Every Monday at noon, Luke Carlton will post an easily digestible recap of the weekend’s top news and what it means moving forward.
1) It’s Monday and I’m still not entirely convinced Michigan State won that game
Talk about speechless.
At least with the Kick Six, you knew there was a chance of the return. You knew that with Chris Davis back there, if Adam Griffith didn’t have the leg, we’d have a shot at a return, and a possible big play.
It’s something I distinctly remember Nathan Vasher and Devin Hester doing for the Chicago Bears and Antonio Cromartie of the San Diego Chargers doing within the last 10 years.
Now, that doesn’t take anything away from the play itself. I still get goose bumps watching it. The sound of the Auburn radio crew screaming “Auburn is gonna win the football game!” is something that will forever be etched in football folklore.
But this play might have topped it.
Similar to the Iron Bowl, nobody had any clue what we were in store for.
Everyone watching came to the conclusion that Michigan State was either going to burst through and get a block to set up one final attempt, or they’d get the punt off and Michigan State would run some crazy play with 13 laterals.
I don’t think anyone expected what we saw, and that’s what makes football incredible. Each year, there are those plays that make you feel as though you’ve finally seen it all. But really, we’re watching history being written in the craziest format each year.
As always, in these incredible scenes, there ultimately has to be a loser, and someone or something to blame.
Anyone trying to blame Jim Harbaugh, just remember that earlier in the game, Blake O’Neill had an 80-yard punt. It wasn’t like he was putting the ball in the hands of someone unexpected. He also was either tied or leading throughout the entire 60 minutes, just like Tom Coughlin did against Philadelphia in the Miracle at The New Meadowlands.
For those trying to blame O’Neill, grow up. You’re sending death threats over a college football game? I can’t even Allen Iverson “We’re talking about football” this one. We all understand football is a game of passion and bragging rights, but you have absolutely no right to threaten a man’s life over it. End of discussion.
Secondly, take into mind what’s going through his head when he fumbles the snap. His head is in panic mode. He’s thinking if he gives us the ball here, Michigan State gets it with about seven seconds left and only 40 yards to go. Even a 10-yard punt here is a great play and puts the Spartans out of time and range for a quick sideline throw to set up a field goal.
A horrible mistake was made, but a great hustle play from the Spartans also took place. Jalen Watts-Jackson, who picked up a serious hip injury, still had a lot of work to do. He patiently lets his blocks set up and scampers home, before suffering the undeserved agony of his teammates trying to drag him upright while clearly injured.
Michigan State continues onwards undefeated, while Michigan, who many would argue were the better team on the day, fall to 5-2 and must wait another year to break the streak of now seven Spartans win in the last eight battles for the Paul Bunyan trophy.
2) Any other weekend, we’d be talking about another Big 10 game being the craziest game of the weekend
A 5-hour drive away from Ann Arbor would land you in Bloomington, Indiana, the home of the Indiana Hoosiers, who welcomed New Jersey’s college football team, the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers, this Saturday.
Somehow, Rutgers manage to find more ways to make their season even more bizarre.
Kyle Flood still has his job, despite so many questions surrounding his handling of the program. Star wide receiver Leonte Carroo is back playing after suspension while police reviewed claims he assaulted a woman in a car park after a game.
The team dismissed players before the season after they were arrested on armed robbery charges, too.
The Hoosiers and Scarlet Knights traded blows in an exciting and high scoring first half, with Rutgers sneaking a 27-24 lead going into the break.
This is where things went all Rutgers for Rutgers.
Nate Sudfeld threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, while Devine Redding added another to give Indiana 28 unanswered points in the first 10 minutes of the second half, seemingly putting the game to bed.
Down 52-27, the Scarlet Knights launched a comeback nobody was paying attention to.
Three offensive touchdowns and a Kemoko Turay 26-yard fumble return had the game tied at 52-52 heading into the final minute of the game.
Rutgers were ready to attempt a game-winning 26-yard field goal. Sounds easy enough, but in true 2015 Rutgers fashion, the Scarlet Knights had two blocked extra points earlier in the game. Two points that would have had the game won had they been converted.
Senior kicker Kyle Federico stepped up to slot the ball through the uprights for an unprecedented Rutgers win. The reason it’s unprecedented is before this match, FBS teams were 0-121 when down by 25 points or more, according to ESPN Stats and Info.
Also, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Leonte Carroo. Despite missing two games, Carroo is averaging 22.5 yards per reception and has nine touchdowns on 21 receptions through four games.
His percentage share results are obscene. Only just 16.9 percent of receptions, Carroo accounts for 31.5 percent of the team’s receiving yards and 69.2 percent of the receiving touchdowns.
3) Iowa is undefeated, and might stay that way
Standing at 7-0, Iowa are five more conference wins away from going undefeated.
Iowa. Undefeated season. 2015.
But believe it might happen. The remainder of the Hawkeyes schedule isn’t all that imposing.
Three home games against Maryland (2-4), Minnesota (4-3) and Purdue (1-6) makes for an easy home run in, with Minnesota being the only game with a possible upset, with The Floyd of Rosedale on the line.
A road trip to Indiana (4-3) in three weeks times lies ahead before a season finale for the Heroes Trophy in Nebraska (3-4) await the winners.
And that’s it. No Ohio State, no Michigan State and no Michigan. The Hawkeyes avoid all the big guns and just dispatched of Northwestern like they weren’t one of the best defenses in the country two weeks ago.
Coach Kirk Ferentz has his team playing good football, but all roads lead to the Big 10 championship game, where either Ohio State or Michigan State will await them, looking to secure a place in the playoffs.
4) Treon Harris will keep Florida in game, but they’ll miss Will Grier badly in the clutch
Credit given where credit is due, as Treon Harris played a solid game in Death Valley.
Holding onto the ball and clock management issues are still areas the sophomore quarterback needs to improve, but his overall performance was better than expected.
He also showed he could keep the Gators in game, which is massively important when you peek ahead at the schedule going forward.
A bye week before the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party on Halloween (Georgia in their all black kit and Florida in all orange, yes?) and then presumably walkover wins against Vanderbilt, South Carolina and FAU. Lastly, the Gators welcome the Seminoles of Florida State to round out the season.
The Gator defense will lead the way and keep games close for Treon Harris and the offense. He does not need to put up a 50 burger each game; you’re most likely looking at four touchdowns a game to win.
Georgia went from churning high-powered Nick Chubb to looking almost anemic. All the Gators realistically need to do is shut down an offense that looks to have voluntarily shut down to wrap up the east.
With Will Grier, you’d back the house on Florida to run the schedule up to the Florida State game. With Treon Harris, there’s still some doubt creeping in. Heading into a potential conference championship game in December, Treon Harris needs to show more if Florida stands a chance of reaching the playoffs.
5) South Carolina should play the role of Overly Attached Football Program with Justin Fuente
Pick up the phone and keep ringing until he picks up.
Justin Fuente might be the best coach out there and South Carolina needs him to stop them plummeting back into obscurity.
He proved himself at TCU, where he helped develop Andy Dalton. He proved himself at Memphis: after two years of rebuilding he has since gone 16-3, including wins over Ole Miss and BYU.
Fuente’s offense this year under the guidance of Paxton Lynch has been fun to watch. Most importantly, however, it has been productive. The offense ranks 14th in FPI efficiency, averaging 46 points per game.
Memphis would be in a fantastic position to make a run for an undefeated season, but two ominous fixtures remain in November.
At Houston and at Temple gives Fuente and the Tigers of Memphis back-to-back road trips against what will most likely still be ranked conference opponents.
If Fuente runs the table, expect his phone to be ringing off the hook. Houston and Temple are both currently favored in those games by the FPI.
South Carolina will no doubt have an eye on all three coaches as the American creeps into the top 25. The Gamecocks job isn’t big enough to catch the attention of an NFL coach like Chip Kelly or Sean Payton.
Justin Fuente has impressed as much as any other coach in the nation, so it’s only a matter of time before South Carolina come calling.
6) The ACC winner will be decided on November 7th
Not just the ACC Coastal or ACC Atlantic. The overall winner of the ACC will be decided in the game between Florida State and Clemson.
They are clearly the two best teams in the ACC and it really isn’t close. While Pitt, Duke and North Carolina are all 5-1 and undefeated in conference play, none of them have looked as impressive or talented as Clemson and FSU.
Clemson welcomed a Boston College team that had only allowed 43 points in six games. Clemson were the first team to score over 14 points on Boston College this year in a 34-17 “rout”.
Florida State’s 41-21 win over Louisville was a “nail biting”, but marked the fifth consecutive game where the Seminoles won and didn’t commit a turnover.
Deshaun Watson is on fire and healthy, while the Clemson defense remains as brutal as ever, despite losing a significant chunk of last year’s starters.
Everett Golson is playing the best football of his career, and Dalvin Cook keeps Dalvin Cooking all over every team he faces.
If both teams manage to stay undefeated coming into the game, Tallahassee may be in for a visit from College GameDay, though it’s worth noting LSU do travel to Alabama on the same day.
7) Tom Herman is quietly making noise at Houston
And it’s only quiet because it’s a G5 school.
In his first year as head coach, Herman has brought the spotlight and national attention to a school that finished with eight wins, including a bowl game win, last year.
Herman’s offense is high powered and is beating down on poor American teams.
Houston is a ranked team after six games, but their true test is coming up.
The Cougars faced five FBS teams with a combined record of 9-21 to start the season.
After they most likely beat UCF this weekend, the record of their last 5 teams is 18-12.
For Herman, this is his opportunity to throw his hat in the ring for a higher head-coaching job. While Houston is a good fit for great Texas recruiting, Herman can challenge himself at a higher level. He can be someone South Carolina looks at to fill the void left by Steve Spurrier. Maybe Georgia thinks it’s time to move away from Mark Richt. Maybe Miami finally has enough of Al Golden and wants some young talent taking over.
Cougars fans won’t want to hear it, but Houston is just a stepping-stone for Tom Herman. He’s too good of a coach to not be wanted by better teams with more money.
What Cougars fans can do is enjoy it while it lasts, because Coach Herman has something special going in Houston that won’t be easily replicated.
8) Corey Coleman is ridiculous
Corey Coleman is now just 12 touchdowns away from breaking the FBS record for receiving touchdowns in a season. #2 Baylor has six games left in the regular season and is already bowl eligible.
Corey Coleman has recorded 100 yards or more in all six games this year, and hasn’t had a yard per reception average of less than 15 in each of those games.
Corey Coleman did this to a defender, which I didn’t know was physically possible. He also did this, making us all question physics at large. Again.
Corey Coleman broke the Baylor record for receiving touchdowns in a season after just six games.
Corey Coleman is averaging two touchdowns every five receptions.
Corey Coleman’s 16 touchdowns only make up 30.7 percent of Baylor’s total touchdowns.
Corey Coleman is ridiculous.
9) Stanford lost to Northwestern, but also looks like the best team in the nation
With each passing week, Stanford looks like they might be the best team in the country.
And with each passing week, we find ourselves questioning how on earth they lost to Northwestern.
The Cardinal pounded UCLA to the tune of 310 rushing yards, 243 through Christian McCaffrey, who scored four touchdowns on the day. McCaffrey also contribute a 96-yard kick return on the day where he stood head and shoulders above everyone else on the field.
Kevin Hogan only went 8 of 15, but threw three touchdowns in doing so, including the catch of the year from Francis Owusu
The defense pitched in with a pick six and, all around, Stanford just look like a team who were clicking on all cylinders. Their first 10 offensive drives resulted in seven touchdowns, two punts and an interception.
Sitting at #10, Stanford’s schedule eases up. Washington, Washington State, Colorado and Oregon all lay waiting for Stanford, building up to the big game finales at home to Jared Goff and Cal before welcoming the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.
10) Alabama played Alabama football, and look what happened
A pounding running game with a highly talented back? Check
A clear go-to receiver who will cause any defensive backfield problems? Check.
A quarterback managing the game and limiting turnovers? Check
A disruptive defense that stops teams from scoring and create turnovers? Check.
That’s Alabama, alright.
The Crimson Tide have found their identity, and it just so happens to be pretty much the same identity they’ve had throughout the Nick Saban era.
Minkah Fitzpatrick has exploded onto the scene as a freshman, taking his first two college football interceptions back for touchdowns, just two weeks after blocking a punt and returning it for a touchdown against Georgia.
The defensive front squashed everything Texas A&M tried to run at them and they made Kyle Allen look bewildered to the point where Kevin Sumlin tried to play a true freshman quarterback against Alabama.
Saban has his team playing great football, and they’re bang on track in their pursuit of the playoffs, despite dropping a game early to Ole Miss.
They welcome Tennessee next week before taking a week off to prepare for the SEC West decider against LSU. The unstoppable force of Leonard Fournette and LSU’s offensive line vs. the immovable object of Alabama’s front seven.
In the words of Bart Scott, can’t wait!