Attention: Louisiana-Monroe Can Clinch SEC Championship Saturday: Even with Tyler Wilson exiled to the locker room for mysterious injury-related reasons, things looked copacetic for the Hogs. They were up 28-7 as the middle of the third quarter approached, and ULM wasn't doing much of anything.
And then Kolton Browning suddenly happened. A 21-point lead withered away into nothingness as Browning gunned the Warhawks into overtime. When Monroe held Arkansas to a field goal on their possession, the writing was on the wall; on fourth-and-1, Todd Berry decided to roll the dice and go for it rather than go for a second OT, and Browning -- his receivers covered on play-action -- just took off the other way and dove past the pylon to send the eighth-ranked Razorbacks tumbling out of the poll altogether. (The only time a higher-ranked team ended up unranked the following week: #5 Michigan, after losing to Appalachian State.)
It's red alert day in Fayetteville now. Over at Arkansas Expats, RandalReece dissects the situation with brutal efficiency. The opposition view comes via none other than Bill Connelly. Meanwhile, an Auburn squad that's been lifeless and inert in losses to Clemson and Mississippi State now has to prepare to host... ULM. It's always dangerous to ever assume a minnow's going to bite twice, but has the setting ever been so well-crafted before?
Tangentially Related: Three conferences have no winless teams remaining. One is no surprise at all: the Big 12. One is mildly surprising, but not a huge reach: the ACC. The third? ALL HAIL SUNBEAST. That's right, every team in the Sun Belt is at .500 or better after two weeks. Compare to Conference USA, which has six winless teams. Meanwhile, there's not a single unbeaten team left in either the Mountain West or CUSA; the Sun Belt has two and the WAC has THREE. Oh, how the wheels of change trample the mid-majors...Edge-of-the-Seat Viewing: Of the 73 games played involving FBS teams this weekend, 22 were within a touchdown at the final gun. (Only one of the 22 required the presumption of a two-point PAT to get on the list, so this isn't a padded ratio.) If we look at games which didn't involve FCS teams, it was 18 of 46. So we had a lot of action coming down to the wire this weekend; not only that, we had four FCS-over-FBS upsets (two of which weren't even close games), and four teams jacked out of the top 25 due to other upsets.
Northern Arizona tipped UNLV 17-14, which makes Minnesota's thrashing of New Hampshire even more strange since the Gophers needed OT to get past UNLV last week and nobody in their right mind would pick Northern Arizona to beat New Hampshire. Sacramento State edged Colorado, the Hornets' second win over an FBS squad in two years (after beating Oregon State last year). Defending FCS champs North Dakota State beat Colorado State rather easily, and Eastern Michigan was embarrassed by Illinois State. On top of all that, Washington State barely got past Eastern Washington, South Alabama suffered through a 9-3 soccer match with Nicholls State, and both California and Buffalo had to survive shootouts with Southern Utah and Morgan State, respectively.
The other big upset in FBS, of course, was Oregon State's 10-7 droner with Wisconsin, which included Montee Ball being held to 60 yards rushing, and frankly we shouldn't be surprised after seeing the Badgers narrowly escape over Northern Iowa last week. The loss cost Wisconsin offensive line coach Mike Markuson his job, and over at Bucky's 5th Quarter surveyed the carnage.
Case Keenum's Absence May Not Be the Problem: Houston's David Piland threw for 580 yards and four TDs without an interception Saturday, and Houston scored 49 points. They still lost, because they let Louisiana Tech score 56. Also in the WAC, Utah State prevailed over Utah 27-20 in overtime in... a really good game, being honest. Utah State might have the juice to go undefeated this year, if they can just get over next week's hump. Since next week's hump is the suddenly incompetent Wisconsin Badgers, you can dare to dream.
If KSU Had Been Idle This Week, I'd Have Been at This Game: As you've undoubtedly heard, Tulane safety Devon Walker had to be given chest compressions and a tracheotomy on the field during Tulane's 45-10 loss to Tulsa. Walker suffered a broken neck and a collapsed lung as a result of a helmet-to-helmet hit with teammate DT Julius Warmsley. Walker, a walk-on who earned his scholarship while studying cell and molecular biology (!!), was breathing on his own when transported, and surgery to repair the fractured spine was "successful". There's still no clear answer as to whether Walker will be paralyzed. The worst part of the story, for me, was the horror of seeing the field littered with empty packaging from emergency medical supplies, but now? Now, it's knowing that his parents were watching the game on television, helplessly seeing their son being given emergency medical attention and hauled into an ambulance. They're in Tulsa now with their son, and let's give them all our best.
On the Network: Steven Godfrey had an all-access pass to Western Kentucky football in the week leading up to their game with Alabama, and here's what he discovered. ... This week's Shutdown Fullback recap. ... Martin Rickman absolutely eviscerates North Carolina and Larry Fedora for trotting an obviously concussed Bryn Renner back out on the field. ... And finally, Samuel Chi's simulated BCS standings; K-State is 11th.