A little more than a week ago, it seemed Alabama and either Kansas State or Oregon would be heading to the BCS Championship game. A lot has happened since then. However, some of that scenario may still be in place.
Somewhat amazingly, Texas A&M came into Tuscaloosa and beat #1 and undefeated Alabama a week ago Saturday. But to the surprise of almost everyone in college football this past Saturday, not one but two upsets of the top teams have turned the BCS upside down. On a rare night in college football (November 17th), both the #1 and #2 schools in the BCS standings were knocked off, which hadn’t been done since 2007.
Loser beats #1
On a comfortably cool night in central Texas, Kansas State Wildcats rolled into Waco, with the leading Heisman Trophy candidate, an undefeated team and a Big 12 Conference foe (Baylor Bears) on the other side that had a losing record. But one advantage Baylor did have was an offense that knows how to score. And that made things oh so uncomfortable for the Wildcats.
Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein has looked like superman, being able to run and pass at will all season. Klein had accounted for 31 touchdowns this season, which had vaulted him to the head of the class as far as the Heisman was concerned. But against Baylor, the 23 year old senior looked almost pedestrian, throwing more interceptions than touchdowns.
The Bears defense, which is one of the worse in college football, held a Top 10 scoring Wildcat offense to 362 total yards. And, if it hadn’t been for a couple of late scores in the final two minutes of the first half, Klein and the Kansas State Wildcat offense would have been held to only seven points at the halfway mark.
Kansas State’s defense, which had been solid all year, couldn’t stop Baylor’s offense. The Bears gained almost 600 yards on the Wildcat defense and with that feat, easily toppled the #1 team in the nation.
Defense beats offense
Out west, in the southern Willamette Valley of western Oregon, on a typically cool breezy evening, the Oregon Ducks were home in Eugene to play the solid if unspectacular Stanford Cardinal. The Ducks were riding high with a 13 game winning streak (longest in the nation) and operating one of the most prolific offenses in the nation. That is, until the Stanford defense came along.
The Cardinal were ranked 13th and had a Top 10 defense nationally. And Stanford had beaten ranked teams like USC and Oregon State plus pushed Notre Dame to the brink before losing in overtime at South Bend. Still, in Palo Alto last season, the Oregon Ducks ran away with a 53-30 victory over the Cardinal.
Stanford’s offense is average at best and when coupled with a solid Oregon defense, it didn’t look good for the boys from Palo Alto as they ventured into crazy and extremely loud Autzen Stadium. But that’s why they play the games.
The contest was played fairly evenly with the Cardinal defense playing a nearly perfect game against the intense and speedy offense of the Ducks. It was 7-7 at halftime but most figured the Oregon Ducks would put it into the next gear and be gone. Oregon did lead 14-7 in the second half but a late Stanford touchdown in the closing minutes of the game took the battle to overtime. There the Cardinal defense clamped down on the Ducks with Oregon missing a 41 yard field goal and setting up Stanford’s 37 yard field goal to win the game. Thus, the #2 team went down on the same cool night as #1 – marking the first time this had occurred since 2007.
The SEC champion will come from either Alabama or Georgia and if Notre Dame (the only undefeated team left in the nation) wins their final game against USC, those winners will play for the BCS championship. But as we’ve seen this season, anyone on any given day or night can win … just ask Kansas State and Oregon.
Sources – NCAA, USA Today
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Daryle lived in Los Angeles Ca. most of his life and has been a longtime fan of USC and the Pac-12, having closely followed the Trojans since he was just a youngster. Fight On!