Saturday live blog, Vol. 3
11:15 p.m. No live-blogging of College Football Final this week. Today was tough enough to watch the first time. I'll be back with some more thoughts in the next day or two. Until then, I'm calling it an early night. As always, thanks for reading, and Roll Tide.
11:01 p.m. Troy won. Perfect in the Sun Belt. That's good, right? Please, I just need to come away from today with something that puts even the semblance of a smile on my face. Hey, the moon is shining brightly. It's a beautiful, clear night. Definitely a plus.
10:46 p.m. USC gets the onside kick to end it. Chaos pauses.
10:44 p.m. Washington gets tired of waiting for Christmas and lunges for that big package under the tree. A blocked punt is inside, and it's worth seven points. USC clings to a 27-24 lead with under a minute left. This could bump the Trojans below LSU.
10:28 p.m. Yep. The Gators lose. Chaos theory rules the day. Your new No. 3 team looks to be the Cal Golden Bears. After that, who knows? Ohio State? Wisconsin? Hawaii? Maine?
10:21 p.m. Auburn is going to beat Florida. We have a minute and a half left, but it's going to happen. Again. Unreal.
10:10 p.m. Washington hasn't given up yet. The Huskies are down seven with nine and a half minutes left against the nation's No. 1 team that isn't named LSU. Reunite Tyrone Willingham with Notre Dame look-alike uniforms and watch the magic. Or something.
10 p.m. The Tebow plows into the end zone to tie it at 17-17. This game has no business being tied in the middle of the fourth. But on a day when nothing has made sense, it makes perfect sense. With Quentin Groves hurt on the sidelines, the Gators have all the momentum. Could Brandon Cox be a comeback master?
9:42 p.m. Virginia is 4-1 now after losing to Wyoming? Really? How did this happen? Oh, wait, consecutive games against teams led by Chan Gailey and Dave Wannstedt. Yep, that'll do it.
9:39 p.m. The Gators opt not to pack it in yet. Florida cuts it to 17-10 with plenty of time left in the fourth quarter.
9:33 p.m. Don't be a I-AA team playing Texas Tech the week after it loses to a team that got obliterated by Troy. Things like 75-7 happen. Mike the Pirate is angry.
9:10 p.m. The Tebow lofts up an air ball to no one in particular that Auburn decides to claim. The Tigers just have Florida's number, year after year after year. It doesn't have to make sense.
9 p.m. The Tebow gets some traction and mounts a drive that bogs down in the shadow of the end zone. Another field goal attempt. This one isn't blocked, for a change. Auburn, 14-3.
8:48 p.m. Out on the West Coast: California edged Oregon in the game of the day, which ABC deemed us Southern types unworthy of seeing. USC just scratched and clawed its way to a three-point halftime lead over Washington on a perilous upset Saturday. And the Bruins are holding off a stiff challenge from the Beavers up in Corvallis. Again: Only Utes beat UCLA.
8:14 p.m. Auburn leads 14-0 at the Swamp. I really wish Tulane hadn't torn open that space-time continuum earlier today.
8:03 p.m. Auburn blocks a field goal. And goes on the move. Sly Croom beat this team. I don't know what to think anymore.
7:58 p.m. Brandon Cox has become the Destroyer of Worlds against Florida, which seems to be an annual occurrence. Auburn leads 7-0, but the Gators are driving. Look, teams that score! In the first half! Such a novel concept.
7:42 p.m. Now we see Jimmy Johns in the game. With an onside kick bouncing off his helmet. It's over. Later, I might have words for what I just witnessed. But not right now. Now is the time for other football. Other football that doesn't hurt so much to see.
7:37 p.m. Alabama scores a too-late touchdown to make it look a little better in the record books. Also, Keith Brown is lucky to be alive after a violent hit at the goal line. FSU, 21-14. It's still over.
7:16 p.m. Unfortunately, D.J. Hall doesn't play defense. Florida State seals it right away with a 70-yard bomb. It's 21-7.
7:12 p.m. D.J. Hall single-handedly refuses to let Alabama lose this game. Touchdown. Unreal catch. FSU still leads, 14-7.
7 p.m. Laughter. Sweet laughter. It makes the pain go away.
6:41 p.m. Alabama has the ball again. I'm going to zone out and go to my happy place. It's safe and warm there.
6:34 p.m. FSU leads, 7-0, after three quarters. I wonder if Alabama will ever score again. Didn't the NCAA ban scoring?
6:29 p.m. Alabama really, really shouldn't be having to punt right now. The ball was on the FSU 24. But here comes the punt. Again. Thanks, penalties. I needed to see another punt.
6:25 p.m. Two straight complete passes! To D.J. Hall! At last!
6:15 p.m. Prince Hall saves the game. No exaggeration. Thank you, sir, for your dedication and loyal service to the Crimson Tide. And, you know, for that interception, too. I liked that. A lot.
6:13 p.m. Then give up a 58-yard bomb deep down field. Damn.
6:09 p.m. Can't get anything going? Just give the ball to Terry Grant a few times and see what happens. Then stop that and punt after yet another incomplete pass.
6:04 p.m. Touchdown, Seminoles. Their coaches settled their offense down at the break. Let's see if ours did the same.
6:01 p.m. We've now found the one way this game could get even worse: FSU is driving the ball with the greatest of ease.
5:58 p.m. Back for the second half. Please score points, Alabama.
5:43 p.m. We emerge from the abyss to look around the country. K-State is mopping the floor with Texas for the second year in a row. Clemson is deep inside its annual reversion to primal self, this time against Georgia Tech. And Maryland just went up 10 on Rutgers. Good day for upsets. But not for Alabama offense.
5:34 p.m. Alabama and FSU finish a first half miserable enough to cure a normal person of any desire to watch football ever again. No score as they head to the locker rooms.
5:31 p.m. Michigan State and Wisconsin are in a shootout in Madison. That means those teams have scored. That means teams can score in football. Someone should send a fax to Jacksonville.
5:22 p.m. P.J. Fitzgerald annihilates the punt for 56 yards. The tide has turned in the field position war. It's something, OK?
5:19 p.m. Andre Smith recovers an Alabama fumble on third-
and-long. That's good enough to vault him to an early lead in the chase for Player of the Game honors. I wish I were kidding.
5:11 p.m. Is every single player on the field going to be injured today? Every time I think this game can't get any uglier, it defies all rhyme and reason and does.
5:04 p.m. Well, it looks like one first down will have to do. More punts. You can never have enough punts. The kids love 'em. On the plus side, Grant walked off the field under his own power.
4:59 p.m. Alabama's initial first down of the game may not be worth the cost. Terry Grant is down after a sick-looking landing on top of his head. All around, this just hasn't been a good day.
4:55 p.m. The Seminoles' long, languid drive goes nowhere in particular and ends with a punt that pins Alabama inside its own 5. Maybe terrible field position can make this better.
4:44 p.m. FSU put together some semblance of a drive, but the Alabama defense was holding as the first quarter ended. That was one of the worst quarters of football, by both sides, that I've ever seen. Mistakes galore and 59 combined yards of total offense, including only 16 for Alabama. Nasty and brutish, but not short.
4:36 p.m. Another punt? Yes, thank you, don't mind if we do.
4:34 p.m. A Florida State field goal attempt goes wide right for the first time in history. We're still scoreless.
4:31 p.m. And the Tide still hasn't gotten a first down. FSU only has one, but it also has the ball in great field position.
4:29 p.m. Alabama tight end Travis McCall is back up after a collision that looked horrifying. Good to see.
4:25 p.m. So, um, Kansas State is beating Texas. Again. By 10. What has happened to my beautiful, beautiful Red River Shootout?
4:17 p.m. Sloppy game all around so far. Nick Saban nearly burst a blood vessel over that delay of game penalty a minute ago. Just hope that intensity carries over onto the field soon.
4:10 p.m. Good Tide defensive stand. Getting it back at the 20.
4:06 p.m. Another three-and-out start. Not what I like to see.
4:02 p.m. The Alabama game has kicked off down in Jacksonville, which sounds about somewhat less than neutral. The Crimson Tide doesn't even get to wear home colors, for crying out loud.
4:01 p.m. Colorado thins the herd a little more at the top of the heap, blasting a last-second field goal to knock off Oklahoma. Huge win for Dan Hawkins, who really needed one.
3:44 p.m. That would be a touchdown for Colorado to knot it up at 24 with four minutes left. I've gotta say, setting homecoming for the week the nation's No. 3 team comes to town is, um, somewhat unorthodox. But you can't question the results so far.
3:39 p.m. Louisville has rebounded from the complete and utter collapse against Syracuse last week, jumping out to a 10-0 lead at N.C. State. The Orange, meanwhile, have built on the momentum by trailing Miami by only 14 at halftime. No, not that one. The other one. The original one. From Ohio.
3:28 p.m. So it doesn't look like LSU will suffer much in the polls for its early struggles against the Green Wave. Oklahoma is clinging to a late seven-point lead in Boulder with the Buffaloes on the march. Anything can happen. College football rules.
3:13 p.m. No, that's fine, ABC. I didn't want to see California-
Oregon anyway. It's only the national game of the week. No one cares about that sort of thing down here. We'd much rather watch USC mutilate yet another average Pac-10 team tonight.
3:07 p.m. No letdown from an emotional win for Georgia this week. After some early struggles, the Dawgs are cruising, 38-17, against The Orgeron. At press time, Colonel Reb was crying and unavailable for comment.
2:44 p.m. Michigan has survived Northwestern. Purdue has survived Notre Dame. It's arguable which is less impressive.
2:36 p.m. Navy is up 11 on Air Force and just recovered a fumble. Say hello to that Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, guys.
2:32 p.m. Illinois has officially crushed Penn State's hopes and dreams in what was probably the game of the day so far. Be careful in how you approach Beano Cook for the next few hours.
2:27 p.m. Beware the second coming of Appalachian State: Late in the third, really good I-AA team Massachusetts trails unbeaten Boston College by only three. The lesson: Don't schedule really good I-AA teams. No good can come of it.
2:16 p.m. LSU has grown weary of your doubts. It's 34-9 now.
2:10 p.m. Notre Dame... rallying? On the road? In the fourth quarter? But... but it's been so long. I'm not sure if I'm ready.
2:05 p.m. That punt that South Carolina just blocked could be significant. And is, because Chris Smelley just gave the Gamecocks the lead on the next play. It's 24-21 for the garnet and black.
1:46 p.m. The guys from Starkville lead a good South Carolina team on the road. If I'm in charge at Mississippi State, I beg Lincoln Financial to send the Daves to every one of my games.
1:37 p.m. Kentucky refuses to lose to something called "Florida Atlantic," even if it's coached by Howard Schnellenberger, and even if he did play for Bear Bryant at Kentucky, and even if that means he's been a UK man for a very long time. It's 28-10, and these Wildcats look very much legitimate. They may not win the SEC East, but they'll definitely help decide who does.
1:20 p.m. LSU 13, Tulane 9. Middle of the third quarter. Really.
1:15 p.m. Kirk Ferentz is earning that $2.8 million a year in style right now, assuming that trailing Indiana at home in the third quarter is the latest thing on the runways of Manhattan.
1:07 p.m. Speaking of Duke, things may be looking up there. The Blue Devils broke their epic losing streak two weeks ago, then lost a heart-breaker at Navy. Now they're only down three late in the third quarter at Miami. At this rate, they may get fans remotely interested in something that doesn't involve a basketball.
12:57 p.m. You may have heard at some point that Michigan lost to a I-AA team to start the season. Then the Wolverines beat down previously undefeated Penn State. Today, they're losing at halftime to Northwestern, which two weeks ago was polite enough to break Duke's 22-game losing streak. Big Ten fever: Catch it!
12:33 p.m. Tulane leads a football game. Against LSU. The space-time continuum has been torn asunder. Napoleon and Abe Lincoln are floating outside my window.
12:23 p.m. OK, so LSU has no rushing yards and just gave up a safety to Tulane. It's 7-2 late in the second quarter. Renewed rivalry or not, this isn't exactly helping the case for No. 1.
12:17 p.m. The talking heads keep warning that Notre Dame could open 0-8 before the Navy and Air Force games arrive. But that assumes the service academies would lose to the Irish. Why would you assume that anyone would do that at this point? Purdue is up 20-0 and driving again. This is awful. It's even worse than that 10-turnover party that purported to be football last night.
12:05 p.m. Mississippi State has tied it up in Columbia and has rebounded nicely from that opening drive. Is Sylvester Croom turning the corner at last? Too early to tell right now.
12:04 p.m. LSU is only up 7-0 midway through the second quarter. I blame the white helmets. And the pelican patches. And no one actually paying attention to this game.
11:56 a.m. It may be coming together at Illinois. Or it may be coming apart at Penn State. Whatever it is, the Illini lead in the second quarter. Be sure to tune in to the Big Ten Network for all the action! If you can. Which you probably can't.
11:45 a.m. LSU and Tulane? Someone should tape this, because I get the feeling that key portions of the Geneva Conventions that are neither "quaint" nor "obsolete" will be violated today.
11:30 a.m. Ah, the day has begun the way it should: with the Daves formerly known as JP Sports bringing me an SEC game that no one else wanted. So far, it looks like Steve Spurrier is in good shape to avoid the morning upset his friend from the Plains got.