Boise State Will Likely Be Last Undefeated Team Standing

The first official BCS standings of the season were released on Sunday and of course people were pissed that Boise State (number two in the AP and Coaches’ Poll) was jumped by Oklahoma. Making things more confusing, the Sooners were tops in the BCS standings, jumping even Oregon which is number one in both polls. If people are upset that Oklahoma’s number one, I don’t think they’ll have to worry too much — I’m betting the Sooners lose a game in the regular season.

What really outrages folks is the thought that Boise State — which has beaten Virginia Tech and Oregon State non-conference — will be left out of the title game. I’m already on the record saying their schedule is not challenging enough to include them in a national championship game. While they’re an extremely good team, give them a Pac-10, Big Ten, Big 12, or SEC schedule and they’ll lose a game just like the top teams in those conferences generally do. Unfortunately, it appears as if they may be the last undefeated team standing when the regular season ends.

Presently, there are 10 undefeated teams left in the country. Six of them play each other, so that cuts this list of possible undefeated teams down to seven. From there, most of the remaining teams have difficult schedules, making me think Boise State will be the last undefeated team and a decent bet to end up in the title game.

Here are the remaining undefeated teams and analysis of their schedule and the likelihood they remain undefeated (they’re listed by their BCS ranking):

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Rutgers DT Eric LeGrand Paralyzed After Neck Injury on Kickoff Return Tackle

The saddest story of the sports weekend came Saturday in East Rutherford, New Jersey, where Rutgers was taking on Army. Late in the 4th quarter with the game tied at 17, defensive tackle Eric LeGrand was running downfield and made the tackle on the team’s kick return coverage. It was hard to see exactly how he suffered such a devastating injury, but LeGrand immediately collapsed and went to the ground with a spinal cord injury after making the tackle. The young man is paralyzed from the neck down and medical officials are unsure if he’ll walk again. Here’s the play that changed the 20-year-old’s life:

LeGrand was a 2008 recruit to Rutgers after succeeding at nearby Colonia High School. He actually played running back and middle linebacker in high school, rushing for 980 yards and 12 touchdowns while recording 115 tackles in his senior year. LeGrand bulked up when he got to Rutgers, enough to play defensive tackle yet still participate on special teams. Our thoughts will be with LeGrand and his family as he makes his journey towards walking again.

Taylor Martinez Benched for Zac Lee, Out of Heisman Trophy Race

It was only a week ago that I (and many others) was raving about Nebraska freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez. Martinez had run for 241 yards and four touchdowns in a road blowout at Kansas State and appeared to be in the mix with Denard Robinson and Cam Newton as one of the best running quarterbacks in the country. Just as the Heisman talk began to heat up, Martinez went out and disappointed with his performance against Texas and ended up benched.

Martinez was 4/12 for 63 yards in the passing game and only had 21 yards on 13 rushes. T-Magic was let down by his teammates who dropped at least one touchdown pass, and possibly a second. He deserved much better and threw better than the passing stats indicated, but the surprise was how ineffective he was in the running game. After two three-and-out drives in the third quarter, Nebraska benched Martinez in favor of senior Zac Lee who came on with 6:14 left in the third.

Lee led Nebraska on an 83-yard drive that resulted in a field goal to make it 20-6 Texas. After a three-and-out by Texas, Nebraska got the ball back and Zac Lee had a chance to lead the Huskers on another scoring drive. They ended up with a 4th and 18 at the Texas 38 with just over seven minutes left in the game. Lee threw a beautiful ball down the middle of the field to Brandon Kinnie who beat his man on a post pattern. Just like what happened with Martinez, the receivers let the quarterback down and Kinnie dropped a sure touchdown that would have made it 20-13.

Maybe Karma was served to Nebraska fans who were going overboard with their Texas hate before the game. Surprisingly, there may be a quarterback controversy in Lincoln, though I imagine Martinez will keep the job. The one thing we do know for certain: Taylor Martinez is no longer a Heisman Trophy candidate after that performance.

Mario Fannin Touchdown Run Should Have Been Ruled an Auburn Fumble

Auburn running back Mario Fannin got credited with a 3-yard touchdown run to give the Tigers a 17-14 lead in the second quarter against Arkansas. Though Fannin appeared to have a clear path to the end zone, he was met just before the goal line and had the ball knocked out. Because the play happened so quickly and because it was just in front of the goal line, the referees ruled the run a touchdown. The play was challenged but not overturned because there was a lack of conclusive evidence to change the call. Most of the angles for the replay weren’t helpful because you couldn’t tell where the ball came out, but this was the only shot that mattered:

As you can see, the ball had already come out before Fannin reached the end zone. It happened so quickly you would only see what happened through replay, but the correct call was a fumble. Arkansas should have had the ball up 14-10 in the second quarter, but instead Auburn got credit for the touchdown and took the 17-14 lead.

Ryan Mallett Leaves with Possible Knee Injury Against Auburn (UPDATE)

After going up 14-10 in the second quarter against Auburn Saturday, things went downhill for Arkansas the rest of the half. Not only did Auburn benefit from a bad call at the goalline to take the lead 17-14, but Hogs quarterback Ryan Mallett got hurt midway through the quarter.

There was no true explanation for what happened to the NFL prospect and the Arkansas sideline refused to provide any information to CBS. At one point, reporter Tracy Wolfson reported Mallett may have a knee injury, and she said she learned that information from the Auburn sideline.

What we do know is that sophomore backup Tyler Wilson entered the game and took over the next two drives for Arkansas. Wilson looked good completing 3-3 passes in his second drive of the game that culminated with a touchdown catch by Greg Childs. When we get updates on Mallett’s status we’ll let you know, but for now, all we’re hearing is it may be a knee injury.

UPDATE: Mallett left with a concussion, likely when he was slammed to the turf by Nick Fairley on a play action fake that didn’t work.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Dave Martin

Nebraska Huskers Fans Go All Out in Texas Longhorns Hate

The contest between Nebraska and Texas Saturday in Lincoln is a huge game for Cornhuskers fans (not unlike every other game). They want revenge for last year’s loss in the Big 12 title game and have even made t-shirts that caused a controversy. The Huskers have sold out well over 300 straight home games at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln and have proven they’re amongst the most passionate fans in all of sports. Oh yeah, and their hatred of Texas and Longhorns fans has no boundaries. Witness some of the acts committed by their fans who are bragging about their Red Out Around the World:

Guess with the team moving to the Big Ten next year the fans have to get everything out now before it’s too late. Wouldn’t it be great if Texas pulled the upset? I know it won’t happen, but it sure would be sweet.

Not a State of Emergency for Miami (Yet)

Former Miami Hurricanes linebacker Melvin Bratton had some strong words for the Miami program this week. Bratton, who was in attendance for the Canes’ debacle at home against Florida State Saturday, told The Miami Herald the program was in a “state of emergency.”

Bratton told the paper “You can blame the coach, you can blame the players. To me, it’s a state of emergency right now. Everybody needs to take control, take a step back and say, `What can I do better?’ Is it the coaching? Is it the weight room? Do guys need to spend more time studying, dissecting plays? I don’t have the answer. But what I don’t see is any urgency. I don’t see that fight. And that is inexcusable.”

Alright, I’m just as pissed about Saturday as anyone, but Bratton’s going overboard with his comments. While acknowledging that a 45-17 home defeat to a mediocre Florida State team is unacceptable, this loss needs to be placed in context. First off, The U hasn’t been The U since 2005, and you can thank Larry Coker for that. Randy Shannon has taken incremental steps towards rebuilding the program, but we’re still far off from where we need to be.

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