This was a huge weekend in college football so let’s get right into it.
General College Football
This week started early with a huge Friday night matchup between Stanford and Washington. The Huskies ran away with this game, easily taking down the Cardinal. After this game, they will probably be ranked in the top 6 or 7 teams and are now easily the favorite to win the Pac-12. Michigan shut down number 8 Wisconsin, but struggles on third down meant they only eked out a 14-7 victory. Everyone is still looking forward to the Ohio State-Michigan game that could decide who goes to the playoffs.
The Big 12 kept their playoff hopes alive as Baylor and West Virginia remained undefeated by slipping by Iowa State and Kansas State respectively. One loss Oklahoma State also beat Texas. TCU grabbed their second loss in a 52-46 shootout against Oklahoma.
The SEC had a relatively uneventful week. Alabama rolled Kentucky, Texas A&M rolled South Carolina, Ole Miss comfortably beat Memphis, and Florida struggled scoring against Vanderbilt but pulled out the 13-6 victory. LSU showed off their offense with a 42-7 win over Missouri. Maybe that wasn’t a bad move firing Les Miles. Oh yeah, there might have been one other game......
Out west, Colorado continued their rampage through the state of Oregon with a 47-6 obliteration. Cal beat #18 Utah which means that the Pac-12 south is chaos and Colorado has a chance to win.
Speaking of Oregon, they lost by 18 to Washington State which is a good segue into our embarrassing losses section. Iowa lost to Northwestern which?????? I don’t understand college football. #19 San Diego State lost by 18 to South Alabama. Because of that, it would take a catastrophe for anybody but Houston to get the G5 spot in the major bowls (though they will probably earn it the old-fashioned way). Or what about Michigan State continuing their slide by losing to Indiana in overtime.
Mercer 33-VMI 30
Mercer pulled out their second win of the season in overtime.
Vanderbilt 6-Florida 13
Once again, Vanderbilt keeps the game close, but can’t pull out the victory. The Commodores moved the ball pretty well but two interceptions and a fumble really hurt them.
Tennessee 34-Georgia 31
If you have not seen the end of this game, go watch it right now. It’s ok, you have my permission. Georgia actually looked great for most of the game. They were beating one of the most talented teams in the country for most of the day. Tennessee rallied and pulled ahead with a fumble recovery in the endzone with 2:56 left in the game. After an interception and then a Bulldog defensive stand, Georgia came back with a huge 47 yard touchdown pass with under ten seconds left. It seemed like game over. An excessive celebration penalty pushed back the kickoff and allowed the Vols to get a great return, all the way to the UGA 43 yard line. Then, with no time left, Josh Dobbs just lobbed it up there and somehow they came down with it. It makes me smile every time. It is likely that Tennessee will be in Atlanta for the SEC championship game. Georgia is now 0-2 in the SEC.
Syracuse 33-Notre Dame 50
Syracuse has no defense, but lucky for them that the Irish don’t either. Still not enough for the Orange. They are at least a season away from being competitive in the ACC.
Boston College 35-Buffalo 3
This is an odd week to have a cupcake game, but it didn’t matter for the Eagles. They put Buffalo away with no problem.
NC State 33-Wake Forest 16
Wake Forest’s playoff hopes died on the field in Raleigh yesterday afternoon as the Wolfpack easily won this one. Both teams have a good shot at getting to 6 wins by the end of the season which would be huge for the Demon Deacons if they do.
Clemson 42-Lousiville 36
After the first half, it looked like Clemson had taken out the hype train. They led 28-10 and looked totally dominant against the Cardinals. Then the second half happened. Louisville started the half with five unanswered scores to take the lead 36-28. It was a totally different game. But Clemson did not stop. A long kickoff return gave the Tigers a short field to get their first touchdown of the half. Then, their defense stepped it up with their only stop of the half and Watson and the offense did not let them down. Watson looked great on this drive and ended it with a 31 yard touchdown to Jordan Leggett. With little time left and needing a touchdown Lamar Jackson led the Cardinals all the way down to the Clemson 9 yard line. But, on fourth down they fell one yard short, giving Clemson the huge victory. Clemson now has the inside track on the ACC Atlantic title and a playoff spot.
Deshaun Watson had bit of an odd day. He threw for over 10 YPA, but also threw three interceptions and lost a fumble. If he could have held onto the ball better, this could have been a comfortable victory. Lamar Jackson is insane. He threw 27-44 for 295 yards and one interception. Not the best stat line until you look at his 31(!) runs for 162 yards. It was clearly Clemson’s strategy to let Jackson run and he made them pay. Lousiville had 568 yards, but struggled to finish off drives at times. It is hard to see them losing to anybody but Houston the rest of the way.
Virginia 34-Duke 20
Duke is crazy this year. They bookended a win against Notre Dame with losses to Northwestern and Virginia. These two should be fighting for the bottom of the Coastal, although the Cavaliers are now on a two game win streak. The difference in this game was the five interceptions that Duke QB Daniel Jones threw. It is near impossible to win a game when you put yourself in a hole like that. I wish we played UVA earlier in the season as they look a whole lot better now.
Pittsburgh 43-Marshall 27
Pitt came right back with a victory over Marshall. The Panthers went up big early, let the Herd back into it, then pulled away again. Their defense is still an issue.
UNC 37-FSU 35
The Tar Heels took advantage of the struggling FSU defense and pulled out a huge victory. The Seminoles picked up a late touchdown to grab the lead, but UNC got into field goal range with seconds left in the game and Nick Weiler was able to hit a 54 yard field goal for the win. Mitch Trubisky looked fantastic, going 31-38 for 405 yards and no interceptions. They are going to be tough to stop. The UNC-Miami matchup could decide who goes to the ACC Championship game.