Saturday, October 18, 2008

Late Afternoon Game Roundup: A Tale of Two Halves

Watching the great slate of games this afternoon I found myself cheering for Ole Miss... and Michigan. That's not something I would normally do, but upsets are what make college football so great (when it's not your team being upset). I've got to say, it looked promising for both Ole Miss at Alabama, and for Michigan trying to crash Penn State's homecoming. But it was a tale of two halves for both the Rebels and the Wolverines. Let's start with the Rebels.

Ole Miss trailed 'Bama at the half, 24-3 after jumping out to an early 3-0 lead (the first time 'Bama has trailed all season) and being outgained 219 yards to 99. In the second half however, the Rebels essentially shut down the Tide outscoring them 17-0, and holding them to 95 yards of offense. Had it not been for some costly turnovers by the Rebels, we're looking at another Top 10 upset on the road by Houston Nutt and Co. And to answer my own question from my previous post: I guess today we got the 'Bama that showed up in Athens a few weeks ago. A strong first half, and then a second half in which they struggled and nearly allowed a big comeback.

As for Michigan, they came out of the gate strong in the 1st half, jumping out to a 17-7 lead with just under 3 minutes left in the 2nd quarter behind 94 yards and 2 touchdowns from running back Brandon Minor. That's when Penn State decided to show up, ending the game on a 39-0 scoring run. The win ended Penn State's 9-game losing streak to Michigan, and set them up for a decisive matchup at Ohio State next weekend. With a win there, fans could likely see yet another Big Ten team in the BCS National Championship game (we all know how well that worked out for them last year and the year before. Yikes!), especially with the cannibalism in the Big 12 and SEC.

Bottom line of the day: what's with the bipolar disorder of these teams? If 'Bama plays like it did in the 1st half today against Ole Miss and a few weeks ago against Georgia, and Penn State plays like it did in the 2nd half against Michigan, then I like both of these team's chances of booking a trip to Miami in early January. By no means though, does this mean either team is bulletproof.

Now: Bring on Texas-Mizzou and ALCS Game 6. I'll be back in the morning with my thoughts and reactions from those games.

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