Monday, September 21, 2009

Any Given Saturday: Another Trojan Slip and a Huskie Trifecta

Here once again, your weekly look at some of the upsets from a great Saturday of college football.

Washington 16 Southern Cal 13

How'd it Happen? Turnovers. The Trojan defense held the Huskies in check, limiting them to 293 total yards, including just 56 on the ground. However, 3 turnovers (compared to none for the Huskies) contributed greatly to their upset loss. The Huskies kicked a 22-yard field goal with 3 second left for the winning margin.

What Does it Mean? For the Trojans, its yet another road loss as a double-digit favorite (4 since 2006). Their national title hopes are not completely extinguished, but they are quite dimmed. The win versus Ohio State will carry a great deal of weight, but the Trojans cannot lose again if they hope to play in the BCS Championship Game. In addition, its early, but with road games at Cal and Oregon remaining, this loss may have cost them a Rose Bowl bid as well. For Washington, this is the first time they have won consecutive games snce they opened the 2007 season with wins at Syracuse and at home againsto Boise State. Its also their first Pac-10 win since upsetting Cal in November of 2007. Even with the win, a bowl game is still a long shot, as the Huskies have 5 road games in their remaining 9 contests.

Connecticut 30 Baylor 22

How'd it Happen? The Huskies came in as double-digit dogs, but walked out of Waco with a win by holding Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin to just 20 yards on the ground and only 119 yards through the air. The Huskies also had 2 players rush for over 100 yards and committed no turnovers in pulling out the straight up road upset.

What Does it Mean? For the Bears, this is significant blow to their bowl chances. They still have 2 likely wins before conference play begins (Northwestern State and Kent State), but they now have to win 3 league games to become bowl eligible. For the Huskies, it means a likely 3-1 start (with Rhode Island up next) before conference play begins, and a solid chance at a 3rd straight bowl game. Randy Edsall is one heckuva coach.

Northern Illinois 28 Purdue 21

How'd it Happen? The Huskies (sense a trend here?) jumped on the Boilermakers with a 21-point second quarter and held Purdue without an offensive touchdown until late in the 3rd quarter to pull off the upset as double-digit dogs.

What Does it Mean? For the Boilermakers, the loss makes a bowl bid an unlikely scenario. In their final non-conference game, they should be a somewhat large dog to Notre Dame. Lose that one, and it will take 5 Big 10 wins to get back to the postseason. For Northern Illinois, it represents the second good game they have played on the road against a Big 10 team (lost 28-20 to Wisconsin in their first game) and may mean they are contenders in the MAC.

Florida State 54 BYU 28

How'd it Happen? Offense and turnovers. The 'Noles scored on seemingly every possession rolling up 313 yards on the ground and forced 5 Cougar turnovers in winning as more than a touchdown dog in Provo.

What Does it Mean? For the Cougars, their BCS and national title dreams are gone (that was a fun 2 weeks). For the 'Noles, the narrow win over Jacksonville State is forgotten and with Miami's performance on Thursday, the narrow loss to the Hurricanes is forgiven. Maybe the 'Noles really are back?

Middle Tennessee State 32 Maryland 31

How'd it Happen? In a wildly entertaining, evenly played game, Alan Gendreau kicked a 19-yard field goal as time expired to give the Blue Raiders the road upset.

What Does it Mean? For Maryland, their streak of 3 straight bowls is in jeopardy. With a weakened Rutgers team left on the non-conference slate, the Terps will need at least 4 and possibly 5 conference wins to get back to the postseason. For the Blue Raiders, it marks their second straight somewhat marquee win (beat Memphis last week). It also appears the Blue Raiders have adapted to Tony Franklin's spread, rolling up 438 total yards against a BCS-conference defense. Middle Tennessee is certainly a contender in the Sun Belt race.

Colorado State 35 Nevada 20

How'd it Happen? The prevailing theme of this week's entry: turnovers. The Wolfpack turned it over 5 times. The Rams 0. The Rams led 35-6 midway through the 4th before 2 late Nevada touchdowns made it respectable.

What Does it Mean? For Nevada, they are in serious danger of falling to 0-3 with a home game versus Missouri coming up on Friday. After being expected to challenge Boise State for the WAC title this season, the Wolfpack could potentially be 0-4 before conference play begins (play UNLV after Missouri). For Colorado State, they are the most surprising 3-0 team at this point in the season, and are halfway to bowl eligibility. Such an accoplishment would be their second in as many seasons under coach Steve Fairchild. We'll find out how good they are in short order, as they travel to Provo to take on what will likely be a perturbed BYU team on Saturday.

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