Week 8 brought with it plenty of action, and a few surprises, including the seasons biggest upset so far. There were some good performances, some subpar performances, and some downright ugly ones. What we saw go down in the ACC this weekend was enough to fill up the entire ugly section alone. Maybe one day at least one other program will step up and help Clemson in carrying the weight of the conference.
Yes the Buckeyes were playing a one win team in Northwestern, but that offense is really humming along. They had 480 yards against the Wildcats, and were efficient in getting them. They had 201 through the air and 279 on the ground. Justin Fields was 18-23, threw 4 more TDs, and helped the offense go 8-13 on 3rd downs. It was a good performance, despite the fact that it came against a bad team.
In recent seasons, if you could contain the LSU running game, your chances of beating them increased dramatically. Not so much anymore. Joe Burrow has changed that, as he has skyrocketed up the ranks and has firmly entrenched himself as a Heisman favorite. Against Miss State when the Tigers could not get anything going on the ground, Burrow went 25-32 for 327 yards with 4 more TDs.
Auburn kept their playoff hopes alive with a 51-10 win over Arkansas. Freshman Bo Nix was 12-17 for 176 yards and 3 TDs, as the Tigers had almost 300 rushing yards and were 7-13 on 3rd down conversions. The Auburn D held the Razorbacks to 234 total yards and just 1.9 yards per carry on the ground.
The Heels have now played in 6 games that have been decided by 6 points or less, and are now just 2-4 in those games. They must find a way to close out games or they will have more results like this one. UNC squandered a fantastic game by freshman QB Sam Howell and lost to Va Tech 43-41 in 6 overtimes. It was the longest game in ACC history and the Hokie win creates an even bigger mess in the Coastal.
The Longhorns welcomed the worst offensive team in the Big 12 Kansas to Austin this weekend, and despite winning, mostly embarrassed themselves. With those defenses in that conference, it takes a real effort to be the worst team offensively. The Jayhawks accumulated 569 yards of offense, with over 250 coming via the ground game. Kansas also happened to be very good on 3rd downs, going 10-19, and didn’t turn the ball over. Not the kind of defensive performance you would expect from the number 15 team in the country, but one we have come to expect in the Big 12.
Oh, the Badgers. Every year they sell us fools gold and we buy in. This Badger D had pitched shutouts in 4 of their 6 games, but not against Illinois. Wisconsin lost on 24-23 on a last second 39 yard FG, just when they were on the verge of a bigtime matchup with Ohio State in a battle of unbeatens. Maybe they got caught looking ahead to that showdown next weekend with the Bucknuts. Maybe they overlooked the Illini. Maybe it was a combination of both. Either way, it was a devastating loss that will be hard to ignore on that resume, and just another case of fraud in the B1G.
When was the last time Wake Forest was favored over the Seminoles? The fact that they were in this one is a sign of just how far this FSU program has fallen. Not only did Willie Taggart inadvertently ice his own kicker on a 50 yard FG with just over 2 minutes left, he used his final TO in doing so. Then he had to watch his team as they showed no sense of urgency on their final possession. FSU got the ball back with 45 seconds left. After James Blackman was sacked on the series first play, there was only 18 seconds left by the time the Noles were ready to snap the ball for the next play. After another sack on 2nd down, they once again made no real effort to run another play, basically just watching as time expired. Slick Willie strikes again.
Each season it seems as if the officiating gets a little worse. What we saw in two of the SEC games this weekend was abhorrent. Tennessee got hosed against Alabama and UofSC got hosed in their game with Florida. After the upset of Georgia last weekend, it looked almost as if the officiating crews had been instructed to not let either team lose, not to imply either team would have lost without the “help.” It was some of the worst in recent memory.