Unless the Utes can manage to move back into the top 6, they will likely be on the outside looking in when the BCS Bowl bids are announced. In the rest of the Top 10, Georgia moved up one spot to #8, while Michigan and Boise State both jumped up two places to #s 9 and 10 respectively. Falling out of the Top 10 were Tennessee (#8 to #15) and Miami (#10 to #17).
Here's my (very ) preliminary forecast for the BCS Bowl pairings:
Fiesta - The Big East winner, most likely West Virginia, against an at-large team. Let's say it will be Texas.
Rose - The Big Ten winner, most likely Wisconsin, against another at-large team. The obvious choice is California.
Sugar - The ACC winner vs. the SEC champion. I'll say Miami will face Auburn.
Orange - Since I don't see USC or Oklahoma losing any of their remaining games, they will play for the National Championship.
The team that would really be hurt by the above scenario is Auburn. It is most difficult to justify excluding an undefeated SEC team from the Orange Bowl, especially since the Big Twelve and PAC 10 are weaker conferences this season. An undefeated Utah team would have an argument about not receiving a BCS Bowl invitation. However my projected at-large teams, Texas and California, each lost their only game to one of the teams playing for the National Championship. Hopefully, situations like these will eventually lead to deciding the Division One championship on the field with a playoff system. Anything less is a sham.
Here's a summary of last week's games:
Midwest - Miami (Ohio) moved within ½ game of Marshall in the MAC-East with a 23-16 win over Toledo. A one yard TD run in the 4th quarter by Luke Clemens, his 2nd of the game, broke a 16 all tie. Clemens finished with 94 yards on 24 carries and QB Josh Betts was 24-41 for 295 yards for the RedHawks. For the Rockets, Junior QB Bruce Gradkowski completed 23 of 36 passes for 203 yards and a TD and ran for another score. The loss leaves Toledo a game behind Northern Illinois in the MAC- West.
South - South Florida outscored UAB 28-0 in the 4th quarter to post a 45-20 upset win. The Bulls trailed 20-10 in the 3rd quarter before a 6 yard TD run by sophomore QB Pat Julmiste narrowed the gap to 20-17. USF scored the game-winning TD after recovering a UAB fumble on their 6 yard line as Julmiste connected with true freshman WR Johnny Peyton on a 77 yard TD pass. The Bulls then added three more TDs, including two long runs by Andre Hall. Hall finished with a school-record 275 yards on 29 carries. For the Blazers, sophomore RB Corey White rushed 15 times for 83 yards and all three of their scores.
South - In a wild affair, Junior RB Eric Shelton scored on a 1 yard run with 37 seconds remaining to give #14 Louisville a 56-49 road win over Memphis. For Shelton, it was his 4th TD of the game as he carried 14 times for 136 yards. The Cardinals' senior QB Stefan LeFors completed 24 of 34 passes for 321 yards and 3 TDs. For the Tigers, senior QB Danny Wimprine threw for 361 yards and 4 TDs. The teams combined for 1,202 yards of total offense, including 603 by Memphis.
Midwest - Special Teams play cost Marshall as Akron scored a 31-28 come-from behind upset win. Akron trailed 28-7 in the 3rd quarter before the Zips began their comeback on a 24 yard TD pass from senior QB Charlie Frye to WR Domenik Hixon. In the 4th quarter, Akron pulled to within seven points at 28-21 on a 6 yard TD pass from Frye to WR Jason Montgomery. The Zips then successfully executed an on-sides kick and capped off the ensuing drive with another Frye to Montgomery TD pass, this one from 18 yards out, with 2:16 left. Marshall was then forced to punt, but Ian O'Conner fumbled the snap and it was recovered by Dwayne LeFell on the Thundering Herd's 26 yard line with 6 seconds left. Jason Swiger then calmly booted the game-winning field goal from 43 yards. In addition to the fumbled snap, O'Conner missed three field goals. With Akron's victory, there is now a 3-way tie at 5-1in the MAC-East between Akron, Marshall, and Miami (Ohio).
South - North Texas notched their 5th win in a row, 27-17 over Louisiana-Lafayette. The nation's leading rusher, freshman Jamario Thomas, led the Eagles with 203 yards and 2 TDs on 36 carries. North Texas led 17-3 after the 1st quarter, but the Ragin' Cajuns closed to 17-10 at intermission. Louisiana-Lafayette got within 3 points at 20-17 with 13:12 to go on a one yard TD run by Chester Johnson. Thomas responded on the Eagles' next possession with a game-clinching 58 yard TD scamper.
East - #15 West Virginia remained unbeaten in Big East play with a 42-21 win over Temple. The Mountaineers only led 21-14 at the half, but broke the game open with two unanswered 3rd quarter TDs. West Virginia's senior QB Rasheed Marshall completed 14 of 19 passes for 177 yards and 3 TDs, two to senior RB Kay-Jay Harris. Harris also rushed for 2 TDs, gaining 68 yards on 13 carries. For the Owls. Junior QB Walter Washington again provided most of their offense. Washington completed 15-23 for 202 yards and a TD and ran 17 times for 142 yards and 2 scores.
#24 Boston College rallied past Rutgers 21-10 in Chestnut Hill. The Scarlet Knights broke a 7-7 halftime tie on a 24 yard field goal in the 3rd quarter by freshman Jeremy Ito. The Eagles responded with a drive that culminated in a one yard TD run by senior QB Paul Peterson that put them ahead to stay. After holding Rutgers on their next possession, Boston College got an insurance score on a 13 yard TD pass from Peterson to senior TE Dave Kashetta with 13:42 remaining. Peterson was 22-38 for 296 yards. For Rutgers, junior QB Ryan Hart completed 29 of 43 passes for 302 yards. However, he threw 3 costly interceptions, including one returned 32 yards for a first quarter TD by junior DE Mathias Kiwanuka.
Syracuse outlasted Pittsburgh 38-31 in double overtime at the Carrier Dome. The winning score came on a 2 yard TD run by junior RB Damien Rhodes. On the Panthers' final possession, junior RB Raymond Kirkley was stopped inches short of a 1st down on a 4th and one play from the 16 yard line. Both teams scored in the first OT session. Pitt sophomore QB Tyler Palko tossed a 9 yard TD pass to sophomore WR Joe DelSardo, but the Orange responded with a 3 yard TD run by sophomore QB Perry Patterson. Syracuse sent the game to overtime on a 27 yard field goal by senior Colin Barber with 1:11 left. The Panthers had a chance to win the game, but junior Josh Cummings was wide left on a 51 yard field goal attempt on the final play of regulation. Senior RB Walter Reyes carried 17 times for 123 yards and a TD before leaving the game early in the 3rd quarter with a shoulder injury. Rhodes added 103 yards on 23 carries. For Pitt, sophomore Greg Lee had a career-high 9 receptions for 188 yards and a TD.
The gloom in Happy Valley is deepening. Penn State dropped their 6th straight game, 14-7 to Northwestern. The Wildcats jumped in front in the 1st quarter on a 1 yard TD run by Terrell Jordan. The Nittany Lions tied the game at 7 on a 2 yard TD pass from senior QB Zack Mills to junior TE Isaac Smolko with 32 seconds remaining before intermission. The winning score came on a one yard TD run by senior RB Noah Herron early in the 4th quarter. Herron rushed 30 times for 175 yards and junior QB Brett Basanez was 15-27 for 205 yards. For Penn State, sophomore RB Tony Hunt carried 23 times for 96 yards.
Air Force scored ten unanswered points in the 2nd half to get past Army 31-22. Falcons junior QB Adam Fitch, making his first career start, ran 22 times for 115 yards and a TD and completed 7-8 passes for 84 yards. Senior RB Darnell Stephens rushed 11 times for 50 yards and 2 TDs, including the game-winner on a 5 yard run in the 3rd quarter. For the Black Knights, junior RB Carlton Jones carried 29 times for 213 yards and 2 TDs.
Finally, senior RB David Alston carried 29 times for 179 times and 4 TDs as Kent State drubbed Buffalo 33-7. Senior QB Joshua Cribbs also had a big game for the Golden Flashes, completing 17-25 for 167 yards and rushing 13 times for 132 yards and a TD.
South -# 8 Georgia got a record-setting performance from senior QB David Greene as the Bulldogs routed Kentucky 62-17. Greene broke the NCAA Division One record for career wins by a QB with his 40th. He also broke the school record for career TD passes, throwing for his 68th. Greene finished with 14 completions in 19 attempts for 259 yards. Freshman RB Thomas Brown added a career-high 130 yards and 3 TDs on 22 carries. For the Wildcats, back-up QB Andre Woodson completed 17 of 26 passes for 206 yards and a TD.
#9 Tennessee was upset 17-13 by Notre Dame. The Vols not only lost the game, they lost their starting QB, freshman Erik Ainge. Ainge separated his right shoulder following a sack on the final play of the first half. The Vols went into the locker room with a 10-7 lead, but things went downhill quickly. Ainge's replacement, junior Rick Clausen, was intercepted by senior MLB Mike Goolsby who returned it 26 yards for a TD to put the Irish ahead to stay. Senior D.J. Fitzpatrick closed out the scoring with a 39 yard field goal in the 4th quarter. Notre Dame's sophomore QB Brady Quinn completed 12 of 23 passes for 118 yards and a TD. Ainge was 11-18 for 149 yards and a TD.
#11 Miami was upset for the second consecutive week, falling at home in overtime to Clemson 24-17. The Hurricanes jumped off to a 17-3 lead at the half on the strength of two TD runs by junior RB Frank Gore. However, it was all Clemson in the 2nd half. RB Reggie Merriweather had a 27 yard TD run in the 3rd quarter and scored the tying TD in the final period on a 2 yard run. In overtime, Merriweather again delivered, scoring on a 2 yard run. On Miami's final possession, they drove to the Tigers' 5 yard line, but senior QB Brock Berlin threw 3 straight incompletions to end the game. Merriweather carried 20 times for 114 yards and junior QB Charlie Whitehurst completed 21 of 37 for 258 yards. For the Hurricanes, Gore gained 105 yards on 20 carries while Berlin was 22 of 46 for 245 yards.
#12 Virginia remained in a tie for the ACC lead with a 16-0 whitewash of Maryland. The Cavaliers' powerful RB combo of senior Alvin Pearman and junior Wali Lundy was too much for the Terps defense. Pearman carried 31 times for 170 yards while Lundy had 24 carries for 107 yards and both TDs. Virginia's defense stifled Maryland all afternoon, limiting sophomore QB Joel Statham to 10 completions in 17 attempts for 115 yards.
#13 Florida State defeated Duke 29-7 in Tallahassee. The Seminoles only led 9-7 at the half. New kicker Gary Cismesia booted 3 field goals before the Blue Devils got on the scoreboard on a one yard TD run by junior RB Cedric Dargan. Sophomore QB Wyatt Sexton replaced senior Chris Rix in the 3rd quarter and ignited the Seminoles' offense. Sexton completed 11-15 passes for 219 yards and a TD and Cismesia added two more field goals. Sophomore RB Lorenzo Booker added another TD, as he rushed 15 times for 129 yards. For Duke, sophomore QB Mike Schneider was 19-31 for 155 yards but threw 3 interceptions.
#18 Virginia Tech held off a late North Carolina rally to post a 27-24 win. Junior RB Mike Imoh provided most of the offense for the Hokies, rushing 31 times for 236 yards and 2 TDs. The Tar Heels final possession ended with freshman kicker Connor Barth missing a 54 yard field goal with 1:09 left. Chad Scott had his 2nd consecutive strong game for North Carolina, rushing 15 times for 122 yards and a TD.
#21 Southern Mississippi was upset 52-24 by Cincinnati. It was the Golden Eagles' first loss of the year in CUSA and also their worst ever home conference loss. Senior QB Gino Guidugli paced the Bearcats, completing 19 of 26 passes for a school record 5 TDs. Three of Guidugli's TD tosses went to WR Hannibal Thomas, who finished with 7 receptions for 168 yards.
Florida won its first game since the firing of head coach Ron Zook was announced. The Gators rallied in the 2nd half to down Vanderbilt 34-17. The winning TD came in the 3rd quarter on a 26 yard pass from sophomore QB Chris Leak to Tate Casey, putting Florida ahead 21-17. Senior Mike Leach added 2 field goals and Leak added a 35 yard TD pass to junior WR Dallas Baker to complete the scoring. Leak finished with 22 completions in 29 attempts for 307 yards and also ran for a TD. Junior RB Ciatrick Faison provided the running for the Gators with 170 yards and a TD in 26 carries. The Commodores starting QB, junior Jay Cutler, was forced to leave the game in the 1st quarter after injuring an ankle.
Alabama ruined Sylvester Croom's homecoming, defeating Mississippi State 30-14. The Crimson Tide led 20-14 after the 3rd quarter, and iced the victory on a 47 yard field goal by senior Brian Bostick, his 3rd of the game, followed by a 4 yard TD pass from junior QB Spencer Pennington to sophomore FB LeRoi McClain. Sophomore RB Kenneth Darby led Alabama with a career-high 200 yards and a TD on 36 carries. For the Bulldogs, junior RB Jerious Norwood rushed 23 times for 96 yards and a TD.
South Carolina improved to 6-3, edging Arkansas 35-32. The winning score came on a 14 yard TD pass from sophomore back-up QB Syvelle Newton to junior WR Troy Williamson with 1:09 remaining. The Razorbacks had rallied from a 28-17 deficit with 15 fourth quarter points, including a 7 yard TD run by De'Arrius Howard that put them ahead 32-28 with 3:24 left. Newton completed 11 of 16 passes for 98 yards and rushed 13 times for 61 yards and a score. For Arkansas, senior QB Matt Jones was 12-24 for 138 yards and a TD and carried 10 times for 111 yards and a score.
Georgia Tech scored 17 unanswered points in the 4th quarter to rally past North Carolina State 24-14 in Raleigh. The winning TD came on a one yard TD pass from sophomore QB Reggie Ball to senior WR Levon Thomas. The Yellow Jackets iced the win when sophomore CB Kenny Scott picked off a Jay Davis pass and returned it 49 yards for a TD.
Elsewhere, Tulane upset Navy 42-10 as sophomore QB Lester Ricard completed 18 of 19 passes for 323 yards and 4 TDs. Two of the TD passes went to senior WR Roydell Williams, who broke the school's career touchdown reception record with 32. Ohio nipped UCF 17-16 in overtime when the Golden Knights' kicker Matt Prater missed the tying PAT. UCF is now 0-9 and has lost 13 in a row. Troy St. defeated Florida Atlantic 24-6. Finally, Louisiana-Monroe topped Utah State 32-25. After the game, the Aggies (2-7) announced head coach Mick Dennehy would not return next season.
Midwest - #5 Wisconsin remained unbeaten at 9-0 with a 38-14 drubbing of Minnesota. Sophomore John Stocco was outstanding for the Badgers, completing 19 of 26 passes for a career-high 297 yards and a TD. He also ran for two scores. Senior RB Anthony Davis added 124 yards and 2 TDs on 31 carries. Wisconsin's defense shut down the Gophers usually potent ground game, limiting them to just 73 yards. Sophomore QB Bryan Cupito was 17-33 for 258 yards and a TD.
In a case of two teams clearly moving in the opposite direction, #20 Iowa edged Purdue 23-21. It was the 5th straight win for the Hawkeyes, keeping their faint Big Ten title hopes alive. Sophomore QB Drew Tate completed 24-45 passes for 269 yards and 2 TDs and sophomore Kyle Schlicher added 3 field goals for Iowa. The Boilermakers lost their 4th in a row, hampered by five turnovers and two blocked field goals. Sophomore QB Brandon Kirsch, again playing in place of injured senior Kyle Orton, completed 25-43 for 280 yards and 3 TDs, but was intercepted twice. Senior WR Taylor Stubblefield had 15 receptions for 154 yards and a TD.
Ohio State won their 3rd game in a row, 32-19 over Michigan State. The Buckeyes trailed 19-17 early in the 4th quarter after senior Dave Rayner booted his 4th field goal of the day. Ohio State scored the winning TD on a 58 yard pass from sophomore QB Troy Smith to freshman Ted Ginn. It was Ginn's 3rd TD of the game. He scored twice in the 1st quarter on a 17 yard reverse and a 60 yard punt return.
Illinois snapped a six game losing streak with a come-from-behind 26-22 win over Indiana. The Hoosiers jumped off to a 19-0 lead in the 1st quarter, but the Illini responded with 2 TDs to close the gap to 19-14. After a 3rd quarter field goal extended Indiana's lead to 22-14, Illinois scored two 4th quarter TDs to pull out the win. Sophomore Pierre Thomas galloped 44 yards for a TD to narrow the margin to 22-20, and the winning score came with just 30 seconds left on a 2 yard TD pass from senior QB Jon Beutjer to junior WR Kendrick Jones. Thomas gained 185 yards on 21 carries. For Indiana, senior QB Matt Lovecchio was 15-17 for 209 yards and a TD.
Yes, it's true. Iowa State is tied for the lead in the Big Twelve-North after holding on to defeat Nebraska 34-27 in Ames. Redshirt freshman QB Bret Meyer was the star for the Cyclones, completing 17 of 38 passes for a career-high 345 yards and 3 TDs. WR Todd Blythe was on the receiving end of 8 of Meyer's passes for 188 yards and a score. For the Cornhuskers, junior RB Cory Ross rushed 19 times for 126 yards and a TD.
In other games, Stephone Robinson scored the winning TD on a 48 yard punt return in the 3rd quarter in Colorado's 30-21 win at Kansas. Kansas State topped Missouri 35-24 in Columbia as senior RB Darren Sproles rushed 20 times for 160 yards and 2 TDs. Omar Jacobs completed 17-20 passes for 300 yards and 4 TDs as Bowling Green routed Western Michigan 52-0. Finally, in a game played at Detroit's Ford Field, Eastern Michigan outlasted Central Michigan 61-58 in quadruple overtime.
Southwest - # 2 Oklahoma remained unbeaten at 9-0 with a thrilling 42-35 win over Texas A&M. Last year's Heisman Trophy winner, senior QB Jason White, came up big for the Sooners. White completed 19-35 for 292 yards and 5 TDs, tying the school record. The Aggies led 28-14 in the 2nd quarter before Oklahoma narrowed the deficit to 28-21 on a 24 yard TD pass from White to Joe-Jon Finley. The Sooners scored twice in the 3rd quarter to take a 35-28 lead on White TD passes of 11 yards to WR Mark Bradley and 2 yards to senior TE James Moses. Texas A&M refused to fold, scoring the tying TD in the 4th quarter on a fake field goal. Chad Schroeder passed 4 yards to freshman TE Joey Thomas for the score. Oklahoma went ahead for good on a 39 yard White to Bradley TD pass with 6:43 remaining. The Sooners' outstanding freshman RB, Adrian Peterson, was "limited" to 101 yards and a TD in 29 carries. For the Aggies, junior QB Reggie McNeal completed 11 of 24 passes for 213 yards and 2 TDs and ran for another.
#6 Texas staged the biggest comeback in school history to remain in contention for a BCS Bowl berth. The Longhorns rallied from a 35-7 deficit in the 2nd quarter to overtake Oklahoma State 56-35. The momentum started to change when Texas scored a TD with 3 seconds remaining in the 1st half on a 5 yard TD pass from sophomore QB Vince Young to senior TE Bo Scaife. The Longhorns came out of the locker room and outscored the Cowboys 42-0, with senior RB Cedric Benson scoring four of his five TDs. Benson finished with 142 yards on 23 carries, while Young completed 18 of 22 passes for 279 yards and also ran 14 times for 119 yards and a score. For Oklahoma State, junior RB Vernand Morency rushed 20 times for 100 yards and a TD and caught a 68 yard TD pass from redshirt freshman QB Donovan Woods.
Senior QB Sonny Cumbie completed 37 of 48 passes for 397 yards and 5 TDs as Texas Tech throttled Baylor 42-17. Junior WR Trey Haverty set career-highs with 11 receptions for 158 yards and 2 TDs. Junior RB Taurean Henderson added 111 yards and a TD on 16 carries.
Elsewhere, sophomore QB Kevin Kolb threw for 2 TDs and ran for 2 more as the Cougars topped East Carolina 34-24. Junior QB Paul Pinegar completed 12-18 passes for 183 yards and 3 TDs as Fresno State won at Rice 52-21. Finally, SMU edged Tulsa 41-35 in overtime on a 25 yard TD run by Cedrick Dorsey. A bright spot for the Golden Hurricanes was a 96 yard kick-off return for a TD in the 3rd quarter by Ashlon Davis. It was Davis' 4th kick-off return for a touchdown this season, breaking the NCAA Division One record.
West - #1 USC overcame a thick fog in Corvallis to down stubborn Oregon State 28-20. The Beavers jumped out to a quick 13-0 lead, but the Trojans scored before the half on an 18 yard pass from junior QB Matt Leinart to junior WR Dominique Byrd. USC took a 14-13 lead in the 3rd quarter as Leinart again found Byrd from 18 yards out. Sophomore RB Reggie Bush then scored on a 65 yard punt return and fellow sophomore LenDale White added a 5 yard TD run before Oregon State scored their final TD. Leinart completed 17 of 31 passes for 205 yards while Bush rushed 11 times for 88 yards. For the Beavers, senior QB Derek Anderson was 22-51 for 330 yards and 2 TDs.
#4 California edged Oregon 28-27 to stay alive for a BCS Bowl bid. Oregon led 27-14 in the 2nd quarter as junior QB Kellen Clemens tossed 4 TD passes, two to junior TE Tim Day. The Golden Bears narrowed the margin to 27-21 before intermission on a 21 yard TD pass from junior QB Aaron Rodgers to senior WR Geoff McArthur. After a scoreless 3rd quarter California scored the winning TD on another Rodgers to McArthur TD pass, this one from 19 yards out, with 13:25 remaining. On their final possession, the Ducks drove to Cal's 41 yard line, but Clemens then threw four straight incompletions, the final one dropped by Keith Allen. Rodgers finished with 21 completions in 32 attempts for 275 yards and 3 TDs. Senior RB J.J. Arrington added 188 yards and a TD on 26 carries. For Oregon, Clemens was 19-33 for 218 yards.
#7 Utah is now 9-0, the best start in school history, after routing Colorado State 63-31. Junior QB Alex Smith had another huge game for the Utes, completing 21 of 26 passes for 291 yards and 4 TDs, three to senior WR Paris Warren. Smith also carried 9 times for 55 yards. Utah's defense forced five Ram turnovers, including 3 interceptions of freshman QB Caleb Hanie.
#23 Arizona State edged Stanford 34-31 on a 4 yard TD pass from senior QB Andrew Walter to junior WR Matt Miller with just 9 seconds remaining. It was Miller's 2nd TD catch of the game, and capped off a desperation 80 yard drive. Stanford had taken a 31-26 lead with 2:02 to play on a 67 yard TD pass from redshirt freshman QB T.C. Ostrander to senior TE Alex Smith. Ostrander replaced starting QB Trent Edwards who injured his left shoulder on the first play of the 2nd half. Walter completed 28 of 43 passes for 413 yards and 4 TDs. The Sun Devils also got a great performance from Rudy Burgess, recently converted from WR to RB. Burgess carried 34 times for 186 yards. For the Cardinal, Smith had 5 receptions for 111 yards and 2 TDs.
In Pasadena, Washington State upset UCLA 31-29. The Cougars led 31-16 in the 4th quarter before a furious Bruin rally just fell short. Junior QB Drew Olson brought UCLA to within eight points with a 47 yard TD pass to Tab Perry. With 42 seconds left, Olson hit senior RB Manuel White with a 4 yard TD toss. However, Olson's 2 point conversion pass fell incomplete in the end zone. For Washington State, junior RB Jerome Harrison gained 247 yards and scored 3 TDs on a school-record 42 carries. Redshirt freshman QB Alex Brink completed 17-27 for 185 yards and a TD. Olson finished with 18 completions in 38 attempts for 201 yards and also carried 8 times for 50 yards.
Arizona snapped a seven game losing streak with a 23-13 road win over hapless Washington. Freshman CB Wilrey Fontenot scored the winning TD in the 3rd quarter on a 33 yard fumble return. Wildcats' junior RB Mike Bell rushed 24 times for 82 yards and 2 TDs.
In other games, BYU QB John Beck completed 15 of 25 passes for 313 yards and 3 TDs as the Cougars routed San Diego State 49-16. It was the Aztecs 6th straight loss. Wyoming improved to 6-3 as they edged UNLV 53-45 in triple overtime. The winning score came on a 25 yard TD pass from QB J.J. Raterink to junior WR Jovon Bouknight. Hawaii's senior QB Timmy Chang broke two NCAA career records as the Rainbow Warriors defeated Louisiana Tech 34-23. Chang broke both Ty Detmer's record for passing yards and Kliff Kingsbury's record for completions. Chang hit on 26 of 42 passes for 285 yards and 4 TDs. Sophomore QB Jeff Rowe completed 25 of 35 passes for 252 yards and 2 TDs as Nevada thumped San Jose State 42-24. Senior QB Buck Pierce threw for 306 yards and 2 TDs in New Mexico State's 44-10 win over Middle Tennessee. Finally, freshman RB Jayson Bird carried 25 times for 171 yards and 2 TDs to lead Idaho over Arkansas State 45-31.
Here's a look at this week's key games:
South - #11 Florida State @ North Carolina State - The Seminoles need to win out for a shot at a New Year's Day bowl. The Wolfpack needs to win out just to become bowl-eligible.
South - Southern Mississippi @ Memphis - The Golden Eagles have just one CUSA loss and are still very much in the title hunt.
East - #21 Boston College @ #13 West Virginia - The winner will be in the driver's seat for the Big East title.
Syracuse @ Temple - The Orange have just one conference loss. They could still win or tie for the Big East title, but they'll need a lot of help.
South - #8 Georgia @ #3 Auburn - The Tigers need two more wins for an undefeated season, but will likely need someone to upset USC or Oklahoma to get to the Orange Bowl. They still have to win the SEC championship game, of course. Georgia is alive for the SEC-East title and could snag an at-large BCS Bowl bid with wins here and at home against Georgia Tech.
#18 Miami @ #10 Virginia - The Cavaliers and Virginia Tech are tied for the ACC lead with 4-1 records. Miami is still alive at 3-2 and will meet Virginia Tech on December 4th in the Orange Bowl.
Midwest - #4 Wisconsin @ Michigan State - The Badgers can't afford to look ahead to their meeting with Iowa next Saturday. The Spartans need 2 wins in their final 3 games to become bowl-eligible.
#6 Texas @ Kansas - The Longhorns must win this game and beat Texas A&M at home on November 26th to get an at-large BCS Bowl bid.
Northwestern @ #9 Michigan - The Wolverines are still undefeated in Big Ten play, and finish with a game at Ohio State next week.
#19 Iowa @ Minnesota - The Hawkeyes need to win out and hope for a miracle. After a 5-0 start, the Gophers need a win to finish at 7-4.
Pittsburgh @ #24 Notre Dame - The Irish could gain a Gator Bowl invitation with one more win. Since they face USC in their final game, this is by far their best opportunity! The Panthers need one more win to become bowl-eligible.
Bowling Green @ Marshall - The Falcons are ½ game behind Northern Illinios in the MAC-West. Marshall is in a 3-way tie with Akron and Miami (Ohio) for the MAC-East.
Akron @ Ohio - The Zips will win the MAC-East with a victory here and another over Miami (Ohio) at home next Saturday.
Miami (Ohio) @ Western Michigan - The RedHawks must win their next two and hope for a Bowling Green win today over Marshall to capture the MAC-East.
Southwest - Nebraska @ #2 Oklahoma - The Sooners are still #2 in the BSC standings, but wins over the Cornhuskers and Baylor next week will not impress the voters. Nebraska needs some help to win the awful Big Twelve-North title.
West - Arizona @ #1 USC - A final breather for the Trojans before finishing up against UCLA and Notre Dame.
#5 California @ Washington - It looks like one more beating is in the works for the hapless Huskies. The Golden Bears appear headed for the Rose Bowl.
#7 Utah @ Wyoming - The Utes have dropped to #7 in the BCS standings, which would almost certainly keep them out of a BCS Bowl. They need to defeat the Cowboys and BYU and pray!
#14 Boise State @ San Jose State - The Broncos need 3 more wins for an undefeated season. The Spartans should not present much of an obstacle.
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