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Week 11 Recap

by Big Al

We cleaned out a few more teams from the national race, and muddled the conference races a little more, but at least we weren't bored. Except for late in the game during the three biggest games of the night. Those games were pretty well done early in the night.

Stanford 30 - Washington 22

Well, that about wraps it up for the Pac-12 in the national title race. But at least it is competitive and entertaining and certainly worth staying up late for.

Ohio State 48 - Michigan State 3

I seriously have no idea what happened here, and I was watching the game. As bad as Ohio State was in every phase last weekend, they were good to the same level this weekend. Mark Dantonio teams have never looked as bad as Ohio State made them look—even last year, when they finished 3-9. Either way, what the heck was that?

Auburn 40 - Georgia 17

Was anybody picking Georgia in this game? Seems like just about everyone was going with Auburn. I think that says a lot about people's perceptions of the SEC West. The fact that Auburn still beat the unholy daylights out of Georgia says a lot about the reality of the SEC West.

Wisconsin 38 - Iowa 14

Well, that about wraps it up for the Iowa bandwagon. But it does set up a very exciting game between Wisconsin and Michigan next weekend.

Clemson 31 - Florida State 17

I was hoping Florida State would at least give Clemson a scare. But this is not the Florida State that we remember even from last year. It's entirely possible that neither Florida nor Florida State will go bowling this year.

Meanwhile, Clemson has reiterated that there is a new sheriff in town. And we'll be seeing about that sheriff in a very exciting ACC championship matchup between Miami and Clemson. Who would have thought that the ACC's championship game would be the most exciting in the country?

Alabama 31 - Mississippi State 24

Alabama was looking pretty stale for most of this game, but managed to figure out their issues in time to get a win. In truth, the result here was immaterial. With Auburn's thrashing of Georgia, the SEC West race was already very different. And the SEC championship game is looking like a pre-playoff warmup for either Alabama or Auburn. But, as we learned again this weekend, never sleep on college football.

Oklahoma 38 - TCU 20

In a rather surprising twist, it was Oklahoma playing defense in this game. They controlled TCU's offense in the early going, keeping them at arm's length while the Oklahoma offense kept putting on points. I was expecting a shootout here (knowing how Oklahoma generally wins games), but the Sooners took control of this game early and kept it. Oklahoma solidified their bona fides with a significant win over a good team. If there were any questions about Oklahoma's worthiness to stand with the rest of the nation, this game showed that they are deserving.

Miami 41 - Notre Dame 8

I was watching College Gameday, and they were talking about the turnover chain that has become the emblem of the Miami football program. And it popped in my head that the most important symbol of that program is given to the players on DEFENSE. Most other schools talk about offense, Miami has an emblem on defense. Everyone always says that offense sells tickets and defense wins championships. But defense is always short-changed in the attention department. But Miami is not doing that; they have the focus on their defense. And they are playing for championships again.

The way Miami dominated the line of scrimmage was the biggest factor in their success in this game. I did not expect them to disrupt Notre Dame's offensive line like they did. Josh Adams was averaging darn-near 9 yards per carry for a reason: he is very good, but he also had open running lanes. He didn't against Miami. The Hurricanes were firing through gaps, penetrating the front line, and generally throwing the Notre Dame offense into disarray and, as a result, forcing the Irish into passing situations that Miami used to create turnovers.

Meanwhile, Miami's offense was good enough. It wasn't great (especially on third down), but it was good enough. They controlled the line of scrimmage and that created running lanes and passing opportunities. And that kept them moving down the field often enough that Notre Dame was out of the game very early.

Everyone is saying that Miami is back. I'll agree that they may be. But we have three more games to play before I laud them too much. But with that said, I would like to say that Miami put together one amazing effort and they are clearly a team to be reckoned with both in the ACC and the national race.

Columns

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