Wild Weekends: The Annual BCS debut

The Day of Bitching has finally arrived. The first BCS standings were unveiled this past weekend and now all the bitching and moaning can begin. I will clarify that I’m all for this bitching and moaning considering that I’ve never been in favor of this system, but it’s here, so all we can really do (besides the obvious) is hope that things don’t get really messed up like they have in the past.

With South Florida in the national title mix, the hopes for a lack of surrealism this year likely won’t come to fruition. In the event that South Florida does indeed run the gauntlet, go unbeaten, and win the Big East, the question then becomes not “who will they play for the national title,” but “will they play for the national title. While most would think that if South Florida stays at #2 or even moves to #1 while going unbeaten through the firestorm that is November would give them the automatic bid to New Orleans. However, history has proven that even in collegiate sports, there is politics and in the case of South Florida, they may end up being USC a few years ago: deserving of a title game bid, but without one.

Brady Shines in Battle of Unbeatens

As in most of his big games, Tom Brady was the forgotten man in the pre-game hype before the undefeated New England Patriots took on the then-unbeaten Dallas Cowboys in Dallas. It was Brady’s Dallas debut and nobody could’ve asked for a better first impression. Brady threw a career-high five touchdowns to four different receivers and 388 yards through the air to give the Pats a dominating 48-27 win extending their record to 6-0 with a showdown against The Colts mere weeks away.

The pre-game hype was for the battle of 81’s as Terrell Owens and Randy Moss—both sporting the number 81—had their big showdown. While Brady’s brilliance overshadowed the highly anticipated matchup, the two did at least turn in good days. Owens caught the final score of the first half and ended with 66 yards on six catches to go with the touchdown. Moss also caught six, but only got 59 yards off of his catches and also had a touchdown. Not their best games, but both did play their part.

For the Patriots, they didn’t need Moss’ heroics or talent on this day as Brady would end up completing passes to seven different receivers, four of whom scored touchdowns during the game (Moss, Wes Welker, Donté Stallworth, and Kyle Brady). Brady also showcased why he may in fact be the best quarterback in football: time control. While throwing for nearly 400 yards and score after score, he also moved The Pats up and down the field with such ease that they had possession of the ball for just under forty minutes. Add that up with going 11/17 on 3rd downs to the Cowboys’ 4/11 and converting two fourth down plays, and it’s no wonder that the possible Super Bowl preview ended up like so many Super Bowls have: one team showcasing their dominance against another.

LSU upset, Boise Stands Tall in Overtime Thrillers

It’s amazing that two games could share the same path from start to finish and be completely opposite in terms of meaning. Saturday afternoon, the LSU Tigers—the team I said could be trusted—fell on the road—as I said they could—to the 17th ranked Kentucky Wildcats 43-37 in 3 Overtimes. Sunday Night, the Boise St. Broncos had an old-fashioned Boise St. game winning a shootout against Nevada 69-67 in four overtimes on the blue turf.

LSU seemed to be rolling after scoring 17 unanswered in the second quarter to take a 17-7 lead, but Kentucky would add a score late in the half to put them down only three at half. After that, the game became an endurance test.

Through the third and most of the fourth quarters, both teams would trade touchdowns until two Kentucky field goals sent the game into overtime and people began to feel that the upset was imminent rather than possible. The teams would trade touchdowns, then field goals in the first two overtimes before Steve Johnson caught an Andre Woodson pass for the game winner. Of course, it became the game winner when Kentucky’s defense stopped LSU on four straight running plays to pull off another in a long line of upsets this year in college football.

While LSU’s demise was a game of drama, Boise’s win was a game of performances. Colin Kaeperknick showed why he might be the best unknown in the country as the Nevada QB had a night throwing for 243 yards and three touchdowns while running for 177 yards and two more accounting for five of the Wolfpack’s nine touchdowns. The other four were supplied by Wolfpack running back Luke Lippincott, who ended with 187 yards on the ground to go with his scores. Another running back, well known for his big games on the blue turf, who soared Sunday was Ian Johnson. Johnson is no stranger to big performances and added one more to his résumé with 256 total yards (205 rushing, 51 receiving) and three touchdowns including the game winner in the fourth overtime.

The game itself would’ve been an instant classic had it not gone to overtime as the game was tied 44-44 at the end of regulation.

The first BCS standings of 2007 look like this (from 1-10): Ohio St., South Florida, Boston College, LSU, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Kentucky, Arizona St., West Virginia, and Oregon. Taking a look at that top 10, and it’s really not that bad. LSU just lost, so obviously they wouldn’t be #1, Kentucky just beat LSU so they’d be in, but not above the Tigers, South Carolina hasn’t lost a big game other than LSU, AZ St. still remains in the land of the unbeatens, and West Virginia and Oregon are the second tier teams in major conferences. To put it simply: I’ve seen worse.

Of course, with November around the corner the “every game counts” mentality of the BCS will be on notice this weekend with Arizona St. and Cal—#12 in the BCS—facing off as well as Kentucky looking to keep the momentum of their major upset going and not becoming another team that stumbles after a major win. With November comes the possibility that every team in the current BCS top 10 could lose one or even two games before all is said and done. In the event that that happens, you have to look at the teams in the 11-20 rankings as ones who could replace them and taking a look at them (Virginia Tech, Cal, Kansas, USC, Florida, Missouri, Auburn, Hawaii, Virginia, and Georgia), it’s safe to say that nobody is safe during those final 30 days (37 if you count Championship Week).