College Football Wrap-Up – Week 5
The top game of college football’s week 5 action belonged to the Washington Huskies, who upset #8 Stanford, 17-13. Stanford was much taller, much bigger, much badder and more experienced, but the Huskies rose to the challenge to give Steve Sarkisian and his coaches another signature win over a Top 10 team.
Two years ago, Washington upset #3 Southern Cal, 16-13, upset #19 California 42-10, and upset #17 Nebraska 19-7 in the Holiday Bowl. Last year, the Huskies upset #18 Southern Cal 32-21, upset #24 Oregon State 35-34 in double overtime, and scored no less than 56 points on #15 Baylor before losing in the Alamo Bowl, 67-56. Clearly, the Washington Huskies are on the rise.
In another top-end game not worth talking about, #8 West Virginia beat #25 Baylor, 70-63, and, in a game worth talking about, #14 Ohio State beat #20 Michigan State, 17-16, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing.
The second big story of the weekend was the out-of-control scoring among major college football teams. Scoring has gone from the excessive to the ridiculous. Check out these point totals that demonstrate the lack of defense:
133 points – #9 West Virginia over #25 Baylor 70-63 (as if I needed to mention it).
105 – Miami of Ohio over Akron 56-49.
95 – #5 Georgia over Tennessee 51-44.
92 – Purdue over Marshall 51-41.
92 – Fresno State over San Diego State 52-40.
91 – Tulsa (4-1) over Alabama-Birmingham 49-42.
87 – Kent State over Ball State 45-43.
82 – Louisiana Tech (4-0) over Virginia 44-38.
79 – Northern Illinois (4-1) over Central Michigan 55-24
77 – Middle Tennessee (3-1) upsetting Georgia Tech 49-28.
77 – #12 Texas (4-0) over Oklahoma State 41-36.
77 – #2 Oregon (5-0) over Washington State 51-26.
76 – #17 Clemson (4-1) over Boston College 45-31.
73 – Northwestern (4-0) over Indiana 44-29.
73 – Louisiana-Monroe over Tulane 63-10.
73 – #18 Oregon State (3-0) over Arizona 38-35.
71 – Ohio (5-0) over Massachusetts 37-34.
That’s 17 games that are over the top with offensive excitement. Do not think that this is normal, because it most certainly IS NOT, which is why I am talking about it. It reminds me of gym-rat basketball where players run up and down the court, dunking the ball, showing off and taking their shot while not even looking to pass the ball—they have not a clue or an appreciation about playing defense.
In college football, we have morphed over from wondering “Will they be able to score on this defense?” to “Whoever has the ball last will win”. It does not make for good football when a bunch of guys are setting records on offense and others cannot tie their shoelaces on defense.
Here’s how all the of the AP Top 25 teams fared in the 5th week of action:
#1 Alabama (5-0) at home welcomed a 3-1 Mississippi team and Ole Miss fans were beside themselves when the Rebels scored a touchdown and led 7-6 early on. It marked the first time the Crimson Tide had lost the lead in a game in 10 outings.
All of the Ole Miss excitement was erased 15 seconds later when Christion “Not A Typo” Jones returned the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown, leading to a 27-7 halftime lead, and an eventual 33-14 victory for the nation’s undisputed best team.
Ole Miss competed in this game, but competing alone is not enough to win against Alabama, you also need a better offense and defense, and so far, no team has produced either.
En route to their 5th straight win, Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron went 22-for-30 for 180 yards and 2 touchdown passes to freshman wide receiver Amari Cooper, and broke Brodie Croyle’s school record of 190 consecutive passes without an interception. McCaron is now at 206, that’s called protecting the ball (i.e., not making stupid, inaccurate passes).
If you can find a better team than Alabama to lay money on to win, take it.
#2 Oregon (5-0) traveled to Washington State and showed the Cougars and first-year coach Mike Leach why they are going to win the Pac-12 title. The Ducks ran away from the Cougars 51-26. Oregon jumped out a 20-point 1st quarter, took a nap in the 2nd, got an unprintable halftime admonition from their coaches, and then had a 21-point 3rd quarter to put a wrapper on it.
#3 LSU (5-0) at home and arguably the worst 5-0 team in America, again played sloppy, ineffective football in beating a 2-2 AA Towson team not qualified to be on the same field with the Tigers. LSU, nonetheless, made Towson look worthy as worthy can be. The Tigers have not played well all year despite returning two-thirds of last year’s team, but their rep still has them ranked #3.
How much longer can this go on? Answer: Not long. Next up is a trip to #11 Florida, followed by a visit from #6 South Carolina. Look for LSU to REALLY wake up, or lose one or both of its next 2 games. Florida and South Carolina are NOT Towson.
#4 Florida State (4-0) visited in-state rival South Florida (2-3) and left with a lackluster 30-17 win. Seminole QB EJ Manual looked like he had enough tomahawks on his helmet to think he was someone greater, but he wasn’t. Like a lot of ranked teams, Florida State did not play well on-the-road—there is just something about being in enemy territory that is not friendly.
“We knew they were going to try and make their season right here and get back into it and play hard, and they did that, and our kids fought through it,” said Florida State Coach Jimbo Fisher, just happier than a skunk eating cabbage to get out of South Florida with a “Bush” (W).
#5 Georgia (5-0) at home gave up 44 points to Tennessee before winning 51-44, proving neither of these teams have a defense. Some onlookers thought the Bulldog defense won the game for Georgia, but it is a bad joke at best.
When you give your opponent 5 offensive touchdowns and a pick-6 for a touchdown and allow 478 yards of offense, you just think you have a defense because you won the game. Georgia had 560 yards of total offense. Clearly, Georgia is not the 5th best team in the country 5 weeks into the season. When a football game totals 95 points scored, it may be exciting, but it is not played among teams that are going to win SEC titles or a national championship.
#6 South Carolina (5-0) held a 1-4 Kentucky team scoreless in the 2nd half to win 38-17. Kentucky actually outplayed South Carolina in the 1st half and led 17-7 at halftime. Like a championship team, South Carolina then showed up.
After being held to just 26 yards in the 1st half, the Gamecocks outrushed Kentucky 174 to 7 yards in the 2nd half and scored 31 unanswered points. South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore (the best runner in the SEC) picked up 120 yards on 23 carries (5.22 yards per carry) and scored twice in the breakout 2nd half.
#7 Kansas State (4-0) was idle this week.
#8 Stanford (3-1) traveled to Washington (now also 3-1) and managed to get upset by Steve Sarkisian’s Huskies, 17-13. This was nothing more or less than validating that 1) Stanford this year is not the same Stanford as last year, and that 2) “Sark” is putting together a juggernaut in Seattle that is going to get noticed.
The Washington Huskies visited LSU in Death Valley earlier in the season and got their butt handed to them, 41-3. Mine you, LSU looked good against Washington, but did not look for crap against AA Towson over the weekend.
That said, Washington is a young team with too many injuries to key, returning players that still has some potential talent, including QB Keith Price, tailback Bishop Sankey, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, safety Shaq Thompson, cornerback Desmond Trufant, and wide receiver Kasen Williams. They are all good and could become great quickly with improved line play on both sides of the ball.
Unfortunately, Washington is playing one of the toughest schedules in the country. They have already faced LSU and Stanford, and now must prepare for #2 Oregon, #13 Southern Cal, Arizona and #18 Oregon State, and that’s in the next 4 games.
#9 West Virginia (4-0) at home literally outscored #25 Baylor, 70-63, in a game where both defenses laid on the field horizontally in an attempt to confuse the other team’s offense, hoping they would trip while scoring 19 touchdowns. Both teams came into the game unbeaten at 3-0 and hoping to score at will, which they did, validating the fact that neither team even attempts to play defense.
The offensive numbers in the this game were beyond ridiculous as both defensive teams raised the idea of “no defense” to an art form as 133 points were posted on the scoreboard as almost all of the fans thought they saw a great football. To add insult to injury, both teams were ranked as if they were among the best teams in America.
To wit: West Virginia’s Geno Smith is being touted as the next RG3 (Robert Griffin III). Smith was 45-of-51 in this non-contest for 656 yards and 8 touchdown passes. The total net yardage in this game exceeded 1,500, an asinine figure that suggests that it WAS NOT a football game being played at college level among ranked teams. I would like to see Geno Smith and West Virginia do this against Alabama, Texas Christian, Brigham Young or Texas Tech.
#10 Notre Dame (4-0) was idle this week.
#11 Florida (4-0) was idle this week.
#12 Texas (4-0) traveled to Oklahoma State (now 2-2 and unranked) and managed to barely get by the Cowboys, 41-36, showcasing 2 more teams without a decent defense. Texas had to come from behind with 2:34 to play to win. So how good is Texas? Well, if you can give up the equivalent of 5 touchdowns in a game and still win, you do not have much of a defense worth talking about.
Longhorn Coach Mack Brown had this to say: “We needed to go on the road, we needed to win against a team that had beaten us twice in a row, we needed to win against a team that had won more games than anybody in the Big 12 the last 2 years, and we needed to win at a place where they hadn’t lost for the last 2 years.”
All of that was true, however, the lead in the game changed hands 4 times in the 4th quarter, and if Oklahoma State is clearly not the team it was the last 2 years, where does that leave Texas?
#13 Southern California (3-1) was idle this week.
#14 Ohio State (5-0) is tracking like Notre Dame (4-0)—invade #20 Michigan State and whip the Spartans on their home turf. The Buckeyes did exactly that, winning 17-16, winning when they might have lost if Michigan State had an offense to go with its defense. The game was Urban Meyer’s Big Ten debut as Ohio State’s new coach.
The loss was Michigan State’s 4th straight at home against Ohio State, which held Spartan Le’Vonn Bell to 45 yards on 17 carries (2.65 ypc), exposing Michigan State’s weak, ineffective offensive line. After 4 straight losses to Ohio State at home, the Spartans clearly need a check up from the neck up.
#15 Texas Christian (4-0) beat in-state rival Southern Methodist 24-16. TCU led SMU 21-10 at the half, and looked terrible in the victory, scoring only 3 points and gaining only 27 yards after halftime. Wow, it is hard to believe that TCU is the 15th best team in the country. Oh, wait a minute, they probably are not the 15th best team in the country, but they might be among the luckiest 15.
#16 Oklahoma (2-1) was idle this week.
#17 Clemson (4-1) traveled to Boston College and won 45-31. Both teams scored in every quarter so this was not a seminar on defense. Boston College is now 1-3 and not exactly looking ferocious.
#18 Oregon State (3-0) traveled to Arizona (3-2) and simply outlasted Coach Rich Rodriguez and his Arizona Wildcats, 38-35, scoring twice in the last quarter to make the win stick. Mike Riley’s Beavers have now knocked off Wisconsin, UCLA and Arizona. The Beavers gave up 7 points in their first game, 20 in their second, and now 35 points in their third game. Let’s hope this is not an upward trend.
#19 Louisville (5-0) on-the-road could not escape the driving rain and standing water at Southern Mississippi, but did finally get a waterlogged 21-17 victory over winless Southern Miss (0-4). Dang, are any of these ranked teams able to dominate these winless and mediocre teams? Apparently not, as they are piling up wannabe victories over hapless wonders.
#20 Michigan State lost to Ohio State 17-16.
#21 Mississippi State (4-0) was idle this week.
#22 Nebraska (4-1) at home beat Wisconsin, 30-17, on a last quarter field goal. Wisconsin was ahead 20-10 at the half, but Nebraska won the last half 20-7 to pull out the victory. Nebraska was down 17 before QB Taylor Martinez led 4 straight scoring drives (2 touchdowns and 2 field goals) to seal the come-from-behind win.
#23 Rutgers (4-0) was idle this week.
#24 Boise State (3-1) traveled to New Mexico and the Lobos and was lucky to leave with a 32-29 win. The Broncos led 25-zip at the half and then were beaten 29-7 in the 2nd half. Boise State is a shadow of what the Broncos have been in recent years. New Mexico gained 374 net yards and made 22 first downs against Boise State—that’s how much the Broncos quit in the 2nd half. New Mexico is a 2-3 team going nowhere fast. Things do not bode well for Boise State.
#25 Baylor lost to West Virginia 70-63.
The current list of AP Top 25 teams is one of the weakest in recent memory, and my memory covers 50 years of college football. There is Alabama, and that literally is it. The other 24 teams are suspect, and no one is clearly ready to challenge Alabama. That’s it, that’s all, I’m out of here.