Michigan, Illinois, and OU Are Your Early Losers

We had a decent slate of early games today, with most ranked teams waiting until the late afternoon and evening games to play. But those who slept in missed plenty.

Colt McAwesome

(Why “Hook ‘em, Horns”? Why not “Gore them” or “Mutilate them”?)

The dominant story, of course, is Oklahoma’s defensive collapse in the Red River Shootout, relinquishing their top ranking after falling to Texas, 45-35. OU was up 14-3 early and still led 28-20 in the third quarter, but Texas scored the last 15 points while Sam Bradford imploded for the Sooners.

And the hilarity didn’t stop in Dallas.

Coming into today’s matchup with Toledo, Michigan had never lost in the Big House to a MAC team. The fact that we’re bringing that fact up in the past tense should tell you all you need to know. The Michigan offense is a horror show at this point, with both Steven Threet and Nick Sheridan capable of sucking hard under center. And yet still, Michigan drove inside the red zone at the end of the 4th quarter before biffing a chip shot that would have tied the game. Toledo wins, 13-10, and once again, the Big House was quieter than a morgue in outer space. Rich Rodriguez’s squad is 2-4 now, their bowl hopes in dire straits. You may rest assured that Michigan State fans have noticed and have put plenty of champagne on ice for Michigan’s seventh loss of the year. It’s all they’ve got in East Lansing.

Last, there’s the issue of Illinois. The bad news? They lost at home. To Minnesota, who won one game last season. Sure, the Gophers are improved–hard not to be, really–but for a team imagining a return to a BCS bowl, the Illini are going in the wrong direction, now 3-3 and 1-2 in the conference. The good news? Juice Williams threw for 462 yards, which is a sentence I never, ever thought I’d write unless the words “during the entire season” followed. But just like the Illini’s loss to Missouri earlier in the season, most of those yards came while Illinois was struggling to come back against a downy soft secondary.

The late afternoon slate features many more intriguing matchups, including Tennessee at Georgia, Vandy at Mississippi State, Texas Tech at Nebraska, and Notre Dame at North Carolina. We’ll let you know if anything wild happens.