Week 10 of the college football season is in the books. It gave us some exciting finishes, a few upsets and some poor sportsmanship (more on that in a bit), but it was pretty much business as usual. For the most part, the teams that were supposed to win did so.
No. 1 Mississippi State struggled to beat Arkansas on the road, but they won. No. 2 Florida State rallied to top Louisville on Thursday. Ranked teams Oregon (No. 5), Kansas State (No. 9), Baylor (No. 13), Nebraska (No. 15), Ohio State (No. 16) and Oklahoma (No. 18) cruised to wins, while No. 11 Georgia and No. 20 East Carolina fell to unranked opponents. No. 10 Notre Dame slipped past Navy. And in a couple of late key Pac-12 games, No. 14 Arizona State topped No. 17 Utah 19-16 and No. 22 UCLA dropped No. 12 Arizona 17-7.
And the most anticipated game of the day ended up being one of the most entertaining. That would be No. 3 Auburn at No. 4 Mississippi. Down by 4 with 1:30 left, it appeared Ole Miss had scored the go-ahead touchdown, but Rebels receiver Laquon Treadwell fumbled into the end zone and Auburn recovered. The play was ruled a touchdown, but a replay overruled it, giving the ball, and the game, to the Tigers 35-31. On the play, Treadwell suffered a fractured left leg. It was pretty gruesome.
1. TCU Wants in The Playoff
Thank you, Captain Obvious. Of course the Horned Frogs want to be in the College Football Playoff. But now at 7-1 and No. 7 in the College Football Playoff ranking, TCU has a real shot of making the Football Final Four. They showed heart Saturday, coming back to beat a tough West Virginia team on the road after trailing by 13. A field goal as time expired by Jaden Oberkrom gave the Horned Frogs the win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The new rankings come out Tuesday and there will be a change at the No. 4 spot. Mississippi will drop from No. 4 after losing to No. 3 Auburn at home. But how much will the committee drop Ole Miss? Alabama is No. 6 and was on a bye. TCU’s impressive road win over No. 20 West Virginia was likely enough to propel them over the Crimson Tide and Rebels? The top 3 will remain the same for the new rankings. Mississippi State, Florida State and Auburn all won. It should be noted that Mississippi State had a tough time at Arkansas, but the Bulldogs won’t fall out of the top 3. That No. 4 spot will likely be claimed by current No. 5 Oregon, who routed Stanford.
TCU’s only difficult game remaining on its schedule is next week at home against No. 9 Kansas State. Then it’s at Kansas, at Texas and home against Iowa State. The SEC teams currently ranked ahead of the Horned Frogs (Mississippi State, Auburn, Ole Miss and Alabama) get to play each other still and knock each other down the rankings. The Horned Frogs win out and they have a great shot at the semifinals. But is college football ever that easy?
2. Georgia Drops the Ball, Run Over by Gators
Georgia is No. 11 in the playoff ranking. Well, was. The Bulldogs were also atop the SEC East and controlled their own destiny to the SEC Championship Game. But that all went bye-bye when they were crushed 38-20 by an average-at-best Florida team. The Gators turned into Navy and ran for a whopping 418 yards. UF’s Kelvin Taylor and Matt Jones had nearly identical numbers. Taylor: 25 carries, 197 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jones: 25 carries, 192 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Here’s the head-scratching part. Florida came into the game 101st out of 124 FBS teams in rushing offense with 1,017 yards (169.5 per game). Georgia entered with the 10th best rushing defense in the nation, allowing 736 total rushing yards (105.1 per game) on the season. So how does 418 on the ground happen?
Georgia can still make the SEC Championship Game by winning out and getting some help from Missouri in the loss department, but the Bulldogs’ College Football Playoff dreams are done.
3. A Duck Leads the Heisman Race
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota might have taken the lead in the Heisman Trophy race with another impressive performance Saturday vs. Stanford. He is as consistent as they come and he doesn’t turn the ball over. Well, Mariota did throw his second interception of the season Saturday. He also threw one last week. We’ll let it slide considering he has accounted for 33 touchdowns (26 passing, 7 rushing).
Another front-runner, Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott, struggled early against an average Arkansas pass defense. But he ended up throwing for over 300 yards and a touchdown. He also threw 2 interceptions. In his past 3 games, the junior has 3 touchdowns compared to 5 interceptions. There are quarterbacks out there with better numbers than Prescott, but he’s the signal caller for the No. 1 team in the nation. So he has that going for him.
Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon kept his name in the discussion with a 128-yard, 2-touchdown performance in a 38-0 rout of Rutgers.
Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah, who led the nation in rushing yards entering Saturday’s action, left against Purdue with a right knee injury. He finished with just a single yard on 6 carries.
Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper needs a mention in the race, too. He’s among the nation’s leaders in receptions (71), yards (1,132) and touchdowns (9). Cooper and the Crimson Tide had the week off.
4. Terps Act Like Jerks, Then Win
So the Maryland captains refused to shake the hands of the Penn State captains during the pregame coin toss Saturday. Sigh. It’s not the worst thing that’s ever been done and it’s probably getting a little blown out of proportion (yes, I am well aware I am helping it get blown out of proportion), but it is somewhat classless. The pregame handshake is just something that happens. It’s a gesture showing respect to your opponent. Football is a vicious game. When players get injured, opposing teams often stand united to show support or kneel and pray together, which also often happens after each game. So just shake hands before the game.
Quickly after the game, Maryland head coach Randy Edsall and Athletic Director Kevin Anderson apologized.
Oh, they actually played a game, too. And it had an entertaining ending. Brad Craddock kicked a 43-yard field goal with 51 seconds left to give the Terps a 20-19 victory.
It allowed Maryland to close the gap on the Nittany Lions in the all-time series. Penn State now leads 35-2-1.
5. The Trill is Gone
There was a time early in the season when Texas A&M quarterback Kenny Hill was being compared with former Aggie QB Johnny Manziel. He was garnering Heisman Trophy attention. His family tried to trademark his “Kenny Trill” nickname. Life was good for Mr. Hill.
Now? Not so much. Hill was suspended Saturday for 2 games due to an unspecified violation of team and athletic department rules. This is Hill’s second suspension. He was suspended in March after being arrested on a public intoxication charge.
Everything began going downhill for Hill on Oct. 4, when the Aggies lost their first game of the season, a 48-31 defeat to Mississippi State. Hill threw 3 interceptions that day. Then 3 more over the next 2 games, both A&M losses. Then last week coach Kevin Sumlin declared the A&M quarterback position an open competition. Guess it doesn’t matter now.
True freshman Kyle Allen is the new Texas A&M starting quarterback.
Bring on Week 11.