College Football Week 11 review | November 12, 2012
Kansas State are the new Number 1 ranked side in the BCS standings, by default as Alabama the reigning National champions fell at home to Texas A&M.
And how odd, that a former BIG12 side and in their first season in the SEC is the side that gives Alabama the loss that condemns them to no national title game.
Credit to Texas A&M, they focused on the deficiencies of Alabama’s game exposed by the LSU Tigers in that close contest. The Aggies under the leadership of explosive quarterback Johnny ‘Football’ Manziel – 24/31, 253 yards passing, 2TDs, no turnovers and 92 yards rushing on 18 carries – led the newest SEC member to a 29-24 win. Helped by taking a 20-0 lead in the first quarter.
Whereas AJ McCarron, could not replicate the magic of his last minute drive in Louisiana from last week, and committed two turnovers on his line of 21-34, 309 yards and 1 TD. His 2nd interception came in the end zone with 1:46 left as Deshazor Everett stepped in front of a fourth down pass on the goalline.
The key to A&M’s victory was a mixture of opportunity from Manziel, a freshman who has beaten a #1 ranked side, a home side who could not find any continuity in terms of pass and balance, and a defence that kept committing offsides when not necessary. The 20-0 deficit was too much to overcome.
Kansas are elevated to the Number 1 slot and now the team with the bullseye on its chest. Yet the doubts over Collin Klein’s head injury were not founded in their 23-10 victory on the road at TCU. Whilst the scoreline is not as large as other victories this season, KSU scored the first 23 points of the game, TCU could not muster enough offence to threaten the Wildcats perfect season. They are now 10-0, and two wins away from the National championship game; a 4-5 Baylor on the road then a feisty Texas side in Manhatten. Their destiny is in their hands.
Due to Alabama’s loss, the second team in the box seat for New Orleans is the highly respected Oregon Ducks who again treated a PAC!2 defence like a rag doll that the evil boy from the first Toy Story has mutilated into a horrible representation of its first incarnation.
The unfortunate opponent this week was California who were decimated 59-17 at home. Last week, running back Kenjon Barner was the star at USC with 300 plus yards, this week he was quieter with 63 yards off 20 carries. A slight injury to Barner meant he missed a lot of the game, and the entire defensive line was full of second stringers, although as many Ducks in interviews have mentioned, such as Josh Huff, ‘We don’t pay attention to the rankings and what’s around us. We just play Oregon football. We’ll pick our heads up in December and we’ll see where we’re at.’ Huff had 109 yards off 5 catches and 3 TDs.
The star however was QB Marcus Moriota 27-34, 377 yards and 6 TDs. In his last two games MM has been 47 of 57 (82.5%), 681 yards, 10TDs, no picks and 138 yards rushing. The startling thing was that the score was 24-10 at the half before the Oregon machine went into overdrive to put Cal to bed and stay perfect 10-0. There last two regular season games are at home to #13 Stanford, and away to state rivals #16 Oregon State.
Notre Dame are on the outside as we said, although they avoided the potential banana skin on the road to bitter rivals, Boston College winning 21-6. The Irish have played a lot better on the road rather than the suffocating South Bend home pressure. The Irish will stay perfect as they only have Wake Forest and the underpar USC left on the schedule. This is the double edge sword of ND’s schedule, it makes for an unbeaten run yet the teams are all woeful and a lot have losing records hence why KSU and Oregon are in the driving seats. The defence remains the best in the country, with mainstay Manti Te’o had his sixth interception and restricting the BC Eagles (2-8) to two field goals of 36 and 45 yards meaning they did not get close to the end zone.
Week 12 makes for just people waiting for the three unbeaten sides to mess up, as all eyes are on the National Title picture although the SEC still has five sides in the Top 10 (Bama, #5 Georgia, #6 Florida, #7 LSU, #8 Texas A&M, #9 South Carolina).
The match-up of the week for me though is in the PAC12 where #17 UCLA (8-2) host #18 USC Trojans (7-3) in a possibly high scoring offensive game featuring Matt Barkely and Johnathan Franklin.