Category: UTEP Miners

at Davis Wade Stadium on November 14, 2015 in Starkville, Mississippi.
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The Fifth Quarter, Week 11 Rewind


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

It wasn’t the earth-shattering, landscape-shifting tumult that it could’ve been, but it was enough to, once again, shake the playoff picture up all over — especially at the latter half of the Top 10.

Stanford, No. 7 in the most recent College Football Playoff rankings, suffered its second loss of the season while No. 10 Utah did the same, effectively putting the Pac-12 on a precarious playoff precipice if not outright pushing the Power Five league over the ledge.  No. 9 LSU, coming off the loss to Alabama, saw its playoff hopes go up in smoke with an embarrassing loss to Arkansas.

Even more impactful, No. 6 Baylor fell from the ranks of the unbeatens to a No. 12 Oklahoma squad that will now be very much in the thick of the playoff chase.

That said, the remaining teams in the most recent Top 10 held serve, including the first five.  To varying degrees,  No. 1 Clemson, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 4 Notre Dame, No. 5 Iowa and No. 8 Oklahoma State struggled in closer-than-expected wins.  The key word there, of course, is “wins.”

Conversely, No. 2 ‘Bama put together the most impressive performance of Week 11, a 31-7 shellacking of No. 17 Mississippi State in Starkville.  Along with the Sooners, the Tide may have gained the most tonight in the eyes of the committee.

Will it be enough, though, to leapfrog an unbeaten Clemson into the No. 1 hole?  I think it will, but it wouldn’t shock me either way.  That said, and armed with the knowledge that (pats self on back) I nailed the committee’s top four last week (pulls muscle patting self on back), here are the four teams I believe will occupy the first four slots when the newest rankings, the third of the year, are released this Tuesday.

  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Ohio State
  4. Notre Dame

For some perspective, here is how the top four looked after the third release of last year’s CFP Top 25:

  1. Mississippi State
  2. Oregon
  3. Florida State
  4. TCU

Neither Mississippi State nor TCU would end up qualifying for one of the four playoff spots.  The two that did, Alabama and Ohio State, were No. 5 and No,. 8, respectively, with four releases remaining.  With three releases remaining last year, which is what’s left this year, Alabama, Oregon and Florida State were Nos. 1-3, while Ohio State was No. 6 (Mississippi State was No. 4).

Looking ahead to next weekend, the sport could be in for yet another significant shakeup as Ohio State will host No. 13 Michigan State; Oklahoma State will see Baylor invade Stillwater; Oklahoma will square off with a wounded and 15th-ranked TCU in Norman; and No. 14 Michigan will take a dangerous road trip to Penn State.

With Clemson (ACC Atlantic) and Florida (SEC East) clinching in Week 10, we entered Week 11 with seven Power Five divisions/conference up for grabs.  Exiting Week 11, no divisions were decided, but more than a couple came closer to being claimed.

Below are the remaining scenarios for each P5 conference.

Thanks to 6-0 North Carolina’s win over 5-1 Pittsburgh earlier this year, the Tar Heels have total control of the division.  In order to claim its first-ever spot in the ACC championship game, all UNC needs to do is either beat Virginia Tech next weekend or North Carolina State in the regular-season finale the following weekend. For Pitt, they need UNC to lose both of those games and beat Louisville in Week 12 and Miami in Week 13.

Ohio State (6-0), Michigan State (5-1) and Michigan (5-1) all held serve with conference wins in Week 11.  If OSU wins both, they’re back in the Big Ten championship game.  An MSU win over OSU this Saturday and over Penn State in the final game of the regular season gives the division to the Spartans.  UM, because of its loss to MSU earlier in the season, needs their in-state rivals to lose to OSU and then beat the Buckeyes themselves the week after.

At 6-0, and with a win already over 5-1 Wisconsin, Iowa needs to simply win one of its two remaining games — vs. Purdue, at Nebraska — to claim its first-ever West title.  UW can still win the West, provided it wins out (at Maryland, vs. Northwestern) while the undefeated Hawkeyes lose out.  A three-way tie between Iowa, Wisconsin and Northwestern (4-2) is possible, but the tiebreaker would go to the Hawkeyes based on their 2-0 record against the other two.

Oklahoma State v Iowa StateBIG 12
You’d be lying if you said you thought before the season began that the road to the Big 12 title would run through Stillwater, yet that’s exactly where we stand with three weeks left in the regular season.  All that stands between Oklahoma State and a conference championship — and a likely punched playoff ticket — are two rather sizable obstacles: Baylor in Week 12, Oklahoma in Week 13.  An OSU loss in either of those, however, would send the conference plummeting into chaos.  Or, it’d clear things up if it’s the Sooners, more respected by the committee, who win out.  As has been the case throughout the first 11 weeks of the season, this conference won’t be decided until the end of November — unless OU loses to TCU and OSU drops BU in Week 12, of course, which would hand the Big 12 to the Cowboys.

Stanford claims the North if it beats Cal in the Big Game.  Oregon can claim the division with a Stanford loss and wins over USC and Oregon State — in Eugene — the next two weeks.

With 4-3 UCLA’s stunning last-second loss to Washington State and 5-2 Utah’s double-overtime loss to Arizona, it’s 5-2 USC that suddenly controls its own destiny in the South thanks to the Trojans’ Oct. 24 win over the Utes.  Wins over Oregon and UCLA the next two Saturdays would give USC its first berth in the Pac-12 title game.  Utah will need to win out against UCLA and Colorado and have USC lose at least once to win the division.  UCLA would need to win out against Utah and USC and have both of those teams lose out in order to claim the South outright.  A three-way tie is also a possibility as USC, Utah and UCLA could all finish 6-3.  In that scenario, UCLA would win the North based on a 2-0 record vs. the other two.

For 6-1 Alabama, it’s simple: Beat Auburn, and ‘Bama is headed back to the SEC title game as West champs.  A loss in the Iron Bowl, though?  Ole Miss could claim the West with wins over LSU in Week 12 and Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl in Week 13.  Arkansas can still claim a share of the division, but can’t earn a spot in the conference title game as they would lose out on a three-way tiebreaker with Ole Miss and Alabama and a two-way tiebreaker with ‘Bama.

Below is a list of links for all of the Week 11 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 the big win over Florida State, Clemson might’ve been due for a letdown against Syracuse.  They were, but they still managed to take care of business and chugged along its unbeaten way. (Last week: No. 1)
Next up: vs. Wake Forest, Nov. 21

2. Alabama — The ass-whoopin’ ‘Bama put on Mississippi State, coupled with the struggles of the team that was right above them in my eyes, was enough for me to get in lock-step with the College Football Playoff committee.  As was the case with the Buckeyes around this time last season, I don’t know if there’s any team in the country that wants to face the Tide right now. (Last week: No. 3)
Next up: vs. Charleston Southern, Nov. 21

3. Ohio State — With games coming up against Michigan State and Michigan that will go a long way in determining their postseason fate, you can’t really blame OSU if they were peeking ahead.  Based on how they played, for the most part, against Illinois, that peek was actually a full-blown stare. (Last week: No. 2)
Next up: vs. No. 13 Michigan State, Nov. 21

4. Notre Dame — Much like with Clemson the week before, I’m relenting on the Golden Domers and tossing them into my top-five mix.  The Irish doesn’t do anything that really stands out, yet they do almost everything very well.  They’re a fascinating team, and one that you should root for to succeed if you want to see the playoff field expand sooner rather than later. (Last week: NR)
Next up: vs. Boston College, Nov. 28

5. Oklahoma State — The Big 12 OSU didn’t look good against a very below-average Iowa State squad, although, in fairness, there’s something about Ames that makes the Cowboys go off the rails.  They won in the dictionary trap game on the road, though, and that’s all that really matters.  Given all of the tumult above them, OSU should rise in the CFP rankings this Tuesday.  Here, not so much. (Last week: No. 5)
Next up: vs. No. 6 Baylor, Nov. 21

(Dropped out: No. 4 Baylor)
(Others considered: Iowa, Oklahoma)

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 (8-2, No. 16)
Saturday: 22 carries for 138 yards, two touchdowns; two receptions for 17 yards
Season: 170 carries for 1,369 yards (8.1 ypc), 14 touchdowns; 18 receptions for 202 yards, one touchdown

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State (10-0, No. 3)
Saturday: 27 carries for 181 yards, two touchdowns
Season: 220 carries for 1,425 yards (6.5 ypc), 16 touchdowns; 24 receptions for 169 yards

Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU (7-2, No. 9)
Saturday: 19 carries for 91 yards (4.8 ypc), one touchdown; three receptions for 36 yards
Season: 214 carries for 1,474 yards (6.9 ypc), 17 touchdowns; 10 receptions for 94 yards

Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama (9-1, No. 2)
Saturday: 22 carries for 204 yards (9.3 ypc), two touchdowns; one reception for zero yards
Season: 240 carries for 1,458 yards (6.1 ypc), 19 touchdowns; nine receptions for 69 yards

Matt Johnson, QB, Bowling Green (8-2, NR)
Wednesday: 23-41 (56.1), 269 yards, three touchdowns, one interception; 10 carries for zero yards
Season: 291-421 (69.1%), 3,955 yards, 36 touchdowns, four interceptions; 87 carries for 147 yards, three touchdowns

Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma (9-1, No. 12)
Saturday: 24-34 (70.6%), three touchdowns, one interception; 15 carries for 76 yards, one touchdown
Season: 217-309 (70.2%), 31, five interceptions; 110 carries for 301 yards, six touchdowns

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford (8-2, No. 7)
Saturday: 33 carries for 147 yards (4.5 ypc), one touchdown; five receptions for 42 yards; two kick returns for 60 yards; one punt return for minus-five yards; 0-1 passing (0%)
Season: 231 carries for 1,354 yards (6.1 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 (10-0, No. 1)
Saturday: 34-47 (72.3%), 360 yards, two touchdowns, one interception; 14 carries for 105 yards, one touchdown
Season: 216-308 (70.1%), 2,593 yards, 23 touchdowns, eight interceptions; 108 carries for 598 yards (5.5 ypc), five touchdowns

(Dropped out: TCU QB Trevone Boykin, Baylor WR Corey Coleman)
(Added: Mayfield, Watson)

JT’s Personal Top Fivesman
1. Henry — Going from darkhorse to two straight dominant performances against ranked teams puts the talented running back in the stiff-arm driver’s seat. (Last week: No. 3)
2. Cook — If Cook reads this, he’ll think I have him rated way too low.  Don’t believe me?  Scroll down to this week’s “he said its.” (Last week: No. 2)
3. Watson — When you’re the quarterback of the No. 1 team in the country, and you put up a career-high of 461 yards of total offense, you have earned yourself a spot. (Last week: NR)
4. Elliott — Were it not for Elliott, the Buckeyes could very well be a two-loss team.  That said, it’s hard justifying placing him over anyone else currently above him. Games against Michigan State and Michigan, though, could change that. (Last week: NR)
5. Fournette — The exact opposite of Henry as Fournette was the hands-down Heisman front-runner before back-to-back games that saw him run for a total of 121 yards puts him on the verge of missing out on an invitation to New York City altogether.  I still say he’s the best player in the country, but the stat line doesn’t lie. (Last week: No. 1)

Normally, the ESPN College GameDay Twitter feed is all about the on-location signs that litter the crowd, tweeting out the best and the funniest and wittiest throughout Saturday morning.  After the horror in Paris Friday night, signage seemed a little too trivial, save for one.

If the Army football players running out onto the field prior to its game against Tulane with both the American and French flags flying doesn’t give you chills and/or goosebumps, you have no soul.

These are almost too bad-ass for words, with “these” being UCLA’s “Frog Men” helmets worn this weekend to honor the Navy SEALs around Veteran’s Day.

LSU pulled out your standard no-look-touch-pass-for-a-score play against Arkansas.  In fact, the only thing missing was a stick.  And a net.  And a goalie.  And some ice.  Never mind the hockey analogy; just watch the clip.

You ever have that feeling where there’s a pair of hands between your legs when in reality there isn’t?  Welcome to Texas center Taylor Doyle‘s world.

I’m a fan of big-boned touchdowns, thus I’m a huge fan, so to speak, of Baylor’s LaQuan McGowan.  This is sheer poetry — and size — in motion as the, ahem, tight end notched his third career touchdown.

Kansas has lost an FBS-worst 13 straight games.  They’ve also lost 38 straight games played away from Lawrence and 31 consecutive conference road games.  As if that’s not bad enough, and just to add visual insult to on-field misery, KU’s equipment personnel can’t even get their Big 12 helmet stickers correct.  Either that or it was a bassackwards tribute to the old Big 8.

Following Texas’ win over West Virginia last season, Charlie Strong, and with the aid of his players, did some crowd surfing in the postgame locker room.  A year later, following the Mountaineers’ win over the Longhorns, his counterpart, Dana Holgorsen, responded in kind.

On most fall weekend afternoons with the Iowa football team not in action, Kinnick Stadium sits empty.  As this is Iowa, and they’re really into their grappling, they decided to hold a wrestling match on the football field and in one of the stadium’s red zones.  And it actually looks pretty damn cool.

It was a quick turnaround for the stadium crew as the unbeaten Hawkeyes took the field a few hours later for an 8 p.m. ET kickoff against Minnesota.

North Texas was paid $1 million for its trip to Knoxville to Tennessee.  Suffice to say, the Mean Green wasn’t fond of the playing conditions inside Neyland Stadium, and perhaps thought UT should’ve put some of that guarantee toward field repairs.

“It felt amazing. It felt better than it does in here right now. It’s too hot in here right now. I was sweating out there. It was a beautiful day out. Thank God for that. I’ve never had a November in Iowa, from what I can remember, that has been this nice.” — Iowa wrestler Thomas Gilman, on what it was like to wrestle outside at Kinnick Stadium.

“Once again, I’m sure television loves us.” — Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy, following a comeback win over Iowa State that was fueled by a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns.

“I know that if I had any choice at tailback in the country, I got mine. I think I speak on behalf of the team. He’s a tough guy.” — Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, after watching Ezekiel Elliott rush for 100-plus yards for the 15th straight game.

“I just feel like I run the ball how I run the ball. If I keep doing me, because I’m Dalvin. I am one of them great running backs that are in college football.” — Florida State running back Dalvin Cook, humbly stating his Heisman case.

“Just want to comment about the environment. The fans were fantastic. Sold out, black-out crowd, and the energy was present from the time we came up pregame. Just an electric atmosphere. To be involved in this program 26 years now, these are the things our players will remember their entire lives. So just want to compliment our fans and thank them.” — Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, following a five-point win over Minnesota at Kinnick Stadium.

Meads Cup Final - North Otago v WanganuiSTREAKING
With 10 wins to start the 2015 season, Ohio State has pushed its nation’s best winning streak to 23 straight.  Clemson (13), Oklahoma State (12), Houston (10) and Iowa (10) are the only other FBS teams with double-digit win streaks, while North Carolina has won nine straight.

On the other side of the won-loss ledger, the “proud” owner of the nation’s longest losing streak is Kansas at 13 straight, followed by UCF (11), Eastern Michigan (nine), Louisiana-Monroe (eight), SMU (eight), Charlotte (eight), Hawaii (eight), Maryland (seven), Boston College (six) and Oregon State (seven).

Entering Week 11, there were 51 teams that had secured bowl eligibility.  Exiting the weekend, there are now 62 teams eligible for the postseason with three weeks left in the regular season.  The newest additions this week total 11: Arizona, Arkansas, Cal, Cincinnati, Louisville, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas Tech and USF.

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.

UMass football will be leaving the MAC following the conclusion of the 2015 season.  The Minutemen will play as football independents in 2016 and 2017 and then reassess their situation, deciding whether to remain independent, move to another conference (AAC, Conference USA, Sun Belt are possibilities) or drop back down to the FCS level.

Alabama has played more games against Mississippi State than any other opponent. The two border rivals met for the 100th time on the gridiron Saturday. Tennessee (98) and Vanderbilt (82) are the only other opponents ‘Bama has played at least 80 times.

Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer has 278 career wins, the most of any active FBS head coach and sixth on the NCAA’s FBS all-time list. Beamer trails only the icons of the game in career wins in Joe Paterno (409), Bobby Bowden (377), Paul “Bear” Bryant (323), Glenn “Pop” Warner (319) and Amos Alonzo Stagg (314). To give some perspective, Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher has averaged 11.6 wins a year in his first five years as a head coach, the best mark in league history. Fisher would have to average 11.6 wins a year for the next 19 years, or until 2034, to pass Beamer on the all-time wins list.

Of the 128 FBS teams, just eight players with junior eligibility have received their undergraduate degree and are now pursuing their Master’s:

Junior Master

Baylor (8-1), Oklahoma (9-1), Oklahoma State (10-0) and TCU (9-1) of the Big 12 are a combined 36-3. No other Power Five conference has four teams with one-or-fewer losses.

Since 2012, Trevone Boykin tops all players nationally in percentage (56.8) of his team’s total offense (12,613/22,199). No one else is above 50 percent.

Ohio State has won 17 consecutive true road games (games on an opponent’s home field), the longest such streak in the nation and extending the school record. The Buckeyes are undefeated, a perfect 17-0, in road games under head coach Urban Meyer, or since the start of the 2012 season.

Courtesy of the Alabama sports information department

Three and Outs

Courtesy of the UT-San Antonio sports information department

First-Time Starters

Courtesy of the Ohio State sports information department

FBS Scoring Since 2013

Courtesy of the Temple sports information department

Grad Rates

Courtesy of the Louisiana Tech sports information department

State Rushing Yards Per Game

Baylor can join BYU (1983-85) and Houston (1966-68) as the only FBS teams in history to lead the country in total offense in three consecutive years.  The Bears led in that category in 2013 and 2014, and came into Week 11 leading with 665.6 yards per game (TCU was No. 2 at 621.4 ypg).  BU put up 416 yards in the loss to Oklahoma Saturday, although that shouldn’t jeopardize their standing entering Week 12 as TCU was held over 200 yards under their average.

During Frank Beamer’s 28 previous years at Virginia Tech, 20 different power conference schools have had six or more head coaches, including five schools in the ACC: Pittsburgh (8), Boston College (7), Louisville (7), North Carolina (7) and Miami (6). Three schools — Pitt, Stanford and Vanderbilt — have had eight different coaches during the time Beamer has been the head coach at Tech.

Utah’s Devontae Booker has handled the football on 305 plays this season, the most of any FBS player.  Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey and San Jose State’s Tyler Ervin are next with 300 and 292, respectively.

Alabama v Mississippi StateDID YOU KNOW THAT

… with 204 yards against Mississippi State and 210 against LSU last week, Derrick Henry became the first player in Alabama history to rush for 200-plus yards in back-to-back games?  He also became just the second Tide back to rush for 200 or more yards three times in a single season, joining Bobby Humphrey in 1986.

… Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds, in addition to breaking the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns, now has 81 total touchdowns in his career to tie him with Louisiana Tech’s Kenneth Dixon for second all-time?  The twosome trail the 83 of Wisconsin’s Montee Ball.

… Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott became just the 12th player in FBS history to pass for 8,000 yards and run for another 2,000 in his career?  The others are Central Michigan’s Dan LeFevour, TCU’s Trevone Boykin, Baylor’s Robert Griffith III, Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick, Florida’s Tim Tebow, Northern Illinois’ Chandler Harnish, Missouri’s Brad Smith, USF’s Matt Grothe, Illinois’ Nathan Scheelhaase, USF’s B.J. Daniels and Illinois’ Juice Williams.

Louisville v Wake Forest… six Power Five quarterbacks lead their team in both passing and rushing?  That sextet includes Prescott, Oregon State’s Seth Collins, Texas’ Jerrod Heard, Kansas State’s Joe Hubener, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson and Duke’s Thomas Sirk.

Matt Johnson was held under 300 yards passing (269) for the first time since December of 2013 in Bowling Green’s 41-27 win over Western Michigan Thursday night?  Johnson had thrown for 300-plus in all nine games this season plus one last season — the opener, in which he sustained a season-ending injury — after being held to 272 in the 2013 Little Caesars Bowl loss to Pittsburgh the day after Christmas.

… Florida State’s Dalvin Cook is averaging 189.4 rushing yards per game (947 in five games) against FBS teams with a winning record, the most in the nation? Second is Alabama’s Derrick Henry at 163.7 (1,310 in eight games).

… Christian McCaffrey has now rushed for 100-plus yards in eight straight games, breaking Toby Gerhart‘s Stanford record of seven straight?

Ralph Webb has set school rushing records for freshmen and now sophomores in the first two seasons he’s seen the playing field at Vanderbilt?  Webb is already ninth on the school’s all-time rushing list.

492180284… Iowa State’s Mike Warren is the first freshman in Cyclones history to rush for over 1,000 yards?  He’s also only the seventh Big 12 freshman ever to top 1,000 yards.

… Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich is the only FBS player to lead his team in tackles every game this season?  Matakevich currently leads all FBS players in career tackles.

… Tulane linebacker Nico Marley is the son of former Miami Hurricane linebacker Rohan Marley and the  grandson of music legend Bob Marley?  The junior is the Green Wave’s leading tackler and is third in tackles for loss.

… the Laufasa brothers at UTEP, tailback Jeremiah and fullback Darrin, are the only brothers on an FBS program starting in the backfield?

… Florida’s Jim McElwain is the third first-year head coach in conference history to reach the SEC Championship Game, joining LSU’s Les Miles (2005, lost to Georgia, 34-14) and Gus Malzhan (2013, beat Missouri, 59-42)?

Wake Forest v Notre Dame… Wake Forest’s Dave Clawson replaced Al Golden as a voter in the coaches’ poll following Golden’s firing as Miami’s head coach?

… since 2010, the winner of the Oregon-Stanford game has also claimed the Pac-10/12 conference title? The Ducks beat the Cardinal Saturday night, so we’ll see if this streak continues in 2015.

… Nebraska is only the second FBS team since 2006 to lose four games in which the opponent scored the winning points in the final 10 seconds or overtime? The other was SMU in 2007.

… Memphis is just the third FBS team since 1996 to overcome double-digit deficits in five or more games in a single season?  UofM’s five such comebacks this season are tied with 2005 UCLA, and one behind 2000 North Carolina State’s six.

… Clemson’s 13-game winning streak ties the school record set from 1980-81?

… North Carolina’s nine consecutive wins is the longest one-season winning streak at UNC since 1914 when the Tar Heels won 10 straight?

Minnesota v Iowa… Iowa is 10-0 for the first time in school history?  C.J. Beathard is the first Hawkeye quarterback to ever win his first 11 starts (10 this season, one in 2014).

… Washington State has eight players with at least 20 receptions this season, the most of any FBS team?  Texas Tech is next with seven.

… Arkansas State has put together five consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 1949-53?

… BYU, Fresno State, Georgia State, Louisiana-Monroe, San Diego State, San Jose State and UNLV are the only FBS teams to play road games in four different time zones this season?

… with two each, Nevada, Pittsburgh and Wake Forest have the fewest senior offensive players on their respective two-deep depth charts?

… Minnesota, Navy and Northwestern are the only three schools in the country that have had the same offensive staff (all coaches) for the last five seasons?

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.


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?

Ankle injury costs UTEP its leading rusher for rest of season

Aaron Jones
Associated Press
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Just two games into the 2015 campaign, and UTEP has sustained a rather significant loss on the offensive side of the ball.

Late in the first half of Saturday’s 69-20 loss to Texas Tech, Aaron Jones injured his ankle following a short gain.  The injury was severe enough, though, that the running back underwent surgery and, as a result, will miss the remainder of the season.

Tuesday, Jones underwent the medical procedure to repair torn ligaments in the joint.

He’s devastated, of course,” head coach Sean Kugler said, adding that the junior is expected to make a full recovery and that a medical hardship waiver will be pursued.

With 209 yards rushing, Jones, who went to high school in El Paso, is far and away the Miners’ leading rusher.  Next closest is Autrey Golsen‘s 19 yards.

Jones has also led the Miners in rushing in 2014 (1,321 yards) and 2013 (811).  He is currently ninth on the school’s all-time rushing list despite playing just two games this season and missing the final four games of his true freshman season with broken ribs.

The Fifth Quarter: Week 2 Rewind

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - SEPTEMBER 5:  Head Coach Bret Bielema of the Arkansas Razorbacks talks with a official during a game against the UTEP Miners at Razorback Stadium on September 5, 2015 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Razorbacks defeated the Miners 48-13.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

Well, technically you can, but just let me go.  I’m on a roll.

Last week, the Associated Press voters turned the SEC into the only conference in that poll’s history to have 10 teams ranked in its Top 25.  Most outside the South scratched their heads at such deference to the conference, but the coaches in the league ran with it in trumpeting the superior firepower their collection of teams had to offer.  And then Week 2 happened.

Second-ranked Alabama looked presentable against decided underdog Middle Tennessee State (and by “presentable” think Ohio State-Hawaii), while sixth-ranked Auburn was taken to overtime, at home, by FCS Jacksonville State.  No. 18 Arkansas was embarrassingly dropped at home by Toledo of the MAC, followed by 21st-ranked Missouri hanging on for a 27-20 win over an Arkansas State team that was on the wrong end of a 55-6 USC woodshedding in Week 1.

The non-conference kick-to-the-tentacles day for the SEC was punctuated by 23rd-ranked Tennessee.  Up 17-3 on No. 19 Oklahoma entering the fourth quarter, the Vols gave up a pair of touchdowns to send the game into overtime.  The Sooners, on the road, scored two touchdowns in the two overtime sessions while the Vols managed just one in a gut-wrenching home loss that gives UT a 2-30 record vs. AP-ranked teams since 2009.

At least No. 16 Texas A&M (56-23 over Ball State) and No. 17 Ole Miss (73-21 over Fresno State) stepped on an inferior opponent’s throat and didn’t allow them to breathe.

Based on results and not on reputation, the SEC should have, at the very most, six teams ranked in the newest AP Top 25 — my ballot, if I had one, would have four: Alabama, Texas A&M, Ole Miss and Georgia and no I didn’t forget about LSU or Auburn.  And that’s no slight to that conference or any of their teams; rather, that’s a nod to some quality teams throughout college football, some that are (gasp!) better than some of the currently-ranked ones in the SEC.  In a few hours, though, we’ll see how many voters can leave their biases at the door and vote for the here-and-now — without tapping into their memory banks.

Earlier this past week, we noted that Kent State head coach Paul Haynes promised that his walk-on female kicker, April Goss, would see the field at some point this season.  As it turns out, some point was Saturday.

Following a Golden Flash touchdown late in the second quarter of the game against Delaware State, regular kicker Shane Hynes went out for the point after attempt.  Haynes, though, called a timeout and, when the special teams unit went back out on the field, Goss trotted out along with them.

And, as they say, the rest was history.

As noted in the tweet, Goss became the second female to score in an FBS game.  The first, Katie Hnida, originally on the roster at Colorado before transferring under what ultimately became controversial circumstances, was successful on two point-after attempts for New Mexico in 2003. Months prior to that debut, Hnida attempted an extra point in the Las Vegas Bowl — it was blocked — becoming the first female to play in an FBS game.

Congratulations to Goss for grabbing her piece of history.  And a personal thank you as well for giving my nine-year-old daughter something to cheer wildly about yesterday evening.

Unbeknownst to many, or even most, people, the SEC made some of its own gender history Saturday night.

The SEC oversees Sun Belt Conference officiating, and utilized a crew from that conference for the Texas A&M-Ball State game because of the number of league home games this weekend.  Sebrina Brunson was an alternate on that crew and, after halftime, took over an on-field spot on that crew.

A league spokesperson subsequently confirmed to the Associated Press that Brunson became the first female to ever officiate an SEC game.  Kudos to the SEC for at least partially breaking down that barrier.

Entering the 2015 season, many an observer was viewing Notre Dame as a viable playoff contender. In a span of seven days, however, the Irish may have seen their postseason hopes dashed.

First, top running back Tarean Folston was ruled out for the remainder of the year because of a torn ACL suffered in the season-opening win over Texas. Then, a week later, starting quarterback Malik Zaire sustained what will be a season-ending fractured ankle in the win over Virginia.  And, suffice to say, it was a painfully horrific way for Zaire’s season to come to an end.

So, for the remainder of the year, the keys to the Irish offense will be in the hands of redshirt freshman DeShone Kizer.  Kizer did his part in relief of Zaire as he tossed a pair of touchdown passes, including a 39-yarder with 12 seconds left to lift ND to a 34-27 win over UVa.

That said, what would the Irish give for a do-over from Everett Golson on his transfer to Florida State?  The Irish aren’t out of playoff contention by any stretch of the imagination, but the twin losses to key offensive performers makes it a significantly tougher row to hoe for the Golden Domers.  Well, that and a schedule that includes games against Georgia Tech, Clemson and USC.

For the most part, it was a kinder, gentler Jim Harbaugh in Week 1.  For the home opener, the khaki gloves came off.

Late in the second quarter of Michigan’s win over Oregon State, a Wolverine was, wrongly as it turned out, flagged for roughing the punter.  And, being the gentleman that he is, Harbaugh decided to gently point out that fact to the men in black & white.

And by “gently” I mean he stomped and tossed his playsheet and generally ranted and raved about what was admittedly a bad call.

For some reason, I get the feeling that’s not the last time we’ll see an animated Harbaugh roaming the Ann Arbor sidelines.

He’ll get barely if any Heisman buzz, but what Matt Johnson has done the first two games of the season deserves some recognition.

In the first two games of the season, and against Power Five teams Tennessee and Maryland no less, the Bowling Green quarterback has thrown for 915 yards and eight touchdowns.  491 of those yards and six of those touchdowns came during a career-high performance in BGSU’s 48-21 upset of Maryland in College Park Saturday; his previous career-high prior to this season was 393 yards against Northern Illinois in the 2013 MAC title game.

Perhaps the most impressive part of Johnson’s early-season performance, even above the fact that it’s come against to P5 teams?  He missed most of the 2014 season with a hip injury that also kept him out of spring practice this year.

Thanks in large part to Johnson, the Falcons will have to be considered not only the favorites in the MAC East but one of the teams who could potentially grab the Group of Five’s New Year’s Six bowl bid.

Just a little bit, though.

In the 87 games that were played opening weekend, a full 47 were FBS vs. FCS — 22 involving Power Five conference teams, 25 involving the Group of Five.  A week later, that number was cut nearly in half to 25 — 15 for P5s, 10 for G5s.  The power conferences will, though, get a heavy dose of the G5s in the 76 total games played this weekend (including Thursday/Friday nights), with 31 games between those two football caste systems scheduled.

Last week there were 11 games pitting P5s against each other; in Week 2, that number dipped a bit to 10.  Six of those contests are non-conference matchups (Oregon State at Michigan; Washington State at Rutgers; Notre Dame at Virginia; Iowa at Iowa State; Oklahoma at Tennessee; and Oregon at Michigan State) while eight teams will open up conference play (Wake Forest at Syracuse; Georgia at Vanderbilt; Kentucky at South Carolina; and LSU at Mississippi State).

Rounding out Week 2’s 76 games are 10 G5-G5 clashes.

Below is a list of links for all of the Week 2 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. Ohio State — Defensively, it was as impressive a performance as there was in Week 2.  Offensively… it was as impressive a defensive performance as there was in Week 2.  Both quarterbacks looked tentative and uncertain in the win over Hawaii; Urban Meyer needs to get that position cleared up sooner rather than later. (Last week: No. 1)
Next up: vs. Northern Illinois, Sept. 19

2. Michigan State — You beat the seventh-ranked team in the country, you get moved right on to the heels of the defending champs.  In fact, the only thing that kept me from moving the Spartans up one more spot was a less-than-impressive win over Western Michigan in Week 1. (Last week: No. 5)
Next up: vs. Air Force, Sept. 19

3. TCU — What did we learn in TCU’s 70-7 shellacking of Stephen F. Austin?  The Horned Frogs are still a damn-good football team and, well, that’s about all we learned.  How good TCU is might not actually be known for another month. (Last week: No. 2)
Next up: vs. SMU, Sept. 19

4. Alabama — Let me be blunt here: I flat-out whiffed on ‘Bama in Week 1.  The Tide should’ve been included in the original Top Five, and I just completely forgot about them.  Consider this a market correction, even as they failed to impress much in the win over Middle Tennessee State. (Last week: NR)
Next up: vs. No. 17 Ole Miss, Sept. 19

5. Oregon — Lose by three on the road to one of the Top Five teams in the country?  My conscience won’t allow me to move them out quite yet, especially as the likes of Baylor and USC and Notre Dame and a handful of others undefeated teams simply don’t look better than a one-loss Oregon. (Last week: No. 5)
Next up: vs. Georgia State, Sept. 19

(Dropped out: No. 3 Auburn, my dignity for actually having Auburn ranked that high)

I don’t think much needs to be added to this.

Hey, who am I to judge a man’s/woman’s choice for a final resting spot?

In the end, Bret Bielema stuck his foot in his mouth with his in-week touting of the strength of Arkansas’ schedule and the SEC overall leading into his Razorbacks losing to Toledo.  His talking also left him open to this:

You know what they say: live by the word, die by the meme.

Michigan State fans reached back to a cinematic classic for this zinger aimed at Saturday’s opponent Oregon.

As Michael Kelso is wont to say…

As funny as the above was to my 12-year-old self, the one below is just exceptionally well done.

Ouch.  Oh, and that would be Miley Cyrus circa 2004.

I’m far from a fan of the myriad uniform combinations Oregon employs.  And I’m normally not a fan of cartoon characters masquerading as college football logos.  I’m a huge fan, however, of the helmet the Ducks decided to wear for the Michigan State game Saturday night.

Nicely done, Nike.  Nicely done.

Al Golden entered the 2015 season on one of the hottest coaching seats in the country.  How hot does it remain?  Some fans want the university to go back to the future for a savior.

I hate the smell of desperation this early in the morning…

In numbers form, this is pretty much all you need to know about the state of the Texas Longhorn football program heading into Week 2.

And yes, Mack, I know it’s not your fault and you had nothing to do with the state of affairs in Austin.

It’s not just Charlie Strong, incidentally, that has the wrath of Longhorn Nation.

What an absolute mess in Austin athletics — the “huge” win over Rice notwithstanding — none of which is Mack’s doing, of course.

“I don’t know if anybody listens to me or not, but this is mainly about the players. The guys that are out there playing, and their families that are watching it.” — Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh, following the buildup to his first home game as his alma mater’s coach and all of the pregame focus being on him.

“Let’s not go heaping too much praise on them just yet. They’re kind of like mushrooms; we like to keep them in the dark and feed them manure.” — Houston’s Tom Herman, following the “upset” win over Louisville and with the first scatological reference of the “he said it” era.

“I don’t know. I guess you ask [athletic director] Gene Smith. That’s the guy to talk to.” — Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, when asked how he thought he’s handled the Buckeyes’ quarterback situation.

“You’re a helluva player, but have some damn class. ” — Tennessee head coach Butch Jones to Oklahoma’s Eric Striker, who was seen taunting the Neyland Stadium crowd following the Sooners’ double-overtime win.

“We won the game, but that’s not acceptable. You guys should be embarrassed having to write about it.” — An unhappy Jim McElwain, following Florida’s uneven seven-point win over East Carolina in Gainesville.

Meads Cup Final - North Otago v WanganuiSTREAKING
Two wins to start the 2015 season has pushed Ohio State’s nation’s best winning streak to 15 straight.  Up next are TCU (10), Memphis (nine), Western Kentucky (seven), Michigan State (six) and Navy (five).

The “honor” of the longest losing streak had belonged to Georgia State, which had lost 12 in a row until Saturday night’s 34-32 win over New Mexico State.  The win also marked GSU’s first-ever win over an FBS-level team as an FBS team themselves.  Additionally, Colorado ended its nine-game losing streak, the longest amongst Power Five teams, with a 48-14 win over UMass.  With those outcomes, UNLV now owns the nation’s longest losing streak at eight straight.

… Notre Dame, UCLA and USC are the only teams that have never played a non-FBS/Div. 1-A school since the current setup was established in 1978.  Following the 2016 season, and because of a conference mandate, Big Ten teams will no longer be permitted to schedule games against FCS programs.

In a claim that the great Kellen Moore can’t even make, Jake Browning became the first true freshman to win the starting quarterback spot as well as the first true freshman QB to start for head coach Chris Petersen at either his current home of Washington or his former home of Boise State.

UNLV’s Tony Sanchez is just the fifth man in the modern era of college football to move directly from being a head coach at a high school to being head coach at a university that was part of what is now known as the FBS. Sanchez, of course, only had to move across the city after going 85-5 in six seasons while leading 2014 national champion Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas. Jim Bradley, who passed away in August, was the first to do it when he went across town to take over at NMSU.

High School To College

The meeting with UCF marked the first for Stanford against a current FBS program from the Sunshine State. Stanford faced Pensacola in 1903 and 1904 when the team was stationed in the San Francisco Bay. Stanford has won three postseason games (1986 Gator Bowl, 1993 Blockbuster Bowl, 2011 Orange Bowl) played in the state of Florida.

Thursday’s game at Western Kentucky marks Louisiana Tech’s first return to Bowling Green since 1939, a span of 76 years. That gap between trips to Bowling Green is the longest in school history between trips to a single opponent. The previous longest drought was a 62 years in between trips to Baton Rouge to face LSU (1941 to 2003) as well as 62 years before returning to New Orleans to face Tulane (1936 to 1998).

Courtesy of the Louisiana Tech sports information department

Active TD Scorers

Courtesy of the Michigan State sports information department

Most FBS Wins Since 2010

Courtesy of the Mountain West sports information department

Bowl Record Since 2004

Courtesy of the Oregon sports information department

Most Passing TDs

Qadree Ollison became the first freshman in ACC history to run for 200 or more yards (207) in the Week 1 win over Youngstown State and he did it in just the second half after an injury sidelined Pittsburgh’s James Conner.

V’Angelo Bentley is the only player in Illinois history to record a kickoff return, punt return, interception return and fumble return for touchdown in his career. Harold “Red” Grange is the only other Illini player with kickoff, punt and interception returns for TDs, but he never returned a fumble for a score.


Dalvin Cook‘s 266 yards rushing were the second-most in Florida State history?  Cook’s performance is topped only by Greg Allen‘s 322 yards in 1981.

… Kentucky’s win over South Carolina in Columbia ended a 22-game losing streak in true road games?

… Miami sophomore running back Joe Yearby posted career-highs in all-purpose yards (243), rushing yards (146), receiving yards (97) and touchdowns (two, one each rushing and receiving) in the Friday night win over FAU?  Fellow running back Mark Walton set a career-high for rushing touchdowns with three in that victory as well.

… Utah State’s Chuckie Keeton last weekend became the second FBS quarterback to ever start five season openers, joining Tulsa’s T.J. Rubley (1987-91)?

… Wake Forest linebacker Brandon Chubb has a brother, Bradley Chubb, who is a linebacker at North Carolina State while his cousin Nick Chubb is a star running back at Georgia?  Additionally, he had another cousin who played defensive back at Georgia while his father was a linebacker at UGA.

… Washington State linebacker Peyton Pelluer‘s dad (Scott, 1977-80), grandfather (John, mid-fifties) and great-grandfather (Carl, twenties) all played for Wazzu?

Vizio Fiesta Bowl - Boise State v Arizona… this season there are 14 individuals serving as the head coach at their alma maters? Those are Troy Calhoun (Air Force), Bryan Harsin (Boise State), John Bonamego (Central Michigan), Ruffin McNeill (East Carolina), Paul Haynes (Kent State), Jim Harbaugh (Michigan), Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern), Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State), David Shaw (Stanford), Kliff Kingsbury (Texas Tech), Matt Wells (Utah State), Sean Kugler (UTEP), Frank Beamer (Virginia Tech) and Paul Chryst (Wisconsin).

… Oregon had been a wagering favorite for 46 straight games before they headed into their game against Michigan State as three-point underdogs?  Alabama has a current streak of 69 straight games as the favorite, which is tops in the country.

… Sept. 12 marks the latest LSU has opened a season since 1998 when the Tigers beat Arkansas State 42-6 on Sept. 12? LSU’s original 2015 opener against McNeese State last weekend was cancelled due to weather in general and lightning specifically.

… UCF’s game against Stanford Saturday was its first against a team from the state of California?

… with the win over North Carolina Central, Duke has started a season 2-0 for the third straight year for the first time since a streak of six in a row from 1949-55?

Georgia Southern v West Virginia… in 2014 and 2015, West Virginia posted back-to-back shutouts in home season openers at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium for the first time in program history?

… Washington State’s Bob Robertson is the longest-tenured radio play-by-play announcer in college football with 49 years behind the mic?  The first time Robertson was on the radio call for a Wazzu game, a gallon of gas would set you back 30 cents.

… with the Illinois game originally scheduled for last Friday night delayed because of lightning, Kent State has had postponements in each of their last two road trips? The first of the two was Buffalo last November because of a snowstorm.

… there are just three Group of Five teams that have played in at least five straight bowl games?  That trio consists of Boise State, Northern Illinois and San Diego State.

… there are just six teams that won’t play back-to-back home games this season? The unfortunate six are FIU, Louisiana-Monroe, Middle Tennessee, San Diego State, UMass and Western Kentucky.

… Tulsa was the first school to play in five straight New Year’s Day Bowl Games? Those were the Sun Bowl (1-1-42), Sugar Bowl (1-1-43), Sugar Bowl (1-1-44), Orange Bowl (1-1-45) and Oil Bowl (1-1-46).

… only Hawaii and New Mexico State will have all new offensive, defensive and special teams coordinators in 2015?

Friday night, and in his first career start as a sophomore, Dubois (Pa.) Beavers quarterback Matt Miller passed for what’s believed to be a national high school record 782 yards, helped lead his team to 90 points… and lost.  That’s in large part because Meadville’s Journey Brown ran for 722 yards and 10 touchdowns in leading the Bulldogs to a 107-90 win over the Beavers. writes that Brown “had a chance to set the national high school record [for single-game rushing yards], but the Bulldogs took a knee” at the end of the game.