Saturday was really interesting. We had five ranked-ranked match-ups, and a good amount of games that came oh-so close to becoming a major upset. TCU-Baylor scored 119 points combined. That final score was 61-58, where TCU almost had a incredible upset. That game though, ended in a surprising way, with Baylor kicking a field goal as time expired to win.
That was just one game on Saturday. Others included the much-storylined Georgia vs. Missouri game, where without Todd Gurley, the Bulldogs cruised. I will have a column on Gurley later this week.
Let’s start with the Arizona Wildcats, and, as always…
The Wildcats were ranked 10th in the country coming into the showdown with USC. One team had came off a massive upset, and one had came off a devastating loss. The Wildcats were at home, and had tons of momentum. I was really skeptical of their ranking and their chances with this game.
The Wildcats were dominated early. The Trojan running game couldn’t be stopped. Arizona had no chance defending it. The halftime was 14-6 USC. It felt a lot worse than that. It wasn’t just the pounding of the running, it was the fact that the Trojans broke tackles and went for long gains. Arizona couldn’t tackle, and it really cost them.
Anu Solomon, Wildcats QB, threw 72 passes in the game, and completed 43 of them. That’s a pretty evident sign that things weren’t in the Wildcats favor. Solomon isn’t very accurate, but does have a cannon. Relying on the Freshman was tough, mostly because the Wildcats couldn’t run the ball at all. That’s what caused 72 passes to be thrown.
However, all of that didn’t lead to disaster yet. The Wildcats rallied after being down two possessions at the end of the 3rd. First, a 41-yard touchdown pass cut it to 28-20 around 10 minutes in the 4th. After that, it got wild. At least, not for another nine minutes.
The Wildcats answered again with just over a minute left. That cut it to two points. As anyone would, Arizona went for two. A pass interference on the first attempt gave the Wildcats a second chance. Instead of throwing a bubble screen pass, they ran the ball straight up the gut, and failed.
Now I was pretty mad at Rich Rodriguez. I thought he would take the chance of throwing it. Tat might’ve been the safer bet. But no, instead, he let Leonard Williams spoil it. Williams, who had a incredible game, boosted his already high draft stock for late April. The kid should be a top 10 pick when we get their.
After the failed two-point conversion, Arizona went for onside kick. They recovered, and my esophagus almost came out again.
So I, feeling pretty good about the drive, which started at the USC 47, was pretty confident they would get it done. After two nice passes, Anu Solomon lost it, and threw two terrible incompletions. It doomed the Wildcats, majorly. The Wildcats hadn’t been kicking the ball well all night, having one blocked in the first half.
With 12 seconds left, Arizona set up for the field goal, and guess what.
At first, I thought it was blocked, so I wasn’t totally surprised. Under further review, he actually missed the field goal, ending a pretty bad night for Wildcats. It was a bad loss, mostly because they had the opportunities to win the game.
That pretty much summed up the night. The missed field goal, the constant inability to stop the run. At home, the Wildcats should have won.
However, the loss didn’t plummet their ranking. In the new AP Poll, which I rely on, the Wildcats rank 16th in the nation, previously at 10th. That’s fine with me. They were ranked to high coming into the game anyways. 16th is about where they belong.
USC, on the other end, was unranked coming in to this game (surprising, right?). The loss to ASU hurt (them, not me) but that necessarily wasn’t their fault. It was a great offensive play. Anyways, at 4-2, the Trojans rank at 22nd. It’s not that they aren’t good, it’s more about the win-loss record and the teams that are better than them.
The other real upset Saturday took place down South, in Atlanta, where Duke upset No.22 Georgia Tech.
I don’t have much to say here….
The Yellow Jackets had only been ranked one week before losing to Duke Saturday. Duke, a team that I’ve always liked and who almost pulled off a incredible win over Texas A&M last year, went into Atlanta and rolled over Georgia Tech.
The Blue Devils got their running game going, which ultimately put Georgia Tech on their heels. The Jackets couldn’t stop it. Too add, Georgia Tech couldn’t hold on to the ball with three costly turnovers in the game.
A thunderstorm delayed the game over an hour, and adding to the misery, Georgia Tech gave up a ridiculous amount of points after the delay, putting themselves in a hole. Down 31-12, the Yellow Jackets pulled themselves out, and made it a six point game with a minute left. The rally didn’t pull through, as the final score was 31-25.
The Yellow Jackets fell from the rankings, and Duke got much respect, but not enough, being one of the lead vote getters to not make the poll.
As for Duke, the win was big, and a somewhat easy schedule the rest of the way could make them very interesting the rest of the year.
With Todd Gurley most likely out for the year, the Poll has been majorly shaken.
1. Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
2. Amari Cooper, Alabama
3. Ameer Abdullah, Nebraksa
4. Marcus Mariota ,Oregon
5. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin