College football fans–especially those west of  the Rockies–cursed Thursday evening when the unbeaten Oregon Ducks suffered their customary November loss to Stanford (I think it’s almost written in the schedule).  The world has been waiting for the fast-break Ducks to face Alabama for the title and provide a college football spectacle two wrap up the much-maligned BCS on a triumphant note.  Now Bama, Florida State, Ohio State and Baylor try not to blink over the next four weeks.  Looking at the remaining schedules– the top rated Tide play at 4-5 Mississippi St, host 8-2 Chattanooga and then visit 9-1 Auburn.  The tilt with the Tigers cold be the BCS-buster.  The second ranked Seminoles have an easier path–5-4 Syracuse, 1-9 Idaho and 4-5 Florida.  Ohio State?  The underbelly of 3-6 Illinois, 4-5 Indiana and a 6-3 Michigan team that’s dropped three of four.  Baylor has the toughest road:  8-1 Oklahoma State, 4-6 TCU and 7-2 Texas.  Which means plenty of scoreboard watching for one-loss teams like Stanford, Oregon, Clemson, Auburn AND Missouri.  Not to mention Chattanooga.

 

Alma Mater Update– it’s never a dull day watching the Orange play…even when they’re misfiring on both sides of the ball and racking up penalties like frequent-flier miles.  Terrell Hunt didn’t lose the game (which is always a possibility) and SU did just enough to stay on track for bowl eligibility as Pitt and Boston College are a combined 4-6 in the conference.  Pregame shenanigans involved brats and chips and dip–with Dave Keil winning MVP honors by bringing Sal’s Sassy Sauce.

 

Maryland let another chance to become bowl eligible slip through their fingers in a 20-3 loss to Syracuse.  And let’s just say there were plenty of windows of opportunity for the Terrapins to leap through– the Orange were called for 12 penalties (115 yards)…and on their lone scoring drive 35 of the 48 yards gained came from flags.  After a third straight loss…can this team bounce back?  Six wins never seemed so far away.  Terrapin Triumphs– Amba Etta-Tawo caught 6 passes for 109 yards… the defense held the Orange to 3 of 12 on third down…Sean Davis led the team with 11 tackles (8 solo stops).  Terrapin Troubles– on 13 drive-opening plays the team gained a combined 13 yards.  CJ Brown was sacked 3 times…tossed 2 interceptions and fumbled away a snap.  The defense coughed up an 80 yard march (over 7:54) to open the game.  A missed 42 yard field goal didn’t help.  Next:  Saturday at Virginia Tech.

 

Virginia not only got blown out 45-14 by North Carolina, they lost to the Tar Heels backup quarterback (Bryn Renner out of commission after shoulder surgery).  The Cavaliers not only dropped its 7th straight, but they also missed their last best chance to avoid going winless in the ACC.  And not only is the season lost, but UVa gets a bye week to think about it a little more.  And just to show that Syracuse isn’t the most penalty-plagued team in the country, UNC was whistled 13 times for 102 yards in the rout.  Cavalier Congrats– Kevin Parks notches his first 100 yard effort in almost a month… Anthony Harris notched his sixth interception of the season…Alec Vozenilek averaged over 40 yards a punt and placed a pair inside the 20 (yes– it’s so bad were scraping the punting barrel for positives).  Cavalier Concerns– allowing 162 yards on the Tar Heels’ first two drives of the game set the tone (and a double digit deficit)…the offense had five 3 & outs (with another drive ending in an interception on 2nd down)…one of Vozenilek’s punts that landed inside the 20 was returned 85 yards for a TD.  Next: November 23rd at Miami.

 

Virginia Tech salvaged its season with a 42-24 win at Miami…a school unbeaten two weeks ago and now behind the Hokies in the ACC Coastal (four teams have 2 losses, making the next few weeks more nailbiting than usual).  Third things first:  VT won this game on the decisive down (moving the chains 8 of 14 times while Miami went 3-12).  Hokie Highlights– Logan Thomas threw for 366 yards and 2 touchdowns… somebody else besides Thomas led the team in rushing (thank you Trey Edmunds)… and the defense shut down the run (48 yards on 21 carries when accounting for sacks).  Hokie Humblings– beware the big play-two of the Hurricanes TD’s came on pass plays 80 yards or longer…11 penalties for 71 yards leaves a lot of cleaning up to do…and knowing VT doesn’t own the tiebreaker with Duke if the two schools win out.  Next:  Saturday vs Maryland.

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