College football went haywire last weekend, from Oklahoma State’s collapse to Lee Corso’s f-bomb to a Saturday night that was equal parts riveting and exhausting.
Virginia crashed the top 25 with a road upset of Florida State, where the Cavaliers were as poised as the Seminoles were undisciplined. Robert Griffin III vaulted into the Heisman conversation with a last-second touchdown pass that gave Baylor its first win over Oklahoma. Matt Barkley and Southern California ended Oregon’s national title quest.
Throw Clemson’s Saturday afternoon faceplant at North Carolina State into the mix, and four top-10 teams lost, making life miserable for your friendly neighborhood Associated Press pollster.
Virginia Tech faithful are clamoring for their Hokies to jump all four losers, but based on quality of wins, I’m keeping Oklahoma State (the Cowboys beat Baylor and Kansas State) and Oregon (the Ducks won by 23 at Stanford) ahead of Tech. That nudges the Hokies from ninth to seventh on my ballot.
Virginia was a no-duh to make the top 25. I voted the Cavaliers 24th, which would have been higher if not for impressive efforts by teams such as Baylor, Penn State, Michigan and TCU.
The AP pollsters’ consensus: The Hokies sixth and Cavaliers 24th.
The coaches’ poll has Tech fourth and Virginia 25th.
Here’s my complete AP ballot.
1. LSU (11-0): Forget Black Friday shopping. Watch the Tigers’ host Arkansas instead. Serious national title implications. LSU warmed up with a 52-3 rout of Mississippi.
2. Alabama (10-1): The Tide allowed 519 rushing yards in its first 10 games, 304 to Division I-AA Georgia Southern in Saturday’s 45-21 victory. Guessing Bama will be tad more stoked for Iron Bowl at Auburn.
3. Arkansas (10-1): Win at LSU, and the Razorbacks turn the SEC West and BCS on their heads. And after a 44-17 rout of Mississippi State, they appear capable.
4. Oklahoma State (10-1): A 37-31 OT loss at Iowa State seemed unfair after the plane crash, the second in 10 years to strike Cowboys athletics, claimed two women’s basketball coaches. Glad OSU has two weeks before hosting Oklahoma on Dec. 3.
5. Oregon (9-2): National title hopes vanished with a 38-35 home loss to Southern California. But a victory over Oregon State on Saturday would send the Ducks to the inaugural Pacific 12 championship game.
6. Stanford (10-1): The Cardinal survived Cal 31-28 and awaits a visit from Notre Dame. A win would assure Stanford its second consecutive BCS invite.
7. Virginia Tech (10-1): Yet another Hokies escape, this time 24-21 over North Carolina. Tech will need to be much better against Virginia.
8. Boise State (9-1): The Broncos whipped San Diego State and host Wyoming on Saturday.
9. Houston (11-0): Case Keenum added to his record collection Saturday, setting the NCAA career completion mark in a 37-7 rout of SMU. Friday’s visit to Tulsa far more dicey.
10. Southern California (9-2): Barkley and the Trojans snapped Oregon’s national-best 21-game home winning streak. Too bad probation-saddled USC is ineligible for a rematch in the Pac-12 championship contest. Instead, the Trojans conclude their season Saturday against UCLA.
11. Michigan State (9-2): A 55-3 pasting of Indiana sends Kirk Cousins and the Spartans to the inaugural Big Ten title game, regardless of how they fare this week at Northwestern.
12. Oklahoma (8-2): Defense abandoned the Sooners again Saturday in a 45-38 loss to Baylor. Oklahoma hosts Iowa State this week.
13. Wisconsin (9-2): The Badgers rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit to defeat Illinois 28-17 and set up showdown against visiting Penn State. Winner faces Michigan State for Big Ten championship.
14. Kansas State (9-2): The Wildcats edged Texas 17-13 and take this week off to prepare for Dec. 3 regular-season finale against Iowa State.
15. South Carolina (9-2): The second 10-win season in Gamecocks history is at stake in the annual regular-season finale against reeling Clemson. USC dusted The Citadel 41-20 on Saturday.
16. Georgia (9-2): Nine straight and counting for the Dawgs after an 0-2 start. Most important, their 19-10 grinder over Kentucky clinched SEC East. Intriguing game this week at Georgia Tech.
17. Michigan (9-2): The Wolverines’ 45-17 rout of Nebraska was arguably their best performance of the season. Beat visiting Ohio State this week, and Michigan a serious BCS at-large contender.
18. TCU (9-2): The Mountain West secured by a 34-10 victory over Colorado State, the Horned Frogs now aim for a second consecutive BCS appearance. Beat UNLV on Dec. 3, and they’re likely to get it.
19. Penn State (9-2): Couldn’t help but feel good for the Nittany Lions’ players after their 20-14 victory at Ohio State. Can’t imagine what they’ve endured recently. Can they summon another big effort at Wisconsin?
20. Baylor (7-3): The Bears are 6-0 at home and conclude the regular season with visits from Texas Tech and Texas.
21. Clemson (9-2): I dropped the Tigers 13 spots after their 37-13 no-show at N.C. State. Saturday at South Carolina chance for redemption.
22. Notre Dame (8-3): The Irish hardly inspired in their 16-14 win over Boston College.
23. Nebraska (8-3): The Cornhuskers host Iowa on Friday on the heels of Michigan debacle.
24. Virginia (8-3): The Cavaliers had to sweat an interminable replay review and a last-play field-goal attempt, but their 14-13 victory at Florida State was richly deserved. Mike London is the ACC coach of the year.
25. Georgia Tech (8-3): The Yellow Jackets defeated Duke 38-31 and are playing for bowl position Saturday against Georgia.
In: Virginia, Georgia Tech.
Out: Florida State, Southern Mississippi.
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