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National College Football

Taking it seriously

BOB STOOPS “An excellent day’’ BOB STOOPS “An excellent day’’
By Mark Blaudschun
October 10, 2011

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It happens every season. The elite teams of college football generally take about a month to fine-tune their games, get their conference game faces on, and let the Cinderella teams have their 15 minutes of fame.

Then, usually by mid-October, play time is over and the teams that will be deciding the national championship, the ones that will fill the Bowl Championship Series slots in January, finally show their skills.

The results over the weekend suggest that time in the 2011 season has arrived:

No. 3 Oklahoma 55, No. 11 Texas 17

The Sooners were the preseason pick at No. 1, but coach Bob Stoops’s team didn’t seem to overwhelm anyone in the first month.

Beating Texas in the Red River Rivalry in Dallas by any margin is always acceptable. But to humiliate the Longhorns and impress the voters who will decide if the Sooners are worthy of the BCS title game in January? That’s even better.

“It was an excellent day,’’ said Stoops. “To come down here in this situation and win like that is really pretty special.’’

No. 6 Oklahoma State 70, Kansas 28

Oklahoma State is good, very good. Kansas is bad, very bad. But the Cowboys, who very well could be facing the Sooners in their end-of-the-regular-season meeting in December with a BCS title game berth at stake, also wanted to send a message to the voters.

How bad was it? Kansas scored an opening-drive TD to take a 7-0 lead. At halftime, Oklahoma State led, 56-7.

“I’ve never been a part of anything like that,’’ said Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden, who threw for 288 yards and five TDs in the quarter and a half coach Mike Gundy kept him in the game. “We scored every time we touched the ball.’’

No. 1 LSU 41, No. 17 Florida 11 The Tigers knew they were going to win the game, since Florida had been roughed up the week before by Alabama, was missing starting QB John Brantley, and was playing in Baton Rouge. Still, LSU, which will have a showdown with the No. 2 Crimson Tide in a few weeks, had to show up mentally as well as physically, which it did.

No.

2

Alabama 34, Vanderbilt 0

The only danger was a letdown after last week’s win over Florida. Few Nick Saban teams ever suffer from letdowns, and the Tide defense didn’t allow it to happen.

No. 5 Boise State 57, Fresno State 7 The Broncos lost some style points (if not votes) a week ago by not overwhelming unimpressive Nevada. With no games remaining on their schedule that will boost them, Boise State needs to roll up some numbers.

With QB Kellen Moore completing 23 of 31 passes for 254 yards and 3 TDs Friday night, consider it mission accomplished.

In right position In the Big East, Rutgers rolled over Pittsburgh, 34-10, and is set up for a key home encounter with conference preseason favorite West Virginia Oct. 29. The winner is likely to get the Big East’s BCS bid, most likely in the Orange Bowl against the Atlantic Coast Conference champion.

Conventional wisdom as well as the early results suggest that will be Clemson, which is having its best season in a decade and is coming off a 36-14 home romp against Boston College Saturday.

But don’t discount Georgia Tech or Wake Forest. Wake is 3-0 in the ACC after beating Florida State Saturday.

Not as easy as it looks Nebraska was not treated nicely by Wisconsin in its Big Ten debut a week ago, being thrashed by the Badgers. But Saturday night was a different story as the Huskers overcame an early deficit against Ohio State and staged a second-half comeback to overtake the reeling Buckeyes, 34-27.

Colorado and Utah are in their first seasons as members of the Pac-12. They have yet to win in the conference after being routed by Stanford and Arizona State, respectively, Saturday night.

Lack of sunshine For the first time since Dec. 6, 1982, no team from Florida was in the top 25 rankings, marking the end of 472 straight polls in which either Florida, Florida State, or Miami was on the list.

The top 10 teams in the poll were unchanged.

Mark Blaudschun can be reached at blaudschun@globe.com; material from the Associated Press was used in this report.


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