WOW, What a day!
Friday sucked...I got all sorts of text messages, e-mails and voice mail messages poking and prodding me about our loss to Oregon St. on Thursday, couple that with a bunch of work issues and a few other things - well, it was a bad day!
So I figured I could really watch some games yesterday without having to worry about USC playing and going through all the nervousness that I always feel on game day...well what a day it was.
After all I saw yesterday I know one thing for sure... for at least the first half of their game against UGA Alabama looked liked THE best team in the nation. UGA never knew what hit them. Alabama came back to earth in the 2nd half much to the chagrin of Nick Saban but they looked aboslutely solid in the first half. UGA made some adjustments in the 2nd half and a great punt return for a TD made the game interesting but it wasn't enough. Once Alabama went up 4 TD's it was going to be tough for UGA to come back no matter how "bad" Alabama played. Regardless, it was an absolutely monster game!
Wisconsin goes down to Michigan in the Big House...I didn't see any of the game eccetp for their faile 2-point coversion at the end so I can't really comment on it.
Illinois made it interesting on their first two drives but PSU was just too much in Happy Valley. The Illini got as close as being 7 behind mid-way through the 2nd half but a 94-tard kick-off return for a TD proved to be a back breaker. Illinois hung in there but it wasn't enough. PSU can be beat, they didn't really dominate and they let Illinois hang around a little too much, they never really put them away. PSU has yet to go on the road and face a quality team so while they have looked good so far I am not yet sold on their dominance. Their game against Ohio State will be the most telling. They will move up in the polls this week but over all body of work is is a bit thin.
A brief thought on Ohio State...the are rejuvenated with Pryor at the helm. Beanie's return gave them a bit of a spark as they beat previously unbeaten Minnesota. I would not write them off just yet, they will be in the mix at the end of the season. Its going to be a fun game next year in Columbus...
The big news of course is that Florida lost at home to an Ole Miss team that is improved but still not in the upper echelon of the SEC. Jevon Snead really kept his cool and found a way to beat the Gators. Percy Harvin had an absolutely monster day but it wasn't enough. The difference? A blocked PAT, Florida got the the ball back but was then stuffed on a 4th and one. Tebow didn't look as sharp as he has in the past and they had a real tough time on 3rd down conversions. As I said in my fan post yesterday considering how bad Ole Miss was last year and that they beat Florida in the Swamp this loss by the Gators makes it a bigger upset than USC's loss to Oregon St.
Here's why. (emphasis mine)
What probably will happen is that USC will be punished more severely for losing to a team in what is perceived as a relatively weak Pac-10. Florida, by virtue of its membership in the SEC, won't take as much of a hit because, as we sportswriter-types always tell you, anybody can beat anybody in the SEC.
While the SEC is the better conference top-to-bottom, it isn't so much better that it deserves a double standard. USC lost on the road to a program that has won three bowl games in the past four seasons. Florida lost at home to a program that hasn't played in a bowl game since Eli Manning's senior season in 2003. Had Florida lost to LSU or Georgia, that defeat probably wouldn't have killed the Gators' national-title hopes provided they could win out. The Ole Miss loss should. National champs should not lose at home to three-touchdown underdogs.
Of course, last year's national champ lost a pair of regular-season games, so none of this may matter by November. But I get the sneaking suspicion that pollsters will end up deciding who plays in the national title game by quality of losses, not quality of wins. Instead of style points, teams will be judged on who beat them. If the SEC champ has a loss to Georgia, LSU, Auburn, Alabama or Florida, bienvenido a Miami. If the Big 12 champ has a loss to Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri or Texas Tech, come on down. So where does that leave USC? We'll have to wait and see how Oregon State performs the rest of the season before passing judgment.
Of course you won't hear the gnashing of teeth over this Florida loss by any of the T.V. pundits but trust me its significant. Listening to Herbstreit bash USC and then talk about how Florida will be in the tiltle game only show that he knows as much as the rest of us do...the only difference is that he gets paid to talk about ti and looks like a fool when he does it. And don't get me started about granny Holtz his thoughts get dicounted 80% befoore he even opens his mouth.I don't even listen to him anymore.
Florida's loss certainly doesn't let USC off the hook for getting manhandled in the trenches on Thursday but there needs to be some consistency. In fact, unless I see the same team that watched on Sept. 13th and a major beat down against the Ducks next Saturday I will not be convinced that SC will even win the Pac-10. Oregon State starts slow every year. We saw it against Penn State and Stanford this year, they were slow out of blocks against Cincinnati last year and Boise State in 2006, yet Oregon State always finishes the season with 9-10 wins. Then there is their bowl record. They may not be BCS bowl games but they win and that counts for something...Oregon State is not an average team.
If we're going to talk about strength of schedule you need to look at it carefully. Another thing to look at is that Oregon State's loss to PSU was on the road...grasping at straws on my part? Probably, but there is still a lot of football to play and we have hardly scratched the surface of the season. SC needs to take of their own business if they are going to get back into the title chase but yesterday's upsets only prove that you never really know how things are going to shake out until they actually do.