Another week of the 2015 college football season is in the books. I didn’t have a lot hope for this week. Looking at the schedule, I there weren’t a lot of games that screamed “must watch.” At the end of Saturday, there were a few games of note to report on, an upset or two, and a little shakeup in the rankings. There’s still more questions than answers, and the usual suspects still have the “Riddler symbol” next to them. I don’t know what to make of this season. Seven weeks in we should have a decent idea of where this season is going, but I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have the first clue. The American conference now has three teams in the AP Top 25 rankings (Temple, Houston, Memphis), and they’re undefeated. What’s the world coming to these days?
There were fireworks before we could get to the weekend. Thursday night in a battle of California schools, #18 UCLA played #15 Stanford in Stanford Stadium. UCLA’s playoff hopes are officially over, and perhaps their season. Stanford won in a blowout, 56-35 led by Christian McCaffrey’s 369 total yards and four rushing touchdowns. Friday night saw an upset and #21 Boise State’s chance of busting a “New Year’s Six” bowl game come to a halt. Boise State couldn’t overcome seven turnovers in the first half, losing on the road to an unranked Utah State team in a 52-26 landslide.
Then there was Saturday. One of the major stories of the week was the firing of Steve Sarkisian as head coach of the USC Trojans. They journeyed to Indiana to play under the prime time lights against #15 Notre Dame at Notre Dame Stadium. Before the game began, USC athletic director Pat Haden showed the signs of a stressful week. He experienced lightheadedness and dropped to a knee before walking to the locker room. He made a short stop at a local hospital and took a private flight back to Los Angeles. This is one of the major rivalries in all college football. Notre Dame won 41-31 to capture the Jeweled Shillelagh trophy. The Irish, led by C.J. Prosise, who ran for 143 yards and two touchdowns. Wide out Will Fuller caught 3 balls for 131 yards, including a 75 yard touchdown.
The big upset of Saturday came in a game in Memphis. American conference member Memphis knocked off #13 Ole Miss, the lone team to beat Alabama, 37-24. Memphis won on the arm of quarterback Patrick Lynch as he completed 39 of 53 passes for 384 yards. Three completions were for touchdowns, but he threw an interception. Memphis is 6-0 for the first time since 1961.
Of the three big time, “must see” games of Week 7, two lived up the hype. The SEC battle between the two schools “Bear” Bryant coached at wasn’t close as #10 Alabama walked onto Texas A&M’s Kyle Field and came out with a 41-23 victory. Alabama’s defense had three “Pick 6” interceptions. Running back Derrick Henry ran for 236 yards and two touchdowns.
In another SEC battle, two undefeated teams squared off at Tiger Stadium with #8 Florida playing on the road against #6 LSU. Heisman front-runner Leonard Fournette ran for 180 yards and two scores. The play of the game was classic Les Miles. He showed why he’s known as “The Mad Hatter.” With 10:40 left in the game, the LSU head coach called a fake field goal which resulted in the winning touchdown of a close 35-28 game.
The game of the day, the play of the year, a play that will go down in history took place in Michigan’s “The Big House.” Seventh ranked Michigan State went on the road to play in-state rival #12 Michigan for the Paul Bunyan Trophy. Michigan State has looked bad in recent weeks and still won. The same story unfolded here. Michigan State never led during the entire game. With :10 seconds left, all Michigan had to do was the punt and stop a return. This is when “The Play” happened, when a miracle occurred. Michigan’s punter couldn’t handle the snap, he dropped it. Instead of falling on the ground, he spun around and tried to kick. He missed, and the ball went into the hands of Jalen Watts-Jackson. He went 38 yards the other way for a touchdown, and a 27-23 win to keep Michigan State undefeated. If you haven’t seen this play, you need to at least once. Words can’t describe it. You have to see it. I saw it live, and several times on replay. I still don’t know if I believe it.
This week, the eighth week of the season looks like an uneventful week. We may get some upsets, we may get some good games. The big games to watch, the so-called sexy match ups aren’t there. My Fightin’ Irish have a bye. Looking at the schedule I found two, yes two games. At 3:30 on ABC/ESPN2 a battle of the Big XII takes place. Texas Tech takes their “Air Raid” offense into Memorial Stadium to play #17 Oklahoma in Norman. On ESPN at 7:00 #15 Texas A&M plays #24 Ole Miss in a SEC fight in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford. Both teams look to rebound from losses.
What are you going to be watching in Week 8?
My Top 4 Playoff Teams:
1. Baylor Bears
2. Utah Utes
3. LSU Tigers
4. Clemson Tigers
AP Top 25 as listed on ESPN.com
25. Pittsburgh Panthers (5-1)
24. Ole Miss Rebels (5-2)
23. Duke Blue Devils (5-1)
22. Temple Owls (6-0)
21. Houston Cougars (6-0)
20. Cal Golden Bears (5-1)
19. Toledo Rockets (6-0)
18. Memphis Tigers (6-0)
17. Oklahoma Sooners (5-1)
15. Texas A&M Aggies (5-1) & Michigan Wolverines (5-2)
14. Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-0)
13. Florida Gators (6-1)
12. Iowa Hawkeyes (7-0)
11. Notre Dame Fightin’ Irish (6-1)
10. Stanford Cardinal (5-1)
9. Florida State Seminoles (6-0)
8. Alabama Crimson Tide (6-1)
7. Michigan State Spartans (7-0)
6. Clemson Tigers (1) (6-0)
5. LSU Tigers (1) (6-0)
4. TCU Horned Frogs (3) (7-0)
3. Utah Utes (16) (6-0)
2. Baylor Bears (12) (6-0)
1. Ohio State Buckeyes (28) (7-0)
Copyright © Drew Martin 2015