1. The good folks at CBS spend much of the scoreless first three quarters that this year's LSU-Alabama game was a mirror of a certain 2011 Tigers-Tide game. They were half right. Saturday's 10-0 Tide win wasn't a successor to the 9-6 "Game of the Century" in Tuscaloosa, but instead the rematch, a 21-0 Alabama flattening where LSU was good enough to stick around for three quarters but never good enough to convince you they might win.
After opening the offense up against non-elite competition, LSU's offensive numbers looked like they did in other losses to the Tide in a streak that's now reached six straight games: 92 passing yards, 33 rushing yards on 1.2 per carry, 51 total plays, six first downs. Dave Aranda's defensive plan of hemming in Jalen Hurts at all costs was sound and successful but eventually buckled after the offense never got anything going.
Now, the obvious question: where does this leave Ed Orgeron in his quest to win the full-time job? LSU is 3-1 since its mid-season rebirth with three blowouts, tonight's loss and three opportunities to gain impressive victories ahead: at Arkansas on Saturday, vs. Florida in the Hurricane Bowl on Nov. 19 and at Texas A&M on Thanksgiving night. Sweep those, and O will have put together a strong argument.
But if the standard is Beat Alabama Or Else, well, Joe Alleva never intended to allow Orgeron to win the job in the first place.
2. Ohio State eliminated Nebraska from the College Football Playoff race. And did they ever.
The Buckeyes treated the Huskers like Tom Osborne used to treat the Big 8: Ohio State 62, Nebraska 3. It was Big Red's worst loss since a 70-10 whitewashing at Texas Tech in 2004 and, sadly, the club's second time allowing 60-plus in two trips to the Horseshoe since joining the Big Ten.
Ohio State threw for 352 yards and rushed for 238. Nebraska gained 204 total yards. You get the point. Faux Pelini doesn't.
Not only were their national championship hopes dashed, Nebraska now needs help to reach the Big Ten championship. Thanks to last week's overtime loss in Madison, Wisconsin now holds first place in the Big Ten West.
2a. Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong took a hard fall and was briefly knocked unconscious after slamming his helmet onto the Ohio Stadium turf. He was placed on a board and taken to a local hospital only to walk on his own power back to the sideline when everything checked out okay.
2c. While Ohio State took care of business on Saturday night, Michigan did the same in the afternoon. Michigan 59, Maryland 3. Michigan threw for 387 yards and rushed for 273, averaging an even 11 yards per play on 60 snaps.
We only have two more weeks of watching Ohio State and Michigan conduct a proxy war against the rest of the Big Ten before they're finally forced to drop their nukes on each other on Nov. 26.
3. Washington will not win the Pac-12 North without a fight. Who'd have thought beating Stanford and Oregon would be the easy part of Washington's march through the regular season?
Mike Leach spent September calling out his team after opening the season with losses to Eastern Washington and Boise State. It worked.
The Cougars have ripped off seven straight wins, and Saturday's might have been the most impressive of the bunch. Wazzu throttled an (admittedly down) Arizona team, 69-7 on the Palouse. Coordinator Alex Grinch's defense forced more incompletions than completions and more interceptions and touchdowns, while Wazzu quarterback Luke Falk fired more touchdowns (four) than incompletions (three) in 35 attempts.
Meanwhile, next week's opponent -- USC -- continues to look like one of the nation's most-improved teams. In throttling an (admittedly down) Oregon team 45-20, the Trojans got 309 yards from redshirt freshman quarterback Sam Darnold and 171 rushing yards and four scores from running back Ronald Jones. A team that was once 1-3 and left for dead is now 6-3, in the thick of the Pac-12 South race and a legitimate upset threat next week in Seattle.
4. Navy treated Notre Dame like a boa constrictor treats a rabbit. The Irish led the Midshipmen 17-14 at halftime. They touched the ball two more times.
Navy opened the half by moving 75 yards and seven plays in 3 minutes, 52 seconds -- downright Baylor-like by their standards. Notre Dame answered with a long touchdown drive of its own to re-take the lead at 24-21. The Middies then embarked on a 16-play, 75-yard, 9-minute drive -- lasting from the 5:51 mark of the third quarter to the 11:51 mark of the fourth -- to re-take the lead at 28-24. Notre Dame moved to the Navy 14-yard line before Brian Kelly settled for a 4th-and-4 field goal, thinking he'd surely get the ball back with 7:28 still remaining.
He didn't get the ball back.
Navy exhausted all 448 of the game's remaining seconds, exhausting the Irish's two remaining timeouts and using two of its own before sitting on the ball at the Notre Dame 15 to secure a 28-27 win, the academy's fourth triumph over Notre Dame in the last half-century.
5. Remember when the CFP committee ranked Texas A&M ahead of Washington and made everybody mad? Yeah... about that. That manufactured controversy lasted all of five days.
Texas A&M played a classic sleepwalk game -- 11 a.m. local time, on the road, against a team you're supposed to beat -- and Mississippi State made them pay. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 28-7 lead, the Aggies lost quarterback Trevor Knight for two-thirds of the game and, one 35-28 upset later, Texas A&M won't be No. 4 in the CFP rankings two days from now.
6. NovemBERT strikes again. Three years in now, it's clear that Bret Bielema's program is a Big Green Egg. It's going to take awhile for the contents inside to cook, but once it does it's pretty darn good.
The latest example: Arkansas 31, No. 11 Florida 10.
The Hogs out-rushed Florida 223-12 and scored more touchdowns on defense than the Gators did on offense -- Florida's only score came on a pick six -- securing the program's first win over Florida in 10 tries since joining the SEC nearly 25 years ago.
Arkansas's win continued two trends. First, it's another example of how the SEC's divisions have become as lopsided as the Big 12's North and South divisions ever were.
And second, it continues the night-and-day dichotomy of Arkansas's fortunes under Bielema before and after Halloween.
Wins vs. Ranked Teams
Wins vs. Ranked Teams
Reminder: Arkansas hosts LSU next week.
7. Texas wins... with defense? The final score may not reflect it, but Texas's 45-37 must-have defeat of Texas Tech was full of great defensive moments from a much-maligned Longhorns defense.
Start with the raw numbers. Patrick Mahomes hit 36-of-59 passes for 367 yards with three touchdowns and one interceptions -- numbers that look good on the surface, but were below the nation's leading-passer's season averages for completion percentage, yards per attempt, total yards and touchdowns. The Longhorns held the Red Raiders' offense to 30 points (more on that in a minute) and forced five punts, the same offense that scored 59 points and punted twice in their most recent home game. (To be fair, Texas Tech did need double overtime to hit 27 points in a win at TCU last week.)
But it's not about raw numbers in the post-defense era of the Big 12. The Longhorns played effective situational defense in beating the Red Raiders. They shut out Tech in the second quarter, limiting Mahomes to 2-of-6 passing for 15 yards. They forced a fumble to end what would have been a sure scoring drive in the third. They sacked Mahomes three times, and all three of them ended drives. And on three consecutive drives with Texas Tech needing a touchdown and a 2-point conversion to tie the game, Texas forced a 3-and-out, stuffed a quarterback sneak on a 4th-and-1 and secured the win by intercepting Mahomes in the end zone with nine seconds remaining.
It's a 2-game win streak for Strong, both against in-state foes, at a time when he's never needed a 2-game win streak more. With West Virginia and TCU coming to Austin and the 'Horns' only remaining road at Kansas, there's a prime opportunity here for Strong to build real momentum.
Are we sure the final score shouldn't have been 52-30? One can never know the butterfly effect a second quarter call would have, but I'm still not convinced D'Onta Foreman didn't cross the goal line here on what will go down as one of the wildest plays of the season.
No matter, Foreman still finished with one of the best running days in school history: 33 carries, 341 yards and three touchdowns. Unfortunately for him, the nation's second-leading rusher will most likely lose the Doak Walker Award to San Diego State's Donnell Pumphrey, who entered Saturday 25 yards per game ahead of Foreman and on track to break the FBS all-time rushing record. 8. The Super 16. The Nuggets is honored to vote in this year's FWAA-NFF Super 16 poll. Here's this week's ballot.
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- Texas A&M
- Washington State
- Oklahoma State
9. Odds and Ends.
a. Give Dino Babers credit for honesty. Earlier this week he was asked if his Syracuse bunch could upset Clemson at Clemson. His answer? "If we can get a couple bounces our way, then maybe, maybe we have a chance. But don't bet the house on it, brother." His Orange didn't get the bounces, and Clemson won 54-0.
b. He does his best to hide it from you at times, but Bill Snyder have a sense of humor. This after his Wildcats lost 43-37 to Oklahoma State in Manhattan.
c. I had to see this image scroll across my timeline, so now you do, too.
d. Scott Frost may just run away with the 2016 Best First Year Head Coach Award. His Knights thumped Tulane 37-6 on Saturday, and now a team that didn't win a game a year ago is a victory away from going bowling.
e. Tracy Claeys just keeps winning. His Gophers topped Purdue 44-31 to move Minnesota to 7-2 on the year. They've won four straight while averaging 37.3 points a game during the streak.
f. Boston College points: 7. Lamar Jackson touchdowns: 7.
g. Here's what Bobby Petrino had to say after Louisville's 52-7 thumping of BC in regards to his Cardinals coming in at No. 7 in the first CFP rankings:
h. Granted I deserve absolutely zero credit for pointing this out after the fact considering I picked Baylor to win the game, but TCU's 62-22 throttling of Baylor wasn't exactly surprising. This season, and this month, specifically, has been a task of pushing a boulder up a hill for Baylor's players. They started the season with depth issues and dealt with some, uh, unique and ongoing distractions. Meanwhile, TCU has been an inconsistent yet well-coached team threatening to put it together at any point. It makes sense that holy war rival Baylor would bring that type of effort out of the Frogs.
i. Assuming he can beat Western Carolina in two weeks -- nevermind a legitimate upset chance at Florida next week -- Will Muschamp will take South Carolina to a bowl game after being picked last in the SEC East. Should-be high school senior Jake Bentley hit 22-of-28 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He's definitely going to be First Team All-State.
j. Had Kentucky beaten Georgia, the Wildcats would've needed two entirely plausible results to fall their way -- beat Tennessee in Lexington next week, have LSU beat Florida in Baton Rouge a week later -- to secure the program's first SEC East championship. But the 'Cats couldn't hold a 21-13 third quarter lead, and a 25-yard field goal as time expired gave Georgia a much-needed 27-24 win.
k. With that result in the books, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky and South Carolina remain alive to win the SEC East. Given what's (likely) coming out of the West, can you blame the East for passing around the lead like a flaming hot potato?
l. The A&M loss means Auburn controls its own destiny in the SEC West. Seems like a long time since we thought LSU won in Jordan-Hare for those 15 seconds, doesn't it?
j. BYU beat Cincinnati 20-3 and Tommy Tuberville had an incident after the game.
k. Philip Montgomery continues to get it done at Tulsa. His Golden Hurricane are 7-2 and 4-1 in the AAC after beating East Carolina 45-24.
l. It simply tests the limits of the imagination that Michigan State is now 2-7 after losing 31-27 to Illinois.
m. North Carolina has scored 35 points or more in six of their last eight games after dropping a 48-20 decision on Georgia Tech.
n. Playing just its second season in Conference USA, Charlotte is now 4-5 and a winner in three of its last four after winning at Southern Miss, 38-27.
o. They seem downright grandfatherly compared to Charlotte, but Old Dominion is 6-3 in its third Conference USA season, winning five of its past six, including a 38-14 blowout of Marshall on Saturday.
p. The Clawsoning is still ongoing in Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons are bowl eligible with a 27-20 win over Virginia.
q. Louisiana Tech is averaging 52.2 points per game on its ongoing 5-game winning streak.
10. And, finally.... The greatest moment in college football history was recreated Saturday night in Berkeley.