Nick Saban made it to the sideline and Alabama recovered from a 24-20 halftime deficit to Georgia by dominating the second half for a 41-24 win in Tuscaloosa. On Wednesday leading up to the game, it was announced that the Alabama head coach had tested positive for Covid-19, but daily negative tests cleared his return to the team for the crucial battle between SEC divisional leaders.
Alabama has now won 6 straight in the series, dating back to 2008, including two triumphs in the conference championship game and one national championship clash.
Meanwhile, the virus erased these games from the week's schedule:
Oklahoma State at Baylor
Vanderbilt at Missouri
LSU at Florida
FIU at Charlotte
Southern Miss at UTEP
Cincinnati at Tulsa
Those cancellations were prompted by Covid cases at Baylor, Vanderbilt, Florida, FIU, Southern Miss and Cincinnati.
The SEC has been forced to make subsequent changes. The Missouri at Florida game originally scheduled for next Saturday (October 24) has been moved to October 31, the Kentucky-Missouri game scheduled for October 31 was moved up a week to next Saturday, and the Georgia-Kentucky game scheduled for October 24 has been moved back a week to October 31.
The cancellations also meant that all three conference leaders in the Big 12 - Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Kansas State - had the week off.
Regardless, there were still some key games on Saturday and some surprising outcomes.
Florida State surged to a 31-7 halftime lead at home over North Carolina and held on for a 31-28 win over the previously undefeated Tar Heels.
South Carolina's 30-22 win at home versus Auburn was the Gamecock's first over the Tigers since 1933, snapping an 8-game losing streak in the series which was dormant from 1934 through 1995.
Kentucky had lost 17 straight at Neyland Stadium before defeating Tennessee handily, 34-7, on Saturday. It was the first victory for the Wildcats in Knoxville since 1984.
Memphis upset UCF 50-49 to end a 13-game losing streak in that series. My Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com predicted the upset.
Liberty administered a 38-21 beatdown of Syracuse in the Carrier Dome.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corale was picked off 6 times and Arkansas upset the Rebels 33-21 in Fayetteville. Redshirt freshman Hunter Clark had three of those.
Marshall won the battle of CUSA division leaders, 35-17 at Louisiana Tech.
The action began on Wednesday with another skirmish among two teams at the top of their respective divisions as Sun Belt east division leader Coastal Carolina upset Louisiana 30-27 in Lafayette.
BYU ran its record to 5-0 on Friday with a 43-26 win at Houston.
On Saturday, UMass made its 2020 debut with a 41-0 loss at Georgia Southern. Presently, the Minutemen have no other games scheduled, Miami got back on track with a 31-19 win at home over Pitt, Clemson won a 73-7 laugher at Georgia Tech, and Notre Dame out-defended Louisville 12-7.
31 FBS teams are playing a total of 35 games against FCS schools this season. Army has 3 such games on its schedule.
Just one such game took place this week as Troy edged Eastern Kentucky 31-29. In that game, the Trojans needed Evan Legassey's walk-off 47-yard FG to secure the win, just 22 seconds after EKU had completed its rally from a 28-17 deficit at the start of the 4th quarter to take take a 29-28 lead on Keyion Dixon's 4-yard reception from Parker McKinney. Just when it looked like an FCS team would notch the first win of the season over a FBS foe, Troy's Reggie Todd returned the ensuing kick-off 35 yards to Troy's own 40, and Gunnar Watson threw a pair of 15-yard completions to set up Legassey's game-winner.
FBS teams are 25-0 in such matchups this season. Since we began tracking this in 2003, the FBS teams are 1,460-127 (.920).
Last year, FBS teams were 111-3 (.974) in such games.
These were the FCS wins vs. the FBS in the previous 2 seasons:
August 29: Central Arkansas 35, Western Kentucky 28
September 7: Southern Illinois 45, Massachusetts 20
September 14: The Citadel 27, Georgia Tech 24 (OT)
August 29: UC Davis 44, San Jose State 31
September 1: Villanova 19, Temple 17
September 1: Northern Arizona 30, UTEP 10
September 1: Nicholls State 26, Kansas 23 (OT)
September 2: North Carolina A&T 28, East Carolina 23
September 8: Maine 31, Western Kentucky 28
September 22: Illinois State 35, Colorado State 19
CLEMSON - Won 34 straight regular season games (FBS longest) games. Won 26 straight conference games (FBS longest). Won 26 straight home games (FBS longest). Won 14 straight true road games (FBS longest).
Last: Won 73-7 at Georgia Tech on Saturday, October 17.
Next: Hosts Syracuse on Saturday, October 24.
NOTRE DAME - Won 10 straight over-all (FBS-longest)
Last: Won 12-7 at home versus Louisville on Saturday, October 17.
Next: Visits Pittsburgh on Saturday, October 24.
AIR FORCE - Won 9 straight over-all (FBS 2nd-longest).
Last: Won 40-7 at home versus Navy on Saturday, October 3.
Next: Visits San Jose State on Saturday, October 24.
RUTGERS - Lost 21 straight conference games (FBS longest). Lost 13 straight road games (FBS longest)
Last: Lost 27-6 at Penn State on November 30, 2019.
Next: Season opener at Michigan State on Saturday, October 24.
AKRON - Lost 17 straight overall (FBS longest). Lost 8 straight home games (FBS longest).
Last: Lost 52-3 at home to Ohio on November 26, 2019.
Next: Season opener at home versus Western Michigan on Wednesday, November 4.