Monday, October 24, 2016

College Football Week 9 – Fresno State fires coach Tim DeRuyter
Hello life, Goodbye Columbus

“I’ve got a feeling that
You’re gonna hear from us
You’re gonna know
That we’ve taken
The world by surprise
Got that look in our eyes
It’s a lucky day”

That’s exactly what is was for Penn State Saturday night after the Nittany Lions upset Ohio State, 24-21 in University Park, Pennsylvania. The Nittany Lions took the college football world by surprise. Penn State was a 20-point underdog going into the game.

And as the fourth quarter began, it looked like the oddsmakers would be right. Ohio State held a 14-point lead – 21-7 – over the Lions. But early in the fourth, Penn State cut the lead to 7 when Lions’ quarterback Trace McSorley scored on a 2-yard run. Just four minutes later, the lead was cut to 4 when Tyler Davis kicked a 34-yard field goal for Penn State.

“I’ve got a feeling that
You’re gonna hear from us

Barely five minutes later, the Buckeyes heard from the Lions. Penn State safety Marcus Allen blocked an Ohio State field goal attempt. Lions’ cornerback Grant Haley picked up the loose ball and returned it 60 yards for the go-ahead score with 4:27 left to play. The Nittany Lions held on for the win.

You’re gonna know
That we’ve taken
The world by surprise

Penn State’s defense sacked J.T. Barrett six times, and held Ohio State scoreless in the first and fourth quarters. In doing so, the Lions became the first team this season to hold the Buckeyes scoreless for a quarter. The defeat was just Ohio State’s second Big Ten regular-season game lost under fifth-year coach Urban Meyer.

“Yeah, yeah
Goodbye, goodbye Columbus
Goodbye, goodbye Columbus”

Ohio State was one of two undefeated teams that lost Saturday. The other was Texas A&M who suffered its first loss at the hands of undefeated Alabama. The Tide beat the Aggies, 33-14.

So the race for the four playoff spots is on and with Ohio State’s loss, it got a little more interesting. In addition to Alabama (8-0), six other undefeated teams – Michigan (7-0), Washington (7-0), Nebraska (7-0), West Virginia (6-0), Boise State (7-0) and Western Michigan (8-0) – won over the weekend, while two – Clemson (7-0) and Baylor (6-0) – had the day off.

In Ann Arbor, Michigan dumped Illinois, 41-8. The Wolverines held the Banned Indians to only six first downs and less than 100 yards rushing and passing. In Seattle, Jake Browning passed for 291 yards and three touchdowns, as Washington spanked Oregon State, 41-17.

In Lincoln, the Black Shirts held Purdue to 24 yards rushing, as Nebraska beat the Boilers, 27-14. In Morgantown, Skyler Howard threw four touchdown passes and West Virginia’s defense held TCU scoreless in the second half, as the Mountaineers beat the Horned Frogs, 34-10.

On the blue turf, Boise State survived BYU. The Broncos edged the Cougars, 28-27. Jeremy McNichols rushed for 140 yards. In Kalamazoo, Zack Terrell passed for 398 yards and three touchdowns, as Western Michigan downed Eastern Michigan, 45-31.

Three of the 10 “one-loss” teams suffered their second loss over the weekend. South Florida fell to Temple, 46-30, Memphis lost to “one-loss” Navy, 42-28, and Houston was upset by SMU, 38-16. In addition to Navy (5-1), five other “one-loss” teams – Louisville (6-1), Utah (7-1), Toledo (6-1), San Diego State (6-1) and Troy (6-1) – won Saturday, while one team – Florida (5-1) – had the weekend off.

Louisville blasted NC State, 54-13. The Cardinals defense held the Wolfpack to 14 yards rushing. Utah outlasted UCLA, 52-45, as the Utes Joe Williams rushed for 332 yards. Utah’s defense held the Bruins to 46 yards rushing. Toledo’s Logan Woodside passed for 264 yards and four touchdowns, as the Rockets downed Central Michigan, 31-17.

San Diego State kept San Jose State out of the end zone, as the Aztecs dumped the Spartans, 42-3. Troy rallied from an 8-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat South Alabama, 28-21. Brandon Silvers passed for 395 yards and Jordan Chunn rushed for 143 yards.

Going into this weekend, there are nine undefeated teams and nine teams with one loss. Of the nine undefeated teams, Alabama and Western Michigan have the week off. But for the other seven teams, it is going to be interesting. They all are on the road and most are up against formidable opponents.

Michigan is at intrastate rival Michigan State. Washington travels to one-loss Utah. Clemson visits troublesome Florida State. Baylor is at Texas. Nebraska goes up to Wisconsin. West Virginia travels to Oklahoma State and Boise State visits a 5-2 Wyoming.

Among the nine “one-loss” teams, only Troy has the weekend off. Louisville is at Virginia. Ohio State hosts Northwestern. Utah, as mentioned above, entertains Washington. Florida meets Georgia in Jacksonville. Texas A&M has an easy one, hosting New Mexico State. Navy plays at South Florida. Toledo entertains Ohio and San Diego State visits Utah State.

Legitimately, there are 12 teams that are still in contention for the four playoff spots. They are Alabama, Michigan, Clemson, Washington, Louisville, Ohio State, Nebraska, Baylor, Texas A&M, West Virginia, Florida and Utah. Come December, four of those teams will be in the playoffs.

Then there are six Group of 5 teams that are still in contention for the one spot in a New Year’s Six bowl game. They are Boise State, Western Michigan, Navy, Toledo, San Diego State and Troy.

The race is on. And we’re getting close to the final stretch. Stay tuned!

The weekend was full of exciting games. Last winter, Oklahoma’s basketball team went into Lubbock and beat Texas Tech 65-63. Saturday, Oklahoma’s football team went into Lubbock and beat Texas Tech 65-59. The teams combined for 1,708 yards. The Red Raiders Patrick Mahomes passed for 734 yards. The Sooners Baker Mayfield passed for 545 yards. Dizzy yet?

There were only three overtime games during the weekend. But one of the three went to the extreme. UTEP and UTSA played five overtimes before UTEP won 52-49. The score at the end of regulation was 28-28. Oddly enough, one of the other overtime games ended in the same score. But it only took California two overtimes to subdue Oregon, 52-29. In the third overtime game, Hawaii beat Air Force 34-27 (2OT).

There are no more winless teams. Rice, the lone holdout, beat Prairie View A&M, 65-44. (They really do like basketball scores in Texas, don’t they?) Rice is now 1-6. The Owls join 7 other single-win teams: Iowa State (1-6), Kansas (1-6), Florida Atlantic (1-6), Massachusetts (1-7), Buffalo (1-6), Bowling Green (1-7) and Fresno State (1-7).

Speaking of Fresno State, the Bulldogs football coach Tim DeRuyter was fired Sunday. DeRuyter was in his fifth season coaching Fresno State. The Bulldogs won the Mountain West Conference his first two season and went to a bowl game his first three seasons. Last year Fresno State finished 3-9. DeRuyter was 30-30 in four plus years with the Bulldogs.

Eight weeks into the season and four coaches have been fired.

And the agony continues for poor BYU. The Cougars are 3-4 and their four losses are by a combined total of 7 points. BYU lost by one point to Utah, two points to UCLA, three points to West Virginia and Friday night Boise State beat the Cougars by one point – 28-27. BYU’s three wins are over Arizona, Michigan State and Toledo. The Cougars beat Arizona and Toledo by two points. So, six of BYU’s seven games have been settled by three points or less.

Then there are the reversals – teams that have reversed their seasons in one direction or the other. Miami (Florida) began the season 4-0 and is now 4-3. The Canes have dropped three consecutive games. Oregon began the season 2-0. The Ducks are now 2-5. Michigan State started out 2-0. The Spartans have lost five consecutive games and are sitting at 2-5.

Conversely, Northwestern was 1-3. The Wildcats are now 4-3, after winning three-straight games. Washington State began 0-2 and the Cougars are now 5-2. Auburn who was sting at 1-2 is now 5-2. The Tigers have won four consecutive games. Under Les Miles, LSU started 2-2. Under Ed Orgeron, the Tigers have won three-straight games and are 5-2.

Speaking of Orgeron, on the “Paul Finebaum Show” last week, Finebaum said if LSU goes 4-1 in its remaining five games, finishing 9-3, he believes Orgeron will become the full-time head coach. But if LSU goes 3-2 or worse in its remaining five games, then Finebaum thinks Orgeron will be ditched.

Washington State coach Mike Leach was fined $10,000 last week by the Pac-12 Conference for his comments about Arizona State stealing signs.

It was good to hear from Tim Muth and Mike Wright last week. Tim became a grandfather for the first time on October 14. Tim informed me that the day after the birth, his new grandson, Lucas Emerson Ryan, wore a Seminole outfit and watched his first FSU football game.

Mike, from Crossville, Tennessee, reminded me that I failed to mention Rod Temperton in CFW’s “Passings of Note” section. Mike was right. Temperton had quite a background. Rod Temperton, an English songwriter, musician and record producer, died recently. He was 66. Temperton was the keyboardist and main songwriter for the 1970s funk and disco band Heatwave. The band’s hit songs were “Boogie Nights” and “Always and Forever.” He wrote several well-known songs, including Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and “Rock with You.” Temperton worked with Quincy Jones and also wrote songs for George Benson, Patti Austin and James Ingram, Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, The Manhattan Transfer, among others.

Bootsie is feeling better this week now that Auburn is 5-2. She’s back on the Gus Bus.

Swamp Mama and I fly to Texas this week. We are attending a wedding in Houston. While there, I look forward to visiting with Terry and Charlotte Conner.

Enjoy your week!

“Yeah, yeah
Goodbye, goodbye Columbus
Goodbye, goodbye Columbus”

Touchdown Tom
October 24, 2016

P.S. “Goodbye Columbus” was recorded by The Association and written by Jim Yester a member of The Association. The song was on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the spring and early summer of 1969. Although it got no higher than 80, the song was on the chart for 11 weeks. “Goodbye Columbus” was the theme song from the movie of the same name.

Weekend Recap

GAME OF THE WEEK: Still perfect (well, one is) – Alabama 33, Texas A&M 14 (Touchdown Tom said: Alabama 34, Texas A&M 21). For about two and a half quarters, Texas A&M kept the game interesting. The Aggies led Alabama 14-13 midway through the third. Then the Tide scored 20 unanswered points. The Aggies had no response. The Tide dominated the ground game with 287 rushing yards to 114 for A&M. Neither team passed that well. Bama’s Jalen Hurts threw two interceptions. A&M’s Trevor Knight only completed 45% of his passes – 14-for-31. Attendance in Tuscaloosa: 101,821

RUNNER UP: The Lion was playing possum – Penn State 24, Ohio State 21 (Touchdown Tom said: Ohio State 28, Penn State 13). Through three quarters, it was all playing out as expected. The Buckeyes were on their way to their seventh win, with a 21-7 lead after three. Then the fourth quarter came along. That’s when Penn State outscored the Bucks, 17-0. The clincher was a blocked field goal that Penn State returned 60 yards for a touchdown. Both teams were even on the ground, but Ohio State dominated the passing game 245 yards to 154. Nitts quarterback Trace McSorley only completed 35% of his passes – 8-for-23. Attendance in University Park: 107,280

REST OF THE BEST: Bird attack – Louisville 54, NC State 13 (Touchdown Tom said: Louisville 27, NC State 18). Obviously, NC State was wasted after its performance against Clemson last week. The Pack had nothing left for Louisville. The Cardinals led 44-0 at halftime. NC State only had 9 first downs and a mere 14 yards rushing. Louisville had 553 total yards. Lamar Jackson passed for 355 yards. Attendance in: Louisville: 55,218

Dissected – West Virginia 34, TCU 10 (Touchdown Tom said: West Virginia 38, TCU 30). West Virginia led 21-10 at the half and then proceeded to shut out the Frogs in the second half. The Mounties were a positive 8-for-15 (53%) on third down conversions, while TCU was a negative 2-for-11 (18%). WVU quarterback Skyler Howard threw for 231 yards and four touchdowns. Attendance in: Morgantown: 61,780

Can’t get any closer – Boise State 28, BYU 27 (Touchdown Tom said: Boise State 27, BYU 24). At the end of the first quarter the game looked like it was going to be a blowout. Boise State led 14-0. Then BYU scored 17 unanswered points. With 0:35 to go in the second quarter, the Broncos scored to take a 21-17 lead at the half. BYU then scored 10 unanswered points to take a 27-21 lead early in the fourth quarter. Boise State scored with 10:37 to go in the game and held on to win. The Broncos had 571 total yards to 322 for the Cougars. Boise State’s Brett Rypien passed for 442 yards. The Broncos suffered five turnovers and still won the game. Attendance in: Boise: 34,575

Pork, it’s what’s for dinner – Auburn 56, Arkansas 3 (Touchdown Tom said: Arkansas 33, Auburn 30). Auburn only had 89 yards passing. But the Tigers didn’t need to pass when they could rush for 543 yards. Arkansas only had 25 yards rushing. The Tigers not only dominated, they humiliated the Hogs. It’s been a strange year for both teams. Auburn’s Kamryn Pettway rushed for 192 yards. Attendance in Auburn: 87,451

Baseball? – Colorado 10, Stanford 5 (Touchdown Tom said: Colorado 20, Stanford 18). Colorado continues to be the surprise team in the Pac-12. Meanwhile, Christian McCaffrey doesn’t have the quality players around him this year that he had last season. Stanford plays good defense, but the offense is lacking. Colorado’s Phillip Lindsay rushed for 131 yards. Attendance in: Palo Alto: 44,535

Badger persistence – Wisconsin 17, Iowa 9 (Touchdown Tom said: Iowa 23, Wisconsin 20). Well, we knew this was going to be a defensive battle. Both teams lack the propensity to score a lot, and both have good defenses. Wisconsin was the dominant team – 423 total yards to 236 for Iowa, and 20 first downs to 14 for the Hawkeyes. Iowa was a sad 2-for-13 on third down conversions – 15%. The Badgers Corey Clement rushed for 134 yards. Attendance in: Iowa City: 70,585

Signals, what signals? – Washington State 37, Arizona State 32 (Touchdown Tom said: Arizona State 37, Washington State 36). Late in the third quarter, Washington State led 31-14. Then in the final 15 minutes of the game, the Cougars were outscored 18-6 by Arizona State. The Cougars won the game in spite of -50 yards rushing. They made up for it with 398 yards passing by Luke Falk. Attendance in: Tempe: 50,582

Worth it – Navy 42, Memphis 28 (Touchdown Tom said: Navy 31, Memphis 30). Navy quarterback Will Worth rushed for 201 yards. It was a big rushing day for the Middies – 447 yards on the ground. Memphis had 333 yards passing. With 10:21 left in the fourth quarter, Navy just had a 7-point lead over the Tigers – 35-28. Attendance in: Annapolis: 35,943

Zack attack – Western Michigan 45, Eastern Michigan 31 (Touchdown Tom said: Western Michigan 30, Eastern Michigan 24). Led by quarterback Zack Terrell, WMU remained undefeated. Terrell completed 83% of his passes, throwing for 398 yards. The Broncos had 561 total yards to 461 for EMU. Eagles quarterback Brogan Roback passed for 319 yards. Attendance in: Kalamazoo: 23,721

Holy – Toledo 31, Central Michigan 17 (Touchdown Tom said: Toledo 31, Central Michigan 26). The score was only 3-0 at the half – Toledo leading. Then the teams combined for 45 points in the second half. Toledo quarterback Logan Woodside threw four touchdown passes. The Rockets improved to 6-1. Attendance in Toledo: 17,821


Sheared – Virginia Tech 37, Miami (Florida) 16 (Touchdown Tom said: Virginia Tech 25, Miami 23). Halfway through the third quarter, this was still a tight ballgame. Virginia Tech led 23-16 at that point. Then the Hokies poured it on, scoring 14 unanswered points. Miami lost its third consecutive game. Virginia Tech held the Canes to just 42 yards rushing. Tech had 523 total yards and 28 first downs to 15 for Miami. The Canes Brad Kaaya passed for 323 yards. Attendance in Blacksburg: 63,507

He’s back – LSU 38, Ole Miss 21 (Touchdown Tom said: Ole Miss 30, LSU 27). That would be Leonard Fournette. Fournette returned Saturday and rushed for 284 yards, almost single-handedly defeating Ole Miss. Add on his 25 yards receiving and Fournette had 60% of LSU’s total yards. Actually, this was a good game through the first half. The score was tied 21-21 at the break. Then LSU added 17 unanswered points in the second half. Ole Miss is back to its old tricks. They poop out in the second half. No stamina. Attendance in Baton Rouge: 101,720


Déjà vu – Nebraska 27, Purdue 14 (Touchdown Tom said: Nebraska 34, Purdue 17). This game was almost a carbon copy of Nebraska’s win over Illinois in Lincoln two weeks prior. In that game, the Huskers trailed the Banned Indians 13-10 at the half. In this game, Nebraska trailed Purdue 14-10 at the break. Nebraska went on to beat Illinois 31-16. The Huskers went on to beat Purdue, 27-14. Against Illinois, the Huskers had 23 first downs to 12 for the Banned Indians. Against the Boilers, Nebraska had 22 first downs to 13 for Purdue. Against Illinois, Nebraska had 423 total yards – against Purdue, 409 total yards. Kinda eerie. Purdue quarterback Danny Blough, a sophomore, has a promising future. Attendance in Lincoln: 90,546

Week 8 Results: 10 correct picks, 5 fumbles (66.7 percent)
For the Season: 95 correct picks, 46 fumbles (67.4 percent)


Temple 46, South Florida 30 – Attendance in Philadelphia: 25,950
UCF 24, Connecticut 16 – Attendance in East Hartford: 28,008
Jacksonville U. 61, Morehead State 49 – Attendance in Morehead: 3,055

Bethune-Cookman 21, Norfolk State 14 – Attendance in Norfolk: 3,618
Florida A&M 31, Hampton 14 – Attendance in Tallahassee: 26,044

West Alabama 45, Florida Tech 35 – Attendance in Livingston: 3,588
Stetson 30, Campbell 24 – Attendance in Buies Creek: 6,673
Louisiana Tech 44, Florida International 24 – Attendance in Miami: 17,061


Impressive Passers:

Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes – 52-88-1 for 734 yards; Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield – 27-36-0-545; Boise State’s Brett Rypien – 25-39-2-442; Syracuse’s Eric Dungey – 32-38-1-434; Rice’s Tyler Stehling – 22-31-0-407; Western Michigan’s Zack Terrell – 29-35-1-398; Washington State’s Luke Falk – 42-53-0-398, and Troy’s Brandon Silvers – 28-42-0-395.

Western Kentucky’s Mike White – 28-32-1 for 378 yards; Louisville’s Lamar Jackson – 20-34-0-355; Cincinnati’s Gunner Kiel – 23-40-0-348; Akron’s Thomas Woodson – 27-40-0-338; Memphis’ Riley Ferguson – 25-40-0-333; California’s Davis Webb – 42-61-0-325, and Miami of Florida’s Brad Kaaya – 23-38-1-323.

Impressive Rushers:

Utah’s Joe Williams – 332 yards; Wyoming’s Brian Hill – 289 yards; LSU’s Leonard Fournette – 284 yards; Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon – 263 yards; Temple’s Ryquell Armstead – 210 yards, and Navy’s Will Worth – 201 yards.

Auburn’s Kamryn Pettway – 192 yards; Tulsa’s James Flanders – 190 yards; New Mexico’s Tyrone Owens – 171 yards; Tulane’s Josh Rounds – 166 yards; Oklahoma State’s Justice Hill – 162 yards, and North Texas’ Jeffrey Wilson – 160 yards.

Quotes of the Week

“There is no comparison between Ohio State and Michigan fans. Ohio State fans know what they are talking about. They are very knowledgeable. Michigan fans are from another planet,” ESPN’s Paul Finebaum.

I’ve yet to meet a Michigan fan who has a sense of humor or an ounce of objectivity,” ESPN’s Paul Finebaum.

Michigan fans are arrogant. They are a bunch of sniveling, delusional fans,” ESPN’s Paul Finebaum.

“Brian will lead this team out of the tunnel opening day next year,” Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, responding to rumors that Brian Kelly will be sacked at the end of the season.

“I bear responsibility. I’m ultimately responsible for our performance. So, all of us are in this together. But I can tell you I continue to have complete confidence in Brian. I think you really see what you’ve got in a coach with how they manage times like this, and I think he has done a great job of it,” Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, on his football coach Brian Kelly.

“They tell me, the guy who turned in a pedophile, to stay away from team facilities. And they let him go around there for years after they knew about it not once, but twice. That gets me. That does not make sense to me. It’s wrong,” former Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary, testifying in the trial of his lawsuit against Penn State.

“I think they still steal signs, and we’ll have to keep an eye on that. That is a very unsavory practice they have. So, we’ll have to do what we can to defend against it,” Washington State coach Mike Leach, on Arizona State.

“What you did in the newspaper is chicken shit. I’ve always respected you. For you to do that is bullshit,” Arizona State coach Todd Graham to Washington State coach Mike Leach, when the two coaches shook hands after the game.

Quote from the Past

“I asked Darrell Royal, the coach of the Texas Longhorns, why he didn’t recruit me. He said, ‘Well Walt, we took a look at you and you weren’t any good’,” Oklahoma State player Walt Garrison, who was from Texas.

Touchdown Tom’s predictions for
This Week’s 12 Biggest and Most Intriguing Games…and then some

GAME OF THE WEEK: 1. Washington (7-0) at Utah (7-1) – (Pac-12 vs. Pac-12) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, FS1 – These two teams, perhaps the best in the Pac-12, could meet again in the conference championship game in December. However, a loss here would most likely knock Utah out of a potential spot in the playoffs. Washington could lose and conceivably still make the playoffs by winning the Pac-12 with a 12-1 record. Both teams are loaded with talent. Chris’ dogs are better than Kyle’s – Washington 30, Utah 28.

RUNNER UP: 2. Clemson (7-0) at Florida State (5-2) – (ACC vs. ACC) – 8 pm ET, Saturday, ABC – With two losses, Florida State has been out of the conversation for a while. Another loss and it is curtains for the Noles. Win and FSU is still out of the picture. So the Noles have nothing to lose. Clemson could lose and still survive in the long run. The Tigers don’t know how to play Bingo – Florida State 27, Clemson 26.

REST OF THE BEST: 3. Nebraska (7-0) at Wisconsin (5-2) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 7 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN – Wisconsin against Nebraska is kinda like Florida State against Clemson. The Badgers don’t have a lot to lose. They already have two losses. The pressure is on the Huskers. Although if the Huskers lose, they could still sneak into things. The Huskers need a big win and this is it – Nebraska 18, Wisconsin 16.

4. West Virginia (6-0) at Oklahoma State (5-2) – (Big 12 vs. Big 12) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, Fox – Last year I was at a wedding reception in Las Vegas. I followed this game on my cell phone. WVU lost it in a barn burner. I drowned my sorrows in dirty martinis. This year I will be at a wedding and reception in Houston. Guess I have to follow it on my cell phone again. Swamp Mama will be angry. Are the Central Michigan referees available for this game? No, the Mounties should be able to win without those refs. I’m celebrating with dirty martinis at this reception – West Virginia 30, Oklahoma State 25.

5. Navy (5-1) at South Florida (6-2) – (AAC vs. AAC) – 7 pm ET, Friday, ESPN2 – Navy has a shot at a New Year’s Six bowl. But the Middies have to beat South Florida or their boat is sunk. Both teams can score. The Middies don’t spring a leak – Navy 29, South Florida 24.

6. Virginia Tech (5-2) at Pitt (5-2) – (ACC vs. ACC) – 7 pm ET, Thursday, ESPN – These two are fighting for the Coastal Division title in the ACC. That would put one of them in the ACC title game. The Hokies are playing well under new coach Justin Fuente. But not well enough to beat the Panthers – Pitt 25, Virginia Tech 22.

7. Baylor (6-0) at Texas (3-4) – (Big 12 vs. Big 12) – 3:30 ET, Saturday, ABC – All Texas can do now is play the spoiler role. And if the Horns should beat Baylor, that’s exactly what they would be – the spoilers. The Bears are undefeated but not seriously tested. Texas shouldn’t be a serious test either. The Bears add another nail to Charlie Strong’s coffin – Baylor 30, Texas 23.

8. Florida (5-1) vs. Georgia (4-3) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, CBS – Ah, the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party – always a good time in Jacksonville. Kirby Smart played for Georgia. He knows what this is all about. Jim McElwain got baptized last year – baptized with a win. Both teams have struggled on offense. Georgia has struggled on defense. The Gators’ defense wins it – Florida 24, Georgia 18.

9. Boise State (7-0) at Wyoming (5-2) – (MWC vs. MWC) – 7 pm ET, Saturday, CBSSN – Boise State appears to be coasting along to a MWC championship. But Wyoming has come on strong of late. The Cowboys have been playing good football. And they have the home field. The Broncos could have some problems. But not that many problems – Boise State 31, Wyoming 22.

10. Ohio (5-3) at Toledo (6-1) – (MAC vs. MAC) – 7:30 pm ET, Thursday, CBSSN – Toledo still has possibilities. The Rockets could win the MAC. They could get in a New Year’s Six bowl. Lots of possibilities, but they can’t afford to lose. Ohio could be a spoiler. The Bobcats are good. But not that good – Toledo 31, Ohio 20.

11. Tulsa (5-2) at Memphis (5-2) – (AAC vs. AAC) – 8 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN News – Tulsa and Memphis are out of contention for a New Year’s Six bowl, but either could still win the AAC West. And potentially the AAC. Both can score. Both have good quarterbacks. But the Tigers are good at home – Memphis 34, Tulsa 33.

12. UCF (4-3) at Houston (6-2) – (AAC vs. AAC) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ESPNU – Scott Frost has the Knights back on track. They have already won four more games than they did last year. They will give Houston a battle. But they won’t win the war – Houston 32, UCF 20.


13. Auburn (5-2) at Ole Miss (3-4) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 7:15 pm ET, Saturday, SECN – Auburn is on a roll – a three-game roll. The Gus Bus is repaired, while the Magnolias are hurtin’. A loss to Arkansas followed by a loss to LSU. But there is still a pulse in the Ole Miss. The Gus Bus gets a flat tire – Ole Miss 30, Auburn 27.

14. California (4-3) at USC (4-3) – (Pac-12 vs. Pac-12) – 10:30 pm ET, Thursday, ESPN – The Trojans are on a roll. Cal is too. Both are explosive on offense. Sometimes Cal’s defense explodes too. It gives up as many points as the offense scores. It’s not a Sonny day in Los Angeles – USC 37, California 30.


Duke (3-4) at Georgia Tech (4-3) – (ACC vs. ACC) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ACCN – The Dookies are at the bottom of the ACC Coastal. The Techsters are fighting for Paul Johnson’s life. After Saturday, the Dookies remain at the bottom of the ACC coastal. Paul Johnson lives for another day – Georgia Tech 27, Duke 19.

Penn State (5-2) at Purdue (3-4) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ABC/ESPN2 – Now you just know the Nitts will be higher than a kite. You would be too if you beat Urban. They have a right to celebrate – and the time too. You can be high and still beat the Boilers – Penn State 26, Purdue 17.


Florida A&M (3-5) at North Carolina A&T (6-1) – (MEAC vs. MEAC) – 1 pm ET, Saturday….
Jacksonville U. (3-3) at Davidson (2-6) – (Pioneer vs. Pioneer) – 1 pm ET, Saturday….
Stetson (4-3) at Dayton (6-2) – (Pioneer vs. Pioneer) – 1 pm ET, Saturday….

Miami (4-3) at Notre Dame (2-5) – (ACC vs. Ind.) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, NBC….
Western Kentucky (5-3) at Florida Atlantic (1-6) – (C-USA vs. C-USA) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday….
Delaware State (0-7) at Bethune-Cookman (1-5) – (MEAC vs. MEAC) – 4 pm ET, Saturday….

Middle Tennessee (5-2) at Florida International (3-5) – (C-USA vs. C-USA) – 7 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN3….
Valdosta State (6-1) at Florida Tech (5-2) – (Gulf South vs. Gulf South) – 7 pm ET, Saturday….

Touchdown Tom


Not exactly college football related, but as the days were getting shorter, the nights were getting colder, the leaves were falling, the frost was on the pumpkins, and Halloween was just around the corner, the number one song in the country…

…75 years ago this week in 1941 was “Piano Concerto in B Flat” by Freddy Martin and His Orchestra

…70 years ago this week in 1946 was “To Each His Own” by Eddy Howard

…65 years ago this week in 1951 was “Because of You” by Tony Bennett

…60 years ago this week in 1956 was “Hound Dog”/“Don’t Be Cruel” by Elvis Presley

…55 years ago this week in 1961 was “Runaround Sue” by Dion

…50 years ago this week in 1966 was “96 Tears” by ? & the Mysterians

…45 years ago this week in 1971 was “Maggie May”/“Reason to Believe” by Rod Stewart

…40 years ago this week in 1976 was “If You Leave Me Now” by Chicago

…35 years ago this week in 1981 was “Arthur’s Theme (Best that You Can Do)” by Christopher Cross

…30 years ago this week in 1986 was “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper

…25 years ago this week in 1991 was “Emotions” by Mariah Carey

Not exactly college football related, but sadly there were three passings of note last week – Fred Slaughter, Dennis Byrd and Eddie Applegate.

Fred Slaughter, who helped UCLA win its first NCAA basketball championship as a senior under coach John Wooden in 1964, died last week at his home in Santa Monica, California. He was 74. Slaughter was the Bruins starting center from 1962 to 1964. UCLA was 30-0 in the 1963-64 season. Joining Slaughter in the starting five were guards Walt Hazzard and Gail Goodrich and forwards Keith Erickson and Jack Hirsch. Slaughter earned a degree in business administration and went on to earn an MBA at UCLA and a law degree from Columbia. As a sports agent and lawyer, he represented professional football and basketball players. Fred Slaughter was born on March 14, 1942, in Topeka, Kansas. He competed in basketball, football and track at Topeka High School.

Dennis Byrd, a former New York Jets defensive lineman, died last week in a two-vehicle crash near Claremore, Oklahoma. He was 50. In 1992, while playing for the Jets, Byrd suffered a career-ending neck injury and made a miraculous recovery. Dennis Byrd was born on October 5, 1966, in Oklahoma City. He played college football for the University of Tulsa. The Jets drafted him in the second round in 1989. Byrd lived in Talala, Oklahoma, about 40 miles northeast of Tulsa.

Eddie Applegate, an actor best-known for playing Patty’s high school sweetheart on the 1960s sitcom “The Patty Duke Show,” died last week in Los Angeles. He was 81. “The Patty Duke Show” ran on ABC from 1963 to 1966. Edward Robert Applegate was born on October 4, 1935, in Wyncote, Pennsylvania. He also appeared on other TV series, including “The Many Love of Dobie Gillis,” “Daktari” and “Gunsmoke.” His movies included “A Ticklish Affair” (1963) and “Easy A” (2010).

Monday, October 17, 2016

College Football Week 8 – Purdue fires Darrell Hazell
Halfway there, looking good now

“We’re halfway there
We’re looking good now
And nothing’s going to get in the way
We’re halfway there”

The college football season has reached the midway point – seven weeks down and seven weeks to go. After seven weeks of action, 11 teams are “halfway there” – halfway to an undefeated season.

The 11 remaining undefeated teams are Clemson (7-0), Baylor (6-0), West Virginia (5-0), Michigan (6-0), Ohio State (6-0), Nebraska (6-0), Washington (6-0), Texas A&M (6-0), Alabama (7-0), Boise State (6-0) and Western Michigan (7-0).

Saturday, four of the undefeated teams had close calls. Clemson had the closest call of all. In fact, the Tigers are darn lucky to still be undefeated. As time expired in Clemson’s game against NC State, the Wolfpack missed a 33-yard field goal – a field goal that would have given NC State a 20-17 win over the Tigers. Instead of an NC State victory, the game went into overtime where Clemson survived, 24-17.

Wisconsin took Ohio State to overtime before the Buckeyes managed to overcome the Badgers, 30-23 (OT). Indiana fought Nebraska tooth and nail, but the Huskers hung on to beat the Hoosiers, 27-22. Boise State survived a 20-point, fourth-quarter rally by Colorado State to beat the Rams, 28-23.

Four more of the undefeated teams had it easy on Saturday. Alabama pummeled Tennessee, 49-10 – likewise, Baylor over Kansas, 49-7. West Virginia ran and passed its way over Texas Tech 48-17. And Western Michigan decimated Akron, 41-0.

The other three undefeated teams – Michigan, Washington and Texas A&M – were off.

"We’re halfway there
And looking back now
Never thought that we’d ever say
We’re halfway there"

But this week is a different story. And one thing is for sure. There will only be 10 undefeated teams come next Sunday – maybe less. Two of the unblemished teams collide this Saturday when Texas A&M meets Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Only one can come out a winner. Only one will survive.

Three of the undefeated teams – West Virginia, Boise State and Western Michigan – face stiff competition Saturday. West Virginia entertains the Kenny Hill-led, offensive minded TCU Horned Frogs. TCU is 4-2 and its two losses were by a combined total of nine points.

Boise State hosts a dangerous BYU. The Cougars (4-3) are riding a three-game winning streak. BYU’s three losses were by a combined total of six points. Western Michigan entertains a much improved Eastern Michigan (5-2). Hold on!

Four of the undefeated teams – Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska and Washington – should be safe. Yeah, I know – famous last words. Michigan hosts Illinois, Ohio State visits Penn State, Nebraska entertains Purdue and Washington hosts Oregon State. Of the four, only Ohio State may have some worries – some concerns. For sure, the Buckeyes have to be wary of a letdown after the big win over Wisconsin.

The two remaining undefeated teams – Clemson and Baylor – are safe to remain undefeated for another week. The Tigers and the Bears are off this week.

“Whoa, we’re halfway there
Whoa, livin’ on a prayer
Take my hand and we’ll make it – I swear
Whoa, living on a prayer”

In addition to the 11 undefeated teams, another 10 teams are halfway to a one-loss season. They are living on a prayer, but they can make it there. The one-loss teams are Louisville (5-1), Utah (6-1), Florida (5-1), Houston (6-1), Memphis (5-1), Navy (4-1), South Florida (6-1), Toledo (5-1), San Diego State (5-1) and Troy (5-1). Louisville, Utah and Florida still have a chance of making the playoffs, provided they win out.

At the end of the season, the highest-ranked Group of 5 team gets a spot in a New Year’s 6 bowl. Halfway through the season and the Group of 5 teams that have the best chance of being the one that makes a New Year’s 6 bowl are Boise State, Western Michigan and Houston. But Memphis, Navy or South Florida may have something to say about that. Stay tuned!

There are several surprise teams at the halfway point – Texas A&M, 6-0 (4-0), Colorado, 5-2 (3-1), Wake Forest, 5-2 (2-2), Eastern Michigan, 5-2 (2-1) and Troy, 5-1 (3-0).

When the season began, no one thought Texas A&M would be undefeated at this point in the season – not even in conference play. The Aggies had too many problems in the off season. But here we are at the halfway point and A&M is undefeated.

Perhaps a bigger surprise is Colorado. The Buffs are a contender for the Pac-12 South Division. Who would have thunk it. In the ACC, Wake Forest has been a mild surprise.

For several years, Eastern Michigan has been the joke of the Mid-American Conference. It has been the coffin for several coaches. But not this year. You can’t take the Eagles for granted. Meanwhile, Troy, whose program has been down in recent years, is a bright surprise in the Sun Belt Conference. The Trojans could well wind up winning the conference.

And naturally, there are several disappointing teams at the halfway point in the season – Michigan State, 2-4 (0-3), Oregon, 2-4 (0-3), Notre Dame, 2-5, Cincinnati, 3-3 (0-3), Marshall, 2-4 (1-1) and Bowling Green, 1-6 (0-3).

At preseason, Michigan State was listed as a contender for the Big Ten East Division. But after starting the season 2-0, the Spartans have suffered four-straight losses. And they were downright clobbered in three of the four losses. Likewise, Oregon began its season 2-0 and has lost four-straight games. The Ducks were clobbered in two of the four losses. Oregon was forecast to be better than this.

Notre Dame is a real mystery. The Irish were a Top-10 team at preseason. Obviously, they were overrated. Granted, Notre Dame’s five losses have been by eight points or less. Cincinnati was supposed to be a contender for the AAC East Division title. Not anymore. And Tommy Tuberville is probably losing his job.

Marshall is off to a less than expected start. The Herd were supposed to contend for the C-USA East Division crown – and the Herd still may. But it has been a rocky start. Bowling Green was the pick to win the MAC East Division title. That ain’t happening.

I mentioned the 11 undefeated teams at the halfway point. How about the other end of the spectrum – the winless teams? Well, fortunately, there is only one. That would be Rice (0-6). But the Owls are improving. After getting clobbered in most of their games, the Owls lost by only one point Saturday. UTSA beat Rice 14-13. And after this Saturday, I predict the Owls will no longer be winless. Rice hosts Prairie View A&M.

In the “if you aren’t doing well, it helps to fire your coach” category, two teams fit this mold – Florida International and LSU. FIU began the season 0-4. Then the school fired its coach Ron Turner. Since Turner was terminated, the Panthers are 3-0. When LSU fell to 2-2, the school fired Les Miles. Since the departure of Miles, LSU is 2-0.

In the first half of the season, three teams have turned it around without firing their coaches. Washington State began the season 0-2, but has since won four-straight – including wins over Oregon, Stanford and UCLA – to improve to 4-2.

After four games, USC was 1-3. Now the Trojans have won three-straight – including wins over Arizona State, Colorado and Arizona – to improve to 4-3. Meanwhile, BYU, who was 1-3, has won three-straight games to improve to 4-3.

“We’re only halfway to paradise
So near, yet so far away”

And at the midway point, who is halfway to winning the Heisman Trophy? How about Louisville’s Lamar Jackson, Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers, Washington’s Jake Browning, Texas A&M’s Trayveon Williams, Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett, San Diego State’s Donnel Pumphrey, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson or Houston’s Greg Ward.

On the outside, looking in? Alabama’s Jalen Hurts, Texas A&M’s Trevor Knight, Utah’s Troy Williams, Boise State’s Brett Rypien, Washington’s Myles Gaskin, Baylor’s Seth Russell and Western Michigan’s Zach Terrell.

So, halfway through the season and Purdue fired coach Darrell Hazell. In three and a half seasons, Hazell had a 9-33 record at Purdue. Hazell is the third coach to be fired this season. Word on the street says that Les Miles will be the coach of Purdue next season? Stay tuned!

Thumbs down to Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley’s decision to postpone indefinitely the LSU-Florida game. Foley screwed up big time. At 1 p.m. on Thursday, October 6, Foley should have postponed the game to Sunday, October 9 or Monday, October 10. LSU had agreed to come to Gainesville on those dates. But when Foley announced the game was postponed indefinitely, he lost all bargaining power to keep the game in Gainesville. As a result, Foley cost Florida two home games – LSU and Presbyterian – and he cost the Gainesville economy $14-16 million. Foley has been a great athletic director for the University of Florida, but when it came down to his final test, Foley flunked Sports Management 101.

College GameDay has really been hurting for guest pickers this year. So many of them have been people you never heard of. Kinda like Dancing with the Stars. Doesn’t Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Wisconsin, etc. have any well-known alumni or fans?

It was good hearing from Greg Walker last week. Greg admonished me, and rightfully so, for not mentioning Tennessee’s Alvin Kamara. In the Vols loss to Texas A&M, Kamara had 312 all-purpose yards, including 288 yards from scrimmage – rushing and receiving.

I also enjoyed hearing from Bob Willey and Stephanie Stein. And it was comforting to hear from a number of my Navy buddies from Scotland, including Frank Slattery, Blake Henderson, Grady Bryant, Joe Gannon, Mark Peacor, John Ross, Randy Rollman, Mark Kohl and Pat Bianco, who were concerned about me during Hurricane Matthew. Thanks guys.

“We’re halfway there
We’re looking good now
And nothing’s going to get in the way”

Enjoy your week!

Touchdown Tom
October 17, 2016

P.S. “Halfway to Paradise,” written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin, was originally recorded in 1961 by Tony Orlando. It reached No. 39 on the Billboard charts in the summer of 1961. The song was much more successful in the United Kingdom when it was recorded by Billy Fury. Fury’s recording reached No. 3 on the British charts in 1961 and remained on the charts for 23 weeks, becoming the 10th best-selling single of 1961 in the U.K. Bobby Vinton revived “Halfway to Paradise” in 1968. Vinton’s recording reached No. 23 on the Billboard charts in the summer of 1968. Tina Charles and Nick Lowe recorded the song in the 1970s.

“Livin’ on a Prayer” has become the signature song for Bon Jovi. It reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts in the winter and early spring of 1987. “Livin’ on a Prayer” was written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Desmond Child.

“Halfway There” was recorded by the boy band Big Time Rush from the American television (Nickelodeon) series of the same name. “Big Time Rush,” about the misadventures of a boy band, aired from 2009 to 2013. The band released the song “Halfway There” in April 2010. It became the group’s signature song.

Weekend Recap

GAME OF THE WEEK: Rocky Bottom – Alabama 49, Tennessee 10 (Touchdown Tom said: Alabama 36, Tennessee 27). When Tennessee scored with 9:41 to go in the second quarter and trailed Alabama 14-7, it looked like we had ourselves a ballgame. Then Bama proceeded to outscore the Vols 34-3. So much for a good ballgame. The Tide had 594 total yards to 163 for Tennessee and 28 first downs to 11 for the Vols. Tennessee only rushed for a total of 32 yards. Bama quarterback Jalen Hurts passed for 143 yards and ran for 132 yards. Attendance in Knoxville: 102,455

RUNNER UP: Smash mouth – Ohio State 30, Wisconsin 23 (OT) (Touchdown Tom said: Ohio State 21, Wisconsin 14). Ohio State trailed for three quarters. The Buckeyes took their first lead at 20-16 at the 14:09 mark in the fourth quarter. The teams proceeded to exchange scores after that and ended up tied 23-23 at the end of regulation. It was a classic battle as the teams were pretty evenly matched in the stats. Bucks quarterback J.T. Barrett passed for 226 yards and rushed for 92. Badgers running back Corey Clement rushed for 162 yards. Attendance in Madison: 81,541

REST OF THE BEST: Blown – Clemson 24, NC State 17 (OT) (Touchdown Tom said: Clemson 30, NC State 18). NC State had the game in its grasp. Tied 17-17, the Wolfpack lined up for a 33-yard field goal with 0:02 left in the game. The first field goal was good. But wait – Clemson called a time out before the play began. The second attempt was wide right. Instead of upsetting the Tigers, NC State was in overtime with Clemson. Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson passed for 378 yards. Attendance in Clemson: 81,200

Devils get iced – Colorado 40, Arizona State 16 (Touchdown Tom said: Colorado 26, Arizona State 23). Colorado all but totally shut down Arizona State. The Buffs had 581 total yards to 199 for ASU, and 27 first downs to only 8 for the Sun Devils. Colorado’s defense held ASU to only 50 yards rushing. Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau passed for 265 yards and Buffs running back Phillip Lindsay rushed for 219 yards. Attendance in Boulder: 48,588

Cane-less – North Carolina 20, Miami (Florida) 13 (Touchdown Tom said: Miami 30, North Carolina 24). A game of two halves. North Carolina led 20-3 at the break. Miami outscored the Tar Heels 13-0 in the second half. Still, UNC hung on to win. Tar Heels quarterback Mitch Trubisky bounced back from a poor performance last week to pass for 299 yards. Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya, probably still hurting from last week, didn’t have a good game. It was the Canes second-straight loss. Attendance in Miami Gardens: 58,731

Sweating succotash in Bloomington – Nebraska 27, Indiana 22 (Touchdown Tom said: Nebraska 28, Indiana 20). Nebraska led 17-0 at the end of the first quarter. Then Indiana began to make it close. During the next two quarters, the Hoosiers scored 15 points to none for the Huskers. As the fourth quarter began, Nebraska’s lead was just 17-15. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Huskers led 24-22. Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong fell back into his old habits. Armstrong threw two interceptions. He also completed less than 50% of his passes. Attendance in Bloomington: 48,254

Over the Kliff – West Virginia 48, Texas Tech 17 (Touchdown Tom said: West Virginia 34, Texas Tech 32). West Virginia led 24-7 at the break and outscored Texas Tech 24-10 in the second half. The Eers racked up 650 yards of offense – 332 rushing and 318 passing. Three Mountaineers – Rushel Shell, Kennedy McKoy and Skyler Howard – rushed for 89 or more yards. Howard added 318 yards passing. Attendance in Lubbock: 54,111

Broncos burn some rubber – Western Michigan 41, Akron 0 (Touchdown Tom said: Western Michigan 32, Akron 24). Western Michigan turned what was supposed to be a potentially close game into a blow out. The Broncos had 585 total yards to 283 for the Zips. WMU running back Jarvion Franklin rushed for 281 yards and Broncos quarterback Zack Terrell passed for 207 yards. Attendance in Akron: 11,321

Couldn’t quite shake the Demons – Florida State 17, Wake Forest 6 (Touchdown Tom said: Florida State 37, Wake Forest 18). Early in the third quarter, Florida State only led Wake Forest, 10-6. In spite of outplaying the Demons, the Noles couldn’t break away from them. FSU did have four turnovers. But Wake had three turnovers. The Noles had 442 total yards to 252 for the Demons, and 27 first downs to 13 for Wake. Deondre Francois passed for 319 yards. Attendance in Tallahassee: 77,102

Hog tied – Arkansas 34, Ole Miss 30 (Touchdown Tom said: Arkansas 32, Ole Miss 30). Arkansas led throughout the game, until Ole Miss scored a touchdown with 9:00 to go in the fourth quarter to take a 30-27 lead. But the Hogs responded. Arkansas scored a touchdown with 2:20 on the clock to go back up 34-30. The Hogs then held on to win. Arkansas’ Rawleigh Williams rushed for 180 yards. Attendance in Fayetteville: 73,786

Happy in Norman – Oklahoma 38, Kansas State 17 (Touchdown Tom said: Oklahoma 25, Kansas State 23). Oklahoma had 510 yards of offense, with Baker Mayfield passing for 372 of those yards. Mayfield threw for four touchdowns. Attendance in Norman: 86,049

Horse power – Western Kentucky 44, Middle Tennessee 43 (2OT) (Touchdown Tom said: Middle Tennessee 33, Western Kentucky 27). This game lived up to its billing. It took two overtimes – a missed extra point kick in the second overtime – for Western Kentucky to win. The teams combined for 1,126 total yards – 825 of those yards passing. WKU’s Anthony Wales ran for 158 yards. Attendance in Murfreesboro: 22,411


For Mike – LSU 45, Southern Miss 10 (Touchdown Tom said: LSU 33, Southern Miss 19). A close game at the break, the score was tied 10-10 at the half. Then LSU outscored Southern Miss 35-0 in the second half. The Eagles controlled the clock – 38 minutes to 22 – but not the score. LSU’s Derrius Guice rushed for 162 yards. Attendance in Baton Rouge: 102,164

On a roll – USC 48, Arizona 14 (Touchdown Tom said: USC 30, Arizona 24). Arizona couldn’t stop USC. The Trojans had 320 yards rushing and 254 yards passing. The Wildcats suffered four turnovers. Attendance in Tucson: 55,463


Welcome back Luke – Florida 40, Missouri 14 (Touchdown Tom said: Florida 23, Missouri 14). Florida scored 20 points in the first half and equaled its output in the second half. The Gators had a balanced offense: 287 yards rushing and 236 yards passing. Two Gators rushed for more than 100 yards – Lamical Perine (106) and Jordan Scarlett (101). Mizzou only had 98 yards passing. Attendance in Gainesville: 88,825

Dookies are Birdseed – Louisville 24, Duke 14 (Touchdown Tom said: Louisville 33, Duke 15). This game was surprisingly close until late in the game. The score was 17-14 when Duke was hit with a roughing the kicker penalty as Louisville attempted a field goal. The penalty gave the Cardinals a first down and Louisville scored a game clinching touchdown with 1:32 on the clock. Louisville dominated the stats, with 469 total yards to 239 for Duke and 21 first downs to 13 for Duke. Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson had a good running game, but a poor passing game. Attendance in Louisville: 55,121

Really, Uga – Vanderbilt 17, Georgia 16 (Touchdown Tom said: Georgia 26, Vanderbilt 12). Georgia had 421 total yards to only 177 for Vanderbilt. The Dawgs had 23 first downs to only nine for the Dores. But Georgia lost. The Dawgs only had 75 yards rushing. The only good Dawg was Jacob Eason. He passed for 346 yards. Attendance in Athens: 92,746

The Horns were blasting – Texas 27, Iowa State 6 (Touchdown Tom said: Texas 37, Iowa State 27). Texas trailed Iowa State 6-3 at the break and then scored 24 unanswered points in the second half, while shutting out the Cyclones. The Horns had 507 total yards to 280 for Iowa State. Texas’ Shane Buechele passed for 296 yards. The Cyclones were held to 98 yards rushing. Attendance in Austin: 96,851

Too little, too late – Iowa 49, Purdue 35 (Touchdown Tom said: Iowa 23, Purdue 16). Purdue trailed Iowa 35-7 at the half. Then the Boilers played catch up in the second half, outscoring the Hawkeyes, 28-14. But they didn’t catch up enough. The Boilers had no running game – only 46 yards rushing. But what they lacked running, they made up for passing – 458 yards. Iowa’s Akrum Wadley and LaShun Daniels rushed for 170 yards and 156 yards respectively. Attendance in West Lafayette: 40,239

Week 7 Results: 16 correct picks, 3 fumbles (84.2 percent)
For the Season: 85 correct picks, 41 fumbles (67.5 percent)


North Carolina A&T 52, Bethune-Cookman 35 – Attendance in Daytona Beach: 3,715
Dayton 36, Jacksonville U. 16 – Attendance in Jacksonville: 1,518
Valparaiso 21, Stetson 18 – Attendance in Deland: 2,590

Florida Tech 48, Fort Valley State 14 – Attendance in Melbourne: 3,034
Florida A&M 41, Delaware State 27 – Attendance in Dover: 3,124
Florida International 27, Charlotte 26 – Attendance in Charlotte: 13,939

South Florida 42, Connecticut 27 – Attendance in Tampa: 30,297
Marshall 27, Florida Atlantic 21 – Attendance in Huntington: 22,839
Temple 26, UCF 25 – Attendance in Orlando: 38,299


Impressive Passers:

Louisiana Tech’s Ryan Higgins – 26-33-1 for 484 yards; Idaho’s Matt Linehan – 29-36-1-476; Purdue’s David Blough – 30-60-1-458; Middle Tennessee’s Brent Stockstill – 42-54-1-434; Western Kentucky’s Mike White – 29-40-1-391; Georgia State’s Conner Manning – 28-52-2-381, and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson – 39-52-1-378.

Tulsa’s Dane Evans – 27-51-1 for 365 yards; Eastern Michigan’s Brogan Roback – 29-39-0-347; Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield – 25-31-1-346; Georgia’s Jacob Eason – 27-40-0-346; Bowling Green’s James Morgan – 25-38-1-335; Marshall’s Chase Litton – 27-39-1-330, and Toledo’s Logan Woodside – 23-30-1-322.

Impressive Rushers:

Western Michigan’s Jarvion Franklin – 281 yards; Ball State’s James Gilbert – 264 yards; San Diego State’s Donnel Pumphrey – 220 yards; Colorado’s Phillip Lindsay – 219 yards; Boise State’s Jeremy McNichols – 217 yards, and Northwestern’s Justin Jackson – 188 yards.

Arkansas’ Rawleigh Williams – 180 yards; Utah’s Joe Williams – 179 yards; Iowa’s Akrum Wadley – 170 yards; Wisconsin’s Corey Clement – 164 yards; LSU’s Derrius Guice – 162 yards, and Western Kentucky’s Anthony Wales – 158 yards.

Quotes of the Week

“Somebody knows something,” Lee Corso, on the line between Nebraska and Indiana going from 8 to 3 in a week.

Quote from the Past

“We didn’t tackle well today, but we made up for it by not blocking,” USC coach John McKay.

Signs of the Day

Urban Meyer Is Voting On November 28

Lane Kiffin Has Small Hands

Touchdown Tom’s Predictions for
This Week’s 12 Biggest and Most Intriguing Games…and then some

GAME OF THE WEEK: 1. Texas A&M (6-0) at Alabama (7-0) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, CBS – Only one team has come close to Alabama all season. That was Ole Miss. The Sharks lost by five points to the Tide. Everybody else has been clobbered. I’m kinda thinking the Tide is on its way to another clobber. Not sure the Aggies defense can stop Bama. Tide gets another roll – Alabama 34, Texas A&M 21.

RUNNER UP: 2. Ohio State (6-0) at Penn State (4-2) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 8 pm ET, Saturday, ABC – You gotta think Ohio State will have a little letdown after the big win over Wisconsin. And you gotta think Penn State has been getting a little better. But the Buckeyes don’t letdown that much and the Nitts haven’t gotten that much better. Brutus bags a Cat – Ohio State 28, Penn State 13.

REST OF THE BEST: 3. NC State (4-2) at Louisville (5-1) – (ACC vs. ACC) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ABC – NC State’s loss to Clemson was so heartbreaking that you wonder if it took everything out of the Wolfpack. Or did it give them momentum. Louisville better hope it didn’t give the Wolfpack momentum. NC State has had two tough struggles in a row – Notre Dame and Clemson. The Pack beat Notre Dame and lost to Clemson. Maybe the Cardinals won’t be so tough for the Pack. Then again, maybe NC State won’t be so tough for Louisville. Birds sack the Pack – Louisville 27, NC State 18.

4. TCU (4-2) at West Virginia (5-0) – (Big 12 vs. Big 12) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, ABC/ESPN2 – Until last Saturday, the Mountaineers were behind the scenes, under the radar. After a 48-17 win over Texas Tech, the Eers are no longer under the covers. But can the Mounties handle their notoriety? The Frogs will definitely provide a test. The Eers pass – West Virginia 38, TCU 30.

5. BYU (4-3) at Boise State (6-0) – (Ind. vs. MWC) – 10:15 pm ET, Thursday, ESPN – These two should be in the same conference. They are natural rivals. The Broncos are undefeated, but the Cougars have played a much tougher schedule. That makes it tough for the Broncos to beat BYU. But they do – Boise State 27, BYU 24.

6. Arkansas (5-2) at Auburn (4-2) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 6 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN – Auburn was off last week while Arkansas was doing all it could do to beat Ole Miss. Auburn will be another struggle for the Hogs. Malzahn never learned how to bar-b-que pork – Arkansas 33, Auburn 30.

7. Colorado (5-2) at Stanford (4-2) – (Pac-12 vs. Pac-12) – 3 pm ET, Saturday, PAC12N – Colorado is the up-and-coming team in the Pac-12. The Buffs are playing well. Stanford should have Christian McCaffrey back this week. He needed a little R & R last week. Without McCaffrey, the Trees still beat Notre Dame, but with McCaffrey, they won’t beat the Buffs – Colorado 20, Stanford 18.

8. Wisconsin (4-2) at Iowa (5-2) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ESPN – This game is important for the throne of the Big Ten West. Undefeated Nebraska is hanging over their heads. The Hawkeyes stay alive; the Badgers don’t – Iowa 23, Wisconsin 20.

9. Washington State (4-2) at Arizona State (5-2) – (Pac-12 vs. Pac-12) – 10 pm ET, Saturday, PAC12N – Wazzu has come alive. The Cougars have spread fear throughout the Pac-12. But Devils have no fear – Arizona State 37, Washington State 36.

10. Memphis (5-1) at Navy (4-1) – (AAC vs. AAC) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, CBSSN – Navy has another big challenge. The Middies got by Houston. Now they have to mine sweep Memphis. A close one but the Tigers get decked – Navy 31, Memphis 30.

11. Eastern Michigan (5-2) at Western Michigan (7-0) – (MAC vs. MAC) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN3 – WMU is moving up in the polls. But EMU would like to put a stop to the Broncos movement. The Eagles could. They aren’t a pushover anymore. But for the Broncos, they are a jump over – Western Michigan 30, Eastern Michigan 24.

12. Central Michigan (5-2) at Toledo (5-1) – (MAC vs. MAC) – 1 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN3 – Another good battle in the MAC. Toledo is solid. But CMU is no slouch. Just ask Oklahoma State…..or the referees. Logan Woodside puts the Chipps aside – Toledo 31, Central Michigan 26.


13. Miami (Florida) (4-2) at Virginia Tech (4-2) – (ACC vs. ACC) – 7 pm ET, Thursday, ESPN – Two hurtin’ teams. The Canes have lost their last two. The Hokies were upset in Syracuse. How about three straight for the Canes – Virginia Tech 25, Miami 23.

14. Ole Miss (3-3) at LSU (4-2) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 9 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN – Now Ed Orgeron’s luck has to run out sometime. And what a mess Ole Miss will be in if the “What Are They This Week” falls to 3-4. Maybe that’s Ole Miss’ problem. They don’t know what they are – Black Bears, Rebels, Landsharks, Fins, Magnolias. Call them what you want, but they hand Eddie his first loss – Ole Miss 30, LSU 27.


Purdue (3-3) at Nebraska (6-0) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, ABC/ESPN2 – So Purdue fired its coach. Maybe that will fire up the Boilers. Then again, maybe not. The Huskers protect their corn – Nebraska 34, Purdue 17.

Florida (5-1), Duke (3-4) and Georgia (4-3) are off.


South Florida (6-1) at Temple (4-3) – (AAC vs. AAC) – 7 pm ET, Friday, ESPN….

UCF (3-3) at Connecticut (3-4) – (AAC vs. AAC) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ESPN News….
Jacksonville U. (2-3) at Morehead State (2-5) – (Pioneer vs. Pioneer) – 1 pm ET, Saturday….
Bethune-Cookman (0-5) at Norfolk State (1-5) – (MEAC vs. MEAC) – 2 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN3….

Hampton (3-3) at Florida A&M (2-5) – (MEAC vs. MEAC) – 3 pm ET, Saturday….
Florida Tech (5-1) at West Alabama (4-3) – (Gulf South vs. Gulf South) – 3 pm ET, Saturday….
Stetson (3-3) at Campbell (3-2) – (Pioneer vs. Pioneer) – 4 pm ET, Saturday….

Louisiana Tech (4-3) at Florida International (3-4) – (C-USA vs. C-USA) – 7 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN3….

Florida State (5-2) and Florida Atlantic (1-6) are off.

Touchdown Tom


Not exactly college football related, but sadly, there were two passings of note last week – Quentin Groves and Don Ciccone.

Quentin Groves, an Auburn football star who played defensive end for the Tigers from 2004 to 2007 and was a second-round NFL draft pick, died last week. He was 32, Groves from Greenville, Mississippi, recorded 26 sacks at Auburn. He was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2008. The Buffalo Bills cut him just before the 2015 season. He played for seven NFL teams.

Don Ciccone, the lead singer of the rock group the Critters and the writer of the group’s biggest hit “Mr. Dieingly Sad,” died Saturday in Ketchum, Idaho. He was 70. “Mr. Dieingly Sad” reached No. 17 on the Billboard singles chart in the autumn of 1966. It was the follow up to the Critters first hit “Younger Girl,” a cover of the Lovin’ Spoonful song. The group’s other hit was “Don’t Let the Rain Fall Down On Me” in the summer of 1967. Ciccone later joined Frankie Valli’s Four Seasons, singing with the group from 1973 to 1981. He then became the musical director and bassist for Tommy James and the Shondells. Don Ciccone was born on February 28, 1946, in Jersey City, New Jersey. He was a founding member of the Vibratones, who later changed their name to the Critters.

Monday, October 10, 2016

College Football Week 7 – The halfway point
Hurricane Matthew ran interference

I’m the ultimate optimist. I take the positive side of everything – even hurricanes.

When a hurricane is out in the Atlantic, down in the Caribbean or in the Gulf, I always believe and take the attitude that it won’t come where I live. It may come near, but not that near. Usually, I’m right. But once in a while, I’m wrong.

Hurricane Matthew had been slowly moving across the Atlantic and into the Caribbean for several days. As it became apparent that Matthew would turn and move north, I was convinced it would move north a good 100-125 miles off Florida’s east coast. Near, but not that near. Not near enough to cause any problems.

I suppose it must have been sometime Tuesday that good ole positive me got to thinking that Matthew was going to come closer than I thought – too close for comfort. I must have gotten that feeling when we got a reverse 911 call from Brevard County Emergency Management announcing that a mandatory evacuation of the barrier island would begin at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Tuesday night, Swamp Mama got to thinking about where we would go. We were scheduled to be in Gainesville on Friday, along with Bootsie and Rockledge Gator for the LSU-Florida football weekend.

So we got to thinking that maybe we could go to Gainesville on Thursday – a day early. Meanwhile, Swamp Mama’s cousin Donna Snyder, in Punta Gorda (southwest Florida) called and invited us to come to her house. Now we were thinking that maybe we would drive to Punta Gorda on Thursday and up to Gainesville from there on Friday.

Wednesday morning, good ole positive me put up my shutters and secured things around the house. I was convinced now that Matthew would be 50-80 miles off coast instead of 100-125 miles. Then I mowed my yard, went to the bank and the post office. I did take a shower before I went to the bank and the post office.

I called Monta Burt at the Laurel Oak Inn in Gainesville to see if we could check in a day early if we decided to come up on Thursday. Monta said we could. Meanwhile, there was talk the LSU-Florida game may be postponed. The University of Florida was going to make an announcement on the status of the game at 5 p.m.

Our next door neighbors Russ and Sandy Grunewald and Betty ‘The Duchess of Indialantic’ Pappas, left for Atlanta at 1 p.m.

At 5 p.m. Wednesday, the University of Florida announced they were going to postpone the announcement about the status of the game to 1 p.m. on Thursday. In other words, stay tuned! It sounds like the decision is in the hands of the replay officials in the booth.

Wednesday night, I told Swamp Mama that we were going to leave for Punta Gorda at 6:30 the following morning. We would overnight there and wait. Didn’t Tom Petty sing, “Waiting is the hardest part?”

Bootsie and Rockledge Gator were going to stay put and possibly drive to Gainesville late Friday afternoon, if the game was still on. At this point, Matthew was supposed to pass through our area in the wee hours of Friday morning.

Shortly after 1 p.m. on Thursday, the replay officials in the booth announced that the LSU-Florida football game was postponed indefinitely. Indefinitely? Does that mean it may not be played until next year? Maybe LSU and Florida will play twice in 2017? Indefinitely?

Swamp Mama and I decided we would remain in Punta Gorda and return to Indialantic on Friday afternoon or Saturday morning. Bootsie and Rockledge Gator changed their minds. Instead of sitting out the storm, they left for Georgia on Thursday afternoon.

Hurricane Matthew apparently changed his mind too. Instead of 50-80 miles off shore, Matthew was now forecast to be on the coast, possibly come ashore – possibly in Brevard County. Waiting is the hardest part.

Maybe we could send Alabama to beat Matthew. Maybe we could send Jim Harbaugh to beat Matthew, 78-0. Better yet, maybe we could postpone Matthew – indefinitely.

As we awoke Friday morning, Matthew was passing by Brevard County. From all reports and indications, the eye had not come ashore. Matthew was off the coast – but how far off the coast?

Swamp Mama and I left Punta Gorda around midday Friday, returning to Indialantic. I drove and she texted and talked to friends who had remained in the area during the storm. Reports were sounding pretty good – pretty positive.

We got home to a messy yard, but more importantly, to a sound house. Well, mostly sound – there was no power. No power! No power means no TV. No TV means no football.

There was still no power on Saturday morning. At noon I began watching football at John and Karlene Tuttle’s house. They had power. Before long, Swamp Mama said I was getting cranky. She said I needed to eat – get some food in my stomach.

We left the Tuttle’s and went to Charlie & Jake’s for lunch. I could watch several games on several TVs there. While we were eating, a neighbor texted and said that we had power. I was a happy camper. I couldn’t get home fast enough.

Meanwhile, up in Georgia, Bootsie and Rockledge Gator drove 45 miles looking for a sports bar where they could watch the Auburn-Mississippi State game. They finally found one in Dublin, Georgia – the Brickyard Pub & Sports Grill.

As it turns out, Hurricane Matthew ran interference 40 miles off shore as it passed by Brevard County. Twenty miles or more closer and we could have had a disaster on our hands. I said originally that Matthew was going to be 100-125 miles off shore. That was about as close as my predictions were for Saturday’s games.

I was right on the Tennessee-Texas A&M game. I picked the Aggies. They won 45-38 in two overtimes. I was right on the Alabama-Arkansas game. Bama won, 49-30. But whatever happened to defense in the SEC?

And whatever happened to Oregon. Washington pounded the Ducks, 70-21. Remember when Oregon was the king of the Pac-12? Remember when the Ducks were playing for national championships? Not anymore. No way Mark Helfrich will be coach of Oregon next season.

Then there was the Jim Harbaugh “anything you can do, I can do better” game. Remember last week when Ohio State beat Rutgers, 56-0? Well Saturday, Michigan beat Rutgers, 78-0. Urban Meyer is not going to outdo Harbaugh.

I was wrong on the Florida State-Miami (Florida) game. I picked the Canes. FSU won, 20-19. Mark Richt still can’t win the big game. That was his problem at Georgia.

Bob Stoops got a reprieve, but not Charlie Strong. Oklahoma beat Texas 45-40. In a swimming match in Raleigh, NC State beat Notre Dame, 10-3. Would you believe the Irish are 2-4? Believe it!

Houston blew its chance to be the first Group of 5 team to make the playoffs. Navy surprised the Cougars, 46-40. No chance for Houston now. But Tom Herman can still take his pick of where he wants to coach next year – LSU, Texas or USC.

Virginia Tech is for real. The Hokies soundly beat North Carolina, 34-3. Granted the Tar Heels may have been hung over from their win over Florida State last week. And how overrated was Michigan State this year? The Spartans lost at home to BYU, 31-14. Michigan State is 2-3.

Along with Washington-Oregon, there were more wild games in the Pac-12 Saturday. Washington State clobbered Stanford, in Palo Alto, 42-16. Can you believe that? Arizona State knocked off UCLA, 23-20. And hapless Oregon State up and beat California, 47-44 (OT). Remember the old WAC Conference? They called it the Wacky WAC. Now we have the Wacky Pac – the Wacky Pac-12.

Yeah, I was 8-9 on my picks. I think that is a first ever – picking less than 50% of the games correct.

Hurricane Matthew interfered with several games over the weekend. Some were postponed and some were canceled. Tulane at UCF was postponed to November 5. Georgia at South Carolina was postponed from Saturday to Sunday. The Dawgs beat the Cocks, 28-14. Then there was the game that was postponed indefinitely. Whatever that turns out to be?

But if Florida should finish its SEC slate with a 6-1 record and Tennessee finishes with a 6-2 record, somebody’s got some explaining to do. The Gators would win the SEC East, playing one less conference game than Tennessee.

Have an optimistic week!

Touchdown Tom
October 10, 2016

Weekend Recap

GAME OF THE WEEK: Not this time – Texas A&M 45, Tennessee 38 (2OT) (Touchdown Tom said: Texas A&M 34, Tennessee 27). Tennessee just loves to get off to a slow start, fall behind – sometimes big – and then rally late to win. The Vols did just that against Texas A&M, only this time the rally – grand as it was – did not result in a win. Early in the third quarter, Tennessee trailed A&M, 28-7. Late in the fourth quarter the Vols trailed the Aggies, 35-21. Then amazingly, but not surprising for Tennessee, the Vols scored two touchdowns in the final 2:07 to put the game into overtime. Not only one overtime, but two overtimes before the Aggies held off the Vols to win. The teams combined for 1,276 total yards. Tennessee suffered seven turnovers – 5 fumbles and 2 interceptions. Attendance in College Station: 106,248

RUNNER UP: Makin’ bacon – Alabama 49, Arkansas 30 (Touchdown Tom said: Alabama 34, Arkansas 26). Alabama thoroughly dominated Arkansas. The Tide led 28-7 midway through the second quarter, 35-10 late in the second quarter, 42-17 early in the third quarter and 49-24 early in the fourth quarter. Arkansas suffered five turnovers – 2 fumbles and 3 interceptions. Attendance in Fayetteville: 74,459

REST OF THE BEST: Cooked – Florida State 20, Miami (Florida) 19 (Touchdown Tom said: Miami 30, Florida State 27). This game was all Miami in the first half and all FSU in the second half. The Canes led 13-3 at the break, but were outscored 17-6 in the second half. Miami suffered from the lack of a running game – only 62 yards rushing. The Canes scored with 1:38 left in the game, but a blocked extra point kick kept Miami from tying the score. FSU’s Dalvin Cook rushed for 150 yards. Attendance in Miami Gardens: 65,685

Row, row, row your boat – Navy 46, Houston 40 (Touchdown Tom said: Houston 35, Navy 20). Tied 20-20 at the break, Navy had a big third quarter, outscoring Houston 21-7. The Middies rushed for 306 yards, while the Cougars passed for 359 yards. Houston suffered three turnovers – one fumble and two interceptions. Attendance in Annapolis: 34,531

LSU at Florida (Touchdown Tom said: Florida 20, LSU 17). POSTPONED indefinitely

Justin Fuente has arrived – Virginia Tech 34, North Carolina 3 (Touchdown Tom said: North Carolina 34, Virginia Tech 29). Under first-year coach Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech has its first significant win, while improving to 4-1 on the season. The Hokies have a good shot at winning the remainder of their games. Coming into Saturday’s contest, North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky was one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the country in passing yards, averaging more than 300 yards per game. Against the Hokies, Trubisky passed for 58 yards. And the Tar Heels only had 73 yards rushing. UNC suffered 4 turnovers – 2 fumbles and 2 interceptions. Attendance in Chapel Hill: 33,000

Quack-less in Eugene – Washington 70, Oregon 21 (Touchdown Tom said: Washington 32, Oregon 23). This game was over early in the third quarter as Washington went up 42-7. But the Huskies added more icing on the cake in the fourth quarter, outscoring Oregon, 14-0. The Huskies racked up 682 total yards – 378 rushing and 304 passing. Washington quarterback Jake Browning was 22-for-28 passing, with no interceptions and six touchdowns. Myles Gaskin had 197 yards rushing for the Huskies. Attendance in Eugene: 58,842

Soft shell – Penn State 38, Maryland 14 (Touchdown Tom said: Maryland 26, Penn State 24). Penn State led 24-14 at the break and then added 14 more points in the second half for good measure. The Nitts had 524 total yards to only 270 for Maryland. Penn State’s Saquon Barkley rushed for 202 yards. Attendance in State College: 100,778

Leg-less Bruins – Arizona State 23, UCLA 20 (Touchdown Tom said: UCLA 34, Arizona State 24). Get this: UCLA had 443 total yards – 444 yards passing and -1 rushing. ASU had 275 total yards, just 79 rushing. UCLA played catch-up most of the game. Trailing 23-13 early in the fourth quarter, the Bruins scored with 11:10 on the clock to pull within 3. Combined, there were 7 turnovers in the game. Attendance in Tempe: 48,509

The Buzz went fizz – Pitt 37, Georgia Tech 34 (Touchdown Tom said: Pitt 31, Georgia Tech 25). Pitt led throughout much of the game until Georgia Tech tied the score early in the fourth quarter, 27-27. Then the Jackets went ahead midway through the fourth, 34-27. Pitt scored 10 points in the final 3:50, including a 31-yard field goal as time expired to win the game. Attendance in Pittsburgh: 47,425

The Eyes have it – Iowa 14, Minnesota 7 (Touchdown Tom said: Minnesota 27, Iowa 24). Trailing 7-6, Iowa scored on a 54-yard touchdown run with 5:28 to go in the game. The Hawkeyes held on to win. Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner was a measly 13-for-33 passing. Attendance in Minneapolis: 49,145

Second half Utes – Utah 36, Arizona 23 (Touchdown Tom said: Utah 30, Arizona 20). The third quarter made the difference for Utah. Trailing Arizona, 14-12 at the start of the third, the Utes outscored the Wildcats 17-0 and led 29-14 at the start of the fourth quarter. The teams were pretty even in the stats. Utah was the better running team. Arizona was the better passing. The Wildcats suffered three turnovers. Attendance in Salt Lake City: 45,917

Buffs get buffed – USC 21, Colorado 17 (Touchdown Tom said: Colorado 31, USC 30). With 10:20 to go in the game, the score was tied 14-14. USC got a touchdown with 8:28 left and Colorado added a field goal 4:49 on the clock. The Trojans won the game in spite of suffering 4 turnovers – 3 fumbles and 1 interception. USC had 539 total yards to 371 for the Buffs. The Trojans Sam Darnold passed for 358 yards. Attendance in Los Angeles: 68,302


Meow – Kansas State 44, Texas Tech 38 (Touchdown Tom said: Kansas State 30, Texas Tech 29). This game went back and forth until Kansas State got 13 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. Tied 31-31 at the end of the third, the Wildcats scored 13 points to go up 44-31. Tech added a touchdown with 0:05 to go in the game. The Red Raiders Patrick Mahomes passed for 504 yards. Attendance in Manhattan: 51,540

Splash – NC State 10, Notre Dame 3 (Touchdown Tom said: Notre Dame 33, NC State 28). With rain falling throughout the game, NC State only had 41 yards passing and Notre Dame only had 59 yards rushing. In fact, the Irish finished with just 113 total yards. Tied 3-3 at the end of the third quarter, the Wolfpack scored the go-ahead touchdown at the 12:43 mark in the fourth quarter. Attendance in Raleigh: 58,200


Baseball? – Duke 13, Army 6 (Touchdown Tom said: Duke 25, Army 22). All 19 of the game’s points were scored in the first half of the rain soaked game. Not much offense as Duke only had 9 first downs and Army only had 8. Army was 3-for-11 passing. Attendance in Durham: 20,613

Another Mustake – Georgia 28, South Carolina 14 (Touchdown Tom said: Georgia 26, South Carolina 16). Georgia established control and the flow of the game in the first half, taking a 14-0 lead at the break. In the second half, the two teams went tit-for-tat. The Dawgs ultimately maintained their 14 point lead, winning by two touchdowns. In five SEC games this season, the Cocks have yet to score more than 14 points. Georgia held South Carolina to 31 yards rushing. Uga’s tandem of Sony Michel and Nick Chubb rushed for 133 yards and 121 yards respectively. The Cocks Perry Orth passed for 288 yards. The Dawgs only passed for 29 yards. Jacob Eason was only 5-for-17 passing. South Carolina suffered three turnovers. Attendance in Columbia: 77,221

The Boilers are perking – Purdue 34, Illinois 31 (OT) (Touchdown Tom said: Illinois 31, Purdue 23). A 28-yard field goal by J.D. Dellinger in the first overtime period gave the Boilers the win. The teams were pretty evenly matched in the stats. Illinois was the better rushing team; Purdue the better passing. Attendance in Champaign: 42,912

Week 6 Results: 8 correct picks, 9 fumbles (47.1 percent)
For the Season: 69 correct picks, 38 fumbles (64.5 percent)


Bethune-Cookman at South Carolina State – POSTPONED to November 26
Charlotte 28, Florida Atlantic 23 – Attendance in Boca Raton: 7,401
Campbell at Jacksonville U. – CANCELED
Tulane at UCF – POSTPONED to November 5

Florida International 35, UTEP 21 – Attendance in El Paso: 17,751
Stetson 31, Brown 21 – Attendance in Providence: 3,540
North Carolina Central 17, Florida A&M 13 – Attendance in Durham: 617
South Florida 38, East Carolina 22 – Attendance in Tampa: 33,620
North Alabama at Florida Tech – CANCELED


Impressive Passers:

Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes – 45-62-1 for 504 yards; Louisiana Tech’s Ryan Higgins – 33-45-0-454; Temple’s Phillip Walker – 36-59-2-445; Tennessee’s Joshua Dobbs – 28-47-2-398; Boise State’s Brett Rypien – 21-28-0-391; UCLA’s Josh Rosen – 24-43-1-400, and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield 00 22-31-2-390.

Houston’s Greg Ward – 32-50-2 for 359 yards; USC’s Sam Darnold – 25-37-1-358; Washington State’s Luke Falk – 30-41-2-357; Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph – 26-44-0-351; Western Kentucky’s Mike White – 36-50-0-340; Georgia State’s Conner Manning – 27-40-0-340, and Western Michigan’s Zack Terrell – 18-24-0-327.

Impressive Rushers:

Kent State’s Nick Holley – 224 yards; Oregon State’s Ryan Nall – 221 yards; Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine – 219 yards; Texas A&M’s Trayveon Williams – 215 yards; Penn State’s Saquon Barkley – 202 yards; Washington’s Myles Gaskin – 197 yards, and North Texas’ Jeffrey Wilson – 188 yards.

Tulsa’s D’Angelo Brewer – 182 yards ; Nevada’s James Butler – 175 yards; Auburn’s Kamryn Pettway – 169 yards; Western Michigan’s Jarvion Franklin – 169 yards; Fresno State’s Dontel James – 169 yards; California’s Khalfani Muhammad – 165 yards; BYU’s Jamal Williams – 163 yards; Old Dominion’s Jeremy Cox – 162 yards, and Texas’ D’Onta Foreman – 159 yards.

Quotes of the Week

“For the first time, Miami, Florida and Florida State fans are celebrating together for a ‘wide right’,” Tara Franco Reynolds, on Hurricane Matthew.

“Scared of losing and falling in the standings, Florida is using Hurricane Mathew to dodge LSU. Right now, it seems self evident to anybody, I think, with a functional brain, that Florida is trying to use the hurricane as an excuse to try to advance their own opportunities to win the SEC East by playing one less game against a top opponent, and that’s a shame,” Fox Sports analyst Clay Travis.

“This is hilariously incorrect and very insensitive to those being affected by this hurricane,” Florida quarterback Luke Del Rio, responding to Clay Travis.

Quote from the Past

“I’ve found that prayers work best when you have big players,” Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne.

Touchdown Tom’s predictions for
The 12 Biggest and Most Intriguing Games of Week 7…and then some

GAME OF THE WEEK: 1. Alabama (6-0) at Tennessee (5-1) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, CBS – It’s been quite a while since Tennessee beat Alabama. But then again, it had been quite a while since the Vols beat Florida. Tennessee took care of the Gators. Can the Vols take care of the Tide? Not likely – Alabama 36, Tennessee 27.

RUNNER UP: 2. Ohio State (5-0) at Wisconsin (4-1) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 8 pm ET, Saturday, ABC – The Badgers lost a heartbreaker to Michigan. They have the Buckeyes in Madison. But Urban says, “Anything Harbaugh can do, I can do better” – Ohio State 21, Wisconsin 14.

REST OF THE BEST: 3. NC State (4-1) at Clemson (6-0) – (ACC vs. ACC) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ABC – Clemson could be ripe for a slip up. And NC State could be the team that causes the Tigers to slip up. Close for the Wolfpack, but no cigar – Clemson 30, NC State 18.

4. Arizona State (5-1) at Colorado (4-2) – (Pac-12 vs. Pac-12) – 8 pm ET, Saturday, PAC12N – The Buffs lost a close one to USC last week, while ASU won a close one over UCLA. The outcome is reversed this week – Colorado 26, Arizona State 23.

5. North Carolina (4-2) at Miami (Florida) (4-1) – (ACC vs. ACC) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, ABC/ESPN2 – Both teams got knocked off last week. It was Miami’s first loss. The Canes bounce back – Miami 30, North Carolina 24.

6. Nebraska (5-0) at Indiana (3-2) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, ABC/ESPN2 – Indiana can be a tricky team. The Hoosiers knocked off Michigan State. But the Huskers keep their heads on their shoulders – Nebraska 28, Indiana 20.

7. West Virginia (4-0) at Texas Tech (3-2) – (Big 12 vs. Big 12) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, FS1 – The Mountaineer defense has to stop Patrick Mahomes. The guy can pass for 400-500 yards or more. But the Mounties can pass too, and run – West Virginia 34, Texas Tech 32.

8. Western Michigan (6-0) at Akron (4-2) – (MAC vs. MAC) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, CBSSN – WMU is on a roll. The Broncos are a Top-25 team. But Akron is capable of knocking off WMU. But the Zips can’t hold the Horses – Western Michigan 32, Akron 24.

9. Wake Forest (5-1) at Florida State (4-2) – (ACC vs. ACC) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN – Wake is 5-1, but it is a weak 5-1. After the loss to North Carolina and the close win over Miami, the Noles are ready to pour one on – Florida State 37, Wake Forest 18.

10. Ole Miss (3-2) at Arkansas (4-2) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 7 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN – The ending of this game was a doozy last year. Ole Miss will definitely be out for revenge. But the Rebs can’t grease this Pig – Arkansas 32, Ole Miss 30.

11. Kansas State (3-2) at Oklahoma (3-2) – (Big 12 vs. Big 12) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ESPN – Bob Stoops is feeling some pressure. Pressure wins – Oklahoma 25, Kansas State 23.

12. Western Kentucky (3-3) at Middle Tennessee (4-1) – (C-USA vs. C-USA) – 2:30 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN3 – This could be a wild one. Middle Tennessee is going for the C-USA East title. They become one step closer – Middle Tennessee 33, Western Kentucky 27.


13. Southern Miss (4-2) at LSU (3-2) – (C-USA vs. SEC) – 7:30 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN – Southern Miss is the type of team that could knock off LSU. But the Tigers are playing well under Ed Orgeron. Maybe close for a while, but no upset here – LSU 33, Southern Miss 19.

14. USC (3-3) at Arizona (2-4) – (Pac-12 vs. Pac-12) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, Fox – The Trojans seem to have their act together. But Arizona is dangerous. Just not dangerous enough – USC 30, Arizona 24.


Missouri (2-3) at Florida (4-1) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 4 pm ET, Saturday, SECN – Looks like Luke Del Rio will be back for this game. The Gators need a spark in their offense. Mizzou loses indefinitely – Florida 23, Missouri 14.

Duke (3-3) at Louisville (4-1) – (ACC vs. ACC) – 7 pm ET, Friday, ESPN – Unless the Dookies can pull off another Notre Dame game, this one could be ugly for the Devils. But pretty for the Cardinals – Louisville 33, Duke 15.

Vanderbilt (2-4) at Georgia (4-2) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, SECN – It’s Georgia’s turn to beat Vanderbilt this week. Poor Vandy – Georgia 26, Vanderbilt 12.

Iowa State (1-5) at Texas (2-3) – (Big 12 vs. Big 12) – 7 pm ET, Saturday, LHN – Iowa State has been losing some close games. So has Texas. The Cyclones keep losing – Texas 37, Iowa State 27.

Iowa (4-2) at Purdue (3-2) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ESPN2 – Can you believe Purdue is 3-2? The Boilers will be 3-3 after this one – Iowa 23, Purdue 16.


North Carolina A&T (4-1) at Bethune-Cookman (0-4) – (MEAC vs. MEAC) – 8 pm ET, Thursday….
Dayton (4-2) at Jacksonville U. (2-2) – (Pioneer vs. Pioneer) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ESPN3….
Valparaiso (2-4) at Stetson (3-2) – (Pioneer vs. Pioneer) – 1 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN3….

Fort Valley State (1-5) at Florida Tech (4-1) – (SIAC vs. Gulf South) – 1 pm ET, Saturday….
Florida A&M (1-5) at Delaware State (0-5) – (MEAC vs. MEAC) – 2 pm ET, Saturday….
Florida International (2-4) at Charlotte (2-4) – (C-USA vs. C-USA) – 6 pm ET, Saturday….

Connecticut (3-3) at South Florida (5-1) – (AAC vs. AAC) – 7 pm ET, Saturday, CBSSN….
Florida Atlantic (1-5) at Marshall (1-4) – (C-USA vs. C-USA) – 7 pm ET, Saturday….
Temple (3-3) at UCF (3-2) – (AAC vs. AAC) – 7:30 pm ET, Saturday, ESPNU….

Touchdown Tom


Not exactly college football related, but in the October autumn as the college football season approached its halfway point, the number one song in the country…

…75 years ago this week in 1941 was “Piano Concerto in B Flat” by Freddy Martin and His Orchestra

…70 years ago this week in 1946 was “To Each His Own” by Eddy Howard

…65 years ago this week in 1951 was “Because of You” by Tony Bennett

…60 years ago this week in 1956 was “Hound Dog”/“Don’t Be Cruel” by Elvis Presley

…55 years ago this week in 1961 was “Hit the Road Jack” by Ray Charles

…50 years ago this week in 1966 was “Reach Out I’ll Be There” by The Four Tops

…45 years ago this week in 1971 was “Maggie May”/“Reason to Believe” by Rod Stewart

…40 years ago this week in 1976 was “A Fifth of Beethoven” by Walter Murphy and The Big Apple Band

…35 years ago this week in 1981 was “Endless Love” by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie

…30 years ago this week in 1986 was “When I Think of You” by Janet Jackson

…25 years ago this week in 1991 was “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch

Not exactly college football related, but sadly there was one passing of note last week – Joan Marie Johnson

Joan Marie Johnson, a founding member of the musical trio the Dixie Cups, whose hit “Chapel of Love” unseated the Beatles from the top of the Billboard 100 in 1964, died last week at her home in New Orleans. She was 72. “Chapel of Love” reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in June 1964, unseating the Beatles “Love Me Do.” It remained there for three weeks and was later covered by the Beach Boys. The song was featured in the soundtracks of the movies “Full Metal Jacket” (1987) and “Father of the Bride” (1991). The Dixie Cups’ other hits were “People Say,” “You Should Have Seen the Way He Looked at Me” and “Iko Iko.”

Monday, October 3, 2016

Football Week 6 – Charlie Strong demotes his defensive coordinator
A Return to the Heartland

My first introduction to Nebraska was North Platte and Scottsbluff. That was the summer of 1974. I flew into those towns on a Convair 580 – Frontier Airlines (the original and authentic Frontier Airlines). It was a business trip to the newspapers – The North Platte Telegraph and The Scottsbluff Star Herald.

Three years and a few months passed before I returned to Nebraska. This time it was to Lincoln. It was November 1977. I flew into Lincoln on a Boeing 737 – Frontier Airlines (still the original and authentic Frontier Airlines). This too was a business trip to the Lincoln Journal-Star.

But unlike the one-time trip to North Platte and Scottsbluff, the November 1977 trip to Lincoln was the first of many I would make to Nebraska’s capital city. I returned several times during the next 22 years. Not only to Lincoln, but also to Omaha – business trips to the Omaha World-Herald.

During those 22 years, I became very accustomed to Nebraska. It was a cozy place for me. I felt comfortable there. Before long, some of my business contacts became more than business contacts. They became friends – good friends.

Last Tuesday, I returned to Nebraska for the first time in 17 years. I had not been in the state since 1999. Swamp Mama and I flew into Omaha. We were met at the airport by Nebraskans Dave and Sue Brolhorst – friends since my early days in Lincoln in the late 1970s.

From Omaha’s Eppley Airfield, Dave drove us to Lincoln, where I spent the rest of the week renewing my relationship with Nebraska. The four of us – Dave, Sue, Swamp Mama and I – took in as much of Nebraska as we possibly could.

While the girls visited quilt shops and a quilt museum, Dave and I fished and visited a tractor museum (thanks to a tip from Brian Smith). Together, the four of us went to a craft brewery, ate runzas, ate salad with Dorothy Lynch dressing, played Canasta and Tic and ate Valentino’s pizza.

We toured the state capitol, drank Moscow Mules, bought coffee beans from The Mill, visited Lincoln’s sunken gardens, ate at Florio’s and had a Dave and Sue cooked dinner with Rory and Randi Zink – two more friends from my early days in Lincoln.

And, oh yes, we went to Scheels All Sports so I could buy a Nebraska ball cap. Now, why did I want to buy a Nebraska ball cap? Well, the highlight of our trip was going to the Illinois-Nebraska football game on Saturday. Although I was wearing my West Virginia ball cap around Lincoln all week, I really didn’t want to go cheer for the Huskers, wearing my Mountaineer ball cap.

Before the football game on Saturday, we walked around the historic Haymarket district of Lincoln, taking in all the sights, sounds and revelry. Then it was time for our own tailgating – our own revelry.

Twelve years ago, a group of guys – Nebraska Huskers fans – purchased an old ambulance, converted it into a tailgating wagon and called it the “Big Red Meat Wagon.” One of the guys – Dan Kleinbeck – worked with Rory Zink. Rory shared my weekly football newsletter with Dan and before long Dan was posting “College Football Week” on the Big Red Meat Wagon Website. Now he allows me to post it on the Big Red Meat Wagon Facebook page.

Along with going to a Husker football game in Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium, tailgating with the Big Red Meat Wagon group has been on my bucket list for some time. Saturday, I checked-off both of them from my bucket list.

Unfortunately, Dan was not there on Saturday, but Mike and Rick were. Together, Mike and Rick made sure we had a good time tailgating at the Big Red Meat Wagon. And we did. I even laid on the gurney and got a vodka IV. The BRMW tailgating site has three television screens for watching football games. One of the screens is in the site’s Portable Potty so you don’t miss any of the action when you have to relieve yourself.

From the BRMW, Dave, Sue, Swamp Mama and I walked on over to Memorial Stadium and took our seats for the Illinois-Nebraska football game – West Stands, Gate 8, Section 28, Row 18. We were on the 35-yardline. Not bad.

The game was a slow start for the Huskers. Although Nebraska scored first and went up 7-0, Illinois hung around. The Banned Indians hung around so much that they were up 13-10 at the half. And Illinois made it 16-10 midway through the third quarter. But Nebraska caught fire in the fourth quarter. The Huskers scored three touchdowns in the final period and won, 31-16.

The atmosphere was great in Memorial Stadium. It was Homecoming Weekend at Nebraska. Some 90,374 fans were cheering and yelling as loud as they could. I was cheering and yelling “Go Big Red” with them, wearing my new Nebraska ball cap. Of course the 90,374 fans had no idea I was wearing my gold and blue West Virginia boxers. Hmm, maybe that’s why the Huskers got off to a slow start.

Swamp Mama and I flew back to Florida yesterday. Hopefully, it won’t be another 17 years before I return to Nebraska.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some other Nebraska natives and Huskers fans who I had the privilege of working with (and becoming friends with) during my professional career. One is Hastings, Nebraska native Gary Schwartzkopf. Gary and his wife Debbie, also from Hastings, live in Centennial, Colorado. Nine years ago, 2007, Gary and Debbie, along with Dave and Sue Brolhorst, Rockledge Gator and Bootsie and Swamp Mama and I shared a condo in Estes Park, Colorado, for a few days while attending the West Virginia-Colorado football game in Boulder.

Also, Nebraska native (Mr. Nebraska) Don Haddix. Don and his wife live in Riverside, California. And Omaha native Brian Smith. Brian and his wife live in Kennard, Nebraska. More recently, I’ve acquired a new Nebraska friend – Orlando area resident Scott Greenwood.

As George Strait sang, "Sing a song about the Heartland, sing a song about my life."

Yes, Nebraska won Saturday, but 10 Top-25 teams lost. Four of the 10 – Louisville, Stanford, Wisconsin and Georgia – lost to other ranked teams. Clemson beat Louisville 42-36; Stanford lost to Washington, 44-6; Wisconsin lost to Michigan, 14-7, and Georgia lost to Tennessee, 34-31.

Washington is the real deal. Former Boise State coach Chris Petersen has put the Huskies back on the map. Can you imagine Stanford only having 29 yards rushing? Well, you don’t have to imagine it. Friday night, Washington held Stanford to 29 yards on the ground.

The other six Top-25 teams that lost were Florida State, Michigan State, Utah, San Diego State, TCU and Texas. North Carolina beat Florida State, 37-35; Indiana downed Michigan State, 24-21 (OT); California beat Utah, 28-23; South Alabama downed San Diego State, 42-24; Oklahoma beat TCU, 52-46, and Oklahoma State downed Texas, 49-31.

In a wild game Friday night, BYU outlasted Toledo, 55-53. BYU kicked a 19-yard field goal as time expired to win the game. Toledo had just gone up 53-52 only 71 seconds earlier. The teams combined for 1,278 total yards.

There are now only 16 undefeated teams. Eleven teams lost for the first time Friday and Saturday.

Texas coach Charlie Strong has demoted his defensive coordinator Vance Bedford, after the Longhorns lost to Oklahoma State, 49-31. Earlier this season, Texas gave up 47 points in a win over Notre Dame and 50 points in a loss to California. Strong will take on the defensive coordinator position, calling the plays.

They say the hot candidates for the next coach at LSU are Houston’s Tom Herman, Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, North Carolina’s Larry Fedora, South Florida’s Willie Taggart, Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, Louisville’s Bobby Petrino, former Baylor coach Art Briles, the 49ers Chip Kelly, TCU’s Gary Patterson and LSU interim coach Ed Orgeron.

And where will Les Miles end up? Early indication is either Houston or Penn State. If Tom Herman leaves Houston for LSU, then it is only logical for Houston to hire Les Miles. Penn State would dump James Franklin in a heartbeat to get Les Miles. Although Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour disputes that.

Bootsie, Rockledge Gator, Swamp Mama and I will be in Gainesville this weekend, attending the LSU-Florida game in The Swamp. Looking forward to a great weekend at the Laurel Oak Inn (

Yeah, I wear my West Virginia boxers to the Florida games, too.

Enjoy your week!

Touchdown Tom
October 3, 2016

Weekend Recap

GAME OF THE WEEK: Survived – Clemson 42, Louisville 36 (Touchdown Tom said: Louisville 30, Clemson 26). A game of spurts. Clemson scored 21 unanswered points in the second quarter and led the Cardinals 28-10 at the break. Then Louisville scored 26 unanswered points in the second half and led 36-28 halfway through the fourth quarter. Clemson then scored 14 unanswered points in the final 7 minutes of the game. Clemson suffered 5 turnovers in the game, including 3 interceptions thrown by Deshaun Watson. Both teams had more than 500 total yards each. Attendance in Clemson: 83,362

RUNNER UP: Held on – Michigan 14, Wisconsin 7 (Touchdown Tom said: Michigan 24, Wisconsin 22). A close score, but Michigan dominated the game. The Wolverines outrushed and out-passed the Badgers. Michigan had 349 total yards to only 159 for Wisconsin. Michigan had 22 first downs to 7 for Wisconsin. The Badgers suffered from 3 turnovers – all interceptions. The Wolverines scored the go-ahead touchdown with 7:56 left in the fourth quarter, then held on to win. Attendance in Ann Arbor: 111,846

REST OF THE BEST: Chopped down – Washington 44, Stanford 6 (Touchdown Tom said: Stanford 26, Washington 24). Yes, the Huskies chopped down the Trees and did they ever. Washington held Stanford to only 29 yards rushing. Christian McCaffrey was held to 49 yards. Stanford had its seven-game winning streak halted. The Trees played without four starters. Attendance in Seattle: 72,027

Unbelievable – Tennessee 34, Georgia 31 (Touchdown Tom said: Tennessee 27, Georgia 22). Early in the second quarter, Georgia had a 17-0 lead. Tennessee battled back and with 2:56 left in the fourth quarter, the Vols took a 28-24 lead. Then the unbelievable happened – two unbelievables. First, the Dawgs scored on Jacob Eason’s 47-yard Hail Mary pass with 10 seconds left in the game. Georgia went up 31-28. Second, as time expired, Tennessee connected on Joshua Dobbs’ 43-yard Hail Mary pass to win the game. Attendance in Athens: 92,746

No Bingo prizes for Sammy – North Carolina 37, Florida State 35 (Touchdown Tom said: Florida State 33, North Carolina 24). As time expired, North Carolina’s Nick Weiler kicked a 54-yard field goal to give the Tar Heels the win. North Carolina led throughout most of the game – as much as 21-0 midway through the second quarter. FSU eventually tied the game at 28-28 with 5:11 left in the fourth quarter. The Tar Heels retook the lead at 34-28 with 2:31 on the clock, only to have the Noles go back up at 35-34 with only 23 seconds left in the game. Then Weiler did his thing. The teams combined for 1,133 total yards. The Heels Mitch Trubisky passed for 405 yards. The Noles Dalvin Cook rushed for 140 yards. Attendance in Tallahassee: 77,584

Defenseless – Oklahoma 52, TCU 46 (Touchdown Tom said: Oklahoma 29, TCU 27). A wild one, Oklahoma led 49-24 at the start of the fourth quarter. Then TCU scored 22 unanswered points in the final period. OU added a field goal with 1:55 on the clock to help seal the win. The Sooners defense held the Frogs to 65 yards rushing. TCU’s Kenny Hill passed for 449 yards. Attendance in Fort Worth: 47,851

Coming back – Ole Miss 48, Memphis 28 (Touchdown Tom said: Ole Miss 34, Memphis 26). Trailing 27-7, Memphis scored 14 unanswered points in the third quarter to close the gap to 6 at 27-21. But it was all Ole Miss after that. The Landsharks scored 14 unanswered points to put the game out of reach. Ole Miss had 624 total yards – 263 yards rushing and 361 passing. The Tigers suffered 4 turnovers. Attendance in Oxford: 65,889

Richt still wins in Bobby Dodd Stadium – Miami (Florida) 35, Georgia Tech 21 (Touchdown Tom said: Miami 24, Georgia Tech 17). Miami built up a 28-7 lead in the second quarter and held on to win. Miami was the passing team with 241 yards and Tech was the rushing team with 267 yards. The Yellow Jackets dominated the stats, but the Jackets also dominated the turnovers – 3-0. Attendance in Atlanta: 53,047

The Bears have Webb feet – California 28, Utah 23 (Touchdown Tom said: Utah 32, California 30). Cal jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead, only to see Utah take a 17-14 lead late in the third quarter. Then the Bears scored 14 unanswered points and held on to win. Amazingly, Utah controlled the clock – 42 minutes to 18 minutes for Cal. The Utes also had 30 first downs to 17 for the Bears. Cal’s Davis Webb passed for 306 yards. Attendance in Berkeley: 46,618

Save the best for last – West Virginia 17, Kansas State 16 (Touchdown Tom said: West Virginia 27, Kansas State 17). WVU nearly shot itself in the foot, but outscored K-State 14-0 in the fourth quarter to pull out the win. The Mounties winning touchdown came with 6:11 left in the game. The difference was the passing game. WVU had 298 yards passing to 166 for K-State. Attendance in Morgantown: 61,701

A Cowboy round-up – Oklahoma State 49, Texas 31 (Touchdown Tom said: Oklahoma State 35, Texas 33). A game of swings – halfway into the second quarter, Texas led 25-23. Then Okie State scored 20 unanswered points. Amazingly, the teams combined for 62 points in the first half, only to score 18 points between them in the second half. Okie State and Texas combined for 1,123 total yards. Texas had 329 yards rushing and the Cowboys had 392 passing. And don’t you just know that Charlie Strong is feeling the heat. Attendance in Stillwater: 53,468

Sunk – Air Force 28, Navy 14 (Touchdown Tom said: Air Force 25, Navy 19). A defensive struggle in the first half, Air Force led 3-0 at the break. Then the teams combined for 39 points in the second half. The difference was the Falcons rushing game. Air Force had 173 yards rushing to only 57 for Navy. Three turnovers hurt the Middies. Attendance in Colorado Springs: 43,063


Horse power – Western Michigan 49, Central Michigan 10 (Touchdown Tom said: Western Michigan 35, Central Michigan 30). WMU shut down Cooper Rush’s passing and went on to overpower CMU. The Chippewas took an early 3-0 lead. Then the Broncos scored 35 unanswered points. WMU also scored the final 14 points. Attendance in Mount Pleasant: 30,411

Tuberville’s in trouble – South Florida 45, Cincinnati 20 (Touchdown Tom said: South Florida 27, Cincinnati 26). Serious trouble. Late in the second quarter, Cincinnati led South Florida, 20-17. By the time the game was over, USF scored 28 unanswered points. The Bearcats had 4 turnovers, including 3 interceptions. The Bulls had none. USF’s Quinton Flowers threw for 196 yards and ran for 74. Attendance in Cincinnati: 35,108


A lot of defense and no offense – Florida 13, Vanderbilt 6 (Touchdown Tom said: Florida 27, Vanderbilt 13). Neither team played offense. The Gators only had 236 total yards – 92 rushing and 144 passing. Vanderbilt wasn’t much better – the Dores had 265 total yards. Florida never trailed in the game. Vandy suffered 3 turnovers. Attendance in Nashville: 30,565

Wear ’em down – Nebraska 31, Illinois 16 (Touchdown Tom said: Nebraska 36, Illinois 19). Nebraska was sluggish for three quarters, trailing the Banned Indians 16-10 at the end of three. Then Nebraska came to life in the fourth quarter, outscoring Illinois, 21-0. The Huskers outrushed and out-passed Illinois, with 423 total yards to only 270 for Illinois. Nebraska also controlled the clock, maintaining the ball for 38 minutes to the Banned Indians 22 minutes. The Huskers had 23 first downs to 12 for Illinois. Nebraska’s Terrell Newby had a 63-yard touchdown run. Attendance in Lincoln: 90,374

5 picks, are you kidding me? – Virginia 34, Duke 20 (Touchdown Tom said: Duke 25, Virginia 22). Duke led early, but Virginia took the lead for the first time late in the second quarter and never relinquished it. Duke dominated the stats – first downs and total yards. But the Dookies also dominated the turnovers – 6-1. Duke quarterback Daniel Jones threw 5 interceptions. Attendance in Durham: 25,201

Fear the Turtle – Maryland 50, Purdue 7 (Touchdown Tom said: Maryland 30, Purdue 27). Midway through the third quarter, Maryland led 36-0. Purdue finally scored early in the fourth quarter. The Terps added another 14 points after that. The Maryland defense held the Boilers to only 10 yards rushing. The Terps Ty Johnson rushed for 204 yards. Attendance in College Park: 41,206

Week 5 Results: 13 correct picks, 5 fumbles (72.2 percent)
For the Season: 61 correct picks, 29 fumbles (67.8 percent)


UCF 47, East Carolina 29 – Attendance in Greenville: 46,042
Duquesne 54, Jacksonville U. – Attendance in Jacksonville: 1,661

Stetson 31, Davidson 27 – Attendance in Davidson: 4,281
North Carolina Central 31, Bethune-Cookman 14 – Attendance in Daytona Beach: 4,216

West Florida 42, Florida Tech 39 – Attendance in Pensacola: 6,588
Florida A&M 19, Savannah State 14 – Attendance in Tallahassee: 16,789
Florida International 33, Florida Atlantic 31 – Attendance in Miami: 16,164


Impressive Passers:

Southern Miss’ Nick Mullens – 25-36-1 for 591 yards; Toledo’s Logan Woodside – 30-38-2-505; Texas State’s Tyler Jones – 31-40-0-475; Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer – 23-35-1-471, and TCU’s Kenny Hill – 26-44-1-449.

North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky – 31-38-0 for 405 yards; Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph – 19-28-0-392; Houston’s Greg Ward – 32-38-0-389; Troy’s Brandon Silvers – 31-42-2-373; Florida State’s Deondre Francois – 20-32-0-372; Washington State’s Luke Falk – 36-48-0-371, and Colorado State’s Collin Hill – 23-41-1-370.

Syracuse’s Eric Dungey – 31-51-0 for 363 yards; Ole Miss’ Chad Kelly – 30-44-1-361; New Mexico State’s Tyler Rogers – 31-49-2-354; USC’s Sam Darnold – 23-33-0-352; UCLA’s Josh Rosen – 20-37-0-350, and Virginia’s Kurt Benkert – 23-41-1-336.

Impressive Rushers:

BYU’s Jamal Williams – 286 yards; Baylor’s Shock Linwood – 237 yards; Maryland’s Ty Johnson – 204 yards; Northwestern’s Justin Jackson – 171 yards; Wyoming’s Brian Hill – 166 yards, and LSU’s Derrius Guice – 163 yards.

Louisville’s Lamar Jackson – 162 yards; Northern Illinois’ Anthony Maddie – 160 yards; Appalachian State’s Jalin Moore – 159 yards, and Temple’s Ryquell Armstead – 159 yards.

Quotes of the Week

“I don’t golf. I play no tennis. I enjoy shooting a gun. I don’t necessarily like to point it at animals. I play cards, not very well. But what I have done for probably 12 to 14 hours a day for the past number of years is coach football. So I would have a difficult time not being involved in the game and not being a coach,” former LSU coach Les Miles, on his next job.

“He’s not on the hot seat, and he’s not going to be on the hot seat in December,” Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour, on Nittany Lions football coach James Franklin.

Quote from the Past

“If lessons are learned in defeat, our team is getting a great education,” Minnesota coach Murray Warmath.

Touchdown Tom’s Predictions for
This Week’s 12 Biggest and Most Intriguing Games…and then some

GAME OF THE WEEK: 1. Tennessee (5-0) at Texas A&M (5-0) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, CBS – What a game this should be. Both teams are undefeated. Obviously, one won’t be after Saturday. The Vols need more than a Hail Mary this week – Texas A&M 34, Tennessee 27.

RUNNER UP: 2. Alabama (5-0) at Arkansas (4-1) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 7 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN – You just know Bret Bielema wants this game real bad. Trouble is: Nick Saban wants it too – Alabama 34, Arkansas 26.

REST OF THE BEST: 3. Florida State (3-2) at Miami (Florida) (4-0) – (ACC vs. ACC) – 8 pm ET, Saturday, ABC – Can you imagine Florida State at 3-3. My, oh my, those Noles will be dipping into their firewater. They won’t know how to act. Sammy gives up football for bingo – Miami 30, Florida State 27.

4. Houston (5-0) at Navy (3-1) – (AAC vs. AAC) – 3 pm ET, Saturday, CBSSN – Navy lost its first game last week to Air Force. That one was on the road. This week the Middies are home. Navy won’t win, but the Middies will give Houston a tough time. The Middies can’t patch the leaks – Houston 35, Navy 20.

5. LSU (4-1) at Florida (3-2) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ESPN – Looking bad against Vandy last week, Florida was just trying to fool LSU. But the Gators better find an offense. Albert tells Mike to take a hike – Florida 20, LSU 17.

6. Virginia Tech (3-1) at North Carolina (4-1) – (ACC vs. ACC) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, ABC/ESPN2 – Tech could be catching the Heels at a good time – hung over from the win over Florida State. Then again, I’m not sure there is a good time to catch North Carolina. The Heels catch Trubisky’s passes – North Carolina 34, Virginia Tech 29.

7. Washington (5-0) at Oregon (2-3) – (Pac-12 vs. Pac-12) – 7:30 pm ET, Saturday, Fox – Oregon is hurting. Mark Helfrich could be on the hot seat. If he isn’t, he will be after this week – Washington 32, Oregon 23.

8. Maryland (4-0) at Penn State (3-2) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, BTN – Is Maryland for real? I mean what is with this 4-0 madness? The Terps are real enough for the Nitts – Maryland 26, Penn State 24.

9. UCLA (3-2) at Arizona State (4-1) – (Pac-12 vs. Pac-12) – 10:30 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN2 – ASU lost for the first time last week. The Sun Devils will lose for the second time this week. Rosen joshes the Devils – UCLA 34, Arizona State 24.

10. Georgia Tech (3-2) at Pitt (3-2) – (ACC vs. ACC) – 12:30 pm ET, Saturday, ACCN – After a good start, these two teams have fallen onto hard times. But the Panthers bounce back – Pitt 31, Georgia Tech 25.

Iowa (3-2) at Minnesota (3-1) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ESPN2 – I’m thinking Iowa was overrated coming into the season. The Gophers are never overrated. They are underrated – Minnesota 27, Iowa 24.

11. Arizona (2-3) at Utah (4-1) – (Pac-12 vs. Pac-12) – 9 pm ET, Saturday, FS1 – It’s not looking good for Rich Rod. It’ll look worse after this week – Utah 30, Arizona 20.

12. Colorado (4-1) at USC (2-3) – (Pac-12 vs. Pac-12) – 4 pm ET, Saturday, PAC12N – Colorado is a hot commodity. What a pleasant surprise the Buffs are. The Trojans get Buffed up – Colorado 31, USC 30.


13. Texas Tech (3-1) at Kansas State (2-2) – (Big 12 vs. Big 12) – 7 pm ET, Saturday, ESPNU – Tech has the passing offense and K-State has the defense. Defense wins – Kansas State 30, Texas Tech 29.

14. Notre Dame (2-3) at NC State (3-1) – (Ind. vs. ACC) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ABC – Can you believe Notre Dame is 2-3? The Irish will be 3-3 after this week – Notre Dame 33, NC State 28.


Army (3-1) at Duke (2-3) – (Ind. vs. ACC) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, ACCN – Last week the Dookies threw 5 interceptions. That’s self destruction. This week the Dookies play like they did against Notre Dame – Duke 25, Army 22.

Georgia (3-2) at South Carolina (2-3) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 7:30 pm ET, Saturday, SECN – No problem, Uga. You don’t have to worry about Will Mustake calling for a Hail Mary. Hell, Mustake doesn’t know what a Hail Mary is. The Dawgs almost choke on a chicken bone, but not quite – Georgia 26, South Carolina 16.

Purdue (2-2) at Illinois (1-3) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, BTN – I saw Illinois play last week. They have some big guys. Too big for the Boilers – Illinois 31, Purdue 23.

Nebraska (5-0) and West Virginia (4-0) are off.


Tulane (3-2) at UCF (3-2) – (AAC vs. AAC) – 8 pm ET, Friday, ESPNU….
East Carolina (2-3) at South Florida (4-1) – (AAC vs. AAC) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ESPN News….
Stetson (2-2) at Brown (1-2) – (Pioneer vs. Ivy League) – 12:30 pm ET, Saturday….

Bethune-Cookman (0-4) at South Carolina State (1-3) – (MEAC vs. MEAC) – 1:30 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN3….
Charlotte (1-4) at Florida Atlantic (1-4) – (C-USA vs. C-USA) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday….
Florida A&M (1-4) at North Carolina Central (3-2) – (MEAC vs. MEAC) – 4 pm ET, Saturday….

Campbell (3-2) at Jacksonville U. (3-2) – (Pioneer vs. Pioneer) – 7 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN3….
North Alabama (3-1) at Florida Tech (4-1) – (Gulf South vs. Gulf South) – 7 pm ET, Saturday….
Florida International (1-4) at UTEP (1-4) – (C-USA vs. C-USA) – 8 pm ET, Saturday….

Touchdown Tom


Not exactly college football related, but sadly there were two passings of note last week – Shimon Peres and Jean Shepard.

Shimon Peres, one of the last surviving pillars of Israel’s founding generation, who built up his country’s military might, then worked hard to establish peace with Israel’s Arab neighbors, died last week in Tel Aviv. He was 93. Peres was twice the Prime Minister of Israel. He was also the country’s minister of defense, foreign affairs, finance and transportation. Peres first became prime minister in 1984. He became prime minister again in 1996 when Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated. Shimon Persky was born on August 16, 1923, in the small village of Vishniewa, Poland.

Jean Shepard, a mainstay of the Grand Ole Opry whose honky-tonk songs of the 1950s and 1960s paved the way for singers like Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline and Tammy Wynette, died last week in Gallatin, Tennessee. She was 82. Some of her hits included “A Dear John Letter,” “A Satisfied Mind,” “Beautiful Lies,” “I Thought of You,” “If Teardrops Were Silver,” “The Root of All Evil (Is a Man),” “Many Happy Hangovers to You,” “Twice the Lovin’ in Half the Time,” “The Other Woman” “Slippin’ Away” and “Second Fiddle (To an Ole Guitar).” In 1955, Shepard became the third woman to join the Grand Ole Opry, after Minnie Pearl and Kitty Wells. Ollie Imogene Shepard was born on November 21, 1933, in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma.