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 "6 Top 25 Teams - 3 of Them Unbeaten - Lose, Including..." 
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Post "6 Top 25 Teams - 3 of Them Unbeaten - Lose, Including..."
6 Top 25 Teams - 3 of Them Unbeaten - Lose, Including BCS No. 1 Oklahoma
by: Ed Bagley

For the third time in three weeks, the No. 1-ranked Top 25 team has been upset on the road, underscoring the new parity in major college football and frustrating the nation's most prestigious brand-name programs.

Three weeks ago No. 1 Alabama traveled to South Carolina and was upset by the Gamecocks, 35-21. Two weeks ago No. 1 Ohio State traveled to Wisconsin and was upset by the Badgers, 31-18. And this week the No. 1 BCS team, Oklahoma, traveled to Missouri and was upset by the Tigers, 36-27.

The Oklahoma Sooners, who were ranked 3rd in the AP Poll, saw their perfect record vanish with two others - the 6th-ranked LSU Tigers traveled to 5th-ranked Auburn and lost, 24-17, and the 17th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys hosted 14th-ranked Nebraska and fell to the Cornhuskers 51-41. Now Oklahoma (6-1), LSU (7-1) and Oklahoma State (6-1) are all one-loss teams and will be dropping in the weekly rankings.

Missouri's victory over Oklahoma was also adding salt to the wound because it was a legitimate upset as the visiting Sooners were favored by 3 points. The 18th-ranked Tigers were not hurt a lick by Gahn McGaffie's 86-yard touchdown return on the opening kickoff. Missouri fans, who had suffered for years, were more than happy to start screaming since Oklahoma had won 19 times during the past 20 years.

The sea of moving gold created by the waving fans seemed endless, and was followed, at game's end, by one of the great moments in college football celebration - rabid gold-clad fans running to the field in such numbers that officials could not remove them to really finish the contest that was at that point moot. A penalty was called on the last play and officially the game cannot end on a penalty, but it did because the entire field was covered with the wild, delirious Missouri faithful who would not be denied in their moment of glory.

And then one of the treasured moments in Missouri football history happened as fans ripped down the goalposts and carried them to a local watering hole to drink the night away. It could be that a few college administrators were carping over the cost to replace the goalposts, but they would have been stupid to stop it because of the millions of dollars in donations to coach Gary Pinkel's Missouri's football program that will follow the great victory.

This was an example of a college football fan base when it is rowdy and at its best. We keep score during the game because winning matters. You could write an entire psychology textbook about the sublimation of Missouri fans on THEIR victory over the mighty Oklahoma Sooners.

And the actual game? That's the easy part. Oklahoma led 21-20 after the 3rd quarter, but Jerrell Jackson eluded a tackler and sped to pay dirt on a 38-yard touchdown that sparked a 16-point last quarter over the error-prone Sooners, and put a sellout crowd of 70,000+ in a mood to party down big time.

Oklahoma had three costly turnovers that led to 10 Missouri points and killed a promising Sooner drive. "We worked hard for this," said Tiger quarterback Blaine Gabbert, "all we had to do was believe." Amen. Anything the mind of man can conceive and believe, he can achieve.

Missouri is now 7-0 for the first time since 1960 when the Tigers finished 11-0 and beat Navy in the Orange Bowl. For Missouri fans, happy days are here again. Now the Tigers must keep that winning streak to move on.

The most hyped game of the week was all about Auburn quarterback Cam Newton. Against LSU's 3rd-ranked defense, Newton ran 28 times for 217 yards (7.75 yards per carry) and scored on 1 and 49-yard runs. His teammate, Onterio McCalebb, dashed 70 yards for the go-ahead score in the final quarter as Auburn won, 24-17, to become the only undefeated team left in the SEC.

Newton, a 6-foot-6, 250-pound junior, reminds me of arguably the greatest running back in college football history - Jim Brown of Syracuse. Jim Brown was big, strong, fast, shifty and too tough to handle for the majority of pro athletes who ever tried to tackle him.

Newton broke the SEC's single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback (1,006) set by Auburn's Jimmy Sidle in 1963. Newton also topped Heisman winner Pat Sullivan's 40-year school mark of 26 touchdowns rushing and passing in a season. Auburn is, of course, not all about Cam Newton, it is just mostly about Newton.

Onterio McCalebb did gain 84 yards on 4 carries (21 ypc) and freshman Mike Dyer ran 100 yards on 15 carries (6.67 ypc). Add it all up and Auburn gained 440 yards on the ground against the nation's 3rd-best defense. That's what you call a running game, and marked the 4th straight time the Tigers had gained 300+ yards on the ground against SEC teams - that IS impressive.

Something had to give in the week's third biggest meeting between visiting 10th-ranked Wisconsin and 13th-ranked Iowa. The Badgers were 12th nationally in rushing offense and 16th in scoring offense. The Hawkeyes were 6th in scoring defense, 7th in rushing defense and 13th in total defense.

After trading touchdowns most of the game, Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema, who played his college ball at Iowa and also served as an assistant coach at his alma mater, used a fake punt midway through the last quarter that led to an 8-yard touchdown run with 1:06 left to seal the 31-30 upset victory as Iowa was favored by 6 at home.

Iowa's great defense had given up just 17 points in its first 4 games at home but, in the end, it was Wisconsin's offense that bettered the Hawkeye defense.

The third unbeaten team to fall - Oklahoma State - was known for its high-powered offense, ranking 2nd nationally in both scoring offense and total offense, and 3rd in passing offense.

Nebraska was 9th in both scoring defense and total defense, but it was the Cornhuskers who turned the table upside down on the Cowboys, piling up more rushing yards (217 to 212), passing yards (323 to 283) and total yards (540 to 495) to win in a shootout, 51-41, dropping Oklahoma State's record to 6-1.

In essence, Nebraska's freshman quarterback - Taylor Martinez - had another career day like he did against the Washington Huskies earlier in the year. Martinez was 23-of-35 (65%) for 323 yards (setting a Nebraska freshman record) and had a career-high 5 touchdown passes.

Before you get too impressed with young Martinez, you need to know that while the Oklahoma State offense is very good, its pass defense is ranked 114th among 120 major college teams.

There were two other legitimate upsets to go with Iowa and Oklahoma.

The 20th-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers were upended at home by 80th-ranked Syracuse, 19-14, and the 22nd-ranked Texas Longhorns were beaten at home again - for the third time this year - by Iowa State, 28-21. Texas, now 4-3, was beaten earlier at home by both UCLA (34-12) and Oklahoma (28-20), and we now all know how good both Oklahoma and Texas REALLY are.

Get over Texas, the Longhorns are probably out of any top-ranked BCS bowl game.

Eight other ranked teams took care of business this weekend with good wins. They included 11th-ranked Ohio State over Purdue 49-0, 1st-ranked Oregon over UCLA 60-13, 4th-ranked TCU over Air Force 38-7, 9th-ranked Utah over Colorado State 59-6, 15th-ranked Arizona over Washington 44-14, 7th-ranked Alabama over Tennessee 41-10, 23rd-ranked Virginia Tech over Duke 44-7, and 25th-ranked Miami-FL over North Carolina 33-10.

Five other ranked teams were less impressive in winning.

The 19th-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks did get a 21-7 away victory over Vanderbilt (no big shakes as the Commodores are more like Stevedores); 12th-ranked Stanford could only beat the 87th-ranked Washington State Cougars by 10, 38-28 (the Cardinal must do better for a 12th-place ranking); and 24th-ranked Mississippi State could only beat Alabama-Birmingham by 5, 29-24 (UAB is ranked 127th and scored at least a touchdown in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters against the Bulldogs, who are ranked 13th nationally in scoring defense).

Not to be outdone in almost blowing it, 8th-ranked Michigan State beat Northwestern 35-27, and Arkansas had the final neither here nor there victory over Mississippi 38-24.

With three more unbeaten teams biting the dust (Oklahoma, LSU and Oklahoma State), there are now only 7 teams left with perfect marks - TCU, Auburn and Michigan State are 8-0, and Oregon, Boise State, Utah and Missouri are 7-0. Boise State was idle this week.

Copyright © 2010 Ed Bagley

About The Author
Ed Bagley's Articles is Writer, Author and Editor Ed Bagley's personal web site with hundreds of original articles on 46 different subjects. Ed Bagley's Articles is a treasure trove of feel good stories, satire, insight, and frank commentary on our life and times in America. Find Ed Bagley's Articles at:
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Sun Feb 13, 2011 12:32 pm
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