If you were at the IKEA in Houston on Saturday morning, and a grown man ran by you with a 3-year-old and asked you to get out of his way because his kid was sick, I was lying and just wanted to get home to watch College Football. I apologize. Much like Kliff, it was one of the worst times in my career. Now with that out of the way, let’s take a look at the week.
The Mountaineers may be the quietest team in the nation, making their way slowly up the rankings. I was excited about this game, because these are pretty similar teams. You have a couple of coaches who have spent some time together, and lead their team alike. That being said, Dana has spent a lot of time with the Mountaineers and honestly is a better offensive mind then Kliff is right now, and it showed on Saturday.
It became very evident in the 2nd quarter that the Raiders were outmatched. West Virginia scored first with a Justin Crawford TD run, set up by a 53 yard throw from Howard. Tech answered later in the quarter with a 44 yard TD throw from Mahomes. It looked like the game was starting and we were about to have a back and forth. Unfortunately, Tech would not see the end zone until it was too late. Penalties and sacks plagued the Red Raiders all game. But the two biggest stories for us was Skyler Howard and the WVU defense.
There were a lot of questions about Skyler Howard coming into this game. Is he a dominant QB? Could he go on the road and beat top teams? Could he be a QB that stays hot through the season? Most of these should have been answered in this game. Tech does not have a dominant defense by any stretch, but Howard dominated them. Throwing for 318 yards, 1 TD and rushing for 2 more. He is a QB that fits Holgorsens system this year. Dana is building the offense around what he has, not trying to make something out of nothing.
The bigger win for the Mountaineers was their defense. Tony Gibson has kept the Mountaineers rolling from last year and improved where they lacked. If you remember, last year they were top 20 nationally in interceptions, opponent three and outs, turnovers gained, and turnover margin. Even with all that, Tech’s offense is built to score, a lot. But they didn’t do that. Much credit goes to the Mountaineer defense. Even Coach Bro thinks so “I'm embarrassed. I have to apologize to the fans, student body and alumni. That was as bad as it gets."
We said a few weeks ago that we are happy to see the Cornhuskers back in the national spotlight. They proved again that they can play. If you have been watching college football the past few weeks, you have seen the Indiana Hoosiers making a splash. Keeping Ohio State close for most of the game and beating the mighty (kind of??) Sparty. Well, Nebraska went into Bloomington and made a loud statement to start the game, going up 17-0 in the first quarter. They were held to only 10 points the rest of the game. Kevin Wilson needs some recognition for what he has done this year, and only looks to improve.
Tommy Armstrong, Jr. is a poor man’s Greg Ward Jr. He is almost to the level he needs to be but has hit a ceiling. And to be honest, I think this is his ceiling. He is just good enough to get the team by, but costly errors are going to come back to bite them if he doesn’t fix them. 2 interceptions on Saturday almost cost them the game. He needs to work on patient in the pocket and going through his rotation. He looks uncomfortable at times and makes dumb throws. That being said, he made a pretty strong case for the Huskers to be in the top 10. If they can make it through the first week of November without a loss, they may go to the BIG 10 championship undefeated.
The biggest news of this game was that Syracuse won. I know that is the whole point, but it’s Syracuse, winning a football game. They are usually good for a couple of wins that mess with a team’s season, and this was one of them. Virginia Tech was starting to improve, but this was a huge blow. Not just the loss, but the way they played. Syracuse came into the game and dominated until Virginia Tech tied it up in the 4th quarter. The Hokies never looked like they knew what was happening. Their defense could not make a stop and special teams played terrible. They couldn’t convert on 3rd or 4th down and lacked in about every offensive area. Their defense has to step up if they have a hope of staying atop the ACC Coastal division.
Last week, Trubisky only threw for 58 yards and had 2 interceptions. This week, the tar heels went into Miami and knocked off a #16 ranked team. Miami couldn’t do anything right. Their only score in the first half was 1 field goal. They were able to get a 3rd quarter TD, but couldn’t keep the dreaded momentum monster going.
Mark Richt is a good coach and should have things going well down there in the next year. Not sure that will be enough for the Miami fans. Remember, they can be a little squirrely.
There were a few questions we had coming out of the weekend.
How are they still ranked? They lost to Florida Stat and Arkansas (sub-par teams) and had a close one with Alabama. They beat Wofford, a bad Memphis team and a poor Georgia team. So how are they ranked? Is it possible to now openly admit there is an SEC bias that gives teams an extra 10-15 spots in the ranking?
How are they NOT ranked? Their only losses are to a top 5 Michigan team and a USC team who we have yet to figure out. They beat Arizona State, Oregon State and Oregon, all decent teams. But let’s look at teams ranked higher than them:
LSU? Ole Miss? Auburn? SEC bias?
College Football Market
Alabama – I know this is a no brainer, but it is pretty obvious. If you haven’t bought the Tide, you are missing out. They are dominant. They coach to their opponent. Whatever their opponent shows them, they are able to make the changes. Not sure there are many teams that will challenge them.
Big 12 – There really was nowhere to go for the conference but up. They didn’t have a team that was worth much, and the teams that started at the top of the rankings, quickly started to fall. But this week, with OU, WVU and Baylor all winning convincingly, they may be the conferences only hope.
Clemson – It took Clemson a miracle to beat NC State at home. And apparently this miracle was enough to make the students rush the field. I know they rush the field after every win, but maybe that should be something that changes. But I think Clemson is trending down, not sure they have enough to keep it going
Western Michigan – I am not sure they will lose another game. They are tops in their conference and that is all their remaining games. Could they be the next Boise, or are they just a ULM?
Houston – Yes they won. But it took two bad Tulsa mistakes to pull off the win. If Tom Herman wants to live on the Bayou or 6th street next year, he needs to stop winning.
What to watch next week
NC State @ Louisville – The Wolfpack have had a few good weeks. They should have knocked off Clemson last week and look to end Louisville’s hopes this week.
Texas AM @ Alabama – we all know what’s at stake.
Miami @ Virginia Tech – After some big losses, both teams were knocked out of the rankings. Both of these teams need to win to set their season right. Let’s see.
Colorado @ Stanford – Can the Buffs go in and beat the Cardinal and prove they should be in the top 25.