College Football Week 8 Roundup: Ecstatic Valley
By any measure, Penn State's fourth-quarter blocked field goal scoop-and-score was one of the most exciting moments of the college football season so far. The atmosphere, the stakes, the rarity of the play ... shit, even Chris Fowler couldn't contain himself.
How fun! ... for Penn State fans. For the rest of us, it was not an ideal outcome.
Undefeated Michigan at undefeated Ohio State on November 26 would have been an incredible cap on the B1G season. A titanic matchup between two teams ranked in the top three and, assuming they combined for more than 30 points, a significant step toward changing the perception of the conference.
Penn State robbed us of that possibility and danced on its grave. Sad!
Good Day/Bad Day
Bad Day: Awareness of human biology
While most of us were wrapped up in the stupidity of revealing special glow-in-the-dark cleats for a day game, the structure of the glowing skeleton feet flew under the radar. Folks, those are not human toes.
Good Day: Urinating Ducks passionate about sustainability
Self-driving cars are all the buzz right now, but the common man looks forward to the day we can toss a small disc that expands into an outdoor porta potty, only to disintegrate when the business is done.
Bad day: Deception
Big fake punt guy here. As an Iowa fan, I've seen enough dumb punts to last a lifetime. So I fully endorse any attempt to juice that shit up.
With one exception: 4th and 19 from your own end zone. That is not a good time to fake a punt.
Good Day: Also deception
Now this is a beautiful fake punt. Every Mustang went about business as usual, and the only Houston player who had a clue what was going on didn't figure it out until halfway through. Might shed a tear watching this.
Bad Day: White people
Not only could Tim Tebow only *dream* of pulling off Marcus Spears' hat, he had a classic stumble during a cross-racial dap exchange. Middle-aged office guys nodded at this well-known awkwardness.
FYI, Spears isn't remotely pulling off that hat. I just felt like piling on.
Good Day: South Carolina student section
How do you feel if you're the marketing team that organized this towel promotion? On the one hand, hungover college kids have made a mockery of your efforts. On the other hand, no sports event towel giveaway has ever received so much attention.
Also, this better not be an actual Guinness World Record. I SWEAR TO GOD.
Bad Day: Bladders in Tuscaloosa
Folks, isn't the entire state of Alabama one big restroom?? Thanks for reading.
Makes you think ... did the Pac-12 force Williams into retirement because of a secret gambling addiction?
Bad Day: The state of Iowa's reputation as a leader in education
Good Day: The state of Iowa's reputation as a leader in dance
Few performers understand the pain of a completely indifferent crowd. This man is a model of perseverance.
Bad Day: Mike Leach, Washington State head coach
Leach recently accused Arizona State of "stealing signs", which didn't please Sun Devils head coach Todd Graham.
GRAHAM: Good game, Mike. Hey, what you did in the new conference was chickenshit. I've always respected you, and for you to do that, it's bullshit.
LEACH: (walks away)
Leach took the high road by not responding, but he was also pretty well owned by another adult. So that's gonna be a no from me, dog.
Very Bad Day: Tom Herman, Houston head coach
This is what Tom Herman said about SMU in May (via Houston Chronicle):
"If you're satisfied with going 7-5 and going to the Poulan Weedeater Bowl, then great. Then you're in the wrong program and we'll find a place for you to go. I hear there's a private school up in Dallas that's really looking to try to get to seven wins. We can certainly find you a home."
SMU throttled #11 Houston, 38-16. They are no longer ranked.
Weird Day: Jim Harbaugh
Good Day: People who feel like these two guys are their uncles
... which is probably all of us.
Houston, everyone's favorite team a month ago, has lost twice in a row. Ward was bottled up by SMU—a school best known for having a good 30 for 30—finishing with just 241 yards passing and three yards rushing on 17 carries thanks to seven sacks. The dreams are dead for the Cougars, both B12 and CFP.
8) Jalen Hurts, Alabama QB
No true freshman has ever won the Heisman, and that will not change this year. But Hurts is unprecedented among Nick Saban-coached quarterbacks in that he is electric with his feet and also has dreadlocks. Hurts will be among the favorites in 2017 and 2018.
7) Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego State RB
Another week, some more notchs on Pumphrey's belt. With 135 yards and two TDs, Pumphrey passed LaDainian Tomlinson for the ninth spot on the all-time rushing list and now sits atop San Diego State's career scoring list with 63 touchdowns. The key phrase there is "San Diego State" so, yeah, he's not gonna win.
6) Leonard Fournette, LSU RB
Two weeks ago, we wrote off Fournette's Heisman chances and advised him to sit the rest of the season. Last night, he had 250 yards and three touchdowns on his first seven carries. He also did this:
... and this:
Three consecutive lackluster games would knock just about anyone off this list completely (::cough:: Leonard Fournette), but Barrett is the quarterback for undefeated Ohio Sta—wait what?
Well, whatever. tOSU could still make the playoff. If that happens, Barrett will probably get an invite no matter what the numbers say.
4) Jabrill Peppers, Michigan LB/S/KR/maybe RB
Peppers hasn't (yet) accumulated enough insane touchdown runs to warrant real buzz, but Michigan is focused solely on obliteration this season. Peppers will eventually add some pick-sixes to the march.
Buncha numbers: 40 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 1 fumble forced, 514 all-purpose yards, 112 on offense, 3 touchdowns
No one else does what Jabrill Peppers does, but unfortunately they don't give Heismans for "guy you'd pick first at recess".
3) Deshaun Watson, Clemson QB
The downside of excelling as a sophomore is the magnifying glass that hovers over your junior season. In a vacuum, Watson is having a Heisman-worthy season. But compared to last year, he's a disappointment.
Clemson plays Flawduh Stait this week.
2) Jake Browning, Washington QB
If the season ended today, Browning's 199.6 quarterback rating would top the all-time list, just ahead of Russell Wilson's 191.8 season in 2011. What Browning lacks in flash he makes up for in efficiency, with 24 passing TDs compared to just two interceptions. GameDay will be in Salt Lake City next week for the Huskies' game against Utah. A big performance in a nationally-televised (if you count Fox Sports 1 as "national") afternoon game would go a long way in transforming this into a two-QB race.
1) Lamar Jackson, Louisiville QB
In 2006, Hawaii QB Colt Brennan set a record with 63 total total touchdowns against the likes of San Jose State and Louisiana Tech. Through eight games, Jackson has 34 scores in a real conference. And it's safe to say Colt never broke anyone off like thisssss:
Jackson's blistering pace puts him ahead of 88% of FBS teams, and in a tie with Deshaun Watson's Clemson Tigers. It would take a 4 INT, 0 TD game against an inferior opponent to knock LJ out of the top spot.
Plays of the Week
This one-handed ODB-style pick from Northwestern cornerback Kyle Queiro was especially impressive when you consider it was his only usable hand.
You'll have to excuse the description here, but this was a cool trick play.
LSU's Jamal Adams had the block of the day, 2-for-1 special.
In the old days (like, five years ago) this hit would top ESPN's Plays of the Week. Now, I wring my hands and silently wonder why targeting wasn't called. But I'm soft, so.
Finally, Jalen Hurts delivers some basketball crossovers for your entertainment.
Header image: Cleveland Plain-Dealer