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.

This week in college football there are several intriguing storylines, starting up right away on Thursday night with arguably one of the most important ACC games in the last few years when the Ramblin’ Wreck of #14 Georgia

Can Jacory Harris lead The U to another win on Saturday?

Can Jacory Harris lead The U to another win on Saturday?

 Tech goes into Dolphin/Pro Player/Land Shark/Joe Robbie Stadium to take on the 20th-ranked Miami Hurricanes.  It’s a big one not just on a conference scale for these two teams, but also on a national stage for the ACC as a whole.  So far this year, the ACC hasn’t looked like a legitimate BCS conference, with its top team in Virginia Tech falling at home to Alabama to open the season, as well as several other close calls and embarrassing losses in non-conference play for several of the conference’s members.  However, the winner of this game will very quickly become that ACC team that people will keep an eye on for the rest of the season, much like what happened with Butch Davis’ North Carolina Tar Heels last year.  For both teams that is a big deal.  For Georgia Tech, they’ve always been that good but not great college football program and although a win over Miami might not be their meal ticket into the national conversation, a loss would certainly kill any chance of that happening this year.  On the other side, there’s the Miami Hurricanes, led by Head Coach Randy Shannon, who after a couple of years of looking like he couldn’t hold a team together, looks like he might be onto something, especially with the surprising play of starting QB Jacory Harris in the U’s opening weekend upset of Florida State in Tallahassee.  For this once-proud and nationally revered program, this is another step toward the rebirth of what Miami football used to represent, both as the class of the ACC and a consistent national title contender.  Expect this one to be hotly contested from whistle to whistle.

Moving into the plethora of games on Saturday, there is one game for almost every college football fan that stands out amongst the rest.  Lane Kiffin and the Tennessee Volunteers, coming off a home loss to UCLA, head into “The Swamp” and Ben Hill Griffin Stadium to take on the #1 Florida Gators, who

Well, um, you see, um, we lost by 35 tonight because...THEY CHEATED!!! Wait, whats that? Oh, that was me? Um, er, no comment.

"Well, um, you see, um, we lost by 35 tonight because...THEY CHEATED!!!" Wait, what's that? Oh, that was me? Um, er, no comment.

haven’t forgotten what the Vols head coach said just a few months ago.  The fact of the matter is this: Kiffin can say anything he wants about Florida and commit as many NCAA violations as he likes and lie about NCAA violations committed by other teams, but it’s not going to help.  Florida as a team is miles ahead of where Tennessee is right now, especially after seeing what each team did last weekend.  All Kiffin did to himself was open the door to make it perfectly acceptable for Urban Meyer to keep Tim Tebow out on the field for all 60 minutes and run up the score if the opportunity presents itself.  I’m looking forward to the postgame press conference more than anything to see how Kiffin explains his team’s 21+ point drubbing. Should be fun.

Also on the slate, in the only other game pitting two Top 25 teams against each other, the #19 Nebraska Cornhuskers go into Lane Stadium to square off with the #13 Virginia Tech Hokies.  This one is another game involving

Beamer-Ball hasnt been so successful in big games lately.  Itll be interesting to see what happens against Nebraska.

"Beamer-Ball" hasn't been so successful in big games lately. It'll be interesting to see what happens against Nebraska.

two teams that feel like they have a lot to prove right now.  For Nebraska, they have to be feeling some level of disrespect because of the lack of attention they’re getting this year because they happen to play in the same conference as Texas, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State.  This is a golden opportunity for the ‘Huskers to make a statement as we approach conference play, especially since a win on Saturday makes it quite conceivable that they will be unbeaten when they host Oklahoma on November 7th, with no games against ranked opponents on the slate before that showdown in Lincoln.  For Virginia Tech, this is a chance for redemption after the loss at home to Alabama two weeks ago, as well as a chance to reclaim their position as the class of an otherwise suspect ACC.

On a somewhat related note, I’d like to take a minute to recognize the passing of NCAA President Myles Brand, who passed away earlier today from complications from pancreatic cancer at age 67.  Brand will forever be remembered from his earlier days as the man who fired Bobby Knight at the University of Indiana, but his work as head of all major collegiate sports should be recognized as well.  Under his watch, the NCAA has continued to see increased exposure and revenues for the organization and its member schools.  Brand was also a no-nonsense person who sanctioned several high-profile schools for their blatant disregard for the importance of academics and the questionable actions of coaches.  Hopefully the next NCAA president will follow the example of Mr. Brand and continue to uphold the integrity of collegiate athletics.