“Lloyd’s of London has just refused to insure Ringer’s legs. Forty-four carries in a single game means Ringer deserves a sedan chair to get around campus for the next week in between practices and workouts.” — Spencer Hall, Sportingnews.com. Michigan State running back Javon Ringer rushed 44 times for 198 yards in MSU’s 42-29 win at Indiana.
1. Victors Valiant: Michigan Stadium sits nearly three-fourths underground. The Wolverines dug out of quite a hole in their 27-25 win over Wisconsin.
In the first half they had 21 yards, one first down, and five turnovers. They trailed 19-0 at halftime and were booed off the field.
“If you were anywhere in the Ann Arbor vicinity,” Michigan Coach Rich Rodriguez said, “you heard that.
“If there was a hole to crawl into, I’m sure a bunch of us, including myself, would have liked to crawl into it.”
Wolverines receiver Greg Mathews: “Their strength-and-conditioning coach was talking about how we were soft and out of shape, and ESPN was talking about how this was a warm-up for the Big Ten for Wisconsin. We take that personally. Michigan is nobody’s doormat, especially in the Big Ten.”
2. Biggest 12: The SEC faded into the sunset as superpowers Florida and Georgia lost at home. Looking westward, America finds its football power conference to be the Big 12.
Four of the top seven teams in the Associated Press rankings are Big 12 bullies. Oklahoma ascended to No. 1 after throttling previously unbeaten TCU, 35-10.
The Sooners rushed 36 times for a measly 25 yards — and still dominated. In the first half alone, OU had pass plays of 38, 24, 73 and 55 yards.
“Some teams are great stopping the run,” said receiver Manuel Johnson, who had an Oklahoma-record 206 receiving yards. “Other teams are great in the back end. If they’re going to give you an apple you’re going to eat it.”
3. Rebels With a Cause: The University of Mississippi hosted a rather important debate Friday night. The next day, its football team ended the debate over whether Florida was a strong contender for the national title with a shocking 31-30 triumph.
“I still can’t believe it,” a giddy Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden told a bunch of writers when talking about Florida’s shocking loss after FSU’s win over Colorado. “I’ll have to read your newspapers just to make sure.”
The game effectively ended when the Rebels stopped Florida quarterback Tim Tebow on a keeper on 4th-and-1 at the Ole Miss 32 with 41 seconds left.
“(Tebow) was saying, ‘I got it, I got it.’ I said, ‘No you don’t,’” said Ole Miss defensive end Kentrell Lockett.
4. High Tide: Before the season, Georgia was the chic pick to win the national championship. But national champs don’t trail 31-0 at home, at halftime, to anyone.
Alabama bulldozed the Bulldogs, 41-30.
“They had probably never been hit in the mouth like that,” said Crimson Tide offensive tackle Andre Smith.
“Forget Corso and Herbstreit,” wrote Mark Bradley of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Forget Holtz and May. Forget, for that matter, anything you might have read in this space about Georgia being really good this year. For guidance in matters concerning college football, you had only to read the financial magazine Forbes, which last month proclaimed Nick Saban ‘the most powerful coach in sports.’
“Here’s how mighty the Alabama man actually is: He came to Sanford Stadium and outflanked (Georgia Coach) Mark Richt in a way nobody has since … since ever.”
1. Choked Cheddar: Wisconsin blew a 19-0 lead at Michigan in the game’s final 18 minutes, allowing three scoring drives of 75 yards or more.
“It was embarrassing,” Badgers linebacker DeAndre Levy said. “I didn’t know how to react. I couldn’t believe this was happening, how we basically gave the game away in the second half.”
“This isn’t something that ever goes away,” Wisconsin defensive tackle Mike Newkirk said. “No matter how much time passes, it’s going to haunt you.”
Thanks for participating in National Title Derby, Badgers. Off you go.
2. Fla-Fla Flooey: Florida quarterback Tim Tebow has a Heisman Trophy. He won’t get a second.
Tebow’s top speech of this year won’t be given at New York’s Downtown Athletic Club. Instead, it was delivered after the Gators’ stunning loss to Ole Miss.
“To the fans and everybody of Gator Nation, I’m sorry. Extremely sorry,” Tebow said. “We wanted an undefeated season. That was my goal, something Florida has never done here. I promise you one thing, a lot of good will come out of this.
“You will never see any player in the entire country play as hard as I will play the rest of the season. You will never see another player push his team as hard as I will push everybody the rest of the season. You will never see a team play harder than we will the rest of the season.
3. Black Eye: Georgia went to black jerseys for its game against Alabama, and had its fans wear black as well. It was a blackout, all right.
Alabama strength coach Scott Cochran told Crimson Tide players in a practice last week “They’re wearing black because they’re going to a (expletive deleted) funeral.” Somebody caught Cochran’s comment on video, and it showed up on YouTube.
Georgia’s players were so upset by that insult to their competitive spirit that they rolled over and played dead.
4. Ooooh! Scary!: Nebraska running back Marlon Lucky issued a warning for unbeaten Missouri as the Tigers get ready for their game at Lincoln this week.
“Missouri … they need to watch out, because we’ve got a lot of anger right now,” Lucky said after the Cornhuskers’ 35-30 loss to Virginia Tech.
Lucky had eight carries for 17 yards in that game. The Hlist thinks it’s better to be good than Lucky.
“There’s a certain emotional fragility about (Coach Joe) Tiller’s recent teams. They simply don’t bounce back, after a bad break, after a bad loss. After Notre Dame came out in the third quarter and scored a quick touchdown to go ahead 21-14, Purdue became deflated. Just like that.
“The Boilers routinely put up big numbers against lesser teams, but routinely fall short against better teams.” — the Indianapolis Star’s Bob Kravitz on Purdue’s 38-21 loss at Notre Dame