That is a real photo of a Purdue lineman chugging a beer that was thrown onto the field in the third quarter of the game. Was it a little early to start celebrating? Maybe, but Iowa, despite having one of the best secondaries in college football, had no answer for the Purdue passing game all game.
Elsewhere, despite leading his short-handed team to a 49-42 upset win over the 20th-ranked Florida Gators, LSU head coach Ed Orgeron has reportedly reached a “mutual” agreement with the LSU athletic department that he will be relieved of his duties at the end of the season.
Things in Knoxville got ugly late into the night when frustrated Tennessee fans began throwing all kinds of random shit onto the field, including a golf ball at Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin, a full bottle of yellow mustard, and various drinks including beer.
Where are people getting these beers? I thought you couldn’t buy beer in college football stadiums. And why did someone have a full bottle of mustard at a football game? And a golf ball, for that matter?
The only explanations for the golf ball that I can think of are that someone deliberately brought it to the game with the intent of throwing it at Lane Kiffin, meaning it was premeditated, or that whoever threw it was just playing golf earlier that day, had it in his pocket, got really drunk and pissed off, and chucked it on the field.
Obviously there’s still a lot of animosity in Knoxville towards Lane Kiffin, who spent one season as the Tennessee head coach back in 2009 before bolting for USC once that job opened up. And of course Kiffin spent several years at Alabama beating up on Tennessee regularly. But c’mon people, take it easy. They literally had to delay the game for like 20 minutes in order to get things back under control. It was pretty wild:
And then of course the game was actually still somewhat winnable at the end for Tennessee, but on the last play of the game, their QB–the backup Joe Milton, in for the injured starter–ran out of bounds with double zeros on the clock. Didn’t even try to toss up a prayer–nope, just scrambled out of the pocket, ran for 10 yards or so, went out of bounds, and the game was over.
Is there anything more Tennessee than that? Zero 10-win seasons since 2007. Things in Knoxville have been bad for a while, and the fans are sick of it. Having a bad team is not an excuse to do barbaric shit like this, but those fans are sick and tired of sucking. Tennessee just hasn’t been able to get the coach right since parting ways with Phil Fulmer in 2008. And even towards the end of his time there things started going downhill.
Anyway, let’s get on to the top-25 action:
- ✅ Georgia, W, 30-7 vs. Kentucky: Kentucky is simply no match for Georgia. The top team in the nation rolls on, downing yet another ranked team in their march to Atlanta for the SEC Championship. I know upsets happen, but right now it looks like there’s nobody in the SEC that can stop this team other than Bama. Georgia is now the only undefeated team in the SEC, and now holds the tiebreaker over Kentucky in the East. Georgia would have to lose two of their next three games in order to not make the SEC Championship Game, as their final two games are non-conference matchups against Charleston Southern and Georgia Tech. Georgia’s next three games? Florida, Mizzou, at Tennessee. I think can we assume Georgia’s punched their ticket to Atlanta. There ain’t no way they’re losing two of those three games. The SEC East is a wrap.
- ❌ Iowa, L, 24-7 vs. Purdue: Speaking of upsets. Iowa got that huge win over Penn State last week, moved up to #2, it seemed like they were well on their way to entering the Big Ten Championship undefeated. But then they ran into the most dangerous team in the Big Ten when you’re ranked #2 in the nation: Purdue. You might remember in 2018, #2 Ohio State went on the road to Purdue and got absolutely blown away 49-20. This time Purdue went into Iowa City and spoiled the perfect season. There is something about Purdue where they are just lethal for top-ranked teams. As an unranked team, Purdue has the most wins ever over teams ranked 1 or 2 with 9 dating all the way back to the 1950s. The next closest team has 4! I don’t know what it is about Purdue but this is their thing. Look, I don’t think anybody really believed Iowa was legitimately the second best team in college football, but nobody expected them to get housed by an unranked Purdue squad at home. Iowa has been benefitting all season long from getting an inordinate number of interceptions and knocking opposing QBs out of the game, but all that stuff is unsustainable and you can’t rely on it happening every week. It didn’t happen this week, and in fact Purdue absolutely torched that much-heralded Iowa secondary. The Iowa offense also couldn’t get a thing going, either. Spencer Petras finished with 4 INTs, although one was at the very end as time expired. Iowa has been exposed. Their fake ID got them into the bar and past the bouncer, but then they started getting too crazy once inside the bar, so another one of the bouncers was like, “Wait a minute, let me see your ID, kid.” Iowa reluctantly pulled out the fake ID, but this bouncer wasn’t buying it. “This is a fake. You’re outta here, kid.” It almost worked, Iowa. It almost worked. You almost pulled it off. Now Iowa has to go to Wisconsin after a bye week. Iowa probably will not even win out at this point, meaning it’s no guarantee they’ll even make the Big Ten Championship Game. Their Playoff hopes are basically dead already, but now I’m not even sure if they’ll make it to Indy.
- ✅ Cincinnati, W, 56-21 vs. UCF: Not much to say here. Cincy is by far the best team in their conference. They took care of business.
- ✅ Oklahoma, W, 52-31 vs. TCU: I wasn’t able to catch this game but it seems like business as usual for OU. I really wanted to see Caleb Williams in his starting debut but it wasn’t on TV for me. He did great: 18-23 passing for 295 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs and a 96.5 QBR. You have to imagine that Spencer Rattler probably won’t see starting reps unless Williams gets hurt, right? Defensively, Oklahoma let up some points and TCU was able to gain 529 yards, which was slightly ahead of OU’s 524. But Oklahoma was really in control of the game the whole way through: they led 14-7 after 1, 24-14 at the half, and 45-24 after 3.
- ✅ Alabama, W, 49-9 at Mississippi State: You knew the Tide would bounce back with a vengeance after losing to A&M last weekend. The moment that kick went in last Saturday in College Station and the Tide went down, Mississippi State was probably like, “Oh, shit.” Whoever the Tide played this week was going to catch a beating. Mississippi State was unfortunately the team on the schedule.
- Ohio State, on bye.
- Penn State, on bye.
- Michigan, on bye.
- ✅ Oregon, W, 24-17 vs. Cal: I watched this game on Friday night. Cal absolutely could’ve won. I thought they actually looked like the better team for most of the game despite being 1-4. Oregon’s star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux was suspended for the first half of the game due to a targeting call last week, but Cal was able to move the ball all game long. Not impressed with what I saw from Oregon. They look like they have a few more Ls in their future.
- ✅ Michigan State, W, 20-15 at Indiana: Enjoy it while it lasts, Sparty. Barely escaping Indiana is not a good sign going into the toughest part of the schedule.
- ❌ Kentucky, L, 30-7 at Georgia: Well, you had to figure Kentucky would lose at some point, and on the road at Georgia was the obvious choice. Kentucky is pretty decent this season, but they’re just not on Georgia’s level. There’s no shame in losing that game. Nobody expected Kentucky to be this good. Now, I will say, Kentucky did hang tough in the first half. It was only 14-7 at halftime. But Georgia just pulled away in the second half. There was a moment at the end of the first quarter where Kentucky hit Stetson Bennett’s arm as he was throwing the ball, it popped out and rolled forward, and the refs did not blow the play dead meaning it was a live ball. But Kentucky’s defenders just assumed it was incomplete and didn’t go after the ball. Georgia did and recovered the fumble. The refs reviewed it and concluded that it was a fumble, and Kentucky could’ve had the ball if they just fell on it. But they didn’t even try. The ball was just on the cusp of being in the red zone, too. Georgia ended up getting the ball around the 20 and scored a TD a few plays later. It was a huge blunder by Kentucky. When you’re playing Georgia, you are a major talent and coaching deficit. The only thing you can really do is out-hustle them, but no, Georgia out-hustled Kentucky on that play. It’s just inexcusable. There’s no reason not to fall on that ball even if you think it’s incomplete. There was no whistle! It was ruled a fumble on the field. It wasn’t blown dead. But Kentucky just had no urgency. I don’t get it. You cannot just let Georgia off the hook like that.
- ✅ Oklahoma State, W, 32-24 at Texas: The Cowboys improve to 6-0. They had to come back to win this one, but a few big plays by their defense including a pick-six made a huge difference. They’ve beaten three ranked teams in a row, and now 5 unranked teams stand in between them and a showdown with Oklahoma in the final game of the year. Iowa State on the road could pose a problem next week, but Oklahoma State should still be favored.
- ✅ Ole Miss, W, 31-26 at Tennessee: I kind of went over this above, but the ugly ending was the biggest story to come out of this game. However, Lane Kiffin has that offense rolling. They racked up 510 yards of offense in the game including 279 rushing yards. The Ole Miss defense, however, allowed 467 yards to Tennessee, including 222 yards rushing. So that’s an issue. It seems a lot of these teams out there are great on offense but lackluster on defense. Ohio State is another one. Texas. You could even say Alabama to some extent, too. Georgia is really the only team playing elite defense right now. It’s all part of the Big 12-ification of the sport that’s happening over the past few years and continues today. The Big 12 may be a dying conference, but its style of play has seemingly taken over nationwide.
- Notre Dame, on bye
- Coastal Carolina, on bye
- Wake Forest, on bye
- ❌ Arkansas, L, 38-23 vs. Auburn: Well, it was fun while it lasted, Arkansas. It’s now starting to look like their win over Texas A&M was a fluke, and that Arkansas just can’t really compete with ranked teams. Maybe I was wrong about Auburn when I said they sucked. Auburn might actually be good.
- ❌ Arizona State, L, 35-21 at Utah: I caught the end of this game last night when Utah started pulling away. Arizona State is a decent team, but they’re a 3-4 loss team this year. Utah always plays good football even if they’re not always in the mix for the Pac-12 title. They’re well-coached–Kyle Whittingham has been there since 2004–so they’re always a threat to pull an upset.
- ❌ BYU, L, 38-24 at Baylor: See ya, BYU.
- ❌ Florida, L, 49-42 at LSU: Most of us expected Florida to go into Death Valley and soundly beat wounded animal LSU, after which point Ed Orgeron would be immediately and ignominiously fired. But instead, LSU had an offensive explosion and won the game despite a rash of injuries to key players and the uncertainty around their head coach. Now it was just announced that this will be Coach O’s last season in Baton Rouge, but I think LSU did the right thing in allowing him to finish out the season. The man is a Louisiana icon, and he led them to a National Title just two seasons ago. You can’t humiliate him with a mid-season firing. That would just be cold. Florida, on the other hand, looked like crap. Starting QB Emory Jones, who has been a disappointment lately, was finally benched in favor of his backup Anthony Richardson. Jones threw 2 INTs, but so did Richardson. It felt like LSU was getting an INT every other drive. LSU running back Tyrion Davis-Price ran for a ridiculous 287 yards and 3 TDs on 36 attempts. Florida’s defense looks terrible. And they’re a mess at QB. Florida looked like they could be the real deal after barely losing to Bama early, but now they look like a bad team. Feels like they’re going to get murdered by Georgia in 2 weeks.
- ✅ Texas A&M, W, 35-14 at Mizzou: Didn’t catch this game. However, I thought A&M might possibly be on upset alert this week after the big emotional win over Alabama. That’s a classic let-down game scenario, and while Mizzou is a bottom-feeder, they have been known to pull some upsets from time to time.
- ✅ NC State, W, 33-7 at Boston College: Did not watch this one, either. I’m not going to bullshit you: when I don’t have anything to say about a game, I’m not going to say much. I do know that Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley is a sleeper candidate for some of those big time jobs out there–I’ve even heard his name mentioned as a dark horse for the LSU job. This was not a good performance for the Eagles.
- SMU, on bye.
- ✅ San Diego State, W, 19-13 (2OT) at San Jose State: I was watching the Oregon-Cal game on Friday night so I didn’t really catch much of this one, but it was definitely a street fight of a game. It was 6-3 SDSU going into the 4th. San Jose had a chance to win this game; they got the ball with about 3 minutes to go all tied up at 6 apiece, got into range for a 52-yard field goal with 20 seconds left, but their kicker missed it. In college football, a 52-yarder is not a high probability kick. In the NFL it’s well within every kicker’s range, but not at the college level. My general rule of thumb with college kicking is to take the distance, and then add 5 yards to it to put it into “NFL perspective,” i.e. a 52-yarder in college is as hard as hitting a 57-yarder in the pros. I don’t have any data to back that up, that’s just always been my running assumption. SDSU ended up winning the game in overtime, but the big tight end for SJSU, Derrick Deese Jr., son of the former NFL offensive lineman and Super Bowl Champion with the 49ers in 1994, looks like a pretty good player. He was one guy in that game who really stood out to me.
- ❌ Texas, L, 32-24 vs. Oklahoma State: Another blown lead for the Longhorns. They were up 38-20 in the second half on Oklahoma and blew it last week, and this week they blew a 17-3 second quarter lead to Oklahoma State. Texas had a great chance to blow this game wide open in that second quarter, too, as they got into the red zone after an INT and got the ball all the way down to the OSU 18, but then threw a pick-six and wound up only going into the half up 17-13. They opened up the second half with Bijan Robinson’s third touchdown to go up 24-13, but then wouldn’t score again in the game. Down just 25-24 with about 3 minutes to go and trying to drive down the field to re-take the lead, Texas got stopped on 4th down at around their 45. They then allowed Oklahoma State to score a TD on the ensuing drive after Oklahoma State got the ball down to the 10 so OSU wouldn’t be able to run out the clock. I think it was the right decision as OSU had first and goal, while Texas only had 2 timeouts. Whether OSU got a TD or a field goal, Texas still would’ve needed a touchdown as they were down by 1. But on Texas’ next drive they threw a pick and that was the game. Texas shows flashes of being a good team, but they can’t sustain it. There are definitely some things to build on for Steve Sarkisian, but it’s been a disappointing season.
Here’s the new AP Top 25:
Iowa drops down to 11, Kentucky to 14.
Arkansas, Texas, Florida and Arizona State are all out of the top-25 after their losses.
Auburn is back in after blowing out Arkansas, and Baylor is back in after taking down BYU.
So Purdue enters the top-25, as does UT-San Antonio, who is 7-0. If you’re thinking UTSA being ranked is an unusual sight that’s because it is: this is the first time in school history they’ve been ranked.
Pitt’s in as well, and they have opened as slight favorites over Clemson next week. This marks the first time since 2016 that Clemson has been an underdog in an ACC conference game. How the mighty have fallen.
Pitt, however, should be given some respect: they’re playing really well right now and flying under the radar. And they have the best QB that nobody’s heard of, a guy named Kenny Pickett.
This dude has quietly thrown for 1,934 yards, 21 TDs to just 1 INT and is averaging an 88.4 QBR on the season, 2nd-best in the nation. He’s absolutely lighting it up out there. He’s a 6′ 3″ 220-lb senior who nobody was talking about before the season but may have already played himself into the first round of next year’s draft. He’s got eye-popping stats, he’s more than big enough to play in the NFL, he has a really quick release, he throws absolute lasers and he’s highly mobile and athletic with great “escapability,” which is such a sought-after quality in QBs these days. Check out his highlights on YouTube. And you know how QBs always skyrocket up the draft boards after the season ends; I wouldn’t be surprised if this dude Pickett ends up going in the top-10 next year. Even if he’s not a top-10 talent overall, the value premium teams place on QBs could see him taken very, very high.
If the Steelers miss out on Aaron Rodgers this offseason, I have a feeling they will have their eyes on Pickett. He’s not from the Pittsburgh area originally–he grew up in New Jersey–but he still has ties to the city, and he’s played all his home games at Heinz Field the past 4 years. It just seems like a perfect fit and perfect timing with Big Ben looking to be in his final season.