In the AAC we saw USF head coach Charlie Strong, who fought to get a upgrade at offensive coordinator, completely ignore said OC and play the slow tempo that he prefers. Strong is an incredible defensive coordinator who recruits well but clearly has no ability to be a head coach. UCF has road woes. They are invincible at home but on the road where all three losses have occurred, their true freshman quarterback Dillon Gabriel has been shaky at best. The Knights have upgraded their defense the past two seasons but still play a tempo that often times results in trading points. That said, they were an 0-12 team five years ago and now we are discussing how awful they are in a 3-loss season.
The ACC continues to be as odd as any conference as I can remember. Virginia Tech punishes Wake Forest for four quarters, Miami throws up 50 points on Louisville after not eclipsing 24 in five weeks, and Clemson scores a touchdown from the 1-yard line with 35 seconds left against NC State just because they could.
Is the Big 12 so good that everyone with the exception of Kansas and West Virginia can beat one another no matter the week or circumstance? Or is it just mediocre? Jalen Hurts is not Kyler Murray that’s for certain but it seems Oklahoma might have the same weak pass defense it had last year.
In the Big 10 we saw Minnesota dominate Penn state for three and half quarters. A man I assume only looked like PJ Fleck tried to lean on his defense late and almost lost. Michigan State lost to Illinois after being up 24 points at one point. I don’t have anything to add other than pointing out the absurdity of Sparty’s season.
Chad Morris was fired from Arkansas after losing by 40 to Western Kentucky. He deserved it by being so “non-SEC.” He will be the best offensive coordinator in the ACC again in 2020 and I predict Arkansas will hire someone who runs the ball 50 times a game and wins…three games in 2020. Baby steps can go backwards too!
No team has had a more puzzling season that Florida International who won nine games last year, had all the pieces back, but have have collapsed at every turn. They are a anomaly in that they seem to care, have a lot of experience, aren’t overly injured but just have regressed well beyond the mean.
It’ puzzling Louisiana Tech is getting zero consideration for a New Year’s 6 berth. They have a Week 1 loss to Texas and eight consecutive wins; six of which in dominating fashion.
In the MAC no team in the nation has been more disappointing than Ohio. A team that was projected to win the MAC going away thanks to the best quarterback in the league and what seemed to be a weak schedule. Instead that are less than a field goal favorite at home vs. Western Michigan and will have to fight and claw to make a bad bowl appearance.
Miami-Ohio has won three one possession games this season. That’s two more than Chuck Martin’s previous three seasons. The ultimate defense-first head coach found a perfect combo of bad offenses and rebuilding programs to actually reach a bowl game — IF they don’t mess anything up. Enthralling to me personally.
Hawaii is bowl eligible for consecutive years under Nick “no defense allowed” Rolovich. They’re fun, they play fast and recruit to a system. Meanwhile, Wyoming, under Craig “no passing offense allowed” Bohl just took Boise State to the wire. They too are tough, grueling, and do a good job of recruiting to a system. Take a look at your two and three win teams and the difference is often coaching. This especially true in non-power 5 leagues.
LSU beat Alabama and did so convincingly. Even if you’re a Crimson Tide fan it was badass that it wasn’t a 23-17 grinder. Points and drama! It’s why you loved this sport to begin with.
California beat Washington State with Devon Modster at quarterback. Wazzu started over at defensive back and I was certain they would regress some but this defense looks to be in serious trouble and it’s not a one-year fix in my eyes.
On Friday, Washington gave us a preview of the boredom we can expect the next few years. The Huskies have found a true love in ultra slow and conservative play calling the last three years and continue to stock pile high star recruits at defensive back and offensive line. It’s a new PAC-12 thing and while not always exciting, the fan base at Arizona would probably be thrilled.
Until next week – Eddie