Monday, September 25, 2017

College Football Week 5 – No longer ranked: FSU
Weekend 4 had its share of
thrills and chills, as the men
were separated from the boys

There were nine games Saturday matching undefeated teams. Four of the games lived up to their billing, while five didn’t.

The most thrilling and chilling of those four games had to be Penn State’s 21-19 time-expiring win over Iowa. A defensive struggle in the first half, the Hawkeyes led the No. 4 Nittany Lions by two points – 7-5 – at the break. Penn State appeared to take the game in its hands in the third quarter, outscoring Iowa, 10-0. At the end of three, the Nittany Lions were up, 15-7.

However, in the fourth quarter, Iowa found life, scoring two touchdowns – taking a 19-15 lead over Penn State. The Hawkeyes second touchdown of the two was scored with only 1:42 left in the game. On both of the fourth quarter touchdowns, Iowa attempted two-point conversions and failed – failures, and perhaps decisions, that would ultimately haunt the Hawkeyes.

With just 1:42 on the clock, Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley drove the Nittany Lions 80 yards in 12 plays – scoring on a 7-yard pass to Juwan Johnson as time expired. Penn State won by two points.

In what was billed as the game of the week, No. 16 TCU surprised No. 6 Oklahoma State, 44-31, in Stillwater. The Horned Frogs only trailed once in the game. That was by one point for less than three minutes in the first half. Aside from that, TCU dominated Oklahoma State, twice holding 17-point leads in the second half.

Texas Tech handed Houston its first loss, as the Red Raiders beat the Cougars, 27-24. Houston was plagued by five turnovers – three fumbles and two interceptions.

In the Pac-12 opener for both schools, No. 5 USC and California fought on even terms for three quarters. The score was tied – 13-13 – at the start of the fourth quarter. But in the fourth, the Trojans outscored the Golden Bears, 17-7, to take a 30-20 victory over Cal.

Then there were the five games matching undefeated teams that ended up being mismatches. After starting out 3-0, including an impressive 14-7 win over Kansas State, Vanderbilt was no match for No. 1 Alabama. In fact the Commodores were a big disappointment, as the Crimson Tide demolished Vandy, 59-0. Alabama racked up 677 total yards, while holding Vanderbilt to a measly 78 total yards.

How does a team go from beating LSU, 37-7, one week to losing to Georgia, 31-3, the next? That’s exactly what No. 17 Mississippi State did, as the Bulldogs lost to No. 11 Georgia.

Colorado kept it close with No. 7 Washington for one half. The Buffs trailed the Huskies by only three points – 10-7 – at the break. But in the second half, Washington outscored Colorado, 27-3, to claim a commanding, 37-10, win over the Buffaloes.

Likewise, Toledo hung with No. 14 Miami (Florida) for much of their game. The Rockets held a 16-10 lead on the Hurricanes at halftime. But in the second half, it was a different story. Miami outscored Toledo 42-14 in the final two periods. The Canes beat the Rockets, 52-30.

In one of the biggest surprises of the day, UCF went up to Maryland and beat the Terrapins, 38-10. This the same Maryland team that opened the season with a 51-41 victory over Texas. UCF improves to 2-0. Scott Frost is doing good things at UCF.

Along with the nine matchups between undefeated teams, Saturday was not lacking in other games filled with chills, thrills, shocks and surprises. Two of those games were decided in the closing seconds and by only one point.

After pulling out a victory on the final play of the game last week, No. 20 Florida did the same thing again this week. Only this time, instead of a game ending touchdown pass, it was a missed field goal by Kentucky as the time expired, which enabled the Gators to hold on and beat the Wildcats, 28-27. Florida had just scored its go ahead touchdown 43 seconds earlier, capping off a 14-point, fourth quarter rally by the Gators.

In Columbia, South Carolina, Louisiana Tech kicked a 25-yard field goal with 0:55 on the clock to take a 16-14 lead over South Carolina. But quarterback Jake Bentley led the Gamecocks down the field in the closing seconds. With 0:04 left in the game, Parker White kicked a 31-yard field goal, as South Carolina beat Louisiana Tech 17-16.

Then there was an overtime thriller in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Texas A&M and Arkansas put on a classic battle. Early in the second quarter, the Razorbacks had a 21-7 lead over the Aggies. By midway through the third quarter, A&M had come back and taken a 24-21 lead.

During the next 18 minutes, the lead changed hands five times. With 0:04 on the clock, the Aggies kicked a 27-yard field goal to tie the score at 43-43 and put the game into overtime. Texas A&M claimed victory in the first overtime, downing Arkansas, 50-43.

Shockers? Yes there were a couple. In Tallahassee, NC State stunned No. 12 Florida State, 27-21, in a game that the Wolfpack never trailed. While in Tempe, Arizona State surprised No. 24 Oregon, 37-35. Trailing the Sun Devils throughout the game, the Ducks took their first lead over Arizona State – 35-34 – with 6:41 left in the fourth quarter. But with 2:33 on the clock, the Sun Devils kicked a 41-yard field goal and hung on to win.

Two games ended in identical scores. Duke downed North Carolina, 27-17, while Nebraska took a 27-17 win over Rutgers. The Husker win came just two days after Nebraska fired its athletic director, Shawn Eichorst, making Husker coach Mike Riley, what some think is, a lame-duck coach.

In two unexpected blowouts, Notre Dame busted Michigan State, 38-18, while Stanford throttled UCLA, 58-34. Bruins coach Jim Mora will definitely be canned by the end of the season and Spartans coach Mark Dantonio may be in trouble.

No. 22 San Diego State, perhaps the best Group of Five team out there, scored with 5:39 left in the game to beat Air Force, 28-24. Rashaad Penny scored on a 53-yard touchdown run. Arizona gave undefeated and No. 23 Utah a scare, but in the end, the Utes hung on to beat the Wildcats, 30-24.

Upstart Purdue hung with No. 8 Michigan for three quarters. The Boilers led the Wolverines 10-7 at the half, and only trailed Michigan 14-10 at the end of three quarters. But Michigan poured it on in the fourth quarter and beat Purdue, 28-10.

In a couple of near misses, Tennessee, probably still stunned from the game ending loss to Florida last week, escaped Massachusetts, 17-13. And No. 3 Oklahoma darn near lost to winless Baylor. The Sooners trailed the Bears, 31-28, late in the third quarter. Oklahoma found itself in the fourth quarter, taking a 49-31 lead over Baylor. Then the Sooners hung on to escape the Bears, 49-41.

Three undefeated teams kept their perfect records intact. No. 18 Washington State blew past Nevada, 45-7; UTSA dominated Texas State, 44-14, and Memphis outscored Southern Illinois, 44-31.

In a game played Sunday, East Carolina won its first game of the season, beating Connecticut, 41-38.

There was a lot of chatter last week about the current state of SEC coaches – some calling it a “coaching crisis” in the SEC. Going into Saturday’s games, apparently, fans of only four of the 14 SEC schools were happy with their coach. Coaches at nine of the SEC schools are on the short end of the stick with the fans, while at one school, fans are 50/50 on their coach.

I suspect some of this favorability, or lack thereof, may have changed after Saturday’s games. The four schools where fans were reported to be happy with their coach are Alabama (Nick Saban), Mississippi State (Dan Mullen), Kentucky (Mark Stoops) and Vanderbilt (Derek Mason). Following Saturday’s outcomes, feelings may have dampened a little at Mississippi State, Kentucky and Vanderbilt. Not that Vanderbilt really cares.

Meanwhile, the nine schools where unhappiness resides are Texas A&M (Kevin Sumlin), Arkansas (Bret Bielema), Missouri (Barry Odom), Florida (Jim McElwain), South Carolina (Will Muschamp), Ole Miss (Matt Luke), Auburn (Gus Malzahn), LSU (Ed Orgeron) and Tennessee (Butch Jones). I would say the situation is definitely not any better, probably worse, at Arkansas, Missouri, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Sitting in the middle are Georgia fans on Kirby Smart. Going into Saturday, Dawgs fans were supposedly so/so on Kirby. But I suspect his ratings went up after the win over Miss State. Key this week will be the outcomes of Georgia vs. Tennessee, Mississippi State vs. Auburn and South Carolina vs. Texas A&M. Stay tuned! And, heaven forbid, should Troy upset LSU and/or Eastern Michigan upset Kentucky.

And speaking of SEC coaches, there was a lot of chatter, sometimes humorous, sometimes serious, about Ole Miss hiring Tommy Tuberville or Les Miles.

Yeah, Nebraska fired its athletic director, Shawn Eichorst, last Thursday – this on the heels of Nebraska’s 21-17 loss to Northern Illinois last week. With a new AD coming in, does he fire Mike Riley or keep him around for another year? A lot depends on when the new athletic director is hired. No way is an interim AD going to fire Riley.

So don’t look now but Duke, Wake Forest, Texas Tech, Minnesota and Washington State are still undefeated. The Blue Devils, Red Raiders and Cougars have big obstacles to get over this week in Miami (Florida), Oklahoma State and USC respectively.

And don’t look now, but Florida State is still winless. Yes, FSU is missing in action. The Seminoles play at Wake Forest this week. Wonder who Tim Muth is cheering for?

I’m thinking the best of the Group of Five are San Diego State, UCF, South Florida, Memphis, Navy and UTSA. All are undefeated.

How about Baylor quarterback Zach Smith. In a loss, Smith passed for 463 yards (no interceptions) against Oklahoma. And how about Kansas running back Kahlil Herbert and Stanford running back Bryce Love. In a loss to West Virginia, Herbert rushed for 291 yards, while in a win against UCLA, Love rushed for 263 yards. Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, Miami of Florida’s Mark Walton and Washington’s Myles Gaskin were pretty impressive rushers too.

Division III rivals St. Thomas and St. John’s, both of Minnesota, set a Division III attendance record over the weekend. They played in front of 37,355 at Target Field home of baseball’s Minnesota Twins. The Tommies beat the Johnnies, 20-17. Go Tommies!

And here we go again at Ole Miss. It was only a few years ago Ole Miss students, and maybe alums, voted to change the school’s mascot from Col. Sanders to a Black Bear. Well, Ole Miss students will be voting again on a new mascot on September 26. Apparently, the Black Bear hasn’t been cutting the mustard ever since it replaced Col. Sanders, after the Colonel ran out of chicken. According to sources, the new mascot is expected to be the Landshark. Stay tuned.

Bootsie, Rockledge Gator, Swamp Mama and I will be in Gainesville this weekend for the Vanderbilt-Florida game. Naturally, we’re staying at the best place to stay in Gainesville – The Laurel Oak Inn. We are looking forward to seeing Peggy and Monta Burt, along with others.

It was good to hear from Scott Greenwood and Brian Smith last week. Brian was the first to tip me off about Nebraska AD Shawn Eichorst getting the boot.

Enjoy your week!

Touchdown Tom
September 25, 2017

Weekend Recap

GAME OF THE WEEK: Froggy went a courtin’ – TCU 44, Oklahoma State 31 (Touchdown Tom said: Oklahoma State 35, TCU 25). Who would have thunk it? Maybe Frogs fans. Certainly not Oakie State fans. Granted, the Cowboys are a little loosey-goosey on defense. But who was going to stop their offense. TCU just let Mason Rudolph do his thing. The Frogs stopped the Cowboys everywhere else. Rudolph passed for 398 yards. But Oakie State only rushed for 102 yards. The Cowboys also had four turnovers. Rudolph threw three interceptions. TCU is better than we thought. Attendance in Stillwater: 56,790

RUNNER UP: Where was Ralphie? – Washington 37, Colorado 10 (Touchdown Tom said: Washington 30, Colorado 26). This was a repeat of last year’s Pac-12 championship game. Washington clobbered Colorado in that game too. Three turnovers didn’t help the Buffaloes any. Attendance in Boulder: 47,666

REST OF THE BEST: Uga was the tougher Dawg – Georgia 31, Mississippi State 3 (Touchdown Tom said: Georgia 25, Mississippi State 20). Obviously, Miss State was still living in last week’s glory. It was like: Who cares after you beat LSU. Attendance in Athens: 92,746

Embarrassment! – Alabama 59, Vanderbilt 0 (Touchdown Tom said: Alabama 28, Vanderbilt 12). I thought they played defense at Vandy? They certainly don’t play offense – 3 first downs. Vandy only had the ball for 17 minutes of the game. Attendance in Nashville: 40,350

Deceptive – Penn State 21, Iowa 19 (Touchdown Tom said: Penn State 31, Iowa 23). In spite of the close score, Penn State totally dominated the game – 31 first downs to 11 for Iowa; 581 total yards to 273 for Iowa and the Nitts controlled the ball 40 minutes to 20 for Iowa. Attendance in Iowa City: 65,205

Fruit turnovers – USC 30, California 20 (Touchdown Tom said: USC 30, California 19). Cal had six turnovers. Therein was the difference in the game. Attendance in Berkeley: 45,745

Strong gusts – Miami (Florida) 52, Toledo 30 (Touchdown Tom said: Miami 30, Toledo 25). Miami is a threat. The Canes had 587 total yards. Attendance in Miami Gardens: 49,361

A win is a win – Texas Tech 27, Houston 24 (Touchdown Tom said: Texas Tech 29, Houston 27). Kliff Kingsbury had to be happy. His Red Raiders weren’t favored in this game. Tech is 3-0. Attendance in Houston: 36,383

Running out of steam – Michigan 28, Purdue 10 (Touchdown Tom said: Michigan 30, Purdue 27). Purdue hung with Louisville till near the end. The Boilers did the same thing against Michigan – until near the end. Purdue needs to become a fourth quarter team. For the first time this year, Purdue didn’t show much offense – only 30 yards rushing. Michigan played good defense. Attendance in West Lafayette: 60,042

Rich Rod’s in trouble – Utah 30, Arizona 24 (Touchdown Tom said: Utah 26, Arizona 19). Arizona out-passed and out-rushed Utah, but the Wildcats couldn’t outscore the Utes. Early in the first quarter, Utah took a 7-0 lead and never trailed for the rest of the game. But Arizona kept it close to the end. The Utes remain undefeated at 4-0. Attendance in Tucson: 36,651

Down to the last play of the game, again – Florida 28, Kentucky 27 (Touchdown Tom said: Florida 27, Kentucky 21). Two weeks in a row of pulling it out in the closing seconds. The Gators are going to give their fans heart attacks. Kentucky really is jinxed. Thirty-one straight years Florida has won this game. So is Luke Del Rio the new starter? Attendance in Lexington: 62,945

Oh Danny Boy – Notre Dame 38, Michigan State 18 (Touchdown Tom said: Michigan State 24, Notre Dame 22). Notre Dame obviously found something. Either that or Michigan State is pretty bad. Three turnovers didn’t help the Spartans any. Actually, Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke looked pretty good. Attendance in East Lansing: 74,023


Burned in the desert – Arizona State 37, Oregon 35 (Touchdown Tom said: Oregon 33, Arizona State 23). Now this was a surprise. Oregon obviously still has problems on defense – big problems. The Sun Devils had 347 yards passing. Attendance in Tempe: 50,110


What was that about – West Virginia 56, Kansas 34 (Touchdown Tom said: West Virginia 40, Kansas 20). Obviously, WVU had a strange attitude about this game. Assuming the Mounties had any attitude at all. Maybe it was the heat. At times, West Virginia played like it wanted to win. At times, WVU played like it didn’t give a you know what. The offense was inconsistent and the defense was downright sloppy. The Mountaineers had 635 total yards. But Kansas had 564 total yards. The nonsense on defense has to stop. Attendance in Lawrence: 23,901

We don’t need no AD – Nebraska 27, Rutgers 17 (Touchdown Tom said: Nebraska 28, Rutgers 16). With the AD getting fired, you figured Nebraska might go into this game with a funky attitude. It took the Huskers a while to get their act together. Rutgers led 17-14 early in the third quarter. Tanner Lee threw two more interceptions. Attendance in Lincoln: 89,775

Can you say 4-0 – Duke 27, North Carolina 17 (Touchdown Tom said: Duke 31, North Carolina 24). The Dookies can and they are. This was still anybody’s ball game at the start of the fourth quarter. The Heels led 17-13. But the Dookies got hot in the fourth and outscored the Heels 14-0. The Dookies can play some defense when they have too. Attendance in Chapel Hill: 59,000

Week 4 Results: 13 correct picks, 3 fumbles (81.3 percent)
For the Season: 46 correct picks, 19 fumbles (70.8 percent)


South Florida 43, Temple 7 – Attendance in Tampa: 24,325
NC State 27, Florida State 21 – Attendance in Tallahassee: 73,541
Howard 26, Bethune-Cookman 24 – Attendance in Washington, DC: 2,217

UCF 38, Maryland 10 – Attendance in College Park: 33,280
Campbell 49, Stetson 21 – Attendance in Deland: 2,316
Jacksonville U. 44, Marist 37 – Attendance in Poughkeepsie: 4,077
Florida A&M 20, Savannah State 14 – Attendance in Savannah: 4,670

Buffalo 34, Florida Atlantic 31 – Attendance in Buffalo: 14,346
Florida International 13, Rice 7 – Attendance in Houston: 18,932
Florida Tech 35, Mississippi College 0 – Attendance in Clinton: 3,934


Impressive Passers:

UCLA’s Josh Rosen – 40-60-2 for 480 yards; Washington State’s Luke Falk – 36-47-0-478; Baylor’s Zach Smith – 33-50-0-463; East Carolina’s Thomas Sirk – 30-39-0-426; Connecticut’s Bryant Shirreffs – 24-39-1-406; Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph – 22-41-2-398; Cincinnati’s Hayden Moore – 28-46-0-381, and Appalachian State’s Tyler Lamb – 26-50-0-372.

Also, West Virginia’s Will Grier – 2539-1 for 347 yards; Arizona State’s Manny Wilkins – 24-39-0-347; Louisiana-Monroe’s Caleb Evans – 28-34-0-343; Toledo’s Logan Woodside – 28-48-0-342; Michigan State’s Brian Lewerke – 31-51-1-340, and Miami of Florida’s Malik Rosier – 27-36-1-333.

Impressive Rushers:

Kansas’ Kahlil Herbert – 291 yards; Stanford’s Bryce Love – 263 yards; North Texas’ Jeffrey Wilson – 261 yards; Penn State’s Saquon Barkley – 211 yards; Miami of Florida’s Mark Walton – 204 yards, and Washington’s Myles Gaskin – 202 yards.

Also, Georgia Tech’s KirVonte Benson – 196 yards; UTSA’s Jalen Rhodes – 174 yards; Oklahoma’s Abdul Adams – 164 yards; TCU’s Darius Anderson – 160 yards; Oklahoma’s Trey Sermon – 157 yards, and New Mexico’s Colin Gerhart – 156 yards.

Also, Florida Atlantic’s Devin Singletary – 156 yards; South Alabama’s Xavier Johnson – 155 yards; Alabama’s Damien Harris – 151 yards; Ohio’s A.J. Ouellette – 145 yards, and New Mexico State’s Larry Rose – 144 yards.

Quotes of the Week

“You mean besides all their 5-star players,” Mississippi State coach Dan McMullen, when asked what’s the biggest challenge playing Georgia.

“Yeah, they are,” Nebraska coach Mike Riley, when asked if these are tough times.

“I’m always coaching for my job,” Nebraska coach Mike Riley.

“The SEC is a shell of its former self, and Alabama will reap the benefits,” Chris Low, ESPN staff writer.

“Tom Osborne is one of the greatest college coaches that’s ever lived. But more than that, he’s as good of a man as I’ve ever known. I admire him not because we won 255 games, but because of who he is,” UCF coach and former Nebraska quarterback Scott Frost, on his former coach.

“I think there is a coaching crisis in the SEC right now,” Paul Finebaum.

“Did Nebraska make Mike Riley a lame-duck coach?” ESPN staff writer Mitch Sherman.

“I want to get one thing real straight. I’m going to win here. That’s going to happen. We will win,” Missouri coach Barry Odom, after the Tigers fell to 1-3, losing to Auburn, 51-14.

Signs of the Week

Easier To Get Hamilton Tickets Than A UF Touchdown

I Tried To Change My Password To Bama, But Gmail Said It Was Too Weak

Go Rutgers, LOL

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

GAME OF THE WEEK: 1. Clemson (4-0) at Virginia Tech (4-0) – (ACC vs. ACC) – 8 pm ET, Saturday, ABC – We know Clemson is for real. We think Virginia Tech might be. We’ll soon find out. The Hokies need some magic. But they don’t get it – Clemson 30, Virginia Tech 22.

RUNNER UP: 2. USC (4-0) at Washington State (4-0) – (Pac-12 vs. Pac-12) – 10:30 pm ET, Friday, ESPN – The Trojans are undefeated, but they are wobbly. I think Mike Leach has a horse up his sleeve. Pullman can be a tough place to play. The Trojans have a bad night – Washington State 30, USC 28.

REST OF THE BEST: 3. Miami (Florida) (2-0) at Duke (4-0) – (ACC vs. ACC) – 7 pm ET, Friday, ESPN – Remember this game two years ago. Duke scored and was winning by a few points. In the closing seconds the Dookies kicked off to Miami. As the clock expired, the Canes ran the kickoff return back for a touchdown. But only after the runner’s knees had touched down and Miami committed about six blocks in the back. But hey, you know how bad the ACC refs are. Sorry Dookies, but you don’t get revenge this year – Miami 30, Duke 25.

4. Memphis (3-0) at UCF (2-0) – (AAC vs. AAC) – 7 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN2 – This could be one of the most exciting games of the week. Both teams can score. But only the Knights play defense – UCF 34, Memphis 26.

5. Georgia (4-0) at Tennessee (3-1) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, CBS – How can you forget this game from last year in Athens. The Dawgs scored and appeared to have the game won. But in the closing seconds Tennessee scored and won the game. Well Rocky Toppers, it won’t happen this year – Georgia 28, Tennessee 23.

6. Oklahoma State (3-1) at Texas Tech (3-0) – (Big 12 vs. Big 12) – 8 pm ET, Saturday, FOX – The Cowboys machine got clogged up last week. And the Cowboys defense got exposed. Texas Tech can score. But Kliff Kingsbury’s luck runs out – Oklahoma State 42, Texas Tech 31.

7. Indiana (2-1) at Penn State (4-0) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, BTN – Well, I’m thinking Indiana will play inspired ball like the Hoosiers did against Ohio State. What’s that? Oh, that’s right, the inspiration only lasted for about two and a half quarters. Yeah, this could be fun for a while. Then the Nitts have all the fun – Penn State 34, Indiana 28.

8. Northern Illinois (2-1) at San Diego State (4-0) – (MAC vs. MWC) – 10:30 pm ET, Saturday, CBSSN – I’m thinking the Aztecs could be the best team in Group of Five football. But Northern Illinois knocked off Power Five Nebraska. Sorry Huskies but you don’t get another athletic director fired – San Diego State 28, Northern Illinois 20.

9. Mississippi State (3-1) at Auburn (3-1) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 6 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN – Two weeks ago, the Auburn fans wanted Gus Malzahn out. Meanwhile, the Miss State fans thought Dan Mullen was the greatest thing since sliced bread. If Auburn wins, Malzahn is breathing easier. If Auburn loses, Malzahn might be a gonner. If Miss State loses, Mullen goes from hero to goat. Mullen cheese, anyone? – Auburn 27, Mississippi State 22.

10. California (3-1) at Oregon (3-1) – (Pac-12 vs. Pac-12) – 10 pm ET, Saturday, FS1 – Cal had its chance against USC. But the Bears committed too many turnovers. Oregon has no defense so this should be a good one. Cal makes its close, but in the end, the Ducks are doing the quacking – Oregon 33, California 30.

11. Troy (3-1) at LSU (3-1) – (Sun Belt vs. SEC) – 7 pm ET, Saturday, ESPNU – Watch out for Troy. The Little Trojans can play some football. They are hoping that Zydeco Orgeron is overlooking them. But he isn’t – LSU 27, Troy 17.

12. Northwestern (2-1) at Wisconsin (3-0) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ABC – Wisconsin may be the best team that no one is talking about. The Badgers are quietly winning football games. We know no one is talking about Northwestern. There’s nothing to talk about – Wisconsin 32, Northwestern 20.


13. Maryland (2-1) at Minnesota (3-0) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, FS1 – Maryland looked hot when the Terps knocked of Texas at the beginning of the season. Since then the Terps became Twerps and they haven’t looked so hot. P.J. Fleck has Minnesota playing good. Not that good, but better than the Turtles – Minnesota 27, Maryland 18.


Vanderbilt (3-1) at Florida (2-1) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ESPN – Here we thought Vandy might have something and the Dores lost to Alabama, 59-0. What imposters! Well, we never have thought Florida had anything until the last few minutes of the game. McElwain smothers the Dores with his B-B-Q sauce – Florida 24, Vanderbilt 12.

Nebraska (2-2) at Illinois (2-1) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 8 pm ET, Friday, FS1 – What a cakey entry into Big Ten play – Rutgers, Illinois. The Huskers don’t know how lucky they are – Nebraska 26, Illinois 19.

Texas (1-2) at Iowa State (2-1) – (Big 12 vs. Big 12) – 8 pm ET, Thursday, ESPN – Intriguing game. Not sure what either team really has – or hasn’t. Both have looked good and bad. The Horns look good in this one – Texas 27, Iowa State 23.

West Virginia (3-1) and Purdue (2-2) are off this week.


North Carolina Central (2-1) at Florida A&M (2-2) – (MEAC vs. MEAC) – 7:30 pm ET, Thursday, ESPNU….

South Florida (4-0) at East Carolina – (AAC vs. AAC) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, CBSSN….
Stetson (0-4) at Valparaiso (1-3) – (Pioneer vs. Pioneer) – 1 pm ET, Saturday….
Guilford (2-1) at Jacksonville U. (2-1) – (Old Dominion vs. Pioneer) – 1 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN3….

Florida State (0-2) at Wake Forest (4-0) – (ACC vs. ACC) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, ABC….
Savannah State (0-3) at Bethune-Cookman (1-3) – (MEAC vs. MEAC) – 4 pm ET, Saturday….

Middle Tennessee (2-2) at Florida Atlantic (1-3) – (C-USA vs. C-USA) – 7 pm ET, Saturday….
Charlotte (0-4) at Florida International (2-1) – (C-USA vs. C-USA) – 7 pm ET, Saturday….
West Florida (2-1) at Florida Tech (3-1) – (Gulf South vs. Gulf South) – 7 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN3….

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 1942 was “(I’ve Got A Gal In) Kalamazoo” by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra

…70 years ago this week in 1947 was “Near You” by Francis Craig and His Orchestra

…65 years ago this week in 1952 was “You Belong To Me” by Jo Stafford

…60 years ago this week in 1957 was “That’ll Be The Day” by The Crickets

…55 years ago this week in 1962 was “Sherry” by The Four Seasons

…50 years ago this week in 1967 was “The Letter” by The Box Tops

…45 years ago this week in 1972 was “Baby, Don’t Get Hooked On Me” by Mac Davis

…40 years ago this week in 1977 was “Best Of My Love” by The Emotions

…35 years ago this week in 1982 was “Abracadabra” by The Steve Miller Band

…30 years ago this week in 1987 was “Didn’t We Almost Have It All” by Whitney Houston

…25 years ago this week in 1992 was “End Of The Road” by Boyz II Men

Monday, September 18, 2017

College Football Week 4 – Clemson is your new No. 2
Call it what you want,
it wasn’t a Hail Mary

It looked like a designed pass play to me. If it wasn’t a designed pass play, then it was a downfield pass that occurred on the last play of the game. But it wasn’t a Hail Mary.

After scrambling around, Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks spotted an open receiver downfield. Running for the end zone, Tyrie Cleveland had gone beyond the Tennessee defender and was in the clear to receive Franks’ 63-yard pass. Call it a Hail, but it wasn’t a Mary.

On a Hail Mary play, the quarterback simply throws the ball as high and as long as he can towards the end zone, hoping that a teammate will catch it when the ball comes down. In short, he throws it up for grabs. Franks didn’t throw it up for grabs. He threw it to Cleveland.

As if the Tennessee-Florida ending wasn’t enough, Saturday was filled with emotional ups and downs. I don’t know where to begin – Hail Clemson, LS Who – NIU and Vandy too – an upset in Memphis and overtime in the Coliseum – and how about Purdue – to mention a few. What a day!

On what was supposed to be a fairly quite third weekend of college football, it was anything but. The post-Hurricane Irma weekend began with Memphis upsetting No. 25 UCLA and ended with the other L.A. team – USC – almost getting upset by Texas. In between, it was one shock, one surprise, one ‘are you kidding me,’ after another.

In Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, UCLA took early control in its game against Memphis. Early in the second quarter, the Bruins led the Tigers, 17-7. Then Memphis took control. Early in the third quarter, the Tigers led the Bruins, 34-24. Midway through the third, they led, 41-31.

Then UCLA came back. Early in the fourth quarter, the Bruins led Memphis, 45-41. But the Tigers roared. Memphis scored, took a three-point lead and held on to upset UCLA, 48-45. The Bruins came east to Memphis and went home with their first defeat.

In Lincoln, Nebraska, Mike Riley may have sealed his fate. The Huskers hosted Northern Illinois. It was supposed to be a routine game for Nebraska. But at the end of the first quarter, NIU led the Huskers, 14-0. Both touchdowns were the result of interceptions returned for scores.

However, Nebraska appeared to get itself together. NIU was wearing down and the Huskers were taking charge. Early in the fourth quarter, Nebraska had a 17-14 lead over Northern Illinois. But just 2 minutes and 22 seconds after the Huskers had gone ahead for the first time, NIU scored to retake the lead. The Huskies held on and upset Nebraska, 21-17.

Then of course there was the “Oh my!” as time expired in Gainesville. The noise may have registered on the Richter scale. Bootsie and Rockledge Gator were watching the game with Swamp Mama and me. We erupted. Immediately afterward, our phone rang. Our next door neighbor, Deb Gum – a nurse, wanted to know if Swamp Mama needed CPR. She brought over a split of champagne.

The next big surprise occurred in Columbia, Missouri. Purdue shocked Mizzou, 35-3. When the season began, the Boilers lost a heartbreaker to Louisville. Purdue was ahead late in that game and only lost by a touchdown to the Cardinals. Last week, the Boilers put down Ohio.

Saturday, Purdue totally shut down Missouri’s offense. This ain’t your grandmother’s Purdue. In Jeff Brohm, I think the Boilers finally have a coach. But they have their work cut out for them this week. Big bad Michigan comes to town.

And talk about shutting down someone’s offense, how about Mississippi State? The Bulldogs silenced LSU, 37-7. And the Tigers didn’t have a single turnover. It was all Miss State’s defense. LSU was scoreless in the second half. It had to be a long trip home for the Tigers.

Meanwhile, the unexpected continued. Up the road a ways from Starkville, No. 18 Kansas State played Vanderbilt in Nashville. Like Purdue and Mississippi State, the Commodores played some defense. But unlike Purdue and Mississippi State, Vandy had no offense. Still, the Commodores hung on and upset Kansas State, 14-7. This ain’t your grandmother’s Vanderbilt either.

Clemson traveled to Louisville to take on the Cardinals – a big encounter between two ACC teams. The Tigers were slightly favored, but all odds were off. This game was supposed to be a battle – a tight matchup. It was only tight for a while. When the third quarter ended, Clemson led Louisville, 33-7. When the game was over, the Tigers won, 47-21. The Cardinals were a no show. Lamar Jackson can kiss a Heisman Trophy repeat goodbye.

The night came to a close with a thriller in the Los Angeles Coliseum. I mean a thriller. Texas and USC were supposed to have a shoot out. But the game came down to a defensive battle. The Trojans led 14-7 at the break. At the end of three, it was USC 14, Texas 10. The quarterbacks were passing, but neither team could run the ball.

With 0:45 to go in the game, the Longhorns went up, 17-14. But as time expired, the Trojans kicked a 31-yard field goal. Overtime! How about two overtimes? In the second overtime, USC ended up winning, 27-24. Tom Herman is 1-2. But Texas played well. It was a tough game to lose.

Along the way Saturday, there were plenty of other amazing games, full of surprises. Oklahoma State scored 59 points for the second time this season, as the Cowboys lassoed Pitt, 59-21. In three games, Mason Rudolph has passed for 1,135 yards and 11 touchdowns, completing 72% of his passes. Okie State is averaging 54 points a game.

In the ACC, Duke and Wake Forest keep rolling along. The Blue Devils beat Baylor, 34-20, while the Demon Deacons downed Utah State, 46-10. BYU continues to get worse as Wisconsin continues to get better. In Provo, the Cougars lost to the Badgers, 40-6.

There was a doozy in Conference USA. Louisiana Tech edged Western Kentucky, 23-22. La Tech scored 10 points in the final 6 minutes of the game to rally and win. The game winner was a 21-yard field goal with 0:02 on the clock.

And speaking of doozies, how about Toledo and Tulsa? In an inter-conference affair, Toledo outshot Tulsa, 54-51. The teams combined for 1,227 total yards. With the score tied, 51-51, Toledo kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired to win.

And yet another doozy – Texas Tech out-dueled Arizona State, 52-45. With the score tied 45-45, the Red Raiders scored the winning touchdown with 1:55 left in the game.

Kentucky beat South Carolina for the 4th-straight year. In an upset, the Wildcats downed the Gamecocks, 23-13. So much for the year of the Cock. There were two mild upsets on the Pacific Coast Saturday night. California knocked off Ole Miss, 27-16, while San Diego State stunned Stanford, 20-17. This could be the year of the Aztecs.

Texas Tech quarterback Nic Shimonek passed for 543 yards in the Red Raiders win over Arizona State. Notre Dame running back Josh Adams rushed for 229 yards in ND’s 49-20 win over Boston College.

Don’t look now but Wake Forest, Duke, Texas Tech, California, Iowa, Minnesota, Maryland, Kentucky, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt all are undefeated. But Texas Tech, Cal, Iowa, Kentucky, Miss State and Vanderbilt have tough assignments this week against Houston, USC, Penn State, Florida, Georgia and Alabama respectively.

The cream of the crop among the Group of Five teams appears to be San Diego State, South Florida, Memphis, Houston, Navy and Toledo. All are undefeated. However Houston plays Texas Tech this week and Toledo travels to Miami (Florida).

Three weeks into the season and I think we can safely say that the following coaches are in trouble: Boston College’s Steve Addazio, Nebraska’s Mike Riley, Charlotte’s Brad Lambert, UTEP’s Sean Kugler, Massachusetts’ Mark Whipple, Oregon State’s Gary Andersen, Arizona State’s Todd Graham and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin. Stay tuned!

There will be at least nine teams suffering their first loss this week. The schedule has nine games matching undefeated teams. Eight of those games make my “12 Biggest and Most Intriguing Games of the Week.” It could be another crazy Saturday.

It was good to hear from Ken Burger, Bob Willey, Terry Conner, Tim Muth, and Dave Brolhorst last week.

Yeah, it wasn’t a Hail Mary. Even my friend Kris Hansen commented to me on Facebook, “Please don’t call it a Hail Mary.” I’m sure Vols fans are calling it a Bloody Mary. I’ll drink to that.

Have a good week!

Touchdown Tom
September 18, 2017

Weekend Recap

GAME OF THE WEEK: Bye, bye Heisman Trophy – Clemson 47, Louisville 21 (Touchdown Tom said: Clemson 30, Louisville 23). Yeah, Lamar Jackson can forget the Heisman and just concentrate on winning now. Not that Jackson had that bad of a game, but you can’t lose by 26 points this early in the season and win the Heisman. The teams were equal in passing, but Clemson by far out ran the Cardinals. Jackson only completed 50% of his passes. The Tigers piled up 613 total yards. Attendance in Louisville: 55,588

RUNNER UP: Bully, Bully – Mississippi State 37, LSU 7 (Touchdown Tom said: LSU 23, Mississippi State 19). Aeris Williams and Nick Fitzgerald were the heroes for Miss State. Williams rushed for 146 yards, while Fitzgerald added 88 yards rushing to his 180 passing. LSU’s Derrius Guice was a no show and Danny Etling completed only 44% of his passes. Attendance in Starkville: 60,596

REST OF THE BEST: Four years in a row – Kentucky 23, South Carolina 13 (Touchdown Tom said: South Carolina 30, Kentucky 21). That’s how long Kentucky has been beating South Carolina. That’s embarrassing. Muschamp is back to being a Mustake. South Carolina has no running game. But neither team looked that good on offense. Attendance in Columbia: 82,493

Vandy isn’t candy – Vanderbilt 14, Kansas State 7 (Touchdown Tom said: Kansas State 27, Vanderbilt 20). Not anymore. The Dores are 3-0. Vandy had no offense. The Dores just played good defense. With the score tied 7-7, Vandy scored the winning touchdown with 8:23 to go in the game. Attendance in Nashville: 40,350

Hail Gators – Florida 26, Tennessee 20 (Touchdown Tom said: Florida 33, Tennessee 30). Florida won, but the Gators are still awful on offense. And in the second half, the Florida offense was the worst enemy for the Gators defense. The offense was only on the field for less than 10 minutes in the second half. That will wear down your defense. Fortunately, Tennessee’s offense was worse than the Gators. Still the 63-yard winning touchdown pass had to be a boost to Feleipe Franks’ confidence. Tennessee quarterback Qiunten Dormady threw three interceptions. The Gators are 12-1 in the last 13 games against Tennessee. Attendance in Gainesville: 87,736

Jumpers – TCU 56, SMU 36 (Touchdown Tom said: TCU 30, SMU 20). SMU led TCU, 16-7, at the end of the first quarter. Then the Frogs proceeded to outscore the Mustangs, 49-20. TCU amassed 619 yards of offense. Frogs quarterback Kenny Hill passed for 365 yards. Attendance in Fort Worth: 44,489

Ole Lady – California 27, Ole Miss 16 (Touchdown Tom said: Ole Miss 30, California 24). Ole Miss only had 57 yards rushing and Shea Patterson threw three interceptions. Attendance in Berkeley: 37,125

Rub a dub dub – Memphis 48, UCLA 45 (Touchdown Tom said: UCLA 34, Memphis 24). UCLA has no defense. That will be the downfall of the Bruins. Memphis has no defense either, but the Tigers scored more points than UCLA. Josh Rosen passed for 464 yards. But Riley Ferguson wasn’t bad either, passing for 398 yards. It was looking good for Jim Mora, but not now. Attendance in Memphis: 46,291

USC 27, Texas 24 (2OT) (Touchdown Tom said: USC 33, Texas 23). Wow! What a game. It was a shame either team had to lose. Texas is getting better, while USC is vulnerable. Neither team had a ground game, but both could pass, especially USC. Sam Darnold threw for 397 yards. Attendance in Los Angeles: 84,714

Love wasn’t all you need – San Diego State 20, Stanford 17 (Touchdown Tom said: Stanford 28, San Diego State 27). The Trees couldn’t stop Rashaad Penny. He rushed for 175 yards. Then again, the Aztecs could stop Brice Love. He rushed for 184 yards. Three turnovers plagued Stanford. Trailing 17-13 in the fourth, San Diego State scored its winning touchdown with 0:54 on the clock. Attendance in San Diego: 43,040

Non-stop – Oklahoma State 59, Pitt 21 (Touchdown Tom said: Oklahoma State 32, Pitt 21). Okie State’s offense is a machine. The Cowboys led 49-7 late in the second quarter. They amassed 715 yards on offense – 572 passing. Four Cowboys receivers had more than 100 yards receiving. Attendance in Pittsburgh: 38,952

Georgia Tech at UCF – Canceled


Badgered – Wisconsin 40, BYU 6 (Touchdown Tom said: Wisconsin 26, BYU 17). BYU’s program is slipping. The Cougars only had 192 yards of offense. Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook was 18-for-19 passing. Attendance in Provo: 61,143


The Grier Show – West Virginia 59, Delaware State 16 (Touchdown Tom said: West Virginia 59, Delaware State 9). The WVU offense looked good. But then, how could it not look good against Delaware State. I’m not sure what you learn from games like this against teams like the Hornets. The Mountie defense still leaves you wondering at times. It was another first half only game for the starters. Second halves have been boring the past two weeks in Morgantown. Attendance in Morgantown: 51,482

Succotash – Northern Illinois 21, Nebraska 17 (Touchdown Tom said: Nebraska 30, Northern Illinois 19). Message to Nebraska: Good quarterbacks don’t come out of Tulane. Tulane finishes at the bottom of its conference every year. The worst quarterbacks out of high school go to Tulane. NIU had no offense, but with Tanner Lee, Nebraska had no offense either. Whatever happened to the running game at Nebraska? The Huskers controlled the ball for almost 37 minutes and had 384 total yards to 236 for NIU. The life of Riley is getting interesting. Attendance in Lincoln: 89,664

3-0 baby! – Duke 34, Baylor 20 (Touchdown Tom said: Duke 29, Baylor 17). The Dookies struggled early on, but finally took control in the fourth quarter. Duke outscored Baylor 10-0 in the final period. Duke’s Shaun Wilson rushed for 176 yards. Attendance in Durham: 26,714

Dawgs over Dogs – Georgia 42, Samford 14 (Touchdown Tom said: Georgia 36, Samford 16). Uga had a breather this week. The Dawgs had a big third quarter, outscoring Samford, 21-0. Nick Chubb rushed for 131 yards. Attendance in Athens: 92,746

Steam power – Purdue 35, Missouri 3 (Touchdown Tom said: Missouri 32, Purdue 30). Watch out for the Boilers. They are going to pull some upsets in the Big Ten. Either that or Mizzou is really, really bad. Purdue had another balanced attack on offense, while the Boilers defense held Mizzou to 70 yards rushing. The Boilers are for real. Attendance in Columbia: 53,262

Week 3 Results: 9 correct picks, 8 fumbles (52.9 percent)
For the Season: 33 correct picks, 16 fumbles (67.4 percent)


South Florida 47, Illinois 23 – Attendance in Tampa: 35,404
Jacksonville U. 56, Walsh 31 – Attendance in Jacksonville: 1,508
Tennessee State 24, Florida A&M 14 – Attendance in Tampa: 17,102

Dartmouth 38, Stetson 7 – Attendance in Deland: 2,435
Florida Atlantic 45, Bethune-Cookman 0 – Attendance in Boca Raton: 16,743
Florida Tech 31, Shorter 6 – Attendance in Melbourne: 1,450

Florida International at Indiana – Canceled
Miami at Florida State – Postponed


Impressive Passers:

Texas Tech’s Nic Shimonek – 37-50-0-543; Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph – 23-32-1 for 497 yards; UCLA’s Josh Rosen – 34-56-2-463; Toledo’s Logan Woodside – 22-33-1-458; Virginia’s Kurt Benkert – 30-40-1-455; Memphis’ Riley Ferguson – 23-38-1-398, and USC’s Sam Darnold – 28-49-2-397.

Also, Washington State’s Luke Falk – 37-49-0 for 396 yards; Massachusetts’ Andrew Ford – 23-37-0-377; Virginia Tech’s Josh Jackson – 24-31-0-372; Northwestern’s Clayton Thorson – 23-30-0-370; TCU’s Kenny Hill – 24-30-0-365, and Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham – 32-37-1-364.

Also, Colorado’s Steven Montez – 29-41-1 for 357 yards; Kansas’ Peyton Bender – 30-47-1-343; Utah’s Tyler Huntley – 30-43-1-341; Arkansas State’s Justice Hansen – 24-31-0-336; Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield – 17-27-0-331, and New Mexico State’s Tyler Rogers – 32-45-0-331.

Impressive Rushers:

Notre Dame’s Josh Adams – 229 yards; Southern Miss’ Ito Smith – 219 yards; Stanford’s Bryce Love – 184 yards; Duke’s Shaun Wilson – 176 yards; San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny – 175 yards; Florida Atlantic’s Gregory Howell – 175 yards, and Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins – 172 yards.

Also, Charlotte’s Benny LeMay – 158 yards; Oregon’s Royce Freeman – 157 yards; Tulsa’s D’Angelo Brewer – 152 yards; Colorado’s Phillip Lindsay – 151 yards; Mississippi State’s Aeris Williams – 146 yards, and Arizona’s Brandon Dawkins – 143 yards.

Quotes of the Week

“Not to throw a wrench into anyone’s chomp, but the only thing that Florida’s victory over Tennessee proved is that Tennessee is awful and its coach, Butch Jones, might want to start collecting moving boxes,” Tampa Bay Times sports columnist Tom Jones.

“I’m angry. I’m frustrated. I’m disappointed,” Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst, after the Huskers loss to Northern Illinois.

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

GAME OF THE WEEK: 1. TCU (3-0) at Oklahoma State (3-0) – (Big 12 vs. Big 12) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN – It’s hard to imagine TCU stopping the Okie State machine. But if anybody knows defense, it’s TCU coach Gary Patterson. Both teams can score, but the Cowboys can score better – and easier. The Frogs are going to have to come up with a few finesse plays if they want to hang with Okie State. Toadies aren’t good roadies – Oklahoma State 35, TCU 25.

RUNNER UP: 2. Washington (3-0) at Colorado (3-0) – (Pac-12 vs. Pac-12) – 10 pm ET, Saturday, FS1 – After watching UCLA and Stanford fall apart and seeing how vulnerable USC is, I think Washington is the threat of the Pac-12. Still, Colorado can play havoc with you in Boulder. Petersen outwits MacIntyre – Washington 30, Colorado 26.

REST OF THE BEST: 3. Mississippi State (3-0) at Georgia (3-0) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 7 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN – After beating LSU, Miss State established itself as a threat in the SEC. Question is: Are they a threat enough to beat Georgia on the road in Athens. Never underestimate Dan McMullen. Still, the Dawgs have the power to defend themselves against an attack from Stark Vegas. Uga’s a meaner Bulldog – Georgia 25, Mississippi State 20.

4. Alabama (3-0) at Vanderbilt (3-0) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, CBS – This has to be the first time this game has ever made the “Top 12 Games of the Week” list. It may be the last time. But I’m giving the Dores a chance to show up in this contest. They defensed K-State about as well as you can. Vandy coach Derek Mason is a defensive genius. But the problem is: Vandy has no offense. I don’t know what the Dores will do about that. But I know what Nicky will do – he’ll win – Alabama 28, Vanderbilt 12.

5. Penn State (3-0) at Iowa (3-0) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 7:30 pm ET, Saturday, ABC – Penn State is on a roll. Iowa is too, but not as much as the Nittany Lions. James Franklin wants to prove that last year was no freak. The Lions are out to claim the Big Ten title again. The Hawkeyes lack the manpower to stay on par with the Nitts. Still, it should be an interesting game. Lions feast on fowl – Penn State 31, Iowa 23.

6. USC (3-0) at California (3-0) – (Pac-12 vs. Pac-12) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, ABC – Cal pulled a surprise last week, knocking off Ole Miss. But the Bears have run out of surprises for the season. The Trojans got their scare last week. They don’t want any more of that madness. Texas made it too close for comfort. Cal doesn’t – USC 30, California 19.

7. Toledo (3-0) at Miami (Florida) (1-0) – (MAC vs. ACC) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, FSN/ACCN – Miami was supposed to have played three games by now. Thanks to Irma, the Canes have only played one. That could make them a little squeaky around the joints. Toledo has an offense – no doubt about that. But the Rockets have no defense. That’s where the Canes get them. Irma’s revenge – Miami 30, Toledo 25.

8. Texas Tech (2-0) at Houston (2-0) – (Big 12 vs. AAC) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ABC/ESPN2 – Typical, Kliff Kingsbury has Tech passing more than 500 yards a game. It’s worked well so far. Houston may be Tech’s toughest opponent to date. But the Cougars can’t stay up with the Red Raiders. The Kliff is King – Texas Tech 29, Houston 27.

9. Michigan (3-0) at Purdue (2-1) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 4 pm ET, Saturday, FOX – Purdue is a much improved team this season. The Boilers are playing well. Problem is: The Wolverines are playing well too. Too well for the Boilers – Michigan 30, Purdue 27.

10. Utah (3-0) at Arizona (2-1) – (Pac-12 vs. Pac-12) – 10:30 pm ET, Friday, FS1 – We’re not sure how good Utah is, but we’re about to find out. Arizona could cause serious problems for the Utes. The Wildcats can score, but I’m not sure they can keep opponents from scoring on them. Close, but no cactus – Utah 26, Arizona 19.

11. Florida (1-1) at Kentucky (3-0) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 7:30 pm ET, Saturday, SECN – This is going to be a very interesting game. First of all, Kentucky hasn’t beat Florida since 1986 – 31 years. I was just a kid. I wish. Rockledge Gator just got his AARP card that year. There have been some close games. There have been some poundings. Regardless, the Gators always survived. Steve Spurrier, Ron Zook, Urban Meyer, even Will Mustake never lost to Kentucky. Gators don’t lose to the Wildcats – Florida 27, Kentucky 21.

12. Notre Dame (2-1) at Michigan State (2-0) – (Ind. vs. Big Ten) – 8 pm ET, Saturday, FOX – This used to be one of the top games of the season. Not so much anymore. Still, it’s a good rivalry. Both teams had disastrous seasons last year. They are out to make amends. The Spartans mend – Michigan State 24, Notre Dame 22.


13. Oregon (3-0) at Arizona State (1-2) – (Pac-12 vs. Pac-12) – 10 PM ET, Saturday, PAC-12N – This is a good test for the Ducks. It looks like Oregon could be back this season after last year’s disaster. It’s a road game for the Ducks and the Sun Devils can score. They just can’t stop anyone form scoring on them. Ducks find an oasis in the desert – Oregon 33, Arizona State 23.


West Virginia (2-1) at Kansas (1-2) – (Big 12 vs. Big 12) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ESPNU – Well, after this week’s game, we still won’t know what West Virginia has – or hasn’t. Kansas is about as bad as East Carolina and Delaware State, if not worse. Dorothy hides from the Mountaineers – West Virginia 40, Kansas 20.

Rutgers (1-2) at Nebraska (1-2) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, BTN – I’ve got faith in the Huskers this week. I mean, against Rutgers, who wouldn’t have faith. The Scarlet Knights lost to Eastern Michigan. That’s worse than losing to Northern Illinois. The Corn grows high – Nebraska 28, Rutgers 16.

Duke (3-0) at North Carolina (1-2) – (ACC vs. ACC) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, ESPNU – What’s this? The Dookies are undefeated. I hope they don’t get a big head. If they do, the Tar Heels are just the team to stop the run. Oh well, the Heels may stop the run but they don’t stop the pass – Duke 31, North Carolina 24.

Texas (1-2) is off this week.


Temple (2-1) at South Florida (3-0) – (AAC vs. AAC) – 7:30 pm ET, Thursday, ESPN….
NC State (2-1) at Florida State (0-1) – (ACC vs. ACC) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ABC/ESPN2 –
Bethune-Cookman (1-2) at Howard (1-2) – (MEAC vs. MEAC) – 1 pm ET, Saturday….

UCF (1-0) at Maryland (2-0) – (AAC vs. Big Ten) – 3 pm ET, Saturday, FS1….
Campbell (1-2) at Stetson (0-3) – (Pioneer vs. Pioneer) – 4 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN3….
Jacksonville U. (1-1) at Marist (2-1) – (Pioneer vs. Pioneer) – 6 pm ET, Saturday….
Florida A&M (1-2) at Savannah State (0-2) – (MEAC vs. MEAC) – 6 pm ET, Saturday….

Florida Atlantic (1-2) at Buffalo (1-2) – (C-USA vs. MAC) – 7 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN3….
Florida International (1-1) at Rice (1-2) – (C-USA vs. C-USA) – 7:30 pm ET, Saturday….
Florida Tech (2-1) at Mississippi College (0-3) – (Gulf South vs. Gulf South) – 8 pm ET, Saturday….

Touchdown Tom


Not exactly college football related, but sadly there were two passings of note last week – Harry Dean Stanton and Pete Domenici.

Harry Dean Stanton, a character actor who broke out of obscurity in his late 50s in two starring movie roles, died last week in Los Angeles. He was 91. Stanton spent two decades typecast as cowboys and villains before he began to attract more notice on the strength of his performances in the movies “Straight Time” (1978), “Alien,” “Wise Blood” and “The Rose” (1979), and “Escape from New York” (1981). The quintessential supporting actor became a leading man in the 1984 movie “Paris, Texas.” His other movies included “Cool Hand Luke” (1967), “The Missouri Breaks” (1976), “Pretty in Pink” (1986), “The Last Temptation of Christ” (1988), “Wild at Heart” (1990), “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” (1998), “The Straight Story” (1999), “The Green Mile” (1999) and “The Big Bounce (2004). He was also cast in the HBO series “Big Love” (2006-2009). Harry Dean Stanton was born in West Irvine, Kentucky, on July 14, 1926. He served in the Navy during World War II. After the war, he briefly attended the University of Kentucky, but dropped out to pursue an acting career. His film debut was in “Tomahawk Trail” (1957), a western starring Chuck Connors. Stanton appeared in several TV shows, including “Rawhide,” “Bonanza,” “The Big Valley” and “Gunsmoke.”

Pete Domenici, the former six-term Republican senator from New Mexico, died last week in Albuquerque. He was 85. In 1972, Domenici became the first Republican elected to the Senate from New Mexico in 38 years. He became nationally known in 1981 when he became chairman of the powerful Budget Committee. Domenici’s bipartisanship made him one of the most respected members of the Senate. When he left office, in January 2009, after 36 years on Capitol Hill, Domenici had become the longest-serving senator in New Mexico history. Pietro Vichi Domenici was born in Albuquerque on May 7, 1932. He graduated from the University of New Mexico where he was a star pitcher on the baseball team. He later got a law degree from the University of Denver.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

College Football Week 3 – Your new No. 2: Oklahoma

Irma runs the spread offense

As the center of Hurricane Irma moved north up the gulf coast of Florida on Sunday, its hurricane force winds and gusts spread out across the entire width of the state from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean.
There was no defense that could stop her. Irma scored at will.
Swamp Mama and I have evacuated from our home on the barrier island of east central Florida four times in the past. The first was for Hurricane Floyd in 1999. The last was for Matthew 11 months ago. In between, we evacuated for Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne both in the same year – 2004.
Fortunately, Floyd made a last minute turn to the north as it approached Florida. It never reached us. The other three did.
Friday, we evacuated for the fifth time to escape Hurricane Irma. This storm was difficult to plan for. Unlike the other four hurricanes, the weather forecasters had a difficult time predicting Irma’s path.
At first, Irma was going to go up the gulf coast of Florida. That’s what all the models said. Swamp Mama’s cousins in Punta Gorda were going to come and stay with us. Then, little by little, the models began to move east to Florida’s Atlantic coast. Swamp Mama’s cousins said, “We’re not coming to your house.” Some models had Irma tracking 50 or more miles off the east coast. That was encouraging.   
At this point, we decided to evacuate to our daughter’s home in the Florida panhandle – about 75 minutes west of Tallahassee. It would be an unexpected but always pleasant visit with Princess Gator, Bama Gator and our grandkids Gator Gabe and Gator Babe. We evacuated to their home in 2004 for Hurricane Frances.
Then the tracking models began to change again. They were moving back to the gulf coast. Actually, there were three possibilities for Irma – west coast, east coast or up the middle of the state. Go figure. But most were tracking up the gulf coast, now.
It seems like all five of these storms have impacted football weekends – one way or another. When Floyd approached in 1999, it was the early part of the week. It was the week of the big game between Tennessee and Florida in Gainesville.
Swamp Mama and I evacuated to Gainesville. Princess Gator was a student at UF at the time. Ironically, we had just returned home from Gainesville a couple days earlier, after a weekend there watching the UCF-Florida football game. Now we were back. Floyd, however, changed his mind and made a turn before reaching Florida. He never came. A day later, we were back home and the Tennessee-Florida football game took place, as scheduled.  
Before Irma, the only other time we evacuated to Princess Gator and Bama Gator’s house was for Hurricane Frances in 2004. They were in Myrtle Beach. Bama Gator was playing in a golf tournament. But they returned the next day. Florida’s football game against Middle Tennessee that weekend was postponed.
About four weeks later we were in Gainesville, evacuating from Hurricane Jeanne. Actually, as it was, we were scheduled to be in Gainesville that weekend. We just ended up staying longer than planned – two more nights.
Florida was playing Kentucky that weekend. We attended the game. The game time was moved to a much earlier start that Saturday – 11:00 a.m. This enabled people to go to the game and get home or wherever in plenty of time before Jeanne arrived. Swamp Mama and I extended our stay at the hotel and rode out the storm in Gainesville.
Then last year, along came Matthew. We were supposed to go to the LSU-Florida game with Bootsie and Rockledge Gator. Ultimately, the game was postponed and we high-tailed it to Swamp Mama’s cousins in Punta Gorda. Bootsie and Rockledge Gator took off for Georgia.
I thought we deserved a break this year, but Irma had different plans. The drive up to the panhandle was basically uneventful. Hearing stories of jam-packed traffic on the Florida Turnpike and Interstates 75 and 95, along with a shortage of gasoline, I chose to take the back roads. Swamp Mama and I got out of Dodge on Friday on a full tank of gas and a five-gallon gas can in the back of our SUV.
I took Highway 192 through St. Cloud and Kissimmee to its end. There I turned right and headed north on U.S. 27 – through Ocala, Williston, Bronson to Chiefland. Then U.S. 19 north to I-10. I took I-10 west to the first exit after Tallahassee where I got on U.S. 90 west for the remainder of the trip.
Gas was plentiful through St. Cloud and Kissimmee, where I stopped to top off my tank, but after Kissimmee most stations had no gas. Fortunately, I didn’t need any. We did have four traffic pile ups – two on U.S. 19 and two on I-10. However, all four were relatively brief – thank goodness.
Irma played havoc on a number of football games. Five contests were cancelled – Northern Colorado at Florida, Louisiana-Monroe at Florida State, Memphis at UCF, Miami at Arkansas State and South Florida at Connecticut.
Not only were five games canceled, but a couple of future games were rescheduled to a different date. Miami at Florida State scheduled for this Saturday – September 16 – has been moved to October 12 in Tallahassee, while Georgia Tech at Miami has been moved up from October 12 to October 5.    
In spite of the cancellations effecting Florida teams, there was a lot of football played over the weekend around the country. And what a weekend it was – Oklahoma over Ohio State, Georgia over Notre Dame, Clemson over Auburn and USC over Stanford. It was certainly a revealing weekend to say the least.
Oklahoma and Ohio State battled pretty equally for three quarters, before the Sooners poured it on the Buckeyes in the fourth quarter. OU whipped Ohio State, 31-16. Urban Meyer looked like a little kid who had his toys taken away from him. After the game, Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield planted the OU flag on the Ohio State logo at midfield. You can imagine how well that stunt went over with Buckeye fans.  
Georgia went into South Bend with a true freshman quarterback Jake Fromm. They said he wouldn’t be able to handle the pressure. He did. The Dawgs came away from South Bend with a 20-19 win over Notre Dame. Clemson totally shut down Auburn’s offense and didn’t show much offense of its own. Still Clemson beat Auburn, 14-6.
Out West, USC staked a claim for superiority in the Pac-12. The Trojans toppled Stanford, 42-24. Speaking of staking a claim, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson staked his claim for repeat of the Heisman Trophy, as his Cardinals beat North Carolina, 47-35. Jackson passed for 393 yards and rushed for 132.
Washington State-Boise State and Iowa-Iowa State gave us a run for our money. The Cougars beat the Broncos, 47-44, in three overtimes, while the Hawkeyes beat the Cyclones, 44-41, in one overtime.
Missouri was supposed to give South Carolina a good game. Many thought the Tigers would beat the Gamecocks. But when the game was over, South Carolina beat Missouri, 31-13. Likewise, most thought Arkansas would beat TCU. At the end of the game, TCU beat the Hogs, 28-7. Bret Bielema is in trouble.
Back to the Oklahoma-Ohio State game, Oklahoma definitely made the right decision when the school named Lincoln Riley to replace Bob Stoops in June. And speaking of Lincoln Riley, I need to correct my piece on the “baby coaches” that appeared in my August 28 blog. In that report, I listed Western Kentucky coach Mike Sanford as the youngest head coach in FBS college football. Well, Sanford was the youngest from January to June.
However, early in June, the coaching change took place at Oklahoma when Riley was named to replace Stoops. In becoming the head coach, Riley replaced Sanford as the youngest head coach in FBS. I picked up on that last week when I learned that Riley had a birthday on September 5. He turned 34. That would make the OU coach a year and a half younger than Sanford. Now you know.
And speaking of Riley again, who would have ever thought that Oklahoma and Nebraska would have coaches with the same last name at the same time? – Lincoln Riley and Mike Riley.
We lost singer/songwriter Don Williams last week (see Post Scripts below). When I was in college, there was a group called the Pozo-Seco singers that Williams founded. They had a hit with “I Can Make It with You” in 1966. We used to sing along with that song when it came on the radio. It was catchy. Williams went on to become a super country music star.
Swamp Mama and I hope to head back home on Tuesday. I just have to figure which will be the smoothest way back. You just know it’s going to be a zoo, with everybody heading home.
And what’s this about Hurricane Jose making a loop and heading to Florida? Can you say Hurricane Jeanne? We don’t need that again.
Have a good week.
Touchdown Tom
September 11, 2017

Weekend Recap

GAME OF THE WEEK:  Sooners plant the flag – Oklahoma 31, Ohio State 16 (Touchdown Tom said: Ohio State 35, Oklahoma 31). This was a case of one team wearing down the other. And that’s exactly what Oklahoma did. The Sooners wore down the Buckeyes. Close throughout three quarters, the game was tied – 3-3 – at the break and OU led by only four – 17-13 – at the end of three. But you could begin to see Ohio State breaking down in the closing minutes of the third quarter. Then in the fourth quarter, it was all Oklahoma. The Buckeyes were wasted. OU quarterback Baker Mayfield passed for 386 yards. Ohio State is vulnerable. Attendance in Columbus: 109,088
RUNNER UP:  Gus fell off the bus – Clemson 14, Auburn 6 (Touchdown Tom said: Clemson 26, Auburn 24). Auburn, known for its strong offense and poor defense under Gus Malzahn, was just the opposite against Clemson. Auburn only managed 117 yards on offense – 38 rushing and 79 passing. Meanwhile, Auburn’s defense played a decent game. Clemson was not overwhelming on offense. They were just good enough to win. Clemson even turned over the ball to Auburn – not once but twice. Still, Auburn couldn’t do anything with it. Attendance in Clemson: 81,799
REST OF THE BEST:  Limbless – USC 42, Stanford 24 (Touchdown Tom said: Stanford 38, USC 33). USC overpowered Stanford with 623 yards of offense – 307 rushing and 316 passing. In spite of Sam Darnold 316 yards passing, the Trojan quarterback threw two more interceptions this week. Two USC running backs – Stephen Carr and Ronald Jones – rushed for more than 100 yards each. Attendance in Los Angeles: 77,614
Uga must be Irish – Georgia 20, Notre Dame 19 (Touchdown Tom said: Georgia 28, Notre Dame 24). A tight game throughout, Notre Dame scored three more points than Georgia in the second quarter, while Georgia scored four more points than Notre Dame in the third quarter. That was the difference – that and Georgia’s defense which held the Irish to 55 yards rushing. Attendance in South Bend: 77,622
The Lion roars – Penn State, 33, Pitt 14 (Touchdown Tom said: Penn State 31, Pitt 21). This was a strange game. Pitt controlled the ball for 38 minutes, had 25 first downs to 16 for Penn State and had 342 yards of offense to 312 for the Nittany Lions. State’s offensive stars Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley didn’t have particularly good games. And yet Penn State won by 19 points. Pitt did commit three turnovers. Attendance in University Park: 109,898
Basketball? – Washington State 47, Boise State 44 (3OT) (Touchdown Tom said: Washington State 36, Boise State 31). In the wildest game of the day and the last one to end, Washington State finally pulled it out after three overtimes. The teams were tied 31-to-31 at the end of regulation. In spite of the high score, there wasn’t an overwhelming amount of offense. Washington State only had 22 yards rushing. Attendance in Pullman: 32,631
Bret’s in trouble – TCU 28, Arkansas 7 (Touchdown Tom said: Arkansas 30, TCU 27). Yes, he is, and he should be. Arkansas was wasted in the fourth quarter. Arkansas’ only touchdown came in the first quarter. After that, the Hogs’ offense was worthless. Keep your eye on TCU. Attendance in Fayetteville: 73,668
Two different halves – Oregon 42, Nebraska 35 (Touchdown Tom said: Oregon 37, Nebraska 30). A tale of two halves. Oregon won the first half, 42-14. Nebraska won the second half, 21-0. The Ducks built up 566 yards on offense, with Justin Herbert passing for 365 yards. Oregon’s Royce Freeman rushed for 153 yards. Mike Riley has some catching up to do. Attendance in Eugene: 58,389
Mustake becomes Muschamp – South Carolina 31, Missouri 13 (Touchdown Tom said: South Carolina 38, Missouri 36). South Carolina contained Drew Lock, controlled the ball for 38 minutes and didn’t make any mistakes. Lock completed only 43 percent of his passes. Mizzou fired its defensive coordinator – DeMontie Cross – after the game. Keep your eye on the Gamecocks. Attendance in Columbia: 55,023
The Eyes have it – Iowa 44, Iowa State 41 (OT) (Touchdown Tom said: Iowa 27, Iowa State 23). This game came down to a passing contest between the quarterbacks with Iowa’s Nathan Stanley passing for 333 yards and Iowa State’s Jacob Park passing for 347 yards. Attendance in Ames: 61,500
Nothing Wild about this Cat – Duke 41, Northwestern 17 (Touchdown Tom said: Northwestern 30, Duke 29). The Dookies took control of this game in the third quarter and never looked back. The Devils outscored Northwestern 10-0 in the third period and held a 31-10 lead at the start of the fourth. The Dookies piled up 538 total yards to only 191 for the Wildcats. The Devils controlled the ball for 41 minutes. Keep an eye on the Dookies. Attendance in Durham: 20,241
Stepped on their Heels – Louisville 47, North Carolina 35 (Touchdown Tom said: Louisville 37, North Carolina 24). North Carolina fell apart in the fourth quarter. The Tar Heels led Louisville, 28-27, at the end of three. Then the Cardinals outscored the Tar Heels 20-7 in the fourth. Louisville had 705 yards on offense. The Heels only had 17 yards rushing. Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson passed for 393 yards and rushed for 132. The Cardinals Malik Williams rushed for 149 yards. Attendance in Chapel Hill: 47,000
Rodless in Tucson – Houston 19, Arizona 16 (Touchdown Tom said: Arizona 34, Houston 27). The score was close and the stats were close – about as close as you can get. In spite of the closeness, Rich Rodriguez is in trouble. Attendance in Tucson: 43,334
Grier Sills the deal – West Virginia 56, East Carolina 20 (Touchdown Tom said: West Virginia 45, East Carolina 13). The Mountaineers built up a 49-3 first half lead and then went on vacation in the second half. Will Grier passed for 352 yards, as the Mounties totaled 619 yards on offense. The Mountaineers’ receiver David Sills had seven receptions for 153 yards. On the down side, WVU’s defense gave up 470 yards. West Virginia’s defense is still inconsistent, sloppy and undisciplined – dreadfully sad at times. Attendance in Morgantown: 56,797
Northern Colorado at Florida – Canceled
Bevo found a defense – Texas 56, San Jose State 0 (Touchdown Tom said: Texas 45, San Jose State 23). Tom Herman found a team he can beat. And beat them he did. Texas had 623 yards of offense to 171 for San Jose State. Thirty-two first downs to eight for the Spartans. The Longhorns also went with a new quarterback – true freshman Sam Ehlinger. Attendance in Austin: 83,117
Boilers up – Purdue 44, Ohio 21 (Touchdown Tom said: Purdue 33, Ohio 29). The Boilers jumped out to a 34-7 first half lead and went into cruise control in the second half. Along the way, Purdue amassed 558 yards of offense. It was a well-balanced attack – 263 yards rushing and 295 passing. Something tells me Jeff Rohm is the coach the Boilers have needed.  Attendance in West Lafayette: 45,633
Week 2 Results:  11 correct picks, 5 fumbles (68.8 percent)   
For the Season:  24 correct picks, 8 fumbles (75 percent) 
South Florida at Connecticut – Canceled
Wisconsin 31, Florida Atlantic 14 – Attendance in Madison: 77,542
Marist 38, Stetson 17 – Attendance in Poughkeepsie:
Miami at Arkansas State – Canceled
Louisiana-Monroe at Florida State – Canceled
McNeese State 42, Florida Tech 21 – Attendance in Lake Charles: 11,101
Florida International 17, Alcorn State 10 – Attendance in Miami: 5,017
Memphis at UCF – Canceled
Bethune-Cookman 28, SE Louisiana 23 – Attendance in Hammond: 6,321
Weekend’s Best Passers: 
Ole Miss’ Shea Patterson – 32-43-1 for 489 yards; Central Michigan’s Shane Morris – 28-37-0-467; North Texas’ Mason Fine – 32-47-2-424; New Mexico State’s Tyler Rogers – 34-57-1-401; Louisville’s Lamar Jackson – 25-39-0-393; Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield – 27-35-0-386, and Oregon’s Justin Herbert – 25-33-1-365.
Also, West Virginia’s Will Grier – 19-25-0 for 352 yards; Marshall’s Chase Litton – 26-43-1-350; Iowa State’s Jacob Park – 25-46-1-347; Troy’s Brandon Silvers – 32-40-1-345; NC State’s Ryan Finley – 29-36-0-341; Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph – 25-38-0-335, and Colorado State’s Nick Stevens – 25-40-1-337.
Also, Iowa’s Nate Stanley – 27-41-0 for 333 yards; UCLA’s Josh Rosen – 22-25-0-329; Wyoming’s Josh Allen – 22-32-0-328; Florida International’s Alex McGough – 21-33-0-328; Appalachian State’s Taylor Lamb – 12-15-0-327; Utah State’s Kent Myers – 24-26-1-323, and Kansas’ Peyton Bender – 32-62-2-323.
Weekend’s Best Rushers: 
Tulsa’s D’Angelo Brewer – 262 yards; Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor – 223 yards; San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny – 216 yards; California’s Patrick Laird – 191 yards; UNLV’s Lexington Thomas – 173 yards; Texas’ Chris Warren – 166 yards, and Stanford’s Bryce Love – 160 yards.
Also, Alabama’s Jalen Hurts – 154 yards; Hawaii’s Diocemy Saint Juste – 154 yards; Oregon’s Royce Freeman – 153 yards; UAB’s Spencer Brown – 151 yards; Louisville’s Malik Williams – 149 yards; Army’s Ahmad Bradshaw – 147 yards; Akron’s Warren Ball – 146 yards, and Purdue’s Tario Fuller – 142 yards.

Quotes of the Week

“I know last year beating us for them was like the Super Bowl. This was just like beating Akron for us,” Penn State coach James Franklin, on beating Pitt.
“I’ve been a supporter throughout, but it’s time for Bielema to go,” Arkansas fan Austin Collins.
“Arkansas Razorbacks have no identity. No true game plan. Nothing. We’ll never win the big game under Bielema,” Arkansas fan Jason Hopkins. 
“I think they’re in trouble,” Paul Finebaum, on Auburn after the Clemson game.
“I don’t understand it. It’s the same old problem – red zone mistakes. We’ve been watching this for the last four years under Gus Malzahn,” Paul Finebaum, on Auburn.
Touchdown Tom’s Predictions for
This Week’s 12 Biggest and Most Intriguing Games.…and then some
GAME OF THE WEEK:  1. Clemson (2-0) at Louisville (2-0) – (ACC vs. ACC) – 8 pm ET, Saturday, ABC – Clemson could have a letdown after the win over Auburn. But not likely. Louisville is a conference game. But the Tigers will have their hands full trying to stop Lamar Jackson. The Cardinals have an offense, but they don’t have a defense. Clemson should have no trouble scoring on Louisville. This game was a doozy last year. Clemson won 42-36. The Tigers repeat – Clemson 30, Louisville 23.
RUNNER UP:  2. LSU (2-0) at Mississippi State (2-0) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 7 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN – This game could go either way. Regardless of who wins, it should be close. It could either be a breakout game for LSU’s Derrius Guice or Miss State’s Nick Fitzgerald. The dice roll for Guice – LSU 23, Mississippi State 19.
REST OF THE BEST:  3. Kentucky (2-0) at South Carolina (2-0) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 7:30 pm ET, Saturday, SECN – In two games, South Carolina looks impressive. The Gamecocks will step up in the SEC East this season. Kentucky is undefeated, but two close games against inferior opponents. Maybe the Wildcats are holding back for South Carolina. The Gamecocks are lucky to have this game at home. Chicks become Roosters – South Carolina 30, Kentucky 21.
4. Kansas State (2-0) at Vanderbilt (2-0) – (Big 12 vs. SEC) – 7:30 pm ET, Saturday, ESPNU – Many think this could be a trap game for K-State. The Wildcats might take Vandy for granted. One thing is for sure, Vandy won’t take K-State for granted. That’s why it could be a dangerous game for the Wildcats. Both teams are looking good so far. The Wildcats are too much for the Commodores – Kansas State 27, Vanderbilt 20.
5. Tennessee (2-0) at Florida (0-1) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, CBS – Tennessee has two games under its belt. Florida only has one. That was the disastrous game back on September 2. Surely the Gators have had plenty of time to get the wrinkles out. Both teams are shaky on defense. Tennessee has an offense. Not sure about Florida. Albert finds an offense – Florida 33, Tennessee 30.
6. SMU (2-0) at TCU (2-0) – (AAC vs. Big 12) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, ESPNU – These two teams are old rivals. TCU has dominated the series in recent years. But SMU pulled a major upset a few years ago. SMU coach Chad Morris seems to have the Mustangs on a solid track this season. TCU might have a bit of a letdown following the big win over Arkansas. The Frogs are hoppers – TCU 30, SMU 20.
7. Ole Miss (2-0) at California (2-0) – (SEC vs. Pac-12) – 10:30 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN – Both teams are undefeated, but I’m not sure what that means. Neither has really played anyone. This is a chance for one of them to come away with a good win. One thing is for sure. Ole Miss has an outstanding quarterback in Shea Patterson. He makes the difference – Ole Miss 30, California 24.
8. UCLA (2-0) at Memphis (1-0) – (Pac-12 vs. AAC) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ABC – Memphis has a chance to pull an upset here. And what an upset it would be. UCLA better not take the Tigers too lightly. If they do, Memphis will win. But Josh Rosen should keep things in control for the Bruins. The Bruins go for the ribs – UCLA 34, Memphis 24.
9. Texas (1-1) at USC (2-0) – (Big 12 vs. Pac-12) – 8:30 pm ET, Saturday, FOX – USC is looking good. There may be some issues on defense. Texas is still an unknown but the Horns may have found a quarterback in Sam Ehlinger. They better have found a quarterback if they expect to do anything against the Trojans. Herman’s folly – USC 33, Texas 23.
10. Stanford (1-1) at San Diego State (2-0) – (Pac-12 vs. MWC) – 10:30 pm ET, Saturday, CBSSN – San Diego State has a good team. The Aztecs are likely to beat Stanford. Running back Rashaad Penny is the real thing. But as a team, Stanford is the real thing too. Trees branch out – Stanford 28, San Diego State 27.
11. Oklahoma State (2-0) at Pitt (1-1) – (Big 12 vs. ACC) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ESPN – There is no way Pitt can stop Okie State’s offense. It’s too talented. The only way Pitt can win is to outscore the Cowboys. But the Panthers don’t – Oklahoma State 31, Pitt 21.
12. Georgia Tech (1-1) at UCF (1-0) – (ACC vs. AAC) – 7:30 pm ET, Saturday, ESPNews – This is UCF’s opportunity to knock off a good team – something the Knights haven’t done in a while. To do that UCF has to stop Tech’s option. But it’s hard to prepare for an option – Georgia Tech 33, UCF 26.
13. Wisconsin (2-0) at BYU (1-2) – (Big Ten vs. Ind.) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, ABC – As usual, Wisconsin has another powerful running game. Not sure what BYU has other than its defense is a little better than its offense – unusual for the Cougars. But BYU hasn’t been scoring many points. The Cougars still don’t – Wisconsin 26, BYU 17.
Delaware State at West Virginia (1-1) – (MEAC vs. Big 12) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, Local TV – This is a warm up game for WVU before the Mountaineers start Big 12 play. The Will Grier offense looked fine tuned against East Carolina last week. This is an opportunity to get rid of any last minute wrinkles. WVU’s up-and-down defense should be up against Delaware State. The Mountaineers toy with the Hornets – West Virginia 59, Delaware State 9.
Northern Illinois (1-1) at Nebraska (1-1) – (MAC vs. Big Ten) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, FS1 – If the Huskers continue their second half ways from the Oregon game, then they should have no problems with NIU. Last week, the Huskers were like two different teams. Play like that this week and the Huskies might surprise them. NIU is no Nebraska, but the Huskies are no pushover either. The Huskers get their act together – Nebraska 30, Northern Illinois 19.
Baylor (0-2) at Duke (2-0) – (Big 12 vs. ACC) – 12:30 pm ET, Saturday, ACCN – Baylor has lost to a FCS team and a Group of Five team. At least Duke has a win over a Power Five team. Duke’s offense is looking good and so is the Devils defense. The Dookies remain undefeated – Duke 29, Baylor 17.
Samford (2-0) at Georgia (2-0) – (Southern vs. SEC) – 7:30 pm ET, Saturday, SECN – After the big win over Notre Dame, Uga gets a rest this week. Samford is undefeated but the Bulldogs, yes they are Bulldogs too, shouldn’t pose any problems for the Dawgs. Uga drools – Georgia 36, Samford 16.
Purdue (1-1) at Missouri (1-1) – (Big Ten vs. SEC) – 4 pm ET, Saturday, SECN – Remember three years ago when SEC East champion Missouri lost to Big Ten bottom feeder Indiana? I could see Purdue pulling the upset. Mizzou is a bit unknown. But the Boilers aren’t. They almost knocked off Louisville. The Boilers actually have a running game to go with their passing game. But the Tigers do too – Missouri 32, Purdue 30.
Illinois (2-0) at South Florida (2-0) – (Big Ten vs. AAC) – 7 pm ET, Friday, ESPN….
Walsh (0-1) at Jacksonville U. (0-1) – (Great Lakes vs. Pioneer) – 1 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN3….
Florida International (1-1) at Indiana (1-1) – (C-USA vs. Big Ten) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, BTN….
Florida A&M (1-1) vs. Tennessee State (2-0) – (MEAC vs. Ohio Valley) – 5 pm ET, Saturday….
Dartmouth (0-0) at Stetson (0-2) – (Ivy League vs. Pioneer) – 6 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN3….
Bethune-Cookman (1-1) at Florida Atlantic (0-2) – (MEAC vs. C-USA) – 6:30 pm ET, Saturday….
Shorter (0-2) at Florida Tech (1-1) – (Gulf South vs. Gulf South) – 7 pm ET, Saturday….
Touchdown Tom
Not exactly 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 1942 was “(I’ve Got A Gal In) Kalamazoo” by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra
…70 years ago this week in 1947 was “Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)” by Tex Williams
…65 years ago this week in 1952 was “You Belong To Me” by Jo Stafford
…60 years ago this week in 1957 was “Diana” by Paul Anka
…55 years ago this week in 1962 was “Sheila” by Tommy Roe
…50 years ago this week in 1967 was “Ode To Billie Joe” by Bobbie Gentry
…45 years ago this week in 1972 was “Alone Again (Naturally)” by Gilbert O’Sullivan
…40 years ago this week in 1977 was “Best Of My Love” by The Emotions
…35 years ago this week in 1982 was “Hard To Say I’m Sorry” by Chicago
…30 years ago this week in 1987 was “La Bamba” by Los Lobos
…25 years ago this week in 1992 was “End Of The Road” by Boyz II Men
Not exactly college football related, but sadly there were four passing of note last week – Don Williams, Troy Gentry, Jim McDaniels and Gene Michael. 
Don Williams, a singer of country ballads, who emerged as one of the biggest stars in country music in the late 1970s, died last week in Mobile, Alabama. He was 78. Seventeen on Williams’ singles, including “You’re My Best Friend” and “Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good,” reached the top of the Billboard country chart from 1974 to 1984. Named country music’s male vocalist of the year in 1978, he released 52 Top 40 country singles, 45 of which reached the Top 10. Among his admirers were Pete Townshend and Eric Clapton. “Till the Rivers All Run Dry,” a No. 1 country single in 1976, was typical of Williams’ understated personal and approach. Don Williams was born on May 27, 1939, in the rural north Texas community of Floydada. The family moved a lot and eventually settled in Corpus Christi, where Williams graduated from high school. In 1964, after serving in the Army, he formed the Pozo-Seco Singers, a folk-pop trio. They recorded several albums and two of its singles reached the Pop Top 40. The group broke up in 1969. Williams cultivated a strong fan support all around the world. His most robust following, outside the United States, was always in England.
Troy Gentry, who was part of the popular country music duo Montgomery Gentry, was killed last week in a helicopter crash in Medford, New Jersey. He was 50. Gentry formed the duo Montgomery Gentry with Eddie Montgomery, the brother of country music star John Michael Montgomery. The duo was particularly popular in the early 2000s, with two singles reaching No. 1 on the Billboard country chart. Troy Gentry was born on April 5, 1967, in Lexington, Kentucky.
Jim McDaniels, a star center who led Western Kentucky to the NCAA Final Four, died last week in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He was 69. A 6-foot-11 center and power forward, McDaniels took Western Kentucky to the 1971 Final Four, where the team lost to Villanova in the semifinals. However, Western Kentucky’s third-place finish was vacated by the NCAA when it was learned that McDaniels had signed professional contracts with an agent, the American Basketball Association and the Carolina Cougars before his senior season at Western Kentucky. He left the Cougars for the Seattle Supersonics of the NBA. That was followed by a year in Italy and spells with the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA and the Kentucky Colonels of the ABA. He played his last season with the NBA’s Buffalo Braves. James Ronald McDaniels was born in Scottsville, Kentucky, on April 2, 1948.
Gene Michael, a New York Yankee for nearly a half-century, rising from short stop to general manager and building teams that won four World Series, died last week in Oldsmar, Florida. He was 79. Over the years, George Steinbrenner fired Michael a couple of times, then hired him back. He played for the Yankees in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He served two stints as the Yankees’ manager. In between, he was the manager of the Chicago Cubs. He was the Yankees’ general manager from 1990 to 1995. Eugene Richard Michael was born on June 2, 1938, in Kent, Ohio. He played baseball and basketball for Kent State University. Out of college, he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1957. He was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers who sold him to the Yankees in 1967.