Baylor, Notre Dame Fall From Unbeaten Ranks
P.O.'d Saban, Alabama Dump On Texas A&M
by Dave Congrove
October 19, 2014
The number of undefeated teams shrank from 6 to 4 over the weekend as Baylor fell 41-27 at surprising West Virginia, and Florida State survived Notre Dame 31-27 in a battle of unbeaten top five teams.
However, Baylor's loss may not be the biggest surprise of the weekend. Instead, the "Surprise Of the Week" moniker should probably go to Alabama, which manhandled Texas A&M 59-0.
Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban said earlier in the week that it "pisses me off" to hear his fan base and the media grumble about his squad not whipping opponents, and specifically being unhappy with a 14-13 win over Arkansas. Well, he and his players made a huge statement with the complete domination of the Aggies as they handed Kevin Sumlin his first shutout loss in 86 games as a head coach.
As for Baylor, Bryce Petty was kept under the 50% completion mark and held to just 223 yards passing and 2 TD's in the loss at Morgantown. On the whole, West Virginia kept Baylor to just 318 yards and outscored the Bears 14-0 in the 4th quarter. Not only did the result give Baylor its first loss, it also raised West Virginia's record to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the Big Twelve.
Coupled with Kansas State's 31-30 upset win at Oklahoma, the Wildcats are now the only team in the Big Twelve that has yet to lose a conference game (3-0). Oklahoma, a preseason favorite to compete for one of the four slots in the first so-called College Football Playoff, was likely eliminated from the national championship race with its second loss in three weeks.
Ole Miss continued to state it's case for playoff inclusion with a 34-3 win over Tennessee while Mississippi State and Auburn were among the 23 idle schools this week.
That brings us back to Tallahassee where Florida State caught a break when, with 13 seconds left in the game, Notre Dame's apparent winning touchdown pass on 4th-and-goal was wiped out by a gutsy, but appropriate, offensive pass interference penalty. Two Irish began blocking FSU defenders downfield before the ball was thrown, effectively setting a clear pick for the play. So, pushed back to the 18-yard line, the ensuing pass attempt sailed over the end line to secure the victory for the 'Noles.
Marshall remained unbeaten with a 45-13 win at FIU, but out of playoff consideration because of its schedule. The Thundering Herd has won each of its last 6 games by at least 25 points, but conference realignment has left Conference USA looking like nothing more than the Sun Belt on mild steroids.
Elsewhere, Ohio State blasted Rutgers 56-17, Duke beat Virginia 20-13 to hand the Cavaliers their first ACC loss, Maryland gave Iowa its first Big Ten loss 38-31, and Minnesota stayed perfect in Big Ten play by topping upset-minded Purdue 39-38 on a 52-yard field goal with 4:59 left.
A 53-game slate began Tuesday night when Louisiana-Lafayette downed Texas State 34-10.
Both games on Thursday night were won by the slight underdogs as Pitt topped Virginia Tech 21-16 and Utah overcame Oregon State in double-overtime 29-23.
The favorites won on Friday night with Boise State besting Fresno State 37-27, and Houston trampling Temple 31-10.
Late Saturday night, Stanford fell for the third time this season as Arizona State did the honors, 26-10.
Earlier on Saturday night, TCU bounced back from its loss to Baylor last week with a harsh 42-9 dismissal of Oklahoma State. And Oregon took out Washington 45-20 to give the Ducks their second straight win since losing at home to Arizona.
Also worth mentioning is BYU's 4th quarter home implosion against Nevada. The Wolf Pack outscored the Cougars 22-7 in the 4th quarter to win 42-35 and hand BYU consecutive losses at home for the first time since 2004.
Overall, 14 of the top 30 teams in the Congrove Computer Rankings faced each other this past week.
LARGEST/CLOSEST EXPECTED MARGIN OF VICTORY THIS WEEK:
Excluding FBS vs. FCS games, these were the 5 largest expected margins this week according to the computer:
Southern California 26.88 over Colorado
South Alabama 24.16 over Georgia State
Mississippi 22.94 over Tennessee
Louisville 22.30 over North Carolina State
UCLA 22.14 over California
All 5 expected winners prevailed, but UCLA only got by CAL 36-34 while South Alabama edged Georgia State 30-27. Louisville needed a late touchdown to pad a 30-18 win over N.C. State. USC won 56-28 after building a 49-14 lead as Cody Kessler threw a school record 7 TD passes, and Ole Miss turned a second quarter 3-0 deficit into a 34-3 romp.
These were the 5 closest expected margins this week according to the computer:
Ohio 0.35 over Akron
Kent State 0.35 over Army
Louisiana-Lafayette 1.49 over Texas State
Texas A&M 1.72 over Alabama
Missouri 1.85 over Florida
Of the above projected winners, all but Texas A&M lived up to expectations as the Aggies were completely useless in a 59-0 loss at Alabama.
Missouri built a 42-0 lead at Florida and won 42-13, despite managing only 119 yards of total offense and 7 first downs. The Tigers scored on the opening kick-off return, a punt return, a fumble return and an interception return. Florida threw 3 picks and lost 3 fumbles.
Charlie Weis and June Jones 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.
On October 5, Larry Blakeney announced he will retire from Troy at the end of the season. Blakeney is in his 24th season with the Trojans, making him the second-longest tenured coach in the FBS behind Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer.
Complete news on Coaching Changes here.
FBS vs. FCS:
There was only 1 FBS-FCS matchup this week as South Carolina beat Furman 41-10.
FBS teams are 92-8 (.920) vs. the FCS on the season, and have a cumulative record of 923-89 (.912) 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 have scheduled a total of 108 games against FCS foes. Appalachian State, Army, Ball State, Buffalo and FIU each play 2 such games.
Florida State - 23-game winning streak (FBS longest), 17-game conference winning streak (FBS longest). Won 31-27 at home over Notre Dame on Saturday.
Auburn - Won 13 straight home games (tied for FBS longest). Idle.
Baylor - Won 13 straight home games (tied for FBS longest). Lost 41-27 at West Virginia on Saturday.
Ohio State - Won 10 straight road games (FBS longest). Won 56-17 at home vs. Rutgers on Saturday.
LSU - Won 49 straight regular season nonconference games (FBS longest). Won 41-3 at home vs. Kentucky on Saturday.
Idaho - Snapped its FBS longest 13-game losing streak with a 29-17 win at home over New Mexico State on Saturday.
SMU - Lost 8 straight overall (FBS longest). Lost 41-3 at home vs. Cincinnati on Saturday.
Kansas - Lost 27 straight road games (FBS longest). Lost 34-21 at Texas Tech on Saturday.
Arkansas - Lost 16 straight conference games (FBS longest). Lost 45-32 at Little Rock vs. Georgia on Saturday.