NCAA Week 6: Stock Up, Stock Down
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It was the best of days; it was the worst of days.
OK, apologies to Charles Dickens. Saturday didn't have the historical impact of the French Revolution, but it was a big enough deal to warrant a legendary introduction. So there it was.
And don't call me Ishmael.
Stock Up: Ole Miss ... The Rebels were dialed in all week and then went out and got the job done. Bo Wallace couldn't get the time of day when Lane Kiffin was recruiting as Tennessee's head coach, and frankly, Kiffin was probably right. But Bo stepped up sufficiently on Saturday to support an Ole Miss defense that only gave up one touchdown.
Stock Down: Alabama special teams ... For all the mental errors -- missed assignments, penalties and a soft play in the secondary -- if the Tide would've just executed on this aspect of the game, they might've had a better bus ride home.
Stock Up: Katy Perry ... Her guest appearance on ESPN Game Day might have been exceeded in entertainment value only by the Oregon Duck mascot.
Full marks for her dissing zinger about the NFL. She even picked a couple of games right. Perry no doubt got the attention of a few LSU fans with the corndog reference. FYI, she'll be in New Orleans Wednesday night. Good luck with that.
Stock Down: Pollsters ... When a meaningful number of this crowd actually comes up with an original thought, get back to us.
Stock Up: Pacific Power & Light ... They kept the lights on at Washington State's Martin Stadium scoreboard Saturday night. That had to be a chore in the third quarter, especially, when the Cougs and CalBears racked up 56 points between them. 56! National passing leader Connor Halliday tossed for 734 yards and 6 TDs while the Golden Bears' Jared Goff chipped in a measly 527 and 5 TDs. Somewhere in there, Cal's Trevor Davis took for two kickoff-returns to the house. Lost in all the runaway stats was this: the Bears won, 60-59, when Wazzu missed a 19-yard FG with 19 seconds left. Couging It = Clemsoning.
Stock Down: Steve Sarkisian ... Great with the big picture, brutal on the brush strokes. It's what got his seat hot at Washington, and now USC is seeing it firsthand. The Huskies were a national leader in penalties and lost games on strange plays while Sark was there. Nothing's changed at Troy. Take Hail Mary defense, for example, a topic around the Pac-12 after Arizona's miracle escape against California. There's a simple technique: leap and bat down. So what happens at the end of the Trojans' game with Arizona State, besides Sun Devil backup QB Mike Bercovici confirming he should've had another bowl of Wheaties?
What was USC's senior LB Hayes Pullard thinking? Fair catch?
Stock Up: Miami of Ohio ... Mired in an FBS-worst 21-game losing streak, the RedHawks seized the day. Gotta do it when UMass is on the other side of the ball. The Minutemen complied, and now Austin Peay has the FBS-worst losing skein, at 17 games. They should be on the phone to Amherst any day now.
Stock Down: Taysom Hill ... BYU had a shot at complicating the CFP Selection Committee's job until he went down with a broken leg. Bummer. Hill was one of the most entertaining QBs in the nation.
Stock Up: Michigan ... Yeah, the Wolverines lost at Rutgers as 2-point dogs, but they got the push. Gotta start somewhere.
Stock Down: Illinois ... How does a major university with tremendous resources that's successful in other sports manage to suck year after year in football? They're so consistent, it's almost an accomplishment. The Illini were the perfect foil for Purdue, usually a pass-happy program. However, they rushed for 349 yards and collected a 38-27 decision for Coach Darrell Hazell's first Big Ten win. Note this comes after he's been with the almost-as-woeful Boilermakers for two years. Red Grange must be spinning in his grave, and Dick Butkus must be seriously considering joining him.
Stock Up: Paul Dawson ... The TCU linebacker could tell Texas A&M's receivers a few things about sticky fingers. Talk about a close-range grab! It sealed the deal against Oklahoma, too. Big XII, you've been served.
Stock Down: Jamie Pollard ... Telling it like it is cost the Iowa State AD $25,000. Had to feel good, though.
Stock Up: Texas A&M's fashion statement ... Well, if you're gonna get exposed and smashed in the same game, you may as well do it while looking good. And their silver-on-white outfit was a thing of sartorial splendor.
Stock Down: Jake Cotton ... Nebraska must've been on a long count. It did a 2.6 on the Richter scale.
Stock Up: East Carolina ... The Pirates began their charge to rule the AAC and claim a nifty bowl payday as the top team in the Other Five by toying with SMU before they got serious and strolled to a 45-24 romp over the hopeless Ponies.
Stock Waayyyy Down: Pollsters ... Just in case you forgot. Hopefully, the Selection Committee will pay them no mind, as well.