- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 9, 2011

The sixth weekend of the college football season possessed no shortage of games.

As for long-term meaning … well, that’s another matter.

The sport’s regular unpredictability coupled with the occasional chaotic weekend makes Saturdays such as the one that just passed seem a little hollow. The season’s plot was barely advanced as many of the nation’s top teams barely broke a sweat.

Sure, Nebraska set a school record with its rally from 21 points down to beat Ohio State in its first home Big Ten game. And quarterback Logan Thomas accounted for five touchdowns as Virginia Tech outlasted Miami.

But for the most part, it was blowouts and blandness. Ranked teams were 17-1 against unranked foes this weekend. In the three matchups of Top 25 foes, the higher-ranked opponent won by an average of 30.7 points.

Those games further established the credentials of Oklahoma, Louisiana State and Arkansas as factors in the national title chase. Yet so what? The Sooners and Tigers already were entrenched in the top five, and the Razorbacks routed Auburn a week after rallying past Texas A&M to earn a defining early victory.

Fans outside the Sunshine State owe a debt of gratitude to Wake Forest, which pulled the one full-fledged upset of the weekend with an afternoon surprise of Florida State. The Demon Deacons (4-1) have surpassed their victory total from a year ago and again offered a reminder to the ACC that it’s best not to underestimate savvy coach Jim Grobe.

As for the Seminoles (2-3), there’s always next year. Again.

Weekend Risers

Oklahoma State. The Cowboys introduced a new Pickens Plan: Hang half a hundred before halftime on the nation’s worst defense. Kansas offered little resistance as Oklahoma State scored on all eight possessions in the first half and improved to 5-0 with a 70-28 victory. The Bedlam game against fellow unbeaten Oklahoma on Dec. 3 looms large — and that contest is in Stillwater.

Bill Snyder. Speaking of undefeated Big 12 teams, here’s a nod for Kansas State. The Wildcats are 5-0 for the first time since 2000 — during Snyder’s original run in Manhattan - after keeping a potent Missouri offense to 17 points. Defense and a power rushing game carry the day for Kansas State and its veteran coach, who might just have a say in another conference race before he’s done.

Bowl eligibility. The chase to find 70 eligible teams to participate in bowl games has commenced. Georgia Tech reached the six-win plateau just before 3:30 p.m. Saturday thanks to its 21-16 defeat of Maryland. By night’s end, six more teams — Alabama, Clemson, Houston, Illinois, Louisiana State and Michigan — had done enough to become eligible for the postseason.

Weekend Decliners

Ohio State. The Buckeyes are 0-2 in the Big Ten after squandering a 27-6 lead at Nebraska, and their post-Terrelle Pryor quarterback woes are as apparent as ever. Freshman Braxton Miller, a capable runner but an unpolished passer, left with a sprained ankle. That left Ohio State to sputter to the finish with Joe Bauserman, who was 1-for-10 and is now 12 of 40 for 140 yards against power-conference foes.

Service academies. There were struggles all around. Army (2-4) saw its bowl hopes take a hit as Miami (Ohio) rallied for a 35-28 victory. Air Force absorbed a 59-33 thrashing at Notre Dame. And Navy was on the wrong end of a 63-35 drubbing at home against Southern Mississippi.

Mike Stoops. When October came to a close last year, Arizona was 7-1 after a long stretch of irrelevance. Since then? The Wildcats are 1-10, including a 1-5 start that includes Saturday’s 37-27 loss at previously winless Oregon State. Arizona made bowl trips the last three seasons under Stoops and faced an early brutal schedule, but the latest returns are the sort that don’t encourage athletic directors to exercise patience.

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