Alabama's loss to Texas A&M makes what Notre Dame, Kansas State and Oregon did on Saturday that much more impressive.
Those teams are getting opponents' best shot every week. Alabama gave in to that pressure, but the other three won with ease.
[Pat Forde: Celebrate potential No. 1 standing? Not Kansas State]
Kansas State went into TCU and took care of business with a 23-10 win. The game wasn't even really that close - the Horned Frogs scored 10 points in the fourth quarter after the Wildcats took a 23-0 lead, including a truly meaningless touchdown in the final minute. Quarterback Collin Klein was just fine, as he rushed for a pair of touchdowns to help Kansas State improve to 10-0. The Wildcats have games at Baylor and against Texas remaining.
Notre Dame also didn't mess around after getting a scare last week against Pitt. The Irish defense was great against an overmatched Boston College team in a 21-6 win. Notre Dame has games against Wake Forest and at USC remaining.
Oregon seemed to be in trouble for a little bit against Cal, but the final score didn't reflect that. Running back Kenjon Barner and quarterback Marcus Mariota were briefly knocked out of the game with injuries but returned, safety Avery Patterson left the game with a knee injury (he didn't return) and the Ducks were down their top five defensive linemen. Cal trailed just 24-17 early in the third quarter. Yet, by the end of the night it looked like it was easy for the Ducks, as they won 59-17 behind Mariota's six touchdown passes. Oregon has games against Stanford and at Oregon State remaining, and a Pac-12 Championship Game if it wins both.
There's no guarantee that Alabama's loss opens up a spot for one of those three undefeated teams. Alabama had a huge lead in the BCS standings before it lost on Saturday, and it will be interesting to see how far it drops. But all Oregon, Kansas State and Notre Dame can do is keep winning, and each team took care of business with few problems on Saturday.
Here's are the rest of the Winners and Losers from Week 11:
Montee Ball and Wisconsin: The Badgers clinched a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game, and even better for them, they looked like they deserved it.
"The record may not be as high as it's been in years past and our ranking and all that jazz, but we are a really good football team," Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said, according to BadgerBlitz.com. "Give a lot of credit to our guys perseverance because a lot of times people will let go of the rope in this situation or back away from the things that are in front of them, but our guys just charge ahead full speed."
Ball's three scores moved him past Ricky Williams for second-most touchdowns in FBS history, and he is one short of the record. Miami (Ohio) running back Travis Prentice set the record, with 78. That record should fall before the Badgers play in Indianapolis for the conference championship.
Duke Johnson: Miami freshman running back Duke Johnson had a game for the ages.
In the first quarter of the 41-40 loss to Viginia, Johnson became the first player in the last 20 years to record 50 rushing yards, return a kick for a touchdown and throw a touchdown pass. He had 16 rushes for 150 yards, a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and he threw an 8-yard touchdown to Allen Hurns.
Ka'Deem Carey: Carey rushed for a Pac-12 record 366 yards and scored five touchdowns in Arizona's 56-31 beatdown of Colorado.
Carey, who only had 25 carries, broke a record that was held by Washington State's Rueben Mayes since 1984. Carey's no stranger to big games. While he's never rushed for more than 172 yards in any game, he has rushed for more than 100 yards in six games this season, including his previous high of 172 against Washington two weeks ago.
first play from the wishbone that was run perfectly, certainly helped. But emotion can only carry a team so far. This performance was all about the players clicking and soundly beating a decent opponent. David Ash threw for 364 yards and Texas had 607 yards, and the maligned defense held Iowa State to 276 yards of total offense. Texas' has a 8-2 record after its four-game winning streak.
Lock Haven: After 52 straight losses, Lock Haven has a one-game winning streak. Lock Haven broke its losing streak, which was a NCAA Division II record, with a 15-7 win over Cheyney. Lock Haven's last win was Nov. 10, 2007. With the Bald Eagles holding that 8-point lead with a little more than two minutes to play, senior quarterback Jarrett Kratzer got a first down on fourth and 1, and they went into victory formation, something none of the players on the roster had experienced before in college.
Derek Dooley's decision making: Tennessee got a bit of a gift after Missouri tied the game late in regulation. The Tigers pooch kicked on the kickoff, giving Tennessee the ball
Apparently, Dooley thought the risk of throwing an incomplete pass and having to punt from his own 40 with less than a minute left was too much, and so he didn't even try for the win. By the way, Tennessee has a talented quarterback in Tyler Bray and great receivers, and was 0-5 in SEC play. Volunteers fans booed the decision. Rightfully so.
Of course Tennessee lost in four overtimes — with some more bad decisions like passing on a 35-yard field goal attempt to go for it on fourth and 2 in the final overtime. It's hard to find a good reason to bring Dooley back next season. His oddly conservative decision to settle for overtime might be the final straw.
Kansas: Kansas was so close to getting it's first conference win since beating Colorado on Nov. 6, 2010. The Jayhawks forced Texas Tech to overtime and even forced a second overtime.
But it was not to be.
Texas Tech scored a touchdown in the opening possession of the second overtime, but Kansas quarterback Michael Cummings couldn't complete a fourth-and-9 pass to Tre' Parmalee and the game ended. This is the second close call the Jayhawks have had this season. On Oct. 27, Texas backup quartback Case McCoy led the Longhorns on a late drive to beat the Jayhawks 21-17.
Iowa: Purdue had lost five Big Ten games in a row, and four of them had been blowouts.but his ridiculous contract makes him one of the safest coaches in America. He said he was outcoached on Saturday, and here was his explanation:
"Real simply they clearly outplayed us in the first half," Ferentz said. "They were more ready to play emotionally, more ready to play cleaner, more fundamentally sound. You can say it's this, it's that, lunar moon, whatever, but that's coaching. And that's me. Coaching starts with me."
Seems like a really fun time to be a Hawkeyes fan.
[Eric Adelson: Leach, Tuberville cross the line in abuse of authority]
Auburn: The Tigers are looking at the embarrassing possibility of having both SEC division championships clinched against them. Georgia clinched a spot in the SEC Championship Game with a 38-0 win over Auburn on Saturday. Georgia and Florida each finish 7-1 in conference play in the East Division but the Bulldogs win the tiebreaker due to a win over Florida.
Then there's a Nov. 24 date against Alabama. The Crimson Tide, despite today's loss can still win the West with a victory over Auburn. Since the Tigers are 0-7 in SEC play, it's hard to see them standing in Alabama's way.
Dana Holgorsen: A few weeks ago, West Virginia looked like a very good team. One
West Virginia has turned into a bumbling mess, one special teams nightmare after another, along with the bad defense — and the offense has lost a step too. In a 55-34 loss to Oklahoma State, the Mountaineers allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown, and also couldn't field a kickoff and allowed Oklahoma State to recover it. A 5-0 start is a distant memory after four straight losses, and when a team looks this sloppy week after week, a good amount of the blame has to go to the coach. Dana Holgorsen deserves plenty of criticism for the shocking decline of the Mountaineers.
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