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Not only was Oregon able to turn a 14-14 halftime tie into a 42-14 victory over UCLA, the Ducks put on said show in front of John Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) and Montae Nicholson (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway). For Smith in particular, the visit went even better than expected.
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Oregon, Florida State swap spots
Oregon and Florida State swapped spots with Oregon taking the No. 2 spot in the rankings and Florida State dropping to No. 3.
Oregon is ranked in the top 3 in each of the first two BCS standings for the second time in school history (No. 2 in first 2 weeks of 2010).
The Seminoles are ranked in the top 3 in each of the first two BCS standings for the second time in school history. In 1999 they were No. 1 in the first two weeks.
This is also the first time the ACC has had 3 teams in the top 10 in consecutive weeks since October 23 and 30, 2005.
Stanford moves up
Stanford moved into the No. 5 spot.
This is the first time Stanford has been in the top 5 in the BCS this early into the season. Previous earliest was in the third release in 2011.
Alabama sitting comfortably at No. 1
Alabama is No. 1 in the first two BCS standings for the second straight year. The only other teams to be ranked No. 1 in the first two releases in back-to-back years were Oklahoma in 2002-03 and Ohio State in 2006-07.
The SEC has 6 teams in the top 15. Since the start of last season, the SEC has had 6 teams in the top 15 in every standings except last week. No other conference has even had more than 4 teams in the top 15 in any single week.
For the second straight week, Baylor reached its highest BCS ranking ever at No. 6 overall
Fresno State is ranked No. 16, its highest BCS ranking ever.
Matchup of the Week: Miami at Florida State
Saturday's matchup with Florida State will be the third matchup between two ACC teams ranked in the top 10 of the BCS.
The other two were in 2005 when No. 6 Miami defeated No. 3 Virginia Tech, 27-7 and 2007 when No. 2 Boston College defeated No. 8 Virginia Tech, 14-0.
This Saturday’s game vs Miami will be only the second time that Florida State and Miami have played while ranked in the BCS standings.
On December 7, 2003, No. 9 Miami (then a member of the Big East) beat No. 7 Florida State, 16-14.
See, Oregon fans. All that huffing and puffing was for nothing. The computers love you! They really, really do.
The Ducks took care of business against UCLA and now sit at that all-important No. 2 spot in the BCS standings. If Oregon wins out, it will play in the BCS title game. But November has a funny way of messing with the “ifs.”
As expected, Alabama retained the top spot and is a consensus No. 1, holding first place in the Harris Poll, the USA Today poll and the computer rankings for an average of .9937.
The Ducks enjoyed a nice spike with their 42-14 win over the Bruins. They not only jumped Florida State, which dropped from second to third, but they also distanced themselves, moving up from an average of .9320 last week to .9517. The Ducks rank second in both polls and the computer average.
Florida State is squarely in third at .9211, followed by Ohio State at fourth with an average of .8840.
Stanford, which was No. 6 last week, moved up to No. 5 after its win at Oregon State and Missouri’s overtime loss to South Carolina. The Cardinal are well behind FSU and Ohio State (.7918) but still have games against No. 2 Oregon and No. 25 Notre Dame that could propel them.
UCLA slipped from No. 12 to 20th following its second straight loss. Oregon State, which was 25th last week, fell from the rankings after losing at home to Stanford.
The takeaway this week is what it is every week until the final standings are in place -- just keep winning. If Oregon beats Stanford in 11 days, it will strengthen its foothold. The Cardinal will need help from someone else to knock off one of the undefeated teams ahead of them. Of course, they can help their cause by beating Oregon, which would inject a healthy dose of chaos into the calculations.
Three Pac-12 teams already are bowl eligible and four others need just one more win. USC, Utah and Washington State need two more wins.
BCS National Championship Game Presented by VIZIO (Jan. 6, 2014): Oregon vs. BCS
Rose Bowl Game Presented by VIZIO (Jan. 1, 2014): Stanford vs. Big Ten
Valero Alamo Bowl (Dec. 30): UCLA vs. Big 12
National University Holiday Bowl (Dec. 30): Arizona State vs. Big 12
Hyundai Sun Bowl (Dec. 31): Oregon State vs. ACC
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl (Dec. 21): Washington vs. MWC
Fight Hunger Bowl (Dec. 27): USC vs. BYU
Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Dec. 21): Arizona vs. MWC
Heart of Dallas Bowl (Jan. 1, 2014): Utah vs. Conference USA
The human polls love the BMOC, but the computers not so much. Apparently we have SOP issues (Strength of Paragraphs).
The next person who lectures me about the importance of a "Heisman Moment," I'm going to go Bo Pelini on them.
There is no such thing. It's a fabrication, much like the idea that Nick Saban and Miss Terry are going to bolt Alabama for Austin, Texas. You know, because that way Saban can coach Texas and then take the family on a bike ride in the Hill Country with Lance Armstrong.
Anyway, Johnny Manziel passed or rushed in 635 of Texas A&M's 1,025 plays last season. He accounted for 5,116 yards of A&M's 7,261 total offense total. But his 2012 "Heisman Moment," the play that supposedly helped clinch the trophy for him, came during the Nov. 10 upset at No. 1 Bama, when Manziel eluded the rush, bobbled the ball, scrambled to his left like his compression shorts were on fire, and then threw across his body to a wide-open Ryan Swope in the end zone for a 10-yard TD?
Don't get me wrong: It was a jaw-dropping, instinctive, quintessential Johnny Football play. Just listen to the call by CBS's Verne Lundquist: "Got him … No, they didn't … Oh, my gracious! How about that!"
Heisman voters swooned. He won the trophy less than a month later and did so with ease.
Florida State was No. 2 last week and won comfortably on Saturday, but the Seminoles found themselves chasing the Ducks in this week's standings, released Sunday night.
No. 1 Alabama slightly increased its stranglehold on the top spot, while Florida State dropped to No. 3 despite beating NC State 49-17 on Saturday.
The Crimson Tide, ranked first by both polls used in the BCS calculations, are also listed first by four of the six computers. The Ducks and Seminoles each lead one computer.
Oregon, which beat UCLA 42-14, has a much wider lead on the third spot than Florida State had last week. The Seminoles led by a minuscule .0028 in the BCS average last week, while Oregon now enjoys a .0306 advantage.
UCLA fell from No. 12 to No. 20 after the loss to Oregon.
Each week during the college football season, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay kick off the week by settling a debate, and then look at emerging NFL prospects and peek ahead to next week.
The discussion: Could the 2014 NFL draft give us one of the all-time great QB classes?
McShay: In answering this question, I think it's very important not to confuse depth with quality. Where the 2014 class of quarterbacks is potentially very strong is in its depth; but when it comes to top-shelf talent, this group isn't on the same level as the 2012 class.
There's no Andrew Luck in the 2014 draft class, and while I think that Oregon's Marcus Mariota has an extraordinarily high ceiling (and he has been more durable to this point in his career), I would argue that Robert Griffin III was playing at a higher level at this point in his senior season than Mariota is playing right now as a redshirt sophomore. The biggest difference is that RG III was making a lot more deep vertical throws than Mariota is asked to attempt in the Ducks offense, and Griffin's improvement with his touch and ball placement on downfield throws during his final season at Baylor was remarkable.
If we were to merge the 2012 class with the 2014 class (note that the grades on the 2014 guys are far from final) and stack them up based on the ratings (out of 100) I gave them, this is how the top five would look:
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The Ducks, who received three first-place votes in the AP poll, picked up two more first-place votes in the coaches poll and are up from four to six. That’s of note as Oregon tries to crack into the top two of the BCS standings, which will be released on Sunday night.
Stanford’s win over Oregon State, combined with Texas Tech’s loss pushed the Cardinal from eighth to sixth in the AP poll and eighth to seventh in the coaches poll.
UCLA, which has lost two straight to Stanford and Oregon, fell from No. 12 in both polls to No. 17 in the AP poll and No. 19 in the coaches' poll.
By virtue of other teams losing -- specifically Virginia Tech and Nebraska falling from the Top 25 – Arizona State is back in the AP poll at No. 25. This is the third time this season the Sun Devils have entered the rankings. ASU is the unofficial No. 26 team in the coaches' poll.
Oregon State is receiving votes in both polls, while Washington and Arizona are receiving votes in the AP poll.
Typical Stanford: Stanford’s offense survived on the strength of tough running by Tyler Gaffney and a defense that sacked Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion eight times. But it was Gaffney’s late-game fumble that should serve as a reminder that Stanford hasn’t been scoring many points of late. So, not unlike last year’s Stanford team, white knuckles will likely be required down the stretch. But credit the defense for creating pressure on Mannion, who was 41-of-57 for 271 yards and a touchdown. His partner in crime, Brandin Cooks, had nine catches for 80 yards and a score. Sans the late-game fumble, Gaffney was stellar again, this time going for 145 yards and three touchdowns. The Beavers saw their six-game winning streak come to an end. But there’s little time to wallow with USC coming into town before a bye and then going on the road for two of their last three. The next time Stanford takes the field will be when Oregon comes to town. And despite the one Cardinal loss, that game still has all the fun subplots and polish we were hoping for.
Where’s the offense? The Utes are reeling after failing to win on the road for the second straight week. And the once-potent offense managed just three points and 201 yards, and it turned the ball over four times. Remember, this is the team that put up 410 yards on Stanford. But this was the worst offensive output by far. A lot of that has to do with the health of Travis Wilson, who sat out the second half for the second straight week. The offensive line looked leaky and the explosive attack we’d come to know the first half of the season looked flat. The defense did what it could, but the offense left it in bad spots. Which leads us to the Trojans. Not a particularly great offensive showing for them, either, so a game ball to Andre Heidari and his four field goals. Cody Kessler looked pretty good, taking care of the ball and completing 21 of 32 passes for 230 yards with a touchdown. But minus-30 yards in sacks left the Trojans with just 30 total rushing yards for the game. Credit USC’s defense for being opportunistic and big ups to the Trojans for continuing to persevere despite a depleted roster. They did what they had to do to win. But now Utah’s signature win a couple of weeks ago is starting to look more and more like a one-week-wonder.
Carey keeps rolling: The leading rusher against Colorado was not Ka’Deem Carey, surprisingly enough. But Carey did rush for 119 yards and four touchdowns, giving him 10 straight games of at least 100 yards dating back to last year’s game against Colorado. It was quarterback B.J. Denker who carried 15 times for 192 yards. The Buffs played this one tough for a while, even leading 13-10 with five minutes left in the half. But the Wildcats struck hard and fast with two late-half touchdowns, and it was game over from there. You can get the sense that this is a different Colorado team than last season. And Paul Richardson is simply outstanding (seven catches, 132 yards, one score). The results just aren’t showing up in the win column. Arizona broke through with its second straight conference win and will look to become bowl eligible next week against Cal.
Huskies bounce back: Washington got exactly what it needed: a win, and a convincing win at that. Cal continues to be everyone’s slump buster. And the Huskies busted their three-game slump with a monster 241-yard, two-touchdown performance from Bishop Sankey. This win won’t get the Huskies back in the Top 25. And beating Colorado next week probably won’t, either. But the Huskies are one step closer to another year of bowl eligibility, and with back-to-back road games at UCLA and Oregon State before the Apple Cup, Washington has an opportunity to finish very strong and break the seven-win curse. For Cal, it’s about finding the little positives. But the Bears have now dropped 10 straight Pac-12 contests dating back to last year. And after another blowout loss, you have to wonder if that streak will end this season.
USC defense: The Trojans held Utah to 201 total yards in a 19-3 victory. They recorded six sacks, nine tackles for a loss and three interceptions and kept the Utes scoreless after a field goal on their first possession.
Avery Patterson, S, Oregon: Patterson had seven tackles with three coming for a loss and an interception in the Ducks' 42-14 win over No. 12 UCLA.
Byron Marshall, RB, Oregon: Marshall rushed for 133 yards on 19 carries (7.0 average) with three touchdowns in Oregon's win over UCLA.
B.J. Denker, QB, Arizona: Denker completed 21 of 32 passes for 265 yards with a TD and interception in the Wildcats' 44-20 win over Colorado. And he also rushed for 192 yards on 15 carries. He nips RB Ka'Deem Carey, who rushed for 119 yards and four TDs.
Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington: Sankey rushed for a career-high 241 yards on 27 carries -- 8.9 yards per rush -- and scored two touchdowns in the Huskies' 41-17 win over California to break a three-game losing streak.
Trent Murphy, OLB, Stanford: Murphy had 2.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss among his eight total tackles in Stanford's 20-12 win over Oregon State. He also broke up a pass and blocked another as the Cardinal defense held the Beavers to just 288 total yards.
Tyler Gaffney, RB, Stanford: Gaffney rushed for 145 yards on 22 carries (6.6 average) with three touchdowns in Stanford's victory.
There are items that include college QBR, team offense/defense/special teams efficiency ratings (also known as expected points added), and win probability.
For more background on these metrics, read Dean Oliver’s primer on all of them and his explanation of college Total QBR. For complete college Total QBR information, go here.
Oregon rides defense to victory
Oregon outscored UCLA 28-0 in the second half to win its eighth straight game of the season. Its 28 points were split between the offense and defense.
Defensively, Oregon held UCLA to 94 yards in the second half, including 21 pass yards on 10 attempts. The Ducks added 13.6 expected points in the second half, matching their per-game total entering the game, which ranked third in the FBS.
Alabama putting teams away by halftime
In the six games since Alabama allowed 42 points to Texas A&M, its most under Nick Saban, the Tide have five more touchdowns (31) than their opponents have points (26).
In those games, the Tide have outscored their opponents 151-0 in the first half and have had an average win probability of 95 percent at halftime.
Miami comes back on heels of its running game, again
Miami entered the fourth quarter trailing in each of its past two games. The Hurricanes had less than a 25 percent chance of winning in the fourth quarter in each of those games.
Miami came back to win in those games largely because it got its run game going. Against UNC, Dallas Crawford rushed for 69 yards in the fourth quarter, including a 3-yard game-winning touchdown with 16 seconds remaining. Similarly, Duke Johnson ran for 85 yards in the fourth quarter against Wake Forest, including a 1-yard game-winning touchdown with 53 seconds remaining.
In the fourth quarter of those games, the Hurricanes added 6.21 expected points per game on the ground. That means if Miami had had an average rush offense in the fourth quarter (EPA of 0), and all other things remained the same, it would have lost each of its last two games by about three points.
Winston impresses in the first quarter
Jameis Winston threw for 229 yards and three touchdowns in the first quarter against NC State, the most pass yards in the first quarter by a quarterback this season.
Winston had a 99.4 Total QBR after one quarter, and his QBR did not fall below 96.
Winston now has a Total QBR of 89 or higher in each of his past four games. During that time, he has the highest Total QBR in the nation.
South Carolina’s comeback
South Carolina’s win probability fell to below three percent in the middle of the third quarter before the Gamecocks scored 17 straight points to send the game to overtime.
CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Stanford and Oregon both sputtered at times in their own specific ways Saturday. Ultimately, they both also asserted themselves and emerged victorious against ranked teams in ways that are typical of them and familiar to fans since they became the top dogs -- and top rivals -- in the Pac-12.
While No. 3 Oregon pressed its secret green button to engage ludicrous speed and dispatched No. 12 UCLA 42-14 with 28 unanswered points in the second half, No. 6 Stanford beat No. 25 Oregon State 20-12 with a rugged running game, gritty defense and a goal line stand in the waning moments.
Oregon, as is its wont, made things look easy after a first half that was, at times, sloppy. Stanford, as is its wont, wasn't as aesthetically pleasing. It played mostly successful smashmouth against the resilient Beavers, but a late fumble and a failure to convert a third-and-1 -- a Cardinal staple -- made things interesting at the end.
Stanford took over with 2:53 left. Typically, the Cardinal and its touted and monstrous offensive line would take control of the line of scrimmage, grab a couple of first downs with running plays up the middle and then strike a pose in victory formation. Only the Beavers stopped Gaffney for no gain on third and 1.
After a 28-yard punt return from Brandin Cooks gave the Beavers the ball at Stanford's 43-yard line with 1:34 left, the Beavers quickly drove for a first and goal on the 7-yard line.
But four passes fell incomplete, and the Cardinal walked out of Reser Stadium murmuring to one another, "Too close."
It was a road win over a ranked team in the Pac-12 North Division, but it wasn't dominant or decisive by any stretch.
The reason these games and teams cannot help but be juxtaposed, of course, is because both the Ducks and Cardinal, the Pac-12's highest rated teams, are off this weekend before they meet in Stanford Stadium on Thursday, Nov. 7, with the North Division likely on the line.
"I'm already done thinking about Oregon State and the effort tonight," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "It wasn't good enough to beat Oregon or good enough to be in the game against Oregon."
Oregon will arrive at the Pac-12 game of the year squarely in the national title hunt. The Ducks are rolling on both sides of the ball, though special teams might get some emphasis over the next week and a half. The Ducks have won every game by at least 21 points.
Stanford will arrive at the marquee matchup with an upset loss at Utah and a struggling passing game.
Of course, the Cardinal went into Autzen Stadium last year a few weeks after making a change at quarterback. They already had been upset by Washington. A week before they went to Eugene, they barely slipped the Beavers at home 27-23.
Yet they shut down QB Marcus Mariota and the Ducks' high-flying offense in a 17-14 victory that won them the North Division. It was the worst game -- only bad one, actually -- of Mariota's two years as a starter, and it was quintessential Stanford football.
So Stanford fans don't need to panic over an offense that generated just 88 yards passing against the Beavers. Right?
"Offensively, we didn't play well enough, bottom line," Shaw said. "We missed too many things in the passing game -- quarterback, receivers, coach, blame us all."
Stanford got 145 yards rushing and three touchdowns from Gaffney, who averaged 6.6 yards per carry. But his fumble spurred the Beavers comeback.
"It was unacceptable," Gaffney said. "They put trust in me, and I lost a little focus."
On the other side of the ball, Stanford was brilliant. The Beavers entered the game with the nation's leading passer, quarterback Sean Mannion, and receiver, Cooks. While Mannion mostly played well, completing 41 of 57 passes for 271 yards and a touchdown, that was more than 150 yards below his season's average. Cooks caught nine passes for 80 yards, which was less than half his season average.
Most importantly, Stanford rolled up eight sacks and 13 tackles for a loss. Oregon State had yielded just nine sacks in its first seven games. The Beavers led the nation in plays of 20-or-more yards, but they had just one against the Cardinal. Oregon State was 6 of 17 on third down and, perhaps most notable, just 1 of 5 on fourth down.
"You have to be spot-on against them, and that's why we had more negative plays than we've had all year and had a hard time with protection," Beavers coach Mike Riley said.
Pretty or not, Stanford still controls its own destiny. If it beats Oregon and takes care of the rest of its conference schedule, it will win the North Division and advance to the Pac-12 title game, where it can earn a second consecutive berth in the Rose Bowl.
It also can once again deny the Ducks a chance to play for the national title.
"It's going to be a great game," Hogan said. "100 percent focused getting ready for the Ducks."