…and the two nights before it weren’t all bad either.
That picture above is from Vaught-Hemingway Stadium after Ole Miss’ stunning upset of Alabama. Images like this were all over the college football landscape this weekend. It was easily the craziest, stupidest, most exciting, best damn weekend in college football history and I defy someone to tell me of another regular season week that has matched this (believe me I have heard many ESPN personalities trying their best to come up with something and they can’t). It was a great day to be a college football fan.
Let’s put this in perspective. The Giants and Nationals played the longest postseason game in MLB history on Saturday night. On any other day, this would DOMINATE the sports shows. Like a full third of any SportsCentre (or SportsCenter for our American neighbours). Any other day but yesterday. Yes it got a lot of play. But the sheer insanity of what happened in college football truly dominated the broadcast. Hell, you can be sure that pretty much everyone from the American south couldn’t have cared less about that epic baseball game.
Alright. Let me try to recap what happened this past weekend. This could be a looooooooong post.
- It all started late Thursday night (into Friday morning). Oregon had to be a bit nervous after what Arizona did to them last week. And they had every right to be. Zona kept it close all game and was able to pull it out at the end, upsetting the #2 team in the nation. It also damaged Marcus Mariota’s Heisman chances.
- Not many people thought much of Friday’s late game between Utah State and BYU. Chuckie Keeton was (again) out for the season. But remember what happened last year? Same thing. Keeton goes down, everyone writes the Aggies off, Darrell Garretson comes in and lifts the team to the Mountain West title game. This year? Same thing. No one gave them a chance against the Cougars yet it wasn’t even close. Saying that, BYU losing Taysom Hill is HUGE. A broken leg and his season is over. BYU’s chances at the CFP and the New Year’s Six gone on one play. Feel bad for the guy since he was a dark horse Heisman contender. That’s gone too.
- If you watched Florida-Tennessee you would have thought it was highly attended high school game. It was painful to watch. Both teams did not look like they belonged in the SEC with that performance. And of course WILL MUSCHAMP! was oh so classy after the win.
- It has been a while since Mississippi State has been THIS good. Dan Mullen is doing wonders in Starkville. Also, Texas A&M was way better than I thought they would be this season. However, once the Bulldogs got the lead they basically ran away with it. They were dominant over the last three quarters and staked their claim to be included in the New Year’s fun. Oh and that Dak Prescott kid is pretty good.
- How does East Carolina allow SMU to stay around that long? The Stangs were like a trainwreck: you shouldn’t look but sometimes you just have to. They finally scored their first points in what seemed like eternity (since three games ago). And at one point they were within a score of the Pirates. ECU is still one of two teams from the Poor Group of Five left that even make sense in the New Year’s Six but they are holding on by a thread with performances like this.
- Speaking of the Poor Group of Five, Marshall laid a beating on Old Dominion. They are the other team I alluded to earlier. Other than the Herd and East Carolina, no other teams seem to want that spot.
- Maryland: Welcome to the Big Ten. Just sit their quietly and take your ass-kicking like a man.
- I laugh at everyone who chose North Carolina to win their division. They’ve been pretty bad to start the season and are lucky to even be 2-3. They will be in tough just to be bowl-eligible.
- The Grove was hopping. Katy Perry was there to make her picks (although I was disappointed she didn’t look hotter…she had a bit of a Miley Cyrus thing going on Gameday). She was the only one to pick Ole Miss. What a prognosticator! An awesome game that had a bit of everything. And Blake Sims and Bama played relatively well. Just that the Rebs were that much better. This was what really set off the insanity.
- Have problems winning? Need some help? Just call UMass! This team boggles my mind. They have had leads in a few of their games so far this season, some of them double-digit. Yet they have lost every single one. And the end of the game against Miami (OH) was atrocious. You can kick a field goal to win and you instead run a play down one? The entire coaching staff should have been fired on the spot over the loudspeakers after that.
- Where was this NC State last week? That’s what Florida State was asking. Clemson annihilated the Wolfpack. You’d have though NC State was from the FCS with the beating the Tigers put on them. And speaking of Florida State…
- They just hate playing first quarters don’t they? You knew they would win in the end but it’s almost like they are purposely teasing the viewers into thinking this could be close when it won’t be close at all. Saying that, they sure didn’t look like a #1 team playing a woeful Wake Forest squad.
- Quietly, Baylor keeps chugging along. They beat the Longhorns easily. Yes they didn’t score a boatload of points but their defense kept the Horns in check. Charlie Strong may be regretting his decision to come coach in Texas after the start they’ve had.
- Yet another upset…TCU showed they were for real. They went toe-to-toe with the Sooners and pulled out the win. Too bad for Trevor Knight. I am guessing the Katy Perry love got to his head…the one under his helmet.
- Perfect opportunity for Wisconsin. So what do they do? Play horrible. Taking nothing away from Northwestern but this game was tailor-made for the Badgers. A crisp day on real grass at Ryan Field. They should have ran for 600 yards. Melvin Gordon had a good day so at least his Heisman hopes weren’t hurt but Wisky’s Big Ten West hopes took a huge hit.
- Why does hardly anyone have the Irish taking a big move up the rankings? Their win, while looking ugly doing it, was still impressive over a really good Stanford team. Everett Golson had ice in his veins on that last drive that put the Irish up with a minute to go. Does he get some Heisman love now?
- Lost in all this may be the fact that Air Force is 4-1. After last season, many (including me) had the Falcons in trouble and probably looking for a new coach. Troy Calhoun may get an extension after the start which included yesterday’s victory over Navy. The Middies on the other hand look positively average this season. All they can do now is go at least 4-2 so they can go to a bowl game.
- Unlike Florida State, Auburn showed why they should be #1. They probably didn’t expect to be in that conversation going into Saturday but they sure as hell are now. They thoroughly dominated The Hat and his Tigers from start to finish.
- OK, how is Brady Hoke still employed? This is unreal. Rutgers was clearly the better team but the Wolverines had chances to win and blew them. I can’t foresee how Hoke makes it to the next game but the Michigan AD is adamant he wants to wait until the end of the season to make any decisions on the coaching staff. If this continues, his hand may be forced.
- Cincinnati was looking like an outside shot for the golden ticket to the New Year’s Six and then was beaten badly by Memphis. Maybe Memphis’ game against UCLA wasn’t a fluke.
- Paul Johnson has quietly got his Ramblin’ Wreck to 5-0 after an impressive victory over Miami. It hasn’t been easy but for all those doubters out there, know this: if, for some reason, Tech goes 12-0, no matter how they do in the ACC Championship, they SHOULD be in the CFP semi-finals. That last sentence alone tells you what this last weekend has done to the college football world.
- Mike London looks like he will keep his job now. The win over Pitt moves them to 4-2. Pretty surprising. More surprising is Pitt’s fall from grace. Paul Chryst has to be worried now with the meat of his schedule coming up and five of those last six looking like possible losses.
- Arizona State pulled off a win that they shouldn’t have got. Logic dictates it shouldn’t have happened. The Trojans had the game in the bag. Hell, I switched over to South Carolina-Kentucky because I thought it was over. The Sun Devils were down by 9 with 3 minutes to go. So what do they do? They take the first play from scrimmage 73 yards for a touchdown, stop the Trojans, get the ball back, then the Hail Mary…oh that Hail Mary. What were the Trojans’ DBs doing? It looked like one of them was going to call for a fair catch. Horrible defense.
- Speaking of South Carolina-Kentucky, time to give the Wildcats some respect. They held their own against the Gamecocks and with an ill-timed pick-six, pulled out the victory. I’m sure the Head Ball Coach made the entire team walk back to Columbia after that one.
- Another game I thought was long over. Don’t know why considering what had happened all day. If Nebraska had somehow come back to beat the Spartans, I think almost no one would have been surprised. The fact that they almost did says more about Michigan State than it does about Nebraska. Dantonio’s team HAS to run the table or else it will be no semi-final for them. To allow opponents to get back into games that are essentially over is not good for style points.
Saturday late night
- To cap things off, Utah went into Westwood and stunned UCLA. To put the candle on it so to speak, UCLA’s kicker missed a field goal with no time left. Utah was called for running into the kicker, putting the kicker (Kai’mi Fairbairn) in the running for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his masterful performance. Lines up again, still at 50 yards out, and doinks it off the right upright. Game over. Insane day over. Oh wait, not quite…
- How does someone break the NCAA passing yardage record and lose? I feel bad for Connor Halliday (well to be more accurate, I feel more bad for Connor Halliday’s throwing arm). The Wazzu defense is so bad, they kept allowing Cal back into this one. Not taking away anything from the Bears (although Sonny Dykes has his team at 4-1, another complete shocker), but the Cougs had this one. And here’s the topper…first place in the Pac-12 North? Yep, it’s Cal. Let that stew for a bit.
OK just recapping that felt crazy. So much happened. I could have easily split it into two separate posts. I was going to add my rankings (and really, anyone’s rankings at this point have to be considered somewhat correct) and updated New Year’s Six bowls. I think that will come tomorrow.