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Bourbon Shots: Week 8 College Football Roundup

Week 8 saw more ACC craziness and a bunch of top teams struggling to get by with wins. The three teams alot people don't think deserve a shot at the national title, TCU, Boise State and Cincinnati, were the ones who breezed by with wins. For others, it took last-second heroics to stay among the ranks of the unbeaten. It looked like Week 8 would turn out to be a real dog looking at the schedule. It was anything but. Let's go around the blogosphere to get reaction to yet another crazy week of the oblong.

Virginia Tech Bye Week

Hokies’ Coastal hopes grow even dimmer (Randy King)
"Unless Georgia Tech loses to either to Wake or Duke -- the Yellow Jackets will double-digit favorites in both -- the Hokies' shot for a Coastal title and a third consecutive trip to the Orange Bowl are history. Where's that leave the Hokies? How about another trip to Atlanta for the Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Bowl? That's the best guess right now."

Bugs' Bad Blocking (Kyle Tucker)
"But I caught up with FS Kam Chancellor, everybody’s favorite goat when a big play breaks against the defense (especially against Georgia Tech), and his position coach. Before looking forward to UNC, I think it's important to get a grip on what, exactly, happened to the Hokies in Atlanta. I think you’ll find Chancellor's – and especially Torrian Gray’s – comments about some illegal blocking by Georgia Tech very, very interesting. Also, a positive report on the health of CB Stephan Virgil ... and the play of his replacement, Rashad Carmichael."

Western Michigan off Virginia Tech's 2010 schedule (Mark Viera)
"Western Michigan has been moved off Virginia Tech's 2010 football schedule and will play the Hokies in Blacksburg, Va., in 2016. The Broncos are scheduled to play Notre Dame on Oct. 16, 2010. Virginia Tech has not announced what team would fill the void in its schedule, which now has only 11 games on it."

Jarrett Boykin is No. 1 again (Darryl Slater)
"Boykin’s father, Jarrett Boykin Sr., died when he was a baby. Until he was in elementary school, Boykin was unaware his stepdad was not his biological father. Until about a year ago, when he pressed his grandmother for details, he didn’t know his dad was shot to death. Boykin didn’t know how to feel, because he never knew him. Boykin did cry during an elementary school presentation – the assignment: make a timeline of your life – when he told the class about the day he learned his dad had died. And he did later wear a necklace bearing a picture of his father holding him as an infant."

 Hokies Picked to Finish 8th in ACC (Tech Hoops)
"The talking heads (media) have spoken: Virginia Tech will finish 8th in the ACC this year. I guess the Hokies could accept this and plan to play the #9 seed in the noon game of the ACC Tournament First Round. Well, I’m for wasting sportswriters time so let’s go out there and give them all a big [bleep]-burger."

Thanks A Lot UVA (Fight for Old DC)
"Dear Stupid Wahoos, You know, you hadn't lost to the Yellow Jackets at home in 19 years. Shocker that you choked on your own ascots when we needed you to come through for us. Guess what? We're bringing the pain. November 21st, you're dead."

Ramblings During an Off Week (VT Fan)
"Off weeks have different feels depending on how your season is going and how your last game went. Virginia Tech fans seems somewhat somber this week, mostly re-evaluating where we are after a promising start but stumble in a key game at GT. If the Hokies didn't have so many guys dinged up, I'd almost rather they were playing this week instead of wallowing in an extra down week."

ACC Football

What we learned in the ACC: Week 8 (Annette)
"Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech are the ACC’s top two teams this year. They’ve been the most consistent, well-coached teams in the conference. The Jackets are leading the entire pack now, but Virginia Tech, using the eyeball test, isn’t far behind. Their two losses came to two nationally ranked teams, Alabama and Georgia Tech, both on the road. The only team the Jackets have lost to is Miami on the road. Both Techs have established their running games and improved their passing games and gotten enough out of their defenses on a consistent basis."

It was a great weekend for Georgia Tech. Now what? (Mr. College Football)
"Bobby Dodd himself could not have drawn up a better football weekend for the Institute. Tech’s win over Virginia coupled with Miami’s loss to Clemson puts the Yellow Jackets’ in the driver’s seat in the ACC Coastal Division. Beat Wake Forest at home on Nov. 7 and Duke on Nov. 14 in Durham, and the Yellow Jackets will advance to the ACC championship game in Tampa on Dec. 5. Now is where the Georgia Tech team has to decide: Do they want to be good or do they want to be special? Sandwiching those two conference games are a pair of SEC opponents, Vanderbilt and Georgia. In the past Georgia Tech would be on the verge of being special and slip up. Georgia Tech is good enough to win these last four games if it can remain focused. Will they?"

ACC Football Power Rankings, Oct. 26 (ACCSJ)
"Is the ACC on the verge of a Pyrrhic victory? The league may be in its best position yet to secure a second spot in the BCS and the resulting $4.5 million windfall. At the same time, however, the success of the top dogs might help prevent the ACC from filling one or more of its spots in lesser postseason games."

Atlantic Conquers Edition (On The B.Rink)
"Atlantic Division went 2-0 vs. the Coastal this week. Oh, aaaand the entire ACC has been turned upside down. Georgia Tech is up–Miami is down. BC goes out of conference and loses–but also loses ground in conference to the Tigers. This is the ACC and I’m not sure I would like any other way–solid football this week."

More ACC ugliness (Instead of Texting)
"Where does Spiller sit in the ACC player of the year debate? He posted 310 all-purpose yards and two long touchdowns (one receiving, one returning) against the conference’s last top-10 team Saturday. For the season, Spiller has more than 1,400 all-purpose yards and nine touchdowns. With Clemson controlling its destiny in the Coastal Division, Spiller has as good an argument for POY honors as anyone right now."

Florida State 30, North Carolina 27

Jimbo Fisher's Offense Saves Seminoles (Tomahawk Nation)
"But in the back of their mind, Florida State had to know that their defense would be a colossal disappointment. UNC hadn't rushed for more than 4 yards per carry against anyone. Against Florida State, the Tar Heels averaged 6.7 yards per carry on 38 rushes, totaling 255 yards! Yes, the 'Noles allowed 70% more yards per carry to the Tar Heels than any other team. 6.7 yards allowed per carry is unacceptable for any defense, but for Florida State's defense, against this putrid offense? It would be up to Florida State's offense to again carry the defense; a seemingly impossible task against Carolina's defense."

Florida State 30, UNC 27 (Carolina March)
"Somehow this team came out of the locker room and just stopped trying, from the coaches deciding to punt from the FSU 44 down three to a defense that kept getting beat on simple pass plays. It's the most disheartening half of football I've seen this season to date; at least the other losses were constant exercises in futility. Tonight UNC showed they could string together some excellent football and then just... stopped."

FSU 30 UNC 27 (Tar Heel Fan)
"Overall it was not a complete waste. Tough loss? Sure but not embarrassing by any stretch and one of those games that a play here or there turns the tide in your favor and you win the game. There will be plenty of handwringing over the play calling in this one as well as criticism of the decision by Butch Davis to punt it away with five minutes left allowing FSU to kill most of the clock. That was probably the best chance they had do something but they opted to give the ball back hoping a worn out and at that point outcoached defensive plan could get a three and out. Davis lost that gamble and subsequently the game. However that’s football and life really."

FSU Rallies Past UNC, LT’s Head Explodes (Joe Ovies)
"And then the Tar Heels did something that burned them a couple times last year. Butch Davis and the coaching staff got conservative. Take away the coffee and get the set of knives, UNC failed to close because they stopped being aggressive. Ponder was able to throw over the middle and the Seminoles running game found some life. Worst of all, not going for it on 4th down in FSU territory with 5 minutes to go. North Carolina fans have seen this before, and it cost their team on a night where they should have left Kenan celebrating a win. Poor Ol’ Roy, he even wore his best sweater for the occasion."

Georgia Tech 34, Virginia 9

Thoughts on the C-Ville Trip (From The Rumble Seat)
"We average little over a fumble lost per game so losing only one football in the pouring rain of Virginia is a victory in itself. All in all, I was very proud of the way we ended the UVA Drought. We dominated an inferior team AND Miami lost that night. Can't ask for a better weekend. Now, on to a reeling Vandy team."

We now return you to your regularly scheduled doldrums (From Old Virginia)
"This is now the part in the show where I come out and tell you What It Means Going Forward. Well, what it means is we're in a real scrap for bowl eligibility, and I have no idea whether we're going to get there. This game told us everything we need to know, and none of it's any use. The defense? Beastly, still, despite the 34 points. If they can keep us in that game they can keep us in any game. Any game, even Miami and Virginia Tech. They'll give us a chance in all of them."

Duke 17, Maryland 13

Duke goes to 4-3 (Blue Devil Nation)
"Lewis was aided by big games from wideouts Donavan Varner [8 catches 120 yards, one touchdown] and Conner Vernon [5 catches for 102 yards] and Austin Kelly [9 catches for 61 yards]. The other passing touchdown went to tight end Danny Parker. Vernon became the first freshman in Duke history to record two 100 yard games. Thaddeus Lewis broke a school record for total offensive plays as well."

Maryland-Duke Report Card and Helmet Stickers (Testudo Times)
"Coaching: D - See this. And, in a while, another post about the coaching. It simply didn't make sense: QB draws on 3rd and 18 (I don't care that it nearly worked, the playcall was horrendous), completely ignoring Torrey Smith for the second straight week, abandoning the Wild Turtle after just one play for the second straight week, burning Eric Franklin's redshirt, putting in Caleb Porzel on 4th down, accepting the holding call...want me to go on?"

ACC Victories: Duke 2, UNC & State 0 (Joe Ovies)
"The only team in the Triangle living up to expectations are the Duke Blue Devils. The bar was set rather low for David Cutcliffe in the preseason (remember the over/under 3.5 set by Vegas?), but the Devils actually look like a competent squad on the football field."

Notre Dame 20, Boston College 16

Freshman mistakes (Eagle in Atlanta)
"Shinskie has great potential and is learning more everyday. But now that BC has something to play for, we need him to make better decisions, look for his check downs and get others involved. The INT in this play wasn't the end but it was an example of what Shinskie needs to work on. Now just keep your fingers crossed for progress in his progressions."

Notes from the Notre Dame game (Eagle All Access)
"Montel gained just 28 yards on 22 carries (1.1 average) on Saturday. He has averaged just 2.1 yards per rush in three road games this season compared to 6.2 yards per carry at home this year. Without looking to much into this discrepancy I would chalk up his lack of success to simply heavy game planning and preparation by ND. Harris was coming off a monster performance and the Irish did not want to let him run wild again. Harris did find the end zone once but was quiet for most of the day and his longest rush was only 14 yards."

Survivor: South Bend (Rakes Of Mallow)
"Parts of the team are progressing nicely (defensive line, in particular) but there are still a lot of issues to be worked out. Overall, though, I'll take 5-2 over 4-3, and while none of the November games are going to be easy, all of them are very much winnable. Let's see this team take care of business against Washington State, plug Michael Floyd back in against Navy or Pitt and close the season out strongly."

Clemson 40, Miami 37 (OT)

Impressions of 40-37 victory over Miami (Shakin The Southland)
"CJ Spiller spent too much time on the sideline in crucial situations, and sometimes the personnel used on a certain play doesnt fit the play called. Clemson has always had this issue. Reggie Merriweather was taken out against SC, Davis was taken out against Auburn on the goal line, etc. You dont run an I-formation isolation play with Ellington, he's not CJ yet, he hasnt learned to break tackles, just how to make people miss. Harper should be in for those tough yards if you want to spell CJ. Ellington on zone or shotgun runs. I know CJ played his ass off with 310 yards, but 14 carries is not enough."

Navy 13, Wake Forest 10

Postgame Haiku, Vol. 26 (The Birddog)
"As the saying goes / Defense wins championships… / And beats Wake Forest."

National College Football

This time, Sam Bradford is out for good (Dr. Saturday)
"As an amateur, Bradford's place in the pantheon is secure. He led the nation with absurd pass efficiency totals in consecutive seasons, and the up-tempo blitzkrieg he captained in '08 rewrote the book on relentless offensive assault from ground and air -- it may be decades before we see that team's five-game run with at least 60 points matched by anyone, much less its mark for points in a season."

Alabama 12, Tennessee 10

Initial Impressions from the Tennessee Game (Roll 'Bama Roll)
"That was the most emotionally draining game I've sat through since at least the 2005 Tennessee game. Even the Florida game last year in Atlanta paled in comparison. I tell you, I think I speak for the whole of the fan base when I say that had that game gone on any longer, half of us would have died from a collective heart attack, myself included."

Post-game awards: Tennessee at Alabama (Rocky Top Talk)
"Best drama. The series to conclude the game that began with Mark Ingram's fumble with 3:29 left as Alabama led 12-3 and was hoping to run out the clock, continued with Tennessee's two-minute offense getting the game's only touchdown to make it a two point game, and concluded with Tennessee's recovery of an onsides kick, it driving into field goal range, and Alabama's Terrence Cody blocking his second field goal of the game to win it for the Tide. Lane Kiffin said it would have been a "storybook ending." Which it was. For Alabama."

Texas 41, Missouri 7

Conservation of Energy (Burnt Orange Nation)
"I suspect last year's OSU game, which turned into a dogfight in the second half, and the later showing at Tech in the first half caused a rethinking of how to approach this year's three-game road run. Dallas is not really a road-match, but going on the road the next two weeks can create a certain weariness, a loss of energy and attention, which this Texas team just cannot afford."

How the Big 12 North Will Most Likely Play Out (Rock M Nation)
"If Gary Pinkel is correct, and Gabbert didn't get further injured yesterday, then he should be at least at 80% healthy by next weekend. That is the key. If Gabbert is able to do what he does--throw accurate mid-range passes, scramble out of a collapsing pocket to at least sometimes produce something positive--then no defense left on the schedule is even remotely scary. And if Missouri can combine that with solid defensive play (hopefully yesterday's miscommunication in the secondary is not a harbinger of future struggle), then they can rather easily run the table and finish 5-3."

West Virginia 28, Connecticut 24

Keep Giving Noel Devine The Damn Ball (The Smoking Musket)
"Noel Devine has grown to become the cornerstone of this football team. We need to continue to trust him with the outcome of our season, because nothing he has done so far has proven he won't deliver. Wherever we are going this season, Devine is taking us there."

This one hurts (
"We deserved to win this game. After everything that happened this week — not only just the death of a teammate, but also the media circus that engulfed Storrs, the events, the tributes and the emotional outpouring that followed — the Huskies deserved to finally beat West Virginia."

Pittsburgh 41, South Florida 14

Good, Better, Best (Eye of a Panther)
"Look what Pitt can accomplish if they play mistake-free football. Yes, Stull had an interception, but Pitt was comfortably ahead at that point. No fumbles either and only two penalties for 20 yards. And it wasn't just that they avoided mistakes - they moved the ball effectively all game, not punting even once. Here were Pitt's drives: TD, TD, TD, FG, TD, INT, FG, TD, and two turnover on downs as they were running out the clock. 7 of 8 of their drives were scoring drives. It would have been hard for ANYBODY to beat Pitt today. They were that good. How good? Well, I can't recall when Pitt played this well of an all-around game vs. a good opponent."

Pittsburgh Panthers 41 – USF Bulls 14 (The Bull Gator)
"I’m not entirely sure what else to think of this game other than wonder if this is the beginning of the end of the Bulls’ 2009 season. With two losses in the Big East, USF has a long hard climb. And now they may need more help than they can get. Pittsburgh is already 4-0 in the conference and Cincinnati and West Virginia are also undefeated in Big East play. 8-4 for the Bulls suddenly looks like a real possibility."

Ohio State 38, Minnesota 7

Gophers: Good for What Ails Ye (Eleven Warriors)
"Looks like everyone got what they wanted Saturday in OSU’s 38-7 walk over an inept Minnesota Saturday. The fans got to see Pryor take a step in the right direction with his second 200/100 game of his career. Ray Reitz and much of the half tuned-in national punditry were able to see him rushing the ball for apparently the first time in his career. Jim Tressel got his wish when a key special teams play to start the 2nd half turned out to be the springboard for the romp. Even the fringe element of the fanbase had to have been pleased when Joe Bauserman saw action late in the game."

Central Michigan 24, Bowling Green 10

Chips Win, a Look Back (FalconBlog)
"We should understand this. CMU knows how to win. They didn't look around and start to wonder when things were not going exactly as they had hoped. They just focused on making the plays they needed to grind out the win...which they did. A good example is the possessions that followed the BG fumble. BG had been moving the ball with considerable success prior to that, but the Chips have a killer instinct, and the next three drives for BG were 3 plays, 3 plays and 5 plays."

Iowa State 9, Nebraska 7

Husker Offense As Bad As Cosgrove's Defense? (Corn Nation)
"Since humanity (Husker fans included) is big on boiling things down to a single item that'll fit on a bumper sticker, I'm going to boil this down to Shawn Watson. If you can name one thing that Watson has not done is establish offensive consistency. Think about this for a minute - name one play that Nebraska runs well on offense, the one play that can keep the offense going when things are going against them - like maybe win a game for them when they've given up seven turnovers and are only down by two points and the game is on the line."

Oregon 43, Washington 19

Here comes USC and the national spotlight (George Schroeder)
"I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ducks beat USC. Or by anything else they might accomplish this year. Understand, it’s all out there now, and available, with a win over USC. The Pac-10 title. The Rose Bowl. Maybe even more."

Ducks dominate Huskies for the sixth year in a row (Addicted To Quack)
"Yet, It is so satifying to beat Washington by more than 20 for the 6th straight year. There's a lot of work left to do. These Ducks are very good, but they have a lot left to prove. The biggest game of the season awaits us next week. The Ducks are at home, and are sure to find an Autzen that is as crazy as its every been. This victory is great, but it just moves us one step closer to where we want to be."

Grading the Game (UW Dawg Pound)
"Fans need to put this game in perspective. This is a very good Oregon team that is very capable of beating USC next week in Autzen. They had a week off and the rest helped more than it hurt. Oregon came into this game a lot fresher than Washington. That freshness was one of the deciding factors in the game."

Oklahoma 35, Kansas 13

Oklahoma 35/Kansas 13 (Crimson And Cream Machine)
"Unfortunately for Oklahoma, today's win still has them on the outside looking in when it comes to the Big 12 Championship. The good news is that with fives games left in the season there is still time for something to happen. OU needs a lot of help still and playing the way they did today there isn't a game left that they can't win. Oklahoma State/Texas is a crucial game for us next week as one of them will be dropped from the ranks of the unbeaten in conference play and gives the Sooners the opportunity to at least move into a tie for second in the South."

Penn State 35, Michigan 10

Kneel Before Zug (Black Shoe Diaries)
"Your eyes weren't deceiving you -- Michigan's first offensive drive against Penn State looked a lot like their first quarter performance against the Lions last year in Happy Valley. Tate Forcier and Brandon Minor led a steady, precise 70 yard touchdown drive against little resistance from the Nittany Lions. There was good reason for concern, but the afternoon quickly turned into complete domination by Penn State. It was not just a solid road win against a pretty good team. The Lions came together and produced their best showing of the season, one week after their last-best performance of 2009."

Utah 23, Air Force 16 (OT)

Utes Escape Upset Aganist Air Force In Overtime (Mountain West Connection)
"We all knew it would be a tough one for the Utes; it was, as #18 Utah (6-1, 3-0) escaped an upset despite getting outplayed by the Falcons. The Utes defense didn't stop the run all game but came up big in OT in a 23-16 victory. Air Force (4-4, 3-2) controlled most of the game on both sides of the ball but lacked the big play to put them over the top."

Iowa 15, Michigan State 13

Never Any Doubt (Black Heart Gold Pants)
"It's not as if Iowa didn't earn it, of course; though they clearly didn't make the most of their red zone opportunities YET AGAIN--15 points in four chances is scarcely admirable, especially with three of the drives taking snaps inside the 3--they still got it done when it counted. It just happened to be at the expense of our well-being and heart health, neither of which we will recover until some time in March 2010."

LSU 31, Auburn 10

Now THAT Is What I'm Talking About (And The Valley Shook)
"This was a dominating win coming at the exact right time of the season. I'd rather LSU be playing its best football in late October and November than in early October and September. Alabama struggled mightily against Tennesee and looked vulnerable for the second straight week."

TCU 38, BYU 7

TCU Rocks BYU for Second Straight Year (Mountain West Connection)
"The story of the game was the supposedly poor TCU offense did whatever they wanted against the BYU defense which replicated their Florida State performance. Jeremy Kerley who hurt BYU last year with the 'wild frog' (by the way I hate the wild 'whatever' term) burned BYU again by being the all-purpose player. He ammassed 134 total yards, with the biggest being a 44 yard passing game, but every time Kerley touched the ball he was a threat to make a big play."

Texas-sized Beatdown (Vanquish The Foe)
"BYU teased the nation against Oklahoma. They played with a fire that's been missing since Florida State. You know what the difference is? Take a look at that magical night in Dallas, and compare it to tonight's game, and you'll see a team that no longer plays with aggression and passion but a team that expects to win solely on execution--execution which isn't happening."

Florida 29, Mississippi State 19

On To Jacksonville (Alligator Army)
"That's right, Florida's great backs touched the ball twice during UF's attempts to set offensive football back six decades. This combined with Tim Tebow being asked to throw a play action pass on his one-yard line in the final four minutes, is proof that the playcalling must end now. You can beat Mississippi State by using Tebow as a blunt object, but you will not beat Georgia."

USC 42, Oregon State 36

Man that was close...too close! (Conquest Chronicles)
"I am not sure I can say that SC was out of gas because of the ND win last week. We know OSU is good, they have shown us some grit in the past. SC was out played in some areas tonight and it should be cause for concern...especially with Oregon up next week."

Trojans Overcome Resilient Beavers (Building The Dam)
"It's hard to say what the final result would have been if Oregon State's four field goal opportunities were changed to touchdowns and the Beavers led 28-21 at half. But one thing is for certain: Oregon State gave the Trojans a run for their money, and proved that Mike Riley has established a program in Corvallis that is worthy of respect."

Boise State 54, Hawaii 9

Boise State blows out Hawaii, 54-9 (One Bronco Nation Under God)
"Even more importantly, Boise State pulled the trick on the same day that TCU put on a clinic at 16th-ranked BYU. Voters will undoubtedly see TCU's win as better than Boise State's, but at least the Broncos don't have to make excuses for eking out a victory over Hawaii. Boise State is doing its best. There's nothing to complain about with their performance in Hawaii."

Things Only I Care About

Power Rankings, Or, The Opposite Of (The Lost Ogle)
"What was supposed to be possibly the biggest year in Oklahoma sports history, hasn’t quite panned out. People were salivating over the chance of an undefeated OU and OSU playing each other in late November. People were dreaming of Sam Bradford and Dez Bryant battling for the golden statue. People had hopes on top of hopes on top of dreams for their teams and their players. It was supposed to be The Year of Sport in Oklahoma."

Edmond: Week 8 Recap… (Bob Przybylo)
"Knew it would be a battle with Chase Rodgers and Chickasha and sure enough, it was. Huge 26-16 road win to put the Antlers in a good spot for the third or fourth playoff spot. Grant Gower said Tyler Price has stepped up in a big way with Colten Sander out the last couple of games. And Gower gave a lot of credit to the defensive game plan DC had for Rodgers. Another winnable, yet tough game on the docket as Altus comes to Deer Creek for senior night. Don’t have to tell you how crucial a win here is. Difference between 4-2 and 3-3 when the final game is at Lawton MacArthur is quite significant."

Where the Sox Things Are: Offseason Priorities (Over the Monster)
"5) Do something big. This isn't strictly necessary from a strategicy standpoint, but it's much more fun to write about signing Matt Holliday or a trade for Adrian Gonzalez, than about more low-risk, moderate reward signings. In addition, if you get a great player, the likelihood of him imploding on you is reduced than if you get someone coming off a down year / injury-plagued season."

Sabres Start Strong, Have 75 Games Left (Die By The Blade)
"It's still too early to start thinking about the playoffs in October but this team is built better to play well for the long haul. When this team was a playoff team they relied heavily on their third and fourth lines to contribute and that was something they didn't do the past two seasons. If players like MIke Grier and Jochen Hecht continue to play well, this team could go a long way."

Reinventing the hitting game (The Copper & Blue)
"There is no foolproof measure of easy-to-play-against-ness. Perhaps the best of an imperfect lot is the much-maligned Real Time Scoring System (RTSS) stat known as "hits". To me this is one of those double-edged categories like penalty minutes, where you don't really want your team to have the most in the league nor the fewest. Too few hits might be a sign of a soft team; too many a result of not having the puck often enough."