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College Football

Riding the fences – Week 9

Photo: Mike Horbovetz for HornSports

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Each week HornSports will take a look back at the national scene in college football, so mount up and let’s ride out and check the perimeter.

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Texas completed the midseason collapse they started against Kansas by losing to TCU, 37-27. How the Longhorns rebound and finish the season is one of the most intriguing national story lines.

SMU and Houston got the weekend started on Thursday night with a comeback by the Ponies, 34-31. SMU is 8-0 and making a strong bid to be the G5 representative in the NY6 bowls. With the Longhorns and Aggies both floundering through middling seasons, some folks are wondering if SMU is the best team in the state of Texas.

Even without the Purple Wizard (aka Bill Snyder) on the sideline, strange things happen in the Little Apple. Oddities like KSU 48 – OU 41. Kansas State staked themselves to a sizable second half lead and then held on for the upset.

Blame it on the rain, on early season losses for both teams, or fans being tired of Brian Kelly and Jim Harbaugh disappointing them, but the fact is that there was little or no buzz surrounding Notre Dame vs Michigan. Considering that the matchup is an intense rivalry and the fact that both teams were playing to resurrect their season, the game had little fanfare beyond what a regional rivalry game receives.

Even though it was close at halftime, most folks had no faith that Wisconsin could compete for four quarters with Ohio State – they were right. Despite having only a 10-0 halftime lead, the Buckeyes scored 28 second half points, ultimately whipping the Badgers 38-7. Ohio state dominating Wisconsin wasn’t a surprise but seeing UW running back Jonathan Taylor held in check was.

This week in Ugh-lternate uniforms: They notched an upset win over Texas, but TCU suffered through the ignominy of this garish look…

The Liberty Flames have taken criticism for Hugh Freeze coaching the team, but they entered the weekend with a 5-2 record and were looking to become bowl eligible against one of the Big 10’s perennial whipping posts, the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers had other ideas, winning 44-34.

No Tua, no problem….Alabama throttled Arkansas 48-7. Head Coach Nick Saban spent time the week before the game trying to convince reporters that the Razorbacks posed a legitimate threat to the Tide and his effort was erased within the game’s first 10 minutes.

Oklahoma State, TCU, and Kansas State were all underdog winners on a wild day of action in the Big 12. After the upsets, the Baylor Bears are now in sole possession of first place in the league.

Not to be outshined by SMU, Appalachian State is undefeated. On Saturday App State hammered South Alabama in Mobile, 30-3.

The Kansas Jayhawks didn’t let a last second loss to Texas drag them down. This week the Jayhawks got it done against Texas Tech 37-34. First year head coach Les Miles’ team scored 17 points in the fourth quarter. Kansas is trending up and is 3-5 overall, but the team finishes with a challenging four game slate.

Texas A&M beat Mississippi State 49-30 one week after posting a 24-17 win over Ole Miss. Hang the State Champion banner at Kyle Field.

Illinois backed up last week’s upset of Wisconsin with a win over Purdue. More importantly, the cloud beard made an appearance in West Lafayette.

Minnesota shellacked Maryland 52-10. The unbeaten Golden Gophers get their chance to make a statement against Penn State this Saturday.

LSU beat Auburn 23-20, setting up a clash of unbeatens against Alabama. The Bayou Bengals offense and quarterback Joe Burrow have been one of the biggest stories in college football and Burrow passed for over 300 yards again in the win over Auburn.

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