Two months down and one month to go. We’re nine weeks into the season. As with the previous eight weeks, this week wasn’t short on news. Coaching changes, controversies, and another last second special teams miracle. Going into the final month of the season, we’ll be getting more of all three. The first College Football Playoff rankings came out Tuesday night on ESPN. I’ll be pushing this post back a day or two so I can include the rankings. As they are the only rankings that matter anymore, those are the rankings I’ll close with instead of the AP Top 25.
The biggest news of the week, and perhaps the entire season so far came out of the ACC. This is the controversy I spoke of, and I mean controversy. Horrible officiating cost a team a win and making the entire conference look bad controversy. Miami upset #22 Duke 30-27. With :06 left, Duke scores what should have been the winning touchdown. However, Duke still had to kickoff. The last two weeks there have been special teams miracles at the end of games. Make that three weeks in a row. On the ensuing kickoff, Miami performed 8 laterals before scoring a touchdown. The play took 45 seconds. There was a nine-minute review. The play stands, Miami wins.
The ACC suspended the on-field and the replay officials for two games. On review, the conference determined there were four errors on the final play. The key issue was during a lateral as a Miami player’s knee was down before the pitch. Miami was also guilty of an illegal block and a player entering the field of play before he should have. Duke should have won the game, replay proved it.
The ABC “Game of the Week” saw #9 Notre Dame have another comeback win, this time over #21 Temple 24-20. The comeback came on the heroic play of Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer. He’s not Joe Montana, but Kizer’s showing poise not seen in young quarterbacks with a scant handful of starts. Kizer went 23-36 for 299 yards. He threw two interceptions in the red zone, but he also threw the winning touchdown pass to Will Fuller. On the ground, Kizer ran for 143 yards and two scores. One of those was a 79 yarder. This was the leading candidate for game of the week.
Minnesota had #15 Michigan on the ropes, but lost at home due to bad clock management and failure to kick a chip shot field that would have tied the game. Michigan walked away from the rivalry game with a 29-26 win and the “Little Brown Jug” trophy.
Washington State scared #8 Stanford and was a last second field goal away from a big win at home. A missed 43 yard field goal doomed WazzU to a 30-28 loss. More scares involved #3 Clemson beating North Carolina State 56-41. Auburn came close to beating #19 Ole Miss, but Ole Miss hung on 27-19.
Texas Tech and #12 Oklahoma State had a shoot out. Oklahoma State won 70-53. The Big XII has a problem, not a single team can play defense. Texas Tech is a main offender. With their high -powered offense if they’d stop someone now and then they’d be deadly.
Georgia laid an egg against rival #11 Florida, losing 27-3. Another game in a long list of uninspired, lackluster performances from Georgia in big games. Head coach Mark Richt is under fire, and his seat is warming up each day. Unlike Charlie Strong at Texas, Georgia had real expectations to contend. They were to win their division, a possible SEC title, and snag a playoff spot. Instead, unranked Georgia is having their worst season since 2010.
Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer announced he will retire at the end of the year. He leaves as the winningest active coach in college football after 29 seasons in Blacksburg. You don’t see coaches staying in one place that long anymore, by their choice or otherwise. On Halloween morning at a Columbus police checkpoint, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett received citations for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and backing without safety. He’s suspended for Ohio State’s Week 10 game against Minnesota and will lose his 2016 summer aid scholarship.
What does Week 10 have in store? Only two huge games that could largely decide the divisional champion, conference champion, and a huge impact on the playoff picture. Week 10 has already seen fireworks. Tuesday night Toledo fell from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 32-27 loss at home to Northern Illinois. Saturday starts at noon sharp with a healthy slate of three games, so make sure there’s room on the DVR. On ESPNU Penn State goes to Ryan Field to play #21 Northwestern in Evanston. An in-state rivalry will take place between Duke and North Carolina from Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill on ESPN2. Fifth ranked Notre Dame travels to Heinz Field to play Pitt on ABC.
As always, the 3:30 time slot isn’t lacking action. In the first “Big Game”, #16 Florida State goes to “Death Valley” to play #1 Clemson. This is for the ACC Atlantic, the ACC conference, and making the college playoffs. The Big XII sees #8 TCU travel to Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater to play #14 Oklahoma State in a battle of undefeated teams on Fox. This could be a track meet shoot out as both teams score often and don’t play defense well.
Then on CBS, the second “Big Game”, always an instant classic. Second ranked LSU plays fourth ranked Alabama in Tuscaloosa’s Bryant-Denny Stadium. The SEC West, the SEC, and a playoff spot are all on the line.
I’ll be watching the Notre Dame game as I always do. I want to check out both 3:30 games, and the SEC battle under the lights. Then I’ll try to catch a late night game from out west if I have time.
What are you going to be watching in Week 10?
My Top 4 Playoff Teams:
1. Clemson Tigers
2. Baylor Bears
3. LSU Tigers
4. Alabama Crimson Tide
College Football Playoff Rankings
25. Houston Cougars (8-0)
24. Toledo Rockets (7-0)* (7-1 as of Tuesday)
23. UCLA Bruins (6-2)
22. Temple Owls (7-1)
21. Northwestern Wildcats (6-2)
20. Mississippi State Bulldogs (6-2)
19. Texas A&M Aggies (6-2)
18. Ole Miss Rebels (7-2)
17. Michigan Wolverines (6-2)
16. Florida State Seminoles (7-1)
15. Oklahoma Sooners (7-1)
14. Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-0)
13. Memphis Tigers (8-0)
12. Utah Utes (7-1)
11. Stanford Cardinal (7-1)
10. Florida Gators (7-1)
9. Iowa Hawkeyes (8-0)
8. TCU Horned Frogs (8-0)
7. Michigan State Spartans (8-0)
6. Baylor Bears (7-0)
5. Notre Dame Fightin’ Irish (7-1)
4. Alabama Crimson Tide (7-1)
3. Ohio State Buckeyes (8-0)
2. LSU Tigers (7-1)
1. Clemson Tigers (8-0)
Copyright © Drew Martin 2015