Welcome to the quick recap of big things from Week 11 in the 20 Most Important College Football Thoughts Ever … at least for this week.
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20. Liberty 58, Western Carolina 14
Okay, so Malik Willis threw for 306 yards and three scores to go along with a team-high 97 rushing yards and two touchdowns, but the real thing that mattered was Virginia Tech’s performance against Miami. The Hokies lost by one, and NC State – next week’s opponent for the Flames – rocked Florida State. There’s a chance Liberty can be 3-0 against ACC teams and have a far, far, far better top-line win resumé than Cincinnati and BYU.
19. NC State 38, Florida State 22
There’s a shot NC State can close out a very quiet, very strong season with a great record if it can be the team that – with Syracuse and Georgia Tech to close – finally trips up Liberty next week. Florida State is just a shell of itself at this point – this game was over before the fourth quarter and a few late points – with QB Chubba Purdy stepping in and doing what he could. NC State wasn’t great, but it didn’t have to be.
18. Marshall 42, Middle Tennessee 14
If it’s possible to have a business-like 28-point blowout win on a day loaded with emotion – this marked the 50th year since the school’s devastating plane crash that killed most of the football team – this was it. Grant Wells threw five touchdown passes and didn’t make any big mistakes, the running game was fine, and the dominant Herd defense made it seven games without allowing more than 17 points.
17. Cincinnati 55, East Carolina 17
Yes, yes, very good Cincinnati. You’ve done the blow up the mediocre American Athletic Conference thing, but the world – particularly the College Football Playoff committee – is going to need more. It’s not the Bearcats’ fault, but there’s just nothing there – and don’t say SMU, Houston or Memphis, it demeans us both.
Yes, UCF lost to Memphis, but rocking the Knights in the Bounce House next week and taking care of Tulsa on the road – the last three games are on the road, including Temple – might just do it. The team has been a dominant machine with QB Desmond Ridder working his way into the honor of being the nation’s best unknown player.
16. Louisiana 38, South Alabama 10
Louisiana might be a top 25 team, but it’s still not getting any respect considering it holds the honor of handing Iowa State its worst loss of the season. South Alabama isn’t Alabama, but this was still a strong win against a decent defensive team that gave Tulane and Coastal Carolina a slew of problems. The Ragin’ Cajuns busted out an almost perfectly balanced day – 252 yards passing and 254 on the ground, but there were too many penalties and just enough mistakes to get yelled at this week.