Welcome to the quick recap of big things from Week 10 in the 20 Most Important College Football Thoughts Ever … at least for this week.
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20. Coastal Carolina 23, South Alabama 6
Don’t bail on Coastal Carolina just because it only beat South Alabama 23-9. The polls are still in love, and the New Year’s Six game and Sun Belt championship are both on the table. South Alabama is a decent enough defensive team to keep games from getting out of hand. Coastal Carolina got up early, the offense was balanced, the defense was strong throughout, and it was the sort of business-like easy win that good teams don’t sweat over.
19. Cincinnati 38, Houston 10
A whole lot of things can be true at once for Cincinnati. It can be that dominant, it can be there steady-good, and it can also be beating up on a whole slew of overrated and overloved teams. Houston is okay – it was missing its top receivers – but that doesn’t dismiss the 510 yards of total offense from the Bearcats, including 342 on the ground. The UC O line is a destructive force.
18. Oklahoma 62, Kansas 9
How next-level bad is Kansas? Oklahoma star QB Spencer Rattler was just okay, got hurt – he’s supposedly going to be fine with a banged up hip – and it was still a brutal blowout that got uglier and uglier with the backups in. No, this isn’t the Oklahoma team of previous seasons, and no, it’s not going to the College Football Playoff, but it’s working its way up into Big 12 Championship status with each week.
17. Texas A&M 48, South Carolina 3
Texas A&M might be fifth in the polls, and it is getting respect, but not enough. South Carolina really isn’t as bad as it looked – the Aggies were dominant. The D allowed just 150 yards of USC offense, Kellen Mond was methodically good, and the ground game – 264 yards and two scores – picked a great time to put together one of its best games of the season. It’s all there for the taking. Keep winning, go 9-1, expect Florida to lose another game, hope for a Notre Dame loss somewhere, and the CFP is right there.
16. Oregon 35, Stanford 14
Oregon’s win over Stanford is probably going to be dismissed as no big whoop, but that’s a better Cardinal team than it might seem. Tyler Shough was an effective 17-of-26 for 227 yards and a touchdown with a pick through the air for the Ducks, and he ran for 85 yards and a touchdown. Stanford showed a running game again after doing nothing last year, but that’s going to be the norm. Again, it was a good win for Oregon. This year, in the opener, take a 21-point victory and don’t ask any questions.
15. Indiana 38, Michigan 21
Don’t look at the opposing team records or get too into this any more than you have to. Indiana is 3-0 with wins over Penn State and Michigan. Again, Indiana – in football – is 3-0 with wins over Penn State and Michigan, beating the Wolverines for the first time since 1987.
The focus has been all on Michigan stinking it up, but really, this should be about IU improving in each of the first three games. Michael Penix’s 342 yards and three touchdowns, to go along with 97 yards and two scores from Stevie Scott, are legitimate. More than that, Indiana – again, in football – held the University of Michigan to 13 yards rushing.
14. Oklahoma State 30, Kansas State 18
Oklahoma State isn’t going to be the high-flying fun show we all thought it would be. However, the defense has been one of the biggest shockers of the 2020 college football season – it’s terrific, especially when it has to be (Texas game aside, to a point). The O didn’t really work against Kansas State, but on the road, and with the realistic Big 12 title dreams about to slip away, that was a gut-check win and finish – holding on to stop a two-point conversion in a take-the-W-get-on-the-bus-and-get-out game.
13. Marshall 51, UMass 10
Shhhhhhhhhh, but Marshall is right there in the mix for the Group of Five spot in the New Year’s Six. Beating UMass by 41 is about as tough as ordering drive-through, but this team just keeps rolling right along. The running game is great, freshman QB Grant Wells is getting sharper and sharper, and now all the program needs is for the Cincinnatis, Libertys, Coastal Carolinas and BYUs of the world to start to stumble.
12. Iowa State 38, Baylor 31
So by this point we know what Iowa State is. Brock Purdy isn’t going to rise up and have a dominant statistical year, but he’s still going to be fine. The three touchdown passes – good. The 164 yards and three interceptions – bad. However, Breece Hall is having a Doak Walker Award type of season – 31 carries for 133 yards and two scores – and the defense managed to hold down a mediocre Baylor attack. The team’s four turnovers, though, almost gave the game away.
11. Miami 44, NC State 41
D’Eriq King isn’t going to win the Heisman, and he’s always going to be behind the Clemson starting quarterback in the attention department, but a case has to be made for him as the ACC MVP. That Hurricane team needed everything he gave it in the 44-41 win over NC State, completing 31-of-41 passes for 430 yards and five touchdowns, and with a team-high 105 rushing yards on 15 carries.