Each week this season, it seems like one conference has a day where it just gets embarrassed. Week 1 saw a bunch of ACC teams lose games they shouldn't have lost. In Week 2, the Big East looked flat awful. This week, it was the Pac-10's turn. Sure, USC laid the wood to Ohio State at home, but that was about the only bright spot. Oregon struggled with middling Big Ten team Purdue. Cal got beat by Maryland, a bottom-tier ACC team. Washington got embarrassed at home by Oklahoma. Arizona State got beat by UNLV (who got killed last week by Utah)... in Tempe. Arizona got beat by New Mexico. Stanford lost - badly - to TCU. And UCLA was supposed to lose its road game against BYU, but this is just ridiculous.
Speaking of the Pounding in Provo, here's a few stats that are even more fun than 59-0...
- BYU quarterback Max Hall threw seven touchdowns... and didn't play the fourth quarter.
- UCLA had six rushing yards.
- The Great Depression was just starting the last time UCLA lost this badly.
Which brings me to my annual anti-BCS rant. This week, four Mountain West teams played Pac-10 opponents. The MWC was 4-0 in those matchups. Out of nine teams in the conference, six (the Utah teams, Air Force, TCU, New Mexico, and UNLV) are either legitimate threats to beat good BCS conference teams, or have already done so. The Big East and ACC can't claim that kind of quality. The Pac-10 and Big Ten can barely claim that. Now, it has long been my contention that the MWC is the best of the non-BCS conferences, even though the WAC gets all the press. (The WAC is pretty much a three-team league - four if Nevada decides to play.) And the smart money is still on one of the Utah teams to win the MWC and end up in a big bowl. But answer me this - why should an undefeated MWC winner be passed over for a shot at the championship over a one- or two-loss major conference team, especially if the major conference is weaker than, or just as weak as, the MWC? And why should a one- or two-loss MWC champion be banished to the Las Vegas Bowl even though they played a difficult conference schedule?
We need a 16-team playoff featuring each of the 11 conference champions and five at-large bids. It's only fair to give conference champs a shot.
Anyway, on to my games.
Vanderbilt 38, Rice 21: Before you say "whoopdecrap, we beat Rice," recognize this: Rice was 2-0 before this game, and they're serious competition for Tulsa for the C-USA West crown. Even better news: the traditionally anemic Vandy offense has scored 96 points in three games. I don't think we scored that many all last season. Even better: Vandy has outscored opponents 45-10 in the second half this year. I'm still not buying a bowl game - there are four games against top-20 opposition coming up, plus Tennessee and Kentucky, so to get to six wins we'd pretty much have to win both road games in Mississippi and the home game against newly halfway-decent Duke. And the offense is still suspect - that 38 points disguises the fact that we only had 71 passing yards and were outgained overall by a pretty good margin. We'll re-evaluate after this week's game at Mississippi...
Virginia Tech 20, Georgia Tech 17: I watched part of this game, and I didn't see the ball go into the air once. Then I checked the stat sheet... the teams combined for 22 pass attempts the whole game. Pretty amazing. I'm impressed by Paul Johnson's ability to apply the crazy option offense that worked at Navy in a major conference, even if the ACC barely deserves the label "major conference." They ran all over the Hokies all day, but VT still made the plays when it mattered.
#22 Utah 58, Utah State 10: Sure, this was a good old-fashioned butt-whoopin', but it kind of worries me that USU led early on. Also, three turnovers are bad. Against a bad team like USU, that gets disguised - USU gained 116 yards the whole game. But Utah gets its first real test against a good team (no, I don't count Michigan as "good") in Colorado Springs this week. We'll see what this team is really made of there.