If you’ve been following LGHL for a while, you might know that I enjoy chaos in any form I can get it. Give me Gritty, the chaos king of mascots. Give me a 10th-inning rain delay in the middle of Game 7 of the World Series (Sorry, Cleveland fans). And definitely, definitely give me a day in which college football rankings seemingly meant absolutely nothing (except OSU, duh. We’re the best).
Yesterday’s college football showdown was the exact level of chaos I want and need in my weekends. Unranked teams taking down ranked ones. Unranked teams putting up record numbers of points. Unranked teams proving we should relegate (OK, OK – this is another column for another day). It was like the Hunger Games out there. Half the victors looked less like winners and more like Jamie Lee Curtis emerging from a battle with Michael Myers, still alive but barely breathing.
The additional beauty of this chaos was that while top-25 teams were being thrown for a loop left and right, the Buckeyes were seemingly immune to the chaos in their 52-21 victory over Wisconsin. They dominated from the start, putting up the most points scored against Wisconsin since the 2014 Big Ten Championship Game.
C.J. Stroud continues to make his case for the Heisman with his five touchdown passes yesterday, and any doubts as to the Buckeyes’ National Championship potential after their slow start against Notre Dame are starting to fade. The defense (particularly the secondary) hasn’t been perfect, but it’s an amazing improvement from the last two seasons, and as this year goes on, I expect they’ll continue to settle in and find their stride under Jim Knowles.
So all of this is to say, yesterday, Buckeye fans like myself got to kick up our feet and watch all the other teams duke it out in a fight to the death. Some of them imploded. Some of them hung on by a thread using sheer force of will and maybe a little luck. But it ultimately made for one of the most entertaining Saturdays I’ve had in a long time.
Here were some of the most chaotic stories from across the NCAA yesterday:
Kent State putting up 22 points on Georgia
Until yesterday, this Georgia team has terrified me. They were easily playing the best football in the country, and no one had really been able to expose their weak spots. Naturally, everyone was expecting Georgia to kick Kent State - an unranked team - to the curb without much thought. And yet, that scrappy little Kent State team hung with the big boys, giving the rest of the NCAA hope that Georgia might not be as unstoppable as they looked.
Georgia had previously gone three full games without a turnover. Yesterday, they had three in the first half (two of which fell within a 7-minute period). And the Bulldogs had only allowed 10 points TOTAL through three games. Kent State more than doubled that yesterday, exposing holes in Georgia’s defense that should prove this Georgia team can be stopped.
Clemson’s double overtime
The bright side for Clemson is their near-loss was against a ranked team on the road (they played at Wake Forest). But my God, their defense looked so bad. In fact, at one point, coach Dabo Swinney was so frustrated with the secondary that he suggested he was one drive away from stepping in at cornerback.
Clemson, much like Georgia, looked great through the first three games (though not quite to the same unstoppable degree the Bulldogs did). Their offense got it done and put up 51 points in their double-overtime win yesterday, but injuries took out three key players on defense and it showed. They did just enough to stay alive, with the secondary ultimately trying to redeem itself with a pass breakup to give Clemson the win on the final play of the game. But they will need to be much better if they’re going to beat No. 10 NC State next weekend. I’m keeping my eye on the Tigers for more chaos to come next weekend.
Texas’ overtime fumble
Texas went into the second half with a 14-point lead in their matchup with Texas Tech. Then they watched it dwindle until Tech had a 34-31 edge with 21 seconds left in the game. Still, the Longhorns weren’t out of juice yet and they were able to put a field goal on the board to force overtime.
As if blowing their 14-point lead wasn’t bad enough, the chaos really kicked in during overtime. You’d think the momentum of making that field goal would light a fire under them, but no. On the first play of overtime, Longhorns running back Bijan Robinson fumbled the ball and Tech recovered. It cost them the game, but then again, if they had held onto their lead in the first place, they would never have been in that position to begin with.
The curse of Scott Frost
Scott Frost got fired. We love to see it. Goodbye, good night, and good luck. Go take your unsafe coaching and puking players elsewhere.
And yet, he still seems to be cursing teams who beat Nebraska. So far, three of the teams who beat Nebraska this year went on to lose their game the following week. Thought No. 6 Oklahoma would be exempt from that? Think again! Unranked Kansas State wreaked havoc on the rankings this week by knocking off the undefeated Sooners 41-34. It was the first loss of the Brent Venables era, and the additional chaos of it is that Venables (the Sooners’ head coach) WENT to Kansas State. Betrayed by his own people? You love to see it. Again, the Sooners allowed more points from the Wildcats yesterday than they had through all three games combined up to this point. A massive 4th-quarter run on 3rd-and-16 from quarterback Adrian Martinez (55 yards into the red zone) ultimately set up the Wildcats to edge out Oklahoma.
Kansas State has a history of messing with Oklahoma’s hopes and dreams, but up to this point, this Oklahoma team has looked dominant, so I don’t think anyone was really expecting this yesterday. I guess thanks, Scott Frost?
Middle Tennessee/Miami fourth quarter showdown
Everything about this game was bonkers. The fact that Middle Tennessee WON 45-31? Extra bonkers. The fact that Middle Tennessee NEVER TRAILED? Extra, extra bonkers. But the Fourth Quarter in particular stood out as especially nuts. The quarter opened with Middle Tennessee’s quarterback Chase Cunningham connecting with DJ England-Chisholm on a 98-yard pass for a touchdown.
But Miami, already embarrassed, wasn’t going to let that go unanswered, so Key’Shawn Smith ran the ensuing kickoff back 91 yards for a Hurricane touchdown of their own. In conclusion, Miami should be embarrassed, but they did give us 22 seconds of maximum chaos – one offensive play, 14 points between the two teams.
As teams dropped like flies left and right and others held on for dear life, this weekend was the best of what college football can be. But the takeaway was that no team is really unbeatable (even the ones that eked out wins). Perhaps that should be a warning to the Buckeyes as they enter their matchup with Rutgers next week, lest the Scarlet Knights get any bright ideas. The bright side is it also exposed a lot of holes in some potential playoff opponents.