Week 7 College Football Thoughts

– In a weekend full of upsets, none was bigger than Penn State’s 4 OT thriller over Michigan. Nittany Lions WR Allen Robinson made some amazing catches in the final minute of regulation to help his team force overtime. In OT, neither team was able to pull away as a series of botched special teams plays and mental miscues kept the game in doubt, until the 4th OT, when PSU head coach Bill O’Brien decided to go for it on 4th down and give his team a chance to close things out, which they did on a Bill Belton 2 yard TD run. For the Nittany Lions it’s a great win for as they deal with sanctions forcing them to play with one arm tied behind their back.  And for the Wolverines, they could’ve lost to UConn and likely should’ve lost to Akron, so to see them lose this one on the road is no surprise.
– No DeAnthony Thomas, no problem. Oregon kept Washington at bay for three quarters, before finishing them off in the 4th, in a game that was never as close as the score might suggest, and they won by 21 points. QB Marcus Mariota is likely your front-runner for the Heisman and it’s tough to argue, when he’s scoring 4 TDs with over 450 total yards against one of the better defenses in the nation. There is no slowing this team down.
– Speaking of the Pac-12, Stanford is no longer undefeated, after they lost on the road at Utah. Their offense has been shaky as of late (with the exception of Ty Montgomery) and against the Utes they tried to get too cute and pass the ball, when running it was likely the higher percentage play to get them in the end zone and win the game. This coming week they get UCLA, QB Brett Hundley, and stud LB Anthony Barr at home. A bounce back win here will likely vault them back up the rankings, but they must first correct their offense that ranks 2nd to last in the Pac-12 in total yards per game. 
– Mizzou upset Georgia to remain undefeated and gain some respect in the process, but at what price? They lost QB James Franklin for the season due to a separated shoulder and will now have to turn to freshman Maty Mauk to guide their offense. With games against Florida and South Carolina coming up, this will be the biggest test yet for the surprising Tigers, who are for real.  For the Bulldogs, they’ve simply been decimated by injuries and will have to rally around QB Aaron Murray once again, if they’re still going to win the SEC West.
On Saturday LSU was the hammer and Florida was the nail, I think. Either way, the main difference was that the Tigers have a Jeremy Hill on their team and the Gators do not. QB Tyler Murphy didn’t turn the ball over, but that’s not enough against a team like LSU. The Tigers face Ole Miss this week and if they can win that one, they’ll be one small step away from their November 9th matchup against Alabama in T-Town.
– Speaking of Ole Miss, they gave Johnny Football and the Aggies all they could handle, but it wasn’t enough as they lost by a field goal as time expired at home. Manziel didn’t throw a TD and was actually picked off once, but he was accurate with the ball, shook off a knee injury, and made the plays with his feet when he needed to, to win the game. This week JFF and Uncle Nate get Auburn at home, in what should be another shootout.  
– Texas pulled the upset over Oklahoma, in the Red River Shootout, and likely kept the wolves at bay for just a bit longer for Longhorns coach Mack Brown. The Longhorns win likely doesn’t change Brown’s fate, but it’s nice to see that he can still get his team to rise to the occasion every once in a while and play a complete game from start to finish in all three phases.  Now if only he could get his team to play like that every week. For the Sooners, it’s only one loss, but Blake Bell does not look like the QB to lead this team moving forward. Trevor Knight should be given more time to show what he can do or the Sooners need to rework the offense around Bell throwing the ball less, as they only converted 2 of their 13 third downs against UT.
– Also in the Big 12, Baylor was finally given a test by K-State and they rose to the challenge, by scoring 14 points in the 4th quarter to come back and win on the road. Their defense was just as responsible for the win as their offense was (mainly Bryce Petty). With Iowa State and Kansas up next on the schedule, the Bears will likely be undefeated when they play the Sooners on November 7th, the same night Oregon goes to Stanford and the same weekend LSU goes to Alabama. That’s going to be a great weekend.
– For all the talk about the ACC and the up-coming Florida State/Clemson showdown, Virginia Tech continues to get no national respect. They’ve lost only one game and that was to Alabama, where they held the Tide to just 206 total yards of offense. They’ve got a shutdown corner in Kyle Fuller and QB Logan Thomas has cut down on the turnovers that plagued him last season. This Hokies team is a real threat to win out, claim the ACC Coastal division, and possibly even the conference crown.
– Is anyone watching Louisville and does it matter? This past Thursday, they got out to an early lead on Rutgers, but then let the Scarlet Knights back into the game and had to hang on late. The win did nothing to their ranking in the AP Poll, where they’ve been jumped and will continue to be jumped by teams that play more high profile games. This coming Friday may be their last chance to really capture the attention of the nation, as they take on a quality UCF team on ESPN. Come up short here and Louisville might as well kiss their hopes of a national title and Heisman for Teddy Bridgewater good-bye. 
– Tulane beat East Carolina in triple-overtime to move to 5-2 on the season and 3-0 in C-USA play. This wouldn’t be worth mentioning, but last season the Green Wave went 2-10 (2-6 in C-USA) and haven’t had a winning record since 2002. The play of QB Nick Montana (Joe’s kid), QB Devin Powell, and kicker Cairo Santos have really helped turn this program around this season. Winning 8 or possibly even 9 games seems like a real possibility, when looking at their schedule. If head coach Curtis Johnson, a former member of New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton’s coaching staff, isn’t already a local hero, he will be soon. 
– Plenty of entertaining conference games this week, but all eyes will be on Florida State and Clemson as they duke it out to see who will reign supreme in the ACC Atlantic division and keep their dreams of playing for the national title alive. This will also be a chance for Jameis Winston and Tajh Boyd to showcase their talents, as the two compete for the Heisman Trophy.

Games to Watch

7:00 PM ESPN2: Louisiana-Lafayette @ Western Kentucky – You’re better off watching the MLB playoffs and yes, Tuesday football is now here.

6:30 PM ESPN: #10 Miami @ North Carolina – The Canes need this one to keep pace with Virginia Tech in the ACC Coastal division.

7:00 PM ESPN: UCF @ #8 Louisville – Likely the stiffest test the Cardinals will face in AAC play this season.

11:00 AM CBS: #15 Georgia @ Vanderbilt – If the Fighting James Franklins lose this one, they’ll be 0-4 in the SEC and in serious jeopardy of not getting bowl eligible this season.
11:00 AM ESPN: #11 South Carolina @ Tennessee – Will the real Jadeveon Clowney please stand up.
11:00 AM FOX: TCU @ #21 Oklahoma State – The Cowboys can ill afford to lose pace in the Big 12 standings.
11:00 AM FS1: #16 Texas Tech @ West Virginia – Kliff Kingsbury.
11:21 AM SEC: #22 Florida @ #14 Missouri – The Tigers are undefeated, but how far can they go with freshman QB Maty Mauk under center?
2:30 PM CBS: #24 Auburn @ #7 Texas A&M – What can Johnny Manziel not do? 
2:30 PM BTN: Indiana @ Michigan – The Wolverines will likely have their hands full with this Hoosiers offense that averages 331.5 yards per game passing.
2:30 PM ABC/ESPN/2: Iowa @ #4 Ohio State – The Buckeyes should have no problem with this one.
2:30 PM ABC/ESPN/2: #9 UCLA @ #13 Stanford – Huge game for both teams in the Pac-12.
5:00 PM P12: #20 Washington @ Arizona State – The Sun Devils need this one to keep pace in the Pac-12 South (UCLA).
6:00 PM ESPN: Arkansas @ #1 Alabama – Roll Tide!
6:00 PM ESPNU: Iowa State @ #12 Baylor – The Cyclones took Texas and Texas Tech to the brink, can they break through against the Bears?
6:00 PM ESPN2: #6 LSU @ Ole Miss – In The Grove, this will be a good test for LSU and their defense.
6:30 PM NBC: USC @ Notre Dame – Classic rivalry game.
7:00 PM ABC: #5 Florida State @ #3 Clemson – ACC games don’t get much bigger than this.
7:00 PM BTN: #25 Wisconsin @ Illinois – If you haven’t seen Melvin Gordon yet this season, tune in for this one.
9:00 PM P12: Utah @ Arizona – The Utes have lost two games by a combined 6 points. The Wildcats better be prepared for this one.
9:00 PM FS1: Washington State @ #2 Oregon – Marcus Mariota can not be stopped.
9:30 PM ESPN2/U: Oregon State @ Cal – Sean Mannion leads the nation in passing yards per game (418.5), passing TDs (25), and broken TV graphics.