Labor Day weekend got advertised into our over-saturated brains as the most scintillating opening act in college football history.
And it was!
Early second Saturday was a step down—more labor than love--but Saturday night’s comeback action was so good it even lapped the SEC-ACC 500 field at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Arkansas rallied hard to whip Texas Christian in a double-OT thriller; Utah held off Brigham Young in the Holy War when the Cougars failed on a two-point try to win.
The SEC, after a soul-searching first week, won some pride back, led by impressive comebacks by Tennessee and the Hogs.
Alabama won comfortably over Western Kentucky but the take-away was Nick Saban screaming at offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin in a tantrum Saban would later would reclassify as an “ass-chewing.”
Rankman the lip reader believes he saw Saban say “Get me Sarkisian!!”[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
Pac 12 after dark, still shown at obscene hours, offered its usual fare of bartender peanuts and cabaret.
While New England slept, Boise State thwarted Washington State’s last heave; Arizona State outlasted Texas Tech in a game where 123 points were scored and Sun Devils’ back Kalen Ballage tied an NCAA record with eight touchdowns.
It will be sanctioned by the NCAA with asterisk: * (feat accomplished against Texas Tech’s defense).
Haunted by the ghost of Eddie Robinson, the Arizona Wildcats trailed Grambling, 21-3, but rallied before the clock struck midnight on Rich Rodriguez’s program.
And while Virginia at Oregon started at 10:30 in the East, don’t sleep on the Ducks. Transfer quarterback Dakota Prukop is better than Dakota Fanning; Olympic hurdler Devon Allen went 110 meters on the Cavs in Eugene and anonymous Royce Freeman continues to rise in the Witness Protection Trophy race.
Absolutely, though, take a nap for now on Washington State and the Bears of Cal, who are now 1-0 below the equator and 0-1 above it after their late-night comeback fire got blown out near the Gas Lamp District.
The official time of Cal’s loss was 2:38 a.m. ET.
Virginia was expected home in Charlottesville at 9 a.m. local time. But at least a network match-maker cashed a nice paycheck.
What seems like years ago, USC and UCLA bounced back from first-week losses with second-week home openers seen exclusively, by dozens, on the Lost City of Atlantis Network.
The Big 12 would really rather not talk about it; the Big Ten held its own but has to talk down a second straight loss by Northwestern to a sock-drawer school. The Atlantic Coast emerged in a good state except for NC State (lost to East Carolina).
The Associated Press top 10 got away unscathed, although Clemson and Georgia got as close to “scathed” as the good Lord should want to allow.
You know what they say: only mad bulldogs and head linesmen go out in the noonday sun. And, yikes, was Georgia’s “Uga” ticked-off having to tolerate a two-point win over FCS Nicholls State.
After all tolls were collected there ended up being some close games (some that weren’t supposed to be), a publicity stunt held at a raceway and a couple smelly officiating calls that proved justice is sometimes blind (and can’t be overruled by replay).
The “outrage of the day\millennium” was Central Michigan having the unmitigated gall to somewhat defeat Oklahoma State on a last-second Hail Mary (plus a lateral) in Stillwater, (where the refs were not) OK.
(Before we forget, congratulations Chippewas for a tremendous effort that will get lost in the slop heap of controversy).
The better question was how Oklahoma State, a three touchdown favorite, allowed the game to come down to the final play?
But truth be told the Cowboys did, technically, by the letter of the rule, get holy hosed.
The miracle “winning” play, as it turns out, should not have counted because of a complicated time-expiration stipulation that had to be explained to me 15 times by several former referees now working the “office of corrections” for the networks.
Fox’s Mike Pereira got more air time Saturday than ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit.
It’s too bad Oklahoma State had to lose like this, but spare us the pleas for demanding the result be reversed. We all saw the game, and will factor that into anything positive that may happen to Oklahoma State the rest of the way.
Overturning game results might be a good Twitter rant, but it’s a bad idea unless you want to go back through history with a giant eraser.
The Troy Trojans had a big beef of their own as they attempted to pull off an incredible upset at Clemson. The Tigers were up 13-10, poised to score, when the ball popped loose on a goal-line run and was returned the other way for a touchdown.
The officials said the play was whistled dead after forward progress, which seemed to be strongly refuted by replay and reality. Troy had another apparent fumble recovery blown dead by ACC officials.
“I would like to see how it would have gone if maybe those fumbles were looked at,” Troy Coach Neal Brown told Troy student-reporter, Jeremy Wise, after the game. “It was big. I thought the ACC crew did a nice job, but there were two fumbles that I felt like were fumbles that both of them were blown dead.”
Neither play is reviewable.
“It could have been a turning point,” Brown said.
You think? Clemson still needed to recover an on-side kick in the end to preserve a six-point win.
Should Troy, in retrospect, be given the victory?
Years ago, Oklahoma got robbed at Oregon on a bad call and president David Boren demanded the result be expunged from the record books, like a Soviet dissident.
Our advice back then was for President Dave to sit down and act like a leader of men and women. Somehow, your great university survived.
And guess what, all these years later, when people bring up that game, my answer is always “Oklahoma got robbed.” History knows what happened.
Should it get to a point where Oklahoma State has won the Big 12 and is vying for a playoff spot, the committee should consider strongly the fact the Cowboys should have won. And also that they were taken to the brink, at home, by the MAC.
Oklahoma State also catches a break in that the championship is now decided by people, not computers. In the BCS era a loss would be devastating in the computer component.
So, anyway, try to move on from this injustice and work on getting a lot, lot better.
That’s late-night wrap from the wild, wild west.
We're glad former Baylor Coach Art Briles is sorry "bad things happened under my watch."
That public-relations interview with ESPN's Tom Rinaldi aired so long ago, though, Briles may have to work up some tears again to convince me again.
Rest up and see you all next week.[/membership]