Points Over Pints: A Bad Week For The Underdogs
By Joe Jenkins
This Week's Beer
We all love the underdog story. The narrative dates back more than 3,000 years. From David and Goliath to Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed, we just can’t get enough of it.
But here’s the thing: More often than not, the world tends to unfold as we expect it to. David doesn’t beat Goliath. Creed beats Balboa. The traditional powers tend to win out.
In honor of the old guard killing off the dreams of the up and comers, we’ll be sipping on Goliath, an English Bitter brewed by Wychwood Brewery Company in the United Kingdom.
Two of the feel-good stories of the 2013 college football season suffered their first loss on Saturday, and both teams fell to more traditional football Goliaths.
Time to fill our glass of liquid Goliath to the brim. We’ve got a lot to cover from week 9.
The First Sips
You have to feel for Missouri.
Saturday’s game marked the end of a brutal stretch of games against Vanderbilt, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina, but the Tigers failed to show up for the final quarter of the final game and and squandered a 17-point fourth quarter lead to the Gamecocks.
Remember, this is a Missouri team that only won two games last year in the SEC. Every self-respecting southerner who repeatedly will remind you that “football is religion down here” pretended like the Tigers didn’t exist. They didn’t play “big-boy football.”
This year was different, though. Mizzou was playing with a chip on its shoulder. They were proving that they belonged. Gary Pinkel had his team dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and the old guard of the SEC was beginning to acknowledge Missouri’s as a legitimate member of the conference.
Then Connor Shaw got the call out of the bullpen from Steve Spurrier, forced overtime, and was crowned a hero when the Tigers shanked a 24-yard field goal.
The good news for Missouri is that an SEC team can still make the national championship game with one loss.
The Red Raiders’ loss was a bit more traditional. Oklahoma was able to keep up with Texas Tech offensively, and the Sooners won the turnover battle.
• Miami is mastering the art of the comeback. The U’s 24-21 win over Wake Forest marks the third consecutive game that the Hurricanes had to overcome a double-digit deficit to win. They’ll need a faster start if they hope to upset Florida State next week.
• For the first time in the Chris Petersen era, Boise State has finally fallen off. Don’t let the 5-3 record fool you. One win came against FCS school Tennessee-Martin and the other four wins came against teams that are a combined 15 games under .500.
• Fresno State QB Derek Carr had his “weakest” game of the season in the Bulldogs’ 35-28 overtime win over San Diego State. Carr only managed to complete 61 percent of his passes for 298 yards and two touchdowns. Carr won’t win the Heisman because he plays for a mid-major, but he’s earned a trip to Manhattan.
• Oregon’s Marcus Mariota will be joining Carr at the Heisman ceremony. He was insanely efficient in the Ducks’ 42-14 beating of UCLA. Unfortunately, Mariota won’t win the trophy, either. The only West Coast players to win the Heisman are highly compensated and from USC.
• While Florida’s Miami is riding high at 7-0, Ohio’s Miami is depressing, and I’m not referring to the town’s economic outlook. The RedHawks are 0-8 and are one of five teams that haven’t gotten in the win column yet.
• The final score in LSU’s 48-16 win over FCS opponent Furman is misleading. The Tigers were dominant in the second half, but only lead by four at halftime. The game remained competitive well into the third quarter.
The Last Gulp
I’m not sure about you, but I’m getting down to the final few sips of this fantastic bitter brew, which means its time for us to raise our glasses and salute the most questionable decision of the weekend.
Here’s to you BYU, for accepting an invitation to play in the Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco immediately after winning your sixth game of the season.
For a team that has a national championship to its credit and has gone to bowl games for the last eight years, jumping on the first invitation that comes across your desk seems like a rookie move.
With your team just outside the Top 25, a higher-profile game isn’t out of the question. Nor is a Top-15 ranking if quarterback Taysom Hill continues to progress.
I could see Buffalo jumping at the opportunity. The Bulls are 6-2 as well, but their first and only bowl appearance came in 2008.
But you, BYU, you’ve been down this road before. I’d expect you to act like it.
• Oklahoma FB Trey Millard tore ligaments in his knee against Texas Tech. He will miss the rest of the season.
• Auburn QB Nick Marshall left the Tigers’ 45-10 win over Florida Atlantic with a shoulder injury. He didn’t return, but is expected to play next week.