We’ve passed the halfway point of the season and this past Saturday was supposed to be an easy, ‘cruise control’ weekend until it actually got started & turned into just another wild Saturday of college football.
Colorado Buffaloes – Shut the front door, the Buffaloes snapped a 12-game Pac-12 losing streak on Saturday night in Corvallis against the Oregon State Beavers. Yes, I know it was against the Beavers but the Buffs haven’t exactly been world beaters the last couple of seasons. It has taken three years but Head Coach Mike McIntyre has Colorado pointed in the right direction and actually moving! Colorado started the year 3-1 with a win over in-state rival Colorado State but have lost the last three. Despite the average margin of defeat of 17 points, the Buffaloes have been competitive in every game and it all culminated with a three point road conference win on Saturday night. Colorado has only won three road games since joining the Pac-12 and even though it doesn’t seem like a big victory on the landscape of college football but it may be the first step in Colorado’s rise back to national respectability.
Washington State Cougars – When the season began with a loss to FCS Portland State (who is currently 6-1) many believed that it was just the beginning of the end for Mike Leach in Pullman. Not so fast my friend. Since that loss, the Cougars have gone 5-1 with wins over the Oregon Ducks and Arizona Wildcats last Saturday night. As expected Washington State is averaging over 500 yards of offense per game and it’s mostly because of emergence of sophomore quarterback Luke Falk who has burst onto the scene with 72% completion percentage and 26 touchdown passes. In four Pac-12 games this season Falk has thrown for at least 385 yards in each game and 18 touchdown passes to only 3 interceptions with an average QBR of 78.9. You want to see the Pac-12 get thrown in complete disarray? Let the Cougars beat Stanford in Pullman this Saturday night. Trick or Treat Stanford.
Temple Owls – Well the boys from the City of Brotherly Love have done it. They have arrived to Halloween weekend undefeated. The Owls are 7-0 for the first time in school history and sit at number 21 in the current AP Top 25, which to someone who has followed college football for a long time can tell you is uncharted territory. After a 6-6 season in 2014, we expected some improvement in 2015 but I doubt anyone expected the Owls to have achieved this much so fast this season. But forget all that because this Saturday night’s game in Philadelphia against the 6-1 and top ten Notre Dame Fighting Irish, a game that barely registered a blip on the radar in the preseason, now has the pedigree for one of the biggest games in school history. On paper it doesn’t look good for the Owls as they rank in the 100’s in most offensive categories but stranger things have happened on Halloween. Kudos to Temple for not jumping the gun on black uniforms yet this season. More on that in a few.
State of Florida – It was a rough state of affairs in the Sunshine State this past weekend. It began at noon when the Miami Hurricanes forgot to actually show up and play against the Clemson Tigers but did however remember to try and fight every player with a white paw on their helmet. There was not a single positive thing that could have been said about Miami’s performance on the field, off the field and the result was the termination of head coach Al Golden. UCF continued their futility with a 59-10 loss at the hands of the undefeated Houston Cougars which isn’t anything to hang your head about but the Knights gave up 600 yards of offense and turned the ball over 4 times. I can’t say that I blame George O’Leary for retiring after that. The Florida State Seminoles found a way to allow the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets to snap a five game losing streak on a blocked field goal of all things in a game where their vaunted rushing attack was held to just 70 yards. The only way life could be worse for the folks in Florida was if they had to deal with an actual hurricane over the weekend.
Indiana Hoosiers – Is there a team in America that fails down the stretch as frequently and with as much consistency as the Indiana Hoosiers? The Hoosier football office should send gifts to the Purdue football offices weekly because if it weren’t for the Boilermakers, Indiana would pretty much have no conference wins in the last six seasons. Now that you mention it, let’s leave history out of it and just focus on this season. The Hoosiers began the season 4-0 with big wins over Western Kentucky and Wake Forest but have dropped their last four and gave up 50-plus points in their last two. Let’s examine that last loss shall we? The Hoosiers entered the 4th quarter trailing the 7th ranked Michigan State Spartans by only two points in a game where Sparty was ripe for an upset after their bizarre win in Ann Arbor. Then Indiana allowed Michigan State to reel off 24 unanswered points on their way to the big victory. Has basketball season started yet?
Miami Hurricanes – You didn’t think I was going to leave them off did you? The Miami Hurricanes decided that it would be more productive on Saturday to fight the Clemson Tigers rather than attempt to stop them from scoring. Before the game, the Canes became the greatest case study on false bravado that I had ever seen as they attempted to bully the undefeated and top ten ranked Tigers. Then the game started and Clemson completely destroyed the Hurricanes on the scoreboard. To be quite honest, I have always been one of the few Florida State fans who does have some distant admiration for the Miami football program but their attitude & performance the last couple of weeks have soured that admiration and even had me pulling for a team and a coach who I have rarely have any nice things to say about. Then we see the large empty stadium around the field in which the carnage is taking place and there might have been 20,000 of the 45,211 announced in attendance. So the Canes have a performance on the field problem, an attendance problem and now they have the problem of hiring a coach in the same cycle with the likes of USC, South Carolina & Maryland. It’s going to be a long climb back to the top for the Hurricanes.
Player of the Week
J.T. Barrett, QB Ohio State – All season long, as the Ohio State Buckeyes have been struggling to find their rhythm on offense I have been screaming that Barrett should be the starter and that the Ohio State offense would run much smoother with him running the show. Low and behold how good the offense looked Saturday night when he got his first start of the season. All they did was rack up 528 yards of offense and 27 first downs. Barrett led the way with 223 yards through the air with 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed for 101 yards and two scores. All I’ve got to say is it’s about time.
Coach of the Week
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State – This guy does everything right. When his team loses, he shoulders the blame and when his team wins he never allows himself to take any of the glory. It’s all about the kids. He stands up for his players when he needs to (just see the ‘I’m a man, I’m forty’ video) and stands up for his team at all times. Oklahoma State University is not just his employer, it’s his alma mater where he played quarterback for the Cowboys in the mid to late 80’s so when the senseless tragedy on Saturday morning happened, it affected Gundy as deep as it would anyone and his response to his players, coaches & Stillwater community is why Gundy is the Coach of the Week.
Uniform of the Week
LSU Tigers – In my opinion, there is no finer uniform in all of college football. There used to be a little competition between LSU’s purple & gold and the UCLA powder blue & golds but Adidas has completely corrupted that classic look (see below) which leaves one great uniform on the mountain top. Just behold its greatness. Even in the rain and mud the LSU classic purple looks unbelievably great.
Dud Uniform of the Week
A couple of weeks back we didn’t have any dud uniforms but this past weekend the duds returned in force and here they all are.
Duke Blue Devils – Nothing is worse than wearing black for black’s sake and the black lids for Duke are just that as well as the black pants. Last time I checked Duke was the ‘Blue Devils’ not the ‘Mostly Black Devils’.
Maryland Terrapins – The uniforms aren’t bad looking but when over half of your team is against wearing them because they represent a pre-integration era that the university has tried to forget for the past 50 years, you might want to reconsider wearing them.
Mississippi State Bulldogs – Nothing is worse than wearing black for black’s sake and the Bulldogs have perfected the art of making maroon look absolutely hideous. It’s uniforms like this that make me envy the likes of Ray Charles & Stevie Wonder.
Nebraska Cornhuskers – Nothing is worse than wearing black for black’s sake and I remember a time when Nebraska’s vaunted ‘Black Shirt Defense’ actually meant something. These days it mostly means that the Huskers will just look worse than they play.
Pittsburgh Panthers – You will never hear a foul word spoken about the script ‘Pitt’ helmets because they are glorious but even those wonderful helmets couldn’t pull together the gold jerseys and white pants inside the dull lighting of the Carrier Dome. Now we know how much gold is actually too much gold.
UCLA Bruins – Nothing is worse than wearing black for black’s sake and the Bruins have decided that the color black represents Los Angeles better than the glorious powder blues represent UCLA. Plus at one time the gold actually shimmered in the stadium lights because you know, it’s gold, but now, because Adidas is terrible, it’s just window dressing to a bad uniform.