So the first weekend of college football following the release of the first College Football Playoff Poll turned out to be a hair-raising experience as four teams in the top 25 lost and even more than that flirted with disaster. The weekend began with a thrilling comeback on Thursday night and finally ended well into the early Sunday morning hours with an overtime thriller between division rivals. Here are some winners & losers from Week 10:
1. Missouri Tigers – Saturday afternoon there was a key SEC East divisional game between one team trying to stay at the top and another team trying to fight their way back into the discussion. No, I’m not talking about the game in Jacksonville but the game that took place in Columbia, Missouri, between the Missouri Tigers and Kentucky Wildcats. Kentucky has given plenty of teams fits this season while Missouri has made us all scratch our heads in frustration on multiple occasions. Saturday Missouri’s defense held Kentucky in check most of the afternoon and kept them out of the end zone until the final four minutes of the contest. This is the same Kentucky team that put up over 500 yards of offense on SEC West leading Mississippi State. Missouri held on and got their seventh win of the season which was their fourth conference win and after the game were gifted the SEC East division lead after Georgia lost to Florida.
2. Florida Gators – Let’s be honest, no one outside of the Gainesville, Florida, believed that there was any hope that the Gators would beat Georgia in Jacksonville. Every single thing pointed to a lopsided Georgia victory and when freshman Georgia runningback Nick Chubb scampered 39 yards for the first score of the game in the 1st quarter, it looked like we were going to get what we all expected. Then the Gators score five unanswered touchdowns to open a 31-7 lead in the 4th quarter. Florida had two 190+ yard rushers for the first time in school history and as a team rushed for 418 yards. Quarterback Treon Harris got his first start but was rarely needed as he only threw the ball 6 times, completed 3 of them for 27 yards. Florida didn’t necessarily get back into the SEC East race but they are in the Top 3 which has to count for something given their last 19 games played.
3. Miami Hurricanes – No one, and I mean no one, will say anything bad about Miami runningback Duke Johnson. And they shouldn’t because Johnson is one of the best runningbacks in America. Saturday was just another game where everyone knew that Duke was going to get the ball a lot and it was just another game where no one could stop him. The Hurricanes ran for 295 yards as a team on Saturday and 177 of it was from Johnson. Miami has two conference losses but gave division leader Duke their only conference loss. The Hurricanes need some help to win the Coastal Division but are right in the thick of things and Saturday’s runaway win over an inept North Carolina team gave them a pretty good bit of confidence going into their two week preparation period for in-state rival Florida State.
1. Ole Miss Rebels – The team hailing from Oxford, Mississippi, had the best situation that they could have asked for. Their first loss was on the road to a team barely in the Top 25 and they weren’t even penalized for it when the first College Football Playoff as they were in the initial Top 4. Then the Rebels had their toughest remaining game were all at home beginning with last Saturday when Auburn came to Oxford. The Tigers and Rebels went score for score the entire game with the largest lead being ten by Ole Miss when they scored early in the 3rd quarter. Ole Miss was going in for a score which would have given them the lead late in the game when Rebel wide receiver Laquon Treadwell was brought down awkwardly and fumbled on the one yard line. Unfortunately Treadwell suffered a broken leg and Auburn recovered the fumble in the end zone and was able to run out the clock and win the game.
2. Georgia Bulldogs – Tell me if you’ve heard this before: Georgia is in the perfect position to make the College Football Playoff despite being outside of the initial top ten. All they have to do is win against a downtrodden Florida team and for the most part, they’ll be home free and heading to Atlanta to play in the SEC Championship Game. Well all that can be thrown out the window now as the outside shot that Georgia did have to make the College Football Playoff is gone and the Dawgs no longer control their own destiny in the SEC East. Saturday Georgia allowed the 2nd most rushing yards in a game in program history and lost to a Will Muschamp-coached Gator team for the first time.
3. East Carolina Pirates – Everything was working out perfectly for the East Carolina Pirates in their first year in the American Athletic Conference as their only loss was to the South Carolina Gamecocks. The Pirates were riding a five game winning streak including a road win over, at the time, ranked team Virginia Tech. Then East Carolina rolled into Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to play the Temple Owls on a rainy Northeast day afternoon and that’s where it all came to an end after East Carolina was unable to get into the end zone until the final three minutes of the game and fell 20-3. The Pirates were in line and on the path to be the highest ranked non-Power 5 team in the Top 25 which would secure them a spot in one of the four non playoff bowl games.
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