College Ball Week 6 Wrap-up & Pro Ball Week 5 Primer
This week's games were, as a whole, much closer than last week's. That does not mean there were not exceptions to the rule, but it was, for the most part, a very entertaining day. The top 5 games...
Texas Tech edged Nebraska in one of the day's nailbiters, 34-31. The loss was cross-conference, so Nebraksa still controls its own destiny in the Big 12 North, but the loss pretty much does in any thoughts they may have had about a National Title, and it shows that Nebraska is still a ways away from returning to its previous glory. For Texas Tech, the dreams are still alive, both of a Big 12 South and a National Title.
The Red River Shootout was a Red River Blowout, only this time it was Texas that did the trouncing, 45-12 over an Oklahoma team that looks just plain bad at this point. Oklahoma's season was already in trouble, although they could have salvaged it with an upset here. By getting blown out, Oklahoma's season is now pretty much completely destroyed. It's not even necessarily automatic that they get into a bowl, at this point.
UCLA eeked out a win, 47-40 over Cal, in a game that was even closer than the scoreboard indicated (UCLA scored a TD as time ran off the clock to turn a 1 point victory into a 7 pointer). The loss does not kill California's season; they still have a game with Southern Cal coming up and with one loss aren't necessarily out of the National Title hunt (especially if they could beat USC). As for UCLA, this win is a major feather in their cap, but they also have a game with USC on the schedule that will ultimately mean much more than this game. If today's game was any indication, the Trojans might have a couple of battles on thier hands, even if they don't take the first half off.
The Nittany Lions of Penn State got their biggest win in years, knocking off Rose Bowl hopeful The Ohio State University. For Ohio State, the National Title dreams are dead as disco with their second loss (the first coming against Texas in week 2). A Big Ten Championship is not out of the question, although now they need two teams to knock off the suddenly mighty Lions. Joe Paterno has now been completely redeemed, and this Penn State team could easily finish the season undefeated. Well, maybe not "easily", but they suddenly look like the best team in their conference.
Finally, Georgia dominated Tennessee, 27-14, in General Neyland Stadium. Tennessee's season is now shot, having lost to both of its big time SEC East rivals, and the Georgia loss coming at home. They still have a couple opportunities to play spoiler, but any thoughts of an SEC, let alone National, Title are now just that, thoughts. As for Georgia, tey have jumped into the driver's seat of the SEC East, although they still have to win at The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party if they want to play in the SEC Championship Game (and, of course, in the Rose Bowl).
Undefeateds not mentioned: Alabama had the week off; Florida State trounced Wake Forest; Southern California let Arizona hang around for a half, but then beat them down; Virginia Tech annihilated Marshall; and Wisconsin got upset by Northwestern in a game featuring no defense whatsoever(51-48 was the final).
So, the remaining undefeateds are (with their next week's opponents in parantheses):
Alabama (@ Mississippi)
UCLA (@ Washington State)
Florida State (@ Virginia)
Georgia (@ Vanderbilt)
Penn State (@ Michigan)
USC (@ Notre Dame)
Texas (vs. Colorado)
Texas Tech (vs. Kansas State)
Virginia Tech (Idle)
Yup...just 9 undefeateds remaining. Things are starting to get interesting in the land of College Ball...
As for Pro Ball...
Week 5 kicks off tomorrow. High entertainment valuse in sveral games. Here are the 5 best...
5. Eagles @ Cowboys - the Dallas Cowboys have had a bit of hard luck, losing to the Redskins by a single point after a ferocious comeback by said 'Skins, and then losing to Oakland last week after being in position to score what would have been the go ahead touchdown with under two minutes remaining. This week they host the Philadelphia Eagles, in a game that will either vault them back into competition for the division championship, or knock them out of it, at least for a while. Dallas already has one division loss at home, they can ill-afford two. As for Philly, they need to keep on rolling. Both the Redskins and Giants have been doing a lot of winning recently, but Philly could be in position to leap over them both if they win and the Redskins lose (more on htem later).
4. Bengals @ Jaguars - the Bengals of Cincinnati have almost everyone believing after a 4-0 start, but the competition they have faced thusfar is less than stellar. If they want to be an elite team, then they need to go on the road and beat a good, but struggling team (Jacksonville). This is potentially an opportunity to go up by two losses over the Steelers, who have a whale of a match-up this week that is going to be described later. For the Jaguars, this is a team that has been struggling of late, especially on offense. After being humilitaed by Denver on their own field last week, they can ill-afford another home conference loss. If Jacksonville does not win this game, I don't see them making the playoffs this year.
3. Redskins @ Broncos - the Redskins have shocked everyone with their 3-0 start, but the haters are quick to point to the fact that none of those three teams boasts a winning record (although that is due in a large part to the fact that the Redskins have beaten those teams). Also, wins of 2, 1, and 3 points are hardly convincing in and of themselves. This could be a big time statement game for the Redskins. For the Broncos, this is a game they are expected to win, especially if they want to take the next step. San Diego just trounced New England at Foxboro - Denver doesn't want to follow that by losing at home to a team that went 6-10 last year. However, this is cross-conference, so a loss would not cripple either team.
2. Patriots @ Falcons - once again New England finds themselves with their backs to the wall. The Falcons were close to heading to the Super Bowl to face the Patriots last year, this year they have already beaten the team that went instead (Philadelphia), and now they get a chance to knock off the team that won, as well. The Pats are banged up almost beyond recognition, and reeling off of an ugly loss. This is always the time in the past few years where Bellichek & Co have stepped up and reaffirmed their spot atop the heap. If they lose here though, it could mark the end of an era.
1. Steelers @ Chargers - San Diego pounded New England on the road last week, now they return home, but the opponent hasn't gotten much easier. The Pittsburgh Steelers had last week off to try and figure out what went wrong at the end of that Patriots game a couple weeks ago. For both teams, the potential stakes are high - each is looking to get as many conference wins as possible, as well as grab the head-to-head tiebraker that might come in especially handy. This is on Monday Night.
In other action, the Packers will be looking for their first win against the Saints; ditto for the Texans, who host the Titans; the Ravens and the Lions will be displaying some truly awful offense in Detroit; the Colts will see if they can't score 100 points on the pathetic 49ers; the Bears and the Browns will challenge the Ravens and Lions for fewest points in a game; the Panthers fly out to Arizona to meet the Cardinals in a battle of teams tat have dissapointed thusfar; the Dolphins are gonna go on the road and try and grab a firm hold on the AFC East lead they currently enjoy by half a game; the Seahawks and the Rams do battle in St. Louis for the early lead in the NFC West; and the Buccaneers go to New York to face Vinny Testaverde in is comeback to lead the Jets.
Ok, recap soon. P&L...