UTEP 58, Houston 41. For the record, when I saw the box score of Texas' 64-7 win over UTEP last week, I noted it was probably the worst beatdown, statistically speaking, that I've come across in four years of poring over the numbers. At halftime in Austin, the Miners had more turnovers (4) than first downs (3) and trailed 47-7; they were ultimately outgained by 586 yards for the game.
So, yeah, of course UTEP had more points this week than it had total yards against the Longhorns, and actually increased that yardage output more than tenfold against UH, which must be close to a record improvement from one game to the next. Obscure Miner back Donald Buckram had 262 yards, a season-high on the ground for anyone so far in a single game.
And Houston has to be a contender here for greatest week-to-week fall, at least in school history: This time last Sunday morning, the Cougars were celebrating their second straight Big 12 South win, a last-second thriller over Texas Tech that confirmed beyond any doubt the non-fluky nature of Houston's upset at Oklahoma State three weeks ago; the Cougars immediately ascended to the status of Conference USA frontrunner and likely BCS insurgent. This Sunday morning, they're tied with Tulane and Rice for last place in C-USA West.
Be warned: There is no logical explanation for this. Don't attempt to find one. Houston really was one of the best performers in September, with the nation's No. 2 total offense, one of the best pair of wins of any team in the country and a prolific quarterback some people liked to pretend was a darkhorse Heisman candidate. The Cougars deserved every stab at their eventual BCS prospects -- better than Boise State's if they run the table? -- and every vote that lifted them into the top 15 after downing the Red Raiders. And when they're bounced from the polls this week and ridiculed for one of the most baffling, putrid defensive efforts of the year, they'll deserve that, too.