Category: West Virginia Mountaineers

James Washington, Ryan Reid

Big 12 releases 2016 schedule; no byes for Texas, Texas Tech or Kansas


After seeing its conference co-champs left out of the College Football Playoff last season, the Big 12 arranged the schedule to showcase what were to be its biggest contests of the 2015 season toward the back of the schedule this fall. That may end up paying off for Oklahoma, Baylor or Oklahoma State. Next year will be a bit of a different story though, as the Big 12’s 2016 schedule (released today) will spread out some of the expected marquee games. That will include having Baylor, TCU, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State all in action on what will be championship Saturday in the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC.

The Big 12 conference schedule will open on September 17 with TCU hosting Iowa State and continue the following week with a nice little matchup between Baylor and Oklahoma State in Waco. The Big 12 schedule starts to pick up the pace on October 1 with a full slate of conference games, including Oklahoma visiting TCU and Oklahoma State hosting Texas. The traditional Red River Shootout Rivalry in Dallas between Oklahoma and Texas is scheduled for October 8.

All Big 12 action will conclude on December 3 with three games, including the annual Bedlam game between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. This year that game will determine the Big 12 champion. Baylor and TCU will meet on November 5, and Baylor will visit Oklahoma the following week.

The Texas Longhorns will once again play on Thanksgiving when they host TCU for what should end up being a Thursday night game in Austin. Baylor and Texas Tech will face off in Arlington the following day, a day after the Dallas Cowboys host their traditional Thanksgiving football feast. Kansas State hosts Kansas and Iowa State will host West Virginia for the only two Big 12 games that Saturday.

Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury may not be too happy with the schedule. Just like this season, the Red Raiders will not be given a bye week during Big 12 play. From October 1 against Kansas through November 26 against Baylor, Texas Tech gets no time off to prepare for a conference opponent. Neither does Kansas or Texas.

The Big 12 uses a nine-game conference schedule, which allows for every school to play every other team in the conference. Of course, there is no Big 12 championship game. You can see the full Big 12 conference schedule here.

The Fifth Quarter: Week 12 Rewind

<> at Boone Pickens Stadium on November 21, 2015 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
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.

Thanks to losses by a pair of previously-unbeaten OSUs — Ohio State and Oklahoma State — it appears the potential playoff field has been whittled down to seven, possibly eight.

It’s a near-certainty that, if Clemson and Alabama win out, they will be the top two seeds; on that, you won’t get much if any argument from anyone. Notre Dame, with Stanford remaining, could nearly lock up a spot with a win in Week 13, although the lack of a conference title game, as the Big 12 can attest, could prove to complicate the Irish’s standing at least on some level.  Again, though, their résumé appears strong enough in the committee’s eyes that the lack of a championship game will be of little or no import.

Thus, there’s a very real possibility that four, possibly five, teams will be fighting for one seat at the table the next two weeks: Iowa, Oklahoma, Michigan State and Baylor.  Florida would be only a possible at the moment, thanks in large part to the embarrassing win over Florida Atlantic in The Swamp.

So, with that as a quick backdrop, how did the eight teams mentioned above help themselves or not this weekend?  Let’s take a look.

Michigan State v Ohio StateSTOCK UP
No. 9 Michigan State — You beat the No. 3 team in the country, on the road, you can bet you’ll see yourself rise in the rankings when they are released Tuesday.
No. 10 Baylor — The Bears went into Stillwater and hung a double-digit loss on an undefeated and sixth-ranked team, and did so using their Nos. 2 and 3 quarterbacks.  Again, the committee will look favorably upon a visiting team taking it to a higher-ranked opponent.

No. 8 Florida — Allowing a two-win Conference USA team take you to overtime at home?  Embarrassing.  Then again, beat up on No. 14 Florida State and No. 2 Alabama and all will likely be forgotten.

No. 1 Clemson — A methodical 20-point win over three-win Wake Forest will do nothing to hurt or help the Tigers in the eyes of the committee.
No. 2 Alabama — They played an FCS team in a glorified scrimmage; do the math.
No. 4 Notre Dame — Almost everyone looks ugly playing Boston College, and the Domers were no exception.  The committee really likes the Irish, though, so no harm no foul (probably) in a three-point win at Fenway Park.
No. 5 Iowa — Jumped out to a 20-0 lead on two-win Purdue, then watched the Boilermakers cut the deficit to 20-13 in the third quarter.  A 20-7 run closed the game out, and left the unbeaten Hawkeyes in neutral.
No. 7 Oklahoma — OU looked like they were going to be in the “Up” category until the starting quarterback was knocked out and they ended up a missed two-point conversion away from their second loss of the season.

Boston College v Notre DameSo, when looking at how the committee will slot the Top Four this week, I think it’s a fairly safe bet that Clemson, Alabama and Notre Dame will occupy Nos. 1-3, in that order.  There’s no way Florida moves up four into that No. 4 spot, and Baylor’s win over Oklahoma State was its first quality win of the year.  That then leaves three teams this week — this week — for one spot: Iowa, Oklahoma and Michigan State.

In the end, I see the committee valuing Iowa’s road wins over two currently ranked teams, Northwestern and Wisconsin, slightly — very slightly — more than what either of the other two teams have done thus far.  The injury to Baker Mayfield helped TCU get back into the game Saturday, so that home win, even with last week’s road win over Baylor, might not help OU as much as it could’ve if the quarterback had stayed healthy.  Michigan State also has impressive road wins over currently ranked teams, OSU and Michigan, but they have that one loss, to 5-6 Nebraska, that will hold them back at least another week.

One final note: while significant, Ohio State’s loss wasn’t a fatal blow to the Buckeyes’ playoff chances.  Yes, the odds are long, but if OSU can get into the Big Ten championship game — they’d need to beat Michigan in Ann Arbor and have Michigan State lose to Penn State — and drop an unbeaten Iowa, OSU would be right back in the discussion.  Again, it’s a longshot, and they’ll need some help outside the conference in addition to taking care of their own business, but it’s just something to keep in mind as these last two weeks play out.

The other OSU, on the other hand, very likely saw their playoff chance disappear completely, even if they bounce back and drop their bitter rivals in Bedlam.  Why would the Midwest OSU still have shot, however, long it may be, while the Southwest OSU doesn’t?  One has a conference championship game it could play in, the other doesn’t.

North Carolina v Virginia TechCONFERENCE CHASE CLARITY
As was the case entering Week 11, there were just two Power Five divisions/conferences — ACC Atlantic, SEC East — that had already been decided entering Week 12.  North Carolina (ACC Coastal), Ohio State (Big Ten East), Iowa (Big Ten West), Stanford (Pac-12 North) and Alabama (SEC West) all came into this weekend with a chance to clinch their respective divisions by either winning or having another team lose — or both.

In the end, three teams managed to clinch in Week 12: UNC, with its overtime win over Virginia Tech; Iowa, with its win over Purdue; and Stanford, with its win over Cal in the Big Game.  Thus, there are still three divisions left to be decided with one weekend left in the regular season and one conference to be determined with their two weekends remaining, although that one could be decided next weekend as well.

So, below are the current clinching scenarios for all remaining divisions/conferences:

Michigan State’s win over Ohio State simplified this division: if MSU beats Penn State, the Spartans are in the Big Ten championship game.  If MSU loses, the winner of the OSU-Michigan game gets the early-December trip to Indianapolis.

BIG 12
The only certainty in this conference is that 6-2 TCU was eliminated with its loss to Oklahoma.  7-1 OU can win the league if it beats Oklahoma State in Bedlam.  6-1 Baylor can claim it if OU loses to OSU and it beats TCU and Texas (would own tiebreaker over 8-1 OSU).  7-1 OSU would be crowned champs if they beat OU and BU loses one of its last two.

Thanks to 5-3 Utah’s loss to 5-3 UCLA Saturday and their loss earlier this season to 5-3 USC, the winner of the USC-UCLA game will win the division and face Stanford in the conference championship game.

An Alabama win over Auburn in the Iron Bowl will clinch the division and a spot in the SEC championship game against Florida.  A ‘Bama loss coupled with an Ole Miss win in the Egg Bowl against Mississippi State would send the Rebels to Atlanta to face the Gators — and knock the conference out of the playoffs in the process.

Below is a list of links for all of the Week 12 gamers/pertinent pieces 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. Clemson — After 12 weeks, one thing this season is clear: Clemson and Alabama have separated themselves from the pack as the two best teams in college football.  Clemson just needs to avoid tripping up against a really bad South Carolina team to set up a tougher-than-most-people-are-giving-it-credit-for ACC title game matchup with North Carolina a week later. (Last week: No. 1)
Next up: at South Carolina, Nov. 28

2. Alabama — Since the Sept. 19 loss to Ole Miss, ‘Bama has outscored the opposition by a combined score of 276-89 during their eight-game winning streak.  It’s safe to say that the Saban dynasty is far from dead; the exact opposite, actually. (Last week: No. 2)
Next up: at Auburn, Nov. 28

3. Oklahoma — OU had been just as impressive as ‘Bama following their only loss a month ago, but the head injury sustained by Baker Mayfield bears watching.  With Mayfield, the Sooners were closing the gap on the top two teams.  Without him, they barely survived injury-ravaged TCU, and could find themselves in a heap of trouble if they have to play Bedlam without him. (Last week: NR)
Next up: at No. 6 Oklahoma State, Nov. 28

4. Notre Dame — I won’t gig them for the uninspiring win over Boston College as nearly every team looks dingy coming out of its games with the rough and ragged Eagles. I won’t move them up either; whether the playoff committee does remains to be seen. (Last week: No. 4)
Next up: at No. 11 Stanford, Nov. 28

5. Iowa — I very nearly put Baylor here, and maybe I should’ve given how BU dominated previously-unbeaten Oklahoma State, but opted for one of the two remaining unbeatens.  The good thing for the Hawkeyes is what I think of them doesn’t matter; all they need to do is win their last two games and they will likely punch a ticket to one of the playoff semifinals. (Last week: NR)
Next up: at Nebraska, Nov. 27

(Dropped out: No. 3 Ohio State, No. 5 Oklahoma State)
(Others considered: Baylor, Michigan State)

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.

Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State (9-2, No. 14)
Saturday: 15 carries for 106 yards (7.1 ypc), two touchdowns; one reception for five yards
Season: 185 carries for 1,475 yards (8.0 ypc), 16 touchdowns; 19 receptions for 207 yards, one touchdown

Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama (10-1, No. 2)
Saturday: nine carries for 68 yards (7.6 ypc), two touchdowns; one reception for 28 yards
Season: 249 carries for 1,526 yards (6.1 ypc), 21 touchdowns; 10 receptions for 97 yards

Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma (10-1, No. 7)
Saturday: 9-20 (45%), 127 yards, two touchdowns; 10 carries for 42 yards
Season: 226-329 (70.2%), 3,209 yards, 33 touchdowns, five interceptions; 120 carries for 343 yards (2.9 ypc), six touchdowns

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford (9-2, No. 11)
Season: 231 carries for 1,354 yards (5.9 ypc), seven touchdowns; 33 receptions for 367 yards, two touchdowns; 23 kick returns for 665 yards; 11 punt returns for 32 yards; 1-2 passing (50%), 28 yards, one touchdown

Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson (11-0, No. 1)
Saturday: 24-35 (68.6%), 343 yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions; 10 carries for 44 yards, one touchdown
Season: 241-344 (68.7%), 2,944 yards, 26 touchdowns, 10 interceptions; 118 carries for 642 yards (5.4 ypc), six touchdowns

(Dropped out: Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, LSU running back Leonard Fournette)
(Added: none)

JT’s Personal Top Fivesman
1. Henry — The worst statistical output of the season did nothing to hurt Henry’s Heisman stock as he played relatively little in the scrimmage against an FCS team.  In fact, he might have seen his stranglehold on the front-runner status grow stronger as a pair of challengers seemingly fell by the wayside this weekend. (Last week: No. 1)
2. Cook — Cook was in much the same boat as Henry, with FSU playing an FCS team as well.  The sophomore’s biggest issue is that his Seminoles aren’t a part of the playoff chase, and his profile has been somewhat pushed to the side to make room for the quarterbacks whose teams are.  That’s a shame, because Cook should be recognized for the kind of season he’s having.  (Last week: No. 2)
3. Watson — The sophomore just keeps plugging along, putting up numbers rather quietly for someone who is the quarterback of the No. 1 team in the nation.  Might need, or even probably needs, a signature performance in the ACC championship game to truly challenge Henry for the Trophy. (Last week: No. 3)
4. McCaffrey — Just give the man his ticket to New York City already.  And give the man his due, sleepy East Coast voters.  Oh, and give him the Hornung Award while you’re at it. (Last week: NR)
5. Mayfield — This candidacy could be hurt by the fact that Oklahoma will be sitting at home the first weekend in December while the four players above him, will be playing in conference championship games.  Mayfield needs a very impressive performance in Bedlam next weekend — if the head injury allows him to take the field, of course — to leave an impression with voters that’ll linger longer than a couple of days. (Last week: NR)

It appears that Philadelphia Eagles fans aren’t the only idiot football fans when snow is within reach.  With a winter storm whipping through the Midwest, Madison was hit with a significant amount of snow ahead of Wisconsin’s game against Northwestern.  Speaking of hit, some of those in attendance decided it would be cute and/or cool to pelt their own cheerleaders with snowballs, forcing them to take shelter in a tunnel.

As if that weren’t enough, the fans decided to show their disgust with a controversial ending by doing the same thing to the officiating crew.

Well done, Wisky Nation.  Well done.  You should all be proud.

Jim Harbaugh is, to be kind, animated on sidelines most Saturdays.  Week 12 was no exception as the Michigan head coach took exception to a pass interference call that went against his Wolverines and decided to initiate a sideline striptease.

That would be the last of the clothes shedding for Harbaugh as the Wolverines held on to beat the Nittany Lions.

There are a few things you never, ever do on a football field, one of which is put your hands on an official.  In Virginia Tech’s loss to North Carolina, Dadi Nicolas not only crossed that line, but shattered it on the way by.

Here’s to guessing the fifth-year senior will be receiving, at bare minimum, a stern call from the ACC at some point in the not-too-distant future.

This is Miami’s crowd about 20 minutes prior to its Senior Day kickoff against Georgia Tech at Sun Life Stadium…

… and this is the crowd shortly before halftime:

The Hurricanes desperately need a coaching hire that excites the fan base as that’s an embarrassment for a Power Five program with the pedigree The U possesses.

Halftime score: West Virginia 42, Kansas 0
Halftime yards: WVU 402, KU 59
Halftime rushing: WVU 295, KU minus-one

In the end, the Jayhawks stiffened in the second half in dropping a 49-0 heartbreaker to the Mountaineers in Lawrence, the program’s nation’s worst 14th straight loss.  KU hasn’t won a game in 379 days (Nov. 8 vs. Iowa State); hasn’t won a game away from Lawrence since 2009 (UTEP); hasn’t won a Big 12 road game since 2007 (Oklahoma State); hasn’t beaten a non-conference Power Five team on the road since 2009 (Duke); and hasn’t beaten a non-conference Power Five team, period, since September of 2010 (Georgia Tech).

In other words, Kansas football remains your prototypical…

Dumpster fire

If you haven’t heard of Mississippi State’s Fred Ross, you have now as the Bulldog wide receiver made one of the best catches of the season against Arkansas.  Oh, and the run after catch wasn’t bad either.

Saturday marked Frank Beamer‘s final game at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg.  While Virginia Tech was unable to come away with a win over North Carolina for the retiring head coach, the fans in attendance couldn’t help but thank the man for what so far has been a 278-win career.

Tech will need to beat in-state rival Virginia next Saturday to reach six wins and send Beamer out with a bowl thank you.

Dammit if I don’t still miss “Parks and Recreation.”

“They just out-coached us.  They outclassed us.” — interim head coach Shawn Elliott, following South Carolina’s embarrassing loss to FCS Citadel.

“That analogy doesn’t resonate with me. I don’t like comparing humans to chickens or any other kind of animal.” — Jim Harbaugh, when asked why his Michigan team never laid an egg.

“We can’t seem to get out of our own way. … We don’t value the ball very much. … It’s like a broken record — same old, same old.” — Paul Johnson, after watching his Georgia Tech team lose the turnover battle 4-0 and the game to Miami in falling to 3-8 on the season.

“I call a lot of plays anyways. So fingers will be pointed right here. And I have to do better. We didn’t — very conservative.” — Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, on the play-calling in the loss to Michigan State that was publicly eviscerated by one of his own players.

“I honestly do not. I’m definitely in danger of feeling badly. I feel that right now.” — LSU’s Les Miles, when asked if he feels he’s in danger of losing his job following a third straight loss.

Meads Cup Final - North Otago v WanganuiSTREAKING
Thanks to Ohio State’s 23-game winning streak crashing into a heap,  Clemson’s 14-game streak is now tops in the country. Iowa (11) and North Carolina (10) are the only others in double digits as, in addition to OSU, Oklahoma State’s 12-game streak ended while Houston saw its own 10-game winning streak come to an end this weekend as well.

On the other side of the won-loss ledger, the “proud” owner of the nation’s longest losing streak is Kansas at 14 straight, followed by UCF (12), Charlotte (nine), Eastern Michigan (nine), Louisiana-Monroe (nine), Hawaii (nine), Maryland (eight), Oregon State (eight) and Boston College (seven).

Entering Week 12, there were 62 teams that had secured bowl eligibility.  Exiting the weekend, there are now 71 teams eligible for the postseason with three weeks left in the regular season.  The newest additions this week total nine: Akron, Arizona State, Auburn, Central Michigan, Colorado State, Middle Tennessee State, UConn, Utah State and West Virginia.

There are still 18 teams that can become bowl-eligible with two weeks remaining: Buffalo, East Carolina, Georgia State, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas State, Kentucky, Louisiana-Lafayette, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Old Dominion, San Jose State, South Alabama, Texas, Tulsa, Virginia Tech and Washington

There are 40 bowl games this season — counting the two College Football Playoff semifinals — meaning 80 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.

Wisconsin has averaged 33.9 passing attempts through its first 11 games this season, the highest average in program history. Only twice in the modern era (since 1946) have the Badgers averaged more than 30 passes per game: in 1983 (30.6) and 1995 (30.2). From 1996 to 2014, UW averaged 23.7 passing attempts per game.

The meeting between Notre Dame and Boston College was the first football game at Fenway Park since December 1, 1968, when — after five years of calling it home — the Boston Patriots played their last AFL game at the ballpark.  The last college football game played in the venerable park came in 1956, the final season BC used Fenway Park as its home stadium.  That game was played Dec. 1 against Holy Cross.

For the past five weeks, Oregon State has used a quarterback-center battery of brothers Nick Mitchell and Josh Mitchell. According to a recent survey of college football sports information departments, the Mitchells are the only brothers to snap to each other in recent memory. Minnesota has a brother combination at center and quarterback, but the duo has never played at the same time.

Ole Miss has scored 50-plus points in four games for the first time in school history; the Rebels had never done it three times in a season prior to this year. Additionally, for the first time in school history, Ole Miss has eclipsed 600 total yards three times in a season; the Rebels had never done it more than once in any of the 120 prior seasons.

Notre Dame is 5-1 this year against ACC teams. The Irish had never beaten five teams from the same league in the same season prior to 2015. On six occasions, the Irish have beat four Big Ten teams in one season, most recently in 1993.

Courtesy of the Wisconsin sports information department

Percentage of Possessions Leadin to a Score

Courtesy of the Clemson sports information department

Consecutive 10-Win Seasons

Courtesy of the UT-San Antonio sports information department

2015 First-Time Players

Courtesy of the Louisiana-Monroe sports information department

Players From the State of Texas

Courtesy of the Louisiana Tech sports information department, featuring the winningest father/son coaching combinations in Div. 1 entering Week 12

Winningest FatherSon Coaching Combos

Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau, who wears jersey No. 13, sustained a season-ending injury on Friday the 13th last week, just 13 yards shy of becoming the school’s all-time passing yards leader.

The top three defenses coming into Week 12 in points per possession came from the Big Ten: Wisconsin (.82 points per possession), Michigan (.87 ppp) and Ohio State (.89 ppp).

Saturday’s game against Wake Forest was the 1,200th in the history of the Clemson program, and the win over the Demon Deacons was the 700th for the Tigers.  It took Clemson 11 years, one day to go from 600 to 700 wins; the previous quickest 100 wins was 11 years, one month, five days in going from 400 to 500 wins from September of 1979 to October of 1990.

Mississippi State v ArkansasDID YOU KNOW THAT

… with five touchdown passes and two rushing touchdowns in the wild win over Arkansas, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott became the fourth player in FBS history to throw for at least 60 touchdowns in a career and run for at least 40?  The other three in the 60/40 club are Florida’s Tim Tebow, Central Michigan’s Dan LeFevour and Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick.

Brandon Allen‘s six touchdown passes in Arkansas’ loss Mississippi State tied a single-game SEC record?  Four others have accomplished that feat: Tennessee’s Erik Ainge, Kentucky’s Tim Couch (twice), Florida’s Doug Johnson and Florida’s Terry Dean.

… with one rushing touchdown in Navy’s win over Tulsa, quarterback Keenan Reynolds is one score away from tying and two from breaking Wisconsin running back Montee Ball‘s record of 83 total touchdowns?  In Week 11, Reynolds broke Ball’s record for career rushing touchdowns.  Louisiana Tech’s Kenneth Dixon has 81 career touchdowns, although he was kept out of the end zone in Week 12.

Rice v Florida Atlantic… with Rice running back Darik Dillard‘s third-quarter touchdown, he and his brother, former Rice wide receiver Jarett Dillard, surpassed the FBS record for most touchdowns by siblings, breaking the record of 81 previously held by Jacquizz (51) and James Rodgers (30) of Oregon State?  Jarett Dillard still hold the FBS record for most career receiving touchdowns with 60 from 2005-08.

… Washington running back Deontae Cooper was previously granted a seventh season of eligibility by the NCAA?  Cooper sustained knee injuries — ACL tears in each knee — in 2010, 2011 and 2012 that caused him to miss the entirety of all three of what would’ve been his true freshman, sophomore and junior years, leading the NCAA to take the extremely rare step of essentially resetting his eligibility clock, minus a redshirt, beginning with the 2013 season.  Cooper, relatively speaking, has been healthy each of the past three seasons, and will be eligible to play in 2016 as a former 2010 signee.

Connor Cook (Michigan State), Brad Kaaya (Miami), Paxton Lynch (Memphis), and Dak Prescott (Mississippi State) are the only FBS quarterbacks to have thrown for 2,400-plus yards this season with 10 or more touchdowns and four or fewer interceptions?

Florida Atlantic v FloridaJim McElwain is the first head coach in Florida history to win 10 games in his first season with the Gators? Urban Meyer (2005), Steve Spurrier (1990), Galen Hall (1985) and Ray Graves (1960) all won nine games in their first seasons in Gainesville.

Todd Graham became the first Arizona State head coach to reach bowl eligibility in each of his first four years with the Sun Devils?  This is also only the second time in program history ASU’s qualified for a bowl four straight seasons, with the first coming under Frank Kush from 1970-73.

… Baylor beat Oklahoma State in back-to-back games for the first time since 1939-1942?

… Florida State, LSU, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, USC, and Wisconsin are the only Power Five teams that have posted a winning record each of the past 11 seasons?

… Clemson is 8-0 in ACC play for the first time in the football program’s history?  The Tigers went 7-0 in 1983 and 6-0 in 1967, 1978, 1981 and 1982.

Purdue v Iowa… Iowa tied a school record for wins in a season with 11?  It’s been accomplished two other times, 2002 and 2009.  The Hawkeyes have their regular-season finale plus at least two postseason games to shatter the record and set a new standard.

… at 9-1, Navy is off to its best start since Roger Staubach‘s Heisman season in 1961?  The service academy has also won 14 of its last 16 contests, with the only losses coming to rival Notre Dame.

… Kansas State’s six-game losing streak entering Week 12 was the Wildcats’ longest since 1989?  K-State’s win over Iowa State ensured the streak didn’t reach seven in a row.

… Florida State and Ohio State are the only teams that have yet to allow an opponent to score 30 or more points this season?  The most FSU has allowed was 24 in an Oct. 10 win over Miami, with OSU allowing 28 in an Oct. 10 win over Maryland serving as its high-water mark.

… Colorado and Hawaii are the only two teams without a bye in 2015?  After next weekend, they will have played for 13 consecutive weeks.

The Fifth Quarter: Week 10 Rewind

STILLWATER, OK - NOVEMBER 7 : Defensive tackle Vincent Taylor #96 and defensive tackle Eric Davis #97 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys celebrate with the fans in the stands after the game against the TCU Horned Frogs November 7, 2015 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The Cowboys defeated the Horned Frogs 49-29. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
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.

At one point in the early evening hours Saturday, three undefeated teams (Clemson, Iowa, TCU) were all losing, while another (Houston) was tied.  While the week ended up not being as chaotic as it could’ve been, it was more than chaotic enough where we should see a rather sizable shakeup when the College Football Playoff Top 25 is released Tuesday.

Entering the weekend with 11 undefeated teams, those unblemished ranks were sliced to six as No. 2 LSU, No. 7 Michigan State, No. 8 TCU, No. 13 Memphis and No. 24 Toledo all suffered their first losses of the season.  That leaves No. 1 Clemson, No. 3 Ohio State,  No. 6 Baylor, No. 9 Iowa, No. 14 Oklahoma State and No. 25 Houston as the lone remaining unbeatens with a month left in the regular season/championship weekend.

Following Week 9, the first CFP Top 25 looked as follows:

No. 1 Clemson
No. 2 LSU
No. 3 Ohio State
No. 4 Alabama

Clemson added an impressive win over No. 16 Florida State to its win over No. 5 Notre Dame; the Tigers would seem to be a lock to remain at No. 1.  LSU was woodshedded by Alabama, so the Tigers will very likely drop out of the top four.  The Tide, meanwhile, will move on up as the highest-rated one-loss team.

Ohio State, on the other hand, was cruising right along with a 21-point fourth-quarter lead on Minnesota before allowing the Gophers back into the game with a pair of touchdowns before settling for a 28-14 win.  The Buckeyes will likely maintain a top-four slotting, although it wouldn’t be surprising to see them fall out.

And what of Oklahoma State?  No. 14 entering the weekend, the Big 12 OSU put a thumping on No. 8 TCU; could the committee vault the Cowboys up at least 10 spots and into the first four?  I’d say it’s unlikely, but they should be well within earshot heading into an ongoing stretch that, after a road trip to Ames, includes a pair of games to close out the season against No. 6 Baylor and No. 15 Oklahoma.

So, how will the CFP’s top four look when the newest rankings are released Tuesday night?  My best guess is…

No. 1 Clemson
No. 2 Alabama
No. 3 Ohio State
No. 4 Notre Dame

I think those first three spots are fairly well set with the committee, provided the group sees the Buckeyes of J.T. Barrett and not necessarily that of Cardale Jones.  That fourth spot, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see Oklahoma State or Baylor there instead of the one-loss Golden Domers.  The only thing that would surprise me at No. 4, in fact, would be Iowa.

Still, remember that this will be just the second of six CFP Top 25s released, so there will be plenty of time for those in and around the Top 10 to find a seat at the playoff table.  Last year, after the second release, eventual national champion Ohio State was sitting at No. 14.  Just sayin’

With three weeks still remaining in the regular season — four if you’re the Big 12 — there’s a surprisingly large amount of clarity in the Power Five conferences.  There’s also, of course, some uncertainty remaining.

The ACC Atlantic and SEC East were decided this weekend, while the ACC Coastal, Big Ten West and Pac-12 North are all but decided.  Conversely, the Big 12 is a muddled mess, while the SEC West has five teams that are still technically alive in the division.  The Big Ten East and Pac-12 South both have three teams each that could still win it.

With that in mind, below are the updates as to where each of the Power Five divisional races stand.

Thanks to the impressive double-digit win over Florida State, Clemson clinched its first division title since  2011.  The Tigers also snapped the Seminoles’ three-year stranglehold on not only the division but on the conference as well as FSU came into the season having won back-to-back-to-back ACC titles.

This one’s not over yet, but a rather large woman is in the latter stages of warming up her throat.  With an impressive and dominating win over Duke, North Carolina, at 5-0 in ACC play, has complete and total control of the division.  UNC already owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over Pittsburgh (4-1) and now owns the same over Duke (3-2).  For the Tar Heels it’s very simple: win two of their next three games (vs. Miami, at Virginia Tech and North Carolina State) and they’ll claim the Coastal regardless of what anyone else does.  UNC could also clinch next weekend with a win vs. Miami and a Pitt loss to Duke.  Pitt has to hope UNC stumbles twice as they are winning out (at Duke, vs. Louisville and Miami), while Duke needs to win out and have UNC lose out.

Iowa v IndianaBIG TEN
Ohio State stands at 5-0 in conference play, with Michigan and Michigan State tied at 4-1.  The Buckeyes host the Spartans week after next, then travel to the Wolverines to close out the regular season.  The only way this division is settled next weekend is if OSU handles Illinois and UM and MSU fall to Indiana and Maryland, respectively.

At 5-0, Iowa holds a half-game lead on 5-1 Wisconsin.  However, the Hawkeyes own the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Badgers, which means Iowa would need to lose two of its last three games (Minnesota, Purdue, at Nebraska) while Wisconsin wins out (Northwestern, at Minnesota) in order for the latter to win the West.

BIG 12
Two teams are unbeaten after Week 10: Baylor (5-0) and Oklahoma State (6-0).  Oklahoma and TCU are both 5-1.  In the last four weeks of the regular season, those four teams will play each other in a total of five games.  In other words, we’re still (probably) a ways away from a conference bereft of a championship game deciding its one true champion.

At 7-0, all Stanford needs to do is either beat Oregon (4-2) in Week 11 or Cal in Week 12 to clinch a spot in its third Pac-12 championship game in five years.  The Ducks would need to win their last three and have the Cardinal lose out in league play in order to get back to the title game.

Utah (5-1) currently holds a one-game lead on UCLA (4-2) and USC (4-2).  The Utes, though, lost to the Trojans in the only game played between the three. With Utah still having to face UCLA, and the two Los Angeles schools set to meet in three weeks, this division likely won’t be decided until well into the month of November.

Just one weekend into November, and Florida, thanks to its win over Vanderbilt, has already clinched the division title and a spot in the conference championship game opposite the West winner.  The Gators will play in their first league title game since 2009 early next month.

Hello, Alabama. Welcome back to the driver’s seat.  As we headed into the weekend, LSU and Ole Miss controlled their own destinies in the West, with Alabama at the mercy of others.  Heading out, the combination of ‘Bama’s win over LSU and Ole Miss’ overtime loss to Arkansas leaves the Tide, at 5-1, in control of their own destiny.  They’re far from clinching, however, as LSU is still in the mix at 4-1, while there are three other teams in the division with just two conference losses: Ole Miss (4-2), Arkansas (3-2) and Mississippi State (3-2).

Below is a list of links for all of the Week 10 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. Clemson — OK, OK, I relent.  Clemson’s wins over Notre Dame and now Florida State are more impressive than anything any other team in the country can offer up for an argument to be No. 1.  The mission moving forward for the Tigers is simple: don’t trip up against Syracuse, Wake Forest or South Carolina to close out the regular season, then handle North Carolina (probably) in the conference championship game to punch your playoff ticket.  Simple, right? (Last week: No. 5)
Next up: at Syracuse, Nov. 14

2. Ohio State — This ranking is based solely on the assumption that J.T. Barrett will return as the starting quarterback.  If not, the Buckeyes wouldn’t even be in my Top Five.  Allow me to repeat: With Barrett as the starter, OSU is a national title contender; with Cardale Jones, they are an upset waiting to happen. (Last week: No. 3)
Next up: at Illinois, Nov. 14

3. Alabama — Yes, the woodshedding of LSU was an impressive performance.  ‘Bama still has the one loss, to Ole Miss, and that’s looking worse and worse with each passing week.  The Rebels suffered their third loss of the year this weekend, and one of the teams they lost to, Memphis, lost to a service academy. (Last week: NR)
Next up: vs. No. 20 Mississippi State, Nov. 14

4. Baylor — Jarrett Stidham passed his first quiz.  Whether the true freshman quarterback can pass his remaining tests, which includes a home date with No. 15 Oklahoma and road trips to No. 14 Oklahoma State and No. 8 TCU, will go a long way in determining what if any chair the Bears will have at the playoff table. (Last week: No. 2)
Next up: vs. No. 15 Oklahoma, Nov. 14

5. Oklahoma State — It’s not just the fact that OSU “upset” TCU; it’s the fact that they dominated a team that had won 16 straight in every phase of the game.  It was as impressive a performance as any team has put up all season, although the flimsy résumé the first eight games of the year won’t allow the Cowboys to move past those ahead of them.  Yet.  With the meat of their schedule coming up, though, they’ll have ample opportunity to show their playoff worthiness. (Last week: NR)
Next up: at Iowa State, Nov. 14

(Dropped out: No. 1 LSU, No. 4 TCU)
(Others considered: Notre Dame, 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 (8-1, No. 8)
Saturday: 35-57 (61.4%), 445 yards, one touchdown, four interceptions; 19 carries for 73 yards, two touchdowns
Season: 233-354 (65.8%), 3,372 yards, 29 touchdowns, nine interceptions; 107 carries for 597 yards (5.6 ypc), seven touchdowns

Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor (8-0, No. 6)
Thursday: 11 receptions for 216 yards, two touchdowns; two carries for two rushing yards
Season: 58 receptions for 1,178 yards, 20 touchdowns; 13 carries for 51 rushing yards

Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State (7-2, No. 16)
Saturday: 21 carries for 194 yards (9.2 ypc), one touchdown; one reception for four yards
Season: 148 carries for 1,231 yards (8.3 ypc), 12 touchdowns; 16 receptions for 185 yards, one touchdown

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State (8-0, No. 3)
Season: 167 carries for 1,130 yards (6.8 ypc), 13 touchdowns; 23 receptions for 160 yards

Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU (7-0, No. 2)
Saturday: 19 carries for 31 yards (1.6 ypc), one touchdown
Season: 195 carries for 1,383 yards (7.1 ypc), 16 touchdowns; seven receptions for 58 yards

Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama (8-1, No. 4)
Saturday: 38 carries for 210 yards (5.5 ypc), three touchdowns
Season: 218 carries for 1,254 yards (5.7 ypc), 17 touchdowns; eight receptions for 69 yards

Matt Johnson, QB, Bowling Green (7-2, NR)
Wednesday: 26-35 (74.3%), 365 yards, four touchdowns, zero interceptions; three carries for minus-five yards
Season: 268-380 (70.5%), 3,686 yards, 33 touchdowns, three interceptions; 77 carries for 147 yards, three touchdowns

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford (8-1, No. 11)
Saturday: 23 carries for 147 yards (6.4 ypc); three receptions for 15 yards; two kick returns for 46 yards; 1-1 (100%), 28 yards, one touchdown
Season: 198 carries for 1,207 yards (6.1 ypc), six touchdowns; 28 receptions for 325 yards, two touchdowns; 21 kick returns for 605 yards; nine punt returns for 25 yards; 1-1 (100%), 28 yards, one touchdown

(Dropped out: TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson)
(Added: Henry)

JT’s Personal Top Fivesman
1. Fournette — That sound you may have heard was the star LSU running back’s Heisman stock plummeting back to earth.  Fournette remains the stiff-armed front-runner, but the gap between himself and the rest of the field closed considerably even as his closest competitor coming in stumbled mightily.
2. Cook — Even in a loss, nobody likely raised their Heisman stock more than the FSU back.  Going up against a defense that came into the game 10th in rushing defense, Cook put up nearly 200 yards (194) in the loss to Clemson.  The fact that the Tigers keyed on Cook and he still put nearly a 200-spot on the ACC Atlantic winners tells you all you need to know about the kind of player Cook is.
3. Henry — Henry was on the periphery of the Heisman discussion prior to Week 10; that 200 yards he put on LSU, in a personal matchup with a struggling Fournette no less, puts him squarely in the mix.
4. McCaffrey — The Stanford running back’s stat sheet added a fourth dimension this weekend as the sophomore threw his first career touchdown pass.  He also tied a school record with his seventh consecutive 100-yard game.  I’ll point out again that McCaffrey is the only player west of the Rockies who’s in the Heisman discussion, which still bodes well for a mid-December trip to New York City.
5. Boykin — Entering Week 10, Boykin was viewed by many, or even most, as the only legitimate threat to Fournette’s Heisman candidacy.  Following a four-pick performance in a 20-point loss to Oklahoma State, the senior has a significant mountain to climb just to get back into the race.

Say what you want about Les Miles, the coach, but Les Miles, the man, is someone the LSU community can be proud of.  If you haven’t seen the latest Tom Rinaldi tear-jerker, click “play” below.  And if you click “play” below, make sure you have a fistful of tissues nearby, just in case.

At least a portion of Bret Bielema‘s press conference following the overtime win over Ole Miss was decidedly PG-13.

Perhaps because ESPN‘s College GameDay traveling road show has stopped there so much, it appears that, based on the quality — or lack thereof — Tuscaloosa has pretty much run out of innovative sign ideas.  Well, save for one.  Or is that No. 2?

Deep in Alabama territory, we find the following:


Winless UCF hasn’t had much to cheer about this season, but Tre’Quan Smith at least gave the fans of the program something to hang their hats on on yet another lost day.

Sometime you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.  And sometimes when you find yourself in such a spot you also find yourself hurting, as one official in the Penn State-Northwestern game discovered.

With Brandon Allen carving up their defense, some Ole Miss fans apparently looked for some help from the men in blue in slowing down the Arkansas quarterback.

“Those were Madden numbers. Set to rookie.” — North Carolina wide receiver Mack Collins, describing quarterback Marquise Williams passing for 404 yards in the first half of the blowout win over Duke.

“Overall, the coaches and the players did a wonderful job of focusing on what’s important.” — Georgia head coach Mark Richt, following a dominating win over Kentucky that came on the heels of a week rife with rumors and speculation regarding the state of his program.

“He’s a natural at everything he does.” — Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan, after watching teammate and running back Christian McCaffrey run the ball 23 times, catch three passes, return a pair of kickoffs and toss his first career touchdown pass.

“I’m pretty offended by it, that it was called unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. There was really … everything was to not deceive.” — Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, addressing the fact that his Wolverines were penalized for “intent to deceive.”

“I got an explanation. They said that the receiver was pushed out of bounds… everybody saw the replay. I’m not qualified for that job. My job is to coach and I’m going to do the very best I can. That’s somebody else’s job.” — Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio, biting his tongue following the controversial ending in the loss to Nebraska.

Meads Cup Final - North Otago v WanganuiSTREAKING
10 wins to start the 2015 season have pushed Ohio State’s nation’s best winning streak to 22 straight.  With TCU’s 16-game winning streak snapped… and Memphis’ 15-game streak snapped… and Michigan State’s 12-game streak snapped, Clemson is next up at 12 in a row.

On the other side of the won-loss ledger, the “proud” owner of the nation’s longest losing streak is Kansas at 12 straight, followed by UCF (11) and Eastern Michigan (eight).

Entering Week 9, there were 41 teams that had secured bowl eligibility.  Exiting the weekend, there are now 51 teams eligible for the postseason with four weeks left in the regular season.  The newest additions hit double digits at 10: Air Force, Arkansas State, Georgia, Miami, North Carolina State, Northern Illinois, Oregon, USC, Washington State and Western Michigan.

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.

There are five FBS head coaches who serve as their own offensive coordinator and two as their own defensive coordinator:

  • Dana Holgorsen (West Virginia, OC)
  • Mike Leach (Washington State, OC)
  • Paul Johnson (Georgia Tech, OC)
  • Doug Martin (NM State, OC)
  • Mark Whipple (UMass, OC)
  • Rocky Long (San Diego State, DC)
  • Derek Mason (Vanderbilt, DC)

Urban Meyer is a perfect 26-0 in games played in October (14-0) and November (13-0) at Ohio State and is 42-3 in his career in games in which he has more than one week to prepare for an opponent. That latter record includes bowl games and season openers as well as bye weeks.

Running back Jacques Patrick had three rushing touchdowns, while Travis Rudolph caught three touchdown passes against Syracuse, marking the first time in Florida State history a Seminole rushed for three touchdowns in a single game and another caught three touchdowns in the same game.

Oregon is the only team in the nation to score at least 80 touchdowns in each of the last five seasons. The Ducks led the nation in touchdowns scored in 2014 (90), 2012 (89) and 2010 (81), while ranking second in 2011 (88) and fourth  in 2013 (81). Only Baylor has scored 80-plus TDs at least three times in the last five years.  The Ducks have scored 48 in nine games this season and are in danger of seeing that 80-plus streak come to an end, while the Bears have scored an FBS-best 63 in eight contests.

Duke has posted a combined record of 25-7 during the first eight games of the last four seasons. From 2004-07, the last four seasons before David Cutcliffe took over the program, Duke was 3-29 in its first eight games of those years.

Courtesy of the Wisconsin sports information department, a graphic showing the top five teams, percentage-wise, in holding their opponents below their seasonal points-per-game average.

Relative Scoring Defense

Courtesy of the Wisconsin sports information department

Yards Per Play

Courtesy of the Oregon sports information department

Consecutive 10-Win Seasons

Courtesy of the North Carolina State sports information department, the most balanced FBS offenses entering Week 10


(Writer’s note: obviously, the passing yards for NC State should be 1,721.  Deal with it, and move on.)

There are nine current FBS head coaches who did not play college football: Todd Berry (Louisiana-Monroe), Tracy Claeys (Minnesota), David Cutcliffe (Duke), Sonny Dykes (California), Dennis Franchione (Texas State), Hugh Freeze (Ole Miss), Paul Johnson (Georgia Tech), Mike Leach (Washington State) and Chad Morris (SMU).

Since giving up 35 points to Alabama in their season opener, Wisconsin has surrendered an average of just 9.8 points per game.  In those nine games, the Badgers have allowed 10 points or less six times.  The most they’ve given up in a single game in this stretch is 24 in a win over Maryland this weekend.

In 2015, more than 75 FBS quarterbacks have attempted at least 200 passes, and just two have thrown one interception: Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott (300) and Florida State’s Everett Golson (207).  No quarterbacks who have attempted at least 200 passes have gone pick-less.  The player with the most attempts without an interception this year had been LSU’s Brandon Harris with 128, but he threw his first pick in the loss to Alabama.  That honor now goes to Navy’s Keenan Reynolds, who has no interceptions in his 56 attempts this season.  Texas’ Tyrone Swoopes has 55 pick-less throws.

Clemson v Florida StateDID YOU KNOW THAT

… Clemson is now 11-0 when quarterback Deshaun Watson starts and finishes games?  They are 12-1 overall in games in which the sophomore starts.

… Arkansas running back Alex Collins became the third player in SEC history with three consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons, joining former Georgia great Herschel Walker and former Razorback Darren McFadden?

… Baylor wide receiver Corey Coleman‘s 20 receiving touchdowns in nine games this season were more than 108 FBS teams entering Week 10?  Georgia Southern has thrown eight touchdown passes in the last 20 games over the past two seasons.

DeAndre Washington now has 1,036 yards rushing on the season, becoming the first Texas Tech player to crack the 1,000-yard barrier since Byron Hanspard rushed for 2,000 in 1996?

492204726… Arizona State’s D.J. Foster has now caught a pass in 49 consecutive games, breaking the Pac-12 record of 48 set by USC’s Kareem Kelly (1999-2002)?  Central Michigan’s Bryan Anderson (2006-09) holds the FBS record at 54 in a row.

… Ohio State’s Urban Meyer is the only coach in FBS history with four seasons of 13 or more wins?  Alabama’s Nick Saban has three such seasons, while Washington’s Chris Petersen and Nebraska’s Tom Osborne have two each.

 Tom Herman became the first head coach in Houston history to win the first nine games of his career with the Cougars? Back in 1990, John Jenkins won his first eight.

… Iowa’s 9-0 start matches the best start in school history, accomplished the first and only time back in 2009?  The Hawkeyes have never started a season 10-0.

Kansas v Texas… Kansas has lost 34 consecutive true road games and, overall, 37 consecutive played away from Lawrence? The Jayhawks have also lost 30 consecutive Big 12 road games.

… Baylor (No. 14 Oklahoma, No. 12 Oklahoma State, No. 5 TCU) and Minnesota (No. 15 Michigan, No. 1 Ohio State, No. 10 Iowa) are the only teams currently scheduled to play three straight games against teams that were either in the Associated Press Top 15 when they played them or are currently in that Top 15?

… Florida and Michigan are the only teams to hold three FBS opponents without a touchdown this season?

… UCLA is 31-0 when leading at halftime under Jim Mora?

… the Border War between Colorado State and Wyoming is the longest continuous rivalry west of the Mississippi, played every season since 1946?

TCU easily handles WVU, keeps showdown with Baylor on track


At halftime, I talked about West Virginia keeping themselves within shouting distance of unbeaten and fifth-ranked TCU.  Over the last two quarters, the Horned Frogs ensured they weren’t even in the same zip code as the visiting Mountaineers.

In the last 30 minutes, and with Dana Holgorsen‘s seat heating up with each passing second, the carnage was real and ofttimes spectacular as TCU turned a 23-10 halftime lead into an impressive 40-10 cruise.  The Mountaineers had closed to 17-10 with five minutes left in the first half, but the Horned Frogs’s firepower was simply too much for the overmatched visitors to handle.

It’s become a broken record, but, once again, it was Trevone Boykins who was the maestro of the Horned Frogs’ dynamic offensive orchestra.  The senior did nothing but add to his Heisman résumé, totaling 472 yards of offense (388 passing, 84 rushing), three passing touchdowns and tossing in a rushing score for good measure.

How good was/is Boykin?  Even the opposing coach wants to give you a high-five after leaving three or four of his defensive player’s jocks strewn about the playing field.

(After that, you could see Holgorsen seemingly mouth, “g*****n, never seen that before.”)

Add up all the numbers — I’d be remiss if I didn’t throw in wide receiver Josh Doctson‘s line of 11-183-2 — and you’re left with TCU winning its 16th straight game, the second-longest streak in the country behind Ohio State’s 21.  You’re also left with just three games until what would be an epic showdown with unbeaten and second-ranked Baylor in Fort Worth.

There are, though, potential potholes on both ends of that collision course.  TCU still has to travel to No. 12 Oklahoma State (7-0) and No. 14 Oklahoma (6-1) wrapped around a bye week — OK, they get winless Kansas at home, but you get the point — before the Nov. 27 game that could serve as the de facto Big 12 championship game.  Baylor, after Kansas State in Week 9, will face the same two teams, but at least gets Oklahoma at home before traveling to Stillwater.  The Bears will also have a potentially tricky game against Texas to close out the regular season.

As for WVU?  Holgorsen’s record dropped to 3-4 on the season and, even more distressingly, 0-4 in Big 12 play — by an average of 20-plus points.  Some will point out to those putting Holgorsen on the hot seat that he’s 0-fer in the conference against teams that were and are currently ranked.  My response? “So what you’re telling me is that, after nearly four years, Holgorsen’s teams still can’t even compete with, let alone beat, the best the conference has to offer?”

That’s not a particularly ringing endorsement, especially for a coach whose athletic director and president weren’t around when he was hired in the first place.

WVU staying within shouting distance of undefeated TCU

FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 29:  Trevone Boykin #2 of the TCU Horned Frogs scores a touchdown against Daryl Worley #7 of the West Virginia Mountaineers in the first quarter at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 29, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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Based on recent history, some thought the West Virginia game might turn into a significant test for unbeaten and fifth-ranked TCU as the last three matchups between the two had been decided by a combined five points and three overtime periods.  Through two quarters of play, that’s ended up being the case.  For the most part.

Through one quarter of play, though, that didn’t look to even be remotely the case as the Horned Frogs jumped out to a 17-0 lead and the rout looked to be on.  TCU seemed to ease up a bit, however, and allowed WVU right back in the game as the visitors scored the first 10 points of the second quarter and pulled to within 17-10 with just under five minutes remaining in the half.

The WVU defense stiffened on a late TCU drive as they held the Horned Frogs to a field goal after they had gotten deep inside the red zone.  Then, inexplicable play-calling by WVU led to a punt and gave TCU a bonus possession that they were able to turn into a 57-yard field goal with no time left.  The twin three-pointers gave TCU a 23-10 lead heading into the half.

The biggest individual difference-maker on the field for either side and leading the way for TCU, as always, was Trevone Boykin.

The Heisman Trophy front-runner, along with LSU running back Leonard Fournette, was his normally productive self, accounting for a total of 244 yards — 210 passing, 34 rushing; TCU had 279 as a team.  Boykin also had a hand in both touchdowns, a 17-yarder to Josh Doctson to open the scoring and then…

Doctson, incidentally, 126 yards on seven first-half catches.  Skyler Howard‘s 32-yard pass to Shelton Gibson gave the Mountaineers their lone touchdown of the half.  The story of WVU’s half, though, may have been the color yellow.

WVU, unbelievably, was called for major penalties four times on third-and-longs — at least two were questionable and/or suspect — that gifted the high-powered Horned Frogs first downs each time.  Those calls ended up contributing in some form or fashion to 17 TCU points.

“I don’t feel like getting fined,” WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen said when asked about the officiating as he headed into the first-half locker room.