Grading The Games: Week Eleven
Texas A&M and Alabama created an A-plus pigskin paper. What grade did dozens of other schools earn? Let's go to the CFN classroom, shall we?
By Terry Johnson
Follow me @TPJCollFootball
Miami at Virginia Grade: A
This was one of the most exciting games of the afternoon, as the lead changed hands four times. Virginia's Michael Rocco and Phillip Sims threw for almost 400 yards, and accounted for five total touchdowns. It's tough to ask for more than that.
Arkansas at South Carolina Grade: C
While the Hogs kept it close for the first half, the Gamecocks broke it open in the third quarter, with D.J. Swearinger's pick-six ending any hope of a Razorback comeback.
Northwestern at Michigan Grade: A+
As a de facto elimination game in the Big Ten Legends Division, this tilt figured to be one of the day's best. It certainly didn't disappoint, as the game remained close throughout. Roy Roundtree's circus catch to set up the game-tying field goal bumps the grade up to an A+.
Wisconsin at Indiana Grade: F
With a berth in the Big Ten Championship Game on the line, many expected a hard-fought contest. Unfortunately, this one was a laugher by halftime. Indiana had no answers for the lethal tandem of Montee Ball and James White. That won't earn a passing grade.
Kansas at Texas Tech Grade: B+
It wasn't a "shootout at the OK Corral" like some of the other epic Big 12 clashes, but this contest had plenty of fireworks. The heroics of Tech's Seth Doege (476 yards passing) and Tony Pierson (202 yards on 16 carries) warrants an A+, but Tommy Tuberville's theatrics in the third quarter took away from the action on the field.
Missouri at Tennessee Grade: A+
It might not have been as attractive as some of the other high-profile SEC matchups, but this game was every bit as good, taking four overtimes to resolve the issue. The Tyler Bray - James Franklin duel was fun to watch, giving this game an A+ grade.
Georgia Tech at North Carolina Grade: B-
Despite the 18-point margin of victory, this ACC tilt was close at the half, with the Tar Heels taking a one-point lead before the break. However, Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee executed Paul Johnson's offense flawlessly in the second half, leading the Jackets to scores on six of their final eight drives. That type of precision puts this contest on the plus side of the curve.
Colorado at Arizona Grade: D+
Give the Buffs credit: they kept it interesting for the first fifteen minutes. However, Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey took over after that, rushing for 366 yards on just 25 carries. His heroics save this contest from a failing grade.
Wake Forest at N.C. State Grade: F
Yawn – the Wolfpack beat another overmatched opponent in Carter-Finley Stadium.
Oregon State at Stanford Grade: A+
This game was everything that you'd expect from a battle between top-15 opponents, with the leading changing hands several times. While Kevin Hogan will get most the credit for this win, the game ball should go to the Cardinal defense, which held the Beavers to two third-quarter field goals despite having excellent field position. Since this game went down to the wire, it's only appropriate that it should earn an A+.
West Virginia at Oklahoma State Grade: B-
Don't let the final score fool you: This contest was close for most of the afternoon. Surprisingly, the Cowboys had no trouble scoring with third-string quarterback Clint Chelf under center. Despite his excellence, the game drops to a B- because the game was all but over with 10 minutes to play.
Penn State at Nebraska Grade: B+
The battle between two of the top teams in the Big Ten didn't disappoint. While Penn State dominated the first half, Taylor Martinez rallied the Huskers in the second half. Unfortunately, this contest only earns a B- because the officials incorrectly ruled that Nittany Lion tight end Matt Lehman fumbled when instant replay showed that the broke the plane of the goal line.
Texas A&M at Alabama Grade: A+
Without a doubt, this was the best game of the day. Even though A&M jumped out to an early 20-0 lead, Alabama was always within striking distance. In the end it was the Texas A&M defense -- not Johnny Football (or is it Johnny Heisman now?) -- that defeated the Crimson Tide.
Baylor at Oklahoma Grade: B-
The final score of this game suggests that it was close. It wasn't. Yes, the final margin was only eight points, but Oklahoma held a double-digit lead for the most of the game. The game ball goes to the Sooner defense, which held Nick Florence to his worst outing of the season. With such a solid performance against the nation's leader in total offense, this tilt earns a B-.
Maryland at Clemson Grade: F
There's not much to say here. Clemson dominated the game from opening whistle, and never looked back.
Georgia at Auburn Grade: F
Aside from a few big runs from Georgia running backs Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley, there was absolutely nothing entertaining to point to in this rivalry game.
Mississippi State at LSU Grade: B-
Believe it or not, the Bulldogs led this game for most of the first half before the Tigers took over midway through the second quarter. Despite the lopsided margin, this contest earns a B-, because Mississippi State nearly cut the lead to one score before Craig Loston's pick-six with just two minutes to go.
Kansas State at TCU Grade: C
It wasn't necessarily fun to watch, but the Wildcats turned in a solid effort against the Horned Frogs. However, due to the lack of fireworks, this contest will only earn an average grade.
Vanderbilt at Ole Miss Grade: A+
Despite a monster performance from Rebel quarterback Bo Wallace, Vanderbilt rallied to take the lead with just one minute to go. Any game that comes down to the final minute earns an A+.
Notre Dame at Boston College Grade: F
Make no mistake about it: The Fighting Irish seized control of this game from the opening whistle. Since the contest was completely one-sided, it does not earn a passing grade.
Oregon at California Grade: D+
Surprisingly, the Bears were within striking distance after scoring a touchdown on their initial drive of the third quarter. Unfortunately for them, the Duck offense came to life on the ensuing drive, scoring touchdowns on its next five possessions. However, a competitive first half is just enough to enable this game to squeak by with a passing grade.