As the college football season nears its midway point, we have certainly learned that no lead is safe and to expect the unexpected. This past week we saw tremendous performances on the grandest of stages as well as unmitigated disasters for others.
Clemson. The Tigers led Louisville 28-10 at halftime then saw that lead evaporate as Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals seized control of the game in the second half. Down 36-28, Clemson managed two fourth quarter touchdowns to knock off the upstart Cardinals and remain unbeaten. They are now the clear favorite to win the conference and notch birth in the College Football Playoff.
Ed Orgeron & LSU. After taking over for Les Miles this week, all Orgeron did was orchestrate a complete obliteration of the Missouri Tigers in Baton Rouge. The Tiger offense (which had been quite ineffective for much of the season) exploded with a record-setting 634 yards. I still don’t see Orgeron getting the job when its all said and done, but this was a heck of an audition.
Tennessee. The Vols could easily be 1-4 on the season but after an improbable Hail Mary was answered on the final play of the game against division foe Georgia, they sit at 5-0 and ranked in the top 10. Tennessee has an extremely tough schedule coming up but they clearly have the inside track for an SEC East title after yet another come-from-behind win.
North Carolina. After a disappointing loss to Georgia to start the season the Tar Heels have roared back to relevance and won at Florida State on a last second field goal Saturday. The Heels are 4-1 and may be a the likely opponent for Clemson in the ACC Championship Game.
Washington. If college football fans didn’t know much about the Washington Huskies, they sure do now after a complete white-washing of previously unbeaten Stanford. The Huskies have quietly crept into the top 5 nationally and now have a clear path to a Pac-12 title especially with Colorado emerging as the favorite in the south out of absolutely nowhere.
Louisville receiver James Quick. On 4th and 12 with the game hanging in the balance for the Cardinals, James Quick took a swing pass from Lamar Jackson and with green grass and one defender in front of him he chose to run towards the sidelines a yard short of a first down. Clearly, Quick should have cut up field and at least challenged the defender to attempt to pick up the first down. The play and the loss could easily cost Louisville any chance at a spot in the playoffs.
Texas. After an impressive win over Notre Dame to start the season, Texas are up to their old ways again, this time in the form of a 49-31 loss to Oklahoma State. Reports are now indicating that Longhorns coach Charlie Strong will be fired at the end of the season and if Texas is able to pull off getting Tom Hermann, this situation may turn into a win over the long haul for a program that appears lost currently.
Iowa. Remember the team that went to the Rose Bowl last season and was within a yard of playing for a Big 10 Championship? Well they have now lost to North Dakota State and Northwestern in consecutive weeks. The Wildcats came into the game 1-3 and were able to beat Iowa in their home stadium. The ever-changing temperature of Kirk Ferentz’s seat has just warmed up just a bit.
Oregon. Consecutive losses to Colorado and Washington State have effectively removed any glossy shine that had remained on the program since the departure of Chip Kelly. How long will recruits cling to whatever crazy uniform combination that the Ducks happen to be wearing that week and go off to greener pastures?
People that watched Vandy/Florida. Florida may be 4-1 but they are trying really hard to make us believe Will Muschamp is still coaching there. The Gators have a suffocating defense, but their offense could not do much to put away Vanderbilt (who has an even worse offense than Florida) and the two teams combined for just a hair over 600 yards on the day. Yuck.