Some questions about college football have no answers

Puzzles abound this season, beginning with USC's lack of offense against Washington State. But there are so many more.

November 13, 2013|Chris Dufresne
  • USC wide receiver Marqise Lee was held to 27 yards on seven receptions during the Trojans' 10-7 loss to Washington State on Sept. 7.
USC wide receiver Marqise Lee was held to 27 yards on seven receptions during… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

Any given season can drive you nuts, but this one has shuttle-bused me to an assortment pack of walnuts and cashews.

We're two weeks from Thanksgiving and still no one has satisfactorily explained how USC scored only seven points against Washington State on Sept. 7. I've asked mailmen, real estate agents and dog-walkers, but all they do is shrug.

Two missionaries at my front door said they'd like to help, but they can't figure out how Brigham Young lost at Virginia.

Oregon State scored 52 against Washington State, Arizona State scored 55, Oregon scored 62 and Stanford scored 55.

USC piled up 193 yards in total offense.

Pat Haden should call off his coach search, because, in Ed Orgeron, he's apparently found the next Norman Vincent Peale Lombardi.

But wait, there's more:

• How is No. 5 Stanford favored by only three points against unranked USC?

Didn't Stanford score 55 against Washington State and USC seven?

Is this just a lack of respect for Stanford?

Wait, I'm just warming up.

• How could Lane Kiffin have kept tailback Javorius "Buck" Allen buried on the bench?

When I see Allen run I see "Job Saver."

• Why is Louisville still ranked ahead of Central Florida in both polls used in the Bowl Championship Series standings?

It might have been statistically understandable had the margins been razor close, but it's not: Louisville is No. 13 in the USA Today coaches' poll and UCF is No. 19.

The Harris Poll has Louisville 14 and UCF at 19.

Let the record reflect that, on Oct. 18, Central Florida went to Louisville and won, 38-35.

Central Florida's only loss must have been a real stinker, right?

Actually, the Golden Knights' only blip was a three-point loss to South Carolina, which is No. 12 in the coaches' and Harris polls.

Thank goodness AP voters are paying attention: They have UCF at No. 15 and Louisville at 19.

But I'm just rolling up my sleeves:

• Why didn't UCLA use Myles Jack at running back against Stanford and Oregon?

• How can Utah be 1-5 in Pac-12 Conference play with the only win coming against Stanford?

• How is Alabama the No. 1 team in the country, in the No. 1-rated division in the No. 1 conference, yet has the 66th-toughest schedule according to this week's NCAA statistics?

• How did Stanford not give the ball to Tyler Gaffney on third-and-two at the six in the waning moments of its six-point loss at Utah?

Gaffney has gained 1,043 yards this season in 211 carries. His net rushing yards for loss this season: 10.

• Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M and Gary Nova of Rutgers have each had 11 passes intercepted this season. Only five major college quarterbacks have thrown more interceptions than Manziel and Nova.

So why isn't Nova a Heisman Trophy candidate?

• Why did Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota's Heisman campaign get flushed just because his team dropped to No. 6 after a loss to Stanford?

Mariota played with a sprained knee ligament and still threw for two touchdowns in a six-point defeat. Mariota has 22 touchdown passes this season and no interceptions.

Manziel and Mariota are both third-year sophomores. Manziel has four career losses, all at home. Mariota has two career losses, by nine total points.

• Why does Manziel deserve to win a second Heisman before Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron wins his first?

You could understand it last season because McCarron threw a key interception in the Crimson Tide's loss to Texas A&M. But McCarron defeated Manziel this season, in College Station. McCarron finished with four touchdown passes and no interceptions. Manziel had five touchdown passes and two interceptions.

There have been only three Alabama games this season in which McCarron has had a pass intercepted. There have been only three Texas A&M games this season in which Manziel has not had a pass intercepted.

McCarron is 34-2 as a starter with a career touchdown-to-interception ratio of 68 to 11. He has won two national titles and is on his way to a third.

• How can Florida (4-5) lead the nation in time of possession — 35 minutes 8 seconds per game — and be ranked No. 111 in total offense?

• If the Southeastern Conference is the nation's best conference, how come it took Missouri and Texas A&M only two years to crack the code?

Missouri and Texas A&M were average Big 12 Conference programs. The Tigers never won a Big 12 title and the Aggies won it once, in 1998.

Yet, Missouri is one game from clinching the SEC East, one of the toughest divisions in college football. And Texas A&M has already defeated Alabama and Auburn.

Which was the tougher league to join?

Utah and Colorado, programs from the Mountain West and Big 12, went a combined 10-26 in league games in their first two years in the Pac-12. Including this year, that record is 11-37.

Colorado's program was way down when it entered the Pac-12, but Utah was 12-0 as recently as 2008, when it defeated Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

Missouri and Texas A&M are a combined 17-13 so far in the SEC.

• Since when did Duke versus Miami become a big game in football?

The answer, apparently, is this weekend.

• How is one-loss Clemson ranked ahead of one-loss Oregon in the coaches' poll? Clemson lost to Florida State, 51-14; Oregon lost to Stanford by six.

•Ohio State is a win over Illinois from tying a school record with 22 consecutive wins, and do you know how many Big Ten and national titles it has won during that span?


Now how did that happen?

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