Thoughts on the Weekend, Week 9

Week 9 came and went and another exciting week is now in the books. The top 3 all passed their tests and the national title picture is no clearer than it has been for the past month. In fact, as these teams continue to win and run out of games to lose, things will continue to become more complicated and debate will continue to rage even more.

Daryll Clark guided Penn State to the forefront of any national title disucssion with a 13-9 victory over Ohio State

Daryll Clark guided Penn State to the forefront of any national title disucssion with a 13-9 victory over Ohio State

The main culprit of national title murkiness this year appears to be Penn State. It’s not that the Nittany Lions would be undeserving of a national title shot should they finish 12-0, as it now appears likely given their remaining schedule, but rather that they would be a supposed clear third to a potentially also-undefeated Texas and Alabama. I think that if everything shakes out like it appears, which is no given in the slightest given Alabama and Texas’ schedules down the stretch, Penn State should come out on the short end of the stick due to the weakness of the Big 10 and their lack of multiple quality wins.

As far as Saturdy night’s Penn State/Ohio State clash, it was a brilliant display of Big 10 offense as both teams combined for 19 points and 568 yards. In other words, they scored about as many points combined in an entire game as one normal team does in a half and put up the combined yardage output of just about any Big 12 team. Penn State now has two pretty easy games (@Iowa, Indiana at home) and then they host Michigan State on November 22 for their final test of the year. Should they pass that gauntlet *insert rolling eyes here* they’ll be in perfect position to execute the Big 10 back-in and will play for the national title if Texas or Alabama slip up in their respective conference title games or one of their remaining toughies.

In the SEC last weekend Georgia dumped LSU in an elimination-style matchup ending the Tigers’ outside shot at repeating and all but ending the Bayou Bengal hopes of road tripping to Atlanta for the SEC championship game. This game showcased an interesting, and rare, display of offensive firepower as both teams combined for 90 points – a nearly unheard of number in the SEC. LSU now turns to Tulane before a gargantuan matchup with the Crimson Tide in Baton Rouge on November 8. Meanwhile Georgia gets no rest as the game formerly known as the World’s Largest Cocktail Party is on deck this weekend as the Gators await the Bulldogs.

After putting up 60+ on Kentucky, Percy Harvin and the Gators take on Georgia this weekend

After putting up 60+ on Kentucky, Percy Harvin and the Gators take on Georgia this weekend

Speaking of the Gators, they put on an impressive display by slaughtering Kentucky, a team that gave Alabama fits earlier this month, to the tune of 63-5. The noteworthy thing about this to me isn’t that Florida won, or even won big, but that they put up 63 points. Maybe I’m making too much out of one weekend of play, but with Florida putting up 63, Georgia putting up 52, and three other teams topping 29 I can’t help but wonder where the vaunted SEC defense went. If the defenses in this league are what some make them out to be, and if the league is truly as deep as some make it out to be, I’m not sure this kind of weekend makes sense. It’s something worth keeping an eye on as maybe the SEC defenses are not all they might be hyped up to be after all. As the season goes on I can’t help but think that maybe the Big 12 is the best conference in the country as far as 2008 is concerned.

Quickly turning toward the Big 12, Oklahoma State showed a lot to me by hanging around with Texas in Austin, and even putting themselves in position to pull out an upset. I didn’t get to see as much of this game as I had hoped, but you can’t help but to marvel at the run that Texas is going through as well as the juevos that the Pokes showed in a toughly contested 28-24 loss. Colt McCoy continued his torrid pace by raising, yet again, his already absurd completion percentage on the year by completing 38 of 45 passes for 391 yards and tossing in three total touchdowns. It was the kind of day from the Longhorn signalcaller that just might increase his stock even more in the Heisman race (*wink wink*).

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