When the Week 6 began we had 20 undefeated teams. When the dust settled we only had 16. The general population welcomes Navy, Oklahoma, Northwestern & California to the mire that is the the group of one-loss teams. Let’s hand out some superlatives, shall we?
State of Texas – There are 10 FBS teams in Texas and half of them are playing pretty well. The Houston Cougars have come from nowhere under first year head coach Tom Herman to be the class of the AAC West behind quarterback Greg Ward Jr. The TCU Horned Frogs are one of the most exciting teams to watch in all of college football because their defense lets just about anyone score a boat load of points every game but their offense is good enough to score a boat load and a half. Meanwhile, down the road in Waco the Bears are throwing 700-plus yards of offense on anybody who stands in their way. The Texas Tech Red Raiders have two losses already but they are to TCU & Baylor and they were in shootouts with both of them. Two of Rice’s three losses have come to Texas & Baylor and the perennially downtrodden SMU Mustangs are 1-5, but totally watchable now that Chad Morris moseyed into town. The state needs to address the other three teams UT-San Antonio, Texas State & North Texas (see below) but for the most part football in the most football crazy state in the union is alive and kicking.
Michigan Wolverines – Is any team in America playing better football than the Michigan Wolverines right now? I’d sure love to see someone make an argument otherwise. The boys in Maize & Blue have pitched three straight shutouts for the first time since 1980 and the final one was against an undefeated Northwestern team who will challenge for the Big Ten West division crown. The Wolverines are 33rd in rushing yards per game with 201 but only 77th in total offense meaning that the passing game still hasn’t come around yet. That’s a scary thought especially since the defense is only giving up 181 yards & just over 6 points per game. The fact that Michigan is looking this good this fast in Jim Harbaugh’s first season as head coach should scare the daylights out of every team in the Big Ten & the country. Offensively, they are only converting about 40% of their 3rd downs and are still in the negative in turnover margin. I reiterate, this is going to be a program that rises to the top very quickly if they continue to improve at this rate.
State of Washington – Good for the ole Evergreen State for migrating out of the ‘Not’ category from a few weeks ago and into the ‘Hot’ section this week after the two FBS programs got big season-defining wins. The Washington Huskies played the USC Trojans in Los Angeles on Thursday night and made the Trojans look terrible. The Huskies held USC to only 12 points which is the lowest point total for the Trojans since 2013 when the lost 14-10 at Notre Dame & the lowest point total at home since earlier that same season when they were beaten 10-7 by Washington State. Speaking of the Cougs, Washington State got a big win of their own Saturday afternoon when they waltzed into Autzen Stadium and left with a 45-38 double overtime win against the down-and-out Ducks. The Cougars have matched their win total from last season at three and could actually make it to a bowl game this season which would be huge for Mike Leach’s job security.
State of Georgia – Thank goodness for Georgia Southern joining the ranks of the FBS otherwise, the entire Peach State would be in shock after this past weekend’s performances from the two flagship programs. The Georgia Bulldogs traveled up to Knoxville, Tennessee, to get back on track in the SEC East but fell flat after star running back Nick Chubb broke his leg on the first play from scrimmage. The Dawgs carried a 24-3 lead midway through the second quarter but allowed 14 points in 37 seconds for a tie ball game at halftime. The second half was all about missed opportunities for Georgia who were outscored 21-7 in the second half on their way to a 7 point loss. With all that said, the Georgia Bulldogs looked fantastic compared to their arch rivals. Georgia Tech play like absolute garbage on Saturday afternoon in Death Valley. The Jackets were only able to muster 71 rushing yards in a game where they only converted one 3rd down. The Tigers jumped out to a big lead early, kept it and ran away with a big conference win. Georgia Southern defeated UL-Monroe 51-31 on the road.
North Texas Mean Green – If you’re down and out on your team just be glad that it isn’t the North Texas Mean Green and if that is your team, there’s not a lot I can do for you. They should probably change the name to just the ‘Green’ because they aren’t very mean these days. This past saturday the 0-4 North Texas squad were playing host to the Portland State Vikings, a 4-1 FCS team hailing from the Big Sky Conference. The Viking had already beaten the Washington State Cougars 24-17 earlier in the season. This thing got ugly quickly as Portland State took a 14-0 lead into the second quarter where they proceeded to score 31 more points! When the dust from the woodshed whooping finally cleared the Mean Green had lost to an FCS program by 59 points. After the game, the North Texas brass didn’t waste any time in firing head coach Dan McCarney an hour after the game ended. When you’re disappointed in your team for losing or not playing well, just remember that they didn’t lose to the Portland State Vikings by 59 points.
Los Angeles – It was just a few weeks ago when the City of Angels was the talk of college football with USC playing well despite their loss to Stanford and the UCLA Bruins were rolling along looking like world beaters with their true freshman quarterback. All it took was a couple of weeks for all of that to come crashing down. The Bruins were fresh off of their big road victory over Arizona where they rushed for six touchdowns in the game and looked good doing it. Then they decided to lay an egg at home against Arizona State for their first loss of the season. On top of that, the Bruins are down almost a handful of defensive starters including all-world defender Myles Jack who also played on offense on occasion. Thirteen miles across town, the USC Trojans are also in a world of hurt on and off the football field. On the field, they were beaten at home by an average Washington team who held the mighty Trojan offense to just 12 points and forced three turnovers, even though there probably should have been about seven. In the days after the loss, embattled head coach Steve Sarkisian has been fired by the University over allegations that he was intoxicated on the sidelines during games and during practices. This week the Trojans will play Notre Dame with a different head coach for the 4th straight time.
Player of the Week – Josh Dobbs – QB – Tennessee – 312 passing yards 3 TDs, 118 rushing yards 2 TDs
With his team down 24-3 late in the 2nd quarter, Dobbs tossed the Tennessee Volunteers, and many feel his head coach’s job, on his back and carried them to victory whether they liked it or not. Aside from the field goal in the first quarter, Dobbs either threw the touchdown pass or ran it in himself to get the big win over SEC rival Georgia in the biggest home win of his and Head Coach Butch Jones’ careers on Rocky Top.
Coach of the Week – Charlie Strong – Texas
One of the hottest seats in college football was in Austin, Texas, last week and all Charlie Strong did was lead his Texas Longhorns to victory over a Top 10 team and rival Oklahoma in Dallas on Saturday. If there was ever a coach that needed a win, it was Strong. Texas had already fired the Athletic Director and waved goodbye to Nike since the season had started so for all intents and purposes firing an underperforming coach would have been no problem. All that seems to be behind Charlie now as it appears that he’s got the ship finally pointed in the right direction.
Uniform of the Week – LSU Tigers
It’s rare that you see the purple jerseys, much less at home for the LSU Tigers. It’s even more rare that you see those jerseys with white pants and white helmets as well. LSU rarely breaks uniform tradition but this was a nice change and good look. It wouldn’t hurt my feelings to see this combo more often.
Dud Uniform of the Week – Oregon Ducks
Oregon changes uniforms every week and most of the time they’re alright and rarely are they great but Saturday the Ducks tossed out a dud in their ‘Pioneer Uniforms’. Grey and bland with pioneers on the helmets just wasn’t a very good look and they performed about how they looked: lost to Washington State in overtime.