Week Six - Shaking things up
Scott Haynes, College Football Senior Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
An exciting week of FBS football was highlighted by a huge upset over the defending national champs, and humbling setbacks for other top-25 foes added to the week's intrigue. While the nation's premier tailbacks had taken center stage in week five, this past Saturday it was the pitch-and-catch combos of some of the country's most lethal passing attacks that stole the show. With the season's second half beginning this week, there is renewed hope for several teams with national title aspirations and each week down the stretch could be better than the last.
TOP-5 TURNOVER: Defending national champion Alabama survived two-thirds of an SEC gauntlet that included wins over both Arkansas and Florida, but the final installment proved to be the Crimson Tide's downfall, as they were thoroughly handled at South Carolina. With the loss, Alabama has severely damaged its chances of repeating as national champion, falling all the way to eighth in the newest poll. The loss has placed Ohio State and Oregon in the driver's seat now, and the Buckeyes and Ducks may not relinquish those spots. Boise State and TCU follow in the poll, but despite what should be solid BCS standing in the first poll this upcoming week, both teams will need a lot of help to maintain their ranks and end up in Glendale. Nebraska and Oklahoma follow at Nos. 5 and 6, respectively, but that will work itself out, as the Cornhuskers and Sooners are likely to meet in the conference title game.
GET IN LINE: The initial BCS poll will come out on October 17th, but if you were to formulate one this week in mock fashion, Boise State would be in the top spot, followed by Oregon, TCU, Oklahoma and Ohio State. Now, the actual first poll will include this week's games and if Ohio State wins at Wisconsin, the shuffling will have already begun. The reality is that Ohio State and Oregon will not be denied access to the BCS Title Game if each runs the table in 2010, as both have a much tougher road the rest of the way than the Broncos or Horned Frogs. It has been a strange season already and nothing is written in stone. The BCS poll could change on a weekly basis the way things have gone up to this point.
|Alabama has severely damaged its chances of repeating as national champion.|
TIME TO CROW: Steve Spurrier came to Columbia to do exactly what his Gamecocks did this past weekend, beating the heavyweights of the SEC and vying for conference supremacy. While the Gamecocks may not be ready to win the whole thing just yet, they did serve notice on Saturday that they can beat anyone. USC dominated Alabama with strong play on both sides of the football, in a win that marked the first-ever win for South Carolina over a top-ranked team. With a strong ground game fueled by freshman phenom Marcus Lattimore, and a star in the making on the outside in sophomore wideout Alshon Jeffery, this is a team with a very bright future. It will be up to Spurrier to keep his squad focused this week as the Gamecocks prepare to take on Kentucky in Lexington. Still, you can't begrudge a little strutting on campus this week, can you?
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Nebraska's Taylor Martinez, Auburn's Cameron Newton, Texas Tech's Tyler Potts and Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden all share top honors in terms of quarterback play this week. Martinez threw for just 128 yards and one TD, but gashed Kansas State for 241 rushing yards and four scores in the Cornhuskers' rout of the Wildcats. Newton was an unstoppable dual threat as well, passing for 210 yards while rushing for 198 and four TDs against Kentucky. Potts threw all over Baylor, completing 42 passes for 462 yards and four TDs in a shootout with the Bears. Weeden lit up Louisiana, throwing for 351 yards and five TDs, in a 54-28 whipping of the Ragin' Cajuns.
Other gunslingers with standout performances include Arizona's Nick Foles (440 yards, three TDs against Oregon State), Oregon State's Ryan Katz (393 yards, two TDs against Arizona), USC's Matt Barkley (390 yards passing, three TDs), Baylor's Robert Griffin III (384 yards passing, two TDs, two more TDs rushing), Hawaii's Bryant Moniz (376 yards, three TDs against Fresno State), Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor (334 yards passing three TDs against Indiana), NC State's Russell Wilson (328 yards passing, three TDs against Boston College), Rutgers' Chas Dodd (322 yards passing two TDs against UConn), Arkansas' Ryan Mallett (310 yards, three TDs against Texas A&M) and Virginia Tech's Tyrod Taylor (127 yards rushing, two TDs, 161 yards passing, one TD against Central Michigan).
Louisville's tailback Bilal Powell was simply dominating in Louisville's shutout of Memphis, rumbling for 204 yards and two TDs on just 18 carries.
Other stellar ground performances came from Nevada's Vai Taua (196 yards, three TDs against San Jose State), Georgia Tech's Anthony Allen (195 yards, three TDs against Virginia), Cincinnati's Isaiah Pead (197 yards, one TD against Miami-Ohio), California's Shane Vereen (151 yards, two TDs against UCLA), Ohio's Phil Bates (142 yards, two TDs against Bowling Green), Michigan State's Edwin Baker (147 yards, one TD against Michigan), Oregon's LaMichael James (136 yards, three TDs against Washington State), Mississippi State's Vick Ballard (134 yards, three TDs against Houston) and Florida State's Chris Thompson (158 yards, one TD against Miami-Florida).
The Trojans may have lost a heartbreaker to Stanford this week, but USC wideout Robert Woods did all he could to lead his team to victory, hauling in 12 balls, for 224 yards and three TDs.
Other WRs of note include Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon (13 catches, 190 yards, two TDs against Louisiana), Arizona's Juron Criner (12 catches, for 179 yards, one TD against Oregon State), Hawaii's Greg Salas (nine catches, 148 yards, three TDs against Fresno State), Baylor's Kendall Wright (11 receptions, 145 yards, one TD against Texas Tech), South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery (seven receptions, for 127 yards, two TDs against Alabama) and UTEP's Kris Adams (five catches, for 134 yards, three TDs against Rice)
SNEAK PEEK: There are a pair of top-25 showdowns this week and both are critical in their respective conferences. SEC West supremacy is on the line at Auburn this week, as 12th-ranked Arkansas takes on seventh-ranked Auburn. The other game takes place later in the day, as top-ranked Ohio State travels to Madison to tangle with 18th-ranked Wisconsin in a huge Big Ten affair.
Other games of interest around the country include Illinois at 13th-ranked Michigan State, Texas at fifth-ranked Nebraska, 20th-ranked Oklahoma State at Texas Tech, 15th-ranked Iowa at Michigan, Mississippi State at 22nd-ranked Florida and Ole Miss at eighth-ranked Alabama.