Troy Smith barely got on the field for Ohio State earlier this season. After the Buckeyes' biggest game of the year, he had trouble getting off of it.
With former high school teammates Smith and Ted Ginn Jr. leading the way, the Buckeyes pushed their troubles into the background for at least a day with a stunning 37-21 upset of No. 7 Michigan on Saturday.
The loss kept the Wolverines (9-2, 7-1) from clinching an outright Big Ten title, but the Wolverines are still going to the Rose Bowl thanks to Iowa. The Hawkeyes (9-2, 7-1) beat Wisconsin, 30-7, to dash the Badgers' Rose Bowl hopes. Michigan and Iowa will share the Big Ten title, but the Wolverines' victory over the Hawkeyes sends them to Pasadena, Calif., for a second straight season.
Smith was swarmed by thousands of fans who flooded onto the field, dancing and singing and hugging -- some apparently a little too tightly.
"I'm pretty much at a loss for words," said Smith, the quarterback who didn't play in three of the first five Ohio State games after being beaten out for the starting job in preseason. "It's unbelievable. Coming off the field, I nearly got my neck broken by fans."
He ran for 145 yards and Ginn set school and Big Ten records with his fourth punt return touchdown. The two left after the game to catch Glenville High School's playoff game. Both starred for the Tarblooders before choosing Ohio State.
"When you win the championship, you don't have to apologize," Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. "You don't have to hang your head. Are we disappointed? You're damned right we are."
This is only third time the loser of the Michigan-Ohio State game has gone to the Rose Bowl. Michigan did it in 1982 and Ohio State in 1996.
Ohio State's fourth season under coach Jim Tressel has been a tough one. The Buckeyes started the Big Ten season with three straight losses and plummeted out of the rankings. Just when things started looking better on the field, problems arose off.
Two weeks ago former Ohio State star Maurice Clarett accused Tressel, his staff and Buckeyes boosters of giving him and other players improper benefits. An NCAA investigation is about to begin.
But it's never a bad day in Columbus when Ohio State (7-4, 4-4) beats Michigan.
"This was important because it's Ohio State-Michigan," said Tressel, now 3-1 against the Buckeyes' archrivals. "(Former Ohio State) Coach Earle Bruce always says that if the Ohio State coach wins against Michigan he can walk down the main streets of Columbus. If he loses, he'd better walk the back alleys. It's that important."
In Iowa City, Drew Tate threw three touchdown passes and Iowa's defense forced four turnovers to beat the No. 9 Badgers (9-2, 6-2). Wisconsin lost its last two games by a combined 79-21.
After a rocky start, Tate settled down and finished 15 of 24 for 186 yards. He fired two TD passes to Clinton Solomon, including a 51-yarder late in the first half, and another to Scott Chandler late in the third quarter.
Kyle Schlicher kicked three field goals, all in the second half, to lead Iowa to its 18th straight home victory, the nation's fourth-longest streak.
As Big Ten co-champs, the Hawkeyes appear to be in line for a bid to the Capital One Bowl, in Orlando, Fla., while the Badgers' postseason plans are unclear.
Perfection in Utah
SALT LAKE CITY -- The BCS is all but busted.
Utah beat rival Brigham Young, 52-21, completing its first unbeaten season since 1930 and putting the Utes one step closer to the first appearance in the Bowl Championship Series for a team from a mid-major conference.
Receiver Steve Savoy ran for two touchdowns and caught a pass for another score to lead the fifth-ranked Utes (11-0, 7-0 Mountain West) and help offset the worst game of the season for Alex Smith. Utah's Heisman hopeful quarterback threw two interceptions -- doubling his season total -- and had another in the hands of a BYU defensive back that was dropped.
But Smith had enough help around him to get Utah past the rival Cougars (5-6, 4-3) for the third straight year.
Savoy ran 92 yards for a score in the third quarter that turned the game for good in Utah's favor. Quinton Ganther ran for 122 yards on 11 carries and Smith completed 16 of 24 for 184 yards and a touchdown.
A few fans tossed tortillas and some of the Utes donned sombreros in reference to the Fiesta Bowl, where they're most likely headed. Fans spent the final minute of the game lining the sideline and started pouring onto the field with about 15 seconds left to play. It took a few minutes, but both goalposts eventually came down as Utes fans reveled in the perfect season.
Sooners pound Baylor
WACO, Texas -- No regrets for Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops this week, just the lopsided win the No. 2 Sooners needed to pad their BCS numbers.
Adrian Peterson ran for 240 yards, including three second-half touchdowns, and Jason White threw two TD passes in a 35-0 win against Baylor. Neither played the final 11 minutes.
A week ago, Stoops had his starters playing the final minute, and bypassing a field goal chance on fourth down in a 30-3 win over Nebraska. He regretted that decision, and wasn't going to repeat it.
"Anyone that doesn't see the dilemma we're in is not being totally fair. We're in a bad position right now," Stoops said. "I made the wrong choice (last week). I wish I chose sportsmanship over BCS points."
The latest polls only proved Stoops' point.
Oklahoma was caught by Auburn in this week's AP Top 25. The Sooners remained second behind top-rated Southern California in the Bowl Championship Series standings, but their margin over Auburn was cut in half.
After a slow start Saturday, the Sooners (11-0, 8-0 Big 12) scored on four straight possessions.
Oklahoma has have never lost in 14 games against Baylor (3-8, 1-7), the previous five wins coming by an average margin of 38 points.
Around the nation
J.J. Arrington ran for 169 yards to set California's (9-1, 6-1 Pac-10) single-season rushing record and the fourth-ranked Golden Bears beat Stanford (4-7, 2-6), 41-6, for their biggest victory in the Big Game since 1930.
Stefan LeFors threw for 317 yards and three touchdowns and Eric Shelton rushed for three more scores, keeping No. 8 Louisville (8-1, 6-0 Conference USA) in the hunt for a Bowl Championship Series berth with a 65-27 win over Houston (3-8, 3-5).
Brock Berlin threw for a career-best 361 yards and four touchdowns in just over a half, and No. 12 Miami (8-2, 5-2 Atlantic Coast) stayed in contention for a conference title by beating Wake Forest (4-6, 1-6), 52-7.
Jon Helmandollar rushed for a school-record five touchdowns, and No. 13 Boise State (10-0, 7-0) won its 21st straight game and clinched at least a share of its third straight Western Athletic Conference title with a 55-14 win over Louisiana Tech (5-6, 4-3).
Cedric Houston ran for three touchdowns and No. 15 Tennessee (8-2, 6-1) clinched the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division title with its 22nd straight victory over Vanderbilt (2-9, 1-7), 38-33. Tennessee will play No. 2 Auburn in the SEC championship game in Atlanta on Dec. 4 regardless of what happens in the Vols' game next week against Kentucky.
Alvin Pearman scored two touchdowns and Virginia came up with four key turnovers, leading the 18th-ranked Cavaliers (8-2, 5-2 Atlantic Coast) to a 30-10 victory over Georgia Tech (6-4, 4-4).
L.V. Whitworth ran for 151 yards and two touchdowns, and Boston College took another step closer to its first BCS berth with a 34-17 win in Temple's final game before being booted from the Big East. The 19th-ranked Eagles (8-2, 4-1) pulled into a first-place tie with No. 21 West Virginia (8-2, 4-1), which ends its season Thursday against Pittsburgh. All BC needs to do is beat Syracuse Saturday to get the BCS berth. Temple finished 2-9, 1-5.
Jordan Palmer threw for 339 yards and five touchdowns and No. 24 Texas-El Paso (8-2, 6-1 Western Athletic) beat SMU (3-8, 3-5), 57-27, to clinch a bowl berth in coach Mike Price's first season running the formerly downtrodden program.