OH, THOSE TIGERS
Everyone knows about the Missouri Tigers’ two-headed monster at tight end in senior Martin Rucker (5 receptions, 40 yards, TD) and Chase Coffman (2 receptions, 14 yards) -- a duo the Jayhawks did a nice job of containing. Last year’s leading receiver Will Franklin (5 receptions, 32 yards) only put up modest numbers himself, while freshman sensation Jeremy Maclin led them with his 10 grabs, but again KU had to be happy they kept the record-setting playmaker to only 6.9 yards per grab. How did Chase Daniel throw for 361 yards, you might ask? Career days from sophomore Danario Alexander (8 receptions, 117 yards, TD) and junior Tommy Saunders (8 receptions, 82 yards) certainly helped him achieve those numbers. It seemed like every time Daniel needed a big play, he looked to the 6’4” Alexander.
You know what else this means? The Tigers could be just as dangerous in 2008 with Daniel, Maclin, Alexander, Saunders and Coffman returning.
On the defensive side of the ball, one player stood out among the others -- junior safety William Moore (pictured). He was all over the field Saturday night, tied with linebacker Sean Weatherspoon for the team lead in tackles (seven). Moore also had a tackle for a loss displaying his ability to play near the line of scrimmage and made a key interception near the goal line, stifling a Kansas drive. Moore is a tremendous athlete who can play either safety position. He was also part of a secondary that took Kansas’ top receiver out of the game. Marcus Henry was limited to two receptions for 17 yards…in his three previous games the senior put up 18 receptions for 392 yards and five touchdowns.
ONE PLAY AWAY
The Hokies win over Virginia has them in the ACC Championship, but had their stellar defense been able to make one stop on a rainy night back in October against Matt Ryan, Tech would be right there with West Virginia and Missouri staking a claim to one of the two spots for the BCS Championship game.
MATTY ICE IS STILL NICE
Speaking of Mr. Ryan, before you write him off as a Heisman candidate let’s at least take a look at what he’s done “wrong”. At 8-0 and coming off his thrilling comeback in Blacksburg, Ryan was atop the Heisman race. In four November games, Ryan has thrown for 1,520 yards (380 yards per game). The problem? His touchdown to interception ratio was only 9:8 -- it was 19:8 over the first eight games. Not two mention two losses to start November, but let us not forget that the Eagles have won ten games and are in the ACC Championship game, far exceeding expectations. In his final game in front of the “Beantown” faithful, Ryan threw for 369 yards and three touchdowns against Miami. He also snapped a 15-game losing streak to the ‘Canes, which dates back to the “Flutie game” in 1984. Ryan’s 28th touchdown pass set a new single season school record, surpassing Flutie’s 27 in his Heisman season.
In the season of Appalachian St. and Stanford, why not UCLA in the Rose Bowl?
If the UCLA Bruins defeat the USC Trojans and Arizona upends Arizona St. it would leave four teams tied atop the conference standing: USC, UCLA, Arizona St. and the Oregon-Oregon St. winner. With wins over Oregon, Oregon St. and USC (assuming for these purposes), the Bruins would be 2-1 in a head-to-head comparison. If the Ducks win (at home vs. OSU), it would come down to Oregon and UCLA, with the Bruins coming out on top by virtue of their 16-0 win last week. If the Beavers win, losses to USC, UCLA and ASU would knock them out of the running, while the remaining three all split the round robin. The next tiebreaker would knock out the Sun Devils since they lost to “the team occupying the highest position in the final regular season standings”, which is likely to be USC. That leaves us with the teams from the City of Angels and the Bruins winning out again, by virtue of their (hypothetical) win this week over the Men of Troy.
Got all of that?
And you thought the BCS was confusing.
It was interesting that the day after the LSU Tigers dropped a 50-48 contest in triple overtime to Arkansas, the Tennessee Volunteers defeated Kentucky in four overtimes, 52-50. So will the Vols build on their emotional win, which included blowing a 17-point lead, UT blocking a potential game-winning field goal in the second overtime, before a two-point conversion from Erik Ainge to Austin Rogers was the difference? Or will LSU come in down? In Baton Rouge, the two-point play was also decisive, as Felix Jones ran it in (following Peyton Hillis’ TD run), with Darren McFadden on the sideline, while Matt Flynn’s final pass landed softly in the hands of an Arkansas’ defender. The Bayou Bengals are sure to lament a 4th-and-10 they allowed Casey Dick to convert in the first overtime.
Photo Credit: Mizzou Media Relations