- The Washington Times - Monday, October 10, 2005

Here we go again. Don’t look now, but the clouds of another BCS controversy are gathering.

A handful of eyebrow-raising results on Saturday greatly improved the chances that a second straight season will end with an undefeated team getting Auburned.

Texas, Georgia, UCLA and Penn State all cleared major competitive hurdles, leaving nine major conference teams unbeaten at the midpoint of the season with few potential losses looming for any of the bunch.

Consider this calamity harbinger: Of the remaining unbeaten teams, few hurdles remain except for a quartet of head-to-head affairs — Texas Tech at Texas on Oct.22 and three others on Dec.3 with UCLA at USC, Florida State vs. Virginia Tech (likely ACC title game) and Georgia vs. Alabama (likely SEC title game).

Barring a collapse, No.2 Texas is ticketed for an unbeaten season. Both of the ranked teams left on the Longhorns’ regular-season schedule (Colorado and Texas Tech) travel to Austin, where Texas has won 30 of its last 31 games. If Mack and Co. stay the course, six of the seven other unbeatens — excluding Texas Tech — will have to lose, or we’ll be left with yet another BCS brouhaha and yet another tainted title game.

Frankly, the Back Judge would be surprised if USC, Texas and Virginia Tech didn’t all win out, leaving the Hokies holding the bag despite the fact that they’ve played the most consistent football of the trio in the toughest of the three conferences. Forget the sports world’s heretofore grand shams also known as boxing and figure skating. Dysfunction thy name is college football.

Gameballs and Gassers

This week’s platinum pigskin goes to UCLA dynamo Maurice Drew, who rolled up 279 yards of total offense and scored five touchdowns as the Bruins rallied for a 47-40 win over Cal, improving to 5-0. Drew had three punt returns for 162 yards, including an 81-yard, quick-six job. He collected 52 yards receiving and another score on just two catches. And he rushed 15 times for 65 yards and three more touchdowns, tying his own UCLA scoring record. Eat your heart out, Reggie Bush.

Team game balls go to Penn State, Texas and Minnesota.

Please don’t chalk up our leather love for the first two to the revived coaching acumen of either Joe Paterno or Mack Brown. Paterno’s Nits managed a scandalous 64 yards of offense in the second half against Ohio State but held on for a 17-10 victory because of the gutsy play of the defensive quartet of Paul Posluszny (14 tackles), Tamba Hall (2 tackles for loss), Dan Connor (12 tackles) and Chris Harrell (12 tackles).

And Brown had the good sense to do his victory dance in private after the Longhorns snapped a five-year skein of futility with a 45-12 spanking of the Sooners.

“We were supposed to win this game,” Brown said afterward. “We expected to win this game. We were just better.”

Frankly, the talent disparity in this game was so enormous that no amount of coaching, good or bad, was going to make any difference in the outcome. Newfound Brown fave 50 Cent could have “coached” the ‘Horns to victory against the scrap-yard Schwinn formerly known as the Sooner Schooner.

Oklahoma’s offense, hard on the eyes even with Adrian Peterson in the backfield, provokes an eclipse-style aversion with Rhett Bomar as the feature performer. The freshman quarterback completed just 12 of 33 passes for 94 yards against the Longhorns, rather amazingly avoiding the faintest glimmer of future promise.

Minnesota gets a game ball, and the Little Brown Jug, after beating Michigan for the first time since 1986. By the way, say goodbye to Lloyd Carr, the lamest duck this side of AFLAC’s interminable ad campaign.

The Back Judge gives Nebraska defensive tackle LeKevin Smith the first-ever perpetual gasser after his lobotomy routine against Texas Tech. With the Cornhuskers leading 31-27 with just 1:11 left, Smith intercepted Tech’s Cody Hodges. But instead of taking a knee to end the game, the 305-pound senior experienced a Dante Hall moment and headed for glory. Predictably, he fumbled, Tech recovered, and given a second chance, Hodges won the game with a touchdown pass in the closing seconds.

Can you say, LeKnucklehead.

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