Category: Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks

<> at Boone Pickens Stadium on November 21, 2015 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
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The Fifth Quarter: Week 12 Rewind


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 11 Rewind

at Davis Wade Stadium on November 14, 2015 in Starkville, Mississippi.
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.

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?

Louisiana-Monroe fires head coach Todd Berry

at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 26, 2015 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
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For the 12th time this season, there’s been a change at head coach at an FBS program.

Following a 59-21 loss to Arkansas State, Louisiana-Monroe athletic director Brian Wickstrom confirmed that Todd Berry has been fired as the Warhawks’ head coach.  Defensive line coach John Mumford will take over as the interim head coach for the final two games of the 2015 season.

The loss to ASU was ULM’s eighth straight loss on the year.

“I want to thank Todd for his services,” Wickstrom said in a statement. “He and his staff raised the level of the program, brought national attention to the university in 2012 and throughout his time directing the program.”

Berry, the offensive coordinator at ULM a decade ago, was in his sixth season at the school.  He will finish his tenure at 28-43 overall and 20-25 in Sun Belt Conference play.

The high-water mark for Berry came in that 2012 season Wickstrom, when the Warhawks went 8-5 and played in their first and only bowl game under the deposed coach.

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)
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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.

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?

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?