Dubbed TAILGATE WEEK (as opposed to the other weeks, where no tailgating occurs) and brought to you by KINGSFORD CHARCOAL. Let’s hit it:

Pittsburgh 44, (#16)South Florida 17

If one were to have predicted the outcome of this game based on ranking, USF would have been the pick. If one were to have predicted the outcome of this game based solely on how each school faired against Notre Dame, then USF would have been the pick. Of course, rankings this early in the season are still a little shaky (sans the top 3 or so), and Notre Dame is a talented but irratic bunch. Accordingly, Pitt turned this one into a rout. The first half was close, but the Panthers just hit harder (sometimes illegally) and absorbed whatever USF could dish out. Ray Graham looked like a wrecking machine and ran all over the weary USF defense. On the other side, USF’s well-regarded QB, B.J. Daniels, was rendered ineffective. Not the effort that Bulls fans were hoping for, but then again, no one outside of the Bulls fanbase cares that much, so oh well.

Houston 49, UTEP 42

Not a Top 25 game, but notable for three reasons:

1) I watched it
3) 1248 yards of total offense

That’s right… TWELVE-HUNDRED FORTY-EIGHT. No hyperbole whatsoever. 471 of those came from the arm of Case Keenum, who realistically could have had over 600 if he had wanted it. Houston had two backs go over the century-mark for yards, and UTEP’s Joe Banyard ran for a casual 240. No defense to really speak, for the most part. Everyone was too busy focused on scoring. Seriously, this was the anti-SEC, and it was a lot of fun. Receivers had to be treated due to the fact that they were so exhausted from running on so many long touchdowns. Cougars win. Speaking of Cougars, always good to see former Washington State Cougar head coach/legend, Mike Price, on that UTEP sideline. It’s not ‘Bama, but the weather is similar and the strippers keep their filthy mouths SHUT.

(#18)Arkansas 42, (#14)Texas A&M 38

Speaking of offense, these two teams put up some numbers of their own. A miniscule 1209 total yards, including 510 from Razorbacks QB, Tyler Wilson, and 281 receiving yards for Jarius Wright. This was a fantastic game, featuring A&M jumping out to an impressive early start and making Arkansas look nearly inept. However, the Hogs stayed persistent, and the Aggies did that thing that they do where they sort of go to hell in the 2nd half. Credit, of course, to their opponent, but there’s a serious issue with A&M when it comes to conditioning or coaching or motivation or SOMETHING. They should concentrate on that alone, as two losses to high-quality opponents virtually eliminates them from any shot at a BCS bowl, and they might want to have that fixed up by the time they join the SEC.

USC 48, Arizona 41

While we’re at it, might as well mention this game, as this was another high-octane clash. In the QB battle, Matt Barkley set a USC record with 468 yards and 4 TD’s, and Arizona’s Nick Foles basically matched it 425 yards and 4 end-zone strikes of his own. I’m on record (somewhere) as saying that I think Foles will be a better pro than Barkley, and I hope so, because I don’t like Matt Barkley for a number of irrational reasons.

(#1)LSU 35, Kentucky 7
(#2)Oklahoma 62, Ball State 6
(#4) Boise State 30, Nevada 10

Top teams. Weak opponents. Nothing to see here.

Auburn 16, (#10)South Carolina 13

South Carolina is coached by Steve Spurrier, has a premier RB in Marcus Lattimore, and has talent across the board. You know what else they have? Stephen Garcia. That’s why, as this game was going down to the wire, I knew the Gamecocks were in trouble. Forced to score with minimal time left is a horrible position to be in when you have a guy who makes the decisions that Garcia does. Thus, they lost.

(#13)Clemson 23, (#11)Virginia Tech 3

Alright, it’s time for me to begrudgingly start giving Clemson a little credit. They went into a hostile environment and controlled this game from start to finish. However, I’m still not ready to commit… and that’s because VaTech simply cannot be trusted in big game situations. They can’t do it. The Hokies are probably the most overrated team on a consistent basis until they thoroughly fuck up a marquee matchup and everyone realizes what they truly are. Get another Vick or something.

Kansas State 36, (#15)Baylor 35

RGIII is just one man. He took the blame for this loss, but come on. 346 yards, 5 TDs, and ridiculous efficiency suggest that he’s probably the main reason why this team does what they do. It will be interesting to see what this Baylor team really has now that serious Big-12 play is getting going. The next month presents road games against A&M and Oklahoma State, so we’ll find out all we need to know.

(#17)Texas 37, Iowa State 14

No one really wants to give Texas any credit right now, and rightfully so. A less-than-impressive set of first month opponents takes the shine off of the fact that they’re unbeaten. Playing Oklahoma next weekend will take care of that last part.

Washington 31, Utah 14

You know I have to throw this in. Washington got in that ass, on the road. Nice to see.

(#6)Stanford 45, UCLA 19

Andrew Luck is in interesting case, simply based on the fact that everyone assumes he’s the top QB in the nation and the top pick in next year’s NFL Draft despite the fact that I’m willing to bet a good portion of fans haven’t even watched him play to any significant degree this year (due to the fact that they typically play late). The good news is that you can just keep assuming those things. Luck does his thing every week and really does look like a pro player already. This week was no different. He even had a great, one-handed reception. UCLA actually fought a little, but they turned the ball over too damn much and continued to drive the hammer to the nails of Rick Neuheisel’s coaching coffin.

(#3)Alabama 38, (#12)Florida 10

In typical fashion, the Tide took some big opening shots and proceeded to come back and basically beat up the opposition the rest of the way. Quite literally, in fact. In a horrible twist, referees made what appeared to be an error and called off an Alabama TD off a fumble by Gators QB, John Brantley. Florida retained the ball, and Brantley was promptly rolled up and knocked out of the game with what could be a serious knee injury. In my opinion, this sped up the inevitable, as ‘Bama’s imposing defense nullified the speed and various looks of Florida’s offense. It was truly all Alabama from that point. Another workmanlike performance from A.J. McCarron, and Trent Richardson ran like man who would not be denied. November 5th is getting closer and closer…

(#7)Wisconsin 48, (#8)Nebraska 17

Welcome to the Big 10, Cornhuskers. This went almost exactly as I thought it would. Nebraska has weapons on both sides of the ball, but they’re ultimately incomplete and don’t live up to the ranking. Look no further than Taylor Martine
z, who is a capable QB but is inefficient, makes bad decisions, and takes too many shots (willingly, in most cases). On the flip side, Wisconsin showed that they’re at least on par with last year’s team, and probably better. Russell Wilson was incredible, playing as the type of dynamic QB that is truly scary. For all of his talent, he plays within himself and knows when to do what. Wilson has the demeanor of a player that is focused and supremely confident. He can do it all, and any “flash” is a only a product of his incredible athletic ability, rather than being the emphasis of his game. I can’t say enough about Wilson and this performance, in particular.

Wisconsin’s rushing attack is okay, I guess. I mean, Montee Ball only had 4 TDs or whatever. Acceptable. The defense is primed and plays with confidence. Combine all this talent with solid coaching (watch this game for some absolutely beautiful play-fakes throughout), and you’ve got one of the few legitimate threats to the SEC beasts, in my opinion.

– Wes Lilliman


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