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College Football Random Thoughts From Around the Country: Trojan Horses

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LSU-Troy, So Cal-Wazzu, Bama-OM and more.

Troy v LSU
This about sums it up for LSU.
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

In a weird bit of kismet, the biggest upsets of the weekend involved Trojans. One on the winning end and the other on the losing.

UPSET SPECIALS!

Syracuse v LSU
Even Waterboy can’t save this team.
Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Troy 24 LSU 21 - We all saw this coming, right? When Joe Alleva made the decision to remove “Interim” from Coach O’s job title, fans of the other SEC schools broke out in laughter and celebration. We knew this day would come. Just not so soon.

The offense was dreadful. The defense was lackadaisical. Special teams was mistake-prone. And coaching was inept. Other than that, it was a good night for LSU. The Tigers handed Troy a check for $985,000 for the honor of coming into Death Valley at night were everything is Magical® for Homecoming! for Pete’s sake and spank their behinds.

This was no flukey-ball-bounces-in-funny-ways game. Nor was it full of trickeration of any kind. It was flat out Troy being more physical on the line of scrimmage and just wanting it more.

The Men of East Troy started strong and bumped their lead up to 24-7 with just over 8 minutes to play, mostly behind the running of Jordan Chunn (191 yards and a touchdown) and four turnovers by LSU. At this point 37-year old coach Neal Brown made one of his few tactical errors, kicking a pooch kickoff that gave the Bayou Bengals the ball at midfield. All of a sudden, Danny Etling found his groove finding Russell Gage in the end zone three plays later. Troy looked to put the game on ice with a long drive but fumbled at the 9. Again, Etling put a drive together and found the end zone to make it a three point game. Troy went a quick three and out to give the Tigers one last chance but that ended in an Etling interception clinching the game for the 20.5 point underdog.

Derrius Guice did not play and don’t be surprised if he never takes another CFB snap. If that happens, LSU fans can thank Leonard Fournette for that.

Coach Brown was 4-8 in 2015, 10-3 last season, and the favorite to win the Sun Belt this year. Troy’s only loss so far this season (4-1) was at Boise. LSU should’ve hired him on the spot.

Mike Gundy is jealous.

Washington State 30 Southern Cal 27 - If you went to bed around midnight Friday like normal people, you missed this nailbiter. This late-nighter had five lead changes and four tie scores. Wazzu kicked a 32-yard field goal with 1:30 to play for a three point lead. A beautifully executed linebacker blitz gave the Cougars a wide open sack on Sam Darnold that caused the former Heisman candidate to lose the ball and clinched victory for WSU.

Ronald Jones had 128 yards rushing for the Men of West Troy but 86 came on one run. The rest of his total ground game was 13-42, 3.2 ypc. Any hope Darnold (15/29 for 164 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT) had of winning the Heisman has likely been dashed. The Trojans hope for a playoff birth is hanging by a thread.

This big win of course means Washington State has a big letdown coming their way soon, because - ya know - they are Washington State. The Coogs are at Oregon Saturday. Take the Ducks.

SEC vs PsuedoSEC

Alabama 66 Ole Miss 3 - For the second consecutive week, the Crimson Tide hung a big number on an SEC opponent. Alabama outgained the Rebs 613-253 and put up 26 first downs to 11 for OM. Again, the Tide went six-deep on running backs rounding out the day with Ronnie Clark’s 5 rushes for 22 yards and a touchdown.

Georgia 41 Tennessee 0000 - Butch Jones must have felt relief when he saw the LSU-Troy score. This meant he could share much of the national attention of finger-pointing. On a day when they UT honored Peyton Manning, the Bulldogs came in and absolutely dominated Tennessee from beginning to end. The Vols managed a meager 142 total yards and politely handed the ball to their counterparts on four occasions.

Quinten Dormady was harassed and flustered to the tune of 5 of 16 passing for 64 yards, a pair of INTs, and 8 sacks. John Kelly was held to a season low 44 rushing yards on 16 carries (2.8 ypc). UGA’s five running backs gained 280 yards on 45 attempts led by Nick Chubb (16-109). The Dawgs attempted only 17 passes. Former starting Gerogia QB Jacob Eason made his first appearance since a Week 1 injury and was 0-1 passing.

Auburn 49 Mississippi State 10 - The tailspin back to terra firma continues for the Bullies after a second straight blowout loss. Just as in the UGA game the week before, MSU got in a deep hole early and the enthusiasm just drained out of them. Nick Fitzgerald was 13-33, 157 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, and ran for 56 yds on 13 attempts. Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham showed some improvement (13/16, 264 yds, 2, 0) but did lose a fumble. Kerryon Johnson ran 23 times for 116 yds with 3 TDs. However, teammate Kamryn Pettway (5-6, 0 TD, lost fumble) was useless. MSU had 10 penalties to Auburn’s one.

Florida 38 Vanderbilt 24 - A week ago, a Gators QB finally took charge of this team. Well, that didn’t last long. Luke Del Rio fell to second quarter season-ending shoulder injury. Former starter Feleipe Franks resumed his position under center and for the most part was good enough (10/14, 185-0-0) and did not make mistakes en route to the win. UF got 124 rushing yards and two TDs from Malik Davis and three ground scores from Lamical Perine (15 att, 58 yds) behind an improving offensive line. The Florida defense held Ralph Webb and his Vandy teammates to 46 rushing yards. Kyle Shurmur had three passing scores but completed only 18 of 40 for the Dores.

STRUGGLE WINS!

Wisconsin 33 Northwestern 24 - This was a one score game with a minute to play when the Badgers’ D'Cota Dixon made a huge play - the rare game-winning safety.

Florida State 26 Wake Forest 19 - We talked about Dave Clawson and his Demon Deacons last week, so there should be no surprise that Wake put up a good fight. This was a winnable game, but in the end Wake just doesn’t have the depth. FSU needed a 40 yard TD pass from an improving James Blackman with 53 ticks remaining to stave off the upset.

SEC STRUGGLE

Kentucky 24 Eastern Michigan 20 - Two weeks after upsetting South Carolina and one week after a devastating last second loss to Florida, the Wildcats had the requisite hangover sleepwalking game, evident in quarterback Stephen Johnson’s first-snap fumble that led to an EMU touchdown. An Eagles muffed punt return and a blocked punt, coupled with a UK end-zone interception in the final seconds saved the SEC from a second humiliation on the day

Arkansas 42 New Mexico State 24 - The Razorbacks pretty much handled this game but the Aggies managed to keep it from a blowout with 344 passing yards. Arky got an encouraging rushing performance out of Devwah Whaley 19-119. Austin Allen had a season high 264 passing yards and three TDs but also threw an interception on the Hogs’ second possession.

GRAB BAG

Clemson 31 Virginia Tech 17 - The Tigers’ likely last hurdle to the playoffs was easily cleared as they took down an overmatched Hokies team in Blacksburg. QB Kelly Bryant led all rushers with 94 yards on 19 carries. However, the rest of the Tigers ran for only 52 yards. Most of the stats of this game were close to being even, except the 3 turnovers by Va Tech including a pick-six and a fumble that led to another score. Clemson did not turn the ball over.
Penn State 45 Indiana 14 - The Litany Nyons continue to batter their pathetic competition.
Michigan State 17 Iowa 10 - Remember Penn State’s big 21-19 win over Iowa last week? Yeah, it looks like anyone can do that.
Georgia Tech 33 North Carolina 7 - The Yeller Jackets are a point away from being 4-0. That crazy triple option can give middle-of-the-road teams fits. It is worth keeping an eye on Tech to see if they can wreak some havoc in the ACC.
Maryland who cares? Minnesota who cares? - Funny how ESPN kept blaring the highlights of this game like it mattered.
FAU! 38 MTSU 20 - Lane Kiffin gets his first head coaching win over an FBS school since a 17-14 win over Utah State on September 21, 2013.

THE DESMOND HOWARD JINX

The ESPN blabbermouth picked Stanford, Georgia, Wisconsin, Miami, and Okie State to win their conferences. One down, four to go.

  • Okie State - a one score win against Texas Tech does not help their resume.
  • Georgia - Weeelll, UGA is looking pretty strong... almost Bama-esque... We may have to wait til December.
  • Wisconsin - Snuck by Northwestern - wait for it.
  • Miami - @FSU Saturday followed by a visit from Georgia Tech - wait for it.
Connecticut v Central Florida
UCF on the rise again.
Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

THE NEXT BIG THING?

Everyone wants to talk about Mark Richt at Miami, Charlie Strong at South Florida, Butch Davis at FIU and Lane Kiffin at FAU! But it might be UCF’s Scott Frost who has the brightest future out of the Sunshine State. After the Knights suffered the dreaded 0-12 in 2015, Frost led his team to 6-7 last season. He now sits at 3-0 after winning at Maryland 38-10 and taking down a strong Memphis team 40-13.

The Knights have been plagued by Irma cancellations that lost them a spotlight game against Georgia Tech. That game will not be rescheduled, clearing a potential path to an undefeated regular season and a conference title. Their last obstacles are at Navy (Oct. 21) and home against USF (Nov. 24).

For you older CFB fans, you may remember Frost as the starting quarterback for Tom Osborne's undefeated 1997 Nebraska Cornhuskers that shared the national championship with Michigan. After his playing days, he honed his coaching chops under Chip Kelly and Mark Helfrich at Oregon.

This seems like the ideal hire for Nebraska but they may have some competition for his services.

tiny football

BAMA STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE

The Crimson Tide foes.

  • FSU (1-2) The ‘Noles slipped by Wake Forest for their first win. Up next, they look to ruin Miami’s season.
  • Colorado State (3-2) proves they have a potent offense beating Hawaii 51-21 with 610 total yards.
  • Fresno (2-2) over Nevada 41-21.
  • Mercer (2-3) beat VMI.

ADOPT-A-TEAM

  • San Diego State (5-0) over Northern Illinois (defeaters of Nebraska) 34-28. The Aztecs returned the opening kickoff for a score and later added a pick six. Rashaad Penny had an “off” day with only 107 yards rushing and 32 receiving. People are starting to jump on our bandwagon here with SDSU rising to #19 in the AP poll.
  • Memphis (3-1) took it on the chin to UCF 40-13.

COUSINS

We all know who little brother is. These guys are more like cousins that you hang out with on holidays.

  • South Alabama (1-4) lost again. Up next is a trip to Troy on Wednesday night (Oct. 11)! Rut-roh! You can watch but I will be tuned into the season premiere of Mr. Robot.
  • Troy (4-1) pulled a Ralphie!

STEP-BROTHER

UAB - nobody really cares, right? Their so-called fans sure don’t.

RS-Patriot

SALUTE TO OUR TROOPS

  • Air Force (1-3) - The Falcons lost to New Mexico 56-38. Next is Round 1 of the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy at Navy.
  • Army (3-2) - The Black Knights dumped UTEP 35-21, who promptly fired their head coach and OC. Up next is a trip to Rice and what should be win #4.
  • Navy (4-0) - The Midshipmen overcame a 14-0 first quarter hole to defeat Tulsa 31-21. They host Air Force.
boxers

ELIMINATED

NEW: The rest of the ACC outside of Clemson, Texas Tech, LSWho?, Minnesota, Iowa, Colorado, Cal.

All non-Power 5 teams.
Arizona
Arizona State
Arkansas
Baylor
Boston College
BYU
Florida State
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa State
Kansas
Maryland
Michigan State
Mizzou
Nebraska
North Carolina
Northwestern
Oregon
Oregon State
Pitt
Purdue
Rutgers
South Carolina
Stanford
Syracuse
Tennessee
Tejas
UCLA
Vanderbilt
Virginia

AND... Ole Miss

THE CONTENDERS

A way WAY WAY too early look at the College Football Playoff (CFP) picture:

  • ACC - Clemson... That is all.
  • Big Ten - Are any of you impressed with Wisconsin, Penn State, Or Michigan? Wisky and PSU have yet to play anyone worth bragging about. With Michy, it’s a struggle every time out. Ohio State might still be the best of this bunch.
  • Big 12 - Okie and barely TCU. Okie State is not getting in.
  • PAC-12 - Washington does not play anyone worth a diddly until November. Wazzu and Utah are both undefeated but that can’t last. May not last the week!
  • SEC - Both Alabama and UGA could get in. Auburn and Florida need some help.
  • Indies - Notre Dame, BYU - #LoLNope

FINAL FOUR (ACCORDING TO THE NUMBSKULLS)

This is where we are, Bama Nation. The hate for Alabama is strong and the others all want a new toy. And that toy is Clemson - just like it was Ohio State a couple of years ago.

  • What does it say about the ACC that middle-of-the-road rebuilding Virginia Tech was the last obstacle keeping Clemson from going 12-0? AYE-SEE-SEE! AYE-SEE-SEE! AYE-SEE-SEE!
  • Alabama. I guess outscoring Vandy and OM 125-3 isn’t good enough to keep them ahead of Clemson, huh?

After the above two, it gets a little murky.

  • Oklahoma did not play this week. Out of sight, out of mind allows them to stay where they are.
  • The Penn State crush is still intact, even though they have yet to meet a ranked team and have played 4 home games. Their one road game was a 2-point win at the buzzer versus @big bad@ Iowa. All of PSU’s opponents faced so far have at least 2 losses.

+ UGA is starting to get some attention.

Kristi Malzahn

Krazy Kristi's "SHUT UP!" of the Week goes to SEC AD’s.

If you have not heard, LSU walking punchline Ed Orgeron has a $12 million buyout. Bret Bielema will be owed an unbelievable $15.4 million if Arkansas fires him before January 1, and $11.7 million after. Bielema’s original 2017 buyout from his initial 2012 contract was just $6.4 million. But Arky AD Jeff Long more than doubled it following Arkansas’ 7-6 2014 campaign. At Tennessee, the exact buyout of Butch Jones isn’t certain, but it’s believed to be around $9.2+ million.

To this, Kristi asks: Why are ADs casually handing out these massive buyouts like they are bar napkins? Why do they keep extending contracts and increasing buyouts as a reward for mediocrity? The biggest question of all is why offer them at all?

Now think about this for a minute. At LSU, Joe Alleva fired Les Miles midway through last season and made Ed Orgeron the interim coach. Coach O failed miserably at Ole Miss (10–25, 3–21 SEC) and it was thought his head coaching days were shot. Yet, the LSU AD fell for some Cajun voodoo and made O the full-time head coach. Orgeron made it well known that LSU was his dream job. He probably would have taken $1 million or less for this opportunity. But Alleva gave him a five-year deal worth $3.5 million per year (26th highest in FBS) and that whopping $12 million buyout! For what purpose? Did he think Ed would not taken the job without one??? Did Alleva think they might “lose” him to another school???? I am willing to bet that if Alleva said “Ed, we’d like to offer you the job at $1M per year with heavy incentives and no buyouts,” Ed would’ve grumbled “fais mon believe ahm gawn doit!” His agent may have said “whoa, hold on here. If there is no buyout, we walk.” To which any sane person would respond “sorry to hear that. Should I call you an Uber?”

Meanwhile at Oklahoma, Joe Castiglione gave Lincoln Riley a five-year deal worth an average of $3.5 million annually. Riley will make $3.1 million his first season. Instead of a buyout, he will receive a $500,000 “annual stay” bonus that pays each June 1 should Riley remain coach by that date.

Truth be told, there are probably only a handful of coaches who deserve a buyout because you want need them to stay because you’d be hard pressed to do much better. Orgeron, Bielema and Butch are not in that category.

TIGHT END NAMES OF THE WEEK

Memphis’ Joey Magnifico (I wonder if his middle name is “The”) and Arizona State’s Ceejhay French-Love.

STATS OF THE DAY

  • 0 = The Alabama defense held the Ole Miss offense to 0-13 on 3rd down and 0-2 on 4th down. The Crimson Tide remain the only FBS or FCS team with 0 turnovers.
  • Sam Darnold was sacked only six times all of last year. He has been sacked nine times through Southern Cal's first five games this year.
Gump 4 Heisman

HEISMAN HYPE

With the exception of TWO YEARS, the Heisman Trophy voting is basically a hype award. Last year was yet another exhibit of the voters falling in love with someone way too early. That being the case, we'll bring you "Who Will Win" and "Who Should Win".

  • Who Will Win -
    Saquon Barkley - (RB Penn State) James Franklin blatantly put his RB on display and the blabbermouths ate it up! Why else would he gamble with having him returning kickoffs. With a 38-14 lead and 6 minutes to go, what would most coaches do? RTDB, right? Not Franklin. He kept passing the ball with the final pass being from Barkley for a 16 yard score. Stay classy, Franklin.
    Baker Mayfield (QB Oklahoma) The Sooners did not play.
    Sam Darnold (QB Southern Cal) He is pretty much out of it now. He had an opportunity for the requisite "Heisman moment" and fumbled it away.
    Lamar Jackson (QB Louisville) Obligatory defending champ mention.

Who Should Win -

  • Last week I almost included Stanford RB Bryce Love on my list but to be honest, I really haven’t seen/noticed him play. After the Cardinal were trounced by Southern Cal, I stopped giving them any attention. I am not going to be one of those guys who jumps on a bandwagon because of numbers in a box score. Of course that has not and will not stop the idiots who actually have votes.
  • One guy I have seen and is getting absolutely no love is Jalen Hurts. He has shown marked improvement and has this offense humming like a Testarossa. The problem is that he utterly destroys his opponents to an extent that he goes to the sidelines so Tua can get some snaps. Meanwhile, these other guys are needed to stay in games to the end and put up big numbers.
NCAA Football: South Carolina at Texas A&M
South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver Terry Googer gives a thumbs up to the crowd as he is carted off the field during the first quarter against the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

THE SICK REPORT

  • Ho hum, just another BIG win for Alabama. But this one came at a cost. After a dirty cut block by an Ole Miss tight end Dawson Knox, Da’Shawn Hand left the game with what Nick Saban called a strained MCL. No penalty was called. The senior defensive lineman tweeted on Sunday that he would “Be back sooner than later.” As reported in Monday’s Jumbo Package, Hand will reportedly be out 3-4 weeks - which is good news considering the alternatives. Alabama plays TAMU, Arky, TSIO, and then a bye week before LSU. I would assume he would be back for LSU.
  • Also falling to injury was kick returner and back-up DB Trevon Diggs who sprained an ankle and was seen on the sideline on crutches. He will reportedly miss 2-3 weeks. IMHO, I’d be surprised to see him returning kicks before the LSU game. Henry Ruggs did fine in his stead. The Tide hasn’t had many opportunities to return kickoffs lately, so who knows who will take over that duty?
  • Why didn’t we see this coming? Luke Del Rio finally takes control of the Florida Gators and he gets knocked out of the game. The redshirt junior had surgery on Monday and miss the rest of the season with a broken collarbone.
  • South Carolina wide receiver Terry Googer injured his neck on a freak fall during punt coverage. The game came to a halt in the first quarter for a long period of as the Gamecock was tended to, eventually leaving the field on a cart.
  • When Alabama meets Texas A&M on Saturday, the Aggies will be without WR Camron Buckley for the first half. The true freshman was ejected in the fourth quarter against South Carolina for targeting.
  • Former Purdue coach Joe Tiller, who led the Boilermakers to the 2000 Big Ten championship and became the school's all-time coaching wins leader, died early Saturday at his home in Buffalo, Wyoming. He was 74. Tiller coached Purdue from 1997 to 2008, going 87-62 with only two losing seasons. Including six previous seasons at Wyoming, he was 126–92–1.
  • In other news, James Franklin is still an dipwad.
Black and White TV

It is the rare occasion when Alabama fans are glad that Auburn is whupping up on their opponent. Saturday was one of those moments. ESPN had allotted for only three hours for the Tigers to complete their game with Mississippi State. Anyone with a slight familiarity with college football in the 2010’s knows there is no way that game fits that time frame. In past years, the 4-letter network just keeps on showing a game that runs long, even though another game is scheduled and even if it is a blowout. In this instance, the scheduled game was Alabama-Ole Miss - that was already starting late in the evening. I honestly believe that aided by your Tweeting, ESPN saw the wisdom in switching Aubie to the ESPNews outpost, and giving the nation the marquee team at it’s regularly scheduled time. For the record, Bama-OM received better TV ratings than Aub-MSU.

Below are just the highlights for games this weekend. If you want to know the game time of ULL-Idaho, you should probably look elsewhere.

Wednesday, Oct 4:

Arkansas State at Georgia Southern 7pm/8pm ESPN2 - Combined 1-5 record for these two lame teams. For CFB junkies only.

Thursday, Oct 5:

Louisville at NC State 7pm/8pm ESPN - ACC Consolation Game.

Friday, Oct 6:

Memphis at UConn 7pm/8pm ESPN - This game has lost some sparkle after the Tigers fell to UCF this past weekend.
Boise at BYU 9:15/10:15 ESPN - This game looked interesting about a month or so ago. Now... not so much.

Saturday, Oct 7:

SEC:

Georgia at Vanderbilt 11am/noon ESPN - A real test for Kirby Smart as to whether he can keep his team from getting full of themselves.
Ole Miss at Auburn 11am/noon SECN - Second week in a row Aubie gets a team who was battered and broken the week before.
LSU at Florida 2:30/3:30 CBS - Have the Tigers given up?
Arkansas at South Carolina 3pm/4pm SECN - Probably the most evenly matched SEC game of the day.
Missouri at Kentucky 6:30/7:30 SECN - A chance for UK to right the ship.
* Tennessee and Missy State get an extra week to stew over their utter humiliation at the hands of UGA and Aubie respectively.

COMMANDER IN CHIEF ROUND 1:

Air Force at Navy 2:30/3:30 CBSSN

POTENTIAL CHAOS:

Wake Forest at Clemson 11am/noon ESPN2 - There is a chance that... nah. There isn’t.
Penn State at Northwestern 11am/noon ABC - NW has a history of peskiness.
Miami at Florida State 2:30/3:30 ESPN - This will be a devastating loss for either team, but for different reasons.
West Virginia at TCU 2:30/3:30 FS1 - TCU is still in the CFP running.
Michigan State at Michigan 6:30/7:30 ABC - Remember this?
Stanford at Utah 9:15/10:15 FS1 - Is this the week the Utes are removed from the company of unbeatens?
Cal at Washington 9:30/10:45 ESPN - It is not much, but finally the Huskies face a challenge.

CAN’T SLEEP?

Hawaii at Nevada 9:30/10:30 CBSSN
San Diego State at UNLV 9:30/10:45 ESPN2 - This should be one sided game.

NCAA Football: Alabama at Vanderbilt
What goes up, does not always necessarily come down.
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

#ALABAMA

GAME 6 - Saturday, October 7, 2017

ALABAMA at Texas A&M 6:15/7:15 ESPN

Kyle Field, College Station, TX

Alabama is an early -25½ point favorite.

Peace and blessings to you all!

#RollTide!

Poll

Ed Orgeron will be fired:

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Sometime in the next four games (Fla, Aub, OM, Ala).
    (55 votes)
  • 33%
    After the 2017 season.
    (198 votes)
  • 36%
    After the 2018 season.
    (216 votes)
  • 8%
    Beyond 2018.
    (47 votes)
  • 11%
    Never. He will stay at LSU until he dies at the ripe old age of 108.
    (68 votes)
584 votes total Vote Now