I must be starting to get numb to all the upsets in college football, because even though two top 5 teams went down this week it didn't seem all that crazy. It seemed totally normal. Of course, this week's two top 5 losses by Oregon and Oklahoma weren't really upsets. Considering both teams essentially played without their starting QBs, it's no real surprise they both lost.
By the way, the picture above is of the real Washington Husky. A few years back (not in '94 as the pic suggests) the dog was so exhausted after a Cal/Washington game at Cal that it had to stop for some water outside a Cal fraternity. The owner left the dog in the frat's care while he went to get his car to pick up the exhausted dog. When an opportunity like that presents itself, one's gotta take advantage of it. Luckily, Dwyermaker got the pic of the Husky rocking the Cal cap. Regrettably, Cal got steamrolled by Washington on Saturday. It's all the dog's fault. Bad dog.
Anyway, on to what we learned.
1. You shouldn't let players play on a torn ACL. I couldn't believe that Oregon actually allowed Dixon to play in the Arizona game when the coaching staff and medical staff knew he had torn his ACL in the ASU game. Unreal. Of course Dixon wanted to keep playing, but players always want to keep playing. That's when a coach and a medical staff have to step in and say "no way." Not only because a player could do further damage to his knee (which happened), but because schools have an obligation to look after these guys and not just play for the buck. Remember, this isn't the pros (technically). Instead, Oregon got greedy and with a national championship just over the horizon, they rolled the dice and gambled. They played the "Well, Dixon said he could play" card. Now who knows how bad Dixon's knee is and what his future may be. And I can't stress this enough: Everyone involved in the decision to let Dixon play should be fired, period. That means Belotti, that means the medical staff, and anyone else involved. What Oregon did by letting Dixon play was unethical and goes well beyond a simple irresponsible decision. It was a calculated move that took advantage of a kid who desperately wanted to keep playing when he clearly shouldn't have been. It seriously wouldn't surprise me if Dixon's family eventually sues Oregon over this. They'd have one hell of a case.
2. Lose your QB and your season goes down the toilet. That's nothing new, but that's what happened to Oregon, and now it's happened to Oklahoma. At least Oklahoma didn't stick Crawford back out there again. I realize injuries are a natural part of football, but it's real clear that if a starting QB gets knocked out of a game, a team's season usually ends right then and there. And that's not good. Granted, there's no way to solve this problem, but it just seriously sucks that both Oregon and Oklahoma are out of the national championship picture because their QBs got injured. Don't any of these teams have any blue-chip QB backups? At least Michigan had Mallett.
3. Even though Ohio State beat Michigan pretty soundly, we should do everything possible to keep them out of the national championship. I don't think they'll get there anyway, but with how things have gone this year, who knows. Ohio State is a team that does two things well - they run the ball and play defense. But their passing game is suddenly real suspect. Imagine Ohio State against LSU in the championship. Considering Boeckman's recent struggles and the fact that Matt Flynn really isn't that good - and those two guys would be going up against great defenses - we might see a 0-0 game that goes to overtime.
4. Lloyd Carr has no choice but to retire on Monday. It already looked like he was going to do that anyway, but this loss to Ohio State just cemented it. He's beaten them once in 7 years, and that just isn't going to do it. I actually think Michigan fans will have a more favorable view of Carr when they look back on his time as head coach than they do right now. And that's because he won a national championship for Michigan in 1997. That'll always smooth things over a bit.
5. We might as well just give Tim Tebow the Heisman now. Dixon was his only real competition and now that Dixon's done, well, there's really no one else. Plus, the fact that Tebow is now the only QB to ever throw for 20+ TDs and run for 20+ TDs (which is astounding when you think about it) is something voters can't ignore. It really doesn't matter how many loses Florida winds up with this year, Tebow's clearly got this thing in the bag.
6. Nick Saban losing to UL Monroe was awesome. Alabama's now 6-5, which means the school is paying Saban nearly $700,000 per victory right now and they may not even make a bowl game. The fans are mad, the boosters are mad, and Saban's probably got a turd on his front lawn right now. Even more fun is that UL Monroe is a very, very bad team. They started out the year 0-4 and lost to North Texas. In fact, they're the only team North Texas has beaten this year. Great hire Alabama, great hire indeed.
7. It's officially time for Kansas to step up. This team has played a pretty easy schedule all year, but at least they've taken care of business. The only thing that concerns me is their two wins over Colorado and Texas A&M, both very close games. Those aren't great teams. I honestly don't think Kansas can beat both Mizzou and Oklahoma in back-to-back weeks, but at least Kansas will be tested. Can't say the same thing about Hawaii.
8. Speaking of Hawaii, they better step up as well. They play Boise St. on Friday. Hopefully Colt Brennan's brain will finally be back in place after that brutal hit he took against Fresno St. last week. I'm not sure where to place Hawaii if they beat Idaho St. It would be their only real victory over a legit opponent - which probably means the Toilet.com Bowl for Hawaii. Hey, they deserve it. Schedule some better non-conference games next year Hawaii, then we'll talk.
9. Despite their win Saturday, West Virginia continues to frustrate me. After their 2005 campaign, a lot was expected from them. But for the last two years it's looked like WV is going to go undefeated, and then they always drop a game against a legit opponent that they really should win if they want to be considered for the national championship. I don't want to see them in the national championship. The Big East isn't a good conference and I just can't help thinking that WV has somehow underachieved these last two years but gets rewarded anyway. Example: After USF suffered their first loss, a close loss to Rutgers on the road, they were ranked lower than WV. Why? Because people think WV is better than it really is. And I have no idea why. They consistently choke away at least one game a year for seemingly inexplicable reasons. That isn't the kind of team I want in the national championship.
10. Hopefully this year will be the one where the calls to start a playoff system finally begin to seep into the NCAA's brain. There are so many possible scenarios that could occur in the next two weeks it's ridiculous to even think about. What if Kansas beats Mizzou but loses to a two loss Oklahoma in the Big-12 Championship? What if LSU loses the SEC championship? What if Hawaii goes undefeated? What happens if Arizona State wins out by beating USC and Arizona? What if the Dolphins were demoted to the WAC? Quite frankly, it's insane to even try and make sense of all this. Which, of course, is why we need a playoff. Now, I realize even with a playoff, people will still be complaining about who did and didn't get in. But it'll at least shut up some of the criticism. The BCS system is only amplifying it.
11. Mike over at What It Is wanted to know what we thought of BC's win over Clemson. I actually was impressed. Anytime you can go on the road against a legit opponent with a statistically great defense (although overrated because Clemson plays in the weak ACC) and beat them, it's a good win. However, you could also say Clemson lost this game. First by having that receiver drop what would have been the game winning catch (and it was a pretty routine catch, he just dropped it) and then taking that dumb sack that took them back just enough for their kicker to come up just short at the end. Credit BC for the sack, but you know what, that receiver lost the game for Clemson. And since I talked about the ACC in this post, I might as well get some words in on it. It's a dreadful conference, period. That was always my concern with BC. If they went undefeated in the ACC, would they be good enough to legitimately play in the national championship? My answer was always no, and about 80% of people probably would have agreed with me. Luckily, we don't have to worry about that, since BC lost to Florida St. and Maryland in back-to-back weeks. My stance on the ACC is this: go undefeated, and then maybe you should be considered for the national championship. Lose a game, forget it. And that's because you're the worst power conference in America.