First and 10 - October 29, 2012
1. The rematch to the rematch is here. Alabama at LSU. College GameDay will be there. Verne Lunquist and Gary Danielson will be there. Outside of the 21-0 national championship decision, recent history suggests this game will be close and memorable. Last year's 9-6 overtime game. LSU's 24-21 win at Tiger Stadium in 2010. This was the game Les Miles first displayed his penchant for eating grass, but what I remember most is LSU's beautifully executed fake punt and fourth-and-one reverse. Then there was Alabama's fourth-quarter rally (complete with a controversial ruling) for a 24-15 win to keep its perfect record intact in 2009. A year prior, LSU pushed an undefeated Alabama team to the brink in a 27-21 overtime decision. And in Nick Saban's first season in 2007, Alabama built a 34-27 lead before eventual national champion LSU scored two touchdowns in the game's final 2:49 to win 41-34. We'll have more on this game throughout the week.
2. The No. 2 team in the country also faces a road test on Saturday. Oregon travels to USC this week looking to avenge last season's 38-35 thriller that ultimately cost Chip Kelly's team a shot at the national championship. Lane Kiffin's squad will look to what it does best, air it out with quarterback Matt Barkley to wideouts Marqise Lee and Robert Woods. The Trojans threw for 323 yards and four touchdowns in last year's upset. Oregon's will attempt to do what it has done all season, run opposing teams out of the stadium by halftime. The following are Oregon's halftime leads this season: 50-10, 35-6, 35-7, 13-0, 23-19, 35-7, 43-8 and 56-0.
3. The sneakiest conference title defense in college football is taking place in Stillwater, Oklahoma. No one in the country has noticed, but Mike Gundy's team controls its own destiny to claim its second straight Big 12 crown. The Cowboys are tied for second place in the league at 3-1 with Oklahoma (who OSU faces on Nov. 24) going into Saturday night's game at Kansas State. Gundy and offensive coordinator Todd Monken have whethered the loss of All-Americans Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon, an injury to opening day starting quarterback Wes Lunt on Sept. 15, and an season-ending injury to his replacement J.W. Walsh on Oct. 20. Despite all of that, Oklahoma State still leads the country in total offense. The Cowboys will get their stiffest test to date with Bill Snyder's team. Last year, the visiting Wildcats gave the favored Cowboys a fight to the finish in which Kansas State was throwing into the end zone as time expired in a 52-45 final.
4. Find time to do some thumb workouts this week. Oregon at USC kicks off at 7 p.m. ET on FOX. Alabama at LSU gets underway at 8 p.m. ET on CBS, while Oklahoma State at Kansas State also starts at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. You'll want to make sure your thumb is in proper shape for an all-night viewing experience.
5. Oregon and Louisiana Tech could have record-breaking offenses when all is said and done. Sonny Dykes' team has scored 421 points and 57 touchdowns through eight games. Chip Kelly's squad has posted 427 points and 59 touchdowns through eight outings. The NCAA single-season scoring record for a 13-game season is 652 (set by Texas in 2005) and the 14-game season record stands at 716 (set by Oklahoma in 2008). In a 13-game season, Louisiana Tech is on pace to score 684 points, while Oregon (if they, as expected, play in the Pac-12 Championship) will score 747 points at its current pace. The NCAA record for total touchdowns (99, set by that same 2008 OU team) is also in danger of falling to Kelly's Ducks. The famed 1944 Army team may have to sweat out a pair of previously-untouchable records as well. Legendary coach Earl "Red" Blaik guided his team to an average of 56 points and 8.2 touchdowns per game. The Ducks average 53.58 points and 7.38 touchdowns per game, while the Bulldogs check in at 52.63 points and 7.13 touchdowns per game.
6. MACtion running strong in 2012. We mentioned last week what a good season the MAC is enjoying this fall. How about this for a quantifier? With Northern Illinois and Toledo at 8-1 and Kent State and Ohio at 7-1, the MAC trails only the SEC for the most teams with seven or more wins.
7. Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast. First and foremost, we hope everyone stays out of harm's way throughout the duration of the storm. Virginia Tech told us they do not plan to alter their schedule this week. The Hokies visit Miami on Thursday night. Then there are these reports we've seen so far today.
Rutgers coach Kyle Flood said the team's practice bubble has been deflated because of the impending storm. Rutgers practice cancelled Mon.— CBSSportsBigEast (@CBSBigEast) October 29, 2012
Figuring out where to practice as we deal with this approaching storm.— Jeff Quinn (@UBCoachQuinn) October 29, 2012
8. A miracle occured in Division III on Saturday. Someone scored a touchdown on the Mount Union (Ohio) defense. Heidelberg (Ohio) actually notched two touchdowns on the Purple Raiders, inclduing the game's opening score, to become the first team to hold a lead on Larry Kehres' team this season. Mount Union had pitched six consecutive shutouts before Saturday. The Purple Raiders defeated Heidelberg, 33-14.
9. Ed Lamb and Southern Utah notched perhaps the biggest win in school history on Saturday. In their first season in the Big Sky Conference, the Thunderbirds toppled FCS No. 1 Eastern Washington, 30-27. Colton Cook knocked in a 36-yard field goal with three seconds to play to give Southern Utah the win.
10. Twenty teams have a chance to reach bowl eligibility this week. Among the 20 teams are new staffs at Arkansas State, Arizona, Arizona State and Ole Miss and those looking to return to the postseason after an absence in Minnesota, East Carolina, Navy and Middle Tennessee. Good luck to all in their quests.