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Week Eight Headlines

Scott Haynes, College Football Senior Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -

One week after winning a thrilling shootout with then-top- ranked Oklahoma, the Texas Longhorns successfully defended their own number one ranking with an equally impressive 56-31 rout of the Missouri Tigers. It marked the team's first regular season top-ranking since 1984. That is two straight marquee victories, and both wins were orchestrated by now-Heisman favorite Colt McCoy. The veteran Longhorn is in the "zone" right now, as he completed an astonishing 29-of-32 passes against Mizzou this week for 337 yards and two touchdowns, while adding another two scores on the ground. He led an offense that scored on its first five possessions and never looked back. With the impressive win, the Longhorns were announced as the top overall team in the first BCS rankings. It remains to be seen just how long Texas can remain there.

Colt McCoy completed an astonishing 29-of-32 passes against Mizzou for 337 yards and two touchdowns.
The reason that UT's top-billing in the BCS must be written in pencil is because of the overwhelming talent level in the Big 12 this season. Forget the SEC or the Big Ten, the Big 12 is clearly the top conference. Texas is the best team in the land and has already knocked off Oklahoma and Missouri. That would open up most schedules for clear sailing to an undefeated campaign, but in the Big 12, there is still plenty of football to play. For example, the Longhorns must play another top-10 foe this week in Austin as Oklahoma State comes calling. That game will be followed by the short trip to Lubbock to battle now-seventh-ranked Texas Tech. Kansas also looms large in the middle of November, and if the Longhorns can somehow navigate that minefield without suffering a loss, there is always the Big 12 title game.

A lot of people in the know wrote off Virginia this year, thinking the team lost enough talent from a year ago that this was going to be a rebuilding season for Al Groh and company. The early stages of the season certainly proved that notion correct, as the Cavs dropped three of their first four games, including a 31-3 lambasting at the hands of the Duke Blue Devils. However, the team has played with a bit of a swagger since, winning three games in a row and going over .500 for the first time this year. After shutting out a tough Maryland team (31-0), Virginia then went out and knocked off the surprising East Carolina Pirates (35-20), followed by this past weekend's upset of nationally-ranked North Carolina (16-13 OT). In just three short weeks, the Cavaliers went from one of the ACC's doormats to a real player in the Coastal Division, sitting just a half game behind division- leading Georgia Tech.

When the Tulsa Golden Hurricane step on the field, the forecast is not pleasant for the opposition. The nation's top offense put on a clinic once again this week, rolling up a ridiculous 77 points on 791 yards of total offense against UTEP. Quarterback David Johnson continued his assault on the record books, throwing five TD passes on 434 yards passing, while playing just three quarters. Johnson leads the nation in pass efficiency (212.8), completing 69 percent of his passes, for 2,397 yards, with 31 TDs in the first seven games. Tulsa ranks first in the country in scoring (56.57 ppg) and total offense (624.7 ypg), while ranking seventh in rushing (267.0 ypg) and fifth in passing (357.7 ypg). The undefeated Hurricane (7-0) finally found their way into the top-25 this week, settling in at number 22. It is the team's first national ranking since ending the 1991 season at number 21. With a real shot at running the table here, Tulsa could find it climbing significantly in the rankings over the next month or so and be that team that throws a wrench in the big BCS machine.

As mentioned earlier, Colt McCoy and David Johnson are certainly worthy of being mentioned with their huge performances this past week. Other signal-callers with big weeks include Oklahoma's Sam Bradford (school-record 468 passing yards and three TDs against Kansas), Texas Tech's Graham Harrell (450 yards, three TDs against Texas A&M) and USC's Mark Sanchez (five TDs passes in the first half against Washington State). Non-QBs include Penn State RB Evan Royster (174 yards, one TD against Michigan), Arizona RB Keola Antolin (149 yards, three TDs against California) and Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant (11 receptions, 212 yards, two TDs against Baylor).

This is a huge week, as there are four premier games involving ranked foes. Top-25 matchups this week feature eighth-ranked Texas Tech at 19th-ranked Kansas, ninth-ranked Georgia at 11th-ranked LSU, seventh-ranked Oklahoma State at top-ranked Texas and third-ranked Penn State at 10th-ranked Ohio State.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Scott Haynes at shaynes@sportsnetwork.com.
Scott Haynes
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