A National Perspective: AKA Is Washington the Center of the Football Universe

Another good week of college football in the books. Right in the middle of the season, you are starting to see teams realize their potential. That may be beating a top 10 team or losing a game where you were 17 point favorites. Potential is a funny thing. At the beginning of the year, Notre Dame, Stanford and OU were going to battle Bama and Ohio State for the National Championship. Now let’s see who wins the battle between Clemson, Michigan and Washington. Preseason polls are a joke, but that’s a whole nother piece. Let’s take a look at the winners and losers of the week.

WINNERS

Lamar Jackson

Louisville didn’t play this week. Most times that tends to hurt the Heisman hopeful, but this week, it seemed to help. With poor play by Ward and McCaffrey, Jackson is almost a shoe-in. We have all heard the Tecmo Bowl reference to him, but dang if it isn’t true. Take a look at his number:

After 5 games: 162.2 QBR / 60% comp / 1625 yards / 14 TDs

Those are pretty good stats. I would say great stats, but ….. wait, I forgot the other half

After 5 games (rushing): 688 yards / 14 TDs

For those of you keeping score at home, that’s what we call a pretty good football player. I am not sure anyone else can keep up with him. And if we are truly looking for the best player in the country, the player that means the most to his team, you have to look at Lamar Jackson. He is consistent and always seems to produce.

He just needs to make sure he doesn’t Leon Lett it and forget about Jake Browning and possibly Trevor Knight, because like Don Beebe, if he eases up, well, you know the rest.

State of Washington

Let's start with the unexpected, at least from those outside the State.

This guy went into Stanford and beat them.

While we're at it, he's also this guy...

Wait, let me rephrase that; when into #16 Stanford and ran them out of their own stadium. It was close at halftime, if you call 14-3 close. Like a typical Leach team, the offense came out firing. Luke Falk threw for 357 yards, 4 TDs, and 2 interceptions. He had completions to 11 different receivers. Even the running game decided to have a little fun with 37 yards and 2 TDs, which is a ton for a Leach offense. But the difference was the defense. The Cougar defense held Stanford to 230 yards through the air and 42 yards on the ground. The bigger number is 16 points, at home. Leach always has a fun team to watch, and if you give him free reign and keep him away from anyone with the last name of James, he will produce.

I was watching some games this weekend at a bar, and the Washington/Oregon game was on. Someone actually said, “Come on Washington, that’s cheap, running the score up.” I wanted to remind them that over the last 3 years, they have won by over 4 touchdowns more than 16 times, so they can take it. That is part of it. The Duck fan was all on board when they were running through the PAC-12 and running up the score. They loved laying on the gas and never letting up. “Hey, if you are going to play in a big boy league, you have to be able to accept a beat down.” An Oregon fan told me that once. Well, those teams remember that, so don’t expect any one to let up anytime soon. 

That aside, Washington is good. Real good. As fas as an all around team, they may be the best in football based on what they've done the past two weeks to some really good teams. 

LOSERS

Houston

Losing to Navy not only erases their chances of the College Football playoffs, but they may not even win their division. They have to hope for Navy to lose twice to even get a chance. Navy gets a ton of credit. They ran the option to perfection and Houston didn’t know what to do. Ward’s push came a little too late. The other loser in this one is Louisville. Any chance they had is almost all gone. Playing in Houston towards the end of the year does not look as good as it once did.

Charlie Strong

The guy was not set up for success. He hasn’t had 4 years to put his system and guys into place. Oh, and the defensive wizard he is allowed over 600 yards. Maybe it wasn’t Vance. And with the Houston loss, Tom Herman may be looking to cash in while he is still hot.

The Market

Michigan – The Wolverines are a great example of who coaches matter. A few years ago, they were not a force at all. But they are back. Harbaugh has the blue and gold playing out of their minds. With their schedule, they are likely to go into Columbus 11-0. That may as well be a CFP game.

Iowa State and Kansas – No, I didn’t put the wrong arrow. Yes, I know what schools I wrote. But if you like at their last two weeks, the Big 12 needs to be careful to the usual doormat teams. With new, young coaches, these teams are going to be tough in the next couple of years. Their main problem was they could not finish what they started. ISU should have beat Baylor and took it to OSU in the first half. Kansas probably should have beat TCU as well. I’m just saying, with a weak Big 12, watch out.

Michigan State – I said it last week, but the Spartans are free falling. Michigan and Ohio State are going to be tough. And past that, well, remember, they lost to Indiana.                 

Notre Dame – Remember, they began the season at 11. They just lost to NC State. Granted, they were also play Matthew, but so were the Wolfpack. Not sure if Brian Kelly will be able to withstand this. As we start to see the type of team Texas really is, it just adds more of insult already to the Irish injury.

A weekend of college football calls for some grilling out. So next week, along with the pulled pork (recipe below) we are excited about

Kansas State @ OU – Every game is crucial for Stoops. He has to win out to stand ANY chance of staying for the long haul or even sniff the CFP.

Alabama @ Tennessee – The Volunteers need nothing more after their past three weeks than for Bama to come to Rocky Top for an afternoon game. Not sure they will be able to pull out any more magic.

West Virginia @ Texas Tech – These are basically the same two coaches, going to head to head. WVU is one of the Big 12 last hopes.

Ohio State @ Wisconsin – Is Wisconsin for real, there isn’t a better test.

Easy pulled pork:

Thursday Night

Go and buy a Boston Butt/Pork Shoulder. If you are looking how much to buy, usually plan on a third to a half per person. That night, inject apple juice throughout, every 2-3 inches. Cover in Kosher salt and your favorite rub. Wrap and put in the fridge over-night. Make sure you put it in a bowl, it may leak

Friday Night

Pull out the pork at about 11. Un wrap and let come to room temperature. Warm your smoker to about 180-190 degrees. Throw on the smoker and do not touch for 12 hours. (The only thing you may want do, is spray with apple juice very 2-4 hours) Once the internal temperature gets to about 170-180, wrap in foil and turn the heat up to 220. Keep on the smoker until the internal is 200 plus degrees. Pull off, let cool and pull apart.