Quite honestly, I didn't think LSU had it in them to make it a game against Alabama on Saturday. I understand that LSU was playing at home and they had that advantage, but Nick Saban's Tide this year are scarily good. Les Miles had his soldiers ready to go last evening, but it wasn't enough. AJ McCarron might not win the Heisman this year, but he's arguably one of the best game managers in the country. In the last two minutes of the game McCarron made some clutch throws and moved the offense down the field for the winning score. Just goes to show the overall demeanor of the Alabama team this year in general. I think Oregon versus Alabama in the national championship would be a highly intriguing match-up, and am interested in seeing how their defense would try and stop the Ducks.
Oregon on the other hand displayed once again why they are the best and most unstoppable offensive unit in the country. They came into the Coliseum against Matt Barkley and the USC Trojans, and ran all over them. All of the Heisman hype has been directed at SEC players thus far, but Oregon has three players that are talented enough to win the award. Kenjon Barner racked up a school record 321 rushing yards and five touchdowns while freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota was 20/23 for 304 yards and four touchdowns. De'Anthony Thomas, the lone Ducks player garnering any Heisman credibility chipped in a touchdown as well. Barkley & Co. tried to keep the game close, and were only down by 10 at the half. But Barner and Mariota didn't allow them to ever get closer than that margin and ended up winning 62-51. Chip Kelly's Ducks haven't lost a road game in three years. They posted 730 yards of offense against USC, which was the most USC has ever allowed. USC football has been around since 1888.....talk about embarrassing.
Oklahoma State traveled to Manhattan, Kansas to take on Collin Klein and Bill Snyder on Saturday, and kept it close at the beginning before Klein took over. The Cowboys and Wildcats were tied after the first quarter, but Kansas State exploded for 24 points in the second quarter putting the game out of reach. Heisman front-runner Klein sat much of the second half and still had a solid afternoon with one rushing touchdown and 245 yards passing. Kansas State ended the Cowboys three game winning streak and beat Mike Gundy for the first time in six years. Oklahoma State was looking to spoil Kansas State's national championship hopes just like theirs was ended last season against Iowa State. Klein made sure that wouldn't happen and has his team ever closer to a Big 12 Championship berth and a chance for a national title.
Notre Dame squeaked out a win at home against a pesky Pittsburgh team that was looking for a signature win under first year coach Paul Chryst. Pittsburgh was ahead 20-6 in the fourth quarter and looked like they were going to leave South Bend with a huge win, and put themselves into bowl contention. Everett Golson led the Fighting Irish back with two key touchdown passes and a two-point conversion before scoring the winning touchdown in overtime on a quarterback sneak. Coach Brian Kelly pulled Golson and gave Tommy Rees a chance until Rees threw an interception. Golson was given another shot and stepped up for his team, and keeping their perfect record intact. Pittsburgh had a huge game from running back Ray Graham who rushed for 172 yards and a touchdown against one of the best run defenses in the country. Notre Dame is now 9-0 and controls its own destiny of reaching the BCS National Championship game. If they can win out and Kansas State slips up, they will have an opportunity to put Notre Dame football back on the top of the college football world once again.
Georgia continues to surprise as they have been on fire after they were embarrassed earlier in the season by South Carolina. They amassed 533 yards of total offense over Ole Miss on Saturday and cruised easily to a 37-10 victory over the Rebels. Aaron Murray, who has looked shaky at times this year passed for 384 yards and four touchdowns. Ole Miss kept it close, only trailing 14-10 going into halftime. But that was as many points as they would score on the afternoon, and Georgia stepped on the pedal racking up another four touchdowns. Todd Gurley, the freshman tailback for the Bulldogs posted his sixth 100-yard rushing game of the season, finishing with 117 yards on 18 carries. If Georgia beats Auburn next weekend (which is undoubtedly very, very likely) they will clinch the SEC East title and another trip to Atlanta to play for an SEC Conference championship.
Texas A&M may be out of contention for an SEC championship, but nonetheless have played some inspired football under first year coach Kevin Sumlin. They shredded Mississippi State's defense all afternoon behind freshman sensation Johnny Manziel, who accounted for 311 yards passing and another 129 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Mississippi State was coming off of an embarrassing loss to Alabama last weekend, and now has lost two in a row. Sumlin is fortunate to have Manziel running the offense, and he has been starting to put together a nice resume this year as the Heisman whispers continue. He may not win or be invited this year, but Sumlin and Manziel will be one of the favorites to start next season to win the SEC.
TCU traveled to West Virginia for the first time and came away with a 39-38 win after Josh Boykin caught a two-point conversion try for the game winner. West Virginia is now in a downward spiral after a promising start to their season, and has lost its last three games. Defenses are starting to figure out Dana Holgorsen's system, and the ground game has virtually been abandoned. Geno Smith threw the ball 54 times and found the endzone three times, but only could muster a measly 78 rushing yards. Gary Patterson's freshman laden team outworked the Mountaineers, and quarterback Trevone Boykin has played well in place of Casey Pachall, who was suspended from the team. TCU and West Virginia both recently joined the Big 12 and are going through some growing pains. Defensively both have struggled this season, and their records have reflected their lack of stopping the pass.
Aside from Notre Dame, Louisville might be the most surprising team in college football this year. Coach Charlie Strong has the Cardinals off to a 9-0 start behind sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater passed for 324 yards and five touchdowns on Saturday against a Temple squad that lost its last three games and falls to 3-5 on the season. Louisville is now tied with Rutgers atop the Big East standings, and is hanging onto a slim chance of making it into the national championship picture. Strong will become a highly sought after coach at the end of the season, and will be courted by a few SEC schools for their head coaching vacancy.