Stunned Ducks fall out
of Top 10; Paterno wins No. 323
The AP Top 25
Ed De La Garza
At least Joe Pa's happy.
Needing just one win to tie Bear Bryant
for most Division I victories, Penn State head coach Joe Paterno and the
winless Nittany Lions headed into Evanston, Ill., to play
the then-No. 22 Northwestern Wildcats.
Freshman quarterback Zack Mills came off
the bench to throw a touchdown pass with less than two minutes remaining,
giving Penn State a 38-35 lead. And Paterno
finally got his 323rd win.
Much has been made about his time being
done -- that the game may have finally passed him by. Florida State's Bobby
Bowden may get to No. 324 first, but the
Seminoles' head coach hasn't had to withstand
a disastrous season.
The 'Noles have been knocked down, but
they've never slipped out of the Associated Press Top 25 poll. The rest
of the Atlantic Coast Conference has caught up, but
Florida State is still going to win at
least eight games and make it to a bowl game.
In other Top 25 news, underestimated Stanford
took it to Oregon, in Eugene, Ore., beating the stunned Ducks, 49-42. Oregon
fell out of the top 10 after rising to No. 4.
The unranked Cardinals jumped up to No.
Fresno State's loss to Boise State sent
it reeling all the way to No. 18 -- out of the hunt for the National Championship.
No. 25 Toledo was sent packing after its loss to
Ball State, 24-20.
There'll only be one game that matters
on Saturday. No. 2 Oklahoma will travel to No. 3 Nebraska. The winner will
be in great shape for the Rose Bowl. The Huskers
have been able to pull away from their
competition, but they've struggled early in games.
The Sooners haven't had that problem. But
their toughest test came when they barely squeaked past the unranked Kansas
State Wildcats. That said, Boomer Sooner.
And I suppose this column wouldn't be the
same without mentioning Texas.
There you go.
BCS is nothing but …
Poor, hapless, woeful, forgotten Miami.
They may only be fourth in the season's
first Bowl Championship Series ranking, but provided they beat Virginia
Tech, the No. 1 Hurricanes should be playing Jan. 3.
The Sooners debuted at No. 1, with Nebraska
and UCLA trailing. Virginia Tech, sitting at No. 5, could be a factor if
it beats Miami.
Those proud, classy Longhorns somehow fooled
the computers into believing they're good enough to be No. 6. Michigan,
Maryland, Tennessee and Washington
State round out the top 10.
Florida, Washington, Oregon, Stanford and
those hard-charging South Carolina Gamecocks came in at Nos. 11 through
If some of this seems wacky, it's because
it is. The BCS may do a better job of picking out a No. 1 and No. 2, but
Miami should have been playing Oklahoma last year.
And there's no way the Cougars should
be in the top 10.
Of course, the perfect option, that of
incorporating the bowls into some type of playoff format, makes absolutely
The fighting Gamecocks staged an amazing
comeback after faltering against Arkansas. South Carolina hammered the
defenseless Vanderbilt Commodores, 46-14.
They rose back up the ranks to No. 12
after falling out of the top 15.
But the Gamecocks' strength will be tested
as they go on the road to face the No. 9 Tennessee Volunteers. The Vols
didn't play their best game of the season against
Alabama but did manage to win, 35-24.
The DC Baker's Dozen
Miami may still be No. 1 in both the AP
and Coaches' polls, but Oklahoma became the first consensus No. 1 in Daily
Cougar history. Our computing system is just as
complicated as the BCS, so don't ask how
we come up with the baker's dozen. Just take it in. If you disagree … tough.
All comments are welcome (and some may
be printed). Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Oklahoma, 7-0
2. Miami, 5-0
3. UCLA, 6-0
4. Nebraska, 8-0
5. Virginia Tech, 6-0
6. Florida, 5-1
7. Oregon, 6-1
8. Maryland, 7-0
9. Michigan, 5-1
10. Tennessee, 4-1
11. Texas, 6-1
12. Georgia, 5-1
13. Washington, 5-1