The College Football Review, Week Eight: Rice Is Just as Good as Notre Dame

It’s becoming increasingly obvious, as the college football season progresses, that the worst place to be ranked is in the Top 10. Four more teams that were ranked in the Top 10 lost this week, and several other Top 10 teams had tough battles in which they also could have been defeated.

But let’s start things out with the hometown Cougars. The Cougars had perhaps their finest game of the season in defeating UAB 49-10. It’s not so much that the Coogs defeated UAB, which the Coogs were supposed to do, it’s impressive in that the Coogs came out firing on all cylinders for the first time this season, then never let up. Running back Anthony Aldridge had another big day, gaining 111 yards on 17 rushes and 2 TD, then getting an additional TD and 24 yards on 4 receptions. The Cougars, at 4-3, are now above the .500 for the first time this season.

Rice, on the other hand, can kiss all hopes of a winning season goodbye after losing to Memphis 38-35 to move to 1-7 on the season. True, that’s the same record as Notre Dame, but shouldn’t Rice aim for a higher standard than Notre Dame? And speaking of kissing winning seasons goodbye, it’s actually official for TSU, which went to 0-6 on the season after Mississippi Valley State beat the team 37-35 on a last-second field goal. And the Mustangs up in Dallas lost once again, this time to Tulane 41-34. (Am I the only one who wonders why SMU is the only school to ever be handed the NCAA’s Death Penalty? How many times have the Aggies been nailed with recruiting violations? And it seems like I’m always seeing Miami, USC, or Ohio State getting nailed for something.)

And Texas Tech can kiss its Top 25 ranking goodbye as the powerful Red Raider offense was shut down by Missouri 41-10. And the Big 12 South’s team turmoil, the Aggies, beat the Big 12 North’s team turmoil, Nebraska, 36-14. While I’m not betting any money on this, I feel it’s a safe bet that Coach Fran’s job is safer than Nebraska’s Bill Callahan. Especially since this is the third straight game in which Nebraska’s failed to be competitive.

The Horns beat up on Baylor, but only rose two spots in the rankings to get to number 17. I think UT can forget about the national championship for this season. But I’m sure Mack Brown will come up with a good excuse for the team’s failures this season.

But let’s get to the fun stuff…

As I said, four top 10 teams lost this weekend. And that’s beginning to become pretty commonplace. Perhaps the biggest upset was Vanderbilt defeating then-No. 6 South Carolina 17-6. This marked Vanderbilt’s first victory over a Steve Spurrier team in 15 tries. This was also the first time Vanderbilt had defeated a team ranked six or higher since it beat then six ranked LSU 7-6 in 1937.

And last weekend’s big team, Kentucky, which beat then-No. 1 LSU, was beat this week by Florida 45-37. No. 10 Cal, which had the chance to become number one last week, lost for the second straight week, as it fell to UCLA 30-21. UCLA’s record increased to 5-2, but probably because of early season losses to Utah and Notre Dame, it still can’t get ranked.

And the final Top 10 team to lose was No. 2 South Florida, which lost to Rutgers on Thursday.

Ohio State held on to the top spot in the rankings, but it struggled, giving up 17 second-half points to Michigan State before holding on for a 24-17 win.

LSU, which was upset last week, outscored Auburn 23-7 in the second half to get the win 30-24. The win allowed LSU to hopscotch past Oklahoma and into the number three spot. The idle Boston College is the number two ranked team.

So ends another weekend of college football. Where will the upsets be next weekend? Can number one hold on? Can number two hold on? Will the Cougars put two complete games together, back-to-back? Will Rice and Notre Dame ever win again? Is TSU turning into the next Prairie View?

Well, tune in next weekend. Maybe we’ll get some answers. – John Royal

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