FSU Escapes Once More; UCLA Handles USC
Minnesota, Wisconsin each win to set up de facto playoff for division title
by Dave Congrove
November 23, 2014
The week was relatively void of marquee matchups, but that didn't prevent college football from delivering another whacky weekend.
As if to put an explanation point on it, the last game to finish was about as whacky as endings can come. UNLV took a 35-31 lead at Hawaii with 15 seconds left, but 2 unsportsmanlike conduct penalties help Hawaii get the ball at the Rebel 42-yard line. A 22-yard pass moved the ball to the UNLV 20 with 1 second remaining, and Hawaii won on a 20-yard pass as time expired.
The week's schedule included the cancellation of a game due to snow, a requisite comeback from Florida State, and the second straight shutout win by Arkansas after losing 17 straight conference games.
Kent State-Buffalo was the cancelled contest last Wednesday; this week's FSU comeback victim was Boston College (20-17); and, Arkansas's second straight shutout was a 30-0 destruction of Ole Miss.
Other oddities included Wake Forest and Virginia Tech playing the first scoreless tie in regulation since 2005, with Wake ultimately winning 6-3 in double-OT.
Another oddity was watching Melvin Gordon's single-game rushing record (408 yards for Wisconsin) be broken just a week later by Oklahoma's Samaje Perine (427 yards) in a 44-7 romp over Kansas.
Meanwhile, Gordon ran for 200 yards this week to help Wisconsin stave off the upset bid by Iowa, 26-24. And Minnesota rallied for a 28-24 win at Nebraska to make next week's Minnesota-Wisconsin battle a de facto playoff for the Big Ten's west division title.
Conference USA's west division title will also come down to a de facto playoff game when Rice visits Louisiana Tech on Saturday. The winner gets to visit Marshall (11-0) for the championship game. The Bulldogs could have clinched the crown with a win at upstart Old Dominion, but fell 30-27 in overtime. By the way, Marshall only managed a 23-18 win at UAB to end a string of 10 straight blowout victories by 15 points or more.
The ACC title is set as Georgia Tech backed into the Coastal crown when Duke was spanked 45-20 by North Carolina on Thursday. Florida State had already secured the Atlantic division.
Bowling Green awaits the winner of the MAC West title where Northern Illinois, Western Michigan and Toledo are all 6-1. NIU would be undefeated versus the other two if the Huskies can take care of the Broncos next Friday at Kalamazoo. WMU can only clinch if it beats NIU and gets an unlikely Toledo loss at Eastern Michigan.
Another 3-team battle is taking place for the MWC Mountain title as Colorado State, Boise State and Utah State are all 6-1. BSU would be undefeated versus the other two if the Broncos can take care of the Aggies at home on Saturday. Utah State can only clinch if it beats Boise and Colorado State loses at Air Force.
Oregon awaits the PAC-12 South winner as Arizona, Arizona State and UCLA are each 6-2 in the conference and 9-2 overall. UCLA defeated both of the 'Zonas so a home win over Stanford on Friday would clinch the division. If UCLA loses to Stanford, then the winner of Friday's Arizona State-Arizona game will advance.
Missouri and Alabama will be the SEC title matchup if each wins its season finale at home on Saturday, But the Tigers host red hot Arkansas while the Tide have their annual Iron Bowl rivalry game versus Auburn. Georgia clinches the Eastern division if Missouri loses. Mississippi State clinches the Western division if 'Bama loses and the Bulldogs beat Ole Miss in the annual Egg Bowl rivalry game.
Multiple teams are still in the running for the American and Big 12 titles.
The Sun Belt is surprisingly Georgia Southern's to lose as the Eagles are the only undefeated team in league play after Louisiana-Lafayette's surprising loss at home to Appalachian State. Georgia Southern can finish 8-0 with a home win over Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday.
No team is better than 7-4 among the Independents after Notre Dame fell 31-28 at home to Louisville for a third straight loss. BYU is also 7-4 after a 64-0 win over FCS member Savannah State. Navy is only 5-5 and Army is 4-7.
The College Football Playoff Committee will have the same 7 primary teams to look at when they convene on Tuesday:
Florida State (11-0)
Mississippi State (10-1)
Ohio State (10-1)
Last week's committee top 4 was:
3) Florida State
4) Mississippi State
There's a real possibility the committee could slip Mississippi State above FSU this week, especially after the 'Noles struggled again while the Bulldogs were blanking Vanderbilt 51-0. But ultimately, I think the committee would love to have those 4 teams at the end of the season, in the order that they already have them, to force a 1 vs. 4 playoff with the 2 SEC teams.
Charlie Weis, June Jones and Jeff Quinn are the early departures in the head coaching ranks.
Jones announced on September 8 that he was resigning as the head coach of SMU.
Weis was fired from Kansas on September 28.
Quinn was fired from Buffalo on October 13.
On October 5, Larry Blakeney announced he will retire from Troy at the end of the season.
Complete news on Coaching Changes here.
FBS vs. FCS:
There were 6 matchups this week between FBS and FCS schools. The FBS went 6-0 to finish the season with a record of 100-8 (.926) in such games, and they now have a cumulative record of 931-89 (.913) since 2003.
Here are the results from all of this season's FBS losses to FCS schools:
8/30: Bethune-Cookman 14, FIU 12
8/30: North Dakota State 31, Iowa State 14
9/6: Eastern Kentucky 17, Miami (Ohio) 10
9/13: Indiana State 27, Ball State 20
9/13: Abilene Christian 38, Troy 35
9/20: NW State (La.) 30, Louisiana Tech 27
9/27: Yale 49, Army 43 (OT)
10/11: Liberty 55, Appalachian State 48 (OT)
North Dakota State's win over Iowa State on opening weekend was the 5th straight over a FBS team for the three-time defending FCS champions. Since 2010, NDSU has won road games at Kansas, Minnesota, Colorado State, Kansas State, and now Iowa State. Conversely, Iowa State has lost 2 straight to FCS schools after opening last season with a loss to Northern Iowa.
Bethune-Cookman's win over FIU on opening weekend was its second straight over the Golden Panthers.
This year, 103 FBS schools scheduled a total of 108 games against FCS foes. Appalachian State, Army, Ball State, Buffalo and FIU each played 2 such games.
Florida State - 27-game winning streak (FBS longest), 21-game conference winning streak (FBS longest). Won 20-17 at home vs. Boston College on Saturday.
Alabama - Won 15 straight home games (tied for FBS longest). Won 48-14 at home vs. FCS member Western Carolina on Saturday.
Baylor - Won 15 straight home games (tied for FBS longest). Won 49-28 at home vs. Oklahoma State on Saturday.
Ohio State - Won 13 straight road games (FBS longest). Won 42-27 at home vs. Indiana on Saturday.
LSU - Won 49 straight regular season nonconference games (FBS longest). Idle.
SMU - Lost 12 straight overall (FBS longest). Lost 53-7 at UCF on Saturday.
Kansas - Lost 29 straight road games (FBS longest). Lost 44-7 at Oklahoma on Saturday.
Georgia State - Lost 13 straight conference games (FBS longest). Lost 28-0 at Clemson on Saturday.