For a good chunk of Saturday, the football wasn't so good. I figured the Iowa game would be ugly, so I went outside and raked leaves instead. Ohio went into rival Miami and blew their undefeated season with a last-second loss. A loss where all they needed to do was kick a short field goal to go into overtime, by the way. I took beatings in the Pick Six with South Carolina losing RB Lattimore for the season and Florida losing to Georgia.
For a while, the day's only bright spot was seeing the Palatine Pirates win an IHSA playoff game.
And then came the Irish.
At some point, we're going to run out of superlatives to describe this 2012 season. Back in the summer I saw 9-3 as the ceiling for this team, beating a couple teams they shouldn't. Or look at it this way, at this point last year they were 5-3 with final four games of the ACC stretch (Wake, BC, Turtles) followed by the West Coast game (@Stanford). This year they are 8-0 with the ACC stretch (future member Pitt, Wake, BC) and the West Coast game (@Southern Cal) upcoming.
All I know is, I'm loving the run. Even when it's felt like borrowed time, it's been a thrill. At this point even the hardest heart has to admit this Notre Dame team is the real deal. And as a CBS Sports article I saw this morning pointed out, the season sets up a Final Four of sorts, with Bama, Oregon, K-State and ND not playing each other this year. So all four could finish 12-0, with Bama and Oregon potentially going 13-0 with their conference championship game.
To the poll: There wasn't much room to advance at the top, but there sure was room to fall. Rutgers -8 (and out), Southern Cal -8, Michigan -6 (and out), Oklahoma -6, Florida -5, and Ohio -3 (and out). Many of the vanquishers of those teams were rewarded accordingly: Georgia is up +5 after the Cocktail Party win; Arizona enters the poll after beating USC (who do you root for in Arizona vs. USC, personally I was rooting for the thunderstorm rain delay); Nebraska returns to the poll (congrats Husker-themed teams).
Lots of movement among the teams we collectively weren't smart enough to choose for our Pick Sixth. Oregon State falls from the ranks of the unbeatens down to 13; same for Mississippi State, down to 17; Texas A&M continues its Image Rehabilitation Tour with a win and a jump up to 16; Louisiana Tech is still in there for some reason, and Pac-12 riff-raff Arizona and UCLA make their second appearances in the poll. Given their erratic seasons, don't get used to seeing them here.
Trivial fact: the gap between Florida State (preseason #1 by Phil Steele) and Florida has been as high as 18 points this season, with FSU higher. In week 6 it flipped to be +8 Florida, and now with the Gators' loss, it's back to +1 Seminoles.
Biggest gainer: The key would be having some of those climbers I mentioned above, and sure enough, someone did. With Georgia, Nebraska and Stanford (+4 after beating 2-5 Washington State at home? I don't get it), "Huskers Du" climbs 14 points for the best of the week. I'm too lazy to find the umlaut on the Blogger keyboard, but I think that's Huhsk-ers, as in the football team, not HOOSK-ers, as in Bob Mould's old band. Or maybe the umlaut is on the "Du" so it's not "Huskers DUH." TMMPF favorite "Huskers Du" has been around the Pick Six for three years; I am sure this was explained to me at one point and that brain cell was replaced by "how long has it been since the baby ate" during the first few days in the hospital.
Honorable mention to "Liars, Gastropods, Normads, D-bags, Enablers, and Jimbo Fisher". There is no way in hell I was going to type all that in and mess up my spreadsheet, so it shows as "LGNDE & Jimbo Fisher" on the sheet. He had 13 points, and I thought for a minute I was going to have to spend this section trying to dissect who all falls into those five categories.
Enough jibber-jabber, who's winning?
I knew "Flying Cougars" would eventually pay for the folly of picking Michigan (maybe I should ask for a DNA test?). That week was today, and she had a -1 on the week. Which wouldn't be such a big deal, except ...
...last week's No. 2, "Thomas the Train," eight points behind, scored a plus-8 thanks to gainers including Florida State and Boise State. That puts him back in the lead, 91 to 90.
Top adult: "Flying Cougars." Top kitty: Mutchka, now all the way up to 13th. Top dog: "Silly Milly." The dogs were once all over the leaderboard, now the leader of the pack is down at 22nd. (Not that you'll get any taunting from a guy at 27th, tied with a 9-year-old and a sheepdog that goes for my crotch everytime we see each other.) Gamewide average: up 2.1, from 52.6 to 54.6, making me about a half point below average.
Boards are updated. This Thomas vs. Cougar battle should be fun to watch in the coming weeks. Remember, they share Alabama, Ohio State and Notre Dame. "Flying Cougars" has a built-in loss with the Michigan-Ohio State game ... but only if Michigan is ranked at the time, which I assume/hope they won't be. Texas (Thomas) can play spoiler to K-State (Cougars) in the last week of the regular season, which is Sat. Dec. 1. Sounds like an exciting day.
The big game this week is Alabama vs. LSU. Remember, this was supposed to be the Game of the Century of the Year, before the Honey Badger got kicked off the team and LSU realized they still don't have an offense, even with Zach Mettenberger at QB. Early line is Bama favored by 10, or approximately the same that Oklahoma was favored over Notre Dame.