Dallas Colleges: what we learned 111013
Alabama still king: For the first 30 minutes, it looked like it was going to be another epic clash between the Tide and the Tigers. However, the nation's No. 1 team imposed its will in the second half and rolled to a 38-17 victory. AJ McCarron threw three touchdown passes; T.J. Yeldon rushed for 133 yards and two scores, and the defense held LSU to 43 yards on the ground, sacking quarterback Zach Mettenberger four times. It was the first challenging game the Tide have played in more than a month, and it proved why they are still the No. 1 team. On a weekend when Oregon suffered its first loss, Alabama not only remained unbeaten but showed why it's the favorite to win a third consecutive national championship.
Year of the Tiger: Who would've guessed Auburn and Missouri would be No. 2 and No. 3 in the SEC, chasing down Alabama? Both Tigers teams have had terrific seasons, and they continued Saturday with impressive road wins. Ninth-ranked Auburn went to Tennessee and blew out a Volunteers team that had been dangerous at home. Quarterback Nick Marshall rushed for 214 yards and two scores as the SEC's top-rushing offense put up 444 yards on the ground. Missouri also took care of business against a struggling Kentucky team. Wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, a former five-star recruit, caught seven passes for 100 yards and four touchdowns. Both teams should remain in the top 10 when the BCS standings come out Sunday.
Trouble in Gainesville: Florida's season went from bad to worse Saturday. The Gators, who have been decimated by injuries, were on a three-game losing streak but hopeful they could turn it around at home against Vanderbilt. It didn't happen. Despite giving up nearly twice as many yards, the Commodores knocked off Florida 34-17 for their first win in Gainesville since 1945. The Gators turned the ball over four times. What does this mean for head coach Will Muschamp? He should get a pass because of all the injuries, but this is the type of loss that could lead to unemployment. Florida now has to win at South Carolina or at home against Florida State just to reach a bowl game.
Gaining momentum: It seems like a long time since Ole Miss lost those three consecutive games to Alabama, Auburn and Texas A&M. The Rebels have quietly righted the ship, and they have a legitimate chance to win out. On Saturday, they looked impressive in a 34-24 win over Arkansas. Quarterback Bo Wallace finished 26-of-33 and threw for a career-high 407 yards. The win made Ole Miss bowl eligible for the second straight year under coach Hugh Freeze, but this team wants more. They want to finish with nine wins and play in a New Year's Day bowl game. That means the Rebels will have to upset Missouri at home in two weeks and finish the season with a win over Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl. Neither is out of the question.
1. Baylor is a legit national contender, but it still needs help: In their first test against a ranked opponent this season, the Bears acquitted themselves well on Thursday with a 41-12 demolition of No. 10 Oklahoma on national television. The offense wasn’t quite as crisp in the early going, but the defense proved it is for real by completely shutting down the Sooners. Baylor got some help, too, with Stanford knocking off second-ranked Oregon the same night. The Bears, however, still need additional help. ESPN BCS guru Brad Edwards projects Baylor will only be ranked fifth when the BCS standings are updated tonight. Given the remaining schedules, the Bears could still pass Stanford and Ohio State. Baylor is the only one of the three with a remaining tilt against a top-15 opponent (Oklahoma State), and a victory in Stillwater would be impressive. But even then, Baylor would need either Alabama or Florida State to lose. The way both the Tide and Seminoles looked Saturday, that is looking less and less likely.
3. OU’s offense is a train wreck: What exactly was Oklahoma’s offensive game plan in Waco? I’m still trying to figure it out. The Sooners attempted 35 Blake Bell passes while giving the ball to their breakaway running backs just a combined 20 times. Yeah, OU fell behind and had to throw in the second half. But it took three possessions for the Sooners to hand the ball to anyone named Brennan Clay, Damien Williams or Roy Finch. This is an offense with no clue on what it should be. Then again, it’s hard to judge offensive coordinator Josh Heupel too harshly. He’s clearly limited with what he can call due to the quarterback. Bell’s unadjusted QBR on Thursday was just 5.9, giving him two of the four-worst raw QBR performances of the Big 12 season (he had a 4.2 against Texas). The Sooners must have little confidence in the passing acumen of backups Trevor Knight and Kendal Thompson, too, considering Thompson never saw the field and Knight never attempted a pass, even after it quickly became crystal clear OU had no shot to win with Bell at quarterback. Injured fullback Trey Millard isn’t coming back, and receiver Sterling Shepard might be out for awhile, as well, after suffering a head injury in Waco. The Sooners are going to have to make major changes this week. Because if they take the same offense to Manhattan and Stillwater they did to Waco, they will finish the regular season 8-4.
4. Texas Tech is staring down another November collapse: Dating back to 2011, the Red Raiders are an astounding 1-9 in the month of November. With games against Baylor and Texas away from Lubbock left on the schedule, that record could plummet to 1-11, which would offset the exciting 7-0 start to the season that lifted Tech all the way into the top 10. Coach Kliff Kingsbury has brought energy and enthusiasm to the Tech program, and he and his staff have recruited very well so far in their first year. Tech is still a young team, too, especially at quarterback, where true freshmen Davis Webb and Baker Mayfield have rotated. Under those circumstances, this season has been a success, regardless of what happens these next two games. But for the Red Raiders to take the next step and truly contend in the Big 12, they’re going to have to start winning some of these key games down the stretch.
5. It’s time for KU to hand the offense over to Cozart: The only time the Jayhawks moved the ball in a 42-6 loss at Oklahoma State was when true freshman Montell Cozart was in at quarterback. This is becoming a trend. Cozart’s passing needs work. A lot of work. But his ability to move the chains out of read and speed options is stark compared with when junior Jake Heaps is behind center. Of Kansas’ 15 first downs in Stillwater, 13 came when Cozart was at quarterback. Heaps had another disastrous QBR rating of 9.9, and hasn’t scored higher than 37.8 all season (50 is average). It’s past time for the Jayhawks to build toward the future. And that future clearly is with Cozart at quarterback.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Part 2 of the articles on OSU's involvment in academic fraud was released. Some claim the expose is unfounded. Ian and Richard warn that there are two sides to all stories.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mack Brown, Manny Diaz and all the latest with the Texas Longhorns.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett give you the latest on the Johnny Manziel story and Charles Barkley weighs in. You won't believe who the outspoken NBA Hall of Famer is disappointed in and what he thinks about the autograph allegations.
Play Podcast Kirk Herbstreit joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett for his weekly visit to preview the 2013 college football season.
Play Podcast Former TCU and current Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the expectations for the Bengals this season, give a prediction for the TCU-LSU game and talk about what it's like having the Hard Knocks cameras follow him.
Play Podcast Randy Galloway, Matt Mosley, and Mark Friedman react to Dez Bryant's comments regarding the NCAA's ongoing investigation of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Play Podcast Richard Durrett, Ian Fitzsimmons and Glenn "Stretch" Smith react to Dez Bryant sounding off yesterday after practice about Johnny Manziel and the shadiness of the NCAA.
Play Podcast Former NCAA investigator and Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to weigh in on the Johnny Manziel drama and give some insight as to what goes on during an NCAA investigation.