It was another weekend of domination for the top teams in the nation. Still, some of the final scores were down right jaw dropping. Alabama was expected to outmuscle the Razorbacks and continue their run for a playoff bid. The Buckeyes didn’t let up one bit after in their win over the Hoosiers. Despite Indiana’s resounding win against Michigan State last week, they were no match for Ohio State and J.T. Barrett. Michigan had a field day with their competition, toying with, than dismantling the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers 78-0 on their own field. If Jim Harbaugh is trying to send a message to the Ohio State and Michigan State that last season’s miracles and flukes won’t happen this season. Consider that message having been sent.
The biggest shockers of the weekend had to come from the fifth ranked Washington Huskies and the sixth ranked Houston Cougars, but for different reasons.
The Huskies had lost to the Oregon Ducks 12 straight games going into Saturday afternoon. The last time the Huskies won against the Ducks, George W. Bush was still in his first term as President. The Ducks didn’t just win those games, they did so in dominating fashion as they won by an average of just under 24 points per game. So you can see that Washington fans were hoping for a different outcome, especially seeing how dominant the Huskies were in the previous week against Stanford shutting down Christian McCaffrey.
Well the Husky faithful got what they were hoping for, the Huskies let out all their years of frustrating loses at the hands of Oregon pore out in Autzen Stadium with a 70-21 thrashing. Oregon fans are used to it being the other way around, but Chris Peterson, much like he did with Boise State, has turned this Washington program around. Now they are back to being relevant in college football again.
Since the start of the season, there has been talk of could a non-power conference team get a chance to play in the College Football Playoff. The one team that was given that hope was the Houston Cougars. They started the season with a big win over Oklahoma and snowballed from there. With their success has come many rumors. Such as Head Coach Tom Herman may leave to go to LSU, or even would the Big 12 conference consider adding Houston to the conference because of how Herman has turned the program around in what he’s built.
Well I can’t speak definitively about the coaching situation regarding Tom Herman, but I can tell you that the opportunity for a playoff bid is now gone. For Houston to even be considered they would have to be perfect throughout the entire season. And that’s a lot of pressure to put on any team, and it may have come to a head on Saturday in Annapolis against the Navy Midshipmen. Navy is not a slouch by any stretch. They play tough and the run the ball effectively with their option attack. When you turn the ball over, that can easily be your down fall and the inclement weather due to Hurricane Matthew creeping up the east coast certainly didn’t help. Greg Ward, Jr. and the Cougars had trouble with turnovers, and Navy capitalized on them by scoring two touchdowns at the beginning of the seond half. That was enough for them to hold on for the upset.
The miracle boys of Tennessee finally got burned playing with fire for too long. Once again the Vols started out slow, falling behind big in the first half to the Aggies of Texas A&M. Six turnovers put them in a 21-7 hole, they were on the verge of disaster. Instead, much like they have done all season, they made adjustments at the half. However that second half surge meant little when Trevor Knight gashed the Tennessee defense for a 62-yard touchdown run to make the lead 14 again with 3;22 to go in the game. I assumed the miracles were over the Vols, but apparently they had one more rub of the lamp, they were granted another wish.
Texas A&M running back Trayveon Williams found an alley down the side line and was on his way to the end zone to push the lead back to 14 when it happened. Tennessee corner Malik Foreman was the beneficiary of that wish, making a huge play to give his Volunteer offense a chance to get the ball. Foreman ran down Williams and forced a poked the ball loose at the 2-yard line, the ball would roll out of the back of the endzone, meaning a touchback and the Vols would get the ball back. Yet in the end, the wishes ran out and the turnovers were too much to overcome. Tennessee quarterback Josh Dobbs threw his second interception in the second overtime period to give the Aggies the seven point win 45-38.
Florida State was able to bounce back with a win against their rivals when they blocked the potential game tying extra point to hold on for the win over the Miami Hurricanes. The Stanford Cardinals still look to be feeling the hangover of their loss to Washington last week, or teams have figured out that their offensive line. Either way, Washington State went down to Palo Alto and embarrassed the Cardinal 42-16.
The Red River Shootout/Rivalry/Showdown however you want to call it lived up to its nickname. In the third quarter, the teams were going back forth with quick air strikes for touchdowns. Whichever defensive unit could step up and get a stop would be the winning team. The Sooners defense was able to put the clamps on first, allowing them to prevail 46-40 in the end.