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Five of 11 FBS undefeated teams hit the road in Week 7

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Over the weekend, three teams suffered their first loss of the season; Oklahoma, LSU, and Kentucky. As recent history has shown, one loss is far from enough to eliminate any one team from the College Football Playoff if they come from a power conference, so the Sooners, Tigers and Wildcats still have plenty to play for moving forward, but they now join the jumble of one-loss teams that are now potentially looking for a little bit of help along the way.

In total, there are now 11 undefeated FBS programs left standings, and there can be a maximum of seven teams without a loss at the end of the season. The undefeated teams are:

  • Alabama
  • Cincinnati
  • Clemson
  • Colorado
  • Georgia
  • NC State
  • Notre Dame
  • Ohio State
  • South Florida
  • UCF
  • West Virginia

From that list, a maximum of seven teams can end the regular season (and conference championship game) without a loss before the bowl season. Alabama and Georgia are the last two undefeated teams in the SEC and could potentially face each other in the SEC Championship Game with unblemished records, meaning somebody will have to lose then if not before. Clemson and NC State, the last two undefeated teams in the ACC, are off this week but meet next week in a division game. There goes another undefeated team. The AAC also has three undefeated teams in Cincinnati, South Florida, and UCF, but all three reside in the same division and have yet to play each other on the conference schedule yet. Only one team can go without a loss if any do at all.

Will any of these undefeated teams go down this week? Here is what is on tap for each this week:

South Florida at Tulsa: The Bulls travel to Tulsa on Friday night in a tricky matchup. Tulsa just gave Houston a good scare last week before big plays ultimately led to another loss for the Golden Hurricane. Can South Florida avoid being tripped up after a close call at home against East Carolina? The Bulls could be in some trouble here.

Ohio State vs. Minnesota: After a somewhat concerning showing against Indiana, look for the Buckeyes to roll against the Gophers at home.

Notre Dame vs. Pittsburgh: The Irish are on the rise and host a Pitt team that has been blown out by Penn State and UCF already this season. But the Panthers have a knack for scoring a notable upset. Can they pull off a stunner in South Bend?

Georgia at LSU: LSU is coming off a hard-fought road loss at Florida, but could still pose a serious threat to Georgia. The Bulldogs will have their toughest challenge of the season in a mid-afternoon game in Death Valley. If Georgia survives this, their biggest hurdle to getting to the SEC Championship Game and to do so without a loss will be Florida. Georgia is off after this week to prepare for their showdown with the Gators in Jacksonville in two weeks. Winning in Baton Rouge is new easy task, however.

UCF at Memphis: UCF beat Memphis twice last season but the Tigers appeared to be the biggest challenge to the Knights in the AAC. Playing at home should be a benefit to Memphis, but the Tigers have been a bit more unpredictable this season while UCF continues to cook. Expect Memphis to give UCF a run, but keeping pace on the scoreboard with the Knights may once again be too much to ask for the Tigers.

Alabama vs. Missouri: Alabama will be 7-0. Moving on.

West Virginia at Iowa State: Although Iowa State had a rough start to the year, they have been feisty and competitive. A home game against West Virginia will see the Cyclones try to slow things down for the Mountaineers in an attempt to turn the game into the kind of game that favors Iowa State. West Virginia has been looking pretty good, but Iowa State is not to be taken for granted. This could be a difficult spot for WVU.

Colorado at USC: The power conference team most probably expect to be taking a loss this weekend might be Colorado. USC is a favorite at home in this key Pac-12 South matchup, but the Buffs have talent on offense to make some big plays. A win for Colorado in the Coliseum would put them on a clearer track back to the Pac-12 Championship Game even with Washington on deck.

Clemson, NC State, and Cincinnati are all off this week, so they are guaranteed to remain undefeated this time next week. How many of those playing in Week 7 will join them?

Texas approves two-year contract extension for Tom Herman

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With Texas being back (?), the football program’s sideline boss is being rewarded for getting the Longhorns there.

Amidst speculation that surfaced earlier this month, the university confirmed Thursday that a two-year contract extension for Tom Herman has been approved.  The head coach is now signed through the 2023 season, the same season, incidentally, a home-and-home with Alabama will finish up.

According to the Associated Press, the two-year extension is worth a total of $13.25 million.  This past year, Herman’s $5.5 million in compensation was ninth nationally and tops among all Big 12 coaches.

“I’m so grateful for President [Greg] Fenves, [athletic director] Chris Del Conte and the UT Board of Regents, and for all the support they provide me, my family and our football program,” Herman said in a statement. “I truly love being the head football coach at Texas. I’m enjoying every minute of it, am so fortunate to have a tremendous staff, and the players in our program are just awesome to work with.

“We’ve done some good things, but have so much more we are preparing to accomplish. I’m excited for the future.”

After a 7-6 first season in Austin, Herman guided UT to a 10-4 record in 2018, which included a Sugar Bowl win over fifth-ranked Georgia.  The 10 wins marked the first time the Longhorns hit double-digits since going 13-1 in 2009 under Mack Brown.

K-State’s leading receiver last two years to transfer

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The latest addition to the portal is a rather significant one.

In somewhat of a surprising development, a Kansas State official confirmed to CFT that Isaiah Zuber is now listed in the NCAA transfer database.  The official made sure to note that Zuber could return to K-State by pulling his name from the database; conversely, CFT will make sure to note that K-State has the option to pull the wide receiver’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered the portal.

As a graduate transfer, Zuber will be allowed to use his final season of eligibility immediately at his next stop.  As a highly-productive player, Zuber should be a highly sought after player in college football’s version of the free agent market.

Zuber led the Wildcats in receptions each of the past two seasons — 52 in 2018, 51 in 2017.  During his time in Little Manhattan, Zuber totaled 1,321 yards and 11 touchdowns on 127 receptions.

P.J. Fleck doesn’t practice what he preaches when it comes to commitment

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P.J. Fleck thinks there’s a problem in this country, and he doesn’t have a clue how correct he is.

As you may or may not have noticed, the NCAA transfer database is wide open and has been doing a significant amount of business.  There’s not a day goes by where there aren’t multiple posts on CFT about Player X entering — or reentering, as the case may be — his name into the portal. And then there are high school prospects committing to one school while (gasp!) still taking visits to others.

The personnel movement both before and after entering the collegiate ranks has caused significant angst within the coaching profession, not the least of whom is the current Minnesota head coach.  From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

I have a rule: You commit to me, you can’t go see another place,” Fleck said. “Not because I’m insecure. But if you want to be committed, you’re going to be committed. Too many people teach young people to be committed but also one foot in and one foot out. … You’ve got to be all in.”

Or as Fleck termed it: “We have a problem in our society. We don’t have a problem in our program.

The problem with that?

In December of 2014, Fleck signed a six-year contract extension as the head football coach at Western Michigan.  Less than two years later, speculation was running rampant that he was the frontrunner for the Minnesota job; in January of 2017, Fleck was named the head coach of the Golden Gophers.

It’s easy to talk about loyalty and commitment when it’s somebody else’s, right coach?  Coaches are free to move above the country at their leisure, while the vast majority of the very same profession will do anything and everything to restrict a player’s movement to a situation the student-athlete feels is better for his future.

Fleck is right about there being a problem in the sport, but it sure as hell isn’t limited to player movement.

(Tip O’ the Cap: @CFAAEliteClips)

Outback Steakhouse to continue sponsorship of Tampa bowl game

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For those fans of Team Bloomin’ Onions or Team Coconut Shrimp, you’re in luck when it comes to your annual foodie freebies.

In a press release, “Outback Bowl officials announced… that long-time Title Sponsor Outback Steakhouse has agreed to extend its contract with the New Year’s Day Bowl for six additional years through the January 2026 game.” The Tampa-based game, sponsored by a Tampa-based company, has been played annually since 1986; this new agreement ensures that Outback Steakhouse will continue as the longest-running title sponsor in college bowl game history.

Perhaps most importantly, Outback officials also announced that, over the next seven postseason games, the Outback Bowl will contribute $45 million to universities and donate at least $3.5 million to charities through its Charitable Giving Initiative

“We are proud to announce the continuation of our long-term relationship with Outback Steakhouse,” said Outback Bowl president/CEO Jim McVay in a statement. “With Outback Steakhouse’s continued commitment, the Outback Bowl will be able to grow the more than $1 billion economic impact it has generated to date, allow us to continue to positively showcase the Tampa Bay region both nationally and internationally, add to the almost $150 million generated for universities and expand our Charitable Giving Initiative program which has already benefited over ninety non-profits.”

The first iteration of what would ultimately become the Outback Bowl — at the time it was called the Hall of Fame Bowl — was played on Dec. 23, 1986, a 27-24 win for Boston College over 17th-ranked Georgia.  The steakhouse became the title sponsor in 1995, with Penn State beating Auburn 43-14 in the first game known as the Outback Bowl.

This past season, Iowa upset No. 18 Mississippi State 27-22 in the most recent iteration of the Outback Bowl that’s now played annually between members of the Big Ten and SEC.