I am writing this in my hotel room in Biloxi, Mississippi where my family fled to escape the wrath of Hurricane Irma which, just about now, is moving into south Florida and only beginning to wreak devastation on the state. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Irma's path.
Irma, of course, is the reason 5 football games were canceled - Florida vs. Northern Colorado; Louisiana-Monroe at Florida State, Miami at Arkansas State, Memphis at UCF, and USF at Connecticut.
I find it quite interesting that the subtraction of Northern Colorado from Florida's schedule resulted in their strength of schedule rank jumping from 46 to 4. That should serve as an eye-opener to the Athletic Director of any school who hopes to have his team in position for selection to the final 4. FBS teams played 113 games against FCS foes in 2016. Thankfully, that number is down to 97 this season after the cancellation of the Gators' game.
The big games this week resulted in some unexpectedly lopsided victories.
Oklahoma exacted revenge on Ohio State with an impressive 31-16 victory in Columbus. The Sooners' Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback, Baker Mayfield, jubilantly planted the OU flag at the 50-yard line after the game. It was Oklahoma's 12th straight win since falling 45-24 to the Buckeyes in Norman last year. The victory vaulted Oklahoma over Penn State to take the top spot in this morning's new Congrove Computer Rankings (CCR Top 130) at CollegeFootballPoll.com. Ohio State slipped to 12th with the loss.
Penn State was impressive in its own right, crushing rival Pitt 33-14 in Happy Valley.
Alabama moved from 4th to 3rd, but not because they played anybody of note this week. The Tide simply took care of business with a 41-10 win over visiting Fresno State.
Wisconsin slipped from 3rd to 4th after a much closer than expected 31-14 win over Florida Atlantic. However, the Badgers earned a lot of 'good humans' points by helping the FAU team as much as possible during their extended stay in Madison to get away from Irma.
Clemson moved up 2 places to 5th on the heels of a 14-6 win over Auburn. The Clemson "D" was so dominating that it held Auburn to 117 total yards while only amassing 284 themselves. Following a fumble on their own 11-yard line in the 1st quarter, Auburn gained just 1 yard and kicked a field goal. After Aubirn recovered another fumble in the 2nd quarter, the offense managed to move from its own 44 to the Clemson 37 only to have QB Jarrett Stidham get sacked for a 17-yard loss on 4th and 3. Auburn plummeted from 8th to 30th with the loss.
Checking in at No. 6 are the USC Trojans who kicked Stanford from 6th to 19th with their 42-24 win over the Cardinal in Los Angeles. Southern Cal muscled and finessed its way to a balanced 623 yards. USC snapped a 3-game losing streak to the Cardinal while improving their own current winning streak to 11 games.
Washington, Oklahoma State, Tennessee and Washington State round out the Top 10.
Washington State need 3 overtimes to shake off Boise State 47-44. The Broncos had won 4 straight over PAC-12 teams.
Other top games saw Georgia get past Notre Dame 20-19, TCU demolish Arkansas 28-7, Oregon down Nebraska 42-35, and Louisville beat North Carolina 47-35.
In Louisville's win, Heisman candidate Lamar Jackson accounted for 525 of his teams' 705 total yards. Jackson threw for 393 yards and 3 touchdowns, and added 132 on the ground and 3 rushing scores.
98 games were scheduled to be played by FBS teams against FCS schools, but the cancellation of Northern Colorado at Florida reduced that number to 97. 25 of those games took place this weekend with FCS squads picking up 2 victories. South Dakota defeated Bowling Green, and New Hampshire knocked off Georgia Southern.
FBS schools are now 66-6 vs. the FCS this season (.917) and 1,196-114 (.913) since 2003.
These are the FCS victories in 2017:
September 9: South Dakots 35. Bowling Green 27
September 9: New Hampshire 22, Georgia Southern 12
September 2: Liberty 48, Baylor 45
September 2: Howard 43, UNLV 40
September 2: James Madison 34, East Carolina 14
August 31: Tennessee State 17, Georgia State 10.
The 97-game total for this season is down substantially from the 110 schools that played 113 games vs. FCS schools last year.
Alabama - Won 38 straight regular season nonconference games (FBS longest). Won 11 straight road games. Won 17 straight conference games (FBS record). Defeated Fresno State 41-10 on Saturday.
Oklahoma - Won 12 straight overall (FBS longest). Won 12 straight road games (FBS longest). Won 31-16 at Ohio State on Saturday.
Houston - Won 15 straight home games (FBS longest). Won 19-16 at Arizona on Saturday.
Fresno State - Lost 14 straight FBS games (FBS longest). Lost 41-10 at Alabama on Saturday.
Rutgers - Lost 11 straight overall (FBS longest). Lost 14 straight conference games (FBS longest). lost 16-13 at home to Eastern Michigan on Saturday.
Kansas - Lost 41 straight road games (FBS longest). Lost 45-27 at home to Central Michigan on Saturday.