Found November 21, 2011 on

Chaos reigns!  Two really-not-so-surprising upsets highlighted the weekend.  In Ames, IA (Iowa State beating then-No. 2 Oklahoma State) and in Eugene, OR (USC stomping Oregon) has put three SEC teams in the top slots in the BCS pollLSU, Alabama and, yes, friends…like I’ve been saying since pre-season, Arkansas.  What a weekend…

Oklahoma State kicker Quinn Sharp reacts after missing a field goal during the final minutes that would have sealed a victory for the Pokes. Unfortunately for them, Iowa State went on to win in overtime, ending their chances for a BCS title game.

1. Tragedy at Oklahoma State and Arkansas.  Friday morning we learned of the tragic plane crash that took the lives of OSU women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke and his assistant, Miranda Serna.  It seems unreal that these two people (plus two others) were lost the same way that program lost ten members of their men’s basketball program in 2001 when a plane crashed leaving Boulder, CO on the way back to Stillwater, OK in a snowstorm.  Absolutely unreal.  The event, in my opinion, took a lot of life out of the Cowboys football team Friday night.  Not surprising, but it was a shame that the Pokes had to play a fired-up Iowa State team that night.

Unfortunately, it seems like the college sports world has become a darker place, where we used to look for brightness.  On Sunday, Arkansas redshirt tight end Garrett Uekman was found dead in his dorm room.  He was 19.  Meanwhile, at Saturday’s Harvard-Yale game, 30-year-old Nancy Barry of Salem, MA, was killed at a tailgate when the driver of a U-Haul carrying beer kegs accelerated after turning into the area.

All this coming after two weeks of us hearing the ugly news about Jerry Sandusky and how Penn State‘s reputation, and Joe Paterno‘s, has been forever linked.  Wouldn’t it be nice if sports was immune to the ugliness the world presents?

2. The U is a joke.  That’s right, I’ll say it, if no one else will.  They have announced a self-imposed ban on playing in a bowl game this year.  Their sterling record – 6-5 following an ugly 6-3 win at South Florida on Saturday – would probably get them into a “terrific” bowl game…Music City, Independence or Military.  My thought is if the Canes were 8-3 or 9-2 and looking at a bigger bowl, this would not have happened.  C’mon Man…we’re NOT STUPID.

Arkansas tight end Chris Gragg (80) makes a 12-yard gain against Mississippi State defensive backs Wade Bonner (7) and Johnthan Banks.

3. Arkansas could end up in the BCS National Championship game.  After nearly a full season, the Hogs are hitting on all cycles.  Despite the loss of their best player, Knile Davis, before the season even started, the Razorbacks have been peaking, and yes, probably looking ahead to Friday afternoon when they travel to Baton Rouge to play No. 1 LSU.  In their last three games, Arkansas has throttled South Carolina (44-28), Tennessee (49-7) and on Saturday, Mississippi State (44-17).  I would feel very strongly in my opinion that if the LSU game was being played in the NFL-like stadium in Fayetteville, LSU would be upset.  However, the Hogs will be on the road where they were routed by Alabama and struggled to beat Ole Miss (29-24) and Vanderbilt (31-28).  Who will I pick?  Find out on Wednesday.

Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III reacts to a Terrance Ganaway touchodwn over Oklahoma. Griffin led the Bears to a stunning last-second victory, ending the Sooners' BCS title hopes.

4.  The Heisman race is heating up.  Robert Griffin III, Baylor‘s outstanding quarterback, has put up ridiculous numbers all season.  The problem is, Baylor is not on the national radar, so you haven’t really been thinking about him.  Last week, playing the then-No. 5 ranked Oklahoma Sooners, who were maybe looking ahead to Bedlam, he was spectacular.  With 51 seconds left and the game tied at 38, he led his team down the field with runs of 22 and eight yards to keep the drive alive before throwing a game-winning 34-yard pass to Terrence Williams in the far corner of the end zone with just eight seconds left in the game.  He finished with 562 yards of offense.  Only one team (Texas Tech earlier this year) has gained more than that against the Sooners during Bob Stoops’ tenure.  Griffin (21-for-34 for 479 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions) had a fantastic game.

On the season, Griffin has now completed 72.9 percent of his passes for 3,572 yards, 33 touchdowns and only five interceptions, while rushing for 550 yards and five scores.  His 191.7 efficiency rating would shatter Colt Brennan‘s FBS season record (186.0) though he’s second now behind Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson (199.3).  Wilson has attempted 105 fewer passes.

Wilson is another candidate, and I have written about him before.  In fact, if not for a Hail Mary pass by Michigan State, the Badgers might very well be in the BCS title talks.

And don’t forget Matt Barkley of USC, who led his Trojans to a signature win over Oregon Saturday night.  He was 26-of-34 for 323 yards, four touchdowns and one interception.  On the season, he has thrown for 3,105 yards, 33 TD’s and seven interceptions.

Also, Houston’s Case Keenum, yes, I know, they have not faced a tough opponent yet…and I was less-than-impressed with their win over SMU on Saturday, has broken the NCAA career completions record (1,427), and usually passes for a ton of yardage every game.

SO, there are lots of candidates who throw the ball…but what about a runner who has had a great season?  Wisconsin’s Montee Ball ran 38 times for 214 yards and two touchdowns plus he had a touchdown reception against the Illinois (ninth-ranked) defense.  On the season, Ball has 30 rushing/receiving touchdowns, becoming just the fifth player in FBS history to hit that mark.

And, is anyone giving any love to Oregon’s LaMichael James, who averages more yards per game than anyone?  Or Trent Richardson of Alabama, who has more national games to go.

I know they only invite five players to New York for the presentation, but they could invite any of the above.  And, I would also like to see the Heisman voting done at the end of the season…Bowl games count!

Georgia linebacker Corey Campbell (42) celebrates after the Bulldogs' victory over Kentucky. Georgia won the SEC East and will play in the title game in two weeks.

5. Congratulations are in order for the following teams:

Georgia (9-2) who scratched out a 19-10 victory over Kentucky, which allowed them to secure the SEC East title, and a date with a team from the West in the SEC title game in Atlanta.  Next week, they play Georgia Tech (also in Atlanta), then the title game.  Now, look at this: IF Georgia manages to upset the SEC West champ, it will earn an automatic bid to the Sugar Bowl. If two out of LSU/Alabama/Arkansas still finish 1-2, the league would get a third BCS berth.  Wow!

Congrats to Michigan State They won the Legends Division of the Big Ten and will face the winner of this week’s Penn State – Wisconsin game (in Madison) for the Rose Bowl berthSparty routed Indiana 55-3 and are 9-2 on the season with just Northwestern remaining in the regular season.  If they do lose in the title game, it could be that they watch their arch-rival Michigan go to a BCS Bowl instead.

Congrats to Virginia.  With an upset win in Tallahassee (14-13), they now get to face their arch-rival, Virginia Tech, for the right to get to the ACC title game.  Amazing.

With games spread all across the weekend, I will be back Wednesday with thoughts on my Top Five Games to Watch – Week 13.


Badgers aim for Big Ten championship

MADISON, Wis. When Wisconsin's 2011 college football schedule was released a little more than a year ago, Badgers coach Bret Bielema kept a mental note of what might transpire over Thanksgiving weekend. And it had nothing to do with turkey or stuffing. With Wisconsin slated to play host to Penn State and both teams part of the newly formed Leaders Division in the Big Ten,...

Badgers believe Ball is the nation's best back

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. Wisconsin senior defensive back Aaron Henry doesn't mince words ever. So on Saturday, he spelled it out for anybody who doesn't see what he sees every day: Move over LaMichael James and stand aside Trent Richardson because junior Montee Ball is the best running back in college football."The stats speak for (themselves)," Henry said after Ball rushed...

Badgers seize control of postseason destiny

Wisconsin certainly made things interesting on Saturday by falling behind by 10 points at halftime against Illinois. But the Badgers responded when they needed defensive stops, and running back Montee Ball took care of the rest.The result was a 28-17 come-from-behind victory for Wisconsin (9-2, 5-2 Big Ten), moving the Badgers closer to a berth in the inaugural Big Ten championship...

Ball's 224 yards rushing lift Badgers (AP)

Montee Ball rushed for 224 yards and Wisconsin forced four turnovers in a 28-17 comeback win against Illinois on Saturday. The slumping Illini jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the second quarter and carried a 17-7 advantage into halftime. But Ball had a 5-yard TD run after Wisconsin recovered a fumble, pulling the Badgers within three early in the third quarter.

Wisconsin's Ball scores 30th TD in win over Illini

Montee Ball rushed for 224 yards and Wisconsin forced four turnovers in a 28-17 comeback win against Illinois on Saturday.

Bloguin Heisman Trophy Poll - Week 12

Each week a group of Bloguin college football bloggers get together and put our votes in for the top Heisman Trophy candidates. Then after the votes are tabulated by Kevin over at College Football Zealots, the poll is released on Wednesday. Here are the results for week 12 of the 2011 college football season. Be sure to head over Crystal Ball Run for a full look at the results...

No. 15 Wisconsin rallies to beat Illinois, 28-17

Montee Ball rushed for 224 yards and scored three times, and No. 15 Wisconsin forced four turnovers in a 28-17 comeback victory against Illinois on Saturday.

Wisconsin rallies past Illini, stays in Big Ten hunt

Montee Ball rushed for 224 yards and Wisconsin forced four turnovers in a 28-17 comeback win against Illinois on Saturday.

Badgers stay in Big Ten title-game hunt

Montee Ball rushed for 224 yards and Wisconsin forced four turnovers in a 28-17 comeback win against Illinois on Saturday.

No. 15 Wisconsin rallies to beat Illinois, 28-17

Montee Ball rushed for 224 yards and scored three times, and No. 15 Wisconsin forced four turnovers in a 28-17 comeback victory against Illinois on Saturday.

Wisconsin rallies to beat Illinois, 28-17

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Montee Ball rushed for 224 yards and Wisconsin forced four turnovers in a 28-17 comeback win...

Bloguin Heisman Poll Week Twelve

The last few weeks of this season have been absolutely crazy and have caused a chaos at the top of the polls. Oklahoma State was in the drivers seat to get a bid to the BCS National Championship Game but they got upended by Iowa State in Ames. Just when Oregon started to get back into the race, they got beat by USC and Matt Barkley. Finally, Robert Griffin III stepped up and had...

Business As Usual

His persona and his confidence is quiet, but the play of junior running back Montee Ball is starting to grab bigger headlines. Already the Big Ten record holder for touchdowns in a season, Ball added three more to his tally, not only inching him closer to Barry Sanders, but leading No.15 Wisconsin away from the upset.

Duckless in New York: Who wins a mixed-up Heisman Trophy race?

The Heisman race is as muddled as the BCS standings. Major candidates all have a slip-up on their resume, so there's no clear cut winner.  No Oregon Duck has ever won a Heisman, (though the Beavers have one, Terry Baker in 1963) and the Ducks are going to miss the plane to New York this year as well. LaMichael James was among the preseason favorites, but an injury and subpar...

The Doak Walker Award: Projecting the Finalist

Later this afternoon, the Doak Walker Award finalists will be announced. As I have done the last two weeks in breaking down each semifinalist, today I do the same as well as make a projection of who I feel should be the three remaining finalist for this prestigious award. Following this weekend, one player in my eyes made a huge jump, and now resides atop my list. Here are the...
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