The game of the century of the week of the eon was yesterday, and it lived up to expectations. After an offseason of scandals and autographs and talk of revenge, #1 Alabama traveled to College Station to face #6 Texas A&M. Not only was it CBS’s SEC Game of the Week, but College Gameday aired live from College Station as well.
The game started off poorly for Alabama, as the Tide quickly fell into a 14-0 hole. The Aggies were clicking on all cylinders. But Alabama stuck to their game plan and scored 35 unanswered points. Texas A&M made it interesting towards the end of the game, but the Tide would ultimately prevail, 49 – 42. So much for SEC Defenses.
With Virginia Tech and Texas A&M now behind him, the Tide are sitting in comfortable position to make it to their third straight national title game. In their remaining ten games, Alabama is never on the road for consecutive weeks, and their two toughest challenges, LSU and Ole Miss, will be at home. Alabama fans might want to start looking for hotels in Pasadena.
The other big winner this week is UCF. The Knights went into Happy Valley and upset Penn State, 34 – 31, something that does not happen all that often to the Nittany Lions. UCF faces their biggest challenge next week, when Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks come to town. Louisville fans will also be watching that game closely, as a UCF victory over an SEC team would greatly help Louisville’s strength of schedule.
Losers – Wisconsin, Nebraska, Texas
Although #20 Wisconsin played in the last game of the day, we feel compelled to list them first due to the strange sequence of events at the end of the game. The Badgers got the ball back on their own 17 down 32 – 30 with 1:36 left in the game. Wisconsin needed only to get in field goal range to defeat Arizona State. It took just over a minute to get to the Arizona 13.
That’s when things went all to hell.
Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave heads to the center of the field and appears to take a knee. He then places the ball on the ground. But as the ESPN play-by-play guy states, it doesn’t appear his knee actually touched the ground. Seeing that, the Arizona State players jump on top of the ball. The officials don’t make a call either way. And by the time the umpire does spot the ball, there is no time left on the clock. The game is over.
What the hell.
When we first saw this, we thought that the majority of the blame for this fiasco fell up quarterback Joel Stave. But Deadspin’s Andy Hutchins brought up a good point:
— Andy Hutchins (@AndyHutchins) September 15, 2013
So even if his knee wasn’t down, the play should have been whistled dead and the officials should have quickly re-spotted the ball. But they just let time elapse without re-spotting the ball or conferring with one another to discuss what happened. You can’t blame the Arizona State players’ actions; they just assumed it was a fumble.
All-in-all, a terrible job by the Pac-12 officials, made all the more frustrating by the lack of an explanation after the game. It’ll be a long flight home for Wisconsin.
#23 Nebraska was a 4.5 favorite over #16 UCLA at home Saturday, and looked every bit the part, leading the Bruins 21-3 at one point and 21-10 at the half. But then the Nebraska defense remembered it was the Nebraska defense, and proceeded to give up 38 unanswered points en route to a 41 – 21 shellacking at the hands of UCLA.
And Texas, ohhhhhhhhhhh Texas.
Mack Brown fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz after the BYU loss and hired Greg Robinson to take his place. Needless to say, that didn’t help, and Ole Miss ran away with this one, 44 – 23. If this keeps up, Mack Brown may not make it to the end of the season.
But let’s not let reality get in the way of delusions of grandeur.
Mack Brown following a 44-23 loss to Ole Miss: “We’ll get all this righted by winning a Big 12 championship.”
— Matt Mosley (@mattmosley) September 15, 2013
There’s only one appropriate response for that, really.
- Arizona State over #20 Wisconsin, 32 – 30.
- Texas Tech over #24 TCU, 20 – 10.
A Look Ahead
The slate of Week 4 games is…shall we say…not very good. There are no matchups between Top 25 teams, and the most compelling game is probably Auburn at LSU. Tennessee also travels to Florida for The Third Saturday in September. Gameday will head to Fargo for the Delaware State-North Dakota State game.
AP Top 25