Sunday, October 23, 2016

Week Eight College Football Winners and Losers

            Another week in college football has passed us by, but not without a surprise or two. Expect big shakeups not only in the polls, but in the playoff picture as well. Who stole the week and who floundered?

Winner: Penn State: Marred by a sexual abuse scandal, Penn State football hasn't been relevant for quite some time. The once-proud program led by Joe Paterno has fallen into the average abyss, amassing nothing more than 7-8 win seasons lately. However, they got a boost of confidence as they pulled a massive upset over #2 Ohio State by a score of 24-21. The Nittany Lions scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to stun the Buckeyes, capped by a 60-yard blocked field goal return for a touchdown by Grant Haley.
Winner: Washington State: Ever since Washington State suffered an embarrassing loss to FCS Eastern Washington and lost to Boise State, the Cougars have pulled off five straight wins. Their most recent win came against a good Arizona State team on the road by a score of 37-32. Their next three games are fairly tame: a road game at Oregon State followed by two home games against Arizona and California will make for good prep for a tough game against Colorado.
Winner: West Virginia: The Mountaineers are sending a message to the committee that they will not be overlooked. #12 West Virginia routed TCU at home 34-10, giving the Mountaineers a second straight week where they blew an opponent out and giving the Big 12 a glimmer of hope in the playoff picture. They'll have a tough road test next week, when they play the Oklahoma State Cowboys on the road. Playing at Stillwater is never an easy task.
Loser: South Carolina: This SEC team is one of those teams to forget. After all, they nearly lost to 1-7 Massachusetts at home. The Gamecocks barely escaped the Minutemen 34-28. What's more, they have a tough home game against Tennessee coming up. This is a Vols team that is coming off a bye and is piping mad from being demoralized by Alabama.
Loser: Houston: What was a promising season for the Cougars is suddenly starting to spiral out of control. Houston lost to an SMU team that hadn't beaten an opponent ranked higher than #11 since 1982 (#6 Pittsburgh in the Cotton Bowl 7-3). Greg Ward Jr. got sacked seven times as the Mustang pass rush limited Ward to only three yards rushing on 17 carries. That marquee win over then-#3 Oklahoma seems so long ago for this Cougar team.
Loser: Defense in OKLA/TTU: Both Oklahoma and Texas Tech combined for an FBS-record 1,708 total yards in this high-octane air show. Both sides finished with 854 total yards apiece, shattering the previous record of 1,640 yards (2001) set by San Jose State and Nevada. Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes II threw for 734 yards (tying an FBS record set by Connor Halliday in 2014) and had 819 total yards (FBS record). That's two 300-yard passing games and some change left over. On the flip side, Oklahoma became the first squad to have a 500-yard passer, a 200-yard rusher, and a 200-yard receiver. Baker Mayfield threw for 545 yards and a school-record seven touchdowns. Talk about a defensive performance from both sides that would make Buddy Ryan cringe.

Other Winners: Kyle Quiero, Lamar Jackson, Michigan, Auburn
Other Losers: UCLA, Oregon, The U, Charlie Strong's job prospects

My Playoff Four:

  1. Alabama
  2. Michigan
  3. Clemson
  4. Washington

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