Jeremiah Masoli had plenty to smile about today as his Oregon Ducks smashed #6 Cal, 42-3.

Jeremiah Masoli had plenty to smile about today as his Oregon Ducks smashed #6 Cal, 42-3.

Every week of the college football season there tends to be some atrition within the ranks of the unbeaten.  This weekend proved to be no different, as it seemed like there were an unusually high amount of teams getting handed their first loss.  Most notable of these teams are Ole Miss, Cal, and Miami-Fla, who will all be coming out of the Top 10 on Monday morning.

Let’s start with the Ole Miss Runnin’ Rebels, who proved to be a good bit overrated, especially on the offensive side of the ball in their 16-10 letdown

The Ol Ball Coach looked like he was on top of his game in the Gamecocks triumph over Ole Miss

The Ol' Ball Coach looked like he was on top of his game in the Gamecocks triumph over Ole Miss

 against the South Carolina Gamecocks in Columbia on Thursday night.  Heisman darkhorse Jevan Snead looked like anything but that as he was a miserable 7/21 for 107 yards and one long TD pass that brought the slimmest amount of credibility to his lackluster performance.  Tailback Dexter McCluster wasn’t much better, as he was limited to 15 carries for 85 yards, in part due to the good pressure put on the Rebs’ O-Line by a strong South Carolina rush.  The surprise of the game would definitely have to be the strong play of Gamecocks QB Stephen Garcia, who wasn’t spectacular, but did what he had to do in order to give his team only its 2nd win in 34 tries against Top 5 opponents and the program’s first in 27 years.  Steve Spurrier desperately needed this win to prove that he has improved South Carolina football since takin the reins and to show that they have the potential to wreak some havoc in an always competitive SEC.

Moving into today’s games, it’s very hard to say that the Cal Golden Bears weren’t looking past Oregon because they basically stayed in Berkeley for this one, as the Ducks derailed the 6th-ranked team in the country, 42-3.  Jeremiah Masoli was spectacular, going 21/25 for 253 yards and 3 TD’s all to his favorite target in Ed Dickson.  Major kudos to the Oregon defense in this one, though, as Jahvid Best was almost a complete non-factor, as he was limited to 55 yards on the ground by a team that now has a couple of wins under its belt to help forget their season-opening losses to Boise State, and yes, I meant losses, lest we forget LeGarrette Blount.

The last game the really impacts the early season look at the rankings was the biggest game of the weekend.  Apparently Virginia Tech forgot that this game was supposed to be the statement win for the Miami Hurricanes in the ACC and their entry into serious consideration for the BCS because the Hokies dominated from start to finish in an impressive 31-7 beatdown of the ‘Canes.  Va. Tech won it exactly the way a Frank Beamer coached team usually wins games with a suffocating defense that held the ‘Canes to 209 total yards of offense, combined with a physical and grinding rushing attack that tallied 272 total yards of offense and 2 TD’s.  After it looked like the loss to Alabama ended hopes of a national title run and as much as they struggled against Nebraska last week, the Hokies proved once again to be the class of the ACC this year, leaving no doubt in this one, especially with the losses for Florida State and North Carolina today.

Embarrasment Alert: At the time of this post, the Greg Paulus-led Syracuse Orange are trailing the Maine Black Bears 17-13.  If this one falls in favor of Maine, then I think we can finally agree to say that the grand experiment of bringing in a guy who hasn’t played football since his senior year of high school is a complete failure. Also, keep an eye out west, where Cal Poly leads San Jose State, but we’ll cut the Spartans some slack because they are the sacrificial lambs for the USC’s and Cal’s of the world, so they don’t know how to play to win games.

Eric Folk's FG lifted Washington to a shocking 16-13 win over #3 USC.

Eric Folk's FG lifted Washington to a shocking 16-13 win over #3 USC.

Today we got a good look at why Pete Carroll is using Matt Barkley as his starting QB as the Aaron Corp-led USC Trojans were wiped out in Seattle by an overachieving Washington Huskies team, coached by none other than former Carroll assistant Steve Sarkisian, who engineered the right defense to stop USC’s offensive juggernaut.

UW is a year removed from one of the ugliest seasons in school history, a 1-11 campaign that they needed an ugly win in the Apple Cup against winless Washington State to avoid the big 0 in the wins column.  Now all of that has become nothing more than a painful memory as they join the list of unlikely Pac-10 schools to trip up USC, joining Oregon State from last year, and Stanford from two years ago.

For USC, this might not necessarily mean the end of their national title hopes, but it’s certainly an unexpected and devastating blow for a team that was coming off yet another big victory in Columbus over Ohio State.  Now they are almost forced to bring Barkley back as soon as possible and bring some confidence to an offense that was simply outplayed by the Washington defense, making 3 bad turnovers that allowed the Huskies to hang around and pull the upset.

Looking back eastward, it may not have been the predicted beatdown that was expected, but it can’t be argued the the top-ranked Florida Gators handled Tennessee with relative ease.  In a game that was a lot more a case of grit than glits and glamour, It was the Florida defense that played the biggest role, showing the limited ability of the Tennessee receivers to get open downfield and making very difficult on Vols QB Johnathan Crompton all day, who finished an almost unnoticable 11/19 for 93 yards and 2 INTs. 

The big story that came out of this one though might be Tim Tebow’s final numbers, or rather the lack thereof.  The Heisman hopeful looked rather pedestrian and even a little confused by the defensive schemes shown by Tennessee.  Add in the two turnovers that he had, which led to 10 of Tennessee’s 13 points and Tebow’s Heisman chances just declined a little bit.

Speaking of Heisman, Jahvid Best is giving his best effort to get himself into

Jahvid Best was at his Best against Minnesota (Sorry for the pun.)

Jahvid Best was at his Best against Minnesota (Sorry for the pun.)

 the conversation with an unbelievable 5 TD performance at Minnesota to stop the Golden Gohpers 35-21.  From what I saw from Cal and USC today, I would be circling October 3rd on the calendar as their head-to-head matchup might determine the Pac-10 champion this year.

Also of note would have to be the death of several non-BCS conference teams’ hopes of an undefeated season this year, with Utah suffering a 31-24 loss in The Autzen Zoo to the Oregon Ducks, who look like they’ve finally gotten it back together after the Boise State debacle, and BYU currently getting waxed by the Florida State Seminoles 44-21 in Provo, it looks like it’s going to be up to Boise State once again to carry the torch for the unlikelies to reach a BCS bowl this year.  Considering the Broncos remaining schedule, though, it really wouldn’t surprise me to see them undefeated and going into another big bowl game, and this time you’ll be certain not to underestimate them.

In another thrilling finish, the Virginia Tech Hokies escaped losing twice at home in a ranked foe, scraping past Nebraska 16-15, in a game that will be mostly remembered for its offensive ineptitude than anything else.  Nebraska once again failed to get into the end zone in a big game, limited to five field goals despite controlling most of possession throughout this battle.  On the other side, Va. Tech took an eternity to get their offense going yet again, with Tyrod Taylor looking both uncomfortable in the pocket as well as afraid to throw a bad pass, at times.  This led to the Hokies having a laughable offensive output of 278 yards, 91 of which came on the game-winning drive and 80 of which came on one play in the final drive.  Yet, as they’ve been asked to do time and again, the Tech defense went above and beyond expectations in keeping the Nebraska offense at bay, although they did get a good bit of help in the 4th quarter, when a Nebraska drive got down to the Va. Tech 6-yard line, only to have the Cornhuskers commit 30 yards worth of penalties to force an unlikely punt.  At the end of the day though, it sets up another battle for the Hokies, who now prepare to take on a resurgent Miami team next Saturday in a battle for ACC supremacy.

Cupcakes of the Week: Once again, the Capital region gets the dubious honor of having two of the biggest underachieving programs in the nation, in

Wazzus best player ever was this guy. It explains a LOT about why they stink.

Wazzu's best player ever was this guy. It explains a LOT about why they stink.

 Maryland and Virginia, both of which ended up on the wrong side of games put on the schedule that were supposed to be easy wins.  The Terps proved to be as soft as the Pillsbury doughboy as they folded 32-31 at home against Middle Tennessee State, while the Cavaliers lost 37-34 at home to Southern Miss.  The Golden Eagles are usually one of Conference USA’s better teams, but that’s just it, they’re in Conference USA, which might be the second weakest conference ahead of the Sun Belt.  I give out one more dubious honor to the Washington State Cougars, who yet again found a way to lose, this time in overtime to SMU, who hasn’t been good since the late ’80s when they were the top of the Southwest Conference, only to have the program receive the death penalty from the NCAA due to serious violations.  Somewhere out there tonight, Drew Bledsoe is watching the highlights of his alma mater and thinking “Man, I played better than this when I was with the Bills!”