Ten Things - Week Seven
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Another exciting weekend of college football has gone by! Teams are beginning to jockey for position in conference races, and players are beginning to make statements towards the Heisman Trophy....Here are ten thoughts and observations from the games of week seven....
1. Mack Attack - I get to toot my own horn a bit here as I went out on a limb and picked the Horns against Oklahoma. Since a horrific road loss to BYU in week two, followed by another road loss at Ole Miss a week later, Texas has responded. With Coach Mack Brown catching major heat, and some even going as far as to say that Nick Saban had already been contacted by UT, Brown's team has won three games in-a-row, including a decisive win over the Sooners a couple of days ago. The 36-20 win served notice that Texas - love 'em or hate 'em - can still play football. A month ago, Brown's career was being called over. Now, Texas has the inside track to a Big-12 crown and a trip to the BCS.
2. 70-point Club - This should be called the "60-point Club" this week as no teams were able to crack the 70-point mark. And even there it's a stretch as there was only one team able to score over 60 points. Auburn put 62 points on Western Carolina to be the only team to even score 60.
3. Shutout Club - Just like the 70-point club, the shutout club also sees a major absence of teams this week. Buffalo shutout Western Michigan to be the only team to get the honor in week seven. There was some good defense played out there still, as eleven teams held their opposition to ten points or less.
4. South Florida Needs No Offense - USF isn't exactly having a banner year, and the reason is bad offense (119th nationally at 19 ppg). So the Bulls, with a 2-4 record, said the hell with offense, let's win with returns and field goals! Against Cincinnati, kicker Marvin Kloss had four field goals, while the Bulls also got points from a defensive return and a kick return. Then against Connecticut this past weekend, South Florida totaled 13 points on a fumble recovery for a touchdown and two long field goals (44 and 47 yards) from Kloss for the needed points in a 13-10 win...Hey, that's one way to do it!
5. Mississippi State Woes - I was as big on Dan Mullen as anyone when he was hired in 2009 to be the head coach at MSU. But four years into his tenure, the Bulldogs don't look a whole lot different than they always have - average at best. Mullen has a record of 32-25 (13-21 SEC) during his time in Starkville, and his latest game was hardly impressive. Mississippi State barely knocked off Bowling Green, 21-20, their last time out - hardly the kind of performance an SEC team expects to have. Will he be here after this season? My guess is yes, but we'll see.
6. So Many Undefeated Teams - Maybe my memory serves me wrong, but I cannot remember a season where there were so many undefeated teams in week eight of the season. Alabama, Oregon, Clemson, Ohio State, Florida State, Louisville, UCLA, Baylor, Fresno State and Missouri make ten teams that still have unblemished records. And besides FSU-Clemson Saturday, and Oregon-UCLA on October 26th, none of these teams play each other in the regular season. We could have a major mess in the final year of the BCS.
7. Mizzou vs Florida - Battle of Backup QBs - With Florida QB Jeff Driskel out with a leg injury, and Mizzou QB James Franklin out with a shoulder injury, the meeting between the Gators and the Tigers in Columbia, Missouri will feature two backups. Maty Mauk at Missouri is a 200-pound highly-touted freshman who put up insane numbers in high school in Ohio as Mr. Football. Meanwhile, UF sends out Tyler Murphy, a 6'2" junior who has thrown for 645 yards and five TDs, while also rushing for another two TDs, in the last four games. The Gator defense is nasty, this will be a very fun game to watch!
8. National Stat Leaders, Offense - Sean Mannion of Oregon State is leading the nation in passing yards with 2,511 so far. But it isn't just the yardage that is good. He has thrown just three INTs compared to 25 TDs! It is little wonder that his favorite target - Brandin Cooks - is leading the nation in receiving yards with 944....The national leader in rushing is Bishop Sankey of Washington who has 899 yards so far this season (nine TDs also ties for the national lead). Baylor leads the nation in total offense at 714 yards per game (good grief!). They also lead the nation in scoring offense at 63 points per game.
9. National Stat Leaders, Defense - Vic Beasley of Clemson leads the nation in sacks with 9.0 through six games. CU will need Beasley to add another two or three against slippery Jameis Winston of FSU Saturday. The national leader in interceptions is Jimmie Ward of Northern Illinois. Michigan State leads the nation in total defense at 228 yards per game. Louisville leads nationally in scoring defense as they have given up the fewest points (44) for an average of 7.3 points per game.
10. Three to See -
* Clemson vs FSU - I feel very lucky to be a season ticket holder at Clemson this season. First, we had Georgia at home to open the year, now we get FSU in a top 5 match-up. Win or lose against the Seminoles, this season has been one for the memory books already!
* UCLA at Stanford - The Bruins - who are one of my favorite teams this season so far - might have the perfect storm waiting for them in Palo Alto when they visit Stanford. The Cardinal just lost a close game to Utah on the road, and return home eager to right the ship and stay in the PAC-12 race. If UCLA is for real, this kind of game will show us what QB Brett Hundley and crew are made of.
* Auburn at Texas A&M - I am not sure yet, but I am leaning hard on picking Auburn for my upset pick of the week. The Tigers are playing very strong right now and A&M is coming off of a grueling last-second win over Ole Miss. I have a couple of days to mull this over, but I'm thinking Gus Malzahn has Auburn back on track.
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