Last week I briefly talked about how this college football season could be the craziest in almost a decade. I figured over the next couple months we’d see some unexpected endings and as a result, some unexpected teams ranked pretty high. It took 3 days. This past Saturday saw four Top 10 teams go down and two others look unimpressive against subpar competition. But we’ll start today with a team that was impressive in a game that was the most entertaining of the day. The Baylor Bears knocked off Texas Tech in a game that saw 70 points scored in the first half alone. I don’t care who you’re playing, scoring 49 points in a half against any Power 5 team is impressive. Baylor has rushed for over 300 yards in every game this season. Even though Baylor is Top 4 in each poll, I still feel like people aren’t taking them as seriously as they should.
If there’s a game that has a chance of topping Baylor/Texas Tech’s 70 point half, it’s later this year when the Bears square off against TCU. Both offenses are running on all cylinders and the Big 12 championship may come down to that game again. The Horned Frogs beat Texas soundly this weekend, 50-7. They didn’t even give the Longhorns a chance to embarrass themselves at the end of a close game this week. Quick side note: which fan base is more miserable/outraged/depressed at this point- Texas, Tennessee, or Miami’s? Just when Miami got a little momentum a few weeks into the season, they lose to Cincinnati. I was on the side that Miami should see how the season played out to determine what to do with Al Golden but after Thursday night’s debacle, he needs to go. I think his only chance of salvaging anything with the fan base is to get a win against Florida State this week. Let’s just say I’m not optimistic.
Though the optimism is minimal, if there was a year for Miami to get off the snide against FSU it would be this year. The Seminoles have yet to play a quality opponent but have been rather unimpressive each week. Barely winning at Boston College and Wake Forest is not the way to show your program isn’t missing a beat after the departure of Jameis Winston. Luckily for the Seminoles, most of the ACC is trash and the conference will likely come down to them and Clemson again. FSU travels to Clemson on November 7th. The questions for Clemson this year mostly centered on replacing key members of a defense that was the best in the country a year ago. They were extremely impressive for 45 minutes, holding Notre Dame to just a field goal as the Tigers entered the 4th with a 21-3 lead. After letting the Irish storm back, the Tigers survived by stopping Notre Dame’s tying two-point attempt. I’m starting to wonder how Notre Dame is feeling about this ACC agreement now that they’ve lost in the last minute in back to back years to the conference’s two best teams.
Notre Dame wasn’t the only Top 10 team to see their playoff chances shrink after Saturday. Ole Miss and Georgia each laid complete eggs, each game basically being over by halftime. I’m not sure which loss was worse. Ole Miss was playing a weaker opponent in Florida (or at least we think so at this point) but Georgia was playing at home. The good thing for Georgia is that they’re in the SEC East so this loss doesn’t mean a ton to them. If the Bulldogs can avoid giving up 8,000 rushing yards this year to the Gators and they’re able to knock off Florida, they’re all but guaranteed a spot in the SEC title game. Alabama on the other hand needed the victory much more since Ole Miss already has the tie-breaker over them. That breathing room that the Rebels gave themselves with their win in Tuscaloosa disappeared with their no-show in Gainesville. Sure Florida’s defense may have been a bad matchup for the Rebels’ offense, but who would have thought the Gators passing attack would have that much success against the Ole Miss defense? Rebels fans have to be going to sleep praying these next couple months aren’t going to end the same way 2014 did.
Ole Miss and Georgia weren’t the only top teams torturing their respective fan base this past weekend. Ohio State and Michigan State continue to look like the shakiest Top 2 teams ever. Ok maybe not ever, but how do these two squads continue to be ranked at the top when they’re barely beating mediocre teams in a mediocre conference week after week? I’m not sure if I’d have either in the Top 4. Speaking of mediocre teams, I’d ask if you saw the Iowa-Wisconsin barnburner on Saturday, but secretly I’d be hoping for your own sake that you didn’t. These two teams made “3 yards and a cloud of dust” look like the Baylor Bears’ offense. Iowa is undefeated, but average at best. As far as the Badgers? Let’s just say Joel Stave’s last game in Madison won’t be a sad day. The Big 10 champ, whoever it ends up being, is well on their way to being this year’s Florida State.
One team that surprised on offense as well was Stanford, albeit at the other end of the spectrum. The Cardinal put up 55 points against Arizona. Don’t ask me how. I had to check to see if they changed touchdowns to 10 points but apparently not. Stanford scoring that much after what they showed the first couple weeks is one of the more surprising results of the year. Another somewhat surprising result was elsewhere in the Pac-12, where Arizona State knocked off 7th ranked UCLA. I can’t say I’m completely shocked by it though. As much as USC gets slammed for losing games they aren’t supposed to, the Bruins seem to do it just as often. Which is why after the Trojans loss to Stanford I in no way thought they were out of the playoff race. To keep those playoff hopes alive however, USC will have to beat Utah. The Utes moved into the Top 7 of each poll without even playing and are in many experts’ current Top 4. They’ll get another chance to impress on Saturday night when the face undefeated California and Heisman contending QB Jared Goff. College Gameday will be making the trip out west for the California-Utah contest. Yes that Cal, and that Utah.
There aren’t a ton of marquee games this weekend, but it’s crazy to think that on a Saturday with Oklahoma-Texas and Miami-Florida State, College Gameday is heading to Pac-12 country for a game that doesn’t include USC, UCLA, or Oregon. Just another reason to expect the unexpected every Saturday the rest of the year.