The Eye Can See Clearly Now

The picture may be muddled back in the pack, but at the front it's crystal clear: everyone is chasing Oklahoma. With all due respect to TCU--and frankly there isn't much due--the Miami Hurricanes are the only other legitimate, undefeated, division 1-A team outside Norman as November approaches.

AFAFalcon Staff Writer; Chris Field
Chris Field

Staff Writer

FROM THE TOP. Oklahoma blew into Boulder on Saturday night and posted their first win at Folsom Field Teddy-Lehman of Oklahoma leaps player to get at CU QB. (AP) since 1988. OU's, 34-20, victory raised its record to 16-8-2 in Boulder as the Sooners defeated the Buffs for the third time in less than a year after having beaten Colorado twice in the 2002 season, the second time, 27-11, in the Big Twelve Conference championship game.

       Miami had an open weekend in advance of its coming meeting in Blacksburg with the Virginia Tech Hokies. The Sooners and Hurricanes remain in a one-two battle atop every significant poll in college football as the regular season heads into its final full month of play.

       BIG PICTURE OR SNAP SHOT? Whether you consider West Virginia's win over Virginia Tech an upset or not, depends upon your point of view. The Mountaineers' victory pushed their all time lead in the series to 28-20-1. On the other hand, the Hokies had won four of the past five meetings between the rivals. The last time Frank Beamer's team traveled to Morgantown, it posted an easy, 35-0, whitewash against the home team. With its victory last week WVU is now a solid 16-8 at home against Virginia Tech, so it really isn't a shock that it downed the visitors by a convincing, 28-7, score in a game which it lead from start to finish.

       THE TROJANS MARCH ONWARD. USC beat Washington, 43-23, for its first win in Husky Stadium in ten years. Southern Cal is now an impressive 22-4(.846) in its past twenty-six contests. Key games with UCLA and Washington State--the only two undefeated teams in Pac 10 play--await USC in the next three weeks with the Trojans playing at home both times. QB Matt Leinart led a squad which amassed 565 yards of offense and was forced to punt only once in the game.

       NO STYLE POINTS FOR THIS ONE. The Georgia Bulldogs needed every bit of bite their defense could provide to escape a huge embarrassment against Alabama-Birmingham. UGA brought the nation's stingiest defense into the contest, held UAB to 197 yards and had to kick a game winning field goal in the fourth quarter to steal a, 16-13, decision on Saturday. The 'Dogs head to Florida next weekend to play the rival Gators in this year's edition of the World's Biggest Cocktail Party. Georgia will need a win to maintain its one game lead over the Gators and Tennessee in the SEC's East division.

       NOT THIS TIME. Washington State tried to giftwrap a victory for the Oregon State Beavers, but the visitors wanted no part of being gracious recipients. The Cougars overcame five interceptions, two fumbles and a running attack which produced three yards to post a, 36-30, win in Pac 10 play. WSU had lost two of its past three games against OSU, but raised its record to 18-4-1 since 1975 versus Oregon State.  Coach Bill Doba and Louisville's Bobby Petrino are the only two, first-year coaches in division 1-A this season with 7-1 records on the year.

       SCORING RAMPAGE.Bobby Bowden (Getty) Florida State's defense entered the game with Wake Forest on Saturday having allowed the fewest TDs in the country at a mere half dozen. The Demon Deacons scored three, but couldn't come close to forging an upset against FSU. The Seminoles scored a, 48-24, win as coach Bobby Bowden passed Joe Paterno to become the winningest coach in division 1-A history. FSU maintains a comfortable cushion in the ACC and will step out of conference play this weekend to face Notre Dame (2-5), in South Bend.

       ABOUT TIME. Ohio State's offense--highly unimpressive all season--finally got untracked against an opponent. Okay, it was Indiana which doesn't really count. Still, the Buckeyes cranked out 603 yards in its, 35-6, cakewalk in Bloomington. OSU has beaten the Hoosiers eleven straight times and raised its record in Bloomington--the Buckeyes' home away from away--to 22-2-1.

       WELL GROUNDED. LSU, with the nation's best rush defense and scoring defense entering the game, limited Auburn to fifty yards on the ground and seven points as the Bayou Bengals coasted to a, 31-7, victory after opening a, 21-0, lead before the end of the first quarter. Auburn's Cadillac Williams ran like a lemon as he was held to 61 yards by a stout LSU defensive front. Nick Saban's team is 7-1 on the season and off to its best start since beginning the 1987 campaign with a 7-0-1 mark.

       SAME OLD, SAME OLD. Before Saturday, Purdue hadn't won a game in Ann Arbor since 1966. That's still the case. Michigan defused the Boliermakers' explosive offense and held it to less than 240 yards on the day. A two touchdown gap by the end of the opening quarter gave the Wolverines a comfortable lead and they went on to post a, 31-3, Big 10 win. Michigan has allowed only two TDs via the pass all season and never allowed QB Kyle Orton to establish any threat through the air. Michigan is now 350-103-5(.770) in the seventy-seven year old "Big House" it calls home and a dazzling 51-6(.895) under Lloyd Carrwhen playing there.Lloyd Carr (Getty)

      BCS HEADACHE RELIEF. TCU may have done enough to survive a pre-Halloween scare from Houston, but the Horned Frogs can kiss their BCS aspirations good-bye. A, 62-55, win over the Cougars, to whom TCU allowed 684 yards, won't impress anyone with the clout to extend a bid to a meaningful postseason bowl game. TCU needs to set its sights on a Conference USA title and a trip to the Liberty Bowl after its defensive debacle over the weekend.

       A LONG FALL. Since defeating Ohio State two weeks ago, Wisconsin has lost a pair of games in Big 10 play. The latest team to upend the Badgers was woeful Northwestern. The Wildcats, previously 0-3 at home this season, downed the visitors, 16-7, to even its conference record at 2-2. QB Bret Basanez threw only his third TD pass of the season, a 53 yard strike to Jason Wright. The Badgers must regroup before finishing the regular season with contests against Minnesota, Michigan State and Iowa, all teams which have been ranked at some point during this year.

       HEY, MACK! Texas barely broke a sweat in toppling Baylor, 56-0, in Waco. The Longhorns raised their record to 18-3 under Mack Brown in their past twenty-one road games. Here's a suggestion for you Mack: try playing Oklahoma in Norman. You've proven you can't beat 'em in Dallas. Maybe you can bring some of your road mojo with you.

       LOBOtomized. Utah just can't seem to get the hang of playing as a ranked team. Prior to this season, the last time the Utes played a contest as a ranked team, was back in 1996. As the 20th ranked team in the nation, the Utes were crushed, 51-10, by the Rice Owls. Over the weekend, Utah, ranked 23rd in the country and the MWC's only unbeaten team in league play, hosted New Mexico and the Lobos ran wild in posting a, 47-35, win. RB DonTrell Moore, the MWC freshman of the year in 2002, broke loose for 119 yards and D.D. Cox chipped in with 106 to help UNM amass 633 yards on offense. Utah's sterling running back, Brandon Warfield, left the game in the first half with a sprained medial collateral ligament and did not return to action.

       NO SURPRISE. Gophers are accustomed to doing well on, or under, the ground so it should shock no one that Minnesota scored two more rushing TDs--and boosted its division 1-A leading total to 30 on the year. The Golden Gophers trounced a dreadful Illinois team, 36-10, in Champaign.

       QUICK TAKES. Boston College beat Notre Dame for the fourth time in five tries. The Eagles soared to a, 27-25, victory. Tyrone Willingham has hit tough times in South Bend. After beginning his coaching tenure with the Irish by posting an 8-0 mark, he has now seen his team go 4-8 in its past dozen games. Florida State comes calling this week.

       Southern Cal has now won its last thirteen homes games. Oklahoma State won its first game in College Station since 1983, when it beat Texas A & M, 38-10, on Saturday. The Cowboys have now won seven in a row this fall since dropping their opener to Nebraska.

       Northern Illinois saw its dreams of an undefeated season vanish in the blink of an eye. Bowling Green took a, 24-3, lead early in the second quarter and was never in danger from that point. Falcons' QB Josh Harris passed for 438 yards and 3 TDs. The game was the first pitting two ranked teams from the MAC since (# 18) Miami of Ohio played (#23) Kent State on November 10, 1973.

       NICE EFFORT. Boise State QB Ryan Dinwiddie, with only 1 interception in 279 passing attempts this fall, threw for 350 yards and 5 TDs as the Broncos bucked San Jose State, 77-14.

       Texas Tech's B. J. Symons threw three interceptions against Mizzou, but managed to complete enough passes to compile 408 yards on the day. The star of the game was Missouri's QB Brad Smith. He ran for a career high 291 yards, passed for 128 more and led the Tigers to a, 62-31, bombing of the Red Raiders. Mizzou is now bowl eligible and qualified with the victory.

       STREAKING. The Buffalo Bulls of the Mid American Conference ended their 18 game losing streak with a, 26-17, win against Ohio University. Rutgers ended a 25 game slide in Big East play by defeating Temple, 30-14. On the other end of the success curve is Army. The Black Knights lost to Cincinnati, 33-29, and dropped its tenth consecutive game.

       EXCLUSIVE NEIGHBORHOODS. When FSU beat Wake Forest over the weekend, Bobby Bowden became the winningest coach--for the moment--in division 1-A history as he passed Joe Paterno by one victory. Bowden had some company in his realm of success.

       John Gagliardi posted his 407th career win when his St. John's team topped Concordia, 24-12. Gagliardi is one victory shy of the legendary Eddie Robinson's 408 wins--the highest total at any level of college football play. The 76 year-old Gagliardi's Johnnies will take on St. Thomas this coming weekend. Now in his fifty-first year as a head coach, Gagliardi owns a lifetime 407-114-11(.775) record. Before taking his current position he coached at Carroll College.

       SHRINKAGEOU's Josh White . Oklahoma, Miami (Fla.) and Texas Christian stand as the only unbeaten teams in division 1-A after NIU and Virginia Tech suffered their first losses of the year. The Sooners face instate rival Oklahoma State this weekend. Miami travels to Blacksburg to face Virginia Tech. TCU will try and regroup on defense before having to play Louisville on Tuesday, November 4th.

       Army and Southern Methodist are the only teams still searching for their first win on the season. The Black Knights will try to tackle Alabama-Birmingham on the road while the Mustangs will try to hound the Fresno State Bulldogs.

       TIME CHECK.Ethan Vannoy of Eastern-Michigan (Getty) Alert football fans will want to make sure they've adjusted their clocks to account for the time change which occurred this past weekend. Failure to do so could result in their missing this week's snore war between some of the nation's most forgettable also-rans.

       Yes, it's still several weeks before your L-Trytophan laced Thanksgiving turkey will have you nodding off in the middle of Aunt Martha's, post-meal, slide show of her third place finish at QUILTAPALOOZA, but there is no cause for dismay. The elixir with which to hasten your couch-potato coma is at hand. For reasons passing understanding, the Central Michigan Chippewas will meet the Eastern Michigan Eagles, in a contest for the ages, which promises to break the current tie for last place in the Western division of the MAC.

       The Chipsters Terrance Jackson of Central-Michigan (Getty) are a putrid 0-5 in league action while the Birds are only a marginally less repulsive 0-4. Bowl committee chairmen can't avoid this game quickly enough, but fried-eyed couch potatoes from coast to coast will be tuning in for all the inaction attending this travesty in an effort to make a two handed catch of forty winks.

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