NCAA: Upsets Rule Week Six

Photo Credit: Ralph D. Russo

Photo Credit: Ralph D. Russo

An upset avalanche flat out smacked up the top 25 this week, as #2 Oregon, #3 Alabama, #4 Oklahoma, #6 Texas A&M,  #8 UCLA, #16 USC, #17 Wisconsin, and #18 BYU fell off this week to lower ranked opponents.

In my years of watching college football, I don’t recall not only so many top 25 teams falling, but so many top-tier teams falling. This will probably go down as one of the most unpredictable weeks we have had in a long time. In fact, there has never been 5 top ten teams go down in the same week.

The Oregon-Arizona game was quite a matchup. Arizona, for the second consecutive year, had Oregon’s number. Marcus Mariota came in the game looking sharp and he even caught a touchdown from his running back on a trick play. That wasn’t enough though. While the Ducks didn’t have interception oriented issues, fumbling was the premise of their troubles. Mariota, who is praised for his control of the ball, could not hold onto the ball, coughing it up twice. The latter one cost the Ducks the game. Meanwhile freshman Anu Solomon ended up with 287 yards on Arizona’s passing game. Nick Wilson had 92 yards rushing on 7.1 yards per carry and two touchdowns. However, the name to remember for this one was Scooby Wright III. The young Wildcat busted through the trenches, rushing Mariota often, eventually making the game-winning strip sack fumble to seal the victory once again for the Wildcats. It was an unusual sighting to see Oregon turning the ball over, but it might have just cost them a championship appearance. Oregon extended their losing streak to Arizona, losing 24-31.

Third ranked Alabama wasn’t able to walk away with the win against 11 ranked Ole Miss, partly because of quarterback Blake Sims. Sims threw one interception  -ironically the game sealer – with a measly 228 yards and zero touchdowns. TJ Yeldon’s 123 yards, although impressive, wasn’t enough to get the win either. The Crimson Tide defense failed to show up, as Bo Wallace executed flawlessly with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also added 251 passing yards. Alabama’s loss stung and could potentially threaten their chances of a playoff berth, as they fell to the Rebels, 17-23.

Oklahoma, ranked fourth in the nation, felt the legitimate threat of TCU’s defense, which forced two interceptions and managed to shut down the run game to a minimal 3.6 yards per carry. Trevor Knight delivered a poor performance for his Sooners, not only throwing two interceptions, but he completed less than 50 percent of his passes. Trevone Boykin, while not giving the prettiest performance, managed to get the job done with two touchdowns and 318 passing yards, including hooking up with Kolby Listenbee five times for 103 yards. The game really got down to the wire when TCU had to hold the Sooners offense from converting on a fourth down with three minutes left. Obviously they stopped the Sooners. The rest is history. TCU continued to show that why they are a legitimate threat to be reckoned with, even if they don’t play in the strongest schedule in the NCAA. The Horned Frogs knocked off the Sooners, 37-31.

Some losses were blowouts, such as 12 ranked Mississippi State took care of business against sixth ranked Texas A&M. Mississippi State ended up with winning by a 17 point margin. Although Heisman candidate Kenny Hill threw for 365 yards and four touchdowns, he ended up coughing up three picks to the Bulldog defense (although one of which was due to a drop from a receiver). All three of the picks were actually thrown to the same person, which was linebacker Richie Brown. Of course the defense not doing their job didn’t help the Aggies out, as they allowed over 560 total yards of offense. Dak Prescott shined with two touchdowns and a 76 percent completion rate., Mississippi State also dominated on the run game, as Josh Robinson had 107 yards and two touchdowns alone. The Aggies failed to get it done, losing by a wide margin of 17 points, 47-31.

The UCLA Bruins showed that their lack of dominance against unranked teams finally caught up to them. Utah not turning the ball over and rushing for over 242 yards helped put up 30 points on the board against the Bruins. Down 17-7 after the first half, Utah managed to squeeze the game closer and closer, putting themselves in a game winning situation towards the end of the game. Brett Hundley played decently, throwing for 269 yards and two touchdowns. It got down to the last few seconds of the game for UCLA to potentially win it. During the attempted kick to win the game, the kicker misses from 59 yards out, but was given another shot by a VERY controversial “Roughing the Kicker” penalty, narrowing the distance from 59 yards to 50 yards. However, he still hooked it right knocking the Bruins out of the top 10. The game ended 28-30 in favor of Utah.

The USC Trojans took the field competitively against the Arizona State Sun Devils, as they were up nine heading into the fourth quarter. It stayed like that until there was about three minutes left in the game. But that was soon to change. With an immediate 73-yard touchdown pass by Mike Bercovici, who threw for 510 yards and five touchdowns during the game; Arizona State pulled within two. The USC offense wasn’t able to accomplish much, especially passing wise, where they couldn’t find the end zone in the passing game. Besides a 53-yard run by Jevorious Allen, there wasn’t much going on in the run game either. The defense finally was picked apart by a lazy attempt to stop a Hail Mary that was caught by star wide receiver Jalen Strong from 43 yards out. This would ultimately cap off a dreadful defensive performance that allowed over 500 yards passing alone. USC falls to 3-2, losing 38-34 to the Sun Devils that hope to climb up in the rankings as the season progresses

Wisconsin also struggled this past Saturday. Although Heisman candidate Melvin Gordon rushed for 259 yards, that was surprisingly not enough against the Northwestern Wildcats. Gordon wasn’t the person to blame. While he reached a career high in rushing yards in a game and averaged 9.6 yards per carry, his quarterback struggled, throwing three interceptions. Justin Jackson seemed to run comfortably against the Badger defense attaining 162 yards total on 4.9 yards per carry. Managing the ball wisely in the pass game would ultimately determine this game, as the Wildcats didn’t turn the ball over once. The Wisconsin passing game seems to cause worry overall, as they surprisingly fell to 3-2. Wisconsin lost their edge against the Wildcats, as Northwestern ran away with a 20-14 victory.

BYU, ranked 18 in the nation, was struggling during their game against Utah State That was until starting quarterback Taysom Hill fell to injury after breaking his leg early in the game. The performance from the backup was awful to say the least. He went 10-of-29 with 172 yards and three picks without a single touchdown. Despite throwing for 271 yards total on the BYU passing game, the Utah State team shined substantially more, with 321 yards passing and three touchdowns. Trying to make a run for the BCS playoff series comes to an end for BYU, due to their loss and strength of schedule. Not to mention the that BYU just lost their star quarterback with a broken leg. BYU falls to 4-1, as a 35-20 loss not only hurts, but causes the team to worry about where they stand without their quarterback.

The top ten is now jumbled up as.

  • Oregon: Fell from second in the nation to 12
  • Alabama: Fell from third to seventh
  • Oklahoma: Fell from fourth to 11
  • Texas A&M: Fell from sixth to 14
  • UCLA: Fell from eighth to 18
  • USC: Fell from 16 to out of the Top 25
  • Wisconsin Fell from 17 to out of the Top 25
  • BYU: Fell from 18 to out of the Top 25.

Auburn, like last year, rises to second in the nation after dominating LSU. Arizona now rises from out of the top 25 up to 10. As for Ole Miss, they are tied with Mississippi State at third in the nation. TCU jumps into the top 10, now ranked ninth in the nation.

The AP Top 25 is quite a substantially different view now with many newcomers rising up to spots that is usually rare for them to reach. That’s not to say a new wave of competition is making their entrance now. I am sure this upcoming weekend will be even more exciting.