Mad Hatter Defeats Prince of Darkness

 

Beauty Contest Standings (Week 10, 2011)

The Mad Hatter defeated the Prince of Darkness.

And we waited all year for this? A 9-6 game decided in overtime? Sunday, everybody seemed to feel cheated. Personally, I thought the game was fairly exciting, sort of like watching two pitchers taking one-hitters into extra innings. The game could be over at any time with one good play. The one good play never took place, at least on offense. On defense, it was a banquet of great plays.

Does Les Miles win every close game, or does it just seem that way?

The other thing that everybody wanted to talk about Sunday was Texas’ destruction of Texas Tech. I’ll bet that 20 people asked me–sincerely–how in the world Texas could lose in landslide fashion to OU, Tech could beat OU, and then Texas could pulverize Tech two weeks later. I gave each the same answer: There is no transitive property in football. Every game is its ownself. It happened the same way it does every year. Everywhere.

How does Iowa lose to a Minnesota team that lost to Michigan 58-0 and then beat Michigan Saturday 24-16?

How does Nebraska beat Michigan State one weekend 24-3 and then drop a 28-25 game to 3-5 Northwestern the next?

It’s football. And it’s not just because the game is played, excepting Okie Lite quarterbacks and everybody at BYU, by 18-23-year-old kids. It happens on Sundays, too. No other game depends on being “fired up” to the extent that football does.

So how is the Top 10 looking?

1. LSU has the best resume in the country, which now includes a win over Alabama on the road. Say what you will about the Tigers’ offense and so-called quarterbacks. That defense is nothing short of spectacular and saved the game again and again, and then won it in overtime. LSU also has the best punter in college football, and he was the difference Saturday night in Tuscaloosa.

2. Oklahoma State needed to stop Kansas State three times inside the 10 in order to preserve a 52-45 victory. They did it. It seemed like the only time they got a stop all night long, but they got it when they needed it.

3. Stanford defeated hapless 2-7 Oregon State 38-13. There’s a reason that the computers hate Stanford, and it’s all about the so-called football teams they’ve played. The only non-awful squad the Tree has faced is USC, and that was a barn burner decided in triple overtime. Next up, Nike. Saturday. Anybody want to bet this one is decided by a 9-6 score? I didn’t think so.

4. Alabama. Anybody want to see a Tide/Tigers rematch? Me neither.

5. Boise State awakened in the second half and defeated 2-5 UNLV 48-21. What I cannot figure out is why the computers like these guys. I suppose they are getting credit for beating Georgia, now a 7-2 team after blowing out 3-6 New Mexico State. But the real deal is that Georgia has not and will not play any of the good SEC teams this year, avoiding ‘Bama, LSU and Arkansas. Sure Georgia may win the East, but this year that’s like winning the Big 12 North in 2005. It doesn’t take much.

6. Oklahoma must have felt it had the game in the bag at halftime against the Aggies. After all, they didn’t even trail. Sure enough, OU scored the first 28 points of the second half, and the Aggies are 5-4 in their farewell trip through the Big 12.

7. Oregon can make the Sooners happy and make the Tide Roll with a win over Stanford this weekend. Nike beat Washington 34-17 in a warm-up game.

8. Houston swamped UAB on the road to go 9-0. In the 56-13 win, Case Keenum completed his sweep of the major NCAA career records, breaking the passing yardage mark and currently sits at 17,212 yards. Houston defeated UCLA earlier this year, and is playing much better now. UCLA is tied for the lead in the PAC-12 South division, which is, admittedly, as bad as the SEC East. Can Houston go undefeated and still have to play in the Liberty Bowl? I’m told that it’s true, and that’s a shame.

9. Clemson sat out this week. That’s OK. They’ve had a rough schedule.

10. Texas stomped Texas Tech into the ground 52-20. Go ahead, call me biased toward the Longhorns. Guilty as charged. But Texas has cranked out 880 yards on the ground in the last two games. This is a young team, and it appears to be getting better every weekend. Granted, Texas next three opponents field something resembling a defense, at least in the first half in one case, but so does Texas. This is looking more and more each week like the sort of Texas team that spoiled us for 12 years before the disaster that was last season.

Close?

I’d say that Penn State had a week off, but that wouldn’t be entirely accurate. A friend sent me a copy of the grand jury indictment. I made it through 4 of 20 pages before deciding I didn’t want to know any more. This is the worst thing I’ve ever seen that didn’t involve mass murder. Penn State currently leads its division in the Big 10. Before the scandal, I thought PSU could lose their last 3 games. Now I expect it.

Michigan State had to rally for a 31-24 win over Minnesota. How did Minnesota become suddenly respectable?

Others?

Florida broke a 4-game losing streak with a 26-21 win over Vanderbilt.

Ole Miss fired our friend Houston Nutt shortly after losing 30-13 to–get ready for this–Kentucky. Nutt went 18-8 his first two seasons, had a losing record last year, and is currently 2-7 this season. Ole Miss deserves better.

Baylor beat Missouri 42-39 in Waco. The Bears racked up 697 yards of total offense while allowing “only” 578. Did I write something earlier about Texas’ upcoming opponents having something resembling a defense? Never mind.

In A&M’s four losses, they’ve now been outscored 59-0 in the third quarter. Spot a trend here?

So what is the SEC gaining by adding the big markets in Texas and Missouri? Not much in terms of televisions, apparently. The nationally televised Dropout Bowl, a close game featuring A&M and Missouri, did a 0.5 rating nationally. Comparison? The Alabama/LSU game did a 13.9. That’s the difference between about 800,000 individual viewers and about 22 million. If I worked for CBS, I suppose I might bring that up when the SEC seeks to renegotiate their contract.

Back to the Beauty Contest, it now appears that Okie Lite will win the right to play LSU for all the marbles if the Cowboys can beat OU on December 3. If they can’t, it can be Stanford, if they can get past Oregon and Notre Dame. Neither is a sure thing. In fact both are far from it. It is also uncertain that LSU will beat Arkansas in a couple of weeks, but the smart money is betting that way. What if OSU and Stanford both lose, and LSU wins out? Ugh. We could be watching Boise State in a rematch of Bambi Vs. Godzilla.

Or we could be watching a rematch of LSU vs. Alabama. Ugh.

It could be worse. We could be Penn State alumni. Thanksgiving is less than three weeks away. Remember that.

 

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