Week 7 of the college football season suddenly became topsy-turvy on Oct. 11. Several BCS contenders were either upset or scared, which is probably a sign that the last year of the BCS will be as messy as ever. It certainly got messy for the Stanford Cardinal, who had their national title dreams spoiled in an early upset for the second straight year, this time by the Utah Utes in a 27-21 loss.
Last year, the Cardinals got stunned by the Washington Huskies, which kept them from a national title shot after they beat the Oregon Ducks and won the Pac-12 anyway. Stanford could have to settle for that yet again, although Oregon was supposed to be the Pac-12 team that got tested on Oct. 11 — against none other than Washington.
But while the Ducks overcame the Huskies, the Cardinals weren’t so lucky against the Utes. After they traded two touchdowns each in the first quarter, Utah got some distance and took a 27-14 lead early in the fourth. Stanford cut it to 27-21 and then had a seven-minute plus drive down to the Utah goal line, yet was finally stopped at the 6-yard line.
The Ducks still can’t breathe easy in the Pac-12 race, although they have one less challenger for the BCS. The Cardinal joined the Georgia Bulldogs, Oklahoma Sooners and Michigan Wolverines in falling out of that race on Oct. 11, while the Clemson Tigers, Texas A&M Aggies and Baylor Bears came closer than expected to joining them.
Here is a list of the best and most surprising college football games of Week 7, which may be the first of many weeks to weed out the BCS field.
Utes take Cardinal down
Utah Utes 27, No. 5 Stanford Cardinal 21
The Cardinal and Ducks were supposed to have the game of the year on Nov. 7 in Stanford. Now a win for the Cardinal would be an upset, and it could get worse for Stanford with the UCLA Bruins and Oregon State Beavers on tap beforehand.
Missouri knocks Georgia out
No. 25 Missouri Tigers 41, No. 7 Georgia Bulldogs 26
This didn’t become the upset of the day, if only because the shorthanded Bulldogs were living on borrowed time anyway. With Georgia out of the BCS title picture, Alabama may have an easier time in the SEC title game if it gets there — as Missouri remains the only unbeaten left from the SEC East.
Penn State survives four overtimes
Penn State Nittany Lions 43, No. 18 Michigan Wolverines 40 (4 OTs)
Michigan’s first loss was also inevitable after multiple scares, as it further clears the way for the Ohio State Buckeyes to storm through the Big Ten. But although the end result wasn’t a total shock, the four overtimes, multiple missed late field goals, multiple comebacks and a fourth down, fourth overtime conversion from Penn State was.
Brown earns new life
Texas Longhorns 36, No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners 20
Texas was ready to run Mack Brown out of town, yet he got the best reprieve possible by blowing out Oklahoma, instead of the other way around like usual. Now all of a sudden, the Longhorns have become a threat in the wide open Big 12 again.
No. 3 Clemson Tigers 24, Boston College Eagles 14
At the end of this game, the Tigers didn’t do anything but lower expectations for their mega showdown with the Florida State Seminoles next week. However, Clemson almost suffered worse than that until Tajh Boyd erased a 14-10 fourth quarter deficit.
Manziel gets up
No. 9 Texas A&M Aggies 41, Ole Miss Running Rebels 38
All of College Station held its breath when Johnny Manziel looked to have damaged his knee in the second quarter. But he was not only all right, he led the Aggies in a back-and-forth shootout that finally ended in a last-second escape.
No. 15 Baylor Bears 35, Kansas State Wildcats 25
Bryce Petty and the Bears took a big step towards being the Big 12’s best team, by winning a game without scoring 70 points.
Ducks win close one
No. 2 Oregon Ducks 45, No. 16 Washington Huskies 24
Like the Bears, the Ducks had to win without scoring 60-70 points, as Marcus Mariota played his very first minutes in the fourth quarter this season. But in those minutes, Mariota led two touchdown drives to put the Huskies away.
Tigers slam Gators
No. 10 LSU Tigers 17, No. 17 Florida Gators 6
With the Bulldogs’ loss, the Tigers are now the next greatest SEC threat left to the Tide after shutting down the Gators.