Dome (Protect R Turf)
"College football is a funny sport. Sometimes teams that are outmatched on paper put it all together for one game to pull the monumental shocker. Rutgers was playing it's best football of the season and marched into a buzzsaw yesterday. The Orange looked like the Orange of old, while Rutgers was clearly unprepared, falling behind 14-0 for the 3rd consecutive year."
TCU 45, Wyoming 10
TCU rolls to 11-0 with win over Wyoming (Mountain West Connection)
"Can anyone or any team stop TCU you this year? Not likely. The Horned Frogs improved to 11-0 for the first time in 71 years and are keeping the National title hopes alive with a 45-10 over the Wyoming Cowboys on the road. To complete their perfect season TCU will just need a victory next week over a New Mexico team that has lost their first 10 games."
BYU 38, Air Force 21
Another (Statistically) Historic Day for BYU (Vanquish The Foe)
"Hopefully all of you had a chance to see one of BYU's best performances of the season, a game which Bronco called the hardest hitting game he's ever heard at BYU (literally speaking on the loudness of the tackles), as the Cougars got to the Falcons early on their way to an impressive 38-21 stomping, improving to 9-2."
BYU Continues Dominance Over Air Force (Mountain West Connection)
"BYU won their six straight game against Air Force, and during the past six victories the closest was their 41-24 win back in 2004. The Cougars did it again by pulling away in the second quarter by scoring 21 points and taking a 24-0 lead which put the game out of reach for Air Force."
Boise State 52, Utah State 21
Boise State throttles Utah State 52-21 (One Bronco Nation Under God)
"Kellen Moore had a quiet night while the running game carried the load. Jeremy Avery and Doug Martin both go over 100 yards. Titus Young would have joined them without the bogus holding call. Overall, Boise State recorded 6 rushing TD's and over 300 yards on the ground."
East Carolina 37, UAB 21
Pirates with a chance to host… (200 Years Too Late)
"After the Pirates’ victory over UAB this past weekend and a loss by SMU, the Pirates now control their own destiny on the road to the C-USA Championship. With a win this upcoming weekend against Southern Miss, ECU would win the east division of C-USA and host Houston in the championship game at Dowdy Ficklen Stadium on December 5th. However, Southern Miss is no easy test."
Stuff Only I Care About
Hear Samples From Jimmy’s New Album (Buffett News)
"Mailboat Records has audio samples from Jimmy Buffett’s upcoming album "Buffet Hotel" that will be released on December 8th."
Lets talk Westbrook (Welcome to Loud City)
"The question is ... what is it going to take? Is it time to start limiting some of his minutes and giving them to someone else on the roster until he gets it in his head to stop shooting when he can't actually make that shot? Do we have someone else handle the ball more, so as to prevent his ridiculous turnover percentage from costing us momentum and games? Or is it just a matter of throwing him out there enough times and hoping he finally learns how to protect AND shoot the ball?"
Drew Has Surgery; Lowell To Play First In 2010? (Over the Monster)
"As far as Lowell goes, I like this idea. I think he could be a pretty solid first baseman. He needs less range at first and I think we'll see some good numbers from him. Since Victor Martinez will likely catch most games, Lowell can back up Youk and we'll probably see Jed Lowrie or another infielder take grounders at third base."
What Do We Know About These Buffalo Sabres? (Die By The Blade)
"Slumps are unavoidable no matter how talented a team is and Buffalo is finding that out right now. Consistency, stronger starts and increased scoring are what they need a better handle on. It's too early to get excited with their record or throw in the towel because of the latest results."
Ales Hemsky: Boat Anchor (The Copper & Blue)
"Hemsky's having a very good season. Even a career-best season. When the team's losing, and has lost for a long time, people look for someone to blame, and Hemsky's been a constant for the Oilers. Add to that the fact that he can look uninspired when he's not playing well, and he becomes an easy target. There's just one minor issue to picking out Hemsky as the problem with this team: Ales Hemsky isn't the problem."