NCAA Week 7: Stock Up, Stock Down
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That's probably how long it'll take for the bright lights who call the shots in college football to do what everyone who follows the sport knows must be done.
For now, we'll just be content to muse upon the feats and foibles of Saturday's escapades.
Stock Up: Saturday Night Live ... So, does everything happen in Mississippi 40 years later, or does the Magnolia State just recognize a classic when it sees one? Or two. Like sound football teams. The Rebels defense just doesn't bother to say "Candygram!" when it chomps the opposition. It's strong enough so far this season, Bad Bo can make an appearance and it may not matter.
Meanwhile, down the road, the AD can warn about cowbells all he wants. Won't matter. A decent road trip to Baton Rouge and taking down Texas A&M and Auburn in Starkville is proof enough that when Bruce Dickinson gives a direction, do it, dammit!
Stock Down: Pollsters ... Surrre, we all know the Big XII is the deepest conference in football, because this crew has five of them on its list. If these dudes are so expert, answer this: If Ole Miss beat a young Boise State, 35-13, and gave up a garbage-time TD to A&M for a 35-20 result, why are the Aggies ranked when the Broncos aren't? As we now know, beating South Carolina isn't that much of a difference-maker. Maybe TMZ should get into the rankings game. They've got more cred these days.
Stock Up: Michigan State ... It was idiocy to write off Sparty two weeks into the season -- name another contender that had the cojones to go to Eugene for a non-con -- and hypocrisy to compare their scores when the likes of A&M's don't get the same scrutiny. If State wins out, the learned minds on the CFP will take them seriously.
Stock Down: Nôtre Dame ... Tarred heels certainly weren't sticking to hallowed turf under the Golden Domes, were they? Seriously, 43 points? Trap game or no, this one should've been safe enough to stick Rudy in there by the third quarter. Looks like the only drama in Tallahassee next weekend will be if Jameis Winston can stay out of trouble long enough to play. That's proving to be a challenge in itself.
Stock Up: Duck hoops ... Since some of Coach Dana Altman's roster isn't any better at shoplifting than Winston is, he might need reinforcements. Marcus Mariota, check in at the scorer's table:
The Ducks are relevant again, according to the ADDs who spout such bilge. And if Oregon has a Heisman candidate, it should be OT Jake Fisher. When he was out with an injury, Oregon's offense sputtered. When he returned for the Bruins game, the Ducks got relevant again, according to the ADDs who spout such bilge.
Stock Down: Arkansas special teams ... Who knew the Razorbacks could out-bumble Alabama's kicking game?
That took extra effort, to the tune of a botched extra point being the difference in a 14-13 loss. And that's not counting the unforced fumble through the end zone that nullified a sure touchdown. It amounted to a wasted effort by the Hogs D, which held Lane Kiffin's offense to 227 total yards that included one inch on a fourth down try. A certain someone was not amused.
Stock Up: Icing kickers ... Setting the stage for another miracle finish by scoring a last-minute TD and then recovering an onside kick, Arizona made a genius out of USC coach Steve Sarkisian. Wildcat kicker Casey Skowron had just split the uprights on a game-winning 36-yard FG, only to discover Sark called time out before he did it, relying on the old bromide of letting him think about it. So spectators and viewers had to drum their fingers waiting for the inevitable, because this tactic never works. Except this time. Possibly distracted by a strong rush from the right edge, Skowron shanked his second try. Final score: Trojans 28, Wildcats 26, and USC is still in the Pac-12 South title chase. Incidentally, Troy's hero was Buck Allen, the RB Lane Kiffin buried in the depth chart when he was head coach. Could've used him last year.
Stock Down: Brothers' keepers ... Baylor is Southern Baptist; TCU is Disciples of Christ. Both were located in Waco 'way back in the day. They've been football rivals since 1899, and turning the other cheek gets checked at the gate. What Texans call discouraging words were present again on Saturday. So was a wacky comeback by the hometown Bears. Erasing a 21-point fourth-quarter deficit in four minutes against a solid defense was impressive. Looks like the town wasn't big enough for the both of them.
Stock Up: Dookies ... The 22nd-ranked smart kids got noogied by the privileged kids for the first time in 10 years. This means Les Diables Bleu remain on track in their quest to become Florida State's punching bag for the second straight season. Do we really want to be subjected to that again? Save us, Cavman!
Stock Down: Quality wins ... What are these, again? Ole Miss over A&M? See above, re Boise State. LSU over Wisconsin? Both look rather ordinary right now. Anyone over South Carolina? Premature perception sucks. Here's hoping the first CFP rankings are a few grades higher -- see Pollsters, above -- in real quality.
Stock Up: Shaq Thompson ... The Washington Huskies LB snapped up a Jared Goff reach-out-to-the-goal-line fumble and cruised 100 yards for his fourth defensive TD of the season.
That's right. Third fumble return to the house, along with one pick-six.
Counting a long TD run during one of his occasional offensive stints, that makes five for the season. Dude's a ball magnet.
Stock Down: Clemson spies ... This Tiger operative had sideline credentials and chose the Louisville sideline:
Wonder if he got a game ball.
Stock Up: UMass ... Yet another long national nightmare is over! Thanks, Kent State!
Stock Down: Idaho's frequent flyer program ... So many miles, and nothing to show for it, except maybe seeing mind-numbing hotel décor on a travel schedule that would make salesmen shudder. 0-6 and counting so far this season. Sometimes, they don't even get a game; when an act of God steps in, maybe the Vandals should take the hint and go back to the FCS Big Sky. Frankly, it's got better teams than the Sun Belt.
Stock Up: Bovada ... The Todd Gurley effect on their point spread was a rousing +1. So much for hand-wringing. Running backs are a dime a dozen. Georgia merely plugged in freshman Nick Chubb, who accounted for himself quite well. Rather, he took advantage of the Bulldog line's strong play. But even they surrendered the spotlight to their defensive unit. Missouri ran a grand total of two plays in Bulldog territory.