Tuck: Cardinal Sin

By Mike Tuck
Host, Tuck & O'Neill

USC QB Matt Barkley is now 0-4 against Stanford.  The Trojans and Barkley both had the highest of expectations entering the season.  A National Title and a Heisman trophy both seemed very possible.  Not beating a school, that while a conference foe, was barely a rival is a bitter pill to swallow.  This isn’t like Peyton Manning not beating Florida.  This is like FSU not beating Wake Forest.

The Noles stomped the Deacons putting an end to that silly, backward run of futility.  The Trojans were supposed to be able to do the same.  No Harbaugh.  No Luck.  Still no dice.

I warned in my picks on Friday that this could be close because of an underrated Stanford defense.  Even I didn’t expect the Trojans offensive line to be dominated as they were by the Cardinal.  Make no mistake, this loss will fall on the shoulders of Barkley, not the o-line.  That’s how this screwed-up game works.

Barkley was the one that came back to school to win a Heisman and to win a Pac-12 and National Title.  Could all those things still happen?  Well, yes.  But it will be an uphill climb.  The Trojans still have marque games left with Oregon and Notre Dame, and perhaps even UCLA.  They have a lot of work to do and will need a lot of help though.  Not beating Stanford just doesn’t sit right.

My top 25 is still sowing it’s oats.  So much is fluid as there isn’t much to go off yet, but I will reward those with big victories, and the Gators deserve to soar up the rankings with 2 road SEC wins.  It’s not up to me if they stay there, it’s up to them.  The Trojans are the only team I felt justified ranking with a loss, but that will gradually change as we move forward.  Check out the complete Insider Poll.

1. Alabama
2. Oregon
3. Florida
4. LSU
5. Stanford
6. Notre Dame
7. Georgia
8. Clemson
9. FSU
10. South Carolina
11. Ohio State
12. Arizona
13. UCLA
14. Louisville
15. Kansas State
16. Northwestern
17. West Virginia
18. Oklahoma
19. USC
20. Mississippi State
21. Iowa State
22. Cincinnati
23. Ohio
24. Rutgers
25. TCU

WORTH NOTING:

- Jeff Driskel and the Gators did some growing up in Knoxville on Saturday night.  It took about 42 minutes, but the Gators found the big play three different times and grinded it out on the ground, and left the Vols feeling once again like Derek Dooley isn’t the guy for them.  I imagine Florida fans might be warming up to Will Muschamp.

- We’ll find out if FSU is ACC Title worthy, and perhaps more this weekend with Clemson coming in.  The Tigers have beaten the Noles 5/7, but FSU has won last two games in Doak.  The defense has yielded a mere field goal in 3 games, but haven’t faced an offense, and won’t face one all regular season like Clemson’s.

- Miami won, and probably will only be favored to do that one more time this season.  Duke Johnson had 4 touchdowns, and according to CNNSI’s Stewart Mandel is the first to have 2 rushing, 1 receiving, and 1 return touchdown since Chris Johnson at East Carolina.

-What happened in Utah can’t even be put in words.  The Holy War nearly had the craziest ending ever.  Can’t imagine our reaction if this was an east coast game played between to “bigger schools.”  This video doesn’t even show that time nearly ran out (like the Texas-Nebraska 2009 Big XII Title Game) on an incomplete pass trying to get closer for a field goal attempt.  Then they get the 51-yard attempt blocked, and the rest you can watch here.

[youtube_sc url="http://youtu.be/HQcAxq8M4Yk"]

- Notre Dame’s path to greatness includes multiple roadblocks, but they did clear one hurdle this week winning at Michigan State.  Michigan this week, and Oklahoma, Stanford, and USC are still on the schedule however.  The Irish have earned their spot near the top, but will have to continue to do so as it doesn’t get any easier.

- Northwestern is 3-0.  I joked last week that they are the toast of the conference, having had registered their only 2 wins against BCS opponenets (2-7 as of last week).  Well, they got 3 now, and have the look and the schedule to make it 7-0.  Just remember where you heard it.

- Wisconsin is very lucky to be 2-1.  Utah State missed a field goal to win it the gun, and had a 14-3 lead before falling 16-14.  I would suggest confidently that either Illinois or Purdue will play in the Big Ten Title Game.

- Arkansas certainly can relate to the Badgers, having followed up a loss to ULM with a 52-0 pig roast at the hands of Alabama.  I am going to guess John L. Smith is renting, not buying in Fayetteville.

- Neither fan base is enduring worse than Colorado.  The Buffaloes suffered a more humiliating loss this week than last week’s loss to I-AA Sacramento State.  At least that game was “entertaining” losing on a last second field goal.  This week they were crushed by Fresno State 69-14.  It was 35-0 at the end of the first quarter.  It was 55-7 at halftime.  I wasn’t sure things could be as bad what we’ve seen from Washington State (1-11 in 2009), Rutgers (1-11 in 2002), Syracuse (1-10 in 2005), Temple (1-11 in 2003, 0-11 in 2005, 1-11 in 2006), Duke (1-10 in 2005, 0-12 in 2006, 1-11 in 2007), Indiana (1-11 in 2011), or Vanderbilt (five 2-win seasons in the last decade) but these Buffs may come close this season.  Temple still wins, they actually got kicked out of the Big East for being so horrendous.

STIFF-ARMING TROPHY RACE

Just a reminder, this feature didn’t go away, it just isn’t worth talking about yet with no less than 50 appealing candidates for the honor.

 

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