ESPN loves to dub each week some clever name. Whether it is "rivalry week", "bracket buster weekend", "showdown week" or whatever they come up with....it is usually overblown and over analyzed.
Saturday was dubbed "seperation Saturday" for some reason. Actually, that's the dumbest name you could come up with. Why?? Most of the conference games were the 1st or 2nd game in their conference schedule. And it is dumb name since.....well, nothing was seperated....it is more jumbled up than ever.
You lying liars!
So what did we really learn yesterday?
Well, we do know that Ohio State really is the #1 team in the nation. Sure, they struggled with in-state "rival" Cincinnati for 20 minutes. But they imposed their will the last 2/3 of the game to run away. And, still, their defense looks great.
We know that Notre Dame's defense blows. Michigan came into that game with better athletes....but I didn't realize that the Irish were that slow. They could go from "back to the national elite" to being a 3 or 4 loss team this year. I picked Michigan to be in the BCS title game last year; maybe I was a season too early.
We know that the Big East.....yes, the BIG EAST....could net two of the BCS' berths. This was a league that many people, including me, threw away as a 2nd tier football power that should be stripped of their BCS automatic bid. Ooops. The way it looks now, the West Virginia-Louisville game on November 2 will be the biggest Thursday night football game in ESPN's history. Both should be undefeated heading into that game, and both could be in the Top 5 by then. Speaking of that, I'm sure everyone in the Big East rejoiced that Louisville pounded Miami, the team that left the conference for the ACC and started some really bad blood between the two.
Speaking of the ACC....where is the seperation here?? The league is filled with pretty good, but not great, teams. Florida State barely beat Miami....but lost at home to Clemson. The same Clemson that were beaten by Boston College last week. The same Boston College that just squeaked by BYU at home yesterday. NC State has been beaten by Akron and then smoked by Southern Miss in back-to-back weeks. North Carolina beat Division I-AA Furman 45-42. Virginia was beaten, at home, by Western Michigan. What!?!?!? Freakin' Wake Forest is 3-0 after beating UConn [ah, so the ACC got even with the Big East!]. The league pretty much can just hold onto Virginia Tech...who pounded hapless Duke.
Wait. All this talk about the Big East makes us forget about the Big Ten's big day. They have the #1 team in the nation [Ohio State] and pulled off the day's most impressive win [Michigan]. But Michigan State also went into Pittsburgh and ran past the Panthers; Iowa beat rival Iowa State; Wisconsin, Penn State, Purdue, Northwestern and Minnesota all won. Wait. Illinois really sucks....and proved it by losing at home to Syracuse. At least they weren't beaten at home by Southern Illinois......like Indiana did. To me, this league is top-heavy and not as strong top to bottom as believed.
We also learned that kicking isn't automatic. Oklahoma had a game winning FG attempt blocked in Oregon [by the way, what a great finish!]. Fresno State had an extra point blocked in Washington [and lost by a point].
Speaking of Oklahoma....the Sooners capped off a bad day for the Big XII. Oklahoma had that heart breaking loss where they blew a 13 point lead in the final 2:00+ minutes. Nebraska hung tough in USC but were ultimately blown out. Colorado continues to fall into a bottomless pit. Texas Tech failed to score a TD for the first time since 2000...when they lost 12-3 to TCU. Again, TCU is a legit BCS breaker team. Kansas, Iowa State and Baylor also lost. Texas A&M barely beat Army in College Station. Yes....Army. Sure, Texas, Missouri and Oklahoma State all won....but they might as well been playing NAIA schools.
And we know the true winners on this day was the SEC. In a day filled with overhyped and under-drama games....the SEC delivered. The LSU-Auburn game was a defensive beauty to behold. A 7-3 football game usually isn't something to drum on about....but it had the same quality a Stanley Cup final game would have. One mistake and the game is over. But it wasn't a mistake....rather a great defensive stand that won it. A goal line stand as time expired preserved the Auburn victory and the "seperation" in the SEC West.
Later on in the evening....the Florida-Tennessee battle was nearly as epic. A bit more scoring...but drama and emotion everywhere. The Vols were held to TWO yards rushing and made that big mistake late in the game. Also, it was nice to see Independence High's Chris Leak come up so big in a big game.