Category: Virginia Cavaliers

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 13:  Brad Kaaya (15) of the Miami Hurricanes passes during a game against the Arkansas State Red Wolves at Sunlife Stadium on September 13, 2014 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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Miami’s Brad Kaaya in vs. UVa., Rutgers’ Leonte Carroo out vs. Mich.

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There was good news and not-so-good news on the mid-afternoon star front today.

Brad Kaaya sustained a concussion in the worst loss in Miami history two weeks ago and didn’t play in Week 9’s wild win over Duke.  Ahead of Saturday’s game against Virginia, the quarterback was officially listed as questionable on the injury report.

However, The U confirmed Saturday that Kaaya has been medically cleared to play in today’s game.  The sophomore is expected to start at quarterback for the Hurricanes against the Cavaliers.

At the other end of the spectrum is Leonte Carroo, who has been ruled out of Rutgers’ game against Michigan in the Big House.

Carroo sustained an ankle injury in the Oct. 17 win over Indiana and, after playing against Ohio State the following week, missed the loss to Wisconsin this past weekend.  The wide receive currently leads the Scarlet Knights with 527 receiving yards and has nine of the team’s 14 receiving touchdowns.  His 24 catches are second on the team despite missing three full games and being severely limited in another.

Miami’s Brad Kaaya questionable for Virginia game

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 24:  Brad Kaaya #15 of the Miami Hurricanes is sacked by Kevin Dodd #98 of the Clemson Tigers during a game  at Sun Life Stadium on October 24, 2015 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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With the end of last week’s game still making news and being questioned, questions remain for Miami as to just who will be under center for this week’s game.

Brad Kaaya sustained a concussion in the worst loss in Hurricane history two weeks ago and didn’t play in Week 9’s wild win over Duke.  Ahead of Saturday’s game against Virginia, the quarterback is officially listed as questionable.

The good news for Kaaya is that, unlike the week before, he was able to practice in the days leading up to the game.  That said, it could very well be a game-time decision on the sophomore’s availability for a game that, with a win, would make the ‘Canes bowl eligible.

On the positive side, Malik Rosier wasn’t listed on the injury report.  Rosier, who started the Duke game in place of Kaaya, sustained an undisclosed injury in the Duke game that forced him to stay overnight in a Durham hospital.

The Palm Beach Post wrote that Rosier “was limited during Tuesday’s practice but said afterward he was preparing to play Saturday against the Cavaliers.” The fact that he doesn’t appear on the injury report bodes well for his availability.

The Fifth Quarter: Week 9 Rewind

The Swami
Associated Press

As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

With nine weeks of the 2015 season tucked neatly into bed, we’re on the cusp of the initial set of rankings that will ultimately produce the four teams that will play for a national championship.

On Tuesday, the College Football Playoff committee will release its first Top 25 of the new football year.  After Tuesday, four more sets of rankings will be released before the final one in early December that seats the four semifinalists at the playoff table.

So, how will the initial top four look a couple of days from now?  Before getting to that, let’s take a look back at the first year of the CFP and its inaugural set of rankings — and the major polls that came out around that time as well.

488830428For the Week 10 polls in 2014, the Associated Press and coaches had the exact same first four in the same order: Mississippi State, Florida State, Alabama, Auburn.  The CFP had the same top two as the polls, with Auburn initially slotted at No. 3.  The committee’s fourth?  Ole Miss.  The Rebels were No. 7 according to the AP, No. 9 per the coaches.  While it doesn’t mean the committee will follow a similar pattern this year, it should mean there will be little deviation from the polls to the first CFP rankings this year or any other.

As it stands now, the AP and coaches’ poll have the same teams at No. 1 (Ohio State), No. 2 (Baylor) and No. 4 (LSU).  The media has Clemson, TCU and Michigan State at Nos. 3, 5 and 6, respectively, while the coaches have it TCU, Michigan State and Clemson at the same spots.  CFP translation?  Ohio State, Baylor and LSU will be in the initial first four, and many would probably get to that same conclusion without the aid of inconsequential polls.

For the final spot, and realizing that more than three may/will be considered by the actual committee, let’s go to the résumés:

— six wins vs. Power Five teams
— one win vs. currently ranked teams
— three P5 road wins
— current record of P5 opponents: 27-23 (.540)
— average margin of victory vs. P5 opponents: 17.5 ppg (skewed significantly by 58-0 win over Miami)

Michigan State
— five wins vs. P5 teams
— one win vs. currently ranked teams
— two P5 road wins
— current record of P5 opponents: 20-20 (.500)
— average margin of victory vs. P5 opponents: 8.6 ppg

— six wins vs. P5 teams
— zero wins vs. currently ranked teams
— four P5 road wins
— current record of P5 opponents: 21-26 (.447)
— average margin of victory vs. P5 opponents: 18.8 ppg

The verdict?  It’s close between all three of those listed, but I think, maybe, the committee would go with the Tigers in this scenario.  The first four order?  I’m going to go with LSU, Clemson, Ohio State, Baylor.  Again, that’s my guesstimation as to the committee’s order, not my personal opinion.

At this time last year, there were two undefeated Power Five teams.  This year, there are a whopping eight from the P5s, and another three from the Group of Five for good measure.  That sheer number is one reason I believe, right or wrong, one-loss teams like Alabama and Stanford won’t yet be considered by the committee for one of the top four spots.  The nature of the schedule will naturally whittle the list of unbeatens down to a half dozen or less in the coming weeks, though, allowing teams like the Tide and Cardinal to make their way into playoff consideration — especially if it’s a team like the Tide that can help whittle down the list of undefeated teams beginning this coming weekend.

One final note: the eventual national champion, the Ohio State Buckeyes, was 16th in the first CFP rankings.  Just remember that when the initial rankings this year are released.

Below is a list of links for all of the Week 9 gamers posted by the CFT crew, placed in one handy and convenient space for you, our beloved and dear readers.

A snapshot look at how my ballot would look Sunday if I, ya know, had a real vote.

1. LSU — I think this is the best team in the country, but even I can’t say exactly how good the Tigers truly are.  After a Week 10 trip to Tuscaloosa, we all will be able to tell a whole hell of a lot more about the Bayou Bengals — and their opponents, for that matter. (Last week: No. 1)
Next up: at No. 8 Alabama, Nov. 7

2. Baylor — Even as they’ve steamrolled the competition, the Bears are still looking for a signature win against a quality opponent.  After this Thursday, they’ll get the opportunity to rectify that as they’ll face No. 14 Oklahoma, No. 12 Oklahoma State and No. 5 TCU in back-to-back-to-back weeks. (Last week: No. 2)
Next up: at Kansas State, Nov. 5

3. Ohio State — Were it not for J.T. Barrett‘s off-field situation, I would’ve moved the Buckeyes above the Bears and behind the Tigers.  Now, I almost dropped them out of the Top Five.  The Barrett-led Buckeyes are a national title contender; the Cardale Jones-led Buckeyes are an upset loss waiting to happen. (Last week: No. 3)
Next up: vs. Minnesota, Nov. 7

4. TCU — The Horned Frogs are getting healthier, especially on defense, which is bad news for the rest of the playoff contenders.  The Thursday night win over West Virginia may have been their most solid all-around performance since Week 1. (Last week: No. 4)
Next up: at Oklahoma State, Nov. 7

5. Clemson — I spent waaayyy too much time trying to decide on the fifth team in a meaningless Top Five, vacillating endlessly between undefeated Clemson and one-loss Stanford.  I ultimately went with the Tigers because the résumés were close enough that the Cardinal’s loss tipped the scales toward the team from the ACC. (Last week: No. NR)
Next up: at Colorado, Nov. 7

(Dropped out: Stanford)
(Others considered: Stanford)

2014 Heisman Trophy PresentationHEISMAN RACE, BY THE NUMBERS
A statistical look at how the top contenders for this year’s stiff-armed trophy fared this past week.

Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU (8-0, No. 5)
Thursday: 32-47 (68.1%), 388 yards, three touchdowns; 11 carries for 84 yards (7.7 ypc), one touchdown
Season: 198-297 (66.7%), 2,927 yards, 28 touchdowns, five interceptions; 88 carries for 524 yards (5.9 ypc), five touchdowns

Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor (7-0, No. 1)
Saturday: did not play (bye)
Season: 47 receptions for 962 yards, 18 touchdowns; 11 carries for 49 rushing yards

Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State (7-1, No. 17)
Saturday: did not play (injured)
Season: 127 carries for 1,037 yards (8.2 ypc), 11 touchdowns; 15 receptions for 181 yards, one touchdown

Josh Doctson, WR, TCU (8-0, No. 5)
Thursday: 11 receptions for 183 yards, one touchdown; one carry for one yard
Season: 71 receptions for 1,250 yards, 14 touchdowns; two carries for seven yards

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State (8-0, No. 1)
Saturday: did not play (bye)
Season: 167 carries for 1,130 yards (6.8 ypc), 13 touchdowns; 23 receptions for 160 yards

Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU (7-0, No. 4)
Saturday: did not play (bye)
Season: 176 carries for 1,352 yards (7.7 ypc), 15 touchdowns; seven receptions for 58 yards

Matt Johnson, QB, Bowling Green (7-2, NR)
Saturday: did not play (bye)
Season: 242-345 (70.1%), 3,321 yards, 29 touchdowns, three interceptions; 74 carries for 152 yards, three touchdowns

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford (7-1, No. 8)
Saturday: 22 carries for 107 yards (5.7 ypc); four receptions for 26 yards; one punt return for three yards
Season: 175 carries for 1,060 yards (6.1 ypc), six touchdowns; 25 receptions for 310 yards, two touchdowns; 19 kick returns for 559 yards; nine punt returns for 25 yards

(Dropped out: None)
(Added: None)

JT’s Personal Top Fivesman
1. Fournette — The sophomore back has been the front-runner for most of the season, and for good reason: he’s the best player in college football playing for one of the best teams in the game.  It’ll take a superhuman effort over the next month to unseat him as the favorite.
2. Boykin — As an individual who plays the preferred position of voters, the only senior in the group has what it takes to put up a superhuman effort over the next month to “catch” Fournette.  The fact that he still has three high-profile games left (unbeaten Baylor and Oklahoma State, plus Oklahoma) leaves him with the best chance of overtaking the front-runner.
3. Elliott — The lone junior on my list, Elliott has rushed for 100 or more yards in a nation’s best 13 straight games.  There may be uncertainty at the quarterback position in Columbus, but Elliott’s the one constant, sure thing on that side of the ball.
4. Cook — Entering Week 9, the sophomore was responsible for 85 percent of FSU’s rushing yards and rushing touchdowns even as he’s accounted for just 55 percent of the Seminoles’ carries.  That screams MVP if not Heisman.
5. McCaffrey — If you haven’t noticed, the sophomore is the only player west of the Rockies on most if not all of these types of Heisman lists.  That could greatly aid the multi-purpose star’s efforts to at least get a mid-December trip to New York City.

There was much joy in Lincoln when Bo Pelini and his volatility — and his nine-win seasons — were replaced by nice-guy Mike Riley.  After losing five of the first seven games of the Riley era by a total of 15 points, NU was embarrassed by a woeful Purdue football team that came into the game at 1-6 — and that lone win came against FCS Indiana State.

The final score?  Purdue 55, Nebraska 45.  The current record?  3-6, and in danger of going bowl-less for the first time since Bill Callahan‘s last season in 2007.  The current state of Husker Nation?  This pretty much sums it up.

Kentucky’s Cory Johnson is a 300-pound defensive lineman who is nicknamed “Poop” as he has an issue keeping his weight up because (warning! medical jargon ahead!he poops too much.  Gastrointestinal issues or not, Johnson proved Saturday night that he can still run a sizable distance to earn himself a fat-man touchdown.

BTW, the loss to Tennessee still leaves Kentucky two wins away from going boweling errrrrr bowling this postseason.  Sorry, had to go there, so to speak.

This will serve as one of the greatest non-scoring run-after-catches you’ll ever see in college football.  And one of the longest, too.

After Kenny Hill tore up South Carolina’s defense to start the 2014 season, the hype machine went into overdrive for the Texas A&M quarterback before ultimately dropping its transmission and blowing up before the end of the year.  Fast-forward a year, and A&M’s Kyler Murray carved up the defense from the same team in his first career start.  As the hype machine knows no bounds…

Apparently, Penn State’s super freshman, Saquon Barkley, decided to dress up for Halloween as Edwin Moses.  Or Ezekiel Elliott.  One of the two.

What Florida State wide receiver Travis Rudolph did to the hapless Syracuse defense on this play is borderline criminal.

With his 260th career catch, Colorado’s Nelson Spruce surpassed Arizona’s Mike Thomas as the all-time leader in Pac-12 history in receptions.  Below is Catch No. 260.

I’m not a huge fan, at all, of the alternate uniform craze that’s swept through college football the past few years, but these Halloween-themed helmets Boise State wore Saturday are pretty damn spectacular.

From the soon-to-be-released movie “White Men Can’t Dance”…

You incorporate one of the greatest movies ever in your College GameDay sign, you will always merit a mention in ye olde Fifth Quarter.

In the same vein as above, you reference “Airplane!”, you get mentioned.


This really needs no explanation whatsoever.  Well done, young man, dressing as an ACC official.

“I don’t mean this in a disingenuous — I really don’t care. I’m not worried about the playoffs. We’re still four games from the end of the Big Ten season. We’re going to enjoy this one. We’ll worry about our next opponent starting tomorrow afternoon.” — Kirk Ferentz, when asked about his 8-0 Iowa team’s standing in the eyes of the College Football Playoff committee.

“Well guys, that was painful to say the least. I apologize for that but the end result was awesome.” — Jim McElwain, following Florida’s ugly 27-3 shredding of rival Georgia.

“Not good. We lost, and all that counts are wins and losses. It’s not a good feeling. It is something you wish you never have to experience.” — Georgia quarterback Faton Bauta, when was asked how he felt he played following a four-pick performance in his first collegiate start.

“I think we are all frustrated. We should be playing better, and there’s no question about it, we’ve got to get it figured out and play better. There’s no doubt about that.” — Cal head coach Sonny Dykes, whose Bears have lost three straight after opening 2015 with five straight wins.

“There were all sorts of issues that the conference has to resolve. That’s not my job. Call the ACC, they should have answers.” — David Cutcliffe, on the shoddy officiating (on both sides) in Duke’s wild last-second loss to Miami.

Meads Cup Final - North Otago v WanganuiSTREAKING
Eight wins to start the 2015 season pushed on-a-bye Ohio State’s nation’s best winning streak to 21 straight last Saturday.  Up next are TCU (16), Memphis (15), Michigan State (12), Clemson (11) and Toledo (10).

On the other side of the won-loss ledger, New Mexico State’s win in overtime over Idaho ended the nation’s longest losing streak at 17 in a row.  With that, Kansas is now the not-so-proud owners of the country’s longest at 11 straight, followed by UCF (10), Miami of Ohio (eight) and Eastern Michigan (seven).

Entering Week 9, there were 33 teams that had secured bowl eligibility.  Exiting the weekend, there are now 40 teams eligible for the postseason with five weeks left in the regular season.  The newest additions totaled seven: Georgia Southern, Louisiana Tech, Navy, San Diego State, Southern Miss, Texas A&M and UCLA.

There are 41 bowl games this season — counting the two College Football Playoff semifinals — meaning 82 teams will need to reach the six-win threshold in order for teams with sub-.500 records to remain where they belong: at home during the postseason.

Daniel Carlson has five 50-yard-plus field goals in his last eight games, exceeding the total of 50-yard field goals by all Auburn kickers in the previous 150 games combined (four), dating back to 2003.

Of Wake Forest’s 168 points scored this season, 160 have been by true freshmen, redshirt freshmen or sophomores.

Wisconsin has attempted 35 or more passes six times this season, posting a 4-2 record in those games. From 1990 to 2014, the Badgers were 0-23-1 in games in which they passed the ball 35 or more times.

The win over then-No. 3 Utah was the first time an Associated Press unranked USC team beat an AP Top-Three-ranked team since the Trojans defeated No. 2 Texas A&M, 20-0, in the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 22, 1975.

No program in the nation has a higher graduation rate over the past four years than Stanford (99%). Furthermore, no Pac-12 Conference team has had more draftees over the past four years than Stanford (19).

Courtesy of the Toledo sports information department, and entering Week 9

Current Receptions Streaks

Courtesy of the Duke sports information department, and entering Week 9

Career Tackles

Courtesy of the Air Force sports information department, and entering Week 9

Longest Active Scoring Streaks


With two more today, Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds now has 77 rushing touchdowns in his career, tying him with Wisconsin’s Montee Ball for the all-time FBS record.  Ball gathered his in 924 career rushes, Reynolds in 863.

There are only eight females in the 128-team FBS in charge of the athletic training function of their football programs. Jennifer Brodeur (UMass), Ariko Iso (Oregon State), Sally Nogle (Michigan State) and Kelli Pugh (Virginia) are head football athletic trainers while Jennifer Brown (Eastern Michigan), Brandy Clouse (Georgia Southern), Mary Vander Heiden (UCF) and Dawn Hearn (UTEP) are sports medicine department heads.

In Week 8, Duke and Virginia Tech played the longest game in ACC history with a four-overtime affair. Prior to the Blue Devils’ 45-43 win over the Hokies, the longest game involving at least one ACC team was three overtimes (six occasions).

Have you ever wondered what a typical in-season day is like for a football player at the Air Force Academy?  If so, today’s your lucky day.

Air Force Typical Day


… Boise State’s Darian Thompson now has 19 career interceptions, breaking Utah’s Eric Weddle‘s Mountain West record of 18?  Thompson’s teammate, Donte Deayon, has 17 career picks.

… Arizona State’s D.J. Foster‘s streak of 48 straight games with a reception ties the Pac-12 record held by USC’s Kareem Kelly (1999-2002)?  Central Michigan’s Bryan Anderson (2006-09) holds the FBS record at 54 in a row.  Foster could actually tie that mark should 4-4 ASU reach the Pac-12 title game, although that seems unlikely.

… with 472 yards Thursday night, TCU’s Trevone Boykin became the 40th player in FBS history to top 12,000 yards of total offense?  The Horned Frogs quarterback now has 12,041 in his career.

… Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner has thrown for 300-plus yards in back-to-back games after not having a 300-yard game in the first 28 games of his career?  The Gophers, incidentally, are 0-2 these last two games.

… Blake Anderson became the first head coach in Arkansas State history with 12 or more wins in his first two seasons?  Gene Harlow (1955-56) and Steve Roberts (2002-03) won 11 each in their first two seasons.

Iowa v Illinois… Iowa is 8-0 for just the second time in the program’s history?  The first came in 2009, when the Hawkeyes started out 9-0 before losing in their 10th game.

… Clemson has won 17 of 18 games for the first time since the 1938-40 era?

… Temple’s game against Notre Dame Saturday was the Owls’ first playing a ranked team while they too were ranked?

… Washington State is the only team in the country with seven players who have caught 20 or more passes this season? They have nine players with at least 15 receptions.

… Air Force and Toledo are the only teams through nine weeks that have not given up a sack this season.  The Falcons have attempted 85 passes, the Rockets 253.

… UCF running backs did not have a rushing touchdown this season until its Week 9 loss to Cincinnati Saturday?  The Knights now have three touchdowns on the ground in 2015, the first two of which were scored by wide receiver Nick Patti.

… Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium is the oldest on-campus football facility in the FBS, having opened in 1913?  Mississippi State’s Davis Wade Stadium (1914) is a year younger.


Former Michigan, Rice RB Sam McGuffie now a bobsledder

Associated Press
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If you had told me half a decade ago Sam McGuffie would one day be an Olympian, I’d have responded, “Of course. The kid’s a natural born hurdler.”

The former Michigan and Rice running back has made an Olympic team, but not as a hurdler. No, McGuffie is trying his hand at representing gold old red, white and blue as a bobsledder.

Joining McGuffie on the U.S. National Bobsled team are former Virginia running back Hakeem Adbul-Saboor and former Oklahoma State wide receiver Nathan Gilsleider, among others.

McGuffie, you’ll recall, went viral before we even knew what going viral was as a Houston-area running back prone to hurdling fools.

He went on to a college career of mixed results. A four-star recruit, McGuffie signed with Michigan out of high school and racked up 118 carries for 486 yards and three touchdowns, making him the Wolverines’ second-leading rusher during the first year of Rich Rodriguez‘s failed tenure in Ann Arbor.

McGuffie transferred to Rice to be closer to home following the ’08 campaign and rushed for 1,057 yards over his three seasons as an Owl, mostly during his sophomore year of 2010. As a senior in 2012 he snagged 54 passes for 603 yards and five touchdowns, which was enough to earn him a cup of coffee with the Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinal and New England Patriots in the NFL, as well as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL.

McGuffie tried out for American Ninja Warrior (on NBC!), as you can see in the video below

But, it appears, McGuffie has finally found his calling – and it’s on the bobsled.

The Fifth Quarter: Week 8 Rewind

<> at Stanford Stadium on October 24, 2015 in Stanford, California.
Getty Images

As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

Ohio State showed last year, in the inaugural season of the College Football Playoff, that not only could a team qualify for one of the two semifinals but win a title as well with a “devastating” early loss.

OSU lost to Virginia Tech in Week two last season, then proceeded to win 13 in a row to capture the first-ever CFP championship.  After that 14-point loss to an unranked Virginia Tech, OSU won its next 13 by an average of 26 points per game.  Which brings us to Stanford.

Stanford began the 2015 season with a 10-point loss to unranked Northwestern.  Since then, they’ve ripped off six consecutive victories in impressive fashion, winning each one by an average of 22 points per game.

Over its last five regular season games, OSU faced two ranked teams; over the last five games, Stanford will face a pair of ranked teams.  The biggest difference?  Stanford gets both of those games at home while OSU went on the road for theirs.

Stanford will be favored in the next four regular season games for sure — at Washington State, at Colorado, Oregon and Cal — so the Pac-12 North will be there for the taking.  They’ll very likely be favored at home in the regular-season finale against Notre Dame as well.

Once OSU got past Michigan State last year, it was smooth sailing to the Big Ten championship game and the “inferior” West representative Wisconsin.  The Pac-12 South’s strength took a hit with Utah’s double-digit loss to middle-of-the-road USC that exposed some potentially fatal flaws for the Utes.  If Stanford can “OSU” out, including the league title game, there won’t be anything that can keep them out of the playoffs, even as a one-loss team.

Even as their styles are completely different, the path the Buckeyes took and the one the Cardinal is headed down are eerily similar.  The latter can only hope to see similar results to the former at the end of their journey.

Entering Week 8, there were 14 undefeated teams spread out amongst six FBS conferences.  Exiting it, we’re down to an even dozen.

The two to fall from the ranks of the unbeaten were Florida State and Utah, and they couldn’t have been more disparate in the way they fell.  FSU lost in heartbreaking fashion on your standard blocked-FG-returned-for-a-TD-with-no-time-left.  Prior to that, Utah, which some people had inexplicably trumpeted as the best team in the country a week ago (sheepishly raises hand), was embarrassed by USC.

All of the sudden, two of the Power Five conferences have exactly half of the undefeated teams: the Big 12 (Baylor, Oklahoma State, TCU) and Big Ten (Iowa, Michigan State, Ohio State).  That number will change in the coming weeks as all of the Big 12 teams will face each other, meaning, at most, one team will be left standing unblemished from that league.  MSU and OSU will square off later last month, cutting the Big Ten’s number by at least won, while Iowa has a remarkably easy path to an undefeated regular season.

The ACC and SEC are the other P5 leagues with an unbeaten team.  Clemson seemingly carries the ACC’s playoff hopes on its shoulders.  The biggest obstacle on Clemson’s road to perfection?  A Nov. 7 date with FSU, although they do get the Seminoles at home.  LSU, meanwhile, has arguably the toughest remaining slate of the current unbeatens: road trips to Alabama and Ole Miss, and a home game against Texas A&M.

Of the four remaining undefeateds, three belong to the AAC: Houston, Memphis and Temple.  That will change in the coming weeks, too, as Memphis plays both.  There could either be one undefeated from that conference (if Memphis wins both of those games and wins its other three remaining games as well; Memphis loses one to Houston/Temple, that winner wins out) or two (if Memphis loses both, and the other two win their other games).

The last undefeated comes form the MAC in the form of Toledo.  UT, though, has a rough row to hoe in getting to the end of the regular season without a loss as their remaining four games come against teams that are a combined 18-13 (Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan).  As far as a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl — there’s almost no chance the Group of Five sniffs a playoff spot — Toledo has to hope that, in addition to winning all its remaining, Memphis beats both Houston and Temple and sees the U of M trip up in one of its other two games.  That would leave the Rockets as the lone remaining unbeaten G5 team.

Eastern Washington v OregonNO DUCKING HEISMAN HANGOVER
In the first post-Marcus Mariota season, it would be an understatement to say that Oregon, 13-2 in 2014, has struggled in 2015.  At 4-3, the Ducks have already lost more games than they have in any season since 2009, and could end up challenging for the program’s worst winning percentage in the last decade — .538 (7-6) in 2006.  Losing the Heisman winner has certainly played a role in the struggles, although, and even as it’s not solely responsible, it should’ve been somewhat expected if recent precedent means anything.

Since 2000, six of the eight teams that have watched their Heisman Trophy winner move on to the next level the season after have seen their record worsen the following year.  Just once has the record actually improved — Carson Palmer won the 2002 Heisman for 11-2 USC; the following season, the Palmer-less Trojans were 12-1.

The 2006 Ohio State Buckeyes, 12-1 under Heisman winner Troy Smith, went 12-1 in 2007 the year after Smith left for the NFL.

Other than that, the records have dropped the first year after a Heisman winner has left.  And, in most cases, they’ve dropped precipitously:

2000 Florida State: 11-2, Chris Weinke; 8-4, 2001
2001 Nebraska: 11-2, Eric Crouch; 7-7, 2002
2003 Oklahoma: 12-2, Jason White; 8-4, 2004
2005 USC: 12-1, Reggie Bush*; 11-2, 2006
2010 Auburn: 14-0, Cam Newton; 8-5, 2011
2011 Baylor: 10-3, Robert Griffin III; 8-5, 2012

(*Vacated due to NCAA sanctions)

While the recent precedent may not assuage the Duck fans’ anguish after so many years of success, there should be some strength found in the numbers that they are most certainly not alone in struggling to replace a program legend.

I won’t debut the initial Fifth Quarter Coaching Hot Seat until Week 9, but here’s a sneak peek: a certain South Beach coach will sit high atop the to-go list — if he makes it that long.

Al Golden came into the 2015 season with his seat absolutely scorching.  Seven games in, his Miami team has done nothing to cool down the talk that Golden will be out at season’s end.  In fact, The U players drove another nail in his coaching coffin with a pitiful display in an embarrassing home loss to Clemson that was the worst in the team’s history.

However you parse the numbers, it’s not a pretty picture for Golden or his woebegone football program.

In his fifth season with the Hurricanes, Golden is 32-25 overall; take away games against FCS teams, and that record drops to 27-25. In ACC play, they’re below .500 at 17-18.  After going 2-1 against ranked teams in his first season in 2011, Golden is 1-9 in games against Top 25 teams and has lost six straight such matchups.  Over the past two-plus seasons, 11 of the 13 losses have come by 10 or more points.

Add all the numbers together, and it’s simply an unacceptable direction in which the program is headed.

And that’s why it’s no longer a matter of if; rather, it’s when Golden’s bosses decide to pull the plug on a tenure that’s been on life support for more than a year.  Given the wealth of talent at its disposal in a recruiting-rich state, there’s no excuse for Miami being this average — or this bad as evidenced by the Clemson debacle — for any length of time, let alone five years under one head coach.  And if Golden’s bosses don’t see that, it might be time for them to go as well.

As for a replacement?  If it’s me, I’m starting my search in Memphis and not leaving until Justin Fuente puts his Herbie Hancock on a contract.

Below is a list of links for all of the Week 8 gamers posted by the CFT crew, placed in one handy and convenient space for you, our beloved and dear readers.

A snapshot look at how my ballot would look Sunday if I, ya know, had a real vote.

1. LSU — Most people, perhaps some voters even, won’t give LSU credit for the win over Western Kentucky, especially because it came by “just” 28 points in Death Valley.  Newsflash: WKU is a quality team, and I’m one who actually considers this a quality non-conference win for the Tigers.  With Utah’s loss, I have no qualms putting Les Miles‘ charges at the top. (Last week: No. 2)
Next up: at No. 8 Alabama, Nov. 7

2. Baylor — After jumping out to a 35-0 lead midway through the second quarter, BU essentially set the cruise control to “meh” and sleepwalked its way to a 45-27 win over Iowa State.  I won’t here, but some voters will likely ding the Bears for their lackluster closeout of a really bad Cyclones squad. (Last week: No. 3)
Next up: at Kansas State, Nov. 5

3. Ohio State — With J.T. Barrett (finally) reinserted under center, tOSU put together arguably its most solid performance in all three phases of the game this season in routing Rutgers.  It’s perhaps the first time this year that the 2015 Buckeyes looked even remotely like the 2014 version that won the national championship. (Last week: No. 5)
Next up: vs. Minnesota, Nov. 7

4. TCU — Being on the bye coupled with the insertion of Barrett and what it will likely mean for OSU’s future triggered a flip in spots between the Horned Frogs and Buckeyes. That’s just how I roll, yo. (Last week: No. 4)
Next up: vs. West Virginia, Thursday Oct. 29

5. Stanford — I very nearly pulled the trigger on Clemson in trying to respect the unbeaten record, but simply couldn’t.  Since its Week 1 loss to Northwestern, Stanford is playing like the best team in the country.  In fact, I could have them ranked too low. (Last week: NR)
Next up: at Washington State, Oct. 31

(Dropped out: No. 1 Utah)
(Others considered: Clemson, Michigan State)

Alton Tenpenny, dismissed by Alabama earlier this year, died in a one-car accident earlier this week.  Despite the circumstances surrounding the split, AU decided to honor the fallen former player during their game against Tennessee.

Dabo Swinney, as many know very well, is a very fiery and passionate head football coach, and known for his preacher-like speeches and postgame interviews.  As if his Clemson players needed a reminder, Pastor Swinney belted out a sermon at halftime of their drubbing of Miami.


Bill Snyder is the 76-year-old head coach of the Kansas State Wildcats.  Bill Snyder is also a 76-year-old head coach who can still take a hit and keep on coaching.

Here’s to guessing Snyder will send a handwritten note of apology to the player for getting in his way.

It’s fair to say that former Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller is getting the hang of this whole receiving thing.

That’s just low, James Madison.  What’d Richmond ever do to deserve this level of vitriol?

Everybody’s favorite draft punching bag, Todd McShay, went to Richmond.  Carry on with the vitriol…

Not only are sports important to the Worldwide Leader, but so, apparently, is teaching geography to a whole new generation of fans.

“We got beat from top to bottom. They outplayed us, they outcoached us. I just told the team, that’s completely my responsibility for not getting them ready to play. They just beat us soundly, in every facet of the game, period.” — Miami head coach (for now) Al Golden following the worst loss in The U’s history, a 56-0 pantsing at the hands of Clemson.

“First of all I want to tip my hat to Mike Riley. He’s a pro’s pro, a coach’s coach and a great friend. As I said to him after the game, I’ve got so much respect for Mike and the way he carries himself, and the way that he’s always run his programs. We knew today was going to be a hard-fought battle. Those Cornhuskers have been through so many tough games this year, gut-wrenchers. They probably feel the same way today after the way today’s went. So I tip my hat to Mike and his young men.” — Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald after Nebraska’s fifth loss this season, all by five points or less.

“To be honest with you, it wouldn’t have upset me if they said we’re not playing today.” — Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer, referencing the Homecoming parade tragedy on the OSU campus earlier in the day.

“This is just a football game. As upset as I am right now, it pales in comparison to what these families are going through. I can’t imagine. This university is made up of some resilient folks, because they have been through some tragedy, and I’m amazed at their resilience. It’s impressive.” — Kansas head coach David Beaty, following the loss to OSU.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of how our guys competed in the game. They just found a way to win. We didn’t play that great.” — Alabama head coach Nick Saban, following UA’s five-point win over Tennessee.

Meads Cup Final - North Otago v WanganuiSTREAKING
Eight wins to start the 2015 season have pushed Ohio State’s nation’s best winning streak to 21 straight.  Up next are TCU (15), Memphis (14), Michigan State (12), Clemson (10) and Toledo (10).

On the other side of the won-loss ledger, New Mexico State still owns the nation’s longest losing streak, which now stands at 17 straight.  UCF is next at nine in a row, followed by North Texas and Miami of Ohio at seven and Eastern Michigan at six straight. Kansas deserves its own special sentence as the Jayhawks are the not-so-proud owners of the longest losing streak amongst Power Five conference members at 10 straight.

Entering Week 8, there were 19 teams that had secured bowl eligibility.  Exiting the weekend, there are now 33 teams eligible for  the postseason with five weeks left in the regular season.  The newest additions totaled an even 14: Appalachian State, Boise State, Bowling Green, BYU, Duke, Mississippi State, Northwestern, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Stanford and Wisconsin.

There are 41 bowl games this season — counting the two College Football Playoff semifinals — meaning 82 teams will need to reach the six-win threshold in order for teams with sub-.500 records to remain where they belong: at home during the postseason.

David Cutcliffe is doing the unimaginable at Duke. In the 13 seasons prior to Cutcliffe taking over in 2008, the Blue Devils never won more than five games in a single season; in the last eight years, including 2015, Cutcliffe has guided his team to at least five wins.

Urban Meyer is the only head coach in FBS history to have four 20-game winning streaks in his career, and he’s accomplished that in a career that spans a mere 14 seasons. In fact, no other head coach in FBS history has more than two such streaks.

Urban Meyer
20 – Utah (2003-04) & Florida (2005)
22 – Florida (2008-09)
25 – Florida (2010) & Ohio State (2012-13)
20 – Ohio State (2014-present)

Walter Camp
28 – Yale (1888-89)
27 – Yale (1890-92)

Robert Neyland
22 – Tennessee (1937-39)
20 – Tennessee (1950-51)

Tom Osborne
26 –Nebraska (1994-96)
22 –Nebraska (1982-83)

Joe Paterno
23 – Penn State (1968-69)
20 – Penn State (1993-95)

Barry Switzer
28 – Oklahoma (1973-75)
20 – Oklahoma (1986-87)

Bud Wilkinson
47 – Oklahoma (1953-57)
31 – Oklahoma (1948-50)

George Woodruff
34 – Pennsylvania (1894-96)
31 – Pennsylvania (1896-98)

Fielding Yost
29 – Michigan (1901-03)
26 – Michigan (1903-05)

Other than Camp (eight seasons), every other individual listed had a head-coaching career that lasted at least 14 seasons.

Wisconsin has averaged 35.0 pass attempts per game in 2015, easily the Badgers’ highest total in the last 20 seasons. UW averaged 27.4 passes per game in 2001 for the second-highest mark in that span. From 1996 to 2014, the Badgers averaged 23.7 pass attempts per game.

UCLA is the only school to produce six quarterbacks — Troy Aikman, Steve Bono, Billy Kilmer, Tommy Maddox, Tom Ramsey, Jay Schroeder — to have played that position on a Super Bowl team.

Florida State’s Dalvin Cook leads the nation in yards after contact/attempt by nearly a full yard at 4.50. Baylor’s Shock Linwood (3.53) is second, Penn State’s Saquon Barkley is third (3.50), LJ Scott (Michigan State) is fourth (3.42) and Rutgers’ Robert Martin (3.30) is fifth. LSU’s Leonard Fournette is at 3.05.

In Week 8, Duke played a game as a ranked team for three consecutive years for the first time since 1952-57.

Courtesy of the Hawaii sports information department, detailing the round-trip miles in the regular season that will be flown by the Rainbow Warriors in 2015


Courtesy of the Nevada sports information department, teams that have played in at least nine bowl games the past 10 years

Bowl Games

Courtesy of the Duke sports information department, the best records over the last 26 games

Best Record Last 26 Games

Courtesy of the Florida State sports information department

Active Coaches vs AP Top 25

The Week 8 game against Ole Miss in Oxford was Texas A&M’s first true road game of the 2015 season.  The Aggies had previously played away from Kyle Field twice this season — both at neutral site venues in the state of Texas (NRG Stadium in Houston and AT&T Stadium in Arlington).  The school notes that the Oct. 24 date is the latest for a road opener in 87 years — Oct. 27, 1928 against Arkansas in Fayetteville.

Virginia and North Carolina met for the 120th time Saturday in what’s called the South’s Oldest Rivalry, a series that was first played in 1892. Tied for the second-longest rivalry in FBS history — Minnesota-Wisconsin, 124 games — UVA and UNC first met in 1892 and, since 1919, the series has been played continuously every season following UVA’s two-year football hiatus (1917-18) because of World War I. Cincinnati-Miami of Ohio and Kansas-Missouri (on hiatus) have also been played 120 times.

Baylor entered the weekend as the only school in the FBS to be Top-10 in both passing (sixth, 361.0 yards per game) and rushing offense (second, 348.7 ypg). Whether the Bears hold those positions are in doubt, however, as BU managed a season-low 209 yards passing and “just” 279 yards on the ground against Iowa State.

East Carolina v NavyDID YOU KNOW THAT…

… with two today, Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds now has 75 rushing touchdowns in his career, breaking a tie with Miami of Ohio’s Travis Prentice for second all-time?  Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne holds the record with 77.

Gabe Marks‘ four touchdown catches in the win over Arizona is the first time that’s been done in Washington State history?

Deshaun Watson is the first Clemson quarterback to win 11 of his first 12 starts?  In less than two seasons, the true sophomore is already seventh on the school’s all-time list with 28 touchdown passes.

… Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey has put together back-to-back games of 300-plus all-purpose yards?

… after not having a 1,000-yard rusher the first 11 seasons of his coaching career, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer has had one in each of the last three seasons?  Carlos Hyde topped the 1,000-yard plateau in 2013, while Ezekiel Elliott has done it each of the past two seasons.

North Carolina State v Wake ForestMatthew Dayes is only the fourth North Carolina State running back since 1974 to rush for at least 500 yards in the first six games of the season?  With 205 yards in the game against Wake Forest, Dayes, with 793 yards on the season, is well on his way to becoming the first Wolfpack player since T.A. McLendon in 2002 to top the 1,000-yard mark.

… the six kick returns for touchdowns in the career of UTEP’s Autrey Golden make him the active FBS leader in that category? Duke’s DeVon Edwards is next with five. Interestingly, Golden entered Week 8 ranked 71st nationally in kick return average (21.0), while Edwards wasn’t among the Top 100 — he averages 39.7 yards per return this season, but doesn’t have enough returns to qualify.

… during his time at Ohio State, Urban Meyer is undefeated in the months of October (15-0) and November (12-0)?

… Michigan State is 8-0 for just the sixth time in school history and the first time since 2010? The Spartans also started 8-0 in 1951, 1952, 1965 and 1966.

… Alabama and Iowa are the only teams with two road wins over ranked opponents this season?

… the road team has won each of the last five Clemson-Miami games?

… Duke has a 6-1 record through seven games in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1952 (6-1) and 1953 (6-1)?

… Temple is 7-0 for the first time in the program’s history?  The Owls had been 6-0 in 1935, 1945 and 1974.

… Charlotte and Southern Miss were original members of Conference USA back in 1995, but met in football Saturday for the first time ever?  The 49ers are in their first season as an FBS program.  The university was a non-football member of the league from 1995-2005.

… Marshall and North Texas faced each other in football for the first time since the Div. 1-AA (now FCS) playoffs in 1988?

… Louisiana-Monroe is the only FBS team that will play eight road games this season?