Not much happened in the college football world since last Thursday. No firings. No sudden resignations from Mount Rushmore type college coaches. Nor any resignations form coaches checking into a treatment facility. No top ten upsets. Nobody shot at his pregnant girlfriend. There wasn’t even a PED related suspension to speak of. Nope. None of that. All in all it was a pretty ordinary weekend in college football land. Ohio State won. Ho hum. Baylor Scored 60 points again in a win over West Virginia. The sun rises. The sun sets. The Pac-12 continued beating itself up. What else is new?
There was that one game though. The one that took place on an Ann Arbor stage in front of thousands of unsuspecting fans. The one that featured one of the most jaw-dropping finishes in college football history. The one where the program’s former underachieving coach turned analyst questioned the program’s current overachieving coach for his late game strategy. The one where a botched punt in the final seconds of the game all but sealed the fate of a surging Michigan program. The one that got away.
We can spend the rest of this column analyzing this one game and that one play that will surely be shown over and over… and over again on every top 10 list for the foreseeable future. However, we wouldn’t be the Red Couch if we just focused on this game without covering the entire college football national landscape, and the TTT certainly would be a T short and a Thursday late of bringing you weekend preview. But mainly, the Michigan punter has been through enough. So has this poor Michigan fan. So let’s just move on and shift the focus to the things yours truly got right and botched got wrong last week.
Things I got right last week:
- Florida was not a problem for LSU. Truth be told the Gators were a pretty big problem for the Tigers. The game was tied at the end of the third quarter but in the end the Tigers were able to edge out Florida by seven.
- Texas A&M was not a problem for Alabama. This one was never a game. Like I said, watch out for Alabama. Saban doesn’t like it when he thinks you’ve buried him.
- Ohio State blew out Penn State as a result of zero Buckeye turnovers. Called it.
- The Michigan v. Michigan State game was a nail biter.
Things Thing I didn’t get right last week:
- Clemson won against Boston College but not in the low scoring game I thought it would be.
Timmy’s Top Takeaways
- There’s no rule that says you have to snap the ball between your legs. I’ll never look at another center to QB exchange the same way again. Did you see how that was done Chuck Pagano and the Indianapolis Colts?
- People should root for Trevone Boykin.
- Brady Hoke has nothing better to do than critique a much better coach.
- Christian McCaffrey could break Barry Sanders’ all-purpose yards record. Barry’s record of 3250 yards was set in 1988. Number 2 on the running back depth chart behind McAffrey this year? That’s right, Barry Sanders Jr.
- The UCLA City uniforms are next level.
- We all know about the Big 12’s offense. But can we get a little defense fellas?
- JT Barrett is starting for Ohio State again. I give him 2 quarters before Urban Meyer gets antsy again.
- Memphis, Toledo, and Temple are a combined 18-0 and ranked in both top 25 polls. Boise State, UCLA, and Wisconsin are all amongst the others receiving votes. Welcome to Bizarro world.
Timmy’s Top Ten Teams
Seth Russell has the highest QB rating in college football. Wide receiver Corey Coleman has set the single season Baylor touchdown record with 16. We’re six games into the season. He averages over 20 yards a reception. Baylor has scored at least 60 points in five consecutive games. In a row! Back to back. There aren’t enough superlatives to go around for this high powered offense. Watch out Iowa State! They’re coming for you next.
There still aren’t a lot of believers in this Utah team. Maybe it’s because they haven’t been nationally relevant since…ever. They have a defense that has forced at least two turnovers in every game they’ve played this year and yet people still have their doubts. The proof is in a Vegas spread that has Utah as a 3.5 point underdog this week against a 3-3 USC team that is still feeling out interim coach Clay Helton. By the way if there is a more cringe-inducing adjective in this universe to describe a head coach than interim I haven’t run across it. It’s not exactly a word that screams success…but I digress. We have to remember that the point of a Vegas line isn’t necessarily to predict the outcome of a game. Ideally what the linesmakers want to do is have a balanced line. In other words if the house can create an environment where it wins money on the interest it charges on games regardless of the outcome of the actual game it has done its job. The house usually does a good job. So it would be foolish to think that one of the factors that these linesmakers take into consideration isn’t what the gambling public perceives the actual outcome of the game will be. LA is a big market. It’s much bigger than Salt Lake City. That means that there are more fans that are emotionally invested in a team that clearly hasn’t lived up to expectation this year. And what happens when sports fans can differentiate between emotional and financial investment? You get a line where the clear underdog is giving 3.5 points to the opposition. Utah has too much on the line here to not win this game. Take the Utes money line and thank me later.
What is the TTT without at least 250 words on Leonard Fournette? A better and equally rhetorical question would be why does the opposition feel the need to supply the best offensive player in college football with bulletin board material? Early in the season it was Auburn safety Rudy Ford who said “it shouldn’t be difficult” to stop Fournette. Leonard’s response was a 228 yard day on the ground on 19 carries. Following in Ford’s footsteps Florida DE Jon Bullard said “He’s nothing we can’t stop” when talking about the LSU running back. Two touchdowns and 180 yards later another defensive player is left scratching his head and licking his wounds. LSU takes on a Western Kentucky team that is just in its seventh year as an FBS recognized program. The Hilltoppers offense is a perfect juxtaposition of the Tigers offense. In my second bold prediction the Tigers win by fewer than 16.5. They’ll be looking ahead to the 11/7 matchup against Alabama.
The Tide is a team that is playing with purpose. The oddsmakers seem to agree as they’ve made Alabama an Alabama-like favorite again as 15.5 point favorites over the Volunteers from Tennessee. They feel like they’ve been slighted due to what seems to be an early season fluke loss to a now floundering Ole Miss team. You can’t turn a loss into a win by running through every opponent you face thereafter but please don’t tell Nick Saban that. He seems to think you can. More importantly, his players think they can. That being said, Alabama wins by fewer than 15.5. They’ll be looking ahead to the aforementioned LSU game.
I’m starting to buy in more and more on this Clemson team. I was convinced that a weak schedule would be the Tigers’ downfall. While they’ve still only faced two winning programs, the 34 points Clemson put up against Boston College last Saturday showed that they have the offensive firepower to outlast tough defenses. Deshaun Watson rose to the occasion by having what some would consider to be his best game of the year against the Golden Eagles. He went 27-41 for 420 yards three touchdowns and two interceptions on Saturday. The Tigers square off against a Miami Hurricanes team that is desperately looking for a signature win.
- Ohio State
The Buckeyes are looking better. It’s amazing what holding onto the ball can do to a box score. More importantly, I think the search for a starting quarterback has come to an end. Cardale Jones started the game but J.T. Barrett ended it. He just looked like a smoother more polished player than Jones. It sounds crazy to say that about someone who only attempted four passes but two of those passes connected for touchdowns. I know Urban Meyer doesn’t like to name starting quarterbacks because it gives opposing defenses fits trying to prepare for two different signal callers. A little part of him must have died when he made the announcement that number 16 would start on Saturday. Bravo Urban, way to step outside your comfort zone and pick a starter.
- Florida State
FSU plays Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets have lost five straight. There isn’t much more to say here. The Seminoles should hand the ball off to Dalvin Cook a thousand times and they’ll have another victory under their belt when all is said and done. I just thought of something. What if Dalvin Cook and Connor Cook were on the same team? Do you think this would happen? I bet it would.
- Michigan State
Wow. I really don’t have any other words to describe what happened on Saturday other than that. Does that botched punt mean that the Spartans are a team of destiny? Also when do you think they will they be finished with the Jalen Watts-Jackson statue? Michigan State is an interesting team because the Spartans aren’t really dominating in any particular category but they find ways to win. As we saw on Saturday, sometimes ways to win find them. Ironically, I have Michigan State going down a little after beating what I still think is the best Big 10 team. I can’t explain why or how I have them headed in the wrong direction but I do. In fact this is the first time this season where the Buckeyes have looked better to me than Michigan State. As I’ve being saying all along, my thought on where these teams stack up in the Big 10 can be taken with a grain of salt until they’ve all played each other. Until then, the Spartans are 16.5 point favorites against Indiana. Let’s see. They’re coming off of an emotionally draining victory and they’ve have covered a spread where they were favored all year. You might want to consider the Hoosiers in this one.
How does this happen? What in the Tyrone Prothro is going on? Circus catches aside the Cardinal control their own destiny. I just wish Christian McCaffrey could get a little more involved on the offensive side. He only had 243 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns. He also had a 96 yard return fall just short of the goal line. The guy did everything but hand out water during timeouts. It would be illogical to expect this type of production out McCaffrey every game but on the same token it would be wise to game plan around stopping him somehow. Regardless of how Washington strategizes against this Stanford offense, I don’t see the Huskies coming out on top on Saturday. I’m sure most of us thought the same thing before the Washington beat USC too.
No one outside of Iowa City has really been talking about the Hawkeyes. Perhaps it’s because they’ve been relegated to the Big 10 West, the Khloe Kardashian of power conference divisions. Since we’ve already established that I’m great at predicting things allow me to offer another look into the future; the Hawkeyes will continue to pile up wins against their unglamorous/unrecognized/undervalued Big 10 West counterparts and they’ll move up at least 4 spots in the AP rankings in the meantime. (Footnote. My logic here is that by the time the regular season ends eight of the teams ranked ahead of Iowa on the AP will have played each other: Ohio State plays Michigan State 11/21, Baylor plays TCU on 11/27, LSU plays Alabama on 11/7 and Clemson plays FSU on 11/7. The losers of these games will most likely drop below an unbeaten Iowa Hawkeyes team). So now we have an 8 ranked Iowa State playing either Michigan State or Ohio State for a Big 10 Championship and most likely/ more importantly one of the four golden tickets to the Dr. Pepper college football playoffs brought to you by Dr. Pepper.
Enjoy the games tonight and this weekend. So long until next week…