Thursdays: the day before Friday and an often uneventful part of the week for college football fans, a day which usually involves some sort of struggle fest between bottom-dwelling AAC or ACC teams.
However, last night was an anomaly of a Thursday night, featuring two–two!–top-10 college football match-ups in both the Pac-12 and Big 12, as Oregon traveled to Stanford and Oklahoma visited Baylor. But this is where the similarities end, as Stanford rode a fiercely dominant defense to victory while Baylor unleashed fiery, offensive hell on the Sooners.
Oregon – 20, Stanford – 26
Unless your allegiances lie somewhere between Waco and Norman, this was last night’s marquee match-up. TSS’ Alec Bojalad already outlined what was at stake in this game, so no need to recap here. But here’s what we learned from Stanford’s victory:
— Ducks fans can no longer bicker about whether they or Florida State deserves the No. 2 BCS spot. It’s now the Seminoles’ to lose on their way to the national championship game.
— Those Marcus Mariota Heisman considerations? Also gone. The Heisman is now also a Seminoles player’s to lose, and that player is quarterback Jameis Winston.
— For those who thought grid-locking defense and a stout running game were a thing of the past in order to achieve success, think again. The Cardinal held the Ducks to 312 total yards; only 62 rushing yards and forced two costly turnovers, while amassing 277 rushing yards of their own. Stanford only scored two touchdowns the entire game, but tallied four field goals and clocked over 42 minutes of possession. In terms of efficiency, let us quote Mike Meyers from Shrek: “That’ll do, donkey, that’ll do.”
Oregon did make somewhat of a game out of it, but not until the closing minutes. Check out the GIFs above that summarize the mayhem that Oregon created too little, too late, including a blocked field goal for a touchdown, a wily onside kick and Mariota doing what he was supposed to have done the entire game.
Oklahoma – 12, Baylor – 41
Longhorn fans, as romantic as it might be to become wrapped up in the Nick Saban-to-Austin rumors, it might be wiser to pull for an Art Briles hire. Briles’ Baylor squad pasted the Sooners last night–the first “real” team detractors can claim the Bears have faced–and looked merciless doing it.
True, the game looked far from certain after the first half–Oklahoma lead 5-3 at its close after getting a field goal and tackling Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty in his endzone for a safety–but the Sooners would only score once more in the game, grabbing a consolation touchdown close to the three-minute mark in the third quarter.
Outside that, it was all Baylor. It says a lot about a ruthlessly efficient offense when 459 yards of total offense is considered extremely low (the Bears are averaging damn near 700 yards every game), but the 41 points scored against Oklahoma are 20 more than what the Sooners are allowing on average through every other game this season.
So Briles. He’s your guy and will probably also come at a lower price point than Saban without the threat of relocation every single time Mick Jagger’s biggest fan becomes bored with his own success. UT would also be crippling another Big 12 program in the process, positioning a dream-sucking vacuum atop the Texas plains for its own gain. Which is never a bad thing, mind you.
Photos: Getty GIFs: Yahoo