Welcome back college football fans! For the first time this season, the defending champs actually had to sweat out a game, while ND rebounded and Wisconsin starting to look like a contender! The first playoff rankings are around the corner, how have things shaped up? Scott & Logan have your hottest takes!
Dabo finally had to sweat: In the past few years, Clemson has taken care of business against North Carolina. Well this past Saturday one thing was clear: Mack Brown is not Larry Fedora. The Tigers had made everything look easy through the opening month of the schedule. The closest call had been a 24-10 win against a ranked Texas A&M team that didn’t reach the end zone in until the final seconds of a game long since decided. But Clemson had all kinds of trouble getting going Saturday, from Travis Etienne’s first quarter fumble to senseless penalties. It took the defense’s goal line stand on a Tar Heels 2 pt conversion attempt to hold on 21-20. Brown has revitalized the Tar Heels program and they almost shocked the world. Clemson needs to look in the mirror and realize what ALMOST happened.
Nice recovery for the Irish: After a gut-punching loss in Athens, Notre Dame came back home this past Saturday to face the rejuvenated Virginia Cavaliers. This time it was ND’s defense that propelled the 35-20 victory. The Irish defense had eight sacks and a fumble return for a touchdown. Virginia wasn’t intimidated and went back and forth early on, leading 17-14 at halftime until the Irish defense took over. Tony Jones had 131 yards rushing at 3 TD to pace the ND offense. Cavs QB Bryce Perkins was spectacular in the first half, with help from Reed, who finished with eight of his career-high nine receptions in the first 30 minutes. Perkins completed 18 of 22 passes (82 percent) for 235 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. He was just 12 of 21 for 99 in the second half with two interceptions as the Irish defensive front dominated.
Sun Devils upend Cal: Eno Benjamin’s three TD led Arizona State to a 24-17 win over previously undefeated California. The Sun Devils (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) bounced back from a 34-31 loss to Colorado in the conference opener last week thanks to a strong performance by Benjamin and the defense. Benjamin had 29 carries for 100 yards, also scoring on an 11-yard run in the first quarter and a 4-yarder in the third quarter. Daniels added 174 yards passing and 84 more on the ground on an injured ankle as Arizona State picked up another road win against a ranked team after topping Michigan State 10-7 two weeks ago. The Golden Bears (4-1, 1-1) lost their perfect record and quarterback Chase Garber to a right shoulder injury, spoiling their highest ranking in a decade. The loss also left the Pac-12 with no undefeated teams before the end of September. Once again, the Pac-12 will be without a playoff team…because they’re just not that good.
Badgers keep trucking along: Aside from the phony fauxback uniforms that Wisconsin & Northwestern wore Saturday nothing was too shocking as Wisconsin backed up the previous week’s win over Michigan. Taylor ran for 119 yards and his 11th touchdown of the season, Wisconsin got two scores from its defense, and the Badgers defeated the Wildcats 24-15. “(I’m) proud of the way the guys battled and fought against a really good football team, a team that we’ve always had tough games with,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said. Taylor carried 26 times to help Wisconsin (4-0, 2-0 Big Ten) avenge its 31-17 loss to the Wildcats last season. Ohio State better be looking over their shoulder.
Academies Update: Army had a bye this past week, they’ll be back home at Michie Saturday to play Tulane. Navy lost at undefeated Memphis 35-23 last Thursday. This week a big Commander In Chief trophy battle as the Middies host Air Force, who beat San Jose State 41-24 Saturday.
Auburn Hands Out Beatdown: Auburn has been one of the early surprises of the season, in the fact that not only are they good but appear to be one of the best teams in the country. They would welcome Mississippi State into Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday for a conference clash. In a little less than 6 minutes of game time, the Tigers jumped out to a 21-0 lead after taking advantage of less than stellar punts and a turnover. Things would only get better for the Tigers as they took a 42-9 lead into halftime, completely dominating the Bulldogs in every phase of the game. This allowed the Tigers to coast in the second and come away with a dominant 56-23 victory. If the Tigers continue to play at or near this level the rest of the season, they could possibly be contending for the SEC Championship.
Bama Grabs Top Spot in Polls: Coming off last year’s National championship defeat to Clemson, Alabama came into this season ranked just behind the Tigers and have remained in that spot throughout the season so far. They were able to take care of business business against Ole Miss by the score of 59-31 in a game in which the score isn’t really indicative of how dominating the Tide was. Clemson on Saturday struggled with and narrowly escaped North Carolina, after a failed two point conversion ended the upset hopes. Due to this struggle though the voters in the polls this week decided that the Tide were deserving of the top spot in the polls. While polls at this point in the season mean next to nothing, it has got to feel good to be back on top and especially because it means you took over hated rival Clemson.
Texas A&M Escapes Dallas with Close Win: While as I talked above about Auburn being one of the surprises of the season, Texas A&M has to fall on the other side of that equation. The Aggies have not been terrible this season so far but they aren’t quite the SEC contenders everyone thought they could be. This week however they traveled to Cowboys Stadium in Dallas for their annual clash with the Razorbacks of Arkansas. Arkansas was coming off a loss to San Jose State, so this should’ve been a cakewalk for the Aggies. The game proved to be anything but a cakewalk. The Razorbacks would not only hang with the Aggies but lead at multiple points in the game. The Aggies were able to kick a field goal late in the fourth quarter to officially put away Arkansas and escape Jerry World with a 31-27 victory.
Penn State Rolls in Midweek Clash: Penn State sophomore QB Sean Clifford had big shoes to fill this season, taking over for Nittany Lions great Trace McSorely and recently transferred Tommy Stevens. So far he has not disappointed and you can look no further than the thrashing he gave Maryland last Thursday. He managed to score two touchdowns the first two places he touched the ball, running one in and throwing for another. He would go on to throw two more TDs, while also leading the team in rushing. With the amount of top teams in the Big Ten this year, Clifford will have plenty more opportunities to prove himself, but one thing is for sure and that is the future is bright for this talented youngster.
Hurts Continues to Dominate: Jalen Hurts and the Oklahoma Sooners were always going to be in the conversation as a team for national championship contention and Hurts as a player in the Heisman conversation. They have not faltered at all to this point, thoroughly devastating every team in their path. Hurts, along with Johnathan Taylor, have to be the early favorites to not only get invited to New York but walk away with the Heisman in tote. While Oklahoma, to me, has looked like the best team in the country. The difference between this Sooners team and ones of the past, is that it appears that this team can put a defense on the field that can stop some people. They were able to hold the usually high powered offense of Texas Tech to just 16 points and only 314 yards of total offense. The Sooners and Hurts have a chance to make this a special season in Norman, but they need to stay focused and keep their eyes on the prize to achieve those goals.
With a new #1 team in the polls and the first CFP list around the corner, games start becoming important. Which games are the biggest on the schedule this weekend?
**ALL GAMES SATURDAY EST UNLESS NOTED***
Noon: #14 Iowa at #19 Michigan
3:30pm: #7 Auburn at #10 Florida
7:30pm: #25 Michigan State at #4 Ohio State
8pm: California at #13 Oregon