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College Football Wrap-Up Week 6 – Florida Stays No. 1, Beats LSU, 4 More Teams Suffer Their 1st Loss

Copyright © 2009 Ed Bagley

Florida started the season as the No. 1 pick in the AP Top 25 Poll and will remain No. 1 for the 7th straight week after beating the No. 4 Louisiana State Tigers in Baton Rouge, 13-3, in this season's biggest match-up featuring two Top 5 teams.

The Gators' swarming defense silenced the Tiger crowd to win their 15th consecutive game, the longest current win streak among major schools, and LSU had its 32-game winning streak in Saturday night games snapped. LSU, ranked last in the SEC in total offense coming into the game, never got untracked and could muster only 162 yards.

Tim Tebow, the heart of Florida's offense and former Heisman Trophy winner, returned after suffering a concussion two weeks ago. Tebow's presence helped assure the Gators that they would remain on top with a top effort. LSU started the game with a perfect 5-0 mark and ended it with a 5-1 record. Florida remains unbeaten at an overall 5-0 and sits on top of the SEC's East Division.

Three other Top 25 teams lost their first game this week—Auburn, Missouri and Wisconsin.

Unranked Arkansas hosted and upset 17th-ranked Auburn, 44-23, as Michael Smith rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown, and the Razorbacks raced to a 34-3 lead before sticking a fork in the Tigers. Now it can be confirmed that Auburn was a really suspect Top 25 choice since its first 5 victories came against teams with a combined 9-14 record.

Arkansas is now 3-2 and full of spit and vinegar; the Razorbacks other two wins have come against 149th-ranked, 1-AA Missouri State and 63rd-ranked Texas A&M. Big deal? I think not. Arkansas is not that good and neither is Auburn.

No. 21 Nebraska hit the road and took the measure of No. 24 Missouri, 27-12, handing the Tigers their first defeat. It was simply not a good week for Tiger teams as LSU, Auburn and Missouri all lost for the first time in College Football's Week 6. Missouri, which had a 12-0 shutout after 3 quarters, quit too early and celebrated as Nebraska won the 4th quarter 27-0, and the game.

Should Missouri have been in the Top 25? As the Hertz rental ad says, not exactly. The Tigers built their 4-0 record on teams with a combined 6-12 record, and that includes 1-AA Furman, that raging powerhouse from South Carolina.

No. 9 Ohio State hosted Wisconsin and cost the Badgers their first loss, 31-13, before sending them back to Wisconsin. The Badgers were at least unranked, even with a 5-0 record coming into the always screaming, always sold-out 101,000-plus-seat horseshoe stadium in Columbus.

A much more significant victory came from No. 3 Alabama as the Crimson Tide took its record to 6-0 with an away victory over 20th-ranked Mississippi, 22-3. The Tide led 19-zip after 3 quarters. Can we now stop all of the preseason publicity about Mississippi this and Mississippi that? The Rebels' hot shot quarterback—Jevan Snead—continued his mission to greatness by throwing 4 interceptions.

Ole Miss is now 3-2 and one croak away from sliding into a swamp. Should Mississippi even be in the Top 25? Nah, the Rebels have some real proving to do.

Other ranked teams with away victories this week included:

No. 10 TCU over Air Force 20-17. Without a 4th quarter field goal, TCU would have gone into overtime. No. 13 Oregon continued its momentum by beating UCLA 24-10. No. 15 Oklahoma State outlasted Texas A&M to win again with another lame performance, 36-31. If Oklahoma State keeps giving up 31 points a game, they are not going to keep winning for long.

No. 18 Brigham Young topped UNLV 59-21. No. 22 Georgia Tech just made it by Florida State 49-44 in a shootout. BYU is now 5-1 and Florida State 4-2; one could easily argue that Georgia Tech is better than BYU, and may well prove so before the season is over.

Ranked teams with home victories included:

No. 2 Texas over Colorado 30-28 after Colorado led 14-10 at the half. Colorado is now 1-5 with their only win over Wyoming. Texas has played no one so far this season. After Oklahoma next, the Longhorns play no one really significant through the end of the season. Texas should win a lot of games and there will be no evidence to show that they should play in the National Championship Game this year.

No. 5 Virginia Tech beat up Boston College 48-14. No. 11 Miami (FL) stomped 1-AA Florida State 48-16. Big whoop. No. 12 Iowa had an unimpressive 30-28 win over Michigan. Another big whoop; Iowa should have won by at least 2 touchdowns at home, nonetheless, Iowa's 5-0 mark is the Hawkeyes best start since 1985. No. 14 Penn State kicked around 152nd-ranked, 1-AA Eastern Illinois; boy, those tough Nittany Lions really know how to charm some cream puffs.

No. 16 Kansas took all afternoon to finally beat Iowa State 41-36. Kansas gave up 36 points to a team that is 3-3. You have to ask yourself, even at 5-0, why should they be ranked so high? The Jayhawks compiled their unbeaten record against teams with a combined 8-12 record, including the 187th-ranked, 1-AA Northern Colorado powerhouse (1-4) from the Rockies. Kansas may be unbeaten, but they are hardly good.

No. 19 Oklahoma beat Baylor 33-7. No. 25 South Carolina just nudged by Kentucky 28-26, a team that Florida beat 41-7; that's why Florida is No. 1 and South Carolina No. 25. At least the Gamecocks scored a touchdown in each quarter against Kentucky.

Three 5-1 teams that are still looking for recognition and respect won again. Central Michigan whipped Eastern Michigan 56-8; Central Michigan is the worst 1-A team in the nation, currently ranked 164th by Sagarin (there are only 120 teams in 1-A football). Idaho on-the-road (yes, Idaho, don't laugh) beat San Jose State 29-25.

Pittsburgh, behind 21-13 after 3 quarters at home, won the 4th quarter 11-0 to beat Connecticut, 24-21.

There were at least 3 other notable wins. After 3 straight losses to Central Michigan, Notre Dame and Wisconsin by a combined 13 points, Michigan State evened its record at 3-3 by beating Illinois 24-14 on-the-road.

At 4-1, Stanford looked like the second best team in the Pac 10 behind USC, but Oregon State reminded them of why it is tough to beat the Beavers at home, upsetting The Cardinal 38-28. All bets in the Pac 10 race are now off as Oregon is 3-0, Stanford 3-1 and 3 teams are 2-1—Southern Cal, Oregon State and Washington (yes, the same Washington that was 0-12 last year).

Speaking of Huskies, Washington let Arizona into the red zone at least 8 times and was behind 33-21 at home with 4:22 left. Jake Locker engineered a drive with a 25-yard TD strike to Kavario Middleton with 2:55 left and then a miracle happened.

On the ensuing play after the kickoff, Arizona's Nick Foles threw another bubble screen pass to Delashaun Dean that was short and behind the receiver. The ball bounced off of his foot and into the air, was promptly intercepted by Husky linebacker Mason Foster and he turned around and rambled 37 yards into the end zone to put Washington ahead, 34-33 with 2:37 remaining.

Jake Locker then completed a 2-point conversion to Jermaine Kearse to make it 36-33. The Husky defense, which had given up 461 yards to Arizona, then suddenly got ugly. Daniel Te'o-Nesheim sacked Nick Foles for a 6-yard loss, and true freshman cornerback Desmond Trufant intercepted Foles' 4th down attempt to put the Wildcats away.

Washington, twice a dog at home against Southern Cal and Arizona, has shown it is all about playing hard for 60 minutes, finding a way to win, finishing off an opponent and having fun doing it.

Washington's miracle play brought back great memories of "The Immaculate Reception" during a 1972 playoff game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders. Late in the game a Pittsburgh receiver was hit hard as he tried to make a catch, the ball was deflected and just before it hit the ground, it was caught by Franco Harris, who picked it out of the air and then ran it in for the touchdown that won the game for the Steelers.

Pittsburgh had struggled for 4 decades to win a playoff game, and The Immaculate Reception—called by NFL films as the greatest play of all time—led to the Steelers eventually winning 4 Super Bowls before the end of the decade.

Could something special be happening at the Montlake Campus of the University of Washington Huskies? Count on it, miracles do not happen often, especially on football fields. Washington, you will recall, upset then No. 3-ranked Southern Cal 16-13 earlier in the season.

Six bottom feeders remained winless by losing this week—Ball State, Miami (OH), Eastern Michigan, Rice, New Mexico and Western Kentucky. Florida International got the money off of its back by beating Western Kentucky 37-20—go Golden Panthers (that's the nickname of FIU, which few would know except those folks who live east of the Mississippi River).

Top 25 teams that were idle this week included No. 6 Boise State, No. 7 Southern Cal, No. 10 Cincinnati and No. 24 South Florida.

That's it, that's all, Smokey, put a wrap on it.

(Editor's Note: The rankings in this article are from the AP Top 25 Poll of sportswriters and sportscasters, and any ratings are from Jeff Sagarin.)

Read more of my football coverage, including:
Check out "Ed Bagley's Top 25 Poll" for Week 6—you get rankings plus humor.
"College Football Wrap-Up – Week 5 – Only a Baker's Dozen of Teams Still Remain Undefeated"
"College Football – The Sagarin Ratings – What They Are, How to Read Them & What to Do With Them"
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