So you thought this was going to be a weekend without any true "marquee'' games. No Top 10 matchups on the board. And some rivalries--OU vs. Texas--tainted by unexpected losses.
Where do we begin?
How about all of you people--including and maybe especially--college football coaches--suffering from a case of paraskevidekatriaphobia?
Which as we learned and saw on Friday night was a somewhat justified fear of Friday the 13th. And that was followed by a Saturday (and Sunday morning on the East Coast in typical Pac-12 fashion) of bizarre happenings which tore apart the Top 10 and also did severe damage to the Pac 12's playoff chances, specifically the state of Washington
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OK. Let's get down to the basics for Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, coach of the defending national champion and (for now) No. 2 ranked Clemson Tigers.
Clemson, a team which had beaten Syracuse by a score of 50-0 last season, came to the Carrier Dome on Friday night and left with not only its first loss of the season, but a medical issue surrounding starting quarterback Kelly Bryant who was knocked out of the game at halftime with a concussion, as well as a sprained ankle (pre-existing condition) which had gotten worse in what turned into a 27-24 Syracuse victory.
Move the timeline three hours later and nearly 3,000 miles across the country to where No. 8 Washington State was visiting unranked California in a typical Pac-12 late night festival.
This was truly a horror show for Washington State coach Mike Leach and the Cougars. Not only did they see their first Top 10 ranking since 2003 evaporate in the very smoky skies in Berkeley caused by the fires raging in the area, they were embarrassed in a 37-3 loss.
""We're pathetic front runners,'' said the always outspoken Leach.""We have no excuses. It is what it is.''
What it was was bad, very bad. Bad like in 9 sacks allowed and 7 turnovers. Bad like in letting Cal, which is now a very respectable and somewhat surprising 4-3, win its first game against a Top 20 ranked team since 2003. The Bears record against Top 10 teams in the last 39 seasons was 1-52-1 going into Friday night's game.
Cal was led by QB Ross Bowers who had a 7-yard TD run in the fourth quarter which included a spectacular flip into the end zone--Bowers mother Joanne was the gymnastic coach at the University of Washington. It was the first rushing TD of Bowers' career.
What does all of this mean in the grand scheme of things? ""It means that we won't be 12-0,'' said Swinney who now has two weeks to help his team recover. "That's the only thing that is certain.''
Give Swinney even more credit for coming into the Syracuse locker room after the game and congratulating the Orange. "He came in and congratulated us, just saying "great win'' and that was probably one of the most class acts I've ever seen,'' said Syracuse linebacker Zaire Franklin.
Clemson also had an 11-game winning streak--the longest in the FBS--snapped.
Leach, who must deal with Colorado next week in Spokane, was only slightly less direct. ""We have no time to relax,'' said Leach.""We found out (tonight) what relaxing looks like.''
For the winning coaches in the Friday nights frolics, Syracuse coach Dino Babers gave what is becoming an entertaining post game pep rally in his locker room after the game which should be used as a primer to get every athletic team fired up about itself.
And first year Cal coach Justin Wilcox showed that this group of Bears were more grizzly than Teddy in their nature and should be approached with caution by everyone else for the remainder of the season. Any coach who can hold a Mike Leach coached team to 3 points merits attention.
With that Friday Night appetizer, here's what the rest of the weekend looked like for A Jersey Guy who was filling in for Rankman who was taking a weekend off to enjoy some family social matters.
Once Saturday arrived, we had a series of games involving ranked teams (against unranked teams) which came down to the final quarter, minutes or even final plays.
Boston College began the day as a 21-point underdog against Louisville and ended its afternoon with a stunning 45-42 upset win (read more about that in TMG The Heights).
But consider what followed through the afternoon and evening.
No. 5 Washington lost to unranked Arizona State by 6.
No. 7 Wisconsin beat unranked Purdue by 8.
No. 10 Auburn lost to unranked LSU by 4.
No. 11 Miami beat unranked Georgia Tech by 1 in the final four seconds.
No. 12 Oklahoma beat unranked Texas by 5 in a game which went down to the last play.
No. 13 USC holds off unranked Utah to post a 1 point victory which came when the Utes 2 point conversion to win the game with 42 seconds left failed.
No. 17 Michigan had to go to overtime to beat unranked Indiana by 7.
No. 19 San Diego State saw its unbeaten season disappear by losing to unranked Boise State by 17.
No. 25 Navy lost (for the first time) to unranked Memphis by 3.
Yup, just another weekend at the office.
One offshoot of Clemson's loss is that it could keep the Tigers in a CFB playoff game in the Sugar Bowl on January 1 as the Tigers prefer. The problem is that Clemson could squeeze into the playoffs as the No. 4 ranked team, which could mean their opponent might be....Alabama. But we still have lots of games and upsets before any of that is set.
Clemson's loss did leave room for the Big 12 or Pac-12 to put its representative in the Final Four if the Tigers stumble one more time.
And in a good day for New England college football, UConn went to Philadelphia and held on for a 28-24 win over Temple, which doesn't sound all that impressive unless you see the way the Huskies have staggered through the first five weeks of the season.
It's still too early to take the Heisman race seriously, but Washington State quarterback Luke Falk, who had been moving into the contenders role as Wazu moved up in the rankings, had a 5-interception night in the 37-3 loss to Cal, is now in the discard pile. There aren't enough high profile games on Washington State's schedule for Falk to get back into contention.
San Diego State's 31-14 loss to Boise State knocked the it out of the College Football Playoff picture and put USF, an easy winner over Cincinnati, in prime position.
Who's No. 14 in the Big Ten? It's not Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights went to Illinois and carved out their first Big Ten win in two seasons with a 35-24 win over Illinois, which is the worst team in the Big Ten.[/membership]