College Football Wrap-Up – Week 6
My, my, how quickly the high and mighty can come falling down at warp speed. Before Saturday, #3 Florida State, #4 LSU and #5 Georgia were stepping in high cotton. All three AP Top 25 teams were upset in major college football’s 6th week of play.
You can also add #11 Texas, #15 TCU, #21 Nebraska, #23 Washington, #24 Northwestern and #25 UCLA to the list as they also lost.
The biggest win belonged to the #6 South Carolina Gamecocks, who dominated #5 Georgia 35-7. Next best was #10 Florida’s 14-6 upset win over the #4 LSU Tigers. Then #8 West Virginia outlasted #11 Texas, 48-45, and #12 Ohio State whipped #21 Nebraska, 63-38. The #2 Oregon Ducks dominated #23 Washington, 52-21.
The carnage had just started as 4 unranked teams pulled off upsets of ranked opponents. North Carolina State nipped #3 Florida State, 17-16. Iowa State beat #15 TCU 14-6. Penn State beat #24 Northwestern, 39-28. California took it to #25 UCLA 43-17.
Wow, what a weekend. Being a top-ranked team puts a giant circle on your back. Just ask Florida State, LSU, Georgia, Texas, TCU, Nebraska, Washington, Northwestern and UCLA, all victims of not performing well enough to avoid being beat.
Here’s how all the of the AP Top 25 teams fared in the 6th week of action:
#1 Alabama (5-0) – The defending national champion was idle this week. The Crimson Tide, who beat LSU 21-zip for the title last year, garnered ALL 60 first-place votes in the AP Poll this week, despite the rise of South Carolina to #3. That says something. With all of the outrageous scoring going on in college football because teams can’t play defense, it is no accident that Alabama is #1 nationally in both total defense and scoring defense.
#2 Oregon (6-0) at home made easy work of #23 Washington (3-2), winning 52-21. The Ducks capitalized on 3 fumbles and 2 interceptions, one a 43-yard pick-six return by Avery Patterson. Oregon’s redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota went 15-for-24 (62%) for 198 yards and 2 touchdowns. Washington’s Bishop Sankey rushed for 104 yards on 25 carries (4.2 ypc) and scored 2 touchdowns.
This rivalry is not on par with Oregon and Oregon State (aptly titled The Civil War), but it is nonetheless heated, and has become way one-sided as Oregon has beaten Washington 9 straight years. The Ducks have the 4th best scoring offense in the nation, and the Huskies rank 95th among 120 teams. The bottom line: Oregon can score almost at will, and Washington can’t. End of story, and Washington dropping out of its Top 25 ranking.
#3 Florida State (now 5-1) managed to let unranked North Carolina State (4-2) get an upset win, 17-16. The Siminoles won the 1st half 16-0 and lost the 2nd half 17-0; the Tar Heels came from 16 points down to win by shutting out Florida State’s offense in the 2nd half. Florida State never should have lost this game, the Siminole defense got lax and let the Tar Heels get to paydirt with 16 seconds left in the game.
Bottom line: Florida State was outplayed, despite being ranked #7 nationally in total offense and #4 in scoring offense. Shame on the Simonoles, who clearly are not the 3rd best team in the country.
#4 LSU (now 5-1) on-the-road managed to get upset by #10 Florida (5-0), 14-6, in a key SEC game as the Tigers average offense finally got exposed by a better team. The Gators held the Tigers to 2 field goals and then scored 2 touchdowns in the 2nd half to bury LSU after they dug the hole for them. Florida simply proved that it has a better defense. Florida is #12 nationally in total defense and #6 in scoring defense. LSU is #3 in total defense and #8 in scoring defense; you can argue that LSU has the better defensive stats, but Florida has the better players.
Bottom line: You can run up great stats on inferior teams, and then one day you play a better team, and this is the result.
#5 Georgia (now 5-1) on-the-road lost to #6 South Carolina (6-0), 35-7, in another key SEC game and it was NOT close. The Gamecocks defense dominated the Bulldogs. Georgia had the better offense coming in (48+ points and 536 yards per game), but South Carolina held the Dogs to 224 total yards and 7 points. This was no surprise. Georgia is 52nd nationally scoring defense, and South Carolina is ranked 4th. The victory marked South Carolina’s 10th straight win, a school record.
#6 South Carolina dominated #5 Georgia, 35-7
#7 Kansas State (5-0) at home swamped in-state rival Kansas (1-4), 56-16. K-State’s Wildcats led 21-14 at the half and then scored 4 touchdowns in the 3rd quarter for the runaway victory. Wildcat John Hubert ran 10 times for 101 yards (10.1 ypc) and scored 4 touchdowns on runs of 20, 32, 1 and 10 yards. QB Collin Klein passed for 2 touchdowns and ran for 2 more. Hubert and Klein had a hand in all 8 Kansas State scores.
Bottom line: K-State could potentially go a long way as its scoring offense is ranked 11th nationally and its scoring defense is ranked 16th among 120 teams.
#8 West Virginia (5-0) on-the-road won a huge victory over #11 Texas (now 4-1), 48-45, by scoring twice in the 4th quarter, and recovering an onside kick to seal the deal. Texas was behind 21-7 but rallied to lead 28-27 at halftime. Longhorn Joe Bergeron scored 4 rushing touchdowns, but it was not enough.
Texas has now lost 7 straight to ranked opponents. This is not a statistic that says Texas is a top contender. Guess what? West Virginia probably isn’t either. Texas is #6 nationally in scoring offense and West Virginia is #5. Texas is 74th in total defense and 64th in scoring defense. But, wait a minute, West Virginia, despite winning this game against a not-good defense, is 102nd in total defense AND 102nd in scoring defense.
You thought Texas had problems? Guess again, West Virginia will lose when they play a team with a really good defense, like Alabama (#1 in scoring defense), South Carolina (#4) or Florida (#6). When West Virginia gets busted, remember that you read it here first.
#9 Notre Dame (5-0) at home put a 41-3 whipping on Miami of Florida (now 4-2) that the Hurricanes will not soon forget. Norte-Dame and Miami is a heated rivalry as it pits the Catholics against the Convicts. Miami has traditionally offered scholarships to a lot of thugs and miscreants.
This was a huge win for Notre Dame as the Irish improved to 5-0 for the first time since 2002, a decade ago. The once-great Notre Dame football tradition may be coming to life again. George Atkinson rushed for 123 yards (12.3 ypc) and scored once, and Cierre Wood rushed for 118 yards (6.56 ypc) and scored twice, giving the Irish their first two 100-yard rushers in a game in a decade. QB Everett Golson was 17-of-22 (77%) for 186 yards.
Bottom line: Notre Dame’s offense is average at best, but its defense is 13th nationally in total defense, and 2nd in scoring defense. Do I need to remind you that defense wins league titles and national championships? So, yes, Notre Dame is in the hunt, whereas Georgia, West Virginia and Texas, despite their records, are probably not.
#10 Florida upset #4 LSU, 14-6.
#11 Texas lost to #8 West Virginia, 48-45.
#12 Ohio State (6-0) at home turned back #21 Nebraska (now 4-2), 63-38, in a key Big Ten contest. Buckeye Braxton Miller broke his own school record for a quarterback by rushing for 186 yards, including a 72-yard dash to set up a touchdown by Carlos Hyde. Hyde ran for 140 yards in the game and scored 4 times. Ohio State also got a 41-yard pick-six from Bradley Roby, and a 76-yard punt return for a touchdown by Corey “Philly” Brown.
Ohio State absolutely meant to crush Nebraska, and the Buckeyes did, convincingly. A year ago, before new coach Urban Meyer arrived, Nebraska trailed by 21 points before coming back to beat the Buckeyes 34-27—the greatest comeback in Cornhusker school history. Elephants have long memories, and Ohio State is becoming an elephant to be dealt with.
You can stick a fork in Nebraska, the Cornhusker scoring defense is ranked 73rd for good reason, opponents are scoring faster than Nebraska.
#13 Southern California (4-1) on-the-road spotted unranked Utah (2-3) a quick two-touchdown lead before figuring out what to do, finally winning 38-28 in a less-than-impressive performance. In the end, Matt Barkley went 23-for-30 (76%) for 303 yards and 3 touchdowns. USC scored twice in less than 3 minutes in the last quarter to win.
#14 Oregon State (4-0) at home beat unranked Washington State (2-4), 19-6, to go 4-0 for the first time in a decade. The Beaver defense won this game, and onlookers were stunned by the Oregon State penalties and turnovers as its offense sputtered. Oregon State’s scoring offense is ranked 92nd nationally among 120 teams. In other words, there is no Beaver offense, which can’t bode well for Oregon State in future weeks, when they take on BYU, Washington, Arizona State, Stanford, California and Oregon. Yikes!
#15 Clemson (5-1) at home needed to score 17 points in the 4th quarter to get past unranked Georgia Tech (2-4), 47-31. Clemson is 13th nationally in scoring offense but 71st in scoring defense, and it shows when the Tigers give up 31 points to a team with only 2 victories in 6 outings, and those wins came against AA Presbyterian and a 2-4 Virginia team. Clemson will lose more games this year, bank on it.
#15 TCU (now 4-1 and tied with Clemson at #15) at home was promptly upset by unranked Iowa State (4-1), 37-23. This was no surprise, except to TCU, which saw its nation-leading 10-game winning streak broken by the Iowa State Cyclones. TCU built its 4-0 mark by beating AA Grambling,
Kansas, Virginia and SMU, in other words, nobody. The first time the TCU Horned Frogs play a real team, they fold. What do you want for a nickel? Got a feeling that TCU will lose again.
#17 Oklahoma (3-1) on-the-road beat a 4-1 Texas Tech team, 41-20. QB Landry Jones showed up for this one, notching a workmanlike 25-of-40 (62%) for 259 yards and 2 touchdowns. Oklahoma is 24th nationally in scoring offense and 19th in scoring defense, which is a better balance than many other Top 25 teams, including Georgia, West Virginia, Florida, Oregon State, Clemson, TCU, Nebraska and Rutgers to name a few.
#18 Stanford (4-1) at home was beyond lucky to get by unranked Arizona (3-3), 54-48, in overtime. Without Stanford QB Josh Nunes it might not have happened because both Stanford’s offense and defense are not that good this year. Nunes, a junior who had to replace the #1 NFL draft pick Andrew Luck, went 21-of-34 (61%) for 360 yards and 2 touchdowns passing, and added another 3 touchdowns on short rushing opportunities.
Nunes had a hand in scoring 5 touchdowns and Stanford needed every one of them to win. Stanford does not have a really good offense or a really good defense—they do have size in not speed. Where Stanford goes from here is anyone’s guess.
#19 Louisville (5-0) is idle this week.
#20 Mississippi State (5-0) on-the-road beat an unranked, 1-5 Kentucky team, 27-14. The Bulldogs are winning because they rank 11th nationally in scoring defense. Giving up 2 touchdowns to a weak, 1-4 team does not get you a star, but it does get you a win in this case. Mississippi State still has to travel to Alabama, LSU and Ole Miss (Mississippi). Somehow I think they may be just a little harder to beat than Kentucky.
#21 Nebraska lost to #12 Ohio State, 63-38.
#22 Rutgers (5-0) at home beat unranked Connecticut (3-3), 19-3. The Scarlet Knights are off to their best start since 2006, and by beating Connecticut they avenged a bitter loss to the Huskies in 2006 that kept them from sharing the conference title. I’m sure that’s a big deal at Rutgers, but I doubt it’s keeping anybody awake at nights elsewhere in the country. Rutgers sports the 5th best scoring defense in the country (that’s impressive) but also sports the 79th worst scoring defense in the country (that is not impressive).
Rutgers ends its year by traveling to Cincinnati and Pittsburgh then hosting Louisville. We’ll see how the Scarlet Knights hold up under better pressure.
#23 Washington was swamped by #2 Oregon’s speed, 52-21. This lost will probably cost Washington its Top 25 ranking.
#24 Northwestern (now 4-1) on-the-road suffered its first loss to unranked Penn State (4-2), 39-28.
The Wildcats do not have a really good offense or defense, and now they have been found out, and probably will lose more games against better competition. This upset loss will probably cost Northwestern its Top 25 ranking. Give a ton of credit to the Penn State Nittany Lions, who scored 3 touchdowns in the final 9:49 of play to pull off the upset.
Penn State players started the season with an early trip to hell and have come back from 2 tough losses to beat Navy, Temple, Illinois and now Northwestern. Do not let anyone ever tell you that winning does not matter, only losers would think so. Just ask the Penn State players.
#25 UCLA (now 4-2) on-the-road was upset by unranked, in-state rival California (2-4), 43-17, and looked terrible getting beat. Cal’s defense ruled the day, not to mention QB Zach Maynard, who went 25-of-30 (83%) for 295 yards and 4 touchdowns. This win may have saved Jeff Tedford his coaching job at California. This loss will probably cost UCLA its Top 25 ranking.
New UCLA Coach Jim Mora started his Bruin career by beating Rice, Nebraska and Houston before losing to Oregon State and then beating Colorado. Now he has lost to the Cal Bears. That smarts, but ahead is Utah, Arizona State, Arizona, Washington State, Southern Cal and Stanford. It will not get easier. Welcome to the Pac 12, Jim, and good luck for the rest of the season.
In other games of note:
Ohio (6-0) won its 6th straight game, outlasting Buffalo (1-4), 38-31.
Cincinnati (4-0) won its 4th straight game, beating Miami of Ohio (3-3), 52-14.
Brigham Young (4-2) beat in-state rival Utah State (4-2), 6-3.