For all of the chaos that last week contained, this week some order was restored to the college football universe.
Miami’s days as an undefeated are numbered
The Hurricanes managed to intercept Syracuse QB Eric Dungy four times in the first half and still had to squeak out a victory at home vs. the Orange. Miami is the only remaining unbeaten team in the ACC, but their wins consist of Bethune-Cookman, Duke, Syracuse and tight wins vs. Florida State and Georgia Tech.
The Hurricanes face an inept North Carolina squad this week before home tests against Virginia Tech and Notre Dame. Miami will fall back to earth and out of the top-10 by mid-November.
Michigan State hasn’t done anything to warrant their No. 16 ranking
Despite being outplayed for much of the game, Michigan State managed to escape with a 17-9 win vs. Indiana Saturday. The Spartans have played exactly one team this year and that resulted in Notre Dame bludgeoning MSU 38-18. Michigan State’s win vs. Michigan looks less and less impressive by the week and their remaining wins are against Bowling Green, Western Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, and Saturday’s opponent Indiana – not exactly murderer’s row.
The Spartans have had a strong bounce back season after going 3-9 in 2016, but they are nowhere near the 16th best team in the country. With games against Ohio State and Penn State on the docket in the coming weeks, the Spartans figure to fall of the pace.
Oklahoma does not have a playoff defense
The Sooners seemed to cure their defensive woes last week in the Red River Shootout, but Kansas State had their way against Oklahoma Saturday. The Wildcats, with their starting QB Jesse Ertz out, put up 38 points against OU as the Sooners needed a last-second touchdown to escape Manhattan with a win.
With offensive juggernauts like TCU, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, and West Virginia still on the schedule, the Sooners need to fill-in the holes on the defense – it starts with tackling and run defense.
Baker Mayfield is a Heisman candidate and can win some shootouts to make up for the porous defense, but banking on 40 points from your offense every week in not sustainable down the stretch as the schedule gets harder.
Josh Adams>Saquon Barkley
Both running backs were on display in primetime Saturday night and both put on a show. Adams ran for 191 yards on 19 carries and tallied three touchdowns, while Barkley recorded 108 yards rushing on 15 carries for two touchdowns and added 53 yards and one touchdown receiving.
While Barkley has received the majority of the hype, Adams has put up superior numbers against stiffer competition.
Adams has 210 more rushing yards, averages 2.74 more yards per rush, and has registered six rushes of at least 60 yards. Adams has also accomplished this while also missing most of nine quarters this season to due to injury or rest.
Adams has complied these stats against the like of Georgia, Boston College, and Michigan State – some of the stingiest run defenses in the country. While Penn State does not have a win over a team that is currently ranked in the AP poll and Barkley’s most notable performances have come against a Michigan squad that needed overtime to get by Indiana and a 4-3 Iowa team.
Also, Barkley goes to a school that covered up child molestation for upwards of 40 years, so point to Adams.
The Heisman is won or loss in November and both Barkley and Adams will have ample opportunities to shine with the spotlight on them. However, to this point in the season, the numbers don’t lie.
Baylor is gonna get someone this season
With the controversies off the field and losses to Liberty and UTSA to start the season, Baylor knew they were in for a long season. Although the Bears have yet to tally a win, they have come close to upsetting Oklahoma and West Virginia. Baylor’s loss to WVU this past week came by two-points when they were unable to convert a two-point conversion.
Baylor will beat Kansas to get their first win in two weeks, but they also host Texas, Texas Tech, and Iowa State before traveling to TCU for the last game of the season. The Bears will knock off one of those teams they host in Waco.
People calling for Jimbo Fisher’s job are idiots
Florida State is off to their worst in decades, but one bad start does not warrant a spot for Fisher on the hot seat – no matter how big of an ass he is. People forget how much the program floundered the final years of Bobby Bowden (although the empty seats Saturday were very reminiscent of those years) and Fisher was able to right the ship in a hurry in Tallahassee.
Jimbo Fisher just got into it with a fan that yelled “Harbaugh is better” in which he responded “Shut ur a— up, gum boy”
— Drew (@DrewSkywalker) October 21, 2017
Jimbo Fisher just got into it with a fan who yelled “get new coaches.” Fisher said “walk your a— down here and say it.”
— Garry Smits (@gsmitter) October 21, 2017
Are the ‘Noles playing to their potential? No. Their defense is not nearly the unit we thought they would be in the preseason and playing with a freshman QB is not ideal, but they are a few plays from being 4-2. Having young players in key positions have hurt FSU in tight games.
It will be interesting how Fisher keeps the team engaged moving forward now that an ACC Championship is out of reach.
So much for the Purdue renaissance…
Purdue is no doubt one of the most improved teams in the country and Jeff Brohm has done wonders in his short time in West Lafayette. However, Purdue’s loss to Rutgers is a step back for a program that looked primed for bowl eligibility.
The Scarlet Knights are not as embarrassingly bad as they have been in recent years, but that is a win the Boilermakers have to have. Brohm hangs his hat on his offense and scoring only 12 points is almost unfathomable.
Purdue currently sits at 3-4 and needs to win three more games to get to a bowl against this schedule: Nebraska, Illinois, @ Northwestern, @ Iowa, Indiana. It’s manageable, but the Boilermakers need to regain their form from earlier in the season.
Iowa State….actually good
The Cyclones have proven their win at Oklahoma was not a fluke. Iowa State backed up the upset with a demolition vs. Kansas and a dominant performance at Lubbock against a good Texas Tech team.
Does the Big XII go through Ames? Such an assertion would seem ludicrous just three weeks ago, especially after Cyclone starting QB Jacob Park left the team following the Texas loss. Former walk-on and fifth-year senior Kyle Kempt has taken over and has been brilliant in his three games under center.
A lot of the credit should also go to second-year coach Matt Campbell. Campbell has done a fantastic job after taking over for Paul Rhoads and is one of the rising stars in coaching.
Iowa State is ranked for the first time since 2005 and host TCU this week. Everyone knows you don’t just walk into Jack Trice Stadium and expect to come out with a W and if the Cyclones manage to upset TCU, they would solidify themselves as a legitimate contender for the Big XII title.
Boston College has an offense?
After going 2-4 and averaging 16.3 ppg. in their first six games, Boston College has exploded in the last two weeks as the Eagles tallied 45 and 41 points in road wins against Louisville and Virginia. They haven’t seen an offense like this at BC since Matt Ryan was at the helm. In fact, Boston College hadn’t scored 40+ in consecutive games since 2002.
The Eagles put up 555 yards of total offense vs. Louisville including 272 yards rushing from running back A.J. Dillon. BC backed up that performance with a 41-10 win over a solid UVA team on the road. This time the Eagles excelled through the air as QB Anthony Brown went 19-24 for 275 yards and three touchdowns.
The Eagles face a tough test as they host Florida State this week, but BC now has a strong shot at reaching a bowl and extending Steve Addazio’s tenure in Chestnut Hill.
Arizona State has a defense?
After allowing 30+ points in 11 straight games, the Sun Devils put forth an amazing defensive performance against Washington en route to a 13-7 upset one week ago. ASU proved that was not a fluke as the Sun Devils went to Utah and dominated the Utes in a 30-10 win.
The Sun Devils now find themselves in a tie for the lead in the PAC 12 South with Arizona and USC. ASU hosts USC this week and a win vs. the Trojans would put the Sun Devils in the driver’s seat.
So much for Kentucky being an SEC East dark horse
Kentucky was quietly 5-1 and in second place in the SEC East one week ago. The Wildcats lone loss was a close defeat to Florida and they had a favorable schedule moving forward. All signs pointed to a potential game at Georgia for the SEC East title. Instead, the Wildcats did what Kentucky football does – they laid an egg in a 45-7 loss to Mississippi State.
Kentucky’s schedule is still favorable and could reach eight wins on the season, but any dreams, no matter how far-fetched, Wildcat fans had about Atlanta died in StarkVegas
Khalil Tate has Arizona primed to win the PAC 12 South
After a home loss to Utah on Sept. 22, Arizona sat at 2-2 with their only wins coming over listless opponents Northern Arizona and UTEP. After starting quarterback Brandon Dawkins threw three INTs in the losing effort vs. the Utes, Rodriguez decided to go to Khalil Tate at QB. That single decision may have saved Rodriguez’s tenure in Tucson.
Tate has been nothing short of remarkable in his two starts. In his first start, Arizona upset Colorado and Tate accounted for 327 yards rushing and four touchdowns. He also was 12/13 for 154 yards and one touchdown through the air.
Last week, Tate continued to tally freakish stats in another upset for Arizona. This time the Wildcats beat UCLA 47-30, while Tate again was spectacular on the ground, this time rushing for 230 yards.
Tate led Arizona to its third straight win in a 45-44 overtime win vs. Cal. This time, his stats were relatively pedestrian, but he was still a difference-maker. Tate finished the game with 166 yards and two touchdowns through the air and 137 yards and one touchdown on the ground.
Like Arizona State, the Wildcats control their own destiny in the PAC 12 South. However, Tate will have to continue his incredible play if Arizona is to have a shot. The Wildcats host Washington State before traveling to USC over the next two weeks.
Then, after Arizona faces a weak Oregon State team, they finish the season with a pair of road games at Oregon and Arizona State. If they get to the PAC 12 title game, they will have earned it.
Usually steady programs are historically bad
Pitt, BYU, North Carolina are rarely national championship contenders, but they are among the steadiest programs in the country – no matter the year, you could bank on these teams winning 8-9 games and being a tough out for any team.
However, these three programs are each in the midst of historically bad seasons. These three teams have a combined three wins against FBS opponents
BYU cemented their place in the basement of Division I as the Cougars fell to East Carolina by 16 Saturday. The Pirates lone other win came by three-points vs. fellow basement-dweller UConn.
Pitt redeemed themselves a bit Saturday as the Panthers beat Duke on the road, but that was just Pitt’s second win vs. an FBS opponent with their other victory coming against Rice. Pitt also needed overtime in the opening week of the season to escape Youngstown State at home.
UNC is a dumpster fire. The Tar Heels have just one win and that came against Old Dominion. North Carolina lost a ton of talent from last year and were competitive in early season losses to Cal and Louisville, but injuries have killed the Tar Heels.
UNC’s last four losses have been by an average of 27 points and were dominated for 60 minutes at the hands of Virginia Tech Saturday as the Hokies beat the Tar Heels 59-7.