College Football, Week 6 — 4 Winners, 4 Losers
Six weeks into the season, we are starting to get to the point where we can narrow down the number of undefeated teams and begin thinking about the teams that "control their own destiny" in this new post-BCS, yay-Playoff era that in which we now exist. After all, in the bygone BCS age, this would be the week where the first set of BCS rankings — a hodge podge amalgamation of human polls and computer-spewed ratings — would be released.
So, by my count, the undefeated "control their own destiny" teams are as follows: Baylor, TCU, OKlahoma State, Ohio State, Michigan State, LSU, Texas A&M, Florida, Utah
I still think, right or wrong, that the ACC is viewed as the fifth child in the Power Five conferences, so if the Big XII, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC all have undefeated champs, I think Clemson or Florida State could get left out, depending on style points. Also, I think it will be interesting to see how Iowa, who is still undefeated gets treated if they were to run the table. With games at Northwestern this week and at Nebraska to close out the regular season as their toughest remaining games, this could happen.
Additionally, you put an asterisk on Alabama and Ole Miss in that a one-loss SEC champ out of the SEC West would probably make it over an undefeated ACC champ. So if those two keep winning, we may add one of them to the "controls destiny" list. So there you go, it's getting tight! Let's look at the weekend that was….
4. Dabo Swinney
After Clemson's 43-24 rout of once-sneaky Georgia Tech (Remember when the Yellow Jackets were favored AT Notre Dame a few weeks ago? Yeah, me too.), Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney was asked by some reporter about keeping his team focused and brought up the term "Clemsoning". Webster's defines "Clemsoning" as "the act of losing a random game to an unranked team you're not supposed to lose to". Bristling at the term, Swinney proceeded to transform from head coach to volcano….
Factually, Swinney is correct. Clemson's losses from 2012 through 2014 were all to ranked opponents. That said, I wish he would just allow us to have our funny little phrases, and let us live happily dysfunctional in our Twitter sandbox of snark.
3. Jim Harbaugh
If you need any further evidence that no sport is more head coach-driven than college football, merely point whatever naysayer is dispelling your theory to Ann Arbor. The Michigan Wolverines, under the expensive tutelage of Jim Harbaugh, notched their third straight shutout on Saturday, whacking previously undefeated Northwestern by a score of 38-0. Michigan's only loss is to fifth-ranked Utah in Utah, and the Wolverines, with a few more losses by teams in front of them, may find themselves on the "control their own destiny" list. One thing is certain — Michigan vs Michigan State this coming weekend hasn't had this kind of juice since the late 90's with Nick Saban and Lloyd Carr were on the sidelines. (Also, what the hell was Brady Hoke doing last season?)
2. Charlie Strong
I know that, in Vegas, the Texas win over Oklahoma on Saturday was viewed as a huge win for Charlie Strong, and there's no doubt that it was. Beating a rival (who was a 17 point favorite) can trump weeks worth of ineptitude and near player mutiny, although for all of the angst over the Twitter civil wars being waged in the Longhorns locker room, it sure looked like a bunch that was united on Saturday. To me, Saturday's game was more about exposing Oklahoma than it was validating Texas. In their other big game this season, they were very fortunate to beat a Tennessee team that is still sub-.500, even after beating Georgia. These next two weeks — at Kansas State, home for Texas Tech — will tell a lot about where this program is going under Bob Stoops.
1. Leonard Fournette
On the field, the Heisman frontrunner did what he does every Saturday — 158 yards rushing with an 87 yard highlight reel touchdown. Fournette is now the fastest player in LSU history to get to 1,000 yards in a season. But it was this gesture after the game that had everybody talking…..
Good for Leonard Fournette. He seems like a great kid. Of course, as they always seem hellbent on doing, the NCAA had to come in and urinate on this parade….
When they got wind of Fournette's charitable act, the NCAA jumped in and reportedly said that Fournette was not within his rights to try and donate his jersey so it could generate thousands of dollars to pay for food, water, and supplies to displaced Americans. (They were apparently perfectly fine with LSU being able to sell replicas of Fournette's jersey in their school store to line the school's pockets. Hey look, FREE SHIPPING!) The NCAA must have thought that Fournette's effort was some diabolical plot that ends with him sailing around the Gulf of Mexico smoking a cigar and flipping the bird to all of us! Of course, as they seemingly always do, the NCAA bowed to public pressure, did the right thing, and for that I give them ZERO credit….
Leonard Fournette can auction his jersey for SC flood victims.— NCAA (@NCAA) October 11, 2015
That tweet never should have even been necessary.
3. Boston College
Is there a more unwatchable team in college football right now than Steve Addazio's outfit in Chestnut Hill? If the NCAA wants to work on something worthwhile, find a way to compensate all the poor bastards who paid money to watch Wake Forest beat BC by a score of 3-0 on Saturday night. The game featured multiple missed field goals, barely 400 yards of total offense combined between both teams, and this ending….
As former Urban Meyer offensive coordinators go, Steve Addazio is no Tom Herman.
2. Reggie Davis
Tennessee's 38-31 victory over Georgia included one of the most gut-wrenching, tear jerking, cataclysmically sad plays all season long….
Sadly, that drop was light years behind Nick Chubb's injury, which was a billion times harder to watch than that drop.
1. Texan fans
Texan fans and media members (including me), some secretly and some not secretly at all, have started to root for a 2015 outcome that will best net the team a shot at a franchise QB. (Translation: 2-14 sounds pretty sweet!) Jared Goff of Cal seems to be the consensus number one QB right now if everyone comes out that we expect to. So I was excited to sit down and watch him go up against a real college defense on Saturday night in Utah. Goff's line for the night? 25-47, 340 yards, 2 TD's, and FIVE PICKS. I hate the football gods sometimes…..
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.
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