Saturday was another interesting day with, of course, the big happenings in Corvallis, Ore., where USC was toppled by Oregon State.
But, there was plenty that went on all across the country, including some things that might give LSU fans a little hope for a big finish to the 2006 season.
- Let's start out west. USC has been exposed a number of times this year and barely escaped with a victory. Finally yesterday, the Trojans were taken down by Oregon State, but much of it was their own doing. John David Booty threw an INT in the end zone and fumbled another time. Chauncey Washington also put the all on the ground twice. I think many an LSU fan can attest to the Booty's being turnover-prone after Josh's interception-filled stint in Baton Rouge. I've always believed that Evangel quarterbacks just don't adjust to college quite as well. We saw it with Josh, Brock Berlin and now John David has taken over a vaunted USC offense and not quite produced the way he maybe should have. Lord knows he has the talent around him with Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith.
- The most important thing that happened Saturday in relation to LSU took place in Oxford, Miss. Ole Miss nearly knocked off Auburn, but the Tigers escaped with a 23-17 win. What this shows me is that Auburn can be beaten this year, especially with Georgia and Alabama left on the schedule. Any Auburn loss would put them in a tie with LSU in the SEC West race. With Arkansas still set to face Tennessee, a loss to the Vols would give the Bengal Tigers a chance to force a three-way tie for the West title and a chance at the SEC Championship.
- Clemson, what happened? Virginia Tech came in with a great game plan and absolutely dominated the Tigers. They put nine in the box and made Will Proctor beat them. He couldn't do it. It didn't hurt the Hokies that Brandon Ore went off again. He might be the best running back in the nation that you've never heard of.
- In Lubbock, Texas, Texas Tech landed a few early haymakers and built a 21-0 lead over Texas, but the defense couldn't hold it. The Red Raiders led 31-21 at the half and then didn't score a point after that. Credit the Longhorns and defensive coordinator Gene Chizik for making adjustments at the half and shutting out Graham Harrell and company while the offense came back for a 35-31 win. Texas quarterback Colt McCoy is going to be special, if you don't think he is already. After throwing a pick-six for Tech's third touchdown, he came back -- as a freshman on the road -- and tossed four TD's then sealed the game in the fourth quarter with a huge 33-yard scramble on a 3rd-and-5 play. Harrell did light up the Longhorn secondary for an eye-popping 519 yards, but he only got in the endzone three times.
- Tennessee and Florida each got seven-point victories to remain tied for first place in the SEC East. The only hurdle left on the Gators SEC schedule is South Carolina, so expect them to represent the East in the SEC Title game. The Vols face LSU and Arkansas and could finish the year with only one loss. It would be interesting if both Florida and Tennessee finished with one-loss and had a shot at the BCS title game.
- The downward spirals continue at Miami and Florida State. The two each lost again and have combined to go 9-7 this year. Florida State is in the basement of the ACC Atlantic Division while Miami leads only North Carolina and Duke in the Coastal Division. It's incredible to believe these two programs have fallen this far. Bobby Bowden is starting to hear rumblings and I think his only chance to get back to where the program was is to yank offensive coordinating duties from his son Jeff. Further south, Larry Coker might not survive the season. Either way, these programs are turning into sleeping giants, just begging to be awoken. There's enough talent in the state for that to happen in a hurry if the right coaches are there.