This weekend, college football bid adieu to half of its top-10 and Teddy Bridgewater’s Heisman campaign. It was the most movement in the top-10 since the unstable 2007 season. Ohio State nearly had to explain themselves against Iowa. They scraped by, but their inability to separate themselves from an inferior opponent like the Hawkeyes proves there’s a huge chasm between the Big Ten’s Leader’s division heads and the BCS’ top three.
So what exactly just happened this weekend? We’ve got you covered.
FSU Emasculated The Clemson Tigers In Death Valley, What Had Happened Was...
James Winston wasn't intimidated by the bright orange and dark purple-clad Tigers defense. Dabo Swinney's done great things at Clemson, but missing out on Jadaveon Clowney and Robert Nkemdiche has come back to bite him against a program of FSU's stature. The Seminoles victory was set in motion when Jimbo Fisher became the head honcho in 2010 and started hitting the recruiting trail. Back then, the recruits they targeted were bluer chippers and glimmers of future promise and twinkles in Fisher's eye. You could feel it in your plums though. Something special was brewing. Once they descended into Death Valley, those recruits sprung to life.
Before Clemson made their epic 25 second sprint down the hill into Memorial Stadium, Winston gave the greatest pre-game speech since Achilles sailed into Troy. Winston promised a shot at immortality and FSU snatched it.
Winston may be a Heisman candidate, but consider this: he was not the No. 1 ranked prep prospect FSU reeled in from the 2012 clas. According to ESPN 150’s rankings, defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. was the top prospect. Edwards scored the first touchdown after scooping up a fumble to put FSU on the board first. From that point on, the Clemson crowd was muted and sounded more like one of those Alabama high school football crowds Winston compared them to this weekend than a world record for ear-splitting noises crowd.
With James Wilder Jr., the 19th ranked player in 2011, leaving the game after suffering a concussion, FSU could’ve turned to 2011’s No. 1 ranked safety Karlos Williams – now a running back. Instead, they handed the rock to Davonte Freeman, who once rushed for 301 yards and three touchdowns in the Florida 6A title game.
Tajh Boyd never seemed confident in the pocket and once again, FSU took his lunch money and spent it on lingerie for Boyd's girlfriend. Clemson’s running backs couldn’t puncture the impenetrable wall Florida State propped up by nose guard Timmy Jernigan (No.17 overall in 2011). It'as remarkable how quickly FSU has replaced Bjoern Werner, E.J. Manuel and the other nine members of last season's FSU squad which featured a school-record 11 players drafted.
After his meager production against Clemson, Boyd might have some explainin’ to do if his NFL draft stock takes a dive.
Baylor Hangs 70 on Iowa State. What Had Happened Was...
Iowa State played the wrong sport. Two weeks ago, Iowa State was a poor officiating call away from clipping the Texas Longhorns. On Saturday, the Bears returned to putting up college basketball scores. I don’t think we’ve ever seen this type of consistent offensive proficiency. The Bears are now third nationally in passing yards, seventh in rushing, 1st in points (64.7) and seventh in points allowed.
Texas A&M, What Had Happened Was…
There was a flood. And see, A&M’s defense was the town that got washed away. A&M and Auburn got caught in a shootout and Manziel took the first bullet after a defender landed on his shoulder forcing him to leave the game while the A&M offense sputtered and Auburn rattled off 14 straight points.
Manziel tired to throw a practice pass to Mike Evans on the sideline. His arm whispered, "I'm dead". He winced, shook his head, left sideline— DJ RedHerring Dunson (@CerebralSportex) October 19, 2013
Ohhhhh noooo not #Manziel I hope it's not his signing arm. Thank God he got all of those autographs out of the way.— VanessaMacias (@VanessaLMacias) October 19, 2013
And with Manziel out, here comes Auburn. 75 yards, in 2:33. Down by just a FG now— DJ RedHerring Dunson (@CerebralSportex) October 19, 2013
Manziel rallied Texas A&M on their final drive. On third down, trailing by four, Manziel was tackled from behind by an Auburn defender and expected a horse collar flag. Because his hands weren’t inside the shoulder pads there was none
"That was a HORSE COLLAR!" - A hoarse caller on an A&M radio show later tonight— Andy Hutchins (@AndyHutchins) October 19, 2013
Mike Evans had 11 catches for 287 yards and four touchdowns. However, it was the 12th catch and fifth touchdown that he dropped that he’ll regret. Manziel couldn't squeeze the ball into the endzone and the Aggies turned the ball over on downs. Manziel has been putting out A&M's fires all season. They got burned again on Saturday.
FEMA help is coming, but not soon enough. Last week, A&M earned a commitment from the top defensive lineman in the Class of 2014. Myles Garrett won’t graduate high school for a few more months, but A&M could use him immediately to shore up those cattle-sized holes in their defensive line. The 126th ranked rushing defense ran into a buzz saw against the nation’s seventh-best rushing offense.
We also may have overlooked Nick Marshall. He doesn’t have the same pro prospects as Cam Newton, but his 336 total yards, including 100 rushing paced the Auburn offense’s 379 yards of total offense. Auburn’s turnaround is nothing short of remarkable, but it’s not unexpected if you know anything about Gus Malzahn’s winning touch.
UGA’s Slide Continues, What Had Happened Was…
Their coach is a devout man of religion with a team of sinners and they were hit by this plague of biblical proportions. Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall, Justin Scott-Wesley, Malcolm Mitchell, Michael Bennett all went down. Not in an act of solidarity but the injury bug has hit UGA harder than MRSA in the Bucs locker room. On their final Hail Mary pass attempt against Vandy, Chris Conley was seen clutching his knee.
If this continues, Richt, Mike Bobo and Todd Grantham might be heading to away games like Grambling State – on empty buses.
James Andrews is a team doctor for Alabama and Auburn, but he could make a killing at UGA. If Grambling State’s offensive skill position players are looking for better facilities, UGA has a plethora of openings.
If you play the Bulldogs, it might be best to throw a surgical mask over that facemask, rock sleeves, slip on gloves and avoid all physical contact. UGA’s injury epidemic appears to be contagious. Last week, Missouri won despite losing James Franklin to a separated throwing shouler. Vandy made due without quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels after he suffered a leg injury.
Vanderbilt’s kicker nearly hurt himself on a practice kick late in the fourth. He was physically fine. His pride was damaged though.
Florida Plummets From AP’s Top 25, What Had Happened Was…
Missouri shall no longer be considered a Midwestern state. You belong to the south now. Missouri’s offense kept its foot on the accelerator with freshman Maty Mauk while Florida’s clunker offense caught fire on the side of the road. It has been decreed by Gary Pinkel. Will Muschamp’s offense had just 61 yards in the first half and former Big 12 also-ran Missouri in making Bob Stoops’ point that the SEC is overrated. Unfortunately, Florida is missing out on all those pro-style quarterbacks Stoops referred to. UCF, Florida State, Miami are stealing all the karma in the Sunshine State. Florida, you get the swamp shade.
Washington State Runs Away From The Run, What Had Happened Was…
No explanation needed. This one was expected. Oregon put up 62 in a ho-hum win over Mike Leach’s Washington State Cougars. One of the safest offensive records in college football history came toppling down as well. However, it wasn’t set by Oregon.
To keep pace, Mike Leach stuck with the pass like a politician’s wife sticks with her sleazy husband. And had quarterback Connor Halliday throw an excess of 89 passes, that’s an FBS record which formerly belonged to Drew Brees. Halliday completed 58 of his attempts for 557 yards, however, Leach drew the ire of an opposing coach for the second week in a row. Oregon’s balance snuffed out their air raid. Washington State completely abandoned the ground game and finished with two rushing yards. That’s an insane disparity. Meanwhile, Oregon relied on Byron Marshall (192 yards two touchdowns), Marcus Mariota’s 67 rushing yards and true freshman Thomas Tyner (99 yards, 2 touchdowns and a rip in the space-time continuum caused by a 66-yard dash) to pick up 383 yards by ground.
The pride of Oregon’s running back coach is visible from a distance.
On the downside, the (former?) Heisman front-runner, Mariota turned the ball over for the first time this season. He still hasn't thrown an interception though.
Washington State Rushed For More Yards Than Washington, What Had Happened Was…
Arizona State welcomed the nation’s leading rusher to Tempe by limiting him to 22 yards on 13 carries. The Huskies had more trouble gaining yards than a horse does finding water in the desert. They moonwalked like Ohio State’s band for negative 5 yards.
Brandin Cooks reeled in 13 passes for 232 yards and he's cookin' up a single-season record. His 158 yards per game pace should break Trevor Insley’s single-season yardage record of 2,060. However, he didn’t have the weekend’s best receiving performance.
Michigan wide receiver Jeremy Gallon had the ball fed to him through an I.V. on Saturday. They needed all 369 of his receiving yards to beat the Indiana Hoosiers.
Undefeated Northern Illinois’ Jordan Lynch rushed for 316 yards. He’s their quarterback.
Stanford wide receiver Kodi Whitfield reached up for the stars and came down with the catch of the year.
Still though, Ohio State’s band made the play of the day by Moonwalking across the field.
Players faking injuries and ejections for clean hits are the new norm. College football is getting softer than Drake. Throwing across the middle of the field used to be like a midnight stroll through Compton. These days offenses are jogging up and down the field like it’s an arid New Mexico desert.