Can we just fast forward to the end of the season when Baylor and TCU square off? No. 2 Baylor (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) once again left no doubt who the better team on the field was Saturday afternoon, jumping on West Virginia (3-3, 0-3 Big 12) early and pulling away in the second half of a 62-38 victory. West Virginia dropped to 0-3 in Big 12 play as a result.
Baylor quarterback Seth Russell passed for 380 yards and five touchdowns and rushed for a game-high 160 yards and a touchdown in the win. When Russell was throwing, he was doing so primarily to Corey Coleman, who made some school history in the process. Coleman put together 199 receiving yards and three touchdowns to tie and then set the school record for the most touchdown receptions in a single season. His first touchdown of the day tied the previous record of 14 touchdowns in a season that was set by Kendall Wright in 2011. Coleman’s second touchdown set the new record at 15, and the third pushed that record to 16. Just remember that Baylor still has six games to play this season, not counting any potential postseason games. Coleman could end the year with 30 touchdowns.
Art Briles has done well in putting together an offensive system capable of rewriting the record books on any given week, and he should be credited for that. Through six games it may be fair to argue Baylor is one of the top teams in the country, although it is also fair to point out Baylor has yet to truly be challenged and they have yet to show what they can do in a true moment of adversity. That’s not Baylor’s fault, for the most part. The Bears just go out and play whoever lines up against them, and they take care of business each and every time.
Next up for Baylor is Iowa State, who have the misfortune of playing TCU this week before making the trip to Waco next week. Baylor is set to play TCU in Fort Worth on November 27, and will end the season at home against the Texas Longhorns. As far as the Big 12 is concerned, it all seems to be coming down to that November 27 matchup at TCU. As long as Baylor and TCU continue to win games, there could very well be a playoff spot on the line as well. If that’s the case, the Big 12 will not be shut out of the biggest postseason party this year.
West Virginia is now skating on thin ice when it comes to the postseason possibilities. After starting the year 3-0, West Virginia has dropped three straight conference games and must still win three to become bowl eligible. The good news is West Virginia’s schedule becomes much more manageable after playing TCU in two weeks on a Thursday night. Regardless, the pressure is pretty much on now for Dana Holgorsen and the Mountaineers.
The playoff field is set for the FCS Playoffs. Defending national champion and No. 1 North Dakota State took the top seed overall but will face a challenging bracket if the Bison are to claim another national title this year.
As the top seed, North Dakota State will own home-field advantage in the Fargo Dome for as long as they are in the playoffs, with the exception of a possible national title game appearance, which will be played in Frisco, Texas on January 5. North Dakota State’s portion of the bracket includes No. 4 seed Kennesaw State (who was the No. 2 team in the FCS top 25) and last year’s national title runners-up from James Madison. The Dukes were not seeded in this year’s tournament with a record of 8-3, but they are always to be considered a dangerous opponent this time of year.
A handful of teams ended playoff droughts with this year’s bracket. East Tennessee State is making its first playoff appearance since 1996, ending the longest drought among this year’s playoff teams. Delaware and Southeast Missouri State are each back in the playoff for the first time since 2010. The field also includes three first-time playoff teams; Incarnate Word, Lamar, and UC Davis.
The FCS Playoffs begin next weekend.
Michigan running back and special teams player Berkley Edwards was carted off the field on a stretcher in the fourth quarter at Michigan Stadium on Saturday in a scary scene that paused the game for roughly 10 minutes. The morning after the Wolverines beat Indiana, however, there is good news to report on Edwards. Edwards shared an update on his Twitter account to tell his followers and Michigan fans he has been released from the hospital and he is OK.
“Just got out the hospital,” Edwards said. “[E]verything is good!”
Edwards followed that up to say he did not see the Indiana player who hit him (Cam Jones, who was ejected for the hit) and his head is still hurting a bit.
It is unknown at this time what the status of Edwards will be for Michigan’s regular-season finale at Ohio State this week. The winner of the Michigan-Ohio State game will play in the Big Ten Championship Game as the East Division champion.
Send another coach through the coaching carousel. Multiple reports on Sunday say Texas State will move on from Everett Withers after this season. Football Scoop and The Athletic each reported news of the coaching change for the program.
According to Football Scoop, as reported by College Football Talk contributor Zach Barnett, Withers will not coach for Texas State this week in the regular season finale against Arkansas State.
Withers was hired by Texas State prior to the 2016 season to replace Dennis Franchione. Texas State had back-to-back 2-10 seasons in his first two years on the job and the Bobcats are just 3-8 this season with one game remaining. This will be the fourth straight season Texas State has had no more than four wins (and it could be a fourth straight year with no more than three wins).
The former James Madison head coach will likely manage to find a job somewhere on a coaching staff, even if not as a head coach. Texas State is now looking for its third head coach since jumping up from the FCS to the FBS in 2012.
After arguably the biggest weekend in UCF football history, the Knights are now enjoying their highest ranking in the AP Top 25 of the season and second-highest ranking in program history. UCF moved up to No. 8 in this week’s AP Top 25 poll as they finally managed to jump ahead fo a couple of power conference programs that have been standing in the way the past few weeks.
Alabama claimed all 61 first-place votes from the AP voters this week. The top-ranked Crimson Tide are followed by Clemson, Notre Dame, Michigan, Georgia, and Oklahoma as there were no changes in the top six. No. 7 Washington State, UCF, and LSU all took advantage of No. 12 West Virginia falling five spots after a loss at Oklahoma State.
UCF moved into a tie with LSU for the No. 8 spot in the ranking this week, but the Knights have officially moved ahead of Ohio State. The Buckeyes slipped to No. 10, dropping one spot.
Army is also making some headlines in the AP Top 25 by appearing in the ranking for the first time since 1996. Army cracked the Ap Top 25 at No. 23 to be in the AP Top 25 for just the third time since 1985.
Here is this week’s AP Top 25:
1. Alabama (61)
3. Notre Dame
7. Washington State
8. (tie) UCF
8. (tie) LSU
10. Ohio State
12. West Virginia
14. Utah State
15. Penn State
21. Boise State
22. Mississippi State
25. Iowa State