Week 4 Story Lines From Around the Country

Matthew Holst - Getty Images

Taking a look at the rest of the country.

The SEC has set a record by being the first conference to have four teams ranked in the top six of the AP Poll. However, I'm told that some people do play some football outside this league, so let's see how they all did.

It was a good week for the ACC.

We rag on this conference as much as any, but you have to give credit where it's due. For once, the marquee ACC game was everything the conference needed it to be. FSU and Clemson played a tight and compelling game, and the right team (i.e. the favorite) actually came out on top. Plus, no one had any embarrassing losses to bad non-conference teams. Miami and Georgia Tech played an overtime thriller, Maryland kept it far closer with WVU than anyone would have thought, and after wins Duke and Wake are each 3-1. All you could have asked for different was for UVA to do something better than a 27-7 loss to TCU.

It was yet another awful week for the Big Ten.

Big Ten country is where I learned the term "MACrifice", but it wasn't very apt this time around. Central Michigan took down Iowa, and Michigan State needed a huge fourth quarter to pull away from Eastern Michigan after trailing for a long stretch. Other non-AQ leagues caused some problems too. Ohio State and Wisconsin had trouble with CUSA's UAB and UTEP, respectively, and Illinois got hammered by the WAC's Louisiana Tech. In the big non-conference game, Michigan turned it over six times in losing to Notre Dame. Only Minnesota beating Syracuse and Penn State beating Temple were notable wins, and that tells you what you need to know.

It was a mixed bag for the Big 12 for once.

The Big 12 has been feasting on bad non-conference opponents, so it was good to see the level of competition go up a bit. K-State took down Oklahoma in the biggest game of the day, but as noted before, TCU did beat Virginia and West Virginia beat Maryland. The lesser leagues did cause some trouble here too, though. Baylor had a death-defying escape from Louisiana-Monroe on Friday (nice to see them do that to a non-SEC team), and Kansas lost to Northern Illinois. Kansas football: still really bad.

Same goes for the Pac-12.

On the one hand, Oregon demolished Arizona 49-0 and USC dismissed Cal 27-9. The big dogs of the league did what they were supposed to do, and, in the Ducks' case, more. Arizona State beat Utah by 30 to establish the middle a bit more. Then there were two big upsets to go with those two big wins. First, Oregon State found some offense and brought down the rapidly rising UCLA 27-20. Then Colorado, who we all last week agreed was the worst AQ conference team ever, rose up and beat Washington State by a point after scoring 21 in the fourth quarter. Ouch, Mike Leach.

The MAC is where it's at.

The Mid-American appears to be the top of the non-AQ leagues this year after picking up a few more good wins. NIU beat the Big 12's Kansas, Western Michigan beat the Big East's UConn, Ball State beat the Big East's USF, and Central Michigan beat the Big Ten's Iowa. Eastern Michigan pushed Michigan State for three quarters, and Akron did the same to Tennessee. As a bonus, Ohio got a win to go to 4-0 and keep the BCS busting dream alive (only UTSA and Louisiana Tech are also undefeated from the non-AQ ranks). MACtion is alive and well this year, friends.

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