College football never disappoints.
As usual, the sport churned out some barn burners.
Here’s some of the fallout from the latest week of exciting action.
Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn has cultivated a reputation as an offensive guru. He’s scored a lot of points at every one of his coaching stops, won a national championship as an offensive coordinator, and played for another one as a head coach. However, his offenses have been pedestrian since playing for the title in 2013. He seems to have things back on track this year with Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham at quarterback. Auburn steamrolled 24th ranked Mississippi St 49-10, and are sitting in good shape to play for the SEC West crown in the Iron Bowl against Alabama at season’s end.
The defending championships continue to impress with yet another victory over a top-15 opponent. This time the Tigers knocked off 12th ranked Virginia Tech 31-17 in a primetime evening matchup in Blacksburg, a common snakepit for road teams. Clemson once again proved they have the best defensive line in the country, and a capable offense to match. The schedule softens for the Tigers, and they have a clear path to their third straight ACC Atlantic title.
When Mike Leach took over the Cougars, they had sunk to be arguably the worst team in a power 5 conference. In one of the seasons prior to Leach’s arrival, the team went 2-11 and surrendered 58+ points in six of those losses. The Cougars then followed that up with 1-11 and 2-10 seasons. Leach now has the Cougars ranked on the cusp of the top 10 after upsetting 5th ranked USC 30-27, all but dashing Sam Darnold’s Heisman hopes. The PAC 12 is competitive this year, so it’s unlikely the Cougars will make it all the way through unscathed (the Apple Cup against Washington will be must-see TV), but they’re playing good football and should be a factor in the conference race.
Mississippi had always been a middling program. When head coach Hugh Freeze brought in top-ranked recruiting classes and elevated the team to SEC contender seemingly overnight, eyebrows were raised. Freeze’s ignominious exit amid a nascent NCAA investigation suggests the program wasn’t on the up and up. With Freeze gone, Ole Miss has sunken to bottom feeder status as quickly as they rose from it. They won unimpressively against South Alabama and Tennessee-Martin, lost against Cal, and this past week got thrashed by Alabama 66-3. The nine-touchdown drubbing was the school’s worst loss in almost 90 years. Things are clearly trending down for the program.
Thus far, head coach Butch Jones survived the weekend, but at losing at home to SEC East rival Georgia 41-0, the only thing saving Jones from the chopping block could be his exorbitant buyout; Tennessee will have to pay Jones over $8 million if they fire him. The Volunteers have a proud tradition, so the school might pony up and pull the trigger if embarrassing losses like this continue to pile up. The SEC East is down and Tennessee has already played Florida and Georgia, but they’re facing a sure loss to perennial inter-division foe Alabama. If the Crimson Tide steamroll them, which feels like a foregone conclusion at this point, big-money Volunteer boosters might take swift action and remove Jones from his piping hot seat.
The SEC hits the “loser” trifecta with the Tigers taking the cake. Despite having million-dollar coordinators on both sides of the ball, head coach Ed Orgeron suffered a humiliating home loss to Troy in Death Valley. The defeat broke LSU’s 49-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents. This isn’t the first time LSU struggled against Troy. In 2008, the team had to overcome a 31-3 deficit to win. This time LSU rallied from 17-0 down but fell short 24-21. To make matters worse, the loss came on LSU’s homecoming; a fact Troy didn’t let them forget.
Hey @LSU, thanks for having us down for homecoming! We really enjoyed it! 😁