College Football – 9 AP Top 25 Teams Lose, 6 to Unranked Teams, USC, Georgia & Florida All Lose

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College football’s 5th week revealed the nation’s 6 luckiest teams-Missouri, Texas Tech, Brigham Young (BYU), Kansas, Boise State and Vanderbilt. They were the 6 teams among the AP Top 25 Poll who had a bye week, saving them from a possible upset loss.

The other 19 Top 25 teams did not fare so well in Week 5 as only 10 of the 19 won (a scant 53%) while 9 more-including 3 of the top 4 teams-lost.

Among the 9 ranked teams that lost, 6 committed the unforgivable sin of losing to unranked teams, an absolute no-no if you want to be in the hunt for the national title. You can pretty well say goodbye to the national title hopes of Southern California, Wisconsin, Wake Forest, Clemson, Illinois and Texas Christian (TCU).

The biggest loser was No. 1-ranked University of Southern California (USC, the University of Shoulda Coulda), which traveled to the Corvallis (OR) den of the Oregon State Beavers. The Beavers, an unranked team at 1-2 who had already lost away games at Stanford and Penn State, decided to take out their nastiness on the Trojans, dominating USC 21-0 in the first half and hanging on for a 27-21 victory.

USC should have known better, since the Trojans were upset by the Beavers 33-31 during their last trip to Corvallis two years ago. That loss ended Southern Cal’s 38-game regular-season winning streak.

No. 4-ranked Florida hosted unranked Mississippi and promptly lost 31-30 with lousy defense and its star quarterback Tim Tebow, last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, having a horrific day. Tebow was sacked 3 times by holding the ball too long, overthrew 4 receivers deep, lost a fumble that turned into an Ole Miss touchdown, and failed to convert on a run attempt with a critical 4th down and 2 feet to go at the Ole Miss 32-yard-line with 40 seconds left.

Florida won the first half 17-7 but lost the second half 24-13. It is a loss that coach Urban Meyer and his players will not soon forget, nor should they.

No. 9 Wisconsin led by 19 and was all over unranked Michigan but let the Wolverines back into the game by giving up 20 points in the 4th quarter, allowing Michigan to enjoy its biggest home comeback in history and give new coach Rich “I’m Not Hitched to West Virginia” Rodriguez his first win at Michigan, 27-25.

No. 16 Wake Forest spotted unranked Navy 17 points on its home field and never came back while losing 24-17.

No. 20 Clemson led unranked Maryland 17-6 at the half but could not score in the second half while losing at home, 20-17. Here is a news flash: Apparently Maryland is a whole lot better than Clemson this year.

No. 23 East Carolina hosted unranked Houston and bit the dust, 41-24. East Carolina’s early season wins over Virginia Tech and West Virginia are looking less impressive every week.

The other 3 ranked teams that lost at least lost to ranked opponents. No. 3 Georgia hosted No. 8 Alabama and was dominated by the Crimson Tide 41-30 in a game that was not nearly as close as its score. No. 22 Illinois traveled to No. 12 Penn State and made the Nittany Lions look good in Happy Valley as the Illini went down, 38-24. No. 24 Texas Christian (TCU) traveled to No. 2 Oklahoma and found out why you do not want to play the Sooners at home, losing 35-10.

The Georgia Bulldogs simply got beat up, and at home no less. Georgia was ranked No. 1 in the pre-season AP Top 25 Poll and will now take a nosedive in the rankings. Illinois, Clemson and East Carolina should all be kicked out of the Top 25 this week.

Seven other ranked teams won, some impressively, some not. They included:

No. 5 LSU at home 34-24 over 1-4 Mississippi State (not impressive), No. 7 Texas at home 52-10 over Arkansas (impressive), No. 13 South Florida on the road 41-10 over North Carolina State (impressive), No. 14 Ohio State at home 34-21 over Minnesota (the Gophers came in unbeaten), No. 15 Auburn at home 14-12 over Tennessee (seriously, not impressive), No. 17 Utah at home 37-21 over 1-AA Weber State (beating a 1-AA team is not impressive), and No. 25 Fresno State on the road 36-31 over UCLA (hardly impressive, given the current state of UCLA football).

Other game results that struck a chord with me were:

Seeing the recent great Hawaii Warrior tradition of winning games now hitting hard times. Hawaii dusted off 1-AA Weber but has lost to Florida, Oregon State and San Jose State to open the season. June Jones, who built a 75-41 record in 9 seasons at Hawaii, bolted the program to take over the head coaching job at Southern Methodist University this year.

Michigan State is now 4-1 after beating Indiana 42-29 on the road, but can the Spartans continue to win against Iowa and Northwestern and host Ohio State with a 6-1 start? Has coach Mark Dantonio been able to build a different mindset at Michigan State, or will the Spartans fold once again when playing better competition?

Question: When is the last time the Tennessee Volunteers started a season at 1-3? Answer: 14 years ago.

How bad could North Texas be? Rice is seldom if ever good, and the Owls whipped in-state rival North Texas 77-20. That was also the score at the end of the 3rd quarter. North Texas must be really bad. North Texas has played the 5th toughest schedule in the country so far, but Jeff Sagarin also has them rated at 152 among 119 1-A teams.

Washington’s top two institutions-Washington and Washington State-are both terrible this year. Washington has lost its first 4 games, and the Huskies ‘ star quarterback Jake Locker broke the thumb on his throwing hand while losing Saturday to Stanford, 35-28. Things are not good in Husky land. Fourth-year coach Ty Willingham may be moving soon.

Things are even worse at Washington State. The Cougars are 0-5, having lost 39-13, 66-3, 45-17, 48-9 and 63-14. First year coach Paul Wulff will get a temporary pass but it is possible that when Washington State hosts in-state rival Washington on Nov. 22, the Cougars could be 0-11 and the Huskies 0-10.

Texas-El Paso (UTEP) coach Mike Price finally got his first win this season by hosting and beating the University of Central Florida, 58-13. Both teams are now 1-3.

The beauty of college football is the unexpected, the excitement of thousands of fans pouring onto the field after their Oregon State Beavers upset No. 1-ranked Southern Cal, the inexorable attrition of unbeaten teams clashing during conference play, and the unknown players who announce themselves as tomorrow’s stars in today’s games.

Welcome to college football’s 6th week, when Wisconsin hosts Ohio State, South Florida hosts Pittsburgh, Auburn travels to Vanderbilt, Utah hosts Oregon State, Michigan State hosts Iowa, Southern Cal hosts Oregon, and Missouri travels to Nebraska.

Copyright © 2008 Ed Bagley

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