PAUL RHOADS IS STILL PROUD: Lessons from Week 6

If Paul Rhoads is one thing, he’s proud. He’s in a perpetual state of pride. He is your dad whenever you make honor roll or change your own oil. The Iowa State Cyclones put up a damn good effort in running their own small business; it’s not their fault that big corpo is pulling the strings and has all that lobbying money to monopolize the market. Rhoads is still proud, dammit.

In the game of life, you win some, and you lose some. And sometimes you are screwed over by the officials at the one-yard line. You lose some because you are not Texas, but hey, I’m just making excuses. These are hard truths learned by all. Especially by a Cyclones team that, no matter if it’s their first 1-3 start since 2007, you should be proud of. Why? Because Mack Brown is on thin ice, regardless.

So, what else did we learn in a weekend full of near whiffs, alternate uniforms and late night football?

We learned that Baylor is upping the standard for awesome.

Complete with alternate uniforms that looked like the color scheme were ripped from a certain music video, the Baylor Bears put up 864 yards of total offense against West Virginia that ended at 73-42. It’s a far cry from their match-up in 2012 which says more about how far West Virginia has regressed than how much Baylor has improved.

Despite Baylor not playing anyone of substance, it is still the biggest stick of dynamite in a conference where the closest thing to explosion lately has been Bob Stoops’ head when a reporter asks him about the SEC. The points and yardage will continue to accumulate against opponents such as Iowa State, Kansas State and Kansas. The question remains as to how Baylor will stack up against its other ranked opponents, such as Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. The most intriguing match-up, for me, is the season closer against the Texas Longhorns. This is a crucial game for Texas as it struggles to hang onto the attention of in-state recruits, with Texas A&M in the SEC. The Bears and Red Raiders are becoming fun focal points of national attention.

We also learned that Washington is definitely among the top three teams within the Pac-12.

While there was some skepticism at the outset with their opening annihilation of Boise State, the Huskies look legitimate after only losing to the fifth best team in the country by a field goal. While Steve Sarkisian thinks his team got screwed, the Huskies actually suffered from mistakes on special teams. One mistake in particular being the opening kickoff returned for a touchdown by Ty Montgomery. It’s one of a few crucial errors that cost the game rather than one call.

Even with a loss, Washington looks like a complete team, and it didn’t lose much in terms of poll ranking. The Huskies dropped to 16 on Sunday, and they can hang their heads on the fact that Keith Price and Bishop Sankey are still two of the best players in the Pac-12. They may not be able to get to a BCS bowl game this year, but this could be the year that Sarkisian rids himself of the low distinction of being known around college football as “Seven Win Steve.”

If you have a certain lust for misery, you were probably enthralled by the never-ending injury spree in Knoxville.

It all started when Georgia’s Keith Marshall went down in the first quarter and was carted off the field. The nation later learned that Marshall had injured his right knee and would be out for the rest of the game. Then, the blows continued to keep coming for the Bulldogs. Soon enough, WR Michael Bennett suffered a knee injury as well followed by another hit to the receiving corps in the form of Justin Scott-Wesley. Despite the injury to several key offensive players, Georgia found a way to win in a very hostile Neyland Stadium that was taking advantage of the inexperience of some of the backup players.

Aaron Murray managed to will the Bulldogs to victory, as he recorded 196 yards and three touchdowns on the day. Although it helped that second-string running back J.J. Green managed to establish a decent running game, as he added 129 yards for the day. Georgia’s narrow escape kept their title hopes alive but at a huge cost. It’s uncertain whether or not Murray will be able to shoulder an even larger amount of the load, with Justin Wesley-Scott and Keith Marshall both ruled out for the rest of the season. With Florida getting progressively better on the offensive side of the ball with each game, Georgia’s days in the championship discussion may be numbered.

You probably learned that Brent Musberger is a Northwestern alum this past weekend, as well as a degenerate gambler. I couldn’t tell if he was saddened that his Wildcats lost or that $10K of his pocket change was now in the coffers at some bookie’s place in Chicago.

For third party observers, this served as a glaring example of Ohio State’s weakness as a Top 10 team gunning for their first title since the 2001 season. Braxton Miller played well but certainly had some difficulties in finding the end zone. There was some doubt about Miller’s ability to execute which resulted in an Urban Meyer hypothetical of placing Kenny Guiton in the game. Instead, the coaching staff kept Miller in the game but geared their play calling toward the talents of Carlos “El Guapo” Hyde.

Hyde ran for 168 yards and three touchdowns, leading the Buckeyes to victory over their second ranked opponent and the program’s 18th consecutive win.

While it may have been satisfying for the Buckeye fan base, it’s going to take a lot more for Ohio State to compete with any other unbeaten teams that may be left at the end of the season should they win out. With some notable trouble spots in the secondary, Ohio State has to fine tune their machine against the likes of Iowa, Penn State, Purdue, Illinois, and Indiana, all of whom haven’t been exactly stellar this season. If Ohio State wins convincingly against these teams, they have a shot among a potential field of contenders but it looks seemingly unreasonable to think they will end up in the title game if, say, Oregon or Stanford, Clemson, and Alabama are all at the top.

Speaking of speculation, how about Florida State?

In my predictions for the week, I picked an upset of the Seminoles by a Maryland team that seemed to be on the rise. That all fell apart once Jameis Winston stepped out onto the field and started taking snaps. The 18 year old, freshman quarterback completed 23 of 32 passes for 393 yards and five touchdowns. He pantsed a Maryland defense that hoped to expose a flaw in his play in a shutout game that ended with a score of 63-0.

Winston remains phenomenal but it remains to be seen how effective he will be as Florida State eyes Clemson, Miami and Florida on their schedule. Hopefully, the young quarterback continues to dazzle on-the-field as much as he does off of it.

IN OTHER NEWS: The Teddy Bridgewater Show keeps it moving against Temple. Clemson throws a scrawny Syracuse team out of its chair in an arm wrestling competition that featured a great moment in “giving him the business.” UCLA overcame a tough Utah team in Salt Lake City to remain unbeaten in the Pac 12 South. Fresno State’s Derek Carr put up 419 yards complete with five touchdowns and only one interception against the Idaho Vandals and the still annoying Paul Petrino. Miami outlasted Georgia Tech to remain undefeated as they continue in conference play. Oregon hung 57 points on Colorado, which means in the world of transitive losses (oh man I’m really doing this) Colorado is better at not giving up two points than Tennessee is. LSU laid waste to Mississippi State in the second half and proved that it is only going to get better as it move along. Texas Tech outhandsomed Kansas by 38 points. Alabama put Georgia State in a submission hold and kept going even after Georgia State tapped out. Michigan actually won handily against a lesser opponent (in other, other news – Jerry Kill, please help yourself). South Carolina beat Kentucky without the help of Jadeveon Clowney, which means the Worldwide Leader in Hype is already telling Todd McShay and Mel Kiper, Jr. to make this a dumb talking point for months on end. Oklahoma beat TCU by three points which is considered a rest period for Oklahoma’s offense before the Benny Hill comedy known as the Longhorn defense in the 2013 Red River Shootout.

WHILE YOU WERE BEING A SPORTS SHUT-IN: American Hustle posters feature America’s affable sweetheart, Jennifer Lawrence. Gravity seems reallllyyyyyy good. Gene Simmons gon’ Gene Simmons. Yeah, quit with all the Miley hating, America. What to buy: Danny Brown’s Old or Pusha T’s My Name is My Nameprobably both.

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