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Alabama can handle getting slugged in the mouth
There wasn’t just a question about whether or not Alabama could handle adversity in a tight game; it was a question about whether or not Alabama would face any adversity at all. The Tide was so dominant and so impressive over the first eight games of the season that it didn’t seem like anyone could move the ball on the phenomenal defense. And then LSU did. The offense was so efficient and so effective that defenses didn’t appear to have any answers. And then LSU did.
The Tigers overcame a 14-3 first half deficit and a few major mistakes from head coach Les Miles for a 17-14 lead and control of the game late. The Tide offense converted just 1-of-9 third down chances, while LSU kept things moving hitting on 10-of-20 third down conversions. But just when all appeared lost for the defending BCS champion, and just when it seemed like the national title chase was going to be thrown for a loop, A.J. McCarron drove the team 72 yards in five plays and 43 seconds for the improbable comeback win that will go down as one of the greatest finishes in the long and storied history of Alabama football. However, it also showed that the best team in college football is vulnerable.
The Oregon offense is pretty good
Yeah, USC came up with 615 yards of total offense and 51 points. Matt Barkley was tremendous with 484 passing yards and five scores, and Marqise Lee was outstanding catching 12 passes for 157 yards and two scores. However, that wasn’t enough to even be in the same ballpark with an Oregon attack that was breathtaking from the first 1:05 touchdown drive following the opening kickoff.
The USC defense barely touched Kenjon Barner as he ran for 321 yards and five scores, while Marcus Mariota completed 20-of-23 passes for 304 yards and four scores to go along with 96 rushing yards. In all, the Ducks ripped off a record-setting 730 yards. Remember, the Trojans could still end up playing for the Pac-12 championship, and they had the worst defensive day any USC team has ever allowed. Oregon is that good.
The health of Collin Klein
The most valuable player in college football might not be able to go against TCU this week, and if Collin Klein is out for any stretch of time, it could mean Notre Dame and Oregon have a better shot at the BCS championship. Daniel Sams completed 5-of-6 passes for 45 yards and ran for 20 yards against Oklahoma State after Klein exited with a reported concussion, and now the star’s injury status could be the big storyline over the final few weeks of the season. The Heisman front-runner and nation’s most efficient passer is in the midst of a nearly flawless season, but this isn’t a Wildcat team that can handle too many big changes to its formula of winning the turnover margin, controlling the ball and holding firm defensively.
San Diego State 21, Boise State 19
For all of those who feared that a mediocre Boise State team would slip into the top 16 in the final BCS rankings on the way to an automatic spot in a big money game, it’s time to rest easy. With a loss to San Diego State at home, Boise State might not even with the Mountain West title. Meanwhile, No. 20 Louisiana Tech is the only team in striking distance of the top 16 – needing to be ranked ahead of a BCS conference champion in the final rankings to get an automatic spot – but that’s probably not going to happen. That means the ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12 have a better shot at getting two teams into the BCS.
Notre Dame is still breathing
It took a late rally, a phantom pass interference call, a late two-point conversion, a missed field goal and three overtimes, but Notre Dame survived a major, major scare from a Pitt team that came achingly close to pulling off the big upset. The Irish might be firmly entrenched at No. 4 in the BCS rankings, and it will take losses by two of the three teams ranked higher – Alabama, Kansas State and/or Oregon – to have a chance at the BCS championship, but they’re still alive. However, it might be too late for style points to matter.