College football is the most exciting sport in America.
Every Saturday something amazing happens, and this past weekend didn’t disappoint.
Here are a few of the winners and losers of the weekend.
It may seem strange to say the defending national championships solidified themselves, but they did exactly that.
The Tigers went on the road and absolutely hammered the 14th ranked Louisville Cardinals 47-21. People were expecting a shootout after last year’s classic in Death Valley where Clemson narrowly escaped eventual Heisman winner Lamar Jackson’s offensive onslaught.
Clemson was having none of that. Their defense bottled up Jackson all night and pulled away in the second half. New starting Quarterback Kelly Bryant also notched his important first road win.
The Tigers look head and shoulders above the rest of the teams in the ACC. It looks like it’s going to take an upset to keep them out of the playoffs for the third straight year.
The Trojans looked to be dead in the water. They were trailing 17-14 to a struggling Texas Longhorns team led by a true freshman quarterback.
But with only 45 seconds left, Heisman hopeful Sam Darnold led USC down the field for a game-tying field goal; the Trojans eventually won 27-24 in double overtime.
A narrow home victory against an unranked opponent isn’t usually cause for celebration, but Texas still has talent on the roster, and new coach Tom Herman had an impeccable record as an underdog coming into the game.
As offensive coordinator at Ohio State and head coach at Houston, Herman had been 6-0 as an underdog.
USC survives and advances to the meat of their schedule.
The Florida Gators did not look particularly good in their first game since the impact of Hurricane Irma.
Their offense looked limited, and their defense got gashed by Tennessee Runningback John Kelly.
The stadium was booing Head Coach Jim McElwain for bungling the clock management at the end; with the game tied at 20 and less than 40 seconds left, McElwain let over 20 seconds run off the clock with two timeouts burning a hole in his pocket.
However, the Gators make the “winners” list because of one play:
ARE YOU SERIOUS!????!!!!!! https://t.co/CI6OdeYqgI
The LSU Tigers are one of the few programs in college football to have won two national championships over the past 15 years.
Despite all of the winning, the program decided to fire Head Coach Les Miles and replace him with career assistant Ed Orgeron.
Orgeron had a short stint as USC’s interim coach and a disappointing run as Ole Miss’s Head Coach.
The program elevated Orgeron from interim status to permanent replacement and armed him with two expensive coordinators, Matt Canada on offense (the architect behind Pitt’s explosive 2016 attack) and Dave Aranda on defense.
The high-profile coordinators and the fertile recruiting base have not yielded results different from the departed Les Miles. LSU got absolutely hammered against SEC West division foe Mississippi St 37-7.
A few more performances like that and the LSU boosters will quickly lose patience.
Jim Harbaugh performed one of the best coaching feats anyone has ever seen. He transformed a “nerd” school into a physically-imposing smashmouth that’s perennially competed for the PAC-12 crown.
Head Coach David Shaw has carried the torch of Harbaugh’s success, but he might be on the verge of facing his first truly challenging season.
The Cardinal got pummeled by USC, then followed it up with a disappointing loss to San Diego State.
The Aztecs are a solid program, but they are not on par with the Stanford that has been built up over the last decade.
The loss knocks Stanford out of the top 25 and puts them in a precarious position going into the heart of their conference schedule. The Cardinals need to find a steady Quarterback and fast.
Being on the losing end of a Hail Mary automatically qualifies you for the “loser” category.
Tennessee’s coverage on the final play was baffling. With only 9 seconds on the clock and Florida 40 yards away from field-goal range, the Volunteers were in a shallow Cover 2 defense.
The poor alignment was exacerbated by terrible execution in the secondary; both the Cornerback and Safety bit on an underneath route and let Florida Wide Receiver Tyrie Cleveland get behind the defense.
This was particularly bad for Head Coach Butch Jones, who was already on the hot seat.
Tennessee still plays yearly rivals Georgia and Alabama, then faces LSU late in the season. At this point, Jones needs to win at least one of those games to save his job.