So, Alabama is human after all. Despite being virtually handed the crystal football trophy by some experts, the Crimson Tide proved its mortality on Saturday, losing to South Carolina 35-21 in Columbia.
Many times in an upset, there are fluke plays that allow the underdog team to pull out a victory. That was not the case in this game. South Carolina dominated the line of scrimmage in this game, outrushing Alabama 110-36 and sacking Tide quarterback Greg McElroy repeatedly.
Steve Spurrier got by far his biggest win as coach at South Carolina, and he now hopes that his Gamecocks can build on this win and compete for the SEC East title.
Meanwhile, Alabama coach Nick Saban must get his troops focused on cleaning up the mistakes that cost them this game. Alabama faces a tough schedule down the stretch, with games at LSU and against Auburn. Those two teams, along with Alabama and Arkansas, are all in the SEC West race.
Michigan State – The Spartans went into the Big House on Saturday with their head coach in the press box, still recovering from a heart attack and a blot clot. Despite being on the road and facing adversity, the Spartans beat Michigan 34-17 to move to 6-0 on the season. Michigan State beat Michigan for the third straight time, the first time that has happened since the 60’s.
LSU – Les Miles has been called “The Hat” because of the way he wears his cap. But while many people are poking fun at Miles by calling him that, his hat just might be magic. Miles and his Tigers pulled out another huge victory on Saturday, beating Florida 33-29 in the Swamp. Included in the game-winning drive was a fake field goal, with the kicker running for the first down (after picking the ball up off the turf).
Florida State – The Seminoles were impressive again on Saturday, crushing Miami 45-17 on the road. Quarterback Christian Ponder continues to lead the offense, which appears to be getting better each week. Running backs Jermaine Thomas and Chris Thompson provide a tough duo for opponents to stop. The Seminoles are in the driver’s seat in the ACC Atlantic Division at this point in the season.
Purdue – The Boilermakers were on the verge of seeing the 2010 season go down the tubes after losing to Toledo two weeks ago. But Coach Danny Hope used last week’s open date to rally his troops, and whatever he did, it worked. Purdue went on the road and beat No. 25 Northwestern 20-17 in Evanston. Quarterback Rob Henry rushed for 132 yards for Purdue, which handed Northwestern its first loss of the season.
Syracuse – Guess who’s 4-1? Has anyone noticed the Orange? Granted, the schedule hasn’t been great so far. Syracuse has beaten Akron, Maine and Colgate. But Saturday’s Big East win at South Florida was impressive. We’ll find out if the Orange are for real over the next two games, when they host Pittsburgh then visit West Virginia.
Arizona – The Wildcats were unbeaten, ranked in the nation’s Top Ten, and facing an unranked conference opponent at home. That doesn’t sound like a disaster scenario, but it was. Arizona trailed for nearly the entire game and lost, 29-27 to Oregon State in Tucson. Arizona now falls off the pace in the Pac-10 race, and faces a daunting schedule that includes trips to Stanford and Oregon.
Florida – Say what you will about Tim Tebow, but the guy was a winner. And that’s not a knock on John Brantley or any of the current Gators. But over the last four years, if the game was close at the end, you just knew Tebow and the Gators would pull it out. But in 2010, the Gators just don’t have the same finishing ability. Florida has now lost two in a row and finds itself looking up at South Carolina in the SEC East.
Penn State – It’s not just the fact that the Nittany Lions lost to Illinois on Saturday. They lost badly, falling 33-13 in Happy Valley. That’s two consecutive Big Ten losses of at least 20 points for Joe Pa’s team. At 3-3 this year, Penn State will need to rally to have a winning season. Penn State still has games against Michigan, at Ohio State and against Michigan State.
UCLA – This team went to Austin and thumped Texas? The same team that lost 35-7 at Cal on Saturday? I’m certainly confused by this team, and I would guess that Rick Neuheisel is as well. The good news for the Bruins is that they have this weekend off to regroup. The bad news is, when they play again, they visit Oregon in Eugene.
USC – Speaking of Los Angeles teams, Lane Kiffin’s bunch lost again on Saturday, falling 37-35 at Stanford. No shame in losing to a ranked team on the road. But if you look at the Trojans’ schedule, those first four wins are certainly suspect. Beating Hawaii, Virginia, Minnesota and Washington State, teams that have combined beaten only four FBS teams, is not all that impressive. USC still must face Oregon, Arizona, Oregon State and Notre Dame, so they probably aren’t done losing this season.
Statistical Studs – Week 6
Cam Newton, Auburn – Newton had a huge game on Saturday night against Kentucky, rushing 28 times for 198 yards and four touchdowns, while hitting on 13-of-21 passing for 210 yards, as the Tigers held off the Wildcats 37-34.
Randall Cobb, Kentucky – Playing against Newton, Cobb was all over the field, as he usually is. Cobb rushed 11 times for 47 yards and two touchdowns, caught seven passes for 68 yards and a touchdown, and connected on his only pass for six yards and another TD. For good measure, Cobb returned three kickoffs for 86 yards. He was also the holder on field goals and extra points. And he sold popcorn while the Wildcats played defense (kidding, of course).
Ryan Katz, Oregon State – The Beavers’ signal caller had a huge game as Oregon State won at Arizona. Katz hit on 30-of-42 passes for 393 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for seven yards and another TD.
Anthony Allen, Georgia Tech – Allen rushed 25 times for 195 yards and three touchdowns as the Yellow Jackets downed Virginia, 33-21 in Atlanta.
Robert Woods, USC – In a losing effort, the freshman had a huge game for the Trojans. Woods caught a career-high 12 passes for a career-high 224 yards and a career-high three touchdowns in the game. The 224 yards surpassed his career total coming into the game.
Games I’ll Be Watching in Week 7
No. 1 Ohio State at No. 18 Wisconsin
No. 12 Arkansas at No. 7 Auburn
Texas at No. 5 Nebraska
No. 20 Oklahoma State at Texas Tech
No. 24 Oregon State at Washington