With three weeks of games in the books, it's already time to write one conference's eulogy with respect to the College Football Playoff.
We Are Gathered Here Today To Mourn The Big 12 Conference
With high expectations, the Big 12 conference entered 2016 in hopes of getting a team deeper in the Playoff than Oklahoma's semifinal drubbing at the hands of Clemson. With four teams ranked coming in, including #3 Oklahoma, week one dealt a massive blow to the conference's hopes as Oklahoma was soundly beaten by the American Athletic Conference's Houston Cougars. Kansas State took a week 1 loss to Stanford and Iowa State's week 1 loss to Northern Iowa confirmed that they wouldn't make it to the title game. But the Texas Longhorns defeated a highly-ranked Notre Dame squad to offer a glimmer of hope to the Big 12.
The following week, #15 TCU was eliminated by a loss to Arkansas and OKlahoma State fell to Central Michigan. Curiously, Kansas took until week 2 to lose, and Texas Tech took itself out by allowing 68 points.
Nevertheless, undefeated Baylor and Texas and top-15 Oklahoma entered Week 3 not yet eliminated for good. The Ohio State Buckeyes handed Oklahoma a resounding loss to send them to 1-2 and nightmares about Noah Brown. Baylor pulled away from Rice, but with no strong wins on their resume and road games at Oklahoma and Texas looming, the interim-coached Bears are no playoff favorites.
Better than the Kansas Jayhawks, who were beaten to a pulp by Memphis. TCU stumbled through a 41-20 victory against Iowa State, while Oklahoma State managed to prove that Pittsburgh can indeed be stopped, winning 45-38. Texas Tech continued its defensive dominance, holding Lousiana Tech to 45 points in a 59-45 wins, while Kansas State beat down a hapless Florida Atlantic squad.
The Big 12 Dicktrip of the Week goes to the Texas Longhorns, who gave up 50 points in losing to unranked California 50-43. The Longhorns allowed Cal quarterback Davis Webb to throw for 4 touchdowns and crucially committed 2 turnovers to Cal's 0. Not only does this loss combine with Notre Dame's second loss of the season to weaken their resume beyond recovery, but it gives them a transitive loss to San Diego State.
PAC-12: September 30th Showdown Decides The North
After Oregon's loss to Nebraska, the only teams that would remain ranked would be #7 Stanford and #9 Washington. The former shut down USC 27-10 while the latter obliterated Portland State 41-3. I think it's safe to say that USC might be in for a much longer down period than they thought. Those two teams were joined by new #24 Utah, who racked up ten sacks against San Jose State and have quietly put together a good start with smothering defense.
Colorado managed a much better fight against Michigan than expected, leading for a good portion of the game behind quarterback Sefo Liufau, but they would ultimately lose by 17. Oregon State managed an FCS win against Idaho State 37-7, while Regular Idaho was dispatched by Washington State 56-6. Arizona boatraced Hawaii and UCLA ground out a tough 17-14 win at BYU to send the independent Cougars to 1-2 in Kilani Sitake's first year.
As Colorado was a 20 point dog and Oregon was outplayed by an apparently good Nebraska team, I award the PAC-12 Dicktrip of the Week to the Arizona State Sun Devils, who had to overcome a 16-point deficit to UT-San Antonio with the go-ahead score coming 3:15 from the end of the game in order to win. With that garbage performance, the Devils move to the least convincing 3-0 this side of Wisconsin.
SEC: Alabama Survives; Nation Groans
The #1 Alabama Crimson Tide came back from a 24-3 deficit to mount a 48-30 lead that they nearly let slip away in the last three minutes, holding on 48-43 to defeat the Ole Miss Rebels and deny Hugh Freeze his third straight win against Nick Saban. Behind 334 rushing yards, a punt return touchdown and two defensive scores, the Tide buried the Rebels and seemingly their biggest threat in the regular season. Games at Arkansas, Tennessee and LSU and a home date with Texas A&M will provide the closest things to a challenge Alabama will see until the playoff, but I'm already resigned to their national championship.
In the West standings, Arkansas and Texas A&M remain tied with Alabama at 3-0 after dispatching Texas State and Auburn. Gus Malzahn's offense has put up 29 points in two games against major conference opponents this year. The East remains a race as well, with Florida suddenly looking like a great defensive team coming off a shutout of North Texas with 14 total points allowed over 3 games. Tennessee survived Ohio in a sloppy game and could very well have two losses to mid-major teams if not for some strokes of luck. Georgia defeated Missouri on a go-ahead touchdown pass to Isaiah McKenzie with under two minutes to go. The Gators, Vols and Bulldogs remain undefeated.
Despite leading 23-10 with under five minutes remaining, LSU needed a fumble recovery on a fourth down to hold off Mississippi State. The Bulldogs dropped to 1-2 to match the conference's worst record. Kentucky managed to get in a shootout with New Mexico State, giving up 42 points and finally pulling away in the fourth quarter to get their first win. The South Carolina Gamecocks held off the always-pesky East Carolina Pirates for a 20-15 win, Will Muschamp's second in Columbia.
The SEC Dicktrip of the Week goes to the hapless Vanderbilt Commodores, who were obliterated 38-7 by the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. They were outgained nearly 2-1. The SEC did fairly well this week, but goodness gracious is Vanderbilt bad.
ACC: Louisville Claims The Number One Headband
Anyone else see Afro Samurai?
Well anyway, #5 Clemson remains undefeated after thrashing FCS competition, as does #15 Miami after an impressive 45-10 win over a good Appalachian State team. Joining them are Georgia Tech and #3 Louisville, who won big in games against major conference competition. A fifth undefeated ACC team is 3-0 Wake Forest, who beat Delaware 38-21 to move to 3-0 at Wake Forest. Wake. Forest. Is. 3-0. GUYS. WAKE FOREST IS 3-0.
Syracuse opened up a 17-0 lead on South Florida, but gave up 28 unanswered in the second quarter and never got back in the game, moving to 1-2. Pat Narduzzi's Pittsburgh Panthers gave up 540 passing yards to Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph in a loss. North Carolina overcame a rather hilarious 21-14 first-quarter deficit to James Madison to win big, while NC State won 49-22 against Old Dominion.
Boston College was mutilated, dismembered and the remains scattered in seven different dumpsters in seven different states by Virginia Tech. Detectives were only able to identify the Eagles through matching a small fragment of the mandible area to dental records. Virginia Tech even went on to send untraceable notes to the police taunting them for their inability to solve this crime. If you think I'm exaggerating, the score was 49-0. First downs were 25-6 in favor of Tech; yards were 476-124.
Then some embarrassing things happened. Duke followed a loss to Wake Forest by putting up a turd against Northwestern. The stats look even, but Duke managed to fail on virtually every third down situation. Meanwhile, Virginia lost to Connecticut to go to 0-3 and remain the only winless Power 5 conference team. It's not really a shock after a 17-point loss to FCS Richmond, but wow they are bad. ACC fuckbuddy Notre Dame was beaten down by Michigan State despite a late comeback attempt.
However, it is with great satisfaction that I present the ACC Dicktrip of the Week to the Florida State Seminoles, who were mangled beyond recognition by Lamar Jackson and the Louisville Cardinals. Ten garbage time points trimmed the deficit to the 63-20 final score. Noles quarterback Deondre Francois was sacked five times and went 7 for 18 in the bloodbath. Jackson made Florida State's defense look like complete scrubs as he rushed for four touchdowns and threw for another. Jimbo Fisher seemed completely rattled during his halftime interview, like a man staring death in the face. Louisville's October 1st game against Clemson now looks huge, and a late season showdown with Houston may have serious implications.
#6 Houston survived a tough test from Cincinnati, pulling away 40-16 on two Greg Ward Jr. touchdowns and a game-sealing pick-six. They're not alone in the American though, with Memphis' win taking them to 2-0 and Navy's defeat of Tulane putting them at 3-0.
Army put up 66 points against UTEP to go to 3-0, and Air Force had a bye, which makes the service academies 8-0 on the year.
#23 San Diego State entered the top 25 with a 42-28 win over Northern Illinois, which is now in an alarming 0-3 freefall. Air Force and Boise State both had byes and are the other undefeated Mountain West teams.
No undefeated teams remain in Conference USA after Southern Miss lost to Troy, though Western Kentucky's only loss is at the hands of Alabama.
Georgia Southern blocked a Louisiana-Monroe field goal to remain the only unbeaten team in the Sun Belt.
MACtion is getting intense in the West, with three teams remaining undefeated. Western Michigan may be the most impressive with a week 1 win at Northwestern and some thing that happened on Saturday, though Central Michigan's controversial win at Oklahoma State is their signature moment. Both teams are receiving votes in the AP poll, and though Toledo is not as impressive, they are still 3-0. Eastern Michigan is 2-1. Eastern Michigan has two wins on the season, matching their highest total since 2011. They are tied atop the MAC East.
Who doesn't love some MACtion?