USA Today
USA Today
USA Today

1. Boston College blinks, and Florida State survives. Seemingly every other week this season, Florida State has allowed their opponents to believe they are going to win; but time and time again Florida State finds a way to notch another W in their belt. It happened to Clemson with that inexplicable fumble while driving for the winning field goal. It happened to Notre Dame on that ultra-controversial offensive pass interference flag. N.C. State, Louisville and Miami got a bunch of early scores, but couldn’t get the one or two more they needed to put the Seminoles away. Boston College had its chance, and the Eagles blinked.

Tied 17-17 in the fourth quarter, the Eagles ran the ball 14 straight times, moving from its own eight-yard line to Florida State’s 26. Then the Eagles called a reverse pass to quarterback Tyler Murphy, and he couldn’t come down with it at the FSU 2. Murphy ran for one yard on 3rd and 9, and a 42-yard field goal on the ensuing play sailed wide right.

You know how this movie ends by now. Florida State gives its foes a chance to kill it and its now 27-game winning streak, and when they falter the Seminoles strike unmercifully. The Seminoles moved 66 yards in 12 plays, using all but three seconds of the remaining 4:37, to kick a game-winning 26-yard field goal for a 20-17 win.

We say this every week, but if there was a game Florida State was going to lose, it felt like this was it. B.C. came sandwiched between an emotional Miami win late Saturday night in South Beach, and before the Florida game. They’re coached and quarterbacked by former Gators, and play a style that Florida State doesn’t defend well.

And it still didn’t matter.

2. From 0-for-13 to 47-0. Nine days ago, Bret Bielema hadn’t won an SEC game. Today, there’s not a coach in the league that would be excited to face Arkansas. Not after the Hogs downed No. 8 Ole Miss 30-0, out-rushing the Rebels 159-63, and one week after a 17-0 flattening of LSU. Of course, this didn’t happen overnight. Arkansas hasn’t played like an 0-fer team all season, and played current College Football Playoff semifinalists Alabama and Mississippi State to a combined score of 31-23. If there was a 48-team playoff, Arkansas would be this year’s lower-seeded team that no one wanted in their bracket.

3. Ole Miss and Notre Dame fall back to Earth. On Oct. 18, Ole Miss was 7-0 and had every right to claim itself as the best team in the country. Since then, they’ve lost to LSU and Auburn in horrific fashion, and then gotten shut out by Arkansas. When the Egg Bowl kicks off it will be a full six weeks since the last time the Rebels had beaten an FBS opponent. Notre Dame, meanwhile, has dropped three and a row and four of its past five. For a very brief moment on the night of Oct. 18, the Irish thought they were 7-0 and in line for a Top Four ranking, Now they’re 7-4. 

4. Arizona blew out Utah. Utah beat UCLA, USC and Stanford, and lost to Arizona State in overtime and played Oregon to a closer-than-it-looks 51-27 final score, and Arizona went to Salt Lake City and beat the Utes 42-10. (Of course, Rich Rod’s bunch benefitted from playing Utah after it played the rest of the Pac-12 heavies.) The Wildcats dropped 222 passing yards and 298 rushing yards on a proud defense and look more prepared for the Territorial Cup than Arizona State at this point.

5. UCLA owns Los Angeles. USC opened the scoring Saturday night with a pick six of Brett Hundley, and then the Bruins rolled the Trojans from there, 38-20. UCLA had the edge at every position a football team can have an edge, and especially so on the lines. The UCLA offensive line gave Hundley his own apartment every time he dropped back to pass, while USC quarterback Cody Kessler spent most of his Saturday running for his life. Mora is now 3-0 against USC.

As if winning the game wasn’t enough, this won’t hurt Mora’s recruiting efforts, either.

6. Will Muschamp coached, and won, his last game at the Swamp. Florida beat Eastern Kentucky 52-3, sending the Gators to a bowl game he won’t coach.

— Richard Johnson (@RagjUF) November 23, 2014

7. Teams still alive for the national championship with two weeks until Selection Sunday: Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, Mississippi State, TCU, Ohio State, UCLA, Georgia, Arizona State, Arizona

8.One step forward, three steps backward for Miami. With 11:37 to go in the second quarter last week, Brad Kaaya hit Clive Walford for a 61-yard touchdown pass to give Miami a 23-7 lead over Florida State. From that moment until now, the ‘Canes have been outscored by Florida State and Virginia by a combined 53-16.

9. Virginia Tech and Wake Forest set football back a decade. The Demon Deacons beat the Hokies 6-3… in double overtime. There were 31 combined possessions in this game, and not a touchdown among them. It was the first scoreless regulation since 2005. Here’s the shield-your-eyes box score.

Screen Shot 2014-11-22 at 9.38.59 PM 10. Tim Beckman is a win away from his first bowl game at Illinois. Illinois went 2-of-16 on third down, and scored one offensive touchdown but managed to squeeze out a 16-14 win over Penn State on a game-winning field goal with eight seconds to play. Offensive coordinator Bill Cubit had some nice words of wisdom for kicker David Reisner.

A 5-6 Illinois team will meet a 5-6 Northwestern team for the right to a bowl game next week.

11. Minnesota and Wisconsin will meet for the Big Ten West title. Wisconsin eeked out a 26-24 win over Iowa, while Minnesota walked into Nebraska and came out with a 28-24 win, which means either the Fighting Jerry Kills will play for its first Big Ten title since 1967, or Wisconsin will play for its fourth Big Ten title in five years. And they’ll do so in a game where the first to 300 rushing yards wins. Someone grab me a Dilly Bar, because this should be fun. The Big Ten was a little eager to give the Badgers the division title, though.

12. We’re closing in on Decision Day for Brady Hoke. Michigan lost to Maryland 23-16 on Saturday – the Wolverines also lost to Rutgers this season, making them Jim Delany’s welcome mat – and will be heavy underdogs in Columbus next week. At 5-6, Michigan’s season in all likelihood ends next week. Interim AD Jim Hackett said yesterday that he will be the one making the decision on Hoke’s future. Really? Think about the problem that would leave Michigan with? If Hackett decides to make a change, any strong incoming head coach will want to know he will be working for. How’s that going to work out for Michigan? 

13. Nebraska is stuck on the treadmill. At 8-1, was in good shape to avoid his seventh straight four loss season. Losses to Wisconsin and Minnesota in consecutive weeks, though, means he has to beat Iowa and win the bowl game avoid the ignominious mark. Considering Nebraska’s only wins over FBS teams with winning records are 6-5 Miami and 6-5 Rutgers, does anyone feel confident that’s going to happen?

Pelini’s year-by-year record, via Wikipedia: Screen Shot 2014-11-22 at 11.35.54 PM

You have to admit, the consistency is impressive.

14. Missouri beat Tennessee (and Georgia), 29-21, but this was the play of the game.

15. Meet Samaje Perine, the new Melvin Gordon. Gordon’s FBS rushing record lasted all of one week, as the Oklahoma freshman rushed 34 times for a record 427 yards and five touchdowns. It’s a shame the laws of decency and sportsmanship pushed both players out of the game early, because both could have easily topped the 500-yard mark.

16. What in the world is this, Purdue? Purdue was apparently jealous of Northwestern’s kneel down play, so the Boilermakers called three timeouts just so they could get in a kneel of their own.

PurdueNW Northwestern won the game, 38-14.

17. Justin Fuente and Memphis are going to win the American… probably. Memphis disposed of South Florida 31-20, giving the Tigers their fifth straight win and moving them to 8-3 on the year and 6-1 in conference play. Beat Connecticut at home next week and the conference title is theirs.

18. A program that needs some good news nearly created some of their own. UAB led Marshall 18-17 midway through the fourth quarter, but quarterback Cody Clements was sacked and stripped at his own goal line, which the Herd jumped on for a touchdown. UAB’s responding drive was stopped on a 4th-and-1 at the Marshall 10-yard line with a minute to play. Bill Clark’s Blazers can clinch eligibility for the second bowl game in program history next week at UAB.

19. Georgia Southern is going to win the Sun Belt… probably. Louisiana-Lafayette’s shocking 35-16 home loss to Appalachian State leaves Georgia Southern alone in first place at 7-0. Just Louisiana-Monroe stands between Willie Fritz and a first-year conference championship.

20. Welcome to the Mountain West, Craig Bohl.

21. And finally, checking in on SMU. The Mustangs committed five turnovers, achieved four first downs, converted three third downs and punted eight times in a 53-7 loss to Central Florida.

SHARE
National columnist - Zach joined the staff in 2012...and has been attempting to improve Doug and Scott's writing ability ever since (to little avail). Outside of football season, you can find him watching the San Antonio Spurs reading Game of Thrones fan theories.