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The Inside Track | Chris Dufresne / ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Surprise Was That There Was No Surprise at All

November 19, 2001|CHRIS DUFRESNE

What many hoped would be a flip-flop weekend in the national title race turned out to be a bigger television dud than "My Mother the Car."

Oregon won the Pacific 10 title while planted on its Sequoia, but actually lost national title ground. Same for idle Texas, which was hoping a few missteps would loosen things up in the bowl championship series.

No such luck. Saturday was supposed to be moving day; instead, the contenders re-upped their BCS leases for at least another week.

No. 8 Washington State was the only top-10 BCS school to lose, and the Cougars weren't in the national title race to begin with.

So, the weekend ended much as it started: Three schools, Nebraska, Miami and Oklahoma, control their own fates, and Florida continues to close fast.

No. 2 Miami was supposed to get a scare at home against Syracuse.

Boo, Miami won, 59-0.

No. 3 Oklahoma was no cinch to win at Texas Tech.

Oklahoma cinched it, 30-13.

Some guessed three-loss Florida State might summon the ghosts of talents past to pull off an upset of No. 5 Florida.

Florida won in a walk, 37-13.

No. 7 Tennessee escaped with a three-point win over Kentucky, but we're not sure Tennessee ever deserved a dog in this hunt.

Biggest losers?

No. 4 Oregon and No. 6 Texas, and they didn't even play.

Oregon needed an upset from either Syracuse, Texas Tech or Florida State, but went 0 for 3.

Oregon can't move up unless one of the three teams ahead of it loses. Worse, Florida's victory over Florida State almost assuredly will propel the Gators past the Ducks in this week's BCS standings.

Ditto for Texas. The Longhorns needed Texas Tech to defeat Oklahoma to keep their hopes alive of winning the Big 12 South Division and getting a BCS boost via a possible Big 12 title-game matchup against Nebraska.

All Oklahoma has to do now is defeat Oklahoma State to win the division and lock out Texas.

No, all the craziness this weekend was BCS subterranean, where the wild things are.

If you don't think the college game is a tad askew, consider:

* Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport was shut down for hours Friday because, it turns out, a University of Georgia yahoo didn't want to miss his flight for the Dawgs' big game at Mississippi.

Michael S. Lasseter, 32, faces charges for breaching security, albeit unknowingly, yet his legend in Athens may approach that of Uga.

How might the Georgia brass react to Lasseter's airport idiocy? We're guessing he'll receive lifetime season tickets at a halftime ceremony next year and somebody will write a song about him.

\o7 Oh, Michael S., you caused a big mess, because your Dawgs were playing Ole Miss. Y'all ran from the hounds, you ran really hard, but those weren't hounds--they was the National Guard!!

Georgia beat Mississippi, 35-15.

* Washington is penalized for paying tribute to its seniors.

It's true. Referee Jim Sprenger slapped the Huskies with a 10-yard delay-of-game penalty before the start of Saturday's Apple Cup game against Washington State because the public address announcer took too long introducing Washington players.

Husky Coach Rick Neuheisel said to Sprenger, "You've got to be kidding me," but Sprenger wasn't.

Turns out, the delay was the fault of the two schools' bands--for exceeding their pregame time limits.

* UCLA loses its fourth consecutive game. OK, Bob Toledo, repeat after Rick Neuheisel: You've got to be kidding me.

Four weeks ago, the Bruins were 6-0 and No. 3 in the first BCS standings. After Saturday's 27-0 loss to USC, UCLA is a 6-4 team looking for a lousy two-bit bowl that can handle its rap sheet.

Wonder if Pete Dalis still has the Poulan Weedeater Bowl on his Rolodex?

The Bruins, you see, don't qualify for any of the Pac-10-affiliated bowls, so they'll have to peddle their wares for an at-large spot. There are openings in the Silicon Valley and Humanitarian bowls, although we don't reckon those are going to produce Harry Potter-long ticket lines.

* Stanford is eliminated from the Pac-10 race ... last Wednesday.

Did you miss something? Did the Pac-10 turn into kooky Conference USA and start playing games on bowling nights?

No. Stanford got knocked out of the race in a vote of Pac-10 presidents, who ruled Washington State's victory over Division I-AA Montana State would count as a Division I victory in the conference's tiebreaker rules.

Why? Because Washington State's Sept. 15 game against Colorado was canceled because of the terrorist attack, and the game could not be rescheduled. Washington State picked up Montana State as an 11th game. As it related to the Pac-10's tiebreaking points system, the ruling knocked Stanford out of the race.

* Stanford gets the short straw in the Pac-10 bowl picture.

Maybe the smart kids don't get all the breaks. The Cardinal is No. 9 in the BCS but may get shafted in its own conference. With Oregon all but set for the Fiesta Bowl, Washington for the Holiday and Washington State for the Sun, Stanford is supposed to end up in the Seattle Bowl against an Atlantic Coast Conference school.

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