Another fantastic season of college football is approaching its midpoint.
Contenders and pretenders are slowly starting to materialize.
Here are the top winners and losers for this week.
The Wolfpack started off the season slowly with a loss on the road against South Carolina, but they’ve rebounded with strong wins against Florida State on the road, and Louisville this past week. The Wolfpack’s stout defensive line gave reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson fits en route to a 39-25 victory. The Wolfpack are now sitting pretty ranked at 20th in the country, and they’ve already defeated two of the top three teams in the ACC Atlantic. If they can defeat Clemson at home, a team they had on the ropes in Death Valley last year, they are a serious dark horse to play for the ACC crown.
The Horned Frogs have rebounded from a difficult 6-7 season last year and currently sit at #6 in the polls. They just defeated 23rd ranked West Virginia 31-24, and now enter a soft patch in their schedule. Former Texas A&M flash-in-the-pan quarterback Kenny “Trill” Hill rebuilt his career and image at TCU, and against the Mountaineers accomplished the rare feat of throwing, running, and catching a touchdown. TCU finishes with Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech consecutively, but they’re in prime position to win the Big XII.
The Hurricanes won their fifth national championship in 2001-02, but haven’t come close to their former glory in the past dozen years. The once-dominant Canes have flirted many times with being “back” over that forgettable span, but they look like they’re finally on their way after snapping a seven-game losing streak to bitter rival, Florida State. The Canes remain undefeated and climbed to 10th in the coaches’ poll. The Seminoles came into the game 1-2 with a true freshman quarterback, but they’re still a talented team and a rival, so they gave Miami everything they had. Just when it looked like Miami was going to stumble for an eighth time, they did this.
TOUCHDOWN! Malik Rosier finds Darrell Langham for what should be the game-winning score with 6 seconds left! Play was reviewed and upheld https://t.co/lxZM812tFc
The Brett Bielema era may be winding down at Arkansas. The Razorbacks got trounced 48-22 by South Carolina, a team not known for offensive outbursts. Former head coaches Bobby Petrine and Houston Nutt were able to win 10 games and play in big bowl games, but Bielema’s ceiling appears to be eight wins, and they’re flirting with not being bowl-eligible this year. The Razorbacks will have to carve out four wins against Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, LSU, Mississippi State, and Missouri. If not, they’ll be home for the holidays, and possibly looking for a new coach.
Jim Harbaugh returned to his alma mater with great fanfare, and with good reason. He built Stanford into a consistent football powerhouse and came within five yards of winning a Super Bowl. However, the results with the Wolverines have been mixed. Harbaugh has resorted to several antics in recruiting and it’s largely worked, but he’s struggled to corral difference-makers at the gamebreaker positions. After the 14-10 home loss to hated rival Michigan State, Harbaugh’s record after 31 games is eerily similar to that of the man he replaced.
Through 31 games at Michigan: Harbaugh: 24-7 record, 1-1 bowl record, 1-4 vs rivals. Hoke: 24-7 record, 1-1 bowl record, 2-2 vs rivals.
This one is inexplicable. The Sooners seemed to have turned the corner by defeating Ohio State on the road, but they threw it all away this weekend. Despite being a 30.5-point favorite, the Sooners lost to Iowa State at home. The loss marks the seventh straight year Oklahoma has lost a game as a double-digit favorite. The Sooners had a direct path to the playoffs, but now they have a lot of work to do. Although recently retired head coach Bob Stoops earned the moniker “Big Game” Bob, he suffered many head-scratching losses. It seems as though his successor Lincoln Riley has picked up where Stoops left off. The Cyclones even rubbed salt in Oklahoma’s wound by duplicating what Sooner quarterback Baker Mayfield did after winning the showdown in Columbus.
Baker Mayfield’s comments on Iowa State planting a flag on OU’s 50. #Sooners https://t.co/jF7zV1WOYX