Last Saturday was one of those days where it paid off to be glued to your screen, watching all the college football you possibly could. In case you missed anything here’s a synopsis of the big games that took place.
West Virginia exposes #4 Baylor, 41-27
The Baylor Bears weaseled their way into the playoff conversation by watching other contenders fall by the wayside early in the season. This past weekend was their time to do so. This loss kills any chance they had at ending the season in the top four.
West Virginia gave us a couple glimpses at what they could do when they gave Alabama some trouble in the opening weekend and hung around against Oklahoma a month ago. This time around they were able to pull off the upset, and in doing so jumped into the rankings at 22.
Big 12 teams are some of the worst offenders when it comes to relying heavily on an offensive gameplan. This strategy is why we continually see these sorts of games. An explosive offense is fun to watch but it is generally far more difficult to execute on a weekly basis than stout defensive play. Baylor learned that lesson the hard way.
#14 Kansas State sneaks by #11 Oklahoma, 31-30
What a difference a couple weeks can make. That’s what Oklahoma must be thinking after falling all the way from four to 17 in just three weeks. This was a tight game throughout. Kansas State needed a number of things to go their way, they did, and the Wildcats were able to steal a conference win on the road.
Michael Hunnicutt had a rough afternoon. Normally reliable, the Oklahoma kicker missed three crucial kicks. The first came on a 32-yard attempt just before halftime. In the fourth quarter he had a game-tying extra point attempt blocked, then shanked a 19-yarder with less than four minutes left in the game. Not a great day at the office.
Kansas State’s dedication to defense has a lot to do with why they give fellow Big 12 teams so many issues. The Wildcats still have trips to TCU, West Virginia, and Baylor looming on their schedule so there’s still work to do, but I like their chances to come out on top of the conference.
#7 Alabama embarrasses #21 Texas A&M, 59-0
Not much needs to be said about this one. The score tells the story, the game was never close. The Crimson Tide made the Aggies look like chumps.
Kenny Hill and the A&M offense couldn’t figure out a way move the ball, let alone score. They were blanked for the first time since head coach Kevin Sumlin took over in 2012.
Just when we all began to wonder whether Alabama was falling off- following a loss to Ole Miss and a squeaker win over Arkansas- the Tide put those thoughts to bed. It’s safe to say they’re still an elite team and will be a factor in the pursuit of the playoff.
#12 TCU smacks #15 Oklahoma State, 42-9
These two teams should never have been ranked as close to one another as they were coming into this game. TCU took a tough loss two weeks ago at the hands of Baylor which clearly motivated them for this game.
Oklahoma State had no business being in the top 15 as evidenced by their getting stomped. Their most impressive performance this season came in the opener a month and a half ago when they lost to Florida State by only six points. The problem was that other teams ranked above them kept losing so they kept rising in the rankings.
Going forward, expect to see more TCU and much less of Oklahoma State.
#2 Florida State survives visit from #5 Notre Dame, 31-27
You should feel sad if you missed this one. It was by far the best game we’ve seen thus far this season. And even though Florida State came away with the win, Notre Dame eliminated any doubt that they belong in the playoff discussion.
Two of the top quarterbacks in the nation squared off in primetime with neither one disappointing. Jameis Winston and Everett Golson led their teams as they always do. The two arguably have more of an impact on their teams’ performance than any other players in the nation have on theirs. Watching them go back-and-forth was a treat.
Unfortunately for all those involved, the game was decided by a penalty call that needed to be made because the play was such an obvious violation. Nevertheless, this was a fantastic clash and I can only hope that somehow these two meet again in the playoff.
#16 Arizona State bounces #23 Stanford from rankings, 26-10
For the first time since the 2010 preseason poll the AP top 25 does not include the Stanford Cardinal. The Arizona State Sun Devils made this happen by utterly outplaying their opponent in Saturday night’s late game.
Stanford just can’t score enough. In their three losses this season, the Cardinal have tallied a combined 34 points. Defense continues to be their strong suit. They give up just over 12 points per game, but they can only do so much, they need some help.
If it weren’t for an absolute defensive lapse against UCLA last month, Arizona State would be in the top 10. Major matchups against Utah, Notre Dame and at Arizona remain for the Sun Devils. Wins in those three games will make an already closely contested Pac-12 even more interesting.