If you are anything like my friends, you just sat in silence after our game and pondered. You sat there for hours wondering how on earth it is possible to give up that many third downs. Then you turned on the Alabama game and watched two offenses who could barely get a single first down. I’ve got you covered on everything you missed while you tried to forget that Ted Roof has not been fired yet.
There were several games this week that more or less eliminated teams from playoff contention. First, Texas A&M lost to Mississippi State. Try and read that without laughing, I dare you. Yes Trevor Knight did get hurt, but they started the game down 28-7 and one of their touchdowns came on a punt return where the refs missed a blatant block in the back. With two losses and no hope at the SEC championship, the Aggies are done. So are the Nebraska Cornhuskers who fell in spectacular fashion, 62-3, to Ohio State. Nebraska qb Tommy Armstrong was carted off the field immobilized early in the game, but was thankfully able to return to the sidelines and appears to be okay. Nonetheless, no playoffs for Big Red. Florida, supposedly the best team in the SEC East, fell 31-10 to one of the worst teams in the SEC West, Arkansas. With two losses, it would be nearly impossible for them to make the playoffs, but they still have the slimmest chances. If they win out, including wins against LSU, FSU, and an SEC Championship against Alabama, they might do it. LSU lost 10-0 to Bama giving them their third loss and eliminating them from any hope the had.
As it stands now, the four teams in the playoffs will be Alabama (10-0 win over LSU), Clemson (54-0 over Syracuse), Washington (66-27 over Cal), and the winner of Ohio State (62-3 over Nebraska) and Michigan (59-3 against Maryland). Louisville (52-7 over BC) and Wisconsin (21-7 vs. Northwestern) are waiting in the wings.
General College Football
If you hate our defense, just be thankful that you aren’t a fan of one of the following teams. Like Arizona State, who had a bye this week, but are giving up 400 passing yards a game. That would be the most since 2000 by 35 yards per game. Or how about their rivals Arizona, who this week let Washington State quarterbacks (led by Luke Falk) throw for 474 yards on 47-52 passing. 47-52! Most college QBs could not do that without defenders. Or Baylor, who gave up 690 total yards (431 rushing) and 62 points to a TCU team who has been thoroughly mediocre all season. At least we’re not any of them. At least we’re not Michigan State, who fell to 2-7 with a loss at Illinois. This has been a stunning collapse for a team that made the playoffs last season. Speaking of collapses, Notre Dame fell to Navy 28-27 in a weird game. You might blame the offense for only putting up 27 points against a vulnerable Navy defense, but you would be wrong. Notre Dame only had 6 possessions all game. Yes, I said 6. Only 2 in the second half. That 27 points looks pretty darn good now doesn’t it?
Louisville 52-BC 7
Clemson 54-Syracuse 0
One of the nation’s top teams destroyed an ACC cellar dweller behind a strong performance from their hyped, Heisman candidate quarterback. They maintained their position in the playoff. Am I talking about Louisville or Clemson? Clemson is likely to stay in the top 4 and with only Pitt, Wake Forest, and South Carolina left on the schedule, they should cruise into the ACC Championship game (although South Carolina is showing signs of life). The Cardinals have Wake Forest before their game at Houston and then a home matchup against Kentucky. The Cardinals need to win out and get some luck to make the playoffs. They got closer this weekend as Texas A&M fell, but they’re going to need more help.
BC is coming off their first conference win in two years, and despite the blowout they still have a shot at bowl eligibility. They need to win 2 out of FSU, UConn, and Wake Forest. UConn looks like they’ve given up on the season and Wake is certainly beatable. Syracuse also needs two wins with NC State, FSU, and Pitt. Doable, but a little more difficult than BC’s path.
Florida State 24-NC State 20
There were some rumors that the Wolfpack team would fall apart after their near upset of Clemson. It sure did not look like it yesterday. They led much of the game, but were unable to pull it out. The Seminoles struggled to run the ball, and North Carolina State looked pretty solid offensively. They just struggled once they got on FSU’s side of the field. Florida State probably won’t be too happy with the close game, but a win is a win. The Seminoles move to 6-3 and have BC and Syracuse before they take on Florida in Tallahassee. NC State fell to 4-5 and now need to win two of Syracuse, Miami, and UNC. It looks doubtful that they make a bowl.
Wake Forest 27-Virginia 20
Remember when Wake Forest was picked to finish dead last in the ACC by most people? Remember when Virginia was seen as a sleeper who had superior talent and just needed the improved coaching of Mendenhall? Yeah.... Virginia actually was in control of much of the game, but quarterback Kurt Benkert threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter including one returned for the winning touchdown. The Demon Deacons have surprised everybody and have reached bowl eligibility for the first time since 2011. They have Louisville, Clemson, and BC left on the schedule. Bronco’s first season in Charlottesville has been disastrous. They will have a losing record for the 5th consecutive season. Now all there is left to do is to play spoiler against Miami, GT, and Virginia Tech.
Miami 51-Pittsburgh 28
Miami’s offense turned it around against a horrific Pitt secondary. Brad Kaaya threw for 356 yards and four touchdowns. For the first half, it looked like Pitt’s offense was once again going to keep them in the game. But, two third quarter turnovers were followed with an offensive stall allowing Miami to run away with the game. The Hurricanes are now 5-4, but with Virginia, Duke, and NC State the only teams left on the schedule, their record should look a lot better at the end of the year. Pitt is also 5-4 and with games left against Duke and Syracuse (and Clemson) they should easily get that 6th win and make a bowl.
VT 24-Duke 21
Virginia Tech won a game that was much closer than they would have liked. They needed a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown for the win. Their defense was once again solid, but the Hokie has really held them back at times. Regardless, they remain at the top of the Coastal, even though UNC won, and now have only two games between them and the ACC Championship game. They are sitting at 7-2 with GT, Notre Dame, and Virginia left on the schedule. They could easily hit ten wins in Fuente’s first season in Blacksburg. Duke is now at 3-6 and would need to beat UNC, Pitt, and Miami just to make a bowl. I have a hard time seeing that happening. Duke will likely get left out of the post-season.