The Week 9 college football roundup. The 5 things that matter, winners and losers, overrated and underrated, and what it all means.
College Football Week 9 Roundup
5. Winners & Losers From Week 9
Winner: Next week’s ABC primetime Saturday night game
The American Athletic Conference and ABC caught a massive break.
The call came out midway through Saturday evening that SMU’s trip to Memphis would get the showcase primetime national spot on ABC. One problem …
The announcement was made just as Tulsa was driving down 42-41 to Memphis late in the 4th. Had Golden Hurricane kicker Jacob Rainey nailed a 29-yard field goal attempt as time expired – he pushed it wide – this game would’ve been a really, really tough sell.
Loser: That SMU vs. Memphis is next week’s primetime Saturday night game.
Georgia-Florida is the big CBS game. Utah-Washington is going to be on FOX at the same time as the don’t-call-it-a-Cocktail-Party, and Oregon at USC is on FOX in primetime. SMU vs. Memphis is a battle of two ranked teams, and before you sneer, they should put on a fantastic show.
Winner: DE Chase Young, Ohio State
Really, America. It took a four-sack, six-tackle, two-forced fumble game when everyone was watching the blowout win over Wisconsin to finally realize how good the guy is? No, he’s not going to win the Heisman, and yes, he was a top three overall pick in the next NFL Draft before this, but he has now gone from special the otherworldly with this one performance.
Loser: RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
All the guy has done is have the greatest first two seasons yardage-wise of any running back in the history of college football and could end up being the game’s all-time leading rusher if he stays one more year. Against Ohio State? 20 carries, 52 yards, and that’s coming off the Illinois loss with a key late fumble.
It’s been a miserable year for Rutgers and an unfair one for its players. Head coach Chris Ash was fired, top players were sitting out, there was no scoring, and the only win all year was against a miserable UMass team in the opener. On Saturday, though, it still showed that it’s a Big Ten program, and it showed just how disrespected it was by being a 7.5-point underdog at home to Liberty. The Scarlet Knights got the 44-34 win.
Clemson is awesome, and after that, the rest of the ACC is a big pile of sad. Taking the defending national champs out of this mix, the rest of the league is taking turns getting wins here and there – even Georgia Tech got a win over Miami a few weeks ago – but Syracuse has a sack full of rocks.
There were two ACC teams ranked in the preseason polls, and Syracuse was one of them. So far, it has yet to win an ACC game, getting dropped by Florida State 35-17.
Winner: RB Joshua Kelley, UCLA & RB CJ Verdell, Oregon
All of a sudden, UCLA is actually … good? It has won two straight and three of its last five, and the running of Kelley has a whole lot to do with it. He tore off 176 yards and a score on just 18 carries against Stanford two weeks ago, and last week he ran 34 times for 164 yards and four scores in the win over Arizona State.
Around when that was happening, CJ Verdell was saving Oregon’s season with 257 yards and three touchdowns – and four catches for 56 yards – in the 37-35 thriller over Washington State.
Loser: Oklahoma’s running backs
Jalen Hurts did what he could. He threw for close to 400 yards in the loss to Kansas State, and he led the team with 96 rushing yards and three scores. The Sooner running backs? Trey Sermon ran three times for nine yards, and Kennedy Brooks ran three times for two yards. That’s it.
Winner: QB Mac Jones, Alabama
Oh no, don’t start with any of that “No Tua, No Problem” stuff. You could’ve played quarterback for Alabama against Arkansas, handed it off 60 times, and everything would’ve been fine. But it does matter that backup Mac Jones completed 18-of-22 passes for 235 yards and three scores, getting in some great live reps to prepare just in case Tagovailoa can’t go against LSU in two weeks.
Loser: Passing in the Georgia Southern win over New Mexico State
The weather wasn’t great, and Georgia Southern doesn’t throw. However, if you love the forward pass, this was your nightmare. The two teams combined for 612 yards of rushing offense, but GSU’s Shai Werts completed two of four passes for three yards. One of the completions was for nine yards, and one was stopped for -6. Again, the Eagles get a free pass because they don’t … pass.
New Mexico State? It has thrown for over 210 yards against everyone but Alabama. Against Georgia Southern, Josh Adkins completed 13-of-23 passes for 59 yards and two interceptions.