If you are anything like my friends, you missed most of Saturday’s football games because you fell asleep in a lawn chair in the Howey parking lot. It’s okay though, I was watching so I’ll catch you up.
General College Football
Alabama rolled Tennessee 49-10. Is anybody surprised? They are really, really good. The two undefeated Big 12 teams, West Virginia and Baylor, easily won, albeit against Texas Tech and Kansas. Arkansas eked one out over Ole Miss 34-30, who is now just 3-3 despite the #12 ranking. Florida easily beat Missouri and, with the Tennessee loss, just might be the favorite for the SEC east. Notre Dame lost again, this time 17-10 to Stanford. They are now 2-5. Up in the Big 10, there was the most exciting game of the night. #2 Ohio State needed overtime to take down #8 Wisconsin. Now it really looks like the Ohio State-Michigan game will determine a playoff spot. Elsewhere in the Big 10, #10 Nebraska held of Indiana 27-22 and Northwestern beat Michigan State 54-40. Maybe Michigan State just isn’t any good this year. Out in the Pac 12 we learned a couple things. Good teams: Washington State, Oregon State, Colorado. Not good teams: Arizona State. Somehow the Cougars, Beavers, and Buffaloes all look good this year. Utah probably has the best chance of bringing Washington down. Outside the major conferences, Boise State and Western Michigan remain ranked and undefeated. Houston rebounded and the rest of the top teams in the AAC, Memphis and USF, won while Navy was on a bye.
Mercer 38-Western Carolina 24
Mercer pulls up to 3-3 for the season.
Georgia 16-Vanderbilt 17
Remember Vanderbilt? That team that Georgia Tech crushed 38-7 a couple weeks ago? They just beat Georgia in Athens. Georgia outgained Vanderbilt 421-171 but was unable to secure the victory. On a Fourth and 1 late in the game, Georgia made a puzzling decision not to run with Nick Chubb or Sony Michel, but to instead pitch it to wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie which did not work. It was special teams that doomed the Bulldogs though. They gave up a 95 yard kick return and a 17 yard punt return which put Vanderbilt so far in UGA territory that they kicked a 38 yard field goal without even getting a first down. Georgia’s kick returner stepped out of bounds at his own three yard line on a return. Kirby Smart called it a comedy of errors. Schadenfreude feels good.
Clemson 24-NC State 17 (OT)
NC State had a 33 yard field goal as time expired to win it. And they missed. And of course Clemson won it in overtime. The Tigers really dodged a bullet, but they did not look during this game. They fumbled five times and lost three of them on top of Watson’s pick six. Their defense gave up just shy of 400 yards. If they did lose this game, they would have deserved it.
Florida State 17-Wake Forest 6
This was an ugly game. There were seven turnovers, 4 by FSU and 3 by Wake. The Seminoles held the Deacons to just 68 yards on 32 rushing attempts. FSU receiver Travis Rudolph caught 13 passes for 238 yards. That was the difference. Wake Forest could not move the ball at all and FSU did just enough through the air to get the victory. The Demon Deacons are actually pretty good this year and FSU is still solid despite the losses to Louisville and Miami.
Pittsburgh 45-Virginia 31
Man Pittsburgh’s defense is not good at all. They turned it on in the second half to comfortably beat Virginia. Given the shake-up in the ACC Coastal race yesterday, Pitt still has a chance to go to the ACC championship game. To get there though, their defense needs to tighten up. They actually played James Conner at defensive end for a couple of plays which was...odd. Meanwhile, 2-4 Virginia has some serious work to do if they want to make a bowl game.
Louisville 24-Duke 14
What is up with Duke? They lose to Virginia, then they become the first team all season to slow down Lamar Jackson and the Louisville defense. It was only in the final minutes that the Cardinals were able to pull away by more than one score. I thought we would beat Duke, but if they play like this, that will be a much more difficult task. Louisville did gain 469 yards, but struggled to convert those yards into points. Lamar Jackson wasn’t great through the air, but once again his running was the difference. He ran for 144 yards on 21 attempts.
North Carolina 20-Miami 13
The Tar Heels were able to get the win in one of the big shake-up games this week. UNC got out to an early lead 20-3, and did just enough to hold on. Their offense was hampered by 7 false starts. Somebody is running stairs this week. Miami was driving to tie the game late when Brad Kaaya got hit hard from behind and fumbled. UNC recovered and one first down was all they needed to seal the win. UNC now leads the ACC Coastal and they have already played the best four ACC teams on their schedule: Miami, Pitt, Virginia Tech, and FSU. They are definitely now the favorites to go to the championship game. Miami has now lost two straight after a very promising start to the season.
Syracuse 31-Virginia Tech 17
What? How on earth did the Hokies go from crushing UNC to losing to Syracuse? Well to start, the nation’s number 3 ranked defense gave up 561 yards to Syracuse. Then, an offense that was averaging 40 points a game scored only 17 against Syracuse. Eric Dungey, the Orange QB, had a very good game with 28-53 for 311 yards. But the real difference was an Orange defense that actually showed up this week. Virginia Tech was quickly knocked off their perch in the ACC coastal and now trails the Tar Heels by half a game. Now, the Hokies only have a short week to figure out what went wrong before heading to Miami on Thursday.