1. Louisville arrives. We knew Lamar Jackson was good. What we learned Saturday is that the rest of the team is just as good as its Allen Iverson-in-cleats, Heisman-favorite quarterback.
Jackson got his, with 13-of-20 passing for 216 yards and a touchdown, plus an end zone interception (to think this could've been worse... shudders) while rushing 17 times for 146 yards and four touchdowns.
But it was Louisville's offensive line and its defense that turned a win into a historic blowout. The Cardinals doubled up Florida State on the ground, and their 6.8 yards per carry average was the most allowed in Jimbo Fisher's 85 games as head coach. They held Florida State to its fifth-worst yards per play average (4.23) in Fisher's tenure. The 'Noles 92.4 quarterback rating was their worst in 19 games. Louisville even returned a punt for a touchdown.
It wasn't just the Cardinals' first win over a No. 1 or 2-ranked team, it was the biggest defeat of a top-2 team since 2008 and FSU's biggest loss since 1973.
2. It's not all bad for Florida State. In 2014, Ohio State lost to Virginia Tech on Sept. 6. Four months later, the Buckeyes won the national championship. In 2015, Alabama lost to Ole Miss on Sept. 19. Four months later, the Tide won the national championship.
Of course, neither of those teams lost by 43.
3. Something tells me Nick Saban will like this shootout more than the previous two blowouts. Two minutes before halftime in Oxford, Alabama found itself in a 24-3 hole -- the largest ever in an SEC game under Saban. The 28-minute mark was when Ole Miss fell apart against Florida State, and the wheels started wobbling again for the Rebels.
Two penalties gave Alabama the ball at the 50, and they turned that field position into a touchdown 37 seconds later. Then they returned a punt for a touchdown. Then the defense got involved, turning a sack deep in Rebels territory into a game-tying touchdown, 5:23 in game time after that record-setting deficit. Alabama eventually built a 48-30 lead -- that's a 45-6 run, for those scoring at home -- before holding on for a 48-43 win.
4. Urban Meyer is 53-4 with a national championship at Ohio State, but here's his most impressive statistic: 19-0. Meyer's Buckeyes have played true road games and come home a winner every time. None were more impressive than Saturday's 45-24 demolition of Oklahoma.
Think your team has weak points? Go on the road and you'll find them. Or, better yet, they'll find you. Meyer's program doesn't have any. And any spots that appear weak quickly become strengths. New receiving corps? Ohio State has an unknown catch four touchdown passes. "Basic" defense? They'll just intercept two first-half passes to shush any life out of the Norman crowd.
And if those picks didn't do it, this grab did.
7. I know we're not supposed to declare conferences out of the Playoff in September, but the Big 12 is probably out of the Playoff, right? Baylor's the only undefeated team (other than West Virginia) left, and the Bears have depth issues. Oklahoma has two losses. TCU lost to Arkansas. Oklahoma State beat Central Michigan but lost to them anyway. Texas, who left Saturday undefeated and started Sunday with a 50-43 loss to Cal, has seen the value of its Notre Dame win plummet. And no team has ever made it through the league's 9-game, round-robin schedule unscathed.
8. "There are three classic blunders in life. The most famous are: Never get involved in a land war in Asia and never go in with a Sicilian when death is on the line. Only slightly less well known is this: Never, ever let North Dakota State on your campus!" Bison 23, Hawkeyes 21. As if there ever was a doubt. North Dakota State went into Iowa City and treated Iowa like a Missouri Valley team. The Bison out-rushed Iowa by 205 yards, sat on the ball for 37 minutes and held a 21-12 first downs advantage over the No. 13 team in the country.
When winning time arrived, NDSU delivered. Trailing 21-14 to start the fourth quarter, the Bison marched 80 yards in 15 snaps and 8 minutes, 39 seconds to pull within one at 21-20. Chris Klieman called for a 2-point conversion with 3:32 remaining. It didn't work. It didn't matter. North Dakota State's defense pushed Iowa 10 yards backward on the ensuing possession, then moved 46 yards in five plays, consuming every bit of the final 1:44 as Cam Pederson banged in the game-winning 37-yard field goal.
Of the final 23 snaps in a 21-14 game, North Dakota State possessed the ball after 20 of them. This team just wins games. Six in a row of them, in fact, against FBS teams since 2010, and that streak now includes the Bison's first ranked win.
And the ESPN2 crew afterward had the gall to sell this as a stunner.
9. Speaking of going for two...Two-point math has been an evolving and ongoing conversation during this young season. North Dakota State went for two late, failed, and lived to tell about it. Oregon wasn't so fortunate. The Ducks scored five touchdowns at Nebraska, and lost 35-32.
Oregon converted a 2-point try after its first score, then tried and failed after each of its next four scores. Mark Helfrich defended the calls after the game.
Going for two has been a hallmark of Oregon football since the Chip Kelly days. It'll be interesting to see if Helf remains this committed after getting burned so often Saturday.
10. The Super 16. The Nuggets is honored to participate in the FWAA-NFF Super 16 poll this year. Here is this week's ballot.
- Ohio State
- Michigan State
- Texas A&M
- Florida State
- Ole Miss
11. Odds and Ends
a. At this point it's only fair the Fighting Flecks of Western Michigan get a shot at the Big Ten West championship. Or at least the Illinois state championship. After opening the year with a defeat of Northwestern, WMU beat Illinois 34-10. And got paid to do it.
b. After a defeat of Ohio, Prove It time is now here in Knoxville. Tennessee's next four games: vs. Florida, at Georgia, at Texas A&M, vs. Alabama. In succession.
c. Mark Richt and his Miami staff deserve a lot of credit this week. Walking into the trap of all traps, the biggest athletic event ever on Appalachian State's campus, the situation seemed to plead for an upset. The Mountaineers even crept to within 3.5 points in Vegas. Miami covered that on its first offensive play and won 45-10.
d. There's no such thing as a September Heisman candidate. That said, if there were, wouldn't you have to make room alongside Lamar Jackson for Michigan's jack-of-all-positions Jabrill Peppers?
e. Colorado's opening weekend blowout of Colorado State appears to be no fluke. The Buffs built a 21-7 lead over Michigan before succumbing 45-28. The signs of life in Boulder are nice to see.
f. Tip of the cap to the training staffs at Pittsburgh and Oklahoma State. The pair played a 2:30 local kick, before the weather forced a delay with the score tied 38-38 with 11 minutes still to play in the fourth quarter. Play didn't resume until 7:30 local time. That's about as close as you can get to playing a double-header in football.
g. That Pitt-OSU game, by the way, was the game defense forgot... until it wasn't. Pitt ran for 290 yards. Oklahoma State had a 540-yard passer and a 296-yard receiver. The score was 38-38 with 5 minutes and change left in the third quarter. Then the weather hit.
Oklahoma State won the game, 45-38.
h. Jeff Monken is getting things figured out at West Point. The Black Knights are 3-0 for the first time in 20 years after smacking UTEP 66-14.
i. How good is Houston? The Cougars can go on the road on a Thursday night, in conference play, against a coach with more wins as an unranked team over ranked opponents (read: upsets) than anyone in college football, take most of the first three quarters off, and still win 40-16. Houston recorded pick-sixes on back-to-back plays during its 28-0 fourth quarter.
j. Dabo Swinney does not care about your gambling ticket. Leading South Carolina State 45-0 at the half, the coaching staffs mutually agreed to play 12-minute third and fourth quarters. Vegas requires 55 minutes of action to pay a winning ticket. Clemson, a 59-0 winner on a 54-point spread, played 54.
k. Louisville at Clemson in two weeks. Start preparing yourself now.
l. Stanford topped USC 27-10, which makes this the first time in the 95-game history of this series the Cardinal has won three straight by double digits over the Trojans.
m. College football is a week-to-week sport: Seven days after dropping 68 on Texas Tech, Arizona State struggled its way to a 32-28 win over UTSA.
n. This hasn't been the best non-conference season for the MAC, but two strong showings on Saturday came from Akron (a 65-38 winner over Marshall) and Toledo (a 52-17 winner over Fresno State).
o. This isn't Photoshopped, but it damn sure looks like it is.
p. This isn't Photoshopped either, but I'd believe you if you said it was. This is one of the most incredible things I've ever seen, really. You have to try an onside kick, otherwise you're giving yardage away.
12. And, finally... this week's coaching point: You're not in the end zone until you're in the end zone.