Does C-usa Get Its Final Liberty? For Sure?

USA and AUS Faced Off in the Finals at the Napa Valley Challenger

2 Oregon’s Marcus Mariota accounted for three total touchdowns in a 55-16 trouncing of Cal, while Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel threw for 261 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 59 additional yards in a road triumph over Arkansas. A less heralded signal-caller is Stanford’s Kevin Hogan, whose three touchdown tosses boosted the Cardinal to a 55-17 blowout conquering of Pac-12 foe Washington State. Florida State freshman Jameis Winston continued a magnificent campaign for the Seminoles in keying a 48-34 win at Boston College by throwing for 330 yards and four touchdowns. As for the Big 10 battle many fans were eager for, Ohio State benefited from Braxton Miller ‘s return , as the junior quarterback threw four touchdowns in a 31-24 win over Wisconsin at Ohio Stadium. Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports Miller put to rest any concerns of rust after missing two-plus games with a knee injury. South Carolina had a close call on the road against Central Florida, but prevailed 28-25 despite the last 15 points being scored by the Knights. Gamecocks running back Mike Davis took the game over in the second half and had all three of his touchdown runs in that span, finishing with 167 rushing yards for the day. The fourth and only other clash between previously ranked teams was between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in South Bend. Sooners QB Blake Bell had a coming-out party of sorts in completing 22 of 30 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns and running for 59 yards in the 35-21 win. Unfortunately for Notre Dame, senior Tommy Rees chucked three costly interceptions in the first half, which was a first in a decade for the vaunted program, per ESPN Stats & Info: Tommy Rees is the 1st Notre Dame QB in the last 10 seasons to throw 3 interceptions in a half. ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 28, 2013 The luck of the Irish was alive and well last season, but it appears to have run out in 2013 after a second loss to knock Brian Kelly ‘s bunch out of the Top 25. One team that climbed back into the Top 25 was Arizona State, who knocked off the USC Trojans in a 62-41 shootout at home, and that wound up costing Southern Cal head coach Lane Kiffin his job: Breaking news: Lane Kiffin has been relieved of his duties as USC’s head football coach per AD Pat Haden. USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) September 29, 2013 Who is likelier to be upset in Week 6?

USA Today Coaches Poll ranks NIU at No. 23

Huskies celebrate victory over Purdue.

— AS MARSHALL enters its ninth Conference USA season, consider that it is the final time the league will send a team (presumably the league champion) to the Dec. 31 Liberty Bowl at Memphis. Or so we are led to believe. Conference USA’s weekly notes begin the league’s bowl synopsis thusly: “Conference USA has guaranteed spots in six games during the 2013 season. The AutoZone Liberty Bowl has the top selection of C-USA teams and the league also will send teams to …” C-USA declares its opponent in the Liberty to be an “SEC or American selection,” the latter referring to the American Athletic Conference (I jokingly call it the “Ack!”) The “Ack’s” release goes through its bowl situation, declaring, “The American also has longstanding deals with the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham, Ala., and the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl in St. Petersburg, Fla.” And … “The conference additionally has an agreement with the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn. The American will send teams to two of those three games in the 2013 season.” Two paragraphs later: “If an American team is chosen for the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, the conference’s representative would face either the Conference USA champion or an opponent from the Southeastern Conference.” Well, isn’t that special? So what sayeth the SEC, who has about 23 bowl berths to juggle? In its large, sideways chart of all bowls, it lists the Liberty as “C-USA/American vs. SEC.” Uh, oh. The ghost of 2011 is running in my mind. That’s the year a beyond-bizarre format was concocted to boot the C-USA champ – with both finalists in the top 25, mind you – to the curb. Remember this? If the SEC had eight eligible bowl teams, the Liberty would be C-USA vs.

NIU spent one week in the AP and USA Today Top 25 in 2010 before falling in the MAC Championship game. Northern Illinois earliest appearance in the Top 25 came in 2003 when the Huskies were ranked 20th (AP) and 22nd (USA Today) in Week 5 after defeating No. 21 Maryland, Tennessee Tech, No. 23 Alabama and Iowa State. NIU spent a school record eight weeks in the Top 25 that season and reached a record-high ranking of No. 12 (AP) and 14 (USA Today). NIU was ranked in the Top 25 in four weekly polls last season, rising to a ranking of No. 16 after winning the Mid-American Conference title . The Huskies take on Kent State (2-3, 1-1 MAC), their opponent in last years MAC Championship game, at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, at Dix Stadium. The game will be televised by Time Warner Cable Sportschannel and can be seen live locally on WTVO Rockfords DT2 channel as well as online on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN mobile app. Comcast SportsNet Chicago will replay the NIU-Kent State game at 7 p.m.

USA Today College Football Poll 2013: Complete Week 6 Rankings Released

Reynolds commented, In doubles its always back and forth we just tried to make sure the highs and the lows werent too far apart. Etched wine bottles were presented to both teams after play; Smith and Reynolds took home a check for $3,100. The players all seemed to have the same response when asked how they felt about this tournament now that its over. Reynolds summed it up, Its beautiful up here, any player you talk to would tell you that. Chris [tournament director] did an unbelievable job for the first year it was amazing. Lots of kudos to him and everyone behind the scenes, its a huge group effort and its a better tournament than some that have been around a long time. Were all looking forward to coming back next year. The featured match in the afternoon was for the Singles Championship. Donald Young (USA) went up against Matt Ebden (AUS). Ebden took the first set 6-4 while Young fought hard in the second set taking it 6-4. Young took the third set, finishing with 6-2. Young commented on his win, I was a little freer in the end overall just a tough match. At this level, I was privileged to be able to win those few points and happy to come out on top, it couldve gone either way at the end. Ebden commented on his game, Its tough being up a set in the break, I thought I was in control. Then the clouds moved in and it got a little colder, that changed a lot for me.