Last weekend is known as ‘Cupcake Saturday.’ This is due to the number of top teams scheduling weaker opponents in preparation for some big games. College Football served up its usual delights of upsets, points and craziness. The implications were wide ranging across a number of conferences and Tuesdays Top 25 is sure to have seen some movement. See the most important bits below.
The Playoff Incumbents will stay the same ahead of a big weekend.
Alabama 50 – 17 The Citadel
Clemson 35 – 6 Duke
Notre Dame 36 – 3 Syracuse
Michigan 31 – 20 Indiana
The biggest game here was Notre Dame’s match-up against a dangerous Syracuse side in Yankees stadium. The Fighting Irish dominated the game as quarterback Ian Book returned to the starting line-up to throw for two touchdowns and just under three hundred yards. The Irish defense had six sacks and three interceptions as they backed up the offensive dominance. Notre Dame is one game away from an unbeaten regular season and a playoff spot.
Alabama were slightly off colour against a Citadel team running the triple option. Ten all at halftime, the Crimson tide pulled away in the third quarter behind Heisman favourite Tua Tagovailoa. He threw three touchdowns for over three hundred yards. Michigan came through a tough contest against a tough Indiana team, after trailing at halftime. Running back Karan Higdon had over 100 yards on the ground and touchdown. Finally, number two Clemson defeated a Duke team that has played well this season.
Let’s see which conferences were affected by Saturday’s scores while the top four looking steadfast.
‘The Game’ will decide the BIG10 East and see who faces Northwestern for the BIG10 Championship.
Maryland 51 – 52 Ohio State
Ohio State squeaked past a Maryland team that put in its best performance of the season to secure a ‘win and you’re in’ matchup against Michigan in ‘The Shoe’ next weekend. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins threw for over 400 yeards with three touchdowns and an interception. Running back JK Dobbins rushed for over 200 yards and a touchdown. The Terrapins gashed the Buckeyes much vaunted defense. They gave up over 500 yards. A similar performance next week will put them in real trouble.
Dual wins for the state of Washington add extra intrigue to next weeks ‘Apple Cup’ as Utah wins the PAC-12 South.
Washington State 69 – 28 Arizona
Washington 42 – 23 Oregon State
Utah 30 – 7 Colorado
Washington running back Miles Gasking ran for 135 yards and a touchdown as the Huskies kept their PAC-12 championship hopes alive with a win over Oregon State. Washington has the game plan to win next weekend when they face off against an explosive Washington State side, ball control will be all important and as such Gaskin’s form will be a relief to Husky fans.
Wazzu put on a vintage spread display as they put up 69 points on Arizona despite a scoreless first quarter. Garden Minshew threw for over 470 yards and seven, yes seven touchdowns as Arizona couldn’t keep up. They need to win out and have a lot going their way. However, Washington State isn’t out of playoff contention. I think a shot at the PAC-12 title is the best they can hope for.
The winner of next week’s Apple Cup between Washington State and Washington will face off against the Utah Utes for the PAC-12 title. Utah came out on top of Colorado who have since fired their head coach. The Utes are primed to play spoiler in two week’s time, especially if chaos were to ensue elsewhere.
Texas is in the BIG12 title game, despite sitting third in the conference.
Texas 24 – 10 Iowa State
Oklahoma State 45 – 41 West Virginia
Oklahoma 55- 40 Kansas
Texas had a big win over Iowa State. The West Virginia loss confirmed a spot in the BIG12 title game. Iowa State running back David Montgomery was suspended for the first half. The Longhorns were able to go up 17-3 at halftime. They limited Montgomery’s ability to affect the game after halftime as the Cyclones tried to play catch-up. Their rivals, the Oklahoma Sooners gave up 40 points in a win against Kansas in a game that the Playoff Committee will probably look upon negatively. The Sooners inability to play good defense will once again be their Achilles heel in the latter weeks of this season.
West Virginia couldn’t get a stop as they lost a shoot-out against Oklahoma State in Stillwater. The Mountaineers quarterback Will Grier threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another. In the losing effort, his opposite number Taylor Cornelius threw five touchdowns and ran in one more to sneak a victory. The loss heaps pressure on the Mountaineers who must beat Oklahoma next week to get in to the Conference Championship game.
In a week that looked weak for college football, it turned into a weekend of upsets. The storylines are set for next weekend. ‘The Game’, the ‘Iron Bowl’, the ‘Apple Cup’ and much more that will go a long way to deciding the various championships for 2018.
Contribution by Alex Chinery, Host and Producer of the Wasps Report Podcast and can be reached at @iamalexchinery
Above image courtesy SBNation.