College football is the best roller coaster of emotions in sports.
This past week certainly didn’t disappoint.
Here are the top winners and losers of the week.
In the battle of the Bulldogs between Georgia and Mississippi State, Georgia emerged victorious with a thorough 31-3 win. Georgia came in ranked 11th and was playing at home, so the win wasn’t a shock, but blowing out 17th ranked Mississippi State with a true freshman quarterback at the helm was unexpected. Perhaps the Bulldogs from the Magnolia State experienced a big-game hangover after trouncing LSU last week 37-7. Nevertheless, barring a meltdown from talented freshman QB Jake Fromm, Georgia winning the SEC East looks like a foregone conclusion; the rest of the division looks like a clown show.
The Horned Frogs avenged last year’s 31-6 loss to Oklahoma State, the worst home loss of the Gary Patterson era, by beating the 6th ranked Cowboys in Stillwater. TCU jumped from 16th to 9th in the AP poll, and have a relatively clear path for a huge showdown game with Oklahoma on November 11. Patterson’s teams have always been known for defense, but the rankings slid over the past few seasons because of the offense-happy nature of the Big XII. As a result, Patterson modernized his offense and seems to have a well-balanced team suited for a run at a conference title.
The Iowa Hawkeyes have recently been conference giant-killers. In recent memorable night games in Iowa City, the Hawkeyes knocked off 9-0 Michigan last year, and 9-0 Penn State in 2008. The Nittany Lions returned to town, again with a top 5 ranking. The game was a struggle for Penn State from the beginning. Despite having an explosive offense, Penn State trailed 7-5 at the half. Trailing by 4 with only seconds to play, Penn State gets their championship goals alive with this:
Wow! Down to its final play, No. 4 Penn State hauls in a last-second touchdown to avoid an upset at Iowa. https://t.co/TC0WINRXnS
The Seminoles’ season was already on the brink after losing starting quarterback Deondre François in a crushing defeat to national champion runner-up Alabama. To make matters worse, top receiver Auden Tate might miss some time with a shoulder injury that forced him to leave the game against North Carolina State. Without the 6’5” target, Florida State’s true freshman signal-caller James Blackman didn’t have a security blanket to go to, and the Noles fell at home to the Wolfpack. The 0-2 start squeezed Florida State from 12th in the AP poll to unranked for the first time since 2011, Jimbo Fisher’s second season as head coach.
The Bruins’ historic feel-good comeback win against Texas A&M seems like a distant memory. The comeback shielded a huge problem that’s continued to rear its ugly head: UCLA’s defense is atrocious. They have now given up 44, 23, 48, and 58 points (43.3 per game). The most recent defensive abomination occurred against conference rival Stanford who ran all over the Bruins to the tune of 405 rushing yards. The 58-34 loss marks the 10th time in a row UCLA has lost to their division foe from upstate. Jim Mora, an alleged defensive guru, looks to be in his death throes. At this point, it seems only an upset against hated rival USC can save his job.
Kentucky will always be a basketball school, but that doesn’t mean the football team can’t suffer heartbreaking losses. The Wildcats have consistently been a doormat for the Gators, but this was their chance. The Gators were vulnerable. They limped in as a meager favorite with several players missing due to suspensions. They also had an unresolved quarterback issue that reared its head again as last week’s Hail Mary star Feleipe Franks was benched for Luke Del Rio. Kentucky was in control of the game all the way through.
Nevertheless, this happened.
You don’t get more wide open than this… Tyrie Cleveland. TD. @GatorsFB ties it up in Lexington. https://t.co/y5vRGqXEF0
Shockingly, with the game on the line, it happened again.
Kentucky. Guys. https://t.co/Q1BJ8AC0gr
How does Kentucky lose this game, on the same kind of mistake, twice? Left two guys wide open before snap/forgot they were on the field open
Yes, indeed, how does that happen twice?
That is why Kentucky has lost 31 straight games to Florida.