DeFranks: College football at its finest (Oct. 25)
Matthew DeFranks | Tuesday, October 25, 2011
It is the reason many love college football. It is the reason some claim a playoff is not necessary. It is the reason we watch unranked and overmatched teams take on top-five title contenders.
It happened last weekend.
In a weekend that defined college football’s unpredictable and erratic style, two of the top six teams lost in shocking fashion, their national championship hopes dashed.
The first half of the season was nice, cute and a little entertaining, but was nothing compared to the shocking firecracker that was Saturday.
If the first half of the season was Pam from The Office, this past weekend was Brooklyn Decker.
Preseason No. 1 Oklahoma — thought to be invincible at home — fell to Texas Tech, whose best win prior to Saturday was an 11-point victory over a 2-5 Kansas squad. But now the Red Raiders boast a marquee road win over a top-five foe. And, oh yeah, they snapped the Sooners’ 39-home game winning streak.
Oklahoma had beaten two top-15 teams by a combined 48 points. They had averaged nearly 55 points in the past three games. And, oh yeah, they had that winning streak. Everything seemed to be going right for Oklahoma.
But then college football reappeared and reminded the Sooners that no game is guaranteed.
Undefeated Wisconsin entered its matchup against No. 16 Michigan State with a Heisman contender at quarterback and an average margin of victory of over 40 points per game. They left East Lansing, however, with a stunning loss after a Hail Mary fell into Spartan hands as time expired.
The Badgers’ closest game previously was a 31-point thumping of then-No. 8 Nebraska. Opponents had reached double-digit points only three times against the Wisconsin defense. Only two ranked opponents remained on the schedule. Everything seemed to be going right for Wisconsin.
But then college football reappeared and notified the Badgers that no game is guaranteed.
If the first half of the season was a Toyota Camry, this past weekend was a Ferrari Spider.
But this is the beauty of college football. This past weekend made underdogs winners; Vegas, victors. But ultimately, we, the fans, came out on top.
Suddenly, the national championship race is wide open. Oklahoma State is now sitting pretty at No. 3 while Stanford has quietly stayed the undefeated course.
But will I be paying attention when California visits Stanford? How about when Oklahoma State hosts Baylor? Yes and yes, and so should you.
Those games represent why March Madness is addictive and popular. Just as people like to see Morehead State knock off Louisville, people love to see Wisconsin fall in the last second. Just as people like to see Butler make the national title game, people love to see Oklahoma choke. They love to see undefeated teams fall flat on their face. And so do I.
People love upsets and underdogs and little guys beating big giants — everything that characterized this past weekend.
If the first half of the season was a tortilla chips and salsa appetizer, this past weekend was a Maine lobster and medium rare Filet Mignon entrée.
And I could eat steak all day.