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Beyond The Empire Week 4: Who Gets Fired Next?

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Is anybody really safe anymore?

We’ve had a hell of a week outside of the Big Ten as well. Let’s get started.

Notre Dame is 1-3 and this is delicious.

First, they lost to Texas. Well, OK, Charlie Strong finally has what should be among the best programs in the country up and running, so that’s reasonable. Then they lost to Michigan State. Well, there’s a rock-solid program coming off a playoff appearance, that loss doesn’t mean Notre Dame is bad.

Then they lost at home to Duke.

Duke, for the record, is Northwestern’s only win. The Transitive Property of Wins now holds that Indiana State is better than Notre Dame. After an Equanimeous St Brown touchdown put the Irish up 7, Duke struck back to tie it up and managed to kick a buzzer-beating field goal to knock off the Irish in South Bend. With their only win over a Nevada squad that couldn’t keep up with Purdue, Notre Dame is looking hilarious right now.

SEC: Goodnight Sweet Prince

TL;DR: Bama and A&M are 4-0 in the West, Tennessee is 4-0 in the East, Les Miles is gone.

Five years ago, three SEC head coaches had won national championships at the programs they coached. Two of the three have now been fired. Saban or die.

The Battle of the Hot Seats came down to the final play as Auburn hosted the #18 LSU Tigers. Here’s how it ended:

And that’s not all that ended. LSU fired Les Miles, who leaves with the highest winning percentage of any LSU coach ever. He surged back from his near-firing last year by inking the nation’s top recruiting class and poaching arguably the game’s top defensive coordinator (Dave Aranda) from Wisconsin, but four games were apparently enough for LSU to decide that this too would fail to beat Alabama, and since an LSU coach is apparently good for nothing without the ability to do that, Les was canned.

Les Miles is the third SEC head coach since 2008 to be fired from a team he coached to a national championship for on-field performance. Of the six SEC coaches to win a national title in the last 20 years, two went to the NFL (Steve Spurrier and Nick Saban), one (Urban Meyer) retired due to heart problems (heart full of longing to coach Ohio State) and three (Philip Fulmer, Gene Chizik and Les Miles) have been fired for performance issues. Of those three, Miles is the only one fired midseason, as Fulmer and Chizik were at least extended the courtesy of finishing out their final campaigns.

Alabama won 48-0 against Kent State. Ho-hum, they’re undefeated and they’re going to win it all again. Who cares? Les Miles was fun. Nick Saban is not. Hey Nick, you’ll never get another chance to beat Cam Newton if you stay at Alabama. He’s 1-0 against you and as long as you stay there, he always will be.

Texas A&M improved to 4-0 by handing Arkansas their first loss of the year, pulling away in the second half behind former Oklahoma Sooner Trevor Knight. The dual-threat quarterback may represent the best hope the Rebellion has of defeating the Empire in the regular season, as he’s 1-0 against the Tide (2014 Sugar Bowl).

Georgia took its first loss of the season, and boy was it a big one. The Ole Miss Rebels absolutely pounded them, opening up a 31-0 lead that they never came close to relinquishing. Kentucky beat South Carolina in a very Will Muschamp game with a 17-10 final score. Elsewhere, Vanderbilt surprisingly overcame Western Kentucky 31-30 and MIssouri blew out Delaware State. A second half road comeback against UMass (?!?!?!) propelled Mississippi State to its second win of the year.

The SEC Dicktrip of the Week goes to the Florida Gators, who truly earned every ounce of their 38-28 loss to the Tennessee Volunteers. Florida led 21-0 late in the first half before giving up 38 unanswered points for their first loss to the Vols since 2004.

ACC: Wake Forest Is Undefeated

TL;DR: Louisville, Clemson and Wake Forest control Atlantic Division at 4-0; UNC and Virginia Tech at 3-1 control the Coastal.

Surprisingly, Marshall held Louisville relatively in check, restricting Lamar Jackson to seven touchdowns in a 59-28 loss. Clemson’s defense absolutely humiliated Georgia Tech, though their offense wasn’t particularly inspiring. The two 4-0 top-5 teams will meet at Clemson on Saturday night for the first top 5 matchup of the season.

Wake Forest is also 4-0, having taken down our own Indiana Hoosiers by winning the turnover margin 5-0. Wake Forest is 4-0. Holy shit.

Dalvin Cook powered Florida State past a good South Florida team in a 55-35 win. Boston College beat Wagner and Syracuse knocked off former Big East rival Connecticut 31-24 behind Amba Etta-Tawo’s 12 catches for 270 yards and 2 touchdowns. Virginia Tech handily beat East Carolina, and Regular Virginia surprised what I thought was a pretty good Central Michigan team. The Chips took too long to Fire Up and never made up the two-score deficit.

The ACC Dicktrip of the Week goes to the Pittsburgh Panthers, who are apparently not the juggernaut Penn State fans envisioned. They let North Carolina score two touchdowns in the last 6 minutes to win the game, including one with two seconds to go while up 6. Pitt May Not Be Itt.

PAC-12: David Shaw Is The B1Ggest Coach

TL:DR: Stanford and Washington control the North at 4-0; Arizona State and Utah control the South at 4-0.

Trailing at UCLA 13-9 with under 5 minutes to play, Stanford head coach David Shaw faced a 4th and 1 from his own 39. He did the most Big Ten thing you can possibly imagine and punted.

The defense held and the Cardinal got the ball back with two minutes to score, doing so on an incredible touchdown grab with 24 seconds to play. They returned a Josh Rosen fumble on the UCLA Hail Mary attempt for a backdoor cover touchdown.

Washington dug out of an early 7 point hole at Arizona to defeat RIch Rodriguez by a touchdown. The 4-0 Huskies will host 3-0 Stanford in another top-10 matchup on Saturday night. Colorado knocked off Oregon to move to 3-1 behind a great night from backup quarterback Steven Montez. This may be the nail in the coffin of the Oregon era of the PAC-12, and Colorado may be just starting good things.

You know who’s not starting good things? Oregon State. They were blown away by Boise State. 38-24 doesn’t look that bad until you realize the Broncos cruised through the second half on a 31-7 halftime lead.

USC blew a 10-point lead as Utah stayed unbeaten, using a touchdown pass with 16 seconds to go to sink the Trojans to 1-3. Hire Les Miles.

The California Golden Bears committed the PAC-12 Dicktrip of the Week by taking themselves out of a game in which they outgained Arizona State by nearly 200 yards. After the Devils tied the game at 34 with 6:21 to play, Cal’s Davis Webb immediately threw a pick to set up an ASU field goal. On the second play of Cal’s ensuing drive, Webb threw a pick-six to bury his team by 10 with under 3 minutes remaining. Though the Bears would score a touchdown to pull within 3, Arizona State returned their onside kick attempt for a touchdown to stay undefeated and win 51-41.

Big 12: Two Undefeateds Remain

TL;DR: It’s Baylor and West Virginia

The Big 12 had limited action, with Baylor knocking off Oklahoma State and West Virginia surviving a late BYU drive to both stay undefeated. They are the last hope of the Big 12 in the College Football Playoff. Things are bleak.

TCU obliterated SMU at home 33-3, while Kansas State shut out FCS Missouri State and Iowa State rolled San Jose State. With ISU and Virginia winning, there are no longer any winless Power 5 teams. Illinois and Kansas, however, remain the only two Power 5 teams not to defeat an FBS opponent this year.

Elsewhere:

TL;DR: Houston’s good

The #6 Houston Cougars annihilated Texas State 64-3. They lie in wait for the November 17th game against Louisville.

3-0 Boise State entered the AP Top 25 at #24, while 3-0 San Diego State did the same in the Coaches’ Poll. The Aztecs moved to #18 in the AP poll, giving the Mountain West two ranked teams.

The AP has yet to notice the MAC, where Western Michigan avenged last year’s beatdown by Georgia Southern by administering their own in return. The Broncos are terrifying and I pity their bowl opponent. With Central Michigan’s loss, they’re now the clear favorite not just in the West but in the whole conference as its last undefeated team. Eastern Michigan defeated Wyoming to get its third win for the first time since 2011 and secured its best program start in decades. Directional Michigan is a combined 10-2.

Northern Illinois continued its shocking freefall by losing to FCS Western Illinois to drop to 0-4.

Army lost to Buffalo to fall from the ranks of the unbeaten on an overtime field goal. Undefeated Navy didn’t play, but Air Force beat Utah State to remain unbeaten.

Former Illinois Fighting Illini coach Ron Turner was fired by Florida International after an impossibly miserable offensive performance against a UCF team coming off a winless season. The former NFL offensive coordinator racked up less than 200 yards of offense in a 53-14 loss, dropping to 0-4. He was fired with a 10-30 record at FIU, never making a bowl. In fact, despite spending parts of 6 subsequent seasons as an FBS head coach, his last bowl game was a 47-34 loss to Nick Saban’s LSU Tigers in the 2002 Sugar Bowl.

FIU joins Northern Illinois, Miami (OH), Rice and Arkansas State as the five winless FBS teams four weeks into the season.