Three big games faced the Big Ten yesterday in the second week of the college football season and the first one was going pretty well. Seventh-ranked Michigan State had stormed back to take the lead in the second half at third-ranked Oregon and about the same time that Michigan and Ohio State fell behind in their games, the bottom fell out on the Spartans.
Oregon blitzed Michigan State with a 28-0 run to win 46-27. Rivals Michigan and Ohio State both suffered crushing defeats as well with Michigan getting shutout 31-0 at Notre Dame and the Buckeyes getting beaten at home 35-21 by Virginia Tech.
With Wisconsin losing to LSU last week and Nebraska needing a last-second touchdown to get past McNeese State, the chances that a team from the Big Ten makes the College Football Playoff are now slim and none.
For Michigan, they were shutout for the first time since 1984 and if he wasn’t already on the hot seat then Brady Hoke is now. The alumni will not be pleased with the embarrassing loss to the Irish in the final game of their rivalry for the foreseeable future. The Wolverines still have trips to East Lansing and Columbus and the fan base is already turning on Athletic Director David Brandon who has essentially offended the student population in Ann Arbor with crazy restrictions on their attendance at games.
In Columbus, the Buckeyes fell behind the Hokies 21-7 entering the third quarter but rallied to tie the score in the fourth. Virginia Tech responded with a long drive and then capped the victory with a 63-yard interception return for touchdown with under a minute to go. To say the Buckeyes miss Braxton Miller would be an understatement but the defense is suddenly a question mark as well.
The only way a Big Ten team makes the ‘final four’ is with tons of help. We’re talking a situation where the SEC and Pac-12 have some form of armageddon among themselves and the ACC and Big-12 stumble significantly as well. Basically what I’m saying is “it ain’t gonna happen.”
A Major Issue at USC
On the field of play yesterday in Palo Alto, California, the USC Trojans scored one their biggest wins in the post-Pete Carroll era when they knocked off Stanford 13-10. It’s a rivalry that has grown more and more intense even with Carroll and former Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh now in the NFL.
The real story from yesterday’s game however didn’t involve the players on the field; it involved the USC Athletic Director on the field. Pat Haden, who also happens to be a member of the College Football Playoff Committee, came down from his seat in the press box to confront officials after Trojans’ Head Coach Steve Sarkisian was slapped with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
First of all, Haden can be on the field as many athletic directors are, to come down and confront officials during the game is flat-out wrong and it gets worse. Haden admitted he came down because he received a text message from someone on the sideline asking him to come down. That’s a violation of NCAA rules but that isn’t the point.
Haden must step down from the playoff committee immediately. While he can’t vote for his own school, he can vote for Stanford but with the intensity of the rivalry why would he? This is just one of many problems with the selection committee and if Haden can’t control himself on the field how can he do the same while voting for teams for the playoff?