Weekend Recap: Ohio State Survives, Oklahoma Wins non-Bedlam, Wisconsin Falls

November 22, 2020 by Staff

A week that saw 18 games canceled or postponed by Covid issues had some interesting results play out, especially in the three head-to-head matchups of teams ranked in the AP 25.

#3 Ohio State opened a 35-7 lead in the 3rd quarter on #9 Indiana, then held off a late rally to shake-off the upset-minded Hoosiers 42-35 in Columbus.

Meanwhile, #10 Wisconsin's seemingly unstoppable offense was, indeed, stopped by #19 Northwestern as the Wildcats upset the Badgers 17-7 in Evanston.

#14 Oklahoma State and #18 Oklahoma State were supposedly waging Bedlam. It was more like an inducement to yawn as the Sooners romped to a 41-13 win and improved their extremely lopsided series lead to 90-18-7. In the Mike Gundy era, the Cowboys are 2-14 vs. their state rival.

In the only other Big 12 game played, Iowa State and Kansas State returned from a week off to face each other in Ames where the Cyclones took their 11.5-point favorite status and dismantled the Wildcats 45-0. The Texas-Kansas game was canceled, and four other teams in the conference were already idle - Baylor, TCU, Texas Tech and West Virginia.

In SEC games, Alabama leveled Kentucky 63-3, Florida pulled away in the second half for a 38-17 win over Vanderbilt in Nashville, and LSU picked up a 27-24 victory at Arkansas. In night games, Auburn rallied past Tennessee after falling behind 10-0; Georgia never led against Mississippi State until scoring the game-winning touchdown with 9:50 left in the 31-24 win; and Missouri won 17-10 at South Carolina to deny Mike Bobo a win in his first game as interim head coach.

In the PAC-12, Washington beat Arizona 44-27, Oregon was a 38-35 winner over UCLA, and Oregon State downed Cal 31-27. Saturday night, the cardiac kids from USC finally put a little distance between themselves and an opponent, spoiling Utah's belated season-opener 33-17 in Salt lake City at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Utes had covid-related cancellations of their Arizona and UCLA games.

In the Mountain West, Nevada (5-0) stayed undefeated with a 26-21 win over San Diego State. San Jose State (4-0) is also unbeaten, but the Spartans' game at Fresno State was canceled and will not be rescheduled. Boise State (4-1) opened up leads of 33-9 and 40-17 at Hawaii, then staved off a furious rally for the 40-32 win.

Cincinnati, BYU and Coastal Carolina all remained undefeated. The Bearcats came from behind to edge UCF 36-33 in Orlando while the Cougars romped over FCS member North Alabama 66-14 in Provo, and the Chanticleers overcame Appalachian State 34-23 in Conway, South Carolina.

Joining Appalachian State with a loss in Sun Belt play on Saturday was Arkansas State as the Red Wolves fell 47-45 to Texas State. The Mountaineers or Red Wolves have won or shared 8 Sun Belt titles in the last 9 years. Arkansas State won't sniff a title in 2020 after falling to 1-5 in conference play. And it will be tough for Appalachian State because, despite being 4-1, they'll need the Chanticleers to lose twice. By the way, Appalachian State is now 45-8 in conference play since entering the Sun Belt in 2014 and hasn't lost more than 1 conference game in a season since that inaugural year in the league.

Tulsa and Cincinnati are the only undefeated teams in American conference play and are schedule to face each other in Tulsa on December 12.

On Thursday, Tulsa escaped with an improbable win over Tulane. The Green Wave were ahead 14-0 entering the fourth quarter, but Tulsa tied it at 14-apiece with 3:16 to play. Tulane went back in front 21-14 with 1:38 to go but, not to be outdone, the Golden Hurricane took 9 plays to set up a game-tying 37-yard touchdown pass on the final play of regulation. Ultimately, Tulsa prevailed 30-24 in double-OT to end Tulane's 3-game wining streak in the series.

Liberty was looking to stay unbeaten and improve to 3-0 vs. ACC and teams, but the Flames came up short at N.C. State, 15-14, thanks to a blocked 39-yard field goal with 1:18 left in the game. Virginia Tech would've defeated Liberty on a blocked field goal return for a touchdown two weeks ago, but a Justin Fuente time out gave the Flames another field goal opportunity which was converted.

Michigan (2-3) avoided the upset loss at Rutgers (1-4), winning 48-42 in triple-overtime. More surprising than the near-loss was the 8-point spread. After all, Michigan had outscored Rutgers by a cumulative 256-37 from 2015-2019 for an average score of 51-7, including shutouts of 78-0 and 52-0.

While Michigan's downturn is inexplicable, Penn State's demise is even more puzzling. The Nittany Lions dropped to 0-5 after taking a 41-21 whipping from Iowa.

We can throw Nebraska into this discussion, too. The Cornhuskers fell to 1-3 with a 41-23 loss at home to Illinois (2-3). The Fighting Illini are now 2-9-1 vs. Nebraska since 1925.

At least Virginia Tech can blame Covid for its issues, but that doesn't explain the 47-14 loss to a Pitt team on Saturday that had more starters missing than the Hokies. It was a third straight loss for Virginia Tech (4-5) while the Panthers improved to 5-4.

Covid was causing games to be canceled as late as Saturday morning. That's when, three hours before kickoff, the Clemson-Florida State was called off. A Clemson player traveled with the team to Tallahassee and then tested positive on Friday. "The postponement," according to a release by the ACC, "follows this morning's game conference call, at which time both teams' medical personnel were unable to mutually agree on moving forward with the game."

Here are the games that were affected by Covid this week:
UAB vs. UTEP. Make-up date to be determined (TBD)
Ole Miss at Texas A&M. Make-up date TBD. Possibly 12/19.
Louisiana-Monroe vs. Louisiana Tech will NOT be rescheduled.
Ohio at Miami (O) will NOT be rescheduled.
Arizona State at Colorado will NOT be rescheduled.
Georgia Tech at Miami. Make-up date TBS. Possibly 12/19.
Charlotte at Marshall. Make-up date TBD.
Wake Forest at Duke will NOT be rescheduled.
Navy at USF. Unlikely to be rescheduled.
Houston at SMU rescheduled on 12/5.
Central Arkansas (FCS) at Louisiana-Lafayette. No make-up date planned.
Utah State at Wyoming will NOT be rescheduled.
Texas at Kansas postponed to 12/12.
UNLV at Colorado State will NOT be rescheduled.
San Jose State at Fresno State will NOT be rescheduled.
Washington State at Stanford will NOT be rescheduled.
Clemson at Florida State postponed. 12/12 is available make-up date but not officially rescheduled.

Miami (FLA) not only announced the cancellation of this week's home game vs. Georgia Tech, but also next week's road trip to Wake Forest.

In a related development, the PAC-12 has switched course and said it would allow non-conference scheduling to help teams replace games that get canceled. To date, six Pac-12 games have been canceled: Washington at California, Arizona at Utah, California at Arizona, Utah at UCLA, Arizona State at Colorado and Washington State at Stanford.

The ACC on Saturday said it will allow Wake Forest to schedule a second non-conference foe (if it so desires) to replace the lost game vs. Duke. The Blue Devils rejected an offer to make up the game on December 19.

Week 12 had another early-week start, thanks to "MACtion" which presented a pair of games on Tuesday and 3 more on Wednesday. The computer was 12-0 outright on MAC games in the first two weeks and made it to 14-0 with Tuesday night's games that saw Kent State flash past Akron 69-35 and Buffalo stampede Bowling Green 42-17. On Wednesday, the computer got to 15-0 with Ball State's 31-25 over Northern Illinois, but then missed on Western Michigan's 52-44 upset of Central Michigan, and Toledo's 45-28 rout of Eastern Michigan.

On Friday night, Minnesota was a 34-31 upset winner over Purdue, Louisville blanked Syracuse 30-0, FAU downed UMass 24-2, and Air Force skunked New Mexico 28-0.

Playoff Committee Rankings

ESPN on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. ET will have the first reveal of the playoff committee's rankings. Our best guess at a Top 4 would be as follows:

1. Alabama
2. Notre Dame
3. Ohio State
4. Clemson

Just outside that group would be Texas A&M and Florida.

It will be interesting to see what the committee does with and Cincinnati and BYU. While the AP has those teams ranked 7th and 8th, we think the committee will have a much wider separation with Cincinnati clearly in command as the top team outside the Power 5 conferences. Don't be surprised if Miami, Oregon and even Indiana all rank ahead of the Cougars. The Hoosiers' loss to Ohio State is unlikely to lead to much demotion in the rankings, if any.


30 FBS teams are playing a total of 35 games against FCS schools this season.

There were three such games this week and all three FCS schools lost by at least 40 points. North Alabama was blasted 66-14 at BYU, Stephen F. Austin was swamped 56-14 at Memphis, and Abilene Christian got rolled 55-15 at Virginia.

FBS teams are 32-1 in such matchups this season. Since we began tracking this in 2003, the FBS teams are 1,467-128 (.920).

Last year, FBS teams were 111-3 (.974) in such games.

Here is the only FCS win vs. the FBS this season:
October 23: Jacksonville State 19, FIU 10

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 - Three streaks ended with 47-40 double-OT loss at Notre Dame. The Tigers had won 35 straight regular season games, 29 straight conference games and 14 straight true road games - all of which topped the FBS. Clemson still has the longest home game winning streak at 27.
Last: Game at Florida State on Saturday, November 21 was canceled 3 hours before kick-off.
Next: Hosts Pittsburgh on Saturday, November 28.

NOTRE DAME - Won 14 straight over-all (FBS-longest)
Last: Won 45-31 at Boston College on Saturday, Novermber 14.
Next: Visits North Carolina on Friday, November 27.

OHIO STATE - Won 19 straight conference games (new FBS longest). Won 8 straight road games (new FBS longest). Won 20 straight regular season games (new FBS longest).
Last: Won 42-35 at home versus Indiana on Saturday, November 21.
Next: Visits Illinois on Saturday, November 28.

NEW MEXICO - Lost 19 straight conference games (FBS longest). Lost 12 straight road games (FBS longest).
Last: Lost 28-0 at Air Force on Friday, November 20.
Next: Visits Utah State on Thursday, November 26.

AKRON - Lost 20 straight overall (FBS longest). Lost 9 straight home games (FBS longest). Lost 11 straight road games (FBS second-longest).
Last: Lost 69-35 at Kent State on Tuesday, November 17.
Next: Hosts Miami (O) on Saturday, November 28.