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The biggest losers

Discussion in 'Colorado Football Message Board' started by Sexton Hardcastle, Oct 1, 2007.

  1. Sexton Hardcastle

    Sexton Hardcastle Club Member Club Member

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    Matt Hayes
    Posted: October 1, 2007

    This is a long way from Montana State, baby.


    "You can't feel it," says Colorado cornerback Terrence Wheatley, "until you've lived it."

    Well, count Oklahoma among those who have. And Florida. And Texas. And Rutgers. And West Virginia. Big favorites, big losers. Though their feeling of being upset might not be on the same level as Colorado's season-opening loss to I-AA Montana State in 2006, it's just as heartbreaking.

    And in some ways, probably more.

    Oklahoma (Colorado) and Florida (Auburn) lost on last-second field goals. Texas (Kansas State), Rutgers (Maryland) and West Virginia (South Florida), at least, were saved from the ultimate agony of a walkoff loss. All five teams had entertained national title hopes going into last week's seemingly harmless games -- and now all five need a whole lot of crazy to make their dreams work.

    Wouldn't you know it, preseason favorites USC and LSU shook off some early rust to keep the train rolling? And that's as safe as it gets at this point.

    "There's a lot of football to be played," says Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops.

    It's just that we thought much of it would be played this week -- with everything on the line.

    Five of the top 10 and six of the top 13 ranked teams lost for the first time last week, leaving this Saturday -- what was supposed to be the biggest weekend of the season -- a little light for drama. In one wild week, we've gone from Shakedown Saturday to Save Your Season Saturday:

    From the titanic clashes of LSU-Florida, Texas-Oklahoma and Virginia Tech-Clemson to Kansas and Kansas State playing for a share of the Big 12 North lead and Big Ten co-leaders Illinois and Wisconsin squaring off in what can only be described as a game someone has to win -- and lose.

    Think about this: By the end of next week, Ron Zook's Illini could have a better record -- and ranking -- than Urban Meyer's Gators.

    Gulp.

    Of course we all saw this coming, right? We weren't even a month into the season, and already the constant drumbeat of some team getting upset/overlooked/overrated had become overwhelming. We had these grandiose dreams of multiple unbeaten teams in December throwing the BCS system into a wild and wondrous tizzy. Now who would be surprised if no one stays unbeaten?

    If we've said it once, we've said it a hundred times: The BCS, loathe it or love it, works itself out in the end. Only this time, it has an early start.

    "Usually with these deals," Colorado coach Dan Hawkins says, "it all shakes out."

    Hawkins did his part. Late last week and during a late meeting with his staff, the sense of what could be began coming into focus. That's usually what happens when coaches pore over game plans, identify flaws and figure out how to exploit them and execute.

    Colorado saw Oklahoma's soft, untested front four. Auburn saw Florida's inability to cover intermediate throws because it sells out to stop the run. South Florida saw that it could pinch West Virginia, get outside containment and force the flow of the zone read option inside and into the strength of the Bulls' defense.

    Hawkins told his staff that no matter what, the Buffaloes wouldn't give up on the run; that it would eventually pay off and the Buffs would control the tempo of the game.

    Midway through the third quarter, Colorado had 41 yards rushing on 21 carries and trailed, 24-7. The Buffaloes' final 25 carries netted 120 yards, and Colorado finished the day having chewed up nearly 39 of the game's 60 minutes -- and scoring the last 20 points.

    "I've been around long enough to know nothing surprises you," Hawkins says. "Things change week to week."

    That's one helluva omen for this week.

    http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/viewtopic.php?t=280365
     

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