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Random Thoughts From Around the Country: ACC Falls Flat

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One-third of the way through.

Virginia Tech v Old Dominion
David Slays Goliath.
Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images

It seems like only yesterday we were fretting over who would be the starting quarterback for the Crimson Tide. Now suddenly, here we sit heading into Game 5 and one-third of the regular season over with and done. Times flies when you are having fun.

Alabama started the season on top and remain in that spot. Many of the other favorites such as UGA, Clemson, Okie and the Enablers have milled around the crest as well. Other teams who were thought to perhaps make some noise have already fallen by the wayside, while a few others have surprised.

THE LEADER OF THE PACK

ALABAMA 45 Texas A&M 23

The Crimson Tide got a real test on Saturday from Kellen Mond & Company. The Aggies QB gashed and slashed his way to 112 rushing yards by halftime but that number fell below the century mark to 98 by the end of the game. Credit goes to the Tide defensive front led by Isaiah Buggs’ three sacks and two QBH. The defense also picked off two passes but had a few breakdowns in covering tight ends and keeping containment.

On offense, Tua and the passing game are second to none. However, the run game had a hard time getting going. The Tide almost got held to under 100 yards rushing for the first time in I don’t know how many years. The total was 109 yards with an inadequate average of 3.9 ypc. (How’s my anti-rat poison?)

Alabama still ranks at the top in point differential:

Rank Team Off Def Diff
1 Alabama 53.8 12.8 41.0
2 Ohio State 54.5 17.0 37.5
3 Penn State 55.5 19.5 36.0
4 North Texas 48.8 15.8 33.0
5 UCF 50.0 17.7 32.3
6 Appalachian State 51.7 20.3 31.4
7 Georgia 44.5 13.3 31.2
8 West Virginia 42.3 12.3 30.0
9 Syracuse 49.5 20.0 29.5
10 Fresno State 43.7 16.0 27.7
11 Utah State 51.5 23.8 27.7
12 Michigan 41.8 14.3 27.5
13 Memphis 49.5 23.3 26.2
14 Mississippi State 39.3 13.5 25.8
15 Clemson 40.8 15.3 25.5
16 Florida 41.0 16.0 25.0
17 Miami (Florida) 43.5 18.5 25.0
18 Texas Tech 52.0 28.3 23.7
19 Oklahoma 44.3 20.8 23.5
20 Colorado 41.0 18.3 22.7

ESS-EE-SEE

Kentucky 28 Mississippi State 7 - Seemingly out of nowhere, the Wildcats have put together a strong team. Benny Snell rushed for 165 yards and scored four touchdowns, while a stout UK defense shutdown Nick Fitzgerald (165 total yards).
Georgia 43 Missouri 29 - But let’s get real. It’s UGA’s world in the East. Everyone else is just playing for second. UGA’s Jake Fromm (13-23, 260 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT) outpassed Mizzou gunslinger Drew Lock (23-48, 221 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT, 1 fumble). The Dawgs had a 64 yard scoop & score and a blocked punt returned for another TD to jump to a 20-7 halftime lead.
Florida 47 Tennessee 21 - Steve Spurrier famously quipped: “You can’t spell Citrus without U-T.” At this point, the Vols fans would be thrilled with a Citrus Bowl birth. On a night when the Vols celebrated their 1998 national championship team (Gee, I wonder whose big fat ego came up with that idea), the current team had six turnovers and made Feleipe Franks look good which is quite a feat in itself. The Gators QB threw touchdown passes and ran for a fourth score.
South Carolina 37 Vanderbilt 14 - SC’s Shi Smith caught 5 passes for 119 yds and a TD. Rico Dowdle had 112 yards on the ground and a score. The Gamecocks went from “they gonna challenge UGA” to “they gonna be challenged by Vandy” in the matter of weeks. Who are these guys? I guess we’ll find out Saturday night in Lexington.
LSU 38 Louisiana Tech 21 - The Bayou Bengals jumped out to a 24-0 lead and decided to set their sights on Ole Miss. La Tech came back to score the next 21 points before Clyde Edwards-Helaire (136 rushing yards) and Nick Brossette (3 rushing TDs) grounded LaTech down. Joe Burrow actually complete more than 50% of his passes! I guess this means the SEC will go ahead and name him Player of the Year.
Auburn 34 Arkansas 3 - The score of this game could be a little misleading. Both teams had 13 first downs and Arky actually outgained Aubie 290 to 225. The difference was in the Razorbacks’ fundamental mistakes. They turned the ball over twice and gave up a 96 yard kickoff return for a score. They also allowed Ryan Davis to return punts 48 and 36 yards.
Ole Miss 38 Kent State 17 - It was 21-17 in the third before the Ackbars could take over. They would allow only one first down from that point while scoring on their last three possessions (not counting the run-out-the-clock final drive). The bad news is OM had to play their starters most of the way a week before facing LSU.

ACC LOLs

Last week it was the Big Ten with the faceplants. This week it was the ACC.

Old Dominion 49 Virginia Tech 35 - ODU QB Blake LaRussa came off the bench to throw for 495 yards and four TDs as Old Dominion stunned Virginia Tech for its first win over a Power 5 program. Jeremy Cox who had yet to rush for more than 46 yards or find the end zone had 130 yards and 2 TDs. This is why you don’t play little brother and especially not in their house.
Liberty, who is in their first year in FBS, beat Old Dominion 52-10. The Monarchs also lost to FIU and Charlotte before taking down #13 Va Tech for their first win of the season.

Purdue 30 Boston College 13 - BC found themselves ranked (#23) for the first time since George W. Bush was President (2008). A bad loss to a previously winless team will rectify that. BC’s A.J. Dillon was held to 59 yards on 19 carries and was denied the end zone.
Notre Dame 56 Wake Forest 27 - Brian Kelly finally wised up and found a nice comfy spot on the bench for QB Brandon Wimbush. Ian Book was 25-34 for 325, 2 TD and no picks. Some of the flapping gums actually picked Wake to upset the Irish.
Virginia 27 Louisville 3 - Alabama done killt another team!

SURPRISE, SURPRISE, SURPRISE!

Along with Kentucky, two other “basketball schools” sit at 4-0:

Duke 55 North Carolina Central 13 - Wins over Army and Baylor look good. You gotta love Bama grad David Cutcliffe. However, the next test is a pissed off Virginia Tech.

Syracuse 51, UConn 21 - The Orange could’ve had a letdown after their dismantling of FSU but did not. Unfortunately for them, they play the juggernaut that is Clemson on Saturday.

Another surprise undefeated team is Cincinnati. There is something to be said for excising Tommy Tuberville from your program. In his second season, Ohio State pariah Luke Fickell has already matched the Bearcats win total from 2017 at 4-0. Could they challenge UCF and USF in the AAC down the road?

video

WILD WILD WEST

Stanford 38 Oregon 31 (OT) - The Ducks had two of the most costliest turnovers you may ever see. Oregon had first and goal on the 1, about to go up 31-7. A bad snap was scooped up by a Cardinal player and returned for a score making it 24-14. The Quack Attack would rebuild their lead to 31-28 and was trying to run out the clock when a fumble near midfield with 51 ticks gave Stanford the ball back. The Trees drove just enough to kick a field goal and send the game into overtime. Fittingly, Oregon threw an INT to end the game.
Oklahoma 28 Army 21 (OT) - The Sooners struggled with the Black Knights triple option. Army had the ball for 44:41 and ran 87 plays to Oklahoma’s 40. Sooners LB Kenneth Murray had 6 solo tackles and 22 assists. LB Curtis Bolton had 8 and 15.
Southern Cal 39 Washington State 36 - Wazzu led this game 36-31 before giving up a late score. The Cougars had a chacne to tie it with 1:41 left but a 38-yard field goal was blocked and the Trojans ran out the clock.
Texas Tech 41 Oklahoma State 17 - After an opening weekend loss to Ole Miss, the Red Raiders have reeled off three straight wins including this triumph over the #15 Cowboys. Tech outgained Okie Lite 621 to 386.
Texas 31 TCU 16 - Well. Here we go again. Tejas is suddenly back now. Again. Suddenly, Sam Ehlinger is the greatest quarterback since Bobby Layne. The ‘Horns are at K-State and then have the Red River Shootout. They’ll be back in the Meltdown in no time.
Michigan 56 Nebraska 10 - I am sorry but Scott Frost deserves this. #GrudgesAreForever
Wisconsin 28 Iowa 17 - The Hawkeyes led this game late at 17-14 until Wisky put together a drive of 10 plays, 88 yards, lasting 4:43 and scoring the go-ahead TD with 57 ticks left. Iowa threw an INT in their next possession and the Badgers punched one more in. Classy.

Okay, this turnover thing is getting ridiculous.

NO FLY ZONA

Arizona 35 Oregon State 14 - Arizona WINS TWO IN A ROW! Give Sumlin an extension!
Washington 27 Arizona State 20 - Hermie loses his second in a row. FIRE HIM!

CAPTION CONTEST

Hey. Feleipe. Feleipe. Like this song? I picked it out. Watcha doing after the game? My wife is outta town. Wanna go hit happy hour at Hooters? I got a Groupon.”

Let’s see your entries in comments. Winner gets 15% off hairplugs at JuanJohn’s Hair Emporium, 3417 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33135. Ask for Jorge.

THE WACKY WORLD OF DESMOND HOWARD

No real changes but Herbie and I may have a day of reckoning with our PSU picks.

  • DESI - Alabama, Clemson, Michigan, West Virginia, Washington. Mich over WVU; Bama over UW; Mich over Bama.
  • CORSO - Georgia, Clemson, Wisconsin, Texas, Washington. Clemson over UW; Wisky over UGA; Wisky over Clemson.
  • HERBIE - Alabama, Clemson, Penn State, Oklahoma, Washington. Bama over UW; Clemson over PSU; Bama over Clemson.

MY PICKS

  • Alabama, Clemson, Penn State, Oklahoma, Washington. Bama over Okie; Clemson over PSU; Bama over Clemson.

BAMA STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE

Not much help here this week.

  • Louisville - The Cardinals (2-2) looked dreadful (214 yards, 3 turnovers) falling to Virginia 27-3. Up next, it’s FSU - remember just a few years ago how important this game was?
  • Arkansas State (3-1) - The Red Wolves escaped UNLV with a fourth quarter touchdown to win 27-20. ASU now heads to Georgia Southern for one of them thar triple option attacks.
  • La-Laf (Sept 29) - The Ragin’ Cajuns (1-2) lost to Coastal Carolina 30-28 at home. Yeah. They are bad.
  • Citadel (Nov 17) - The Fightin’ Cupcakes (1-2) beat Mercer.

ADOPT-A-TEAM

  • FAU! (2-2) - The Owls could not keep up with UCF on Friday losing 56-36. They travel to MTSU.
  • Hawaii (4-1) The Rainbow Warriors beat FCS Duquesne 42-21. At least the Dukes got an awesome trip to Hawaii out of it. Up next for the Islanders is a trip to San Jose State.

COUSINS

  • Troy (3-1) - The Trojans built a 35-7 halftime lead. Despite taking the foot off the gas, they held off UL-Monroe 35-27 and avoided the letdown monster. Next on the docket is Coastal Carolina.
  • South Alabama (1-3) - Despite Evan Orth’s big passing day (24-32, 360 yds, 3 TD), the Jags got blasted by Memphis 52-35. Another road game for USA, this time to App State.

THAT ANNOYING STEP-BROTHER

UAB (2-1) - The Blazers had a week off to count all the money the football program is making for the university. Charlotte is up next.

RS-Patriot

SALUTE TO OUR TROOPS

  • Army (2-2) - The Black Knights took Oklahoma to overtime but the Sooners prevailed 28-21. Buffalo is next.
  • Navy (2-2) The Midshipmen also lost in OT when SMU converted a two-point conversion for the 31-30 win. The Middies have this week off to prep for Air Force.
  • Air Force (1-2) - The Falcons lost to Utah State 42-32. They next host Nevada.
boxers

ELIMINATED

Only 16 Power 5 teams remain unbeaten. 26 have one loss.

NEW:
Texas A&M - Normally, you would think that having only two losses on the season at the hands of Alabama and Clemson would be enough to leave some whisker of hope. However, when said team is in the same division as Alabama, chances are they will not make the playoffs.
Boston College - Done.
Indiana - Start planning for basketball season.
Iowa - It only takes one.
Oklahoma State - Getting blown out at home to Texas Tech qualifies as elimination.
TCU - Two losses in a row.
Virginia Tech - Losing to Old Dominion? Yeah, that’ll do it.

All non-Power 5 teams.
Ole Miss
Tennessee
Arkansas
Arizona
Arizona State
Baylor
BYU
FSU
Georgia Tech
Illinois
Iowa State
Kansas State
Kansas
Louisville
Maryland
Nebraska
North Carolina
Northwestern
Oregon State
Pitt
Purdue
Rutgers
Southern Cal
Syracuse
Texas Tech
UCLA
Vandy
Wake Forest
Virginia

ENDANGERED

The following are still in the running but have a slim margin for error.

Clemson - You might find this one controversial but if the Tigers drop a single game in the lame ACC, they very well could be out of the running for a playoff spot.
Auburn
Florida
Miami
Michigan
Michigan State
Mississippi State
Mizzou
Oregon
South Carolina
Texas
Utah
Washington
Washington State
Wisconsin

THE CONTENDERS

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

Only 16 Power 5 teams remain unbeaten. 26 have one loss.

  • ACC - Clemson. That is all. Nothing else. Nada.
  • Big Ten - Penn State, Ohio State are the leaders. Michigan, Wisky, and Michigan State are on hanging on for dear life.
  • Big 12 - It’s still a two-horse race between Okie and WVU. TCU lost again.
  • PAC-12 - Stanford survives. Oregon lost a big opportunity. Washington is still hanging around.
  • SEC - It’s Alabama, UGA, and... LSU? MSU and Aubie both have a loss.
  • Indies - Notre Dame is not going undefeated. Right?

RANK ‘EM IF YOU GOT ‘EM

Here is my half-ass as-of-now ranking:

  1. Alabama
  2. Georgia
  3. Ohio State
  4. Clemson
  5. Oklahoma

LET’S GO BOWLING

Nebraska managed to wedge Bethune-Cookman into their bye week on Oct. 27 to make up for a cancelled game with Akron. At 0-3, they may need that extra W to get to six wins. However, that might be a tall order with their remaining schedule: Purdue, @Wisconsin, @Northwestern, Minnesota, Bethune-Cookman @Ohio State, Illinois, Michigan State, @Iowa. Do you six wins in there?

XFL PLAYER OR CHRISTIAN ROCK BAND?

Temple DB Rock Ya-Sin.

STATS OF THE DAY

  • Shea Patterson has already thrown seven touchdown passes this season. That number is just two shy of Michigan’s total for all of 2017.
  • The eighteen teams that hired coaches this offseason from outside their programs are a combined 14-41 against FBS opponents and just 4-23 against Power 5. Half of those P5 wins came against other first-year coaches.

Krazy Kristi’s “SHUT UP!” of the Week goes to the replay officials. KK is all for speeding up the games and the replay process has become more efficient but there were several moments in different games this past weekend that warranted replays that never came.

HEISMAN HYPE

With the exception of TWO YEARS, the Heisman Trophy voting is basically a hype award. Often times voters fall in love with someone way too early. Later in the season, we’ll bring you “Who Will Win” and “Who Should Win”. But for now, let’s just look at them for how they present themselves.

Who Will Win Candidates (in no particular order)-

  • Will Grier (QB West Virginia Sr.) - 25-35, 356 yds, 5 TD, 2 INT against K-State. WVU really hasn’t played anyone yet and won’t until November: @Tex, TCU, @OkSt, Okie.
  • Dwayne Haskins (QB thatOSU Soph.) was 21-24, 304, 5, 0 but it was Tulane. If he wants to make a statement, Saturday at Penn State will be the time to do it.
  • Tua Tagovailoa (QB Alabama Soph.) - I am running out of superlatives. Tua accounted for 397 yards of total offense and five touchdowns. He completed 73.3 percent of his passes (22 of 30). The only danger is the media getting bored with him and the fact that games are over by halftime. Yes, it is unfair but that is how they are.

Meh-

  • Kyler Murray (QB Oklahoma Jr.) - There’s something about watching a little guy zip around the field that make sports reporters’ heart rates go all fluttery. The future Oakland A was 11 of 15 passing for 165 yards, 3 TD and a pick, with 7 rushes for 71 yards and a TD which is all good and fine but it was against Army and the Sooners almost lost.
  • Jonathan Taylor (RB Wisconsin Soph.) has been a workhorse but for the number of carries he gets (25), his yards (113) are not all that great. He has not found the end zone in the last two games.
  • Bryce Love (RB Stanford Sr.) - 19 rush, 89 yds, 1 TD. Unless he starts blowing up, his name is scratched.
  • Ed Oliver (DT Houston Jr.) - One solo tackle, 2 assists, 1 QBH, 0 TFL, still no sacks on the season. Anybody voting for him is not paying attention.

Who Should Win -

  • Tua is playing on another level. It is all too easy for him.
Ohio State v TCU
Urban is back but he’ll be without Nick Bosa for awhile.
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

THE SICK REPORT

  • No new Alabama injuries to report - Roll Tide!
  • Last week it was reported that Ohio State DE Nick Bosa was out with an injury and would miss the Tulane game. Now, it appears the injury is much more disastrous than thought. Bosa, who is the best player on the Buckeyes team and potential #1 draft pick, had surgery to fix a core muscle injury, and there is no timetable for his return. After a quick looksie around the interwebz, it appears that OSU will be without Bosa for at least four or five more weeks. They play Penn State this Saturday. UPDATE: Bosa’s parents have told ESPN and the Columbus Dispatch that Nick will not even be reevaluated until November.
  • Georgia’s win over Mizzou came at a steep price. The Dawgs lost both starting right guard Ben Cleveland (fractured left fibula) and starting left tackle Andrew Thomas, who missed the Middle Tennessee game with a left ankle injury. Thomas seemingly re-aggravated it in the first half against Mizzou when a player rolled up on him. He left the game and his status is unknown at this time.
  • Not to be outdone, starting LSU left guard Garrett Brumfield (knee) will miss this week when the Tigers face Ole Miss. Starting right tackle Adrian Magee and left tackle Saahdiq Charles are questionable.
  • Northwestern’s top rusher Jeremy Larkin has retired due to neck condition. He had run for 346 yards and five touchdowns for the Wildcats in their first three games of the season.

DRAMA

  • Urban Meyer simply cannot stop lying. According to USA Today, Meyer will miss out on $570,507.68 for the time in which he was suspended without pay.
  • During the Vols lost to Florida, head coach Jeremy Pruitt told linebacker Quart’e Sapp to leave the field after Sapp declined to enter the game. The junior felt it prudent release a statement on Twitter saying he did not refuse to go in the game.
  • We should’ve known this 4-game redshirt transfer rule would be problematic. Arkansas WR Jonathan Nance is the latest to quit the team after four games with the intention of retaining a redshirt year and transferring. He was the leading returning receiver but has only one catch for two yards this year.
  • Running back Kam Martin and tight end Sal Cannella came close to leaving Auburn this week. WR Nate Craig-Myers and TE Jalen Harris left the Tigers earlier last week. Craig-Myers was a pretty big deal coming out of high school but never quite developed under Gustavo.
  • One seriously damaging RS-transfer is WR Jalen McCleskey of Oklahoma State. McCleskey told coach Mike Gundy he didn’t feel that he was getting enough touches despite being targeted 22 times through four games. The senior had 15 receptions for 155 yards and two TDs. In his four games, he caught 6, 2, 3, and 4 passes.
  • Oregon RB Taj Griffin is also joining the club. The senior had a handful of carries in the Ducks’ first three games but none in the lost to Stanford. He was not an important cog in the Oregon offense.
  • I am starting to think this new rule should only apply to the first two or three years of a player’s career. What say you?
  • Trevor Lawrence and Kelly Bryant had been splitting time at quarterback during the first four games for Clemson. Now the freshman is taking over as Dabo Swinney names Lawrence the starter for the Tigers’ game with Syracuse. It’s not too late to redshirt, Kelly!
Black and White TV

EYEBALLS

I know this is shocking but Texas A&M vs Alabama on CBS was highest rated sporting event of the day. The SEC West showdown defeated the prime time ABC airing of Stanford-Oregon, the Braves clinching the NL East pennant, the Yankees clinching a wild card spot, and Tiger Woods at East Lake.

THIS WEEK

(Below is an abbreviated list of games of interest. If you need to know about the Houston Baptist-SMU game, you can find the details here.)

Thursday, Sept. 27:

UNC at Miami 7pm/8pm ESPN - The Tarheels got their first win last week. Miami has won three straight cupcake games since their opening week debacle vs. LSU.

Friday, Sept 28:

Memphis at Tulane 7pm/8pm ESPN2 - It’s not the greatest team for Mike Norvell at Memphis but he should easily cruise to 4-1.
UCLA at Colorado 8pm/9pm FS1 - The Buffs (3-0) are making some noise in the PAC-12. The Bruins are terrible.

Saturday, Sept 29:

SEC:

Arkansas at Texas A&M 11am/noon ESPN (Arlington, TX) - Although three of the last four have been decided in overtime, TAMU has won six straight in this Jerry’s World series.
Tennessee at Georgia 2:30/3:30 CBS - UT is not ready for this level of foe.
Southern Miss at Auburn 3pm/4pm SECN - HEY! That’s OUR punching bag!
Tennessee State at Vanderbilt 3pm/4pm SECN Alt - I got nuthin’.
Florida at Mississippi State 5pm/6pm SECN - This game looks a lot closer today than it did a few days ago.
South Carolina at Kentucky 6:30/7:30 SECN - Here is something I never thought I’d say: I really want to watch the SC-UK game.
Ole Miss at LSU 8pm/9pm ESPN - Can the Rebs ruin the Tigers’ little lovefest they have going on?

NATIONAL:

Not too many great national games.

Syracuse at Clemson 11am/noon ABC - Can the 4-0 Orange do it again?
West Virginia at Texas Tech 11am/noon ESPN2 - This one might end up 77-70.
Ohio State at Penn State 6:30/7:30 ABC - ELIMINATION GAME
Stanford at Notre Dame 6:30/7:30 NBC - ELIMINATION GAME
BYU at Washington 7:30/8:30 FOX - The Mormons already screwed up Wisky’s season. Is UW next?

CAN’T SLEEP?

Southern Cal at Arizona 9:30/10:30 ESPN2 - Winner of this game will actually lead the Pac-12 South.
Toledo at Fresno 9:30/10:30 ESPNU - To sleep, perchance to dream...

#ALABAMA

Class of 2018 Tide players who saw action on Saturday for Game 4: Patrick Surtain (started), Ale Kaho, Eyabi Anoma, Jaylen Moody, Jaylen Waddle, Josh Jobe, Skyler DeLong, Saivion Smith, and Tevita Musika. One more game for these players means there will be no redshirt this season.

Saban is now one behind the Ol’ Ball Coach at 227 FBS/I-A victories.
(For clarification, this list is FBS/I-A wins only. No wins at FCS/I-AA or lower level schools.)
After the win over Jimbo, Saban is 13-0 against former assistants. He has a chance to up that number another notch this Saturday against former Tide WR coach Billy Napier who is in his first season at ULL.

GAME 5 - Saturday, September 29, 2018, 11am/Noon

Louisiana-Lafayette at ALABAMA

SECN - Announcers: Taylor Zarzour (grew up in Mobile, graduated from Huntingdon College in Montgomery) and Matt Stinchcomb (UGA) with designated blonde Kris Budden.

(Game 6: 10/6 11am/Noon - Alabama at Arkansas ESPN)

#RollTide

Poll

How many games should the new redshirt transfer rule be?

This poll is closed

  • 52%
    Four games is a good number.
    (199 votes)
  • 14%
    With most teams playing three cupcakes, that should be the number.
    (54 votes)
  • 12%
    Two seems truer to the original RS rule.
    (49 votes)
  • 4%
    One should be the number as an "in case of emergency" injury replacement.
    (17 votes)
  • 15%
    None. I don’t like the rule.
    (60 votes)
379 votes total Vote Now