One of the major arguments in college football this season is whether a non-automatic qualifying conference team (primarily TCU and/or Boise State) deserve to be in the national championship race against the “big boys” from the BCS conferences. The big discussion has been, does an unbeaten TCU or Boise State go to the BCS Championship ahead of a one-loss SEC or Big Ten team?
With that as the background, TCU made a huge statement on Saturday. The Horned Frogs went on the road, facing unbeaten Utah in Salt Lake City, and crushed the hometown Utes, 47-7. As usual, TCU did it with defense, holding Utah to 199 total yards, and only 51 yards rushing.
I’ll admit, I’m a big school, BCS conference guy. I think the SEC is much better than any other conference (maybe not quite as much this year, but they are still better). However, I think that this could be the year that one of the non-AQ schools gets a shot at the BCS Championship. And after Saturday, that team is likely to be TCU.
If either Oregon or Auburn fall, it’s going to be tough to keep TCU out of the national championship game. But there’s a lot of football left, so let’s let the season play out.
LSU – At some point, doesn’t Les Miles deserve credit? Sure, he seems to be making wreckless decisions in crucial situations. But the guy almost always pulls them off. And on Saturday, with virtually no one giving his team a chance, the Tigers beat Alabama 24-21. And now, guess who’s the highest-ranked one-loss team in the BCS Standings.
Stanford – The Cardinal stepped up big on Saturday, crushing Arizona 42-17 in Palo Alto. Quarterback Andrew Luck was strong again, and Stanford remains the best team in the Pac-10 not named Oregon.
Oklahoma State – Who’s at the top of the Big 12 South standings? Texas? Nope. Oklahoma? Nope. How about Mike Gundy’s Cowboys, who are now 4-1 in Big 12 play after Saturday’s beatdown of Baylor. Two tough games remain for the Cowboys, including visiting a reeling Texas team this weekend.
North Carolina – The Tar Heels season has been derailed by NCAA investigations and suspensions, but UNC got its sixth win of the season on Saturday, upsetting No. 24 Florida State in Tallahassee. Butch Davis’ squad is now bowl-eligible, and has three games remaining with a chance to make some noise.
Central Florida – The Knights did just enough on Saturday to win at Houston, 40-33. Central Florida is now 7-2 on the season and leads Conference USA’s East Division with a 5-0 conference record. And, for good measure, the Knights are nationally-ranked this week.
Texas – It’s understandable for the Longhorns to be a little down this season, after losing Colt McCoy, Jordan Shipley and all of the outstanding players from last season. But Texas should NEVER go to Kansas State and get blown away like the Longhorns did on Saturday. Texas is now 4-5 on the season and will need to upset Oklahoma State or Texas A&M to become (gulp) bowl-eligible.
Oklahoma – The Sooners are not nearly in as bad of a shape as their rival Longhorns, but Saturday’s loss to Texas A&M was unexpected, and likely took away any chance that Oklahoma had of playing in the BCS National Championship Game. The Sooners control their own destiny in the Big 12 South, and they’ll need to bounce back to make the Big 12 Championship Game.
Missouri – Sticking with the Big 12 theme, the Tigers fell out of a tie for first in the Big 12 North after Saturday’s loss at Texas Tech. The disappointing part of this for Mizzou is that the Tigers built a 17-3 lead before being shut out in the second half.
N.C. State – This team has the Houdini-like quality to show up and disappear, it just seems to happen at the wrong times. The offense, led by quarterback Russell Wilson, should never be held in check as they were in the 14-13 loss at Clemson. The Wolfpack remain in the ACC Atlantic Division race, and they hold the tiebreaker over Florida State. But another loss could be costly.
Hawaii – The Warriors entered Saturday’s game at Boise State with hopes of an upset. A potent offense, led by quarterback Bryant Moniz and receiver Kealoha Pilares, figured to give Boise State problems. Or, maybe not. The Broncos held Hawaii to 196 total yards, including just 151 through the air in a 42-7 thumping in Boise. Consolation prize for the Warriors, they got to return to Hawaii after the game.
Statistical Studs – Week 10
Kellen Moore, Boise State – How about 30-of-37 passing for 507 yards and three touchdowns? Not bad, especially considering Moore did all of that in just about three quarters, as the Broncos thumped Hawaii, 42-7.
Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State – Blackmon caught 13 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown in the Cowboys’ 55-28 win over Baylor. If that wasn’t enough, he also carried the ball once, rushing for 69 yards and a touchdown.
Roy Roundtree, Michigan – In a wild game in Ann Arbor, Roundtree caught nine passes for 246 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the Wolverines downed Illinois 67-65 in triple overtime.
T.J. Yates, North Carolina – Yates had another big game on Saturday, hitting on 24-of-35 passing for 439 yards and three scores as the Tar Heels beat Florida State 37-35.
Montel Harris, Boston College – Harris hasn’t had the year that many expected in 2010, but Saturday was one of his best games of the season. Harris carried the ball 36 times for 183 yards and three touchdowns in a 23-13 win at Wake Forest.
Games I’ll Be Watching in Week 11
No. 17 Mississippi State at No. 11 Alabama
No. 22 South Carolina at No. 24 Florida
No. 1 Oregon at California
No. 16 Virginia Tech at North Carolina
No. 23 Texas A&M at Baylor