Only 10 teams can claim a perfect record after major college football’s 8th week of play.
The best of the best includes the Alabama Crimson Tide (7-0), Oregon Ducks (7-0), Ohio State Buckeyes (7-0), Missouri Tigers (7-0), Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-0), Northern Illinois Huskies (7-0), Florida State Seminoles (6-0), Baylor Bears (6-0), and Miami Hurricanes (6-0).
The winless 0-7 New Mexico State Aggies were the worst, rated as the 201st worse team among 124 Division 1-A schools, and yes, that means there are 77 Division 1-AA teams rated higher than New Mexico State at this point in the season.
It’s as clear as a perfect summer day that the gold standard among teams right now is #1 Alabama (which just shut out Arkansas 52-zip), and #2 Oregon (which hammered Washington State 62-38 for a 24-point victory). The truth can hurt.
Alabama has the best scoring defense in the nation (9+ points), the 5th best total defense (275 yards per game), and the 16th best scoring offense (40+ points per game). Oregon has both the 2nd best scoring offense (57+ ppg) and total offense (643+ ypg), and the 12th best scoring defense (17+ ppg). Only the military with field artillery can stop Alabama or Oregon right now.
We said last week that #3 Clemson was not in the same class as Alabama or Oregon, and the Tigers validated my judgment by getting a mud hole stomped in them by visiting #5 Florida State, 51-14. The 37-point losing margin in this ACC showdown left Clemson with a real scalping.
The Atlantic Coast Conference, better known for powerhouse basketball programs at Duke and North Carolina, had called the Clemson-Florida State clash the biggest in ACC history since both had won ACC titles, and both had beaten each other during the last two years.
Not to mention the fact that it was only the 3rd time in history that two Top 5 ACC teams squared off. Someone forgot to tell Clemson. The Tigers came out flatter than an ironing board at high noon, committing a turnover on their first play, and then 3 more during the game.
The performance by Florida State will be enough to boost them to a #3 ranking in the upcoming AP Top 25 Poll. The Seminoles will be a bigger deal than Clemson at #3, make no mistake about that.
Florida State has the 3rd best scoring offense nationally (53+ ppg), 5th best total offense (551+ ypg), 3rd best scoring defense (12+ ppg), and 6th best total defense (285 ypg).
It is hard to tell just how good Florida State is because the Seminoles play 4 nobodies (North Carolina State, Wake Forest, Syracuse and Idaho) in the last 6 games. With only a not-that-good #7 Miami and an unranked Florida team in their way, they could run the table by going unbeaten. Their weak ACC Conference and weaker schedule may not be enough to get them into the national championship game.
When a ranked team can defeat an unranked team (at home or away) by at least 21 points, they have it going on. When two ranked teams collide, they have to win by at least 14 points to have it going on.
Interestingly enough, only one other ranked team that played a ranked opponent won by at least 14 points over the weekend. That would be the #14 Missouri Tigers who gave the #22 Florida Gators their 3rd loss by a 19-point victory margin, 36-17. By winning, the Tigers became the first SEC opponent in14 games to score 21 or more on Florida.
Three other ranked teams had weak victories with less than 10-point margins. #4 Ohio State keeps playing weak teams and the Buckeyes did not dominate again in beating an unranked Iowa team, 34-24. #10 Miami could only beat a 1-5 North Carolina team by 4, 27-23, and needed the last quarter to do it. #16 Texas Tech could only beat West Virginia by 10, 37-27.
As if the parity in the Top 25 wasn’t obvious enough after Alabama and Oregon, no less than 8 ranked teams were upset over the weekend. It reads like a hit list in a 1930s mob war:
Again, #3 Clemson was slammed by #5 visiting Florida State, 51-14.
#6 LSU (6-2) was upset by unranked Ole Miss, 27-24, on a last-second, 41-yard field goal that just made it though the uprights by a foot.
#7 Texas A&M was 5-1 before #24 Auburn arrived and outlasted the Aggies, 45-41, despite Johnny Football. Auburn (6-1) meant to upset A&M and its media machine, and finally got mean enough to get the job done, holding A&M to 10 points in the 4th quarter while scoring 21.
#8 Louisville built up a 6-0 mark playing weaker teams and then hosted unranked Central Florida (5-1) and also lost by a field goal, 38-35, on a 2-yard touchdown pass with 23 seconds remaining. Central Florida was behind by 21 in the 3rd quarter and rallied to win as the Cardinals defense slacked off too early. Sometimes players are too stupid to learn, and so they continue to fail when they should succeed.
It doesn’t say much for Louisville’s defense, which was ranked 2nd nationally in scoring defense and 3rd nationally in total defense. Statistics don’t always prove a correct impression when they are built on lousy competition, but there is no excuse for being lazy when the game is still in play.
#11 South Carolina (5-2) had to watch as unranked Tennessee made a 19-yard field goal as time expired to upset the Gamecocks, 23-21. The win ended Tennessee’s 19-game losing streak against ranked opponents. Talk about making a coach’s day.
#13 Stanford (6-1) put a stinger on the visiting, #9 unbeaten UCLA Bruins, 24-10. Forget that Stanford was favored by 6 at home, they won by 14 and beat a higher ranked team, that’s an upset in my book. UCLA came in with a 5-0 mark and left at 5-1.
#15 Georgia (4-3) was upset by the unranked Vanderbilt Commodores who held the Bulldogs scoreless in the 4th quarter while piling up 17 unanswered points to win, 31-27.
#20 Washington has tried so hard to click it up and play with the big boys, but it is not going to happen this year. The Huskies traveled to unranked Arizona State (5-2) and took a legal beating worthy of a very violent street fight, losing by a 29-point margin, 53-24.
Washington took a mugging by the Sun Devil defense line, led by All-American tackle Will Sutton, who plays defense like Marshawn Lynch plays offense for the Seattle Seahawks.
Washington QB Keith Price had the holy hell crap beat out of him by Sutton and his thug teammates, and the nation’s leading running back, Bishop Sankey, got exactly 22 yards on 13 carries. Price had no time to throw and was not all that accurate when he did, and Sankey was unceremoniously met at the line of scrimmage with a thud.
The real blame goes on Washington’s under-performing and clearly less-talented offensive and defensive lines. Note to Coach Steve Sarkisian: Recruit some linemen who can play, and punish the opposition, otherwise, you may not be around to see Washington ever go 10-2 again.
It is not possible to record here just how awful Washington was in this game, so we will not bother to try and do so here.
Two other ranked teams did what they should have done:
#23 Northern Illinois stretched its record to 7-0 by whipping unranked Central Michigan by a 21-point margin, 38-17.
#12 Baylor stretched its record to 6-0 by ripping apart a pathetic, 1-5 Iowa State eleven, 71-7. The Cyclones did not play like there were 11 men on the field, but it must be noted that the Bears strength of schedule so far is only the 100th toughest, the 2nd worst among ranked teams. Only Louisville has had a less tough schedule with a 106th ranking among 124 teams.
There is no reason to wonder why Louisville was just upset by an unranked Central Florida team.
The winner of the No Defense Game of the Week was Michigan over Indiana, 63-47, in an exciting track meet, not a football game. When teams combine for 110 points, it’s just like gym rat basketball. It is all about dunking and showing off with no one willing to play defense and everyone craving attention, thinking they are the next Michael Jordan when they could not carry Jordan’s jock strap to the locker room, much less fill his shoes.
Runners up for the No Defense Game of the Week were Brigham Young over Houston, 47-46, and Toledo over Navy, 45-44. Houston is now 5-1.
One final note: A very disappointing Michigan State team shut out Purdue, 14-0. The Spartans are all defense and no offense with their gaudy 6-1 mark. It’s possible that Michigan State may never have an offense again in my lifetime, they are that inept.
When the Spartans play any team that’s half good (like Notre Dame) they get their butt handed to them. You can feast on losers, but you will never get anywhere worth talking about. Man up, and find some big, ugly, talented offensive talent. For heaven’s sake, you would think that Ohio State and Michigan owned the Midwest when recruiting. Unfortunately, they do.