Monday, September 26, 2016

College Football Week 5 – LSU fires Les Miles
A telling weekend for SEC and Pac-12

While the ACC, Big 12 and Big Ten teams were mostly idle or playing insignificant games over the weekend, the SEC and Pac-12 settled down to business and got serious. There were five significant conference games in each of the two leagues. And a significant firing in one of the leagues.

First, the SEC: Tennessee beat Florida for the first time since 2004. Texas A&M stuffed Arkansas, beating the Hogs for the fifth-straight time. Ole Miss overwhelmed Georgia. Auburn beat LSU on the decision of an official. And Kentucky beat South Carolina for the third-straight year.

After falling behind Florida, 21-0, Tennessee found its offense and its defense. The Vols proceeded to score 38 unanswered points enroute to a 38-28 win over the Gators. Tennessee’s victory clearly established the Vols as the “premier” team in the SEC East – the favorite to win the division. Florida’s loss clearly revealed the Gators’ vulnerabilities.

Before the season began, Texas A&M was frequently in the news and not for good reasons. The program appeared to be suffering from one problem after another. There were so many internal issues. As a result, the analysts lowered their expectations of the Aggies. Texas A&M wasn’t given much of a chance to perform well in the SEC West.

After Saturday’s 45-28 stuffing of Arkansas, Texas A&M now has to be considered the biggest challenger to Alabama in the SEC West. The Aggies are for real. Second-year defensive coordinator John Chavis is doing what he was brought in from LSU to do – establish a defense that A&M had been lacking. And so much for all the quarterback departures – Trevor Knight arrived and he is the real deal.

Going into Saturday’s game against Georgia, Ole Miss was 1-2. In each of the two losses, the Rebels had big early leads, only to have the big leads whittled down to big deficits. Saturday, Ole Miss built up a big 45-0 lead over Georgia. This time the Rebels held onto the lead and beat the Dawgs, 45-14.

When Ole Miss plays for four quarters, the Rebels are dangerous. And when Chad Kelly is good, he’s really good. But when he is bad, he’s still really bad. Meanwhile, Georgia can no longer be considered a serious threat to win the SEC East. The Dawgs have a number of weaknesses. Ole Miss revealed those. And freshman Jacob Eason will become a good quarterback, but he’s not there yet.

The LSU-Auburn game was labeled the “Hot Seat Bowl.” Both coaches – Les Miles and Gus Malzahn – entered the game on a warm seat, but the losing coach was going to leave the game on a hot seat. Trailing 18-13, LSU appeared to win the game, 19-18, on a touchdown pass as time expired. The officials signaled a touchdown.

But wait! The play was being reviewed. And upon review, it was determined that the clock expired before LSU got the snap off. Instead of winning the game, 19-18, LSU lost the game, 18-13. The win improved Auburn’s record to 2-2 (1-1 in SEC play), while the loss dropped LSU’s record to 2-2 (1-1 in SEC play).

Well, the seat got about as hot as it can get for Les Miles. Sunday, LSU fired Miles, who was in his 12th season, coaching the Tigers (114-34). It’s obvious that neither LSU nor Auburn will be a contender in the SEC West. While both teams will inflict some more losses, both will also suffer more losses. One coach – Miles – is gone. The other one – Malzahn – could be gone by the end of the year. Stay tuned.

In addition to Miles, LSU also fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Defensive line coach Ed Orgeron was named the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.

And finally, in Lexington, Kentucky, the Wildcats established their superiority over South Carolina. Kentucky beat the Gamecocks, 17-10. The Wildcats are still a bottom feeder, but they aren’t the lowest bottom feeder in the SEC East. Meanwhile, the fact that South Carolina only scored 10 points on Kentucky says a lot. Earlier in the day, Lee Corso said that Kentucky has the worst defense in the country. Why am I not surprised that a Will Mustake team only scored 10 points on the worst defense in the country.

Second, the Pac-12: Of the five intra-conference games in the Pac-12 over the weekend, all were decided by 10 points or less. In three of the five games, the winning team came from behind in the fourth quarter to win – two winning in the closing seconds. A fourth game went into overtime. You can’t get more exciting than that.

Friday night, Utah scored a touchdown with only 16 seconds on the clock to beat USC, 31-27. It was the Trojans third loss of the young season. And their second loss in conference play – 1-3 overall, 0-2 in the Pac-12. The Trojans were the favorites by many to win the Pac-12 South Division. Most likely, USC coach Clay Helton will be fired by the end of the season.

Saturday, the most improved and surprising team in the Pac-12 continued to surprise. Colorado scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter to come-from-behind and beat Oregon, 41-38. More amazing, Colorado won the game with a backup quarterback. Steven Montez stepped in for Sefo Liufau, who was injured in last week’s game against Michigan.

Oregon’s stock is going down in the Pac-12. Once the king of the conference, the Ducks aren’t quacking like they used to. Oregon still has a strong offense, but the Ducks defense has been getting weaker and weaker.

In the Rose Bowl in Pasadena Saturday night, Stanford’s dominance of UCLA continued – but just barely. The Bruins, who led throughout most of the game, lost to the Cardinal in the closing seconds. Stanford scored a touchdown with 24 seconds remaining to go up 16-13. Later, as time expired, the Cardinal recovered a fumble by UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen and returned it for a touchdown. Stanford won, 22-13.

In Tucson, the Wildcats of Arizona scored with only 17 seconds left in the game to tie Washington, 28-28. The Huskies subdued the Wildcats in the first overtime and won, 35-28. Further upstate in Arizona, California and Arizona State were in a donnybrook in Tempe. Cal, which led the Sun Devils throughout the game, fell behind for the first time when Arizona State went up 37-34 with 3:17 left in the game. In the wild final 2:52 of the game, Cal scored one touchdown and Arizona State scored two, as the Sun Devils hung on to beat the Golden Bears, 51-41.

In the Pac-12, Stanford and Washington have become the front runners in the North Division, and Utah and Arizona State are the front runners in the South. But with the offensive talent of several Pac-12 teams, there is going to be a lot more turmoil and upsets before the season is over.

The ACC, Big 12 and Big Ten each had one significant game over the weekend. North Carolina established its ground in the Coastal Division with a 37-36 win over Pitt. Like the Pac-12 winners, the Tar Heels had to rally in the closing seconds to beat the Panthers. North Carolina and Miami will most likely contend for the Coastal title.

In the Big 12, Oklahoma State and Baylor had a donnybrook going for a while. It cooled off in the fourth quarter, as the Bears extended their lead to knock off Oklahoma State, 35-24. After Art Briles was fired and Jim Grobe was hired, many wrote off Baylor as a contender for the Big 12 title. It looks like they could be wrong.

And finally, the shocker in the Big Ten – Wisconsin 30, Michigan State 6. The Badgers were underrated at preseason. Then again, it’s looking more and more like Michigan State’s win over Notre Dame was no big thing. Maybe the Spartans were overrated. Time will tell.

In four inter-conference games involving ACC teams, Florida State beat South Florida, 55-35. With Dalvin Cook rushing for 267 yards, the Noles have their offense back, but the FSU defense is experiencing some difficulties. Virginia Tech, under new coach Justin Fuente, is getting better and better each week. The Hokies disposed of East Carolina, 54-17.

Virginia, dormant until this weekend, found a pulse and beat Central Michigan, 49-35. Louisville had little trouble from Marshall, beating the Herd, 59-28. Lamar Jackson was responsible for another seven touchdowns.

Then in a fifth game, how about Duke beating Notre Dame, 38-35. How amazing is that? Amazing enough to get a defensive coordinator fired.

West Virginia of the Big 12 hung on to down BYU, 35-32. The SEC’s Vanderbilt improved its record to 2-2, with a 31-30 win over Western Kentucky. In a key game in C-USA, Middle Tennessee rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Louisiana Tech, 38-34.

In the two MAC vs. Sun Belt games, the conferences split. Appalachian State beat Akron, 45-38, while Western Michigan downed Georgia Southern, 49-31.

After four weeks, 27 teams remain undefeated. Army is no longer one of them. The Black Knights lost their first game Saturday to Buffalo, 23-20 (OT). But Air Force and Navy remain undefeated. The Falcons (3-0) beat Utah State, 27-20. Navy (3-0) was off. However, only one service academy will still be undefeated after this weekend. Why? Navy plays at Air Force.

Wake Forest is 4-0. Tim Muth must be pinching himself.

There were seven overtime games during the weekend, the most, so far, of any weekend this season. And Memphis tallied 77 points, beating Bowling Green, 77-3.

Along with Les Miles and Cam Cameron, there were two other firings Sunday. Florida International fired head coach Ron Turner. In his fourth season with the Panthers, Turner was 10-30 – 0-4 this season. And Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly fired his defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder. You just don’t give up 38 points to the Dookies and expect to keep your job.

Reports already have LSU reaching out to Houston’s Tom Herman and the disgraced Art Briles in search of a new coach.

Saturday, Swamp Mama and I will be sitting with Dave and Sue Brolhorst in Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska, watching the Cornhuskers play the Banned Indians – Illinois. Before the game, we look forward to tailgating with the Big Red Meat Wagon group. I can’t wait.

Yes, it was a telling weekend, especially in the SEC and Pac-12.

Touchdown Tom
September 26, 2016

Weekend Recap

GAME OF THE WEEK: That’s strong Cheese – Wisconsin 30, Michigan State 6 (Touchdown Tom said: Michigan State 26, Wisconsin 20). Wow! Wisconsin appears to have been the most underrated team coming into the 2016 season – first, a win over LSU, and now, the win over Michigan State. The Badgers only led the Spartans 13-6 at the half, but turned it on in the second half, shutting out Michigan State. The Spartans suffered four turnovers in the game. Wisconsin now has two wins over Top 10 opponents. It was Michigan State’s worst home loss since 2009. Attendance in East Lansing: 75,505

RUNNER UP: Hillbilly heaven – Tennessee 38, Florida 28 (Touchdown Tom said: Florida 17, Tennessee 14). I think that was Ole Miss playing in Florida’s uniforms. I mean, who else but Ole Miss would build up a 21-0 lead, only to get outscored 38-7. All week, prior to the game, the Gators offensive line was trashed, while Florida’s defense was hailed as one of the best in the nation. The o-line lived up to its billing in the second half, while the defense lived up to its billing in the first half. Both units played solid football in the first half, only to fall apart in the second half. They were basically no-shows after the intermission. Gators coach Jim McElwain, who opened up with his play calling in the first half, got too conservative in the second half. I think he thought his defense would carry them. The Gators had no running game. Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs passed for 319 yards and ran for 80. The Attendance in Knoxville: 102,455

REST OF THE BEST: Slopped – Texas A&M 45, Arkansas 24 (Touchdown Tom said: Arkansas 23, Texas A&M 21). This was an exciting contest in the first half – tied 17-17 at the break. Then the Aggies outscored the Hogs 28-7 in the second half. A big difference – A&M had a running game and Arkansas didn’t. The Aggies Trevor Knight rushed for 157 yards and Trayveon Williams rushed for 153. Arkansas only had 121 rushing yards total. A&M’s defense suffocated Arkansas. The Hogs Austin Allen passed for 371 yards. Arkansas suffered its fifth-straight loss to the Aggies. Attendance in Arlington: 67,751

Dabo-Do-Yah – Clemson 26, Georgia Tech 7 (Touchdown Tom said: Clemson 26, Georgia Tech 15). Clemson just totally dominated Georgia Tech in the first half. The score at the break was 23-0. The two teams played pretty even in the second half. The Tigers defense held Tech to only 124 total yards – 95 rushing and 29 passing. Deshaun Watson passed for 304 yards. Clemson won at Georgia Tech for the first time since 2003. Attendance in Atlanta: 53,932

MAC attack – Western Michigan 49, Georgia Southern 31 (Touchdown Tom said: Western Michigan 32, Georgia Southern 27). The teams went tit for tat into the second quarter. Then it became a game of spurts. First WMU scored 14 unanswered points to take a 28-10 lead midway through the second quarter. After a Georgia Southern score, the Broncos scored 14 more unanswered points to take a 42-17 lead early in the third quarter. Then Georgia Southern scored 14 unanswered points to pull within 11 points at 42-31 early in the fourth quarter. Attendance in Kalamazoo: 17,208

What a finish – Stanford 22, UCLA 13 (Touchdown Tom said: Stanford 24, UCLA 14). Trailing 13-9 in the closing seconds of the game, Stanford scored a touchdown on an 8-yard pass from Ryan Burns to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, with only 24 seconds on the clock. The Trees went up 16-13. The Stanford score came on a 70-yard drive without any timeouts. Then to add insult to misery, Stanford scored on a fumble recovery as time expired. Stanford took a 3-0 lead early in the first quarter. The Bruins went up 7-3 late in the first quarter and held onto the lead until the final 24 seconds of the game. UCLA had no running game – only 77 yards total. Christian McCaffrey rushed for 138 yards. Attendance in Pasadena: 70,833

Da Bears – Baylor 35, Oklahoma State 24 (Touchdown Tom said: Oklahoma State 42, Baylor 40). This game was tit for tat for three quarters – Baylor scored, then Okie State scored. But in the fourth quarter, Baylor scored and Okie State didn’t score. Baylor’s Seth Russell passed for 387 yard and rushed for 65. Attendance in Waco: 45,373

Cooked – Florida State 55, South Florida 35 (Touchdown Tom said: Florida State 27, South Florida 24). Trailing 14-7 in the first quarter, Florida State outscored South Florida 48-21. The Noles scored 38 unanswered points to take a 45-14 lead midway through the third quarter. FSU finished with 647 total yards – 478 of those yards rushing. The Noles Dalvin Cook rushed for 267 yards and Jacques Patrick 124 yards. Attendance in Tampa: 61,665

The dominator – Michigan 49, Penn State 10 (Touchdown Tom said: Michigan 34, Penn State 19). The Wolverines dominated in just about every phase of the game. Michigan had 31 first downs to 13 for the Lions, and 515 total yards to 199 for Penn State. The Nitts only had 78 yards rushing. Michigan won its third-straight game over Penn State. The Wolverines have scored 209 points in their first four games. Attendance in Ann Arbor: 110,319

Mush – Washington 35, Arizona 28 (Touchdown Tom said: Washington 22, Arizona 17). Arizona forced overtime by scoring a touchdown with 17 seconds on the clock to tie the game at 28-28. The Huskies went on to win in OT. Both teams had a strong running game – 328 rushing yards for Washington and 307 for Arizona. The Wildcats suffered three turnovers. Attendance in Tucson: 48,747

Rally – North Carolina 37, Pitt 36 (Touchdown Tom said: Pitt 29, North Carolina 24). With less than 6 minutes left in the game, North Carolina trailed Pitt, 36-23. The Tar Heels scored two touchdowns, the second TD with 2 seconds on the clock, to pull out the win. The Heels, with only 18 yards rushing, won the game passing, with 453 yards. Mitch Trubisky was 35 for 46, passing for those 453 yards. He threw 5 touchdown passes and had no interceptions. Attendance in Chapel Hill: 54,500

Uga got a spanking – Ole Miss 45, Georgia 14 (Touchdown Tom said: Ole Miss 30, Georgia 26). One thing about Ole Miss, the Black Bears always start out strong. But usually, they collapse in the second half. Not Saturday. Against the Dawgs, Ole Miss led 31-0 at the half and increased its lead to 45-0 early in the third quarter. Georgia quarterback Jacob Eason only completed 44% of his passes. Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly passed for 282 yards and ran for 53. Attendance in Oxford: 65,843


Stunner – Colorado 41, Oregon 38 (Touchdown Tom said: Oregon 37, Colorado 29). Trailing 38-33, Colorado scored halfway through the fourth quarter on a 31-yard touchdown pass from Steven Montez to Bryce Bobo. The Buffs went up 41-38 and held on to win. The two teams combined for 1,101 total yards. Colorado quarterback Steven Montez, filling in for the injured Sefo Liufau, passed for 333 yards and ran for 135 yards. Attendance in Eugene: 53,974

So close – Utah 31, USC 27 (Touchdown Tom said: Utah 28, USC 16). With just 16 seconds on the clock, Utah scored a touchdown on an 18-yard pass from Troy Williams to Tim Patrick to win the game. USC had taken the lead late in the second quarter and never trailed until Utah’s touchdown in the final seconds. Four games into the season and USC is 1-3. The Trojans suffered three turnovers. Attendance in Salt Lake City: 46,133


Frustrating – West Virginia 35, BYU 32 (Touchdown Tom said: West Virginia 23, BYU 20). Early in the fourth quarter, West Virginia led 35-19 and then the Mountaineers almost threw it away. With an opportunity to put the game out of reach, WVU fumbled on the BYU goal line late in the fourth quarter. Then the Mounties held on, intercepting a tipped ball on their own goal line with 1:00 on the clock. WVU’s Skyler Howard passed for 332 yards. BYU’s Jamal Williams rushed for 169 yards and Taysom Hill ran for 101. Attendance in Landover: 38,207

Husk, Husk – Nebraska 24, Northwestern 13 (Touchdown Tom said: Nebraska 28, Northwestern 15). Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong passed for 246 yards and ran for 132 as the Huskers racked up 556 total yards. The Huskers passed their first road test of the season. Nebraska has now won seven of its last eight games. Attendance in Evanston: 40,284

Huh? – Duke 38, Notre Dame 35 (Touchdown Tom said: Notre Dame 30, Duke 11). Trailing Duke 28-21 late in the fourth quarter, Notre Dame scored 14 unanswered points. Midway through the fourth quarter the Irish led 35-28. You figured it was curtains for the Dookies. But the Devils tied the score at 35-35 with 6:47 on the clock. Then the Dookies kicked a 19-yard field goal with 1:24 left and held on to win. The teams combined for 1,034 total yards. Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer passed for 381 yards. Attendance in South Bend: 80,795

No. 600 – Purdue 24, Nevada 14 (Touchdown Tom said: Nevada 30, Purdue 27). The Boilers trailed 14-10 at the half, but then shut out Nevada 14-0 in the second half. Purdue overcame four turnovers to win the game. Boilers quarterback David Blough passed for 300 yards. Purdue’s win was the 600th in the program’s history. Attendance in West Lafayette: 41,607

Week 4 Results: 10 correct picks, 8 fumbles (55.6 percent)
For the Season: 48 correct picks, 24 fumbles (66.7 percent)


Ball State 31, Florida Atlantic 27 – Attendance in Boca Raton: 13,846
South Carolina State 48, Florida A&M 14 – Attendance in Tallahassee: 19,127

UCF 53, Florida International 14 – Attendance in Miami: 18,524
Savannah State 16, Bethune-Cookman 10 (OT) – Attendance in Savannah: 5,374

Jacksonville U. 24, Stetson 7 – Attendance in Deland: 4,047
Florida Tech 28, Presbyterian 7 – Attendance in Clinton: 3,290


Impressive Passers:

Louisiana Tech’s Ryan Higgins – 36-59-0 for 504 yards; California’s Davis Webb – 32-56-2-478; North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky – 35-46-0-453; TCU’s Kenny Hill – 31-45-1-452; Arkansas State’s Justice Hansen – 21-38-2-424, and Virginia’s Kurt Benkert – 27-43-1-421.

Louisville’s Lamar Jackson – 24-44-1 for 417 yards; Syracuse’s Eric Dungey – 26-40-0-407; Missouri’s Drew Lock – 26-36-0-402; Central Michigan’s Cooper Rush – 25-45-1-402; Baylor’s Seth Russell – 18-28-1-387; Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer – 22-37-1-381, and Arkansas’ Austin Allen – 28-42-0-371.

East Carolina’s Philip Nelson – 17-34-0 for 362 yards; Utah State’s Kent Myers – 29-47-1-360; Memphis’ Riley Ferguson – 20-27-0-359; Middle Tennessee’s Brent Stockstill – 27-46-0-356; Akron’s Thomas Woodson – 31-43-2-353; Colorado’s Steven Montez – 23-32-2-333; West Virginia’s Skyler Howard – 31-40-1-332, and Florida Atlantic’s Jason Driskel – 25-37-1-324.

Impressive Rushers:

Florida State’s Dalvin Cook – 267 yards; Appalachian State’s Jalin Moore – 257 yards; Tulsa’s D’Angelo Brewer – 252 yards; Boise State’s Jeremy McNichols – 208 yards, and Arizona’s Brandon Dawkins – 176 yards.

BYU’s Jamal Williams – 169 yards; Middle Tennessee’s I’Tavius Mathers- 163 yards; UNLV’s Lexington Thomas – 160 yards, and South Florida’s Quinton Flowers – 159 yards.

Quotes of the Week

“I have to play baseball now. That’s what I would tell them. I’m part of the Mets family now,” Tim Tebow, when asked what he would do if an NFL team called because of a need at quarterback due to an injury.

“Is there a more pathetic fan base in America than the University of Michigan? What a whiny and sniveling bunch,” Paul Finebaum.

“I have a prediction. Art Briles will be at Auburn next year. Whether as the head coach or the offensive coordinator – Art Briles to Auburn, along with quarterback Jarrett Stidham,” CBS Sports Rick Neuheisel.

“Every time I talk to a Michigan fan, I feel a lot better about myself,” Paul Finebaum.

“Kentucky may have the worst defense in the history of football,” Lee Corso.

“Why in the world would anyone ever name their son, Gus? I might name my coon dog, Gus,” a caller on the Paul Finebaum Show.

Quote from the Past

“I could have been a Rhodes Scholar except for my grades,” Michigan State coach Duffy Daugherty.

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

GAME OF THE WEEK: 1. Louisville (4-0) at Clemson (4-0) – (ACC vs. ACC) – 8 pm ET, Saturday, ABC – The biggest game in the ACC this season was supposed to be Clemson at Florida State. That was until a couple of weeks ago. Now the biggest game is this one – Louisville at Clemson. And if Louisville wins, the Clemson-FSU game just will be a “who cares” game. A big performance in this game could almost clinch the Heisman for Lamar Jackson. The Cardinals turn the Tigers into bird seed – Louisville 30, Clemson 26.

RUNNER UP: 2. Wisconsin (4-0) at Michigan (4-0) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, ABC – Talk about out of the frying pan and into the fire, who put together Wisconsin’s schedule. The Badgers were just in Michigan last week, playing the Spartans. Now they are back, playing the Wolverines. Almost doesn’t sound fair. The Cheese Heads are tough, but not that tough – Michigan 24, Wisconsin 22.

REST OF THE BEST: 3. Stanford (3-0) at Washington (4-0) – (Pac-12 vs. Pac-12) – 9 pm ET, Friday, ESPN – The Trees don’t have it easy either. USC, UCLA and Washington back-to-back-to-back. And the last two on the road. Still, Stanford appears to be the class of the Pac-12. Christian McCaffrey needs a big game. He was good but not great against UCLA. The Trees put rings around the Huskies – Stanford 26, Washington 24.

4. Tennessee (4-0) at Georgia (3-1) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, CBS – Is Tennessee that good? Is Georgia that bad? We’ll soon know. The Vols have the momentum to build on. The Dawgs have to regroup. Experience favors the Vols. Smokey spits out Peach pits – Tennessee 27, Georgia 22.

5. North Carolina (3-1) at Florida State (3-1) – (ACC vs. ACC) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN – Have you seen the North Carolina quarterback? His name is Mitch Trubisky and the guy is amazing. With his passing, he could make the Indians look silly. Then again the Indians could make Trubisky look like Custer at his last stand. Chief Olio hits the Heels in their Achilles – Florida State 33, North Carolina 24.

6. Oklahoma (1-2) at TCU (3-1) – (Big 12 vs. Big 12) – 5 pm ET, Saturday, Fox – If Oklahoma falls to 1-3, Bob Stoops may join Les Miles in the employment line. The Frogs are good, but they haven’t beaten anyone. And they lost the one big game they played. Of course, OU has lost every big game it played. That makes them about even. The Soonies win a close one – Oklahoma 29, TCU 27.

7. Memphis (3-0) at Ole Miss (2-2) – (AAC vs. SEC) – 7 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN2 – Last time these two met, Ole Miss got spanked. That was last year. And Memphis put 77 on the board last week. But Ole Miss does the spanking this year. The Sharks spank the Tigers with their Fins – Ole Miss 34, Memphis 26.

8. Miami (Florida) (3-0) at Georgia Tech (3-1) – (ACC vs. ACC) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ESPN2 – Mark Richt has Miami on a roll. The Canes look awesome. The Bumble Bees lost to Clemson last week. They will be swarming mad. Brad Kaaya swats the swarm – Miami 24, Georgia Tech 17.

9. Utah (4-0) at California (2-2) – (Pac-12 vs. Pac-12) – 6 pm ET, Saturday, PAC12N – Cal can score but the Bears don’t have a defense. The Utes have a defense. Still, Davis Webb will test the Utah. The Utes skin the Bears – Utah 32, California 30.

10. Kansas State (2-1) at West Virginia (3-0) – (Big 12 vs. Big 12) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, ESPNU – WVU is 3-0 in non-conference action. Now the Big 12 action begins. K-State is one of two schools in the Big 12 the Mounties haven’t beaten. There’s always a first time – West Virginia 27, Kansas State 17.

11. Texas (2-1) at Oklahoma State (2-2) – (Big 12 vs. Big 12) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ABC – Both of these teams are coming off losses. Texas to Cal and Okie State to Baylor. One is headed for a second-straight loss. It won’t be the Cowboys – Oklahoma State 35, Texas 33.

12. Navy (3-0) at Air Force (3-0) – (AAC vs. MWC) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, CBSSN – This contest has the makings of a classic battle. Navy is the younger team of the two. The Falcons have a smoother landing – Air Force 25, Navy 19.


13. Western Michigan (4-0) at Central Michigan (3-1) – (MAC vs. MAC) – 7 pm ET, Saturday, CBSSN – WMU is on a roll. The Broncos have wins over two Big Ten teams. They have their eyes on the Top 25. Remain undefeated and they can get there. But CMU is a toughie. Just ask Okie State…..I mean…..Just ask the referees. The Broncos knock the Chipps off their shoulders – Western Michigan 35, Central Michigan 30.

14. South Florida (3-1) at Cincinnati (3-1) – (AAC vs. AAC) – 7 pm ET, Saturday, ESPNU – The Bulls took a beating from Florida State. They may not recover in time. Cincy is tough at home. But the Bearcats can’t keep the Bulls in the pen – South Florida 27, Cincinnati 26.


Florida (3-1) at Vanderbilt (2-2) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, SECN – Well, the Gators went to bed at halftime against Tennessee. I sure hope they wake up before they get to Nashville. That would be awful, losing to two Tennessee teams in a row. Wonder if we will see a freshman quarterback play for the Gators this week? Vandy can play some defense, but the Dores have no offense. Albert kicks the Dores in – Florida 27, Vanderbilt 13.

Illinois (1-2) at Nebraska (4-0) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN2 – The Huskers are starting out this year better than last year. That’s a good thing. The winning streak should continue. Lovie hasn’t found the right potion yet in Champaign. A band of Huskers crop the Banned Indians – Nebraska 36, Illinois 19.

Virginia (1-3) at Duke (2-2) – (ACC vs. ACC) – 12:30 pm ET, Saturday, ACCN – Frankly, I don’t know what to expect from the Dookies anymore. But hey, not every team can get a defensive coordinator fired. Can the Dookies make it two in a row? The Devils have Virginia’s DC shaking in his boots – Duke 25, Virginia 22.

Purdue (2-1) at Maryland (3-0) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, BTN – The Boilers have an opportunity to knock off an undefeated team. And after all, it’s the Terps. They can’t be that good. But they are good enough to take the steam out of the Boilers – Maryland 30, Purdue 27.


UCF (2-2) at East Carolina (2-2) – (AAC vs. AAC) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, CBSSN….
Duquesne (2-2) at Jacksonville U. (2-1) – (Northeast vs. Pioneer) – 1 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN3

Stetson (1-2) at Davidson (2-2) – (Pioneer vs. Pioneer) – 1 pm ET, Saturday….
North Carolina Central (2-2) at Bethune-Cookman (0-3) – (MEAC vs. MEAC) – 1:30 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN3

Florida Tech (4-0) at West Florida (2-2) – (Gulf South vs. Gulf South) – 6 pm ET, Saturday….
Savannah State (1-2) at Florida A&M (0-4) – (MEAC vs. MEAC) – 6 pm ET, Saturday….
Florida Atlantic (1-3) at Florida International (0-4) – (C-USA vs. C-USA) – 7 pm ET, Saturday….

Touchdown Tom


Not exactly college football related, but near the end of September as the college football season was about to move into its second month, the number one song in the country…

…75 years ago this week in 1941 was “Blue Champagne” by Jimmy Dorsey 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 “Take Good Care of My Baby” by Bobby Vee

…50 years ago this week in 1966 was “Cherish” by The Association

…45 years ago this week in 1971 was “Go Away Little Girl” by Donny Osmond

…40 years ago this week in 1976 was “Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry

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

…30 years ago this week in 1986 was “Stuck with You” by Huey Lewis and The News

…25 years ago this week in 1991 was “I Adore Mi Amor” by Color Me Badd

Not exactly college football related, but sadly there were two passings of note last week – John D. Loudermilk, Ed Temple and Arnold Palmer.

John D. Loudermilk, a country singer and prolific songwriter whose dozens of hits in the 1960s and 1970s “Tobacco Road” by the Nashville Teens, “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye” by the Casinos (and later by Eddy Arnold) and “Indian Reservation” by Paul Revere and the Raiders, died last week at his home in Christiana, Tennessee. He was 82. As Johnny Dee, Loudermilk made several records in a soft rockabilly style in the 1950s, but he found his niche after George Hamilton IV recorded his teen lament “A Rose and a Baby Ruth” in 1956, and Eddie Cochran scored his first solid hit with a cover of Loudermilk’s “Sittin’ in the Balcony” in 1957. After moving to Nashville from his native North Carolina, Loudermilk came under the wing of the producer and guitar virtuoso Chet Atkins. He soon turned out songs in every style: “Norman” (1961) for Sue Thompson; “Ebony Eyes” (1961) for the Everly Brothers, and “Abilene” (1963), which became George Hamilton’s biggest hit. “Tobacco Road,” which became a Top 20 hit for the British invasion group the Nashville Teens in 1964, was later recorded by several other artists, including Jefferson Airplane, Eric Burdon and War, Blues Magoos and David Lee Roth. “Indian Reservation” became a Top 20 hit for the British singer Don Fardon in 1968 and a No. 1 hit for Paul Revere and the Raiders in 1971. John D. Loudermilk was born in Durham, North Carolina, on March 31, 1934. While attending the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, Loudermilk discovered the work of Kahlil Gibran and began writing poems, one of which, “A Rose and a Baby Ruth,” he later set to music. His many hits also included “Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)” and “Paper Tiger,” both written for Sue Thompson. Loudermilk’s “Talk Back Trembling Lips” became a 1963 pop hot for Johnny Tillotson. He also co-wrote “Amigo’s Guitar” (1959) and “Waterloo” (1959), which became Stonewall Jackson’s biggest hit in his career.

Ed Temple, who coached Wilma Rudolph, Wyomia Tyus and 38 other Olympians in his 43 seasons as the most celebrated women’s track and field coach in the United State, died last week. He was 89. From 1950 until he retired in 1993, Temple mentored a roster of athletes that few coaches in any sport could rival for speed, power and skill. The 40 Olympians he produced at Tennessee State won 13 gold medals, six silver medals and four bronze medals. His teams at Tennessee State, known as the Tigerbelles, won 34 national titles. Temple was the head women’s track coach for the United States Olympic teams in 1960 and 1964. Of his 40 Olympians, 39 graduated with bachelor’s degrees, 28 earned master’s degrees and eight earned medical or doctorates. Edward Stanley Temple was born on September 20, 1927, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He was an all-state athlete in track, football and basketball at John Harris High School in Harrisburg. He graduated from Tennessee State and became the women’s track coach there soon after graduating.

Arnold Palmer, whose tournament victories and magnetic personality inspired an American golf boom, attracted a following known as Arnie’s Army and made him one of the most popular athletes in the world, died Sunday. He was 87. From 1958 through 1964, Palmer was the charismatic face of professional golf. In those seven seasons, he won seven major titles: four Masters, one U.S. Open and two British Opens. With 62 victories on the PGA tour, he ranks fifth. He won 93 tournaments worldwide. He was a major fund- raiser for the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Women in Orlando, Florida. Palmer was 77 when he played his final competitive round on October 30, 2006, on the Champions Tour. Arnold Daniel Palmer was born in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, on September 10, 1929. He entered Wake Forest after graduating from Latrobe High School. At Wake Forest, he played on two Atlantic Coast Conference championship teams. He withdrew from college during his senior year and served three years in the Coast Guard.

Monday, September 19, 2016

College Football Week 4 – Florida QB Del Rio out for 2 to 3 weeks
Just can’t wait to get on the road again

“On the road again
Just can’t wait to get on the road again”

Eleven Top 25 teams went on the road over the weekend – nine of them for the first time this season. For the other two – Alabama and Florida State – it was the first time on the road in an opponent’s stadium.

Ten of the eleven teams were not only on the road, but on the road against stiff competition. Four were up against other ranked teams. All 11 were putting their undefeated records on the line.

“The life I love is winning games with my friends
And I can’t wait to get on the road again”

Well, for eight of those 11 teams, they just can’t wait to get on the road again. It was a great experience for them. For three of the teams – it was a nightmare.

The first of the 11 to go on the road was No. 6 Houston. The Cougars invaded Cincinnati Thursday night to take on the Bearcats. It was a thrilling game for 54 of the 60 minutes.

At the end of three quarters, Houston only led Cincinnati, 12-10. However, three seconds later, the Bearcats went up on the Cougars, 16-12. But only three minutes after that, Houston went back on top, 19-16. Then, in the final six minutes of the game, Houston outscored Cincinnati, 21-0. The Cougars won, 40-16. Houston can’t wait to get back on the road again.

Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville used to be a good coach. Now he is just a “bump on the log,” standing on the sideline, not knowing what’s going on, but looking pretty in his clothes. “Fire Tuberville” signs first appeared last year at Cincinnati games. After Friday night, I think more signs will be appearing this year.

Friday night, No. 21 Baylor was on the road at Rice. The Bears were not expected to have any problems with the Owls. And they didn’t. Baylor won, 38-10. Well, then again they did have some problems. Not from the Rice football team, but from the Rice band. The Owl band parodied the sexual assault scandals that have rocked Baylor this year.

During the halftime performance, the band formed “IX” in front of the Baylor fan section in reference to the Title IX lawsuits. As the musicians were forming the “IX,” the band’s public address announcer said, “There are nine judges on the Supreme Court or is it?

Then the band shifted into a “star” formation, mocking the former, disgraced Baylor president Kenneth Star. During the two formations the band was playing “Hit the Road, Jack.” Penn State should be thankful it isn’t playing at Rice. What a band performance that would be.

Nine of the 11 ranked teams on the road played Saturday. First up – No. 2 Florida State at No. 10 Louisville. Well, let’s just say that FSU won’t be No. 2 this week. The Noles were the first of the three ranked teams that lost on the road. And did they ever lose. Louisville scalped FSU, 63-20.

With his performance in the game, Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson became the early front-runner for the Heisman. Jackson passed for 216 yards and ran for 146.

No. 25 Miami (Florida) went into Boone, North Carolina, to play a dangerous Appalachian State. Two weeks earlier, App State took Tennessee to overtime in Knoxville, before losing to the Vols, 20-13. App State wasn’t so dangerous Saturday. The Canes all but clobbered the Little Mountaineers, 45-10.

Then, No. 22 Oregon traveled to Lincoln, Nebraska, to take on the Huskers. Like Florida State, Oregon didn’t find comfort on the road. But unlike FSU, the Ducks weren’t slaughtered. In a back-and-forth game, Oregon ultimately fell to Nebraska, 35-32.

No. 1 Alabama paid a visit to Oxford, Mississippi, to play No. 19 Ole Miss. Now keep in mind the Tide had lost to Ole Miss the past two years. Would the Landsharks make it three in a row over Bama? No. The Tide did start off slow, down 24-3, but came back to beat Ole Miss on the road, 48-43.

Next, No. 17 Texas A&M was on the road at Auburn. And what a great road trip it was for the Aggies. A&M put another nail in Gus Malzahn’s coffin, beating the Tigers, 29-16.

No. 12 Michigan State traveled south to South Bend, Indiana. The Spartans had an encounter with No. 18 Notre Dame. It wasn’t much of an encounter to begin with – State jumped out to a 36-7 lead of the Irish. But Notre Dame rallied, scoring 21 unanswered points. The Spartans held on to win, 36-28. Just can’t wait to get on the road again.

Continuing on, No. 16 Georgia headed to the Midwest to take on Missouri. Late in the game, the Dawgs were trailing the Tigers, 27-21. But the Dawgs got a treat. Missouri fumbled and Georgia capitalized. The Dawgs scored and Georgia beat Missouri, 28-27.

Later, No. 3 Ohio State was on the road, playing Oklahoma in Norman. After a lengthy delay due to a lightning storm, the game finally got underway. Well, I should say it got underway for the Buckeyes. Ohio State jumped out to a substantial lead and went on to subdue the Sooners, 42-28.

And finally, the nightcap was a goody. No. 11 Texas hit the road to Berkeley to play California. Well, it was a good, exciting game, but it wasn’t a goody for the Longhorns. Neither the Bears nor the referees were kind to Texas. Cal won a thriller, 50-43.

So, by Sunday morning, eight of the 11 ranked teams that played on the road came out victorious. That was a 73% winning percentage for the roadies. Not bad.

In addition to Florida State, Texas, Oklahoma, Notre Dame and Ole Miss, the only other ranked team to lose over the weekend was Iowa. And what a loss it was. The Hawkeyes, playing at home, lost to North Dakota State, 23-21.

North Dakota State is a FCS (Division IAA) team – granted a formidable FCS team. The Bison have won the FCS national championship for the past five years. Last week, I wrote this could be an interesting game. It was.

Oklahoma State obviously found friendlier officials Saturday. The Cowboys came out on the better end of their encounter with Pitt. Oklahoma State beat the Panthers, in a lightning storm, delayed game, 45-38. It was the first loss for Pitt.

Speaking of on the road, Friday night, unranked but undefeated Arizona State was on the road at UTSA. The Sun Devils needed a fourth quarter rally to beat the Roadrunners. Entering the final period, ASU trailed UTSA, 28-15. The Sun Devils scored 17 points and held UTSA scoreless to pull out a 32-28 win. ASU’s go ahead touchdown came with 3:15 on the clock.

As mentioned, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson has to be the front runner at this point for the Heisman, but Christian McCaffrey is hanging in there. The Stanford running back has more than 450 all-purpose yards in just two games. And the curtain is still up for Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett. Stay tuned.

The mercy rule is not a requirement in college football, but sometimes coaches elect to use it. They did so Saturday in the South Carolina State-Clemson game. At the halftime break, Clemson led South Carolina State, 45-0. The two coaches agreed to play 12-minute quarters, instead of the normal 15-minutes, in the second half. Clemson ultimately won, 59-0.

Three weeks and the three service academies are still undefeated. Army (3-0) beat UTEP, 66-14, and Navy (3-0) beat Tulane, 21-14. Air Force (2-0) had the week off. This week Army is at Buffalo and Air Force is at Utah State. Hope the road is good for them. Navy has the week off.

The only overtime game over the weekend occurred in Orlando. Maryland beat UCF, 30-24, in two overtimes. And the best basketball game? Who else but the Wildcats – Kentucky 62, New Mexico State 42.

Penn State beat Temple, 34-27. During the game, the Nittany Lions honored former coach Joe Paterno. Do you think the folks at Penn State will ever get it? Will they ever understand? But had something similar happened when Bear Bryant coached Alabama, Tide fans would have reacted the same way. Nuff said.

Here we are only three weeks into the season and Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Ole Miss and USC already have two losses.

What did I learn last week? I learned that Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield used to be able to lick his elbow, and that Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh doesn’t eat boogers.
And I learned that some teams just can’t wait to get on the road again.

It was good hearing from Eric Griggs over the weekend. And Rockledge Gator texted, expressing his approval of Jen Bielema and ESPN’s Samantha Ponder. They are easy on his eye.

Well, I think this past weekend was just as exciting as the first weekend. Maybe better. And there is more in store for us this weekend. Ranked teams on the road this week against formidable competition: Wisconsin at Michigan State, Florida at Tennessee, Arkansas at Texas A&M, Clemson at Georgia Tech, Stanford at UCLA, Florida State at South Florida, Washington at Arizona, Georgia at Ole Miss and LSU at Auburn. How’s that for a lineup?

“On the road again
Just can’t wait to get on the road again
The life I love is winning games with my friends
And I can’t wait to get on the road again”

Enjoy your week!

Touchdown Tom
September 19, 2016

Weekend Recap

GAME OF THE WEEK: Deondre was taken to the Laundry – Louisville 63, Florida state 20 (Touchdown Tom said: Louisville 30, Florida State 27). The French Laundry. Where he was stuffed. And don’t let the score fool you. It wasn’t as close as it looks – not that it was close. Louisville led 63-10 late in the fourth quarter. FSU scored 10 – it makes us look better – points in the final 5 minutes of the game. Frenchie….I mean….Francois just had 101 yards passing, completing only 39% of his tosses. He had that freshman game. Attendance in Louisville: 55,632

RUNNER UP: Hot seat in Norman? – Ohio State 42, Oklahoma 28 (Touchdown Tom said: Oklahoma 29, Ohio State 28). Wow! Three games into the season and the Sooners already have two losses. Ironically, the coach of the other team that beat OU – Tom Herman – was Urban Meyers’ offensive coordinator for three seasons at Ohio State. What happened to Oklahoma’s running game? And the Sooners obviously have problems on defense. Attendance in Norman: 87,979

REST OF THE BEST: Now that was an ass-chewing – Alabama 48, Ole Miss 43 (Touchdown Tom said: Alabama 36, Ole Miss 24). Or should we say, “Fins down.” Ole Miss scored 13 points in the final 3 minutes of the game. But it was too little too late. In the Ole Miss-Florida State game, Ole Miss led 28-6 in the second quarter. In this game, Ole Miss led 24-3 in the second quarter. Against FSU, the Ole Miss offense ran out of steam and the defense was sucking wind. It was déjà vu against Alabama. And against FSU, Ole Miss had no running game. Again, déjà vu against Alabama. For Bama, Jalen Hurts ran for 146 yards and Damien Harris ran for 144. Attendance in Oxford: 66,176

Speechless in South Bend – Michigan State 36, Notre Dame 28 (Touchdown Tom said: Notre Dame 30, Michigan State 24). Late in the third quarter, Michigan State led 36-7. Then the Spartans almost pulled an Ole Miss. ND scored 21 unanswered points. With 6 minutes to go in the game, it was 36-28. The Irish had no running game. Attendance in South Bend: 80,795

Barecats – Houston 40, Cincinnati 16 (Touchdown Tom said: Houston 32, Cincinnati 26). Houston quarterback Greg Ward passed for 326 yards and ran for 73. Ward had his hand, or legs, in 399 of Houston’s 506 yards. This was an exciting ballgame until the final six minutes of the fourth quarter when Houston outscored Cincinnati, 21-0. Attendance in Cincinnati: 40,015

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes – Nebraska 35, Oregon 32 (Touchdown Tom said: Nebraska 38, Oregon 34). This game swung both ways. Late in the second quarter, Oregon led by 13 points. Midway through the third quarter, Nebraska led by 8 points. Oregon had a 4-point lead through most of the fourth quarter. Nebraska grabbed a three-point lead with less than 3 minutes on the clock. Husker quarterback Tommy Armstrong passed for 200 yards and ran for 96. Attendance in Lincoln: 90,414

Looking grim on the plains – Texas A&M 29, Auburn 16 (Touchdown Tom said: Auburn 24, Texas A&M 22). From late in the first quarter to late in the second quarter, Texas A&M scored 16 unanswered points, including three field goals. Then from late in the third quarter to midway through the fourth quarter, the Aggies scored 13 unanswered points, including two field goals. Auburn had no such spurts. In fact, Auburn’s offense couldn’t maintain any consistency. Neither could the Tigers defense. Attendance in Auburn: 87,175

One man wrecking crew – Stanford 27, USC 10 (Touchdown Tom said: Stanford 28, USC 23). Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey had 260 all-purpose yards, including 165 yards rushing. USC had no answer for that. Stanford had the ground game (295 yards); USC had the passing game (236 yards). Attendance in Palo Alto: 48,763

Horns out of tune – California 50, Texas 43 (Touchdown Tom said: Texas 43, California 34). The two teams combined for 68 points in the first half. Then they settled down and only had 25-combined points in the second half. Cal’s Davis Webb passed for 396 yards. Texas’ D’Onta Foreman rushed for 157 yards and the Horns’ Chris Warren rushed for 119 yards. With 5:29 left in the fourth quarter, the score was tied, 43-43. Cal scored the go-ahead and winning touchdown with 3:41 on the clock. Attendance in Berkeley: 50,448

Better late than never – Georgia 28, Missouri 27 (Touchdown Tom said: Georgia 25, Missouri 13). Trailing 27-21, Georgia scored on a 20-yard touchdown pass with 1:29 left in the game. The killer for Mizzou was turnovers. The Tigers committed five turnovers (2 fumbles and 3 interceptions) during the game. Neither team could run the ball. Nick Chubb was held to 63 yards rushing. Attendance in Columbia: 57,098

Cowboys delight – Oklahoma State 45, Pitt 38 (Touchdown Tom said: Oklahoma State 40, Pitt 31). The two teams combined for 1,167 yards. Okie State’s Mason Rudolph passed for 540 of those yards. Pitt tied the game at 38-38 early in the third quarter. The score remained tied until 1:28 left in the fourth quarter when the Cowboys scored the go-ahead and winning touchdown. The game was stopped for nearly two hours due to lightning in the area of the stadium. Attendance in Stillwater: 53,514

Not ready for prime time in Boone – Miami (Florida) 45, Appalachian State 10 (Touchdown Tom said: Miami 30, Appalachian State 22). Whatever App State had going for it in the game against Tennessee, the Little Mountaineers lost in their encounter with Miami. The Canes jumped out to a quick 24-0 lead and App State was too shaken to recover. Miami’s Brad Kaaya passed for 368 yards and the Canes’ Mark Walton rushed for 130 yards. Attendance in Boone: 34,658


Close – LSU 23, Mississippi State 20 (Touchdown Tom said: LSU 27, Mississippi State 16). Midway through the third quarter, LSU led Miss State, 23-3. Then in the final 21 minutes of the game, the Bulldogs scored 17 unanswered points. With 3:30 left on the clock, LSU’s lead was cut to 23-20. Miss State had no rushing game – only 56 yards. The Tigers Leonard Fournette rushed for 147 yards. Attendance in Baton Rouge: 99,910

Josh by gosh – UCLA 17, BYU 14 (Touchdown Tom said: UCLA 24, BYU 20). Midway through the third quarter, UCLA led BYU, 17-0. Then the Bruins held on as the Cougars scored 14 unanswered points. Neither team could run the ball. UCLA had 50 yards rushing, BYU 23. The Bruins Josh Rosen passed for 307 yards. Attendance in Provo: 62,904


The Big “D” – Florida 32, North Texas 0 (Touchdown Tom said: Florida 47, North Texas 13). Shades of the Massachusetts game. All defense and little to no offense from Florida. But speaking of defense – wow! The Gators held North Texas to 53 total yards – minus 13 rushing and 66 passing. Going into the fourth quarter, Florida only led 19-0. At best, the Florida offense was inconsistent. Florida quarterback Luke Del Rio left the game late in the third quarter after taking a low hit from a North Texas defender. Del Rio, suffering a knee injury, won’t play in the Tennessee game. Attendance in Gainesville: 86,848

Purr – Northwestern 24, Duke 13 (Touchdown Tom said: Duke 19, Northwestern 17). Northwestern won its first game of the season, while the Dookies lost their second. Both teams are now 1-2. Early in the fourth quarter, Northwestern held a 24-7 lead. Both teams suffered 2 turnovers. Attendance in Evanston: 34,464

Week 3 Results: 11 correct picks, 5 fumbles (percent)
For the Season: 38 correct picks, 16 fumbles (percent)


Kansas State 63, Florida Atlantic 7 – Attendance in Manhattan: 50,871
South Florida 45, Syracuse 20 – Attendance in Syracuse: 32,288

Massachusetts 21, Florida International 13 – Attendance in Foxborough: 12,202
Tennessee State 31, Bethune-Cookman 24 – Attendance in Daytona Beach: 9,385

Maryland 30, UCF 24 (2OT) – Attendance in Orlando: 43,197
Jacksonville U. 41, Edward Waters 7 – Attendance in Jacksonville: 3,158

Florida Tech 40, Shorter 0 – Attendance in Rome: 1,150
Tuskegee 20, Florida A&M 17 – Attendance in Mobile: 19,223


Impressive Passers:

Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph – 26-46-0 for 540 yards; Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes – 26-36-0-470; North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky – 24-27-0-432; Ole Miss’ Chad Kelly – 26-41-1-421; East Carolina’s Philip Nelson – 44-58-2-400; California’s Davis Webb – 27-40-0-396, and Akron’s Thomas Woodson – 21-32-0-379.

Also, Miami of Florida’s Brad Kaaya – 21-27-1 for 368 yards; Central Michigan’s Cooper Rush – 20-33-0-352; Syracuse’s Eric Dungey – 32-48-2-350; Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer – 20-37-1-344; Baylor’s Seth Russell – 22-38-1-337, and Houston’s Greg Ward – 24-36-2-326.

Impressive Rushers:

Louisiana-Lafayette’s Elijah McGuire – 223 yards; San Diego State’s Donnel Pumphrey – 220 yards; SMU’s Braeden West – 220 yards; Wyoming’s Brian Hill – 207 yards, and Western Michigan’s Jamauri Bogan – 189 yards.

Also, Kentucky’s Stanley Williams – 181 yards; Troy’s Jordan Chunn – 175 yards; Nevada’s James Butler – 174 yards; Rutgers’ Robert Martin – 169 yards; Arizona’s J.J. Taylor – 168 yards, and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey – 165 yards.

Quotes of the Week

“We have the atmosphere of a JC softball team. That’s what we are, a JC softball team,” Washington State coach Mike Leach, on his football team.

“We run out of bounds more than any team in the country,” Washington State coach Mike Leach.

“There are no bad weeks in college football, just bad refs,” CBS Sports commentator Adam Zucker.

“When I was little I used to be able to lick my elbow,” Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield.

“I have never eaten a booger in my entire life,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, after cameras appeared to show Harbaugh picking his nose and eating his catch.

“Do you know what LSU stands for? Les’s Stupid Urchins,” Stingray.

“If you are going to play Stanford all your defense has to worry about is one guy,” ESPN analyst Joey Galloway.

Quote from the Past

“There’s nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you,” Ohio State coach Woody Hayes.

Sign of the Day

“He Turned His Back, We’ll Turn Ours,” Temple fans at the Penn State game.

Worst T-Shirt of the Day

“Joe Pa Was Railroaded, Sandusky Is Innocent,” Penn State fans at the Temple game.

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

GAME OF THE WEEK: 1. Wisconsin (3-0) at Michigan State (2-0) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, BTN – Is Michigan State that good? Are the Spartans better than we thought? They sure looked good against Notre Dame. At least in the first half they did. Not so much in the second half. And then there is Wisconsin – a winner over LSU and almost a loser to Georgia State. But the Badgers are often a sleeper. Something tells me they are going to sleep against the Spartans. Sparty throws a party – Michigan State 26, Wisconsin 20.

RUNNER UP: 2. Florida (3-0) at Tennessee (3-0) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, CBS – The Gators feel sorry for Tennessee. The Vols have lost 11-straight to Florida. So this year Florida is going to relinquish its quarterback to give the Vols a break. Tennessee needs all the breaks it can get against Florida. Yeah, Luke Del Rio is out for two or three weeks with a sprained knee. That’s like spotting Tennessee 10 points. Not a problem. The Gators will win on defense. Albert dances on Rocky Top again (this is getting old) – Florida 17, Tennessee 14.

REST OF THE BEST: 3. Arkansas (3-0) vs. Texas A&M (3-0) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 9 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN – Arkansas has a secret weapon. They post Bret Bielema’s wife on the sideline and she distracts the opposing players. Not a bad secret weapon. I didn’t think the Hogs would beat TCU but they did. I’m convinced. The secret weapon works. Still, A&M is tough. The Aggies took care of Aubie in Auburn. But they can’t handle Jen Bielema – Arkansas 23, Texas A&M 21.

4. Clemson (3-0) at Georgia Tech (3-0) – (ACC vs. ACC) – 7:30 pm ET, Thursday, ESPN – After opening against Auburn, Clemson has faced two cupcakes. One, Troy, gave the Tigers a scare. The other, South Carolina State, had to bow out under the mercy rule. Well, Georgia Tech may not be that tough, but I don’t think they are a cupcake. The Jackets could give Clemson a decent game. But the Tigers will have no mercy this week – Clemson 26, Georgia Tech 15.

5. Georgia Southern (3-0) at Western Michigan (3-0) – (Sun Belt vs. MAC) – 7 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN3 – Western Michigan wants revenge. Last year, Georgia Southern won this game, 43-17. But that was in Statesboro. This one is in Kalamazoo. And the Broncos are a better team this year. Regardless, it should be a barn burner – maybe a high scoring affair. But the Broncs won’t be broken – Western Michigan 32, Georgia Southern 27.

6. Stanford (2-0) at UCLA (2-1) – (Pac-12 vs. Pac-12) – 8 pm ET, Saturday, ABC – Last week Stanford took care of USC. This week it is the other Los Angeles team. This L.A. team might be better. But the Trees get better and better each week. Stop Christian McCaffrey and the Bruins win. Don’t stop McCaffrey and the Bruins lose. McCaffrey wins – Stanford 24, UCLA 14.

7. Oklahoma State (2-1) at Baylor (3-0) – (Big 12 vs. Big 12) – 7:30 pm ET, Saturday, Fox – Okie State didn’t have any referee problems last week. And the Cowboys are assured of having Big 12 refs this week. Baylor is undefeated, but the Bears haven’t played anybody. We really don’t know if the Bears are real. Okie State was tested by Pitt – a good team. Baylor gets its first test and flunks – Oklahoma State 42, Baylor 40.

8. Florida State (2-1) at South Florida (3-0) – (ACC vs. AAC) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ABC – Oh my, what happened to the Noles last week? They never could get a Bingo. Chief Ocey was pulling out his feathers. South Florida is undefeated. The Bulls are good. Are they good enough to beat FSU? Yes, at the right time, but this isn’t the right time. The Noles are mad. They will be pillaging all the towns between Tallahassee and Tampa. Then they pillage South Florida – Florida State 27, South Florida 24.

9. Penn State (2-1) at Michigan (3-0) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, ABC – Jim Harbaugh got a wake-up call from Colorado last week. The Buffs gave the Wolvies a scare for a while. No scares this week. Penn State comes to town. The Nitts aren’t ready for prime time yet. Harbaugh goes for some style points – Michigan 34, Penn State 19.

10. Washington (3-0) at Arizona (2-1) – (Pac-12 vs. Pac-12) – 10:30 pm ET, Saturday, PAC12N – The Huskies could be the real thing this year. It was only a matter of time before Chris Petersen got the sled rolling in Seattle. The problem is the Huskies haven’t had a real good test yet. And I’m not sure that Arizona is a good test. But the Wildcats will be the best test Washington has had so far. Rich Rod is no hot rod – Washington 22, Arizona 17.

11. Pitt (2-1) at North Carolina (2-1) – (ACC vs. ACC) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, ESPNU – This is a tough game to pick. The Panthers are good, but how good?
The Heels are good, but how good? Since losing a close game to Georgia, but everybody loses a close game to Georgia, the Heels haven’t played anybody. Pitt’s had two competitive games – Penn State and Oklahoma State. The Panthers barely won one (Penn State) and barely lost the other one (Oklahoma State). These Heels aren’t spiked – Pitt 29, North Carolina 24.

12. Georgia (3-0) at Ole Miss (1-2) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ESPN – Well, let’s see Georgia has won three games by 9 points, 2 points and 1 point. Looks like Uga goes into the minus column this week. Meanwhile, the Fin Boys have to be mad – two losses in three games. And the Fin Boys are a terrible second half team. They are out of shape. But this week they catch a second wind, as Uga goes from +1 to -4 – Ole Miss 30, Georgia 26.


13. Colorado (2-1) at Oregon (2-1) – (Pac-12 vs. Pac-12) – 5:30 pm ET, Saturday, PAC12N – Oregon is beatable. We now know that. And Colorado can put on a show – at least for a while. Maybe the Buffs will put on a show in Eugene. But only for a while – Oregon 37, Colorado 29.

14. USC (1-2) at Utah (3-0) – (Pac-12 vs. Pac-12) – 9 pm ET, Friday, FS1 – This won’t be easy for the Utes. USC already has two losses. Three will look terrible on the Trojans’ resume. So expect a tough game. But the Utes prevail – Utah 28, USC 16.


West Virginia (2-0) vs. BYU (1-2) – (Big 12 vs. Ind.) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN2 – West Virginia had the week off last week to work on its weaknesses. BYU has been a strange team this year. Well, the Cougars haven’t been a typical BYU team. Usually BYU has a high scoring offense and a defense that allows high scoring. This year BYU beat Arizona, 18-16, lost to Utah, 20-19, and lost to UCLA, 17-14. Not much scoring on offense, but a good defense. Well, the Cougars do have a new coach. So the Mounties will have a challenge, scoring on BYU. But Skyler Howard should be fully healed and recovered. The game is being played at FedExField in Landover, Maryland – more of a home game for WVU than BYU, but still a neutral field. The sky doesn’t fall on Skyler – West Virginia 23, BYU 20.

Nebraska (3-0) at Northwestern (1-2) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 7:30 pm ET, Saturday, BTN – After a couple of practice games, the Huskers took their first test last week and passed. Northwestern is no Oregon, but the Wildcats are better than Fresno State and Wyoming. But the Wildcats aren’t better than the Huskers – Nebraska 28, Northwestern 15.

Duke (1-2) at Notre Dame (1-2) – (ACC vs. Ind.) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, NBC – Well, the cat is out of the bag. We know that the Dookies are bad this year. It must be a rebuilding year for David Cutcliffe. He has a lot of construction to do. Notre Dame is not only better than the Dookies, but the Irish will be extra mad after the loss to Michigan State. The Irish will take out their anger on the Dookies. The Irish break out the Jameson – Notre Dame 30, Duke 11.

Nevada (2-1) at Purdue (1-1) – (MWC vs. Big Ten) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ESPN News – So when the Boilers play a team like Nevada, it’s pot luck trying to figure out who is going to win. I mean what are you going to do? Well, you’re going to pick Nevada – that’s what you are going to do. The Wolves Pack it on – Nevada 30, Purdue 27.

Texas (2-1) is off.


Ball State (2-1) at Florida Atlantic (1-2) – (MAC vs. C-USA) – 6 pm ET, Saturday….
South Carolina State (0-3) at Florida A&M (0-3) – (MEAC vs. MEAC) – 6 pm ET, Saturday….

UCF (1-2) at Florida International (0-3) – (AAC vs. C-USA) – 7 pm ET, Saturday….
Bethune-Cookman (0-2) at Savannah State (0-2) – (MEAC vs. MEAC) – 7 pm ET, Saturday….

Jacksonville U. (1-1) at Stetson (1-1) – (Pioneer vs. Pioneer) – 7 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN3….
Florida Tech (3-0) at Presbyterian (1-2) – (Gulf South vs. Big South) – 7 pm ET, Saturday….

Miami (3-0) is off.

Touchdown Tom

Not exactly college football related, but sadly there were two passings of note last week – Edward Albee and William P. Kinsella.

Edward Albee, widely considered the foremost American playwright of his generation, died last week at his home in Montauk, New York. He was 88. He introduced himself in 1959 with his first produced play, “The Zoo Story.” The play helped propel the burgeoning theater movement that became known as Off Broadway. In 1962, Albee’s Broadway debut, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf,” won a Tony Award for best play. Throughout his career (1962-2012), he turned out 32 or so plays. Some of Albee’s other plays included “A Delicate Balance” (1966), “Seascape” (1975), “Three Tall Women” (1994), “The Goat, or Who is Sylvia” (2002) and “Me Myself and I” (2007). Beyond his Tonys, he won three Pulitzer Prizes. Albee was born somewhere in Virginia on March 12, 1928. Shortly after his birth, his father deserted and abandoned him and his mother. Before Albee was a year old, he was adopted by Reed and Frances Albee, who lived in Larchmont, New York. They named him Edward Franklin Albee. He attended Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, but never finished, reportedly because he refused to go to chapel and was eventually expelled.

William P. Kinsella, who wrote “Shoeless Joe,” the novel that became the basis for the 1989 movie “Field of Dreams,” and the author of numerous baseball short stories, poetry collections and several works of nonfiction, died last week. He was 81. In addition to “Shoeless Joe,” wrote other novels in that genre, including “The Iowa Baseball Confederacy,” “Magic Time,” “If Wishes Were Horses” and “Butterfly Winter.” Kinsella published almost 30 books of fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Kinsella was born in Edmonton, Alberta, on May 25, 1935. He received his bachelor of arts in creative writing at the University of Victoria in 1974 and earned a master of fine arts degree in English at the University of Iowa in 1978. He was a professor of English at the University of Calgary.

Monday, September 12, 2016

College Football Week 3 – Top 3 on the road playing ranked teams
What’s wrong with the Big 12?

Only two teams in the AP Top 25 poll lost Saturday. Both were Big 12 teams – TCU and Oklahoma State. TCU lost to Arkansas, 41-38 (2OT), and Oklahoma State lost (although they shouldn’t have) to Central Michigan, 30-27. TCU and Oklahoma State dropped out of this week’s AP Top 25. And out of the Coaches Top 25 poll for that matter.

Those two losses, along with Kansas losing to Ohio, 37-21, Iowa State losing to Iowa, 42-3 and Texas Tech losing to Arizona State, 68-55, left the Big 12 with a 4-5 record against non-conference teams over the weekend.

Combined with the opening weekend, when the Big 12 finished 7-3, the conference has an 11-8 record (57.9%) for the first two weeks. That is the worst record of the five Power 5 conferences. And to make the picture worse, it was on opening weekend when Oklahoma, a Top 5 team at preseason, fell to Houston, 33-23.

After two weeks, the Big 12 only has one quality win. That occurred on opening weekend when Texas beat Notre Dame, 50-47 (2OT). The next best win for the Big 12 also occurred on opening weekend when West Virginia beat Missouri, 26-11.

The Big 12 also has the most bad, or embarrassing, losses among the Power 5 conferences – three. They are the Oklahoma State loss to Central Michigan, the Kansas loss to Ohio and Iowa State’s 25-20 loss to Northern Iowa.

The conference has a chance to improve its image this week in three contests. Oklahoma hosts No. 3 Ohio State, Oklahoma State hosts undefeated and highly-regarded Pitt and Texas plays at a competitive California.

The best conference after two weeks is the ACC. The ACC has three quality wins and an 18-4 record (81.8%). Intra-conference games are thrown out. The three quality wins are Clemson 19, Auburn13, Florida State 45, Ole Miss 34 and Pitt 42, Penn State 39. The conference was 10-2 on opening weekend and 8-2 this past weekend.

The ACC has two embarrassing losses – Richmond 37, Virginia 20 and East Carolina 33, NC State 30. The conference is eyeing two interesting inter-conference games this week – Pitt at wounded Oklahoma State and Miami at dangerous Appalachian state.

After the ACC, the Big Ten is the next best with a 21-6 (77.8%) record. However, the Big Ten only has one quality win. That was Wisconsin’s 16-14 victory over LSU on opening weekend. The Big Ten was 10-2 on opening weekend and dropped to 9-4 on the second weekend.

The Big Ten has two embarrassing losses and both were suffered by the same team – Northwestern. The Wildcats lost at home to Western Michigan, 22-21 and also at home to Illinois State, 9-7. Of interest on the horizon for the Big Ten this week are Ohio State at Oklahoma, Michigan State at Notre Dame and Nebraska hosting Oregon.

The third best conference among the Power 5 is the SEC with a 16-6 (72.7%) record. The SEC had a disastrous opening weekend, finishing 6-6. Saturday, the conference made a big improvement. The SEC was undefeated – 10-0. Intra-conference games excluded.

The SEC has the most quality wins, among the Power 5, at five. They are Texas A&M 31, UCLA 24 (OT); Georgia 33, North Carolina 24; Alabama 52, USC 6; Arkansas 41, TCU 38 (2OT), and Tennessee 45, Virginia Tech 24.

The conference has two embarrassing losses – South Alabama 21, Mississippi State 20 and Southern Miss 44, Kentucky 35.

Just behind the SEC is the Pac-12. After two weeks, the Pac-12 is sitting at 15-7 (66.2%). The conference has three quality wins – Stanford 26, Kansas State 13, Utah 20, BYU 19 and Arizona State 68, Texas Tech 55.

The Pac-12 improved to an 8-2 record the second week from a 7-5 record the first week. There is one embarrassing loss – Eastern Washington 45, Washington State 42. Key for the Pac-12 this week is Oregon at Nebraska, California hosting Texas, Colorado at Michigan and UCLA at BYU.

The SEC has the most teams in this week’s AP Top 25 with eight. The Big Ten has five teams in the Top 25, followed by the ACC with four teams and the Pac-12 and Big 12 with three each. The poll has one team from the AAC (a Group of 5 conference) – Houston, and one Independent – Notre Dame.

So, for sure one and possibly two Power 5 conferences will not make the playoffs come December. Any bets on which conference or conferences it will be? Stay tuned!

After opening weekend was billed as the “best ever” in college football, this past weekend was billed as one of the “worst ever” in college football. But then it is college football and even on a “worst ever” weekend, there is never a dull moment.

Troy and Nicholls gave Clemson and Georgia all they could handle. The Tigers held off Troy, 30-24, while the Dawgs squeaked by Nicholls, 26-24. You can’t get much closer than that.

The largest crowd ever to attend an athletic event in Pittsburgh was kept on the edge of their seats, as Pitt held off Penn State, 42-39. East Carolina rubbed it in again on NC State. The Pirates beat the Wolfpack for the third-straight time. This year the score was 33-30.

Navy won a barn burner against Connecticut, 28-24. It could be a decent year for all three of the service academies. Air Force, Army and Navy are each off to a 2-0 start on the season. First time that has happened since 1996.

Arkansas and TCU went to two overtimes before the Hogs could subdue the Frogs, 41-38. Meanwhile, in Salt Lake City, as the seconds were ticking down, Utah had to stop BYU on a two-point conversion attempt to beat the Cougars, 20-19. You better believe the hearts of Utah fans stopped for a few seconds.

And before the largest crowd ever to watch a football game – 156,990 – at the Bristol Motor Speedway, Tennessee rallied from a 14-0 deficit at the end of the first quarter to beat Virginia Tech 45-24.

In the Rio Grande Rivalry, New Mexico State, trailed New Mexico, 31-22, early in the fourth quarter. But the Aggies kicked a field goal and scored a touchdown in the final 10 minutes of the game to beat the Lobos, 32-31. It was New Mexico State’s first win over New Mexico since 2011. The Lobos had won four straight.

And finally, in two contests where you wondered who was going to outlast the other, Arizona State beat Texas Tech, 68-55, and San Diego State beat California, 45-40. On the losing side, Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes passed for 540 yards, while on the winning side San Diego State running back Donnel Pumphrey rushed for 281 yards.

How would you like to be Syracuse’s defensive coordinator? Friday night, Louisville racked up 845 total yards, beating the Orange, 62-28. Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson passed for 411 yards and ran for 199.

What did I learn this week? I learned that Delta State University has an interesting nickname – the Fightin’ Okra. Their mascot is a big ole Okra. Florida Tech plays Delta State for homecoming this year. I wonder if the Okra will be at the game.

Speaking of Florida Tech, our next door neighbors Deb and Dieter Gum went to the Panthers game against Mississippi College Saturday night. Florida Tech won, 41-0. The Gums sent texts to Swamp Mama, updating her every time Florida Tech scored.

It didn’t make my “best and most intriguing games of the week,” I’m not sure why, but you need to keep your eye on the North Dakota State at Iowa game this Saturday. The game is on ESPN2 at 12 noon ET. North Dakota State has won the FCS national championship for the past five seasons. The game could be interesting.

The Top 3 teams in the country – Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State – are on the road this week, playing ranked teams: Alabama at Ole Miss, Florida State at Louisville and Ohio State at Oklahoma. Stay tuned!

It was good to hear from Tim Muth, Monta Burt, Casey Beavers, Dave Brolhorst and George Knapp last week.

Swamp Mama and I drove to Jacksonville Friday morning. We shopped at the St. Johns Town Center and had dinner that night at Maggiano’s. Saturday, Swamp Mama was attending a baby shower at the Candy Apple Café in downtown Jacksonville.

After dropping her off at the baby shower, I parked the car in a garage and headed for Fionn MacCool’s Irish Pub at the Jacksonville Landing. What a great place to have lunch, a few brews and watch college football on TV.

Swamp Mama called me when the baby shower was over. I got the car, picked her up and we headed back down I-95. We were home in time to catch the last three quarters of the Kentucky-Florida game.

Watching the “Paul Finebaum Show” one day last week I couldn’t help but laugh at the comments from one caller and the resulting Tweet – mostly the Tweet. The caller was an LSU fan – big time. He said his wife was three hours into labor, but he wanted to take the time to call so he could complain about LSU’s quarterback. And he did.

Almost immediately after the call, someone Tweeted the “Finebaum Show” saying, “If that baby is a boy, you better believe he won’t be named Brandon or Harris.”

Another day on the Finebaum Show, the callers and Tweeters were talking and carrying on about Tim Tebow and his baseball exploits. As the conversation continued, they began wondering what other stunts Tebow might pull. Before long, they were calling Tebow – Timberly Kardashian.

Meanwhile, the Big 12 needs to pull some stunts and win some big football games.

Enjoy your week.

Touchdown Tom
September 12, 2016

Weekend Recap

GAME OF THE WEEK: The checkered flags won – Tennessee 45, Virginia Tech 24 (Touchdown Tom said: Tennessee 23, Virginia Tech 17). The Hokies outscored the Vols 14-0 in the first quarter. But the Vols outscored the Hokies 45-10 in the remaining three quarters. Granted VT shot themselves in the foot with 5 fumbles. Still, Tennessee took over the game after the first quarter and dominated it. Attendance in Bristol: 156,990

RUNNER UP: Gigged – Arkansas 41, TCU 38 (2OT) (Touchdown Tom said: TCU 33, Arkansas 30). TCU outrushed and out-passed Arkansas, but the Hogs outscored the Frogs. TCU had to play catch up in the 4th quarter. The Frogs trailed the Hogs 20-7, entering the final period. Attendance in Fort Worth: 48,091

REST OF THE BEST: Cliffhanger – Utah 20, BYU 19 (Touchdown Tom said: Utah 21, BYU 16). What an exciting finish! BYU scored a touchdown with 18 seconds left. The Cougars went for 2, but failed in their attempt. BYU quarterback Taysom Hill was tackled short of the goal line. Utah had 6 turnovers in the game but still managed to survive. The Utes out-passed and outrushed the Cougars. Attendance in Salt Lake City: 46,915

Franklin’s woes – Pitt 42, Penn State 39 (Touchdown Tom said: Penn State 26, Pitt 24). Pitt had the running game (344 yards) and Penn State had the passing game (332 yards). The running game won. Four turnovers hurt the Lions. Attendance in Pittsburgh: 69,983

Basketball – Arizona State 68, Texas Tech 55 (Touchdown Tom said: Texas Tech 40, Arizona State 37). For starters, the two teams combined for 1,264 yards. Both teams had a passing game, but only Arizona State had a running game. That was the difference. Tech only had 72 yards rushing. Attendance in Tempe: 44,511

Almost basketball – San Diego State 45, California 40 (Touchdown Tom said: San Diego State 28, California 27). Cal had 604 total yards to 464 for San Diego State. But Cal had 4 turnovers – 3 interceptions. Again, the running game beat the passing game. Cal (522 yards passing) only had 82 yards rushing and the Aztecs (335 yards rushing) had only 129 yards passing. Attendance in San Diego: 42,473

The Badgers burned the Rubber – Wisconsin 54, Akron 10 (Touchdown Tom said: Wisconsin 30, Akron 24). No surprises from Terry Bowden this year. The Badgers picked up where they left off with LSU. Wisconsin had 586 total yards to 224 for Akron. Akron scored all of its 10 points in the second quarter. Attendance in Madison: 77,331

Never schedule the Broncos – Boise State 31, Washington State 28 (Touchdown Tom said: Boise State 41, Washington State 36). With 12 minutes to go in the 4th quarter, Boise State led 31-14. Washington State scored two touchdowns in 7 minutes to close the gap to 3 points. There was still 4:17 on the clock when the Cougars scored the second touchdown. Washington State had 520 total yards, but only 40 yards rushing. Attendance in Boise: 36,163

Yet again – Florida 45, Kentucky 7 (Touchdown Tom said: Florida 34, Kentucky 15). Florida found the offense it couldn’t find last week against Massachusetts. The Gators amassed 564 total yards – a nice balance of 244 rushing and 320 passing. Kentucky had four turnovers (3 interceptions) and only 55 yards passing. Kentucky’s mere 7 points came with 4:27 on the clock in the 4th quarter. The Gators have now won 30-straight against Kentucky and are 45-5 over the Wildcats in the past 50 years. Attendance in Gainesville: 85,821

No Love in Champaign – North Carolina 48, Illinois 23 (Touchdown Tom said: North Carolina 30, Illinois 25). A decent game at the half (UNC led 24-16), the Heels ran away from the Banned Indians in the second half. UNC quarterback Mitch Trubisky completed 79% of his passes. Attendance in Champaign: 60,670

Mustake suffers a Dog bite – Mississippi State 27, South Carolina 14 (Touchdown Tom said: Mississippi State 20, South Carolina 12). Miss State led South Carolina 24-0 at the half. The Bulldogs went into cruise control in the second half and held off the Gamecocks. The Miss State defense held South Carolina to only 34 yards rushing. Attendance in Starkville: 57,763

Alive and breathing – Auburn 51, Arkansas State 14 (Touchdown Tom said: Auburn 34, Arkansas State 18). No problems this year from a Sun Belt Conference team. War Eagle soared, racking up 707 total yards. Auburn had two backs run for more than 100 yards – Kamryn Pettway (152 yards) and Kerryon Johnson (124 yards). Attendance in Auburn: 86,825


Vandy was randy – Vanderbilt 47, Middle Tennessee 24 (Touchdown Tom said: Vanderbilt 20, Middle Tennessee 19). Vandy scored 47 points and won by 23 points, but its offense was still outgained by Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders had 495 total yards to 344 for the Dores. Blue Raiders quarterback Brent Stockstill passed for 399 yards. Attendance in Nashville: 29,627

Who scheduled the Pirates again? – East Carolina 33, NC State 30 (Touchdown Tom said: NC State 38, East Carolina 24). NC State leads this series 16-13. But East Carolina has won 9 of the last 14 games and the last 3 in a row. Early in the 4th quarter, the Wolfpack scored a touchdown to take a 30-26 lead. Then the Pirates scored with 5:49 left in the game to go up 33-30 and held on to win. Attendance in Greenville: 50,719


First half letdown – West Virginia 38, Youngstown State 21 (Touchdown Tom said: West Virginia 33, Youngstown State 13). WVU got off to a slow start. The two teams were tied 14-14 at the half. Then the Mounties outscored the Penguins 24-7 in the second half. WVU had 624 total yards – 235 rushing and 389 passing. Attendance in Morgantown: 56,261

Better late than never – Nebraska 52, Wyoming 17 (Touchdown Tom said: Nebraska 46, Wyoming 11). A so-so game through three quarters, Nebraska turned it on and outscored the Cowboys 28-0 in the 4th quarter. Six turnovers killed Wyoming. Attendance in Lincoln: 89,895

A Wake for the Devils – Wake Forest 24, Duke 14 (Touchdown Tom said: Duke 25, Wake Forest 18). Wake Forest has a stubborn defense. The Deacons have only given up 17 points in two games. They held Duke to 37 yards rushing. The Deacons may be better than we thought, while the Dookies may be worse than we thought. Attendance in Durham: 21,077

Really, Dawgs – Georgia 26, Nicholls State 24 (Touchdown Tom said: Georgia 56, Nicholls State 12). So, I get it. Nicholls State is now just Nicholls – no more State. Next year they might be Dimes and the year after that, Quarters. Regardless, the Nicholls put Uga asleep in the 4th quarter. The Dawgs led the Nicholls 26-14 at the beginning of the 4th quarter. Then the Nicholls outscored the Dawgs 10-0 in the final period. I wonder if the Nicholls have a heads and a tails? I know the Dawgs do. Attendance in Athens: 92,746

Strong – Texas 41, UTEP 7 (Touchdown Tom said: Texas 33, UTEP 17). Texas did not suffer a letdown after its big win over Notre Dame. Freshman quarterback Shane Buechele completed 82% of his passes. Attendance in Austin: 92,863

Back to normal – Cincinnati 38, Purdue 20 (Touchdown Tom said: Purdue 30, Cincinnati 26). Just when I get some confidence in Purdue, the Boilers let me down. Actually, Purdue quarterback David Blough let me down. Blough threw 5 interceptions. That killed the Boilers chances. Purdue had 504 total yards to 512 for Cincinnati. But Cincy had a balanced attack, while Purdue had no running game. Attendance in West Lafayette: 33,068

Week 2 Results: 14  correct picks, 6 fumbles (70 percent)
For the Season: 27 correct picks, 11 fumbles (71.1 percent)


Maryland 41, Florida International 14 – Attendance in Miami: 17,084
Michigan 51, UCF 14 – Attendance in Ann Arbor: 109,295
Florida State 52, Charleston Southern 8 – Attendance in Tallahassee: 75,831

Miami 38, Florida Atlantic 10 – Attendance in Miami Gardens: 57,123
South Florida 48, Northern Illinois 17 – Attendance in Tampa: 36,557
Liberty 55, Jacksonville U. 7 – Attendance in Lynchburg: 16,625
North Texas 41, Bethune-Cookman 20 – Attendance in Denton: 15,609

Stetson 30, Warner 15 – Attendance in Deland: 3,348
Florida Tech 41, Mississippi College 0 – Attendance in Melbourne: 3,056
Coastal Carolina 49, Florida A&M 10 – Attendance in Conway: 10,037


Weekend’s Best Passers:

Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes – 38-53-2 for 540 yards; Washington State’s Luke Falk – 55-71-1-480; Missouri’s Drew Lock – 24-37-0-450; Louisville’s Lamar Jackson – 20-39-1-411, and Louisiana Tech’s Ryan Higgins – 34-52-2-409.

Middle Tennessee’s Brent Stockstill – 38-65-1 for 399 yards; West Virginia’s Skyler Howard – 20-33-1-389; Nebraska’s Tommy Armstrong – 20-34-1-377; TCU’s Kenny Hill – 36-56-1-377; Central Michigan’s Cooper Rush – 30-42-1-361, and Arizona State’s Manny Wilkins – 28-37-0-351.

South Florida’s Quinton Flowers – 21-33-0 for 350 yards; Texas A&M’s Trevor Knight – 21-37-1-344; Penn State’s Trace McSorley – 24-35-1-332; Duke’s Daniel Jones – 31-48-1-332; Oregon’s Dakota Prukop – 21-31-0-331; Toledo’s Logan Woodside – 13-25-1-329, and Florida’s Luke Del Rio – 19-32-1-320.

Weekend’s Best Rushers:

San Diego State’s Donnel Pumphrey – 281 yards; Vanderbilt’s Ralph Webb – 211 yards, and Oregon’s Royce Freeman – 207 yards.

Louisville’s Lamar Jackson – 199 yards; Miss State’s Nick Fitzgerald – 195 yards, and Minnesota’s Kobe McCrary – 176 yards.

Quotes of the Week

“I made mistakes. I did wrong, but I’m not doing this trying to make myself feel better for apologizing. I understand I made some mistakes. There were some bad things that went on under my watch. I was captain of this ship. The captain of the ship goes down with it,” former Baylor coach Art Briles.

“So, I understand that I made some mistakes, and for that I’m sorry. But I’m not trying to plead for people’s sympathy. I was wrong. I’m sorry. I’m gonna do better,” former Baylor coach Art Briles.

“The students at Iowa State believe that BYU’s discriminatory policies and practices are inconsistent with the values of the Big 12 Conference. We do not support BYU’s membership bid to the Big 12 Conference,” the Iowa State University student senate.

“There are no arguments. Those are ass chewings,” Alabama coach Nick Saban, when asked about his sideline argument with Lane Kiffin, during the Western Kentucky game.

Quote from the Past

“Always remember Goliath was a 40-point favorite over David,” Auburn coach Shug Jordan.

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

GAME OF THE WEEK: 1. Florida State (2-0) at Louisville (2-0) – (ACC vs. ACC) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ABC – What a battle this game should be! Both teams have potent offenses. Both defenses are good, but porous, especially against good offenses. Both quarterbacks are good. But Louisville’s Lamar Jackson is more experienced. Florida State’s Deondre Francois is a freshman and he hasn’t had that freshman game yet. There will be a lot of talent on the field, but the Cardinals are more motivated. Bird droppings on the Bingo card – Louisville 30, Florida State 27.

RUNNER UP: 2. Ohio State (2-0) at Oklahoma (1-1) – (Big Ten vs. Big 12) – 7:30 pm ET, Saturday, Fox – Win, and Oklahoma is back in the race for the playoffs. Lose, and the Sooners can kiss it goodbye. If the Buckeyes lose, they could still make the playoffs. So the Sooners can’t afford to lose; the Buckeyes can. The Sooners take J.T. for a ride on Boomer – Oklahoma 29, Ohio State 28.

REST OF THE BEST: 3. Alabama (2-0) at Ole Miss (1-1) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, CBS – So did Nick Saban’s tirade on the sideline get the Bama offense fired up for Ole Miss? It was a good ploy. But Bama shouldn’t need much to get fired up for the Landsharks. After all, Ole Miss has won the last two games. That should be enough to fire up the Tide. The Ole Miss defense looked weak against Florida State. They were sucking wind in the second half. And get Chad Kelly rattled and he’s no good. Saban’s revenge – Alabama 36, Ole Miss 24.

4. Michigan State (1-0) at Notre Dame (1-1) – (Big Ten vs. Ind.) – 7:30 pm ET, Saturday, NBC – Michigan State is still an unknown. A weak win over Furman and that is about all we know. After the Texas game, we know the Irish can play offense, but are so-so on defense. The Spartans generally play good defense, but do they have an offense. This could be a fight over a turnip. Then again, the scoreboard could get lit up. The Kizer triumphs – Notre Dame 30, Michigan State 24.

5. Houston (2-0) at Cincinnati (2-0) – (AAC vs. AAC) – 7:30 pm ET, Thursday, ESPN – The first conference game of the season for both. Cincy has the advantage of hosting Houston. After beating Oklahoma, the pressure is on the Cougars. Go undefeated and they are likely in the playoffs. But that is easier said than done. The AAC is not an easy conference. The Cougars stay alive – Houston 32, Cincinnati 26.

6. Oregon (2-0) at Nebraska (2-0) – (Pac-12 vs. Big Ten) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, ABC – Both teams are undefeated, but neither has really been tested. This is the first test for both. The Huskers get an A+ – Nebraska 38, Oregon 34.

7. Texas A&M (2-0) at Auburn (1-1) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 7 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN – The pressure is on both coaches. It could be curtains for the loser. Both teams have been through a test. The Aggies beat UCLA. The Tigers lost to Clemson. The Tigers win their second test. Aubie gives Trevor the tremors – Auburn 24, Texas A&M 22.

8. USC (1-1) at Stanford (1-0) – (Pac-12 vs. Pac-12) – 8 pm ET, Saturday, NBC – Big battle in the Pac-12. Wonder what Trojan player will get ejected this week. USC is two-for-two in that endeavor. Stanford is the more settled team. The Trojans are men of Clay – Stanford 28, USC 23.

9. Texas (2-0) at California (1-1) – (Big 12 vs. Pac-12) – 10:30 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN – Charlie Strong is on a roll. Now’s he’s about to get a California roll. Cal lives and dies by its quarterback – Davis Webb. He’s got an arm, but sometimes he doesn’t know how to use it – too many interceptions. Simply put, Texas is the better all-around team. Bevo likes that California sushi – Texas 43, California 34.

10. Georgia (2-0) at Missouri (1-1) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 7:30 pm ET, Saturday, SECN – Well, if the Dawgs play like they did against Nicholls, or was it Dimes, they are going to lose. Mizzou has a new coach, a new offense, but the same defense. The offense is coached by Josh Heupel. Remember him? Mizzou may have a surprise or two, but Georgia is more solid. Uga is pretty solid too – Georgia 25, Missouri 13.

11. Pitt (2-0) at Oklahoma State (1-1) – (ACC vs. Big 12) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN – For their sake, the Cowboys better hope the Mid-American Conference is not supplying the referees this week. They better hope the ACC refs know the rules of the game. But you know how those ACC refs can be. Just ask David Cutcliffe. The Cowboys get back in the saddle again – Oklahoma State 40, Pitt 31.

12. Miami (Florida) (2-0) at Appalachian State (1-1) – (ACC vs. Sun Belt) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ESPN – Oh this could be a fun one. App state will be fired up. And you know how tough they played against Tennessee. The Little Mountaineers could sap the strength out of the Hurricanes. Almost, but not – Miami 30, Appalachian State 22.


13. Mississippi State (1-1) at LSU (1-1) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 7 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN2 – Well, you never know what LSU team will show up. And you never know what Miss State team will show up too. That makes for an interesting game – a guessing game. Guess the Tigers will win – LSU 27, Mississippi State 16.

14. UCLA (1-1) at BYU (1-1) – (Pac-12 vs. Ind.) – 10:15 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN2 – This game was a donnybrook last year. The Bruins won by a point. It could be a donnybrook again this year. Both of BYU’s games so far have been donnybrooks. The Cougars beat Arizona by 2 and lost to Utah by 1. You can’t get much closer than that. BYU does seem to be playing better defense this year. Another close game, but Josh is posh – UCLA 24, BYU 20.


North Texas (1-1) at Florida (2-0) – (C-USA vs. SEC) – 7:30 pm ET, Saturday, ESPNU – Well, this is obviously Florida’s prep game for Tennessee. Don’t expect a lot out of the Gators. Just enough to get by. They will be saving all they can for Knoxville next week. Albert knocks the Mean out of the Green – Florida 47, North Texas 13.

Duke (1-1) at Northwestern (0-2) – (ACC vs. Big Ten) – 8 pm ET, Saturday, BTN – Can you believe Northwestern. The Wildcats lost to Western Michigan by 1 and to Illinois State by 2. Maybe they will lose to the Dookies by 3. But I think they are stuck on 2 – Duke 19, Northwestern 17.

West Virginia (2-0) and Purdue (1-1) are off


Florida Atlantic (1-1) at Kansas State (0-1) – (C-USA vs. Big 12) – 2:30 pm ET, Saturday, FSN….
South Florida (2-0) at Syracuse (1-1) – (AAC vs. ACC) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN3….

Florida International (0-2) at Massachusetts (0-2) – (C-USA vs. Ind.) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, ASN, ESPN3….
Tennessee State (2-0) at Bethune-Cookman (0-1) – (Ohio Valley vs. MEAC) – 4 pm ET, Saturday….

Maryland (2-0) at UCF (1-1) – (Big Ten vs. AAC) – 7 pm ET, Saturday, CBSSN….
Edward Waters (0-2) at Jacksonville U. (0-1) – (Gulf Coast vs. Pioneer) – 7 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN3….
Florida Tech (2-0) at Shorter (0-2) – (Gulf South vs. Gulf South) – 7 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN3….
Florida A&M (0-2) at Tuskegee (2-0) – (MEAC vs. SIAC) – 7 pm ET, Saturday….

Touchdown Tom


Not directly college football related, but in mid-September as the college football season was finally underway, the number one song in the country…

…75 years ago this week in 1941 was “Green Eyes (Aquellos Ojos Verdes)” by Jimmy Dorsey 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 “Michael” by The Highwaymen

…50 years ago this week in 1966 was “You Can’t Hurry Love” by The Supremes

…45 years ago this week in 1971 was “Go Away Little Girl” by Donny Osmond

…40 years ago this week in 1976 was “(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty” – KC and the Sunshine 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 “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin

…25 years ago this week in 1991 was “The Promise of a New Day” by Paula Abdul

Not directly college football related, but sadly there was one passing of note last week – Cary Blanchard.

Cary Blanchard, a clutch place-kicker who played for the New York Giants, the New York Jets and helped the Indianapolis Colts reach the American Football Conference championship game in January 1996, died last week in Mabank, Texas. He was 47. In college, Blanchard was a standout player at Oklahoma State. He was a three-time All-Big Eight selection at Oklahoma State before starting his NFL career with the Jets in 1992. Blanchard’s pro career was not so stable. He was a member of several teams, playing his last game in 2000. He made 165 field goals in his NFL career with a 77.1% conversion rate. Robert Cary Blanchard was born on November 5, 1868, in Fort Worth, Texas.