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College Football Wrap-Up Week 5 – Only a Baker’s Dozen of Teams Still Remain Undefeated

Only 13 of the 120 major teams remain undefeated after Week 5 of a 16-week college football season. These are Florida, Texas, Alabama, LSU, Boise State, Cincinnati, TCU, Iowa, Kansas, Auburn, South Florida, of Missouri and Wisconsin.

On the other hand, only 7 teams have yet to win a game – Rice, New Mexico, Eastern Michigan, Florida International University, Florida Atlantic, Western Kentucky and Miami (OH). So, ironically, 20 teams always have perfect records – 13 are great and 7 are terrible.

Considering that most teams are now playing a 12-game season, we have passed the third mark at the finish. Many fans may have thought that Virginia Tech, USC, Ohio State, BYU, Oklahoma and even Mississippi might still be undefeated. Not so.

The biggest upset of the week belonged to the 123rd-ranked University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) Miners, who survived and outscored the 12th-ranked Houston Cougars, 58-41, in a barn burning with competitive excitement. With the score tied at 17 in the first half, Houston gave up too early as UTEP won the 2nd half 41-24.

Coach Mike Price’s Miners were only able to muster 53 total offensive yards in a 64-7 loss to No. 2 Texas last week on the road, but grew out of humiliation to amass 581 yards home attack. Donald Buckram rushed for 262 yards and scored 4 touchdowns. UTEP really found their mojo in the second half, putting up 20 points on the board in the 3rd quarter and 21 in the 4th.

Houston’s powerful offense, led by quarterback Case Keenum with 536 passing yards and 5 touchdowns, couldn’t keep up with UTEP on the scoreboard. The loss was the Cougars’ first after scoring 55, 45 and 29 points in their first 3 wins; Unfortunately, that had to happen because Houston has 11 players on defense, they just don’t play well on defense, giving up an average of 32 points per game.

If Houston coach Kevin Sumlin ever decides to hire a good defensive coordinator and draft defensive players, Houston will become a much more important player against quality competition.

The second biggest upset saw 17th-placed Miami (FL) overcome last week’s 31-7 away loss to 6th-placed Virginia Tech as they raced home to beat 8th-placed Oklahoma 21-20. The Hurricanes led 21-17 after 3 quarters and managed to hold the Sooners to a field goal in the final quarter to win.

Unranked Michigan State, which has looked terrible with 3 losses in the past 3 weeks, successfully defended its territory by toppling 22nd ranked Michigan 26-20 in overtime. The loss was the first for Wolverines, who trailed 10-6 at halftime but managed to send the game to OT at 20-20. True Spartans freshman tailback Larry Caper ran 23 yards, eluding at least 2 tackles on the way, to score the game-winning touchdown for Michigan State.

Whoever said it was so hard to get wins on the road forgot to tell the majority of quality teams. Of the 12 ranked teams playing away games this week, only 3 – Oklahoma, Houston and Michigan – lost while 9 won. The winners included:

Third-placed Alabama beat Kentucky 38-20; 4th-ranked LSU needed two touchdowns in the final 2:53 minutes of the game to stifle 18th-ranked Georgia, 20-13; and 6th-ranked Virginia Tech managed to defeat a 97th-ranked Duke team 34-26, a very unimpressive win despite being on the road. Giving Duke 26 points is like taking your sister to prom. Seventh-ranked Southern California tore through the 24th-ranked California Bears, 30-3; the Bears seem to fold every season, and sometimes even so early.

Ohio State, ranked ninth, traveled to Indiana and won 33-14. Apparently they still play football in Indiana, but with the Hoosiers it’s sometimes hard to tell. Cincinnati, ranked tenth, slipped past 150th and winless (you read that right) Miami of OH, 37-13. Another less than impressive performance from a highly ranked team. Fifteenth-placed Penn State beat 85th-placed Illinois 35-17; at least the Nittany Lions weren’t playing at a 1-AA school this week.

21st-ranked Mississippi, the most publicized new “good” team of the season, beat 77th-ranked Vanderbilt 23-7; the score was 23-7 after the 3rd Quarter, both teams decided to go through the 4th Quarter, saving energy for the party later. 25th-ranked Georgia Tech beat Mississippi State 42-31, showing that the top 25 teams can give up far too many points to an opponent while winning with very little effectiveness on the defensive side of the ball.

Five other ranked teams have won home victories. They included 11th-place TCU over 117th-place SMU 39-14; 16th-ranked Oregon over inept and hapless 101st-ranked Washington State, 52-6-Oregon led 42-0 at halftime, showered early and still won by 46; and BYU, ranked 20th, picked up an unimpressive victory over 119th-ranked Utah State, 35-17.

Fifth-ranked Boise State notched a ridiculous 34-16 victory over 139th-ranked 1-AA University of California Davis (UC Davis), another part of the cream puff program (some say puffs powder) of the Broncos. The 13th-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes, who beat 5th-ranked Penn State 21-10 in an away game last week, had the dreaded disappointment and just moved past Arkansas State , 125th, 24-21. The Hawkeye defense, seemingly exhausted after their efforts at Happy Valley, let Arkansas State score 14 points in the final quarter to make it too close. Without a basket in the 4th quarter, Iowa would have gone into overtime.

Three unranked teams went 5-0 in their attempt to enter the AP Top 25 poll. They included Wisconsin on the road against Minnesota 31-28, South Florida on the road against Syracuse, 95th, 34 -20, and Auburn vs. Tennessee 26-22.

Eight other teams not ranked 4-1 went on to win. Notre Dame had to go to overtime at home to put Washington back 37-30, marking the 3rd straight game the Fighting Irish have won in the final 60 seconds. They don’t call the Irish lucky for nothing. 89th-ranked Idaho beat 62nd-ranked Colorado State 31-29. Boston College defeated Florida State 28-21 at home.

Pittsburgh traveled to Louisville and won 35-10; the Central Michigan Chippewas traveled to Buffalo and beat the 127th-ranked Bulls 20-13; South Carolina won at home to the state’s 158th-ranked rival, 1-AA South Carolina State 38-14; and Tulsa surrendered to Rice and beat the incompetent, hapless, and winless Owls 27-10. Owls do not eat rice, they are apparently called rice owls; maybe they are smart birds that don’t earn much.

Stanford also beat UCLA 24-16 to go 4-1.

Six Top 25 teams were inactive this week-No. 1 Florida, No. 2 Texas, No. 12 Oklahoma State, No. 16 Kansas, No. 23 Missouri and No. 24 Nebraska.

Copyright © 2009 Ed Bagley

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