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Beyond The Empire Week 5: The College Football Conference Standings Clear Up

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Here’s what happened outside the Big Ten this week

The conference races really started taking shape this past week. Let’s get to it.

ACC: Clemson Downs Louisville; Lamar Jackson Still Incredible

TL;DR: Clemson vs Miami would be the CCG right now

The top-5 showdown on Saturday night lived up to all the hype. Freakish superhuman quarterback Lamar Jackson led the Louisville Cardinals back from a 28-10 halftime deficit as they scored 26 straight points to take a 36-28 lead, but ultimately Deshaun Watson threw for the final two touchdowns in Clemson’s 42-36 victory. It came down to a fourth down stop in the red zone for the Tigers, but they moved to 5-0 and now have sole possession of the Atlantic division.

The Coastal division is controlled by the #14 Miami Hurricanes, who have yet to lose under Mark Richt. They beat Georgia Tech to move to 4-0. Also undefeated in conference play for the Coastal are the idle Virginia Tech Hokies at 3-1 overall and shockingly the Regular Virginia Cavaliers, who were the beneficiaries of a Duke dicktrip (Duketrip?) and won their first conference game. After starting 0-3 with a 17-point loss to FCS Richmond, Bronco Mendenhall has found something as the Hoos have knocked off Central Michigan and Duke.

At 3-1 overall, NC State also won its first conference game, seemingly putting an end to the dream of a Wake Forest national title with a 33-16 victory. Pittsburgh overwhelmed a struggling Marshall team as Boston College destroyed Buffalo 35-3.

Syracuse lost to Notre Dame 50-33 in a game that was 23-13 in favor of the Irish less than 5 minutes into the first quarter. The shootout tone was set when Syracuse receiver Amba Etta-Tawo caught a 72-yard touchdown pass on a one-play drive in between Irish one-play drives consisting of 79 and 67 yard receptions by Equanimeous St. Brown.

The ACC Dicktrip of the Week goes to the Florida State Seminoles, who seemed to have the game wrapped up 35-34 upon Deondre Francois’ go-ahead touchdown with 23 seconds to go. However, after kicking off for a touchback they gave up a 23-yard completion and then 15 yards on a pass interference penalty to set up a 54-yard field goal that Nick Weiler nailed home to end FSU’s 22-game home winning streak. Look for a pissed-off Seminoles squad to give undefeated Miami hell next weekend.

SEC: Tennessee Keeps Pulling Wins Out

TL;DR: CCG would pit winner of Bama and A&M against Tennessee

The Georgia Bulldogs found yet another way to completely gutpunch their fans. They gave up 14 straight points to the Tennessee Volunteers in the 4th quarter, but scored on a Hail Mary with 10 seconds to go to take a 31-28 lead...only to give up a Hail Mary to Jauan Jennings from Joshua Dobbs with no time left. This is apparently just how the (still undefeated) Vols like to play. Why simply defeat your opponent when you can rip their heart out? Tennessee remains the only undefeated team in the SEC East.

Meanwhile, #1 Alabama rolled Kentucky to improve to 5-0. #8 Texas A&M kept pace, conquering South Carolina 24-13. The two SEC West leaders face #16 Arkansas and #9 Tennessee this coming week.

The Arkansas Razorberts cruised past Alcorn State 52-10 while Auburn devoured Louisiana-Monroe 58-7. LSU destroyed its cupcake Missouri 42-7, and Ole Miss avenged last year’s loss to Memphis 48-28.

The SEC Dicktrip of the Week was the entire Florida vs Vanderbilt game, which was one of the ugliest things that’s ever occurred. Neither team gained 270 yards of offense in the 13-6 horror show. Gators quarterback Austin Appleby managed 144 yards on 19 for 28 passing, while his counterpart Kyle Shurmur put up a stat line that might not be safe for work:

kyle shurmur

Holy shit. Commodores punter Sam Loy is credited with 1 run for -29 yards. Everyone involved in this game should be ashamed of having been.

Big 12: Baylor Remains Least Inspiring Last Hope Ever

TL;DR: Baylor and WVU still unbeaten; may still suck

The #13 Baylor Bears mounted a late comeback to beat Iowa State on a field goal as time expired. You heard that right. The Bears could not slow down the Cyclones’ passing attack and gave up 42 points to the team Iowa held to a field goal. The Big 12 frontrunners get a much-needed bye week to recover from their toughest test of the season against a team that lost to Northern Iowa.

They are joined by the 4-0 West Virginia Mountaineers, who downed Kansas State after coming back from a 2-score 4th quarter deficit to win 17-16. Texas Tech defeated Kansas soundly to go to 3-1, but not without an injury to touchdown machine Patrick Mahomes. He’d be replaced by former Iowa Hawkeye quarterback Nic Shimonek. Oklahoma got themselves back in the top 25 by knocking off then-ranked TCU on the road 52-46. This is clearly not last year’s Sooner defense.

The Big 12 Dicktrip of the Week goes to the Texas Longhorns, who had three extra points blocked in a 49-31 loss to Oklahoma State. The Red River Shootout against Oklahoma takes place this coming Saturday, with the loser falling to 2-3. It’s hard to remember a lower-stakes edition of this game.

PAC-12: Washington Is Very Good

TL;DR: Washington’s the best team in the league

Remember that top-10 matchup with Washington and Stanford? Turns out only one team showed up. Washington asbolutely brutalized the Cardinal 44-6, shutting down Christian McCaffrey and laying waste to the Stanford offensive line. The scale of the devastation was stunning. The Huskies are now the only undefeated team in the PAC-12 and have moved into the AP Top 5.

Washington State drove yet another nail into the coffin of the Oregon Ducks era with a 51-33 win. Luke Falk was only compelled to throw 48 passes in an unusually balanced offensive game. The Ducks fell to 2-3 and are still seeking a conference win.

The #21 Colorado Buffaloes now control the South as they are its only team with no conference losses. They embarrassed Gary Andersen’s Oregon State Beavers, and by the end of this, his second year in Corvallis, Andersen may have as many wins over two seasons as Wisconsin does through five games in 2016.

The USC Trojans finally got back on track, boatracing Arizona State behind 3 touchdowns from the delightfully-named and explosive Juju Smith-Schuster. UCLA brought Arizona to 0-2 in the conference with a 45-24 win.

The Utah Utes committed the PAC-12 Dicktrip of the Week, being held to 23 by a notoriously porous California defense in dropping their first game of the year. The former South frontrunners plodded down the field down by 5, getting a drive extended by a pass interference call in the end zone. On 2nd and goal from the 1 with just 7 seconds remaining, Utah’s Evan Moeai dropped a short toss on a rollout play on which he would have scored the game-winner. The Utes attempted a buzzer-beating run up the gut, but were stuffed for their first defeat.

Elsewhere

TL;DR: Houston is still good

The #6 Houston Cougars routed Connecticut 42-14 to avenge their only loss of 2015. They had best hope the AP doesn’t punish them for Louisville losing to Clemson, as that November 17th game against the Cardinals is their shot at making a statement before the Playoff.

Formerly #19 San Diego State suffered its first loss of the season at the hands of South Alabama, who iced the game with a late fumble recovery for a touchdown. Donnell Pumphrey couldn’t do it alone for the Aztecs, who still have the best record in the West division of the Mountain West.

#24 Boise State won a 21-10 decision against Utah State to move to 4-0. They are joined atop the Mountain West (East) by Air Force, who stayed perfect with a 28-14 win over Navy to remain the last unbeaten service academy.

The F_U Bowl was won by Florida International 33-31 over Florida Atlantic, giving the Panthers their first win of the year. With Northern Illinois escaping the ranks of the winless by defeating Ball State, three winless teams remain: the Rice Owls, the Miami Redhawks and the Georgia State Panthers.

And of course, MACtion. Western Michigan continues to be snubbed by the AP. Their only win by non-blowout has been against Northwestern, so in effect the AP is punishing them for not winning a road game by enough against a previously 10-win Big Ten team. They crushed the pesky Central Michigan Chippewas 49-10 and seem poised to demolish everything in their path. No other team in the West has fewer than two losses. In the East, Toledo picked up their first loss in a true MACtion shootout at BYU 55-53. Eastern Michigan downed Bowling Green by 3 to move to an inconceivable 4-1.

I never want to see Western Michigan again.