I. Washington State gets the signature win
For the last number of years, Mike Leach’s Wazzu teams have suffered stunning defeats to FCS teams in the early weeks that remove them from any legitimate contention right off the bat. In 2017 they’ve stayed clean, fending off Boise St. in double-OT to set up what was the best game of the weekend on late Friday night. It had T-R-A-P written all over it and USC, America’s most consistently overrated team not named Notre Dame, fell right into it. Is USC great? I don’t think so. But regardless, this was a huge, season defining win for Washington State, and Mike Leach has taken this program back from the brink of nothingness to relevancy. Their defense did enough to win and harass Sam Darnold, including the game-winning turnover. Luke Falk is a potential NFL first rounder and this team could go places in 2017. It could also come up short like way too many other Leach teams, and it needs to prove itself next week in the always tricky Autzen Stadium against Oregon. Road games at Utah and the Apple Cup against Washington, in Seattle, loom in the last two weeks of the season. But for now, go crazy Pullman.
II. That Dud of a Clemson-VT Game
Clemson had another fine performance against a Virginia Tech team that was fired up, but is probably not as good as people think they might be. Clemson’s defense is top three in the country (next to Alabama and Michigan in my mind), but I could see that offense remaining a major pitfall. I still don’t trust Kelly Bryant. It’s hard to see them losing until the ACC Title Game, but college football is a weird sport. The Atlantic Division has been reduced to rubble due to FSU’s nasty combination of both starting out overrated along with losing Deondre Francois for the season. Louisville was already smacked by Clemson (and was probably not very good to begin with). So, Clemson will likely remain top-2 until December when they maybe face a revived Miami team under Mark “10-2” Richt? Dabo’s squad isn’t going anywhere, folks.
III. Speaking of Mark Richt’s Old Squad….
Kirby Smart has inherited the machine the 10-2 machine that Mark Richt built at Georgia and has continued to roll it. He’s recruiting just as well as Richt did and they are playing confident football, punctuating it with a 41-0 beatdown of Tennessee. Yes, Tennessee is probably that bad. Butch Jones is a lame duck and Georgia annihilated the dumpster fire that is the Vols’ program. Georgia will now coast until the World’s Largest Cocktail Party against Florida at the end of October. If they’re a playoff contender, they should pummel the Gators the way Michigan did. And after Florida, there’s not much. It’s not hard to imagine a 12-0 Alabama-12-0 Georgia showdown for the SEC title. That conference is just in shambles.
IV. Your Reminder That Saquon Barkley Is Still College Football’s Best Player
Inexplicably, Indiana’s (lack of a) defense held Barkley to just 56 yards on 20 carries on the ground. However, Barkley still returned the opening kickoff 98 yards to the house and threw a touchdown pass. He’s that damn good. Related: Devin Bush vs. Saquon Barkley is going to be the best one-on-one matchup you’ll see all college football season.
V. A Look at this Coming Week
If Michigan and Michigan State at night doesn’t leave Ann Arbor looking like London after the Blitz, it will be a miracle. In all seriousness, Michigan is hungry to avenge 2015’s debacle and ready to start John O’Korn’s miraculous run to the National Championship. In other games, Miami is ready to finally beat Florida State for the first time this decade And they should, given that the Seminoles’ team is less fearsome than that Seminole mascot who comes out with the flaming spear. If you are seen watching LSU-Florida and you are not a Tigers or Gators fan, you should be forced to pay a $10 tax for crimes against humanity. West Virginia and TCU are tussling in Fort Worth, a game TCU should win easily. Maryland’s 19th string QB tries to beat Ohio State and will inexplicably still look better than JT Barrett in the process. Washington State travels to Oregon while Notre Dame goes to North Carolina. And Alabama heads to College Station to take on the Aggies, where they will inevitably win by 50, forcing three more 5-Star Texas A&M quarterbacks to transfer as Kevin Sumlin gets closer and closer to the chopping block.