OK, college football, you got this one.
Responding to a week of college basketball that started strong with ESPN’s 24-hour tip-off marathon, then got scandalous with news of a potential catastrophe at Syracuse, the gridiron guys regained the spotlight with some Top-5 upsets and plenty of down-to-the-wire thrillers.
But even though college hoops took a comfortable backseat to the BCS, NFL and NASCAR, that doesn’t mean it was uneventful. Here are the best and worst of the weekend:
*** *** ***
4 Games I Wish You Watched
Presbyterian 56, Cincinnati 54 – The name alone might have you thinking Presbyterian is one of those teams that lines up a 6-4 center surrounded by four guys destined to work in IT, but the Blue Hose are no stranger to stomping with the big dogs. Last year they knocked off Wake Forest and Auburn, and this weekend stunned another big-conference foe by beating 20th-ranked Cincinnati. The Bearcats were up 15 in the second half before Presbyterian guard Khalid Mutakabbir (25 pts) met the ghost of Ali Faroukmanesh and started raining jumpers, including the go-ahead trey with seven seconds left.
Oregon State 100, Texas 95 (OT) – On a bang-for-buckets scale, this was the best game of the season so far. Beavers guard Jared Cunningham (37 pts, 20-23 FT) and Longhorns guard J’Covan Brown (25 pts, 5 threes, 9 asts) led the scoring barrage, and OSU used a 9-0 run in overtime to pull off one of the program’s biggest wins in recent memory.
Cleveland State 67, St. Bonaventure 64 – One week after handing seventh-ranked Vanderbilt the season’s first major upset, Cleveland State got all they could handle from the unranked Bonnies. The teams traded runs in the second half, and the score was tied with three seconds left when Vikings guard Trevon Harmon (20 pts) came around a screen a buried a fadeaway three with three seconds left.
Texas A&M 58, St. John’s 57 – In what was basically a road game, their second game in two nights, and ripe for a consolation game letdown after a disappointing loss to Mississippi State, the Aggies overcame Madison Square Garden tenant St. John’s (and some suspect officiating) on Elston Turner’s pull-up jumper from the right elbow with six seconds left. In what A&M coach Billy Kennedy would probably call poetic justice, St. John’s missed two free throws with two seconds left that would have given them the win.