I'm a little late this week. I still have't caught up from Saturday's game. Unlike most of you, I didn't even get to watch it live. I decided to go home to see my sister's first travel softball tournament, which, if you know anything about softball tournaments, you know they run all day. They put together a pretty good effort, meaning we didn't get home until 8:00 PM or so. But I wasn't too worried. I had the game recorded for an extra hour in case it ran over, and I decided to turn off my data AND delete the ESPN app so that I wouldn't get any unwanted updates to ruin the game. I was (somehow) disciplined enough to go radio silent the whole day, and as soon as we got home, I settled in. I won't turn this into a game summary, because honestly, nobody wins if I do that. I'll just say there were plenty highs and lows, and then, OVERTIME. Hey, no problem, that's why I recorded an extra hour, right? And then DOUBLE OVERTIME. Thirty minutes left of recording. TRIPLE OVERTIME. Twelve minutes left. I had a really bad feeling in my stomach. I better be able to watch the ending of this game. Then Arkansas scored, on 4th down. "That's okay," I thought, "we'll stop them here on the 2-pt conversion. There's only 45 second left on the recording, this has to be it. Right? RIGHT?" Wrong. At about 11:30 PM in my world, Arkansas tied it at 46. As the camera cut to the crowd, everything froze. That was it. I waited all day, abstained from Auburn Twitter when I'm sure there were some TAKES to be had, didn't watch the funeral of Al Golden and Miami football, all for that? I haven't tried to hunt down any video of the 4th OT. I am under the assumption that Bert decided a 4 OT game was probably unsafe, and so the game was deemed a tie, 46-46, in 3 OT. Don't tell me otherwise. But hey, all in the name of family, right?*
I don't have much to say about any of the games, since I didn't get to watch them, so here's the rankings. Drum roll, please...
So, what do we think? I'm really liking what I see.
With Clemson's absolute destruction of Miami to the tune of 58-0, they were able to jump from #7 to #1, just edging out Baylor. It's hard to argue that they don't deserve it, with complete beat downs of the teams they should beat (Miami, GT, and a surprisingly strong #35 App State team), a solid (though not a blowout) 17 point win over BC, and a down to the wire win over #13 Notre Dame. The only game they underperformed in was the Louisville game, which was a 0:00 KO, 3 point win. That was a Thursday night road game, though, so I won't hold that against them. Baylor is still sticking around at #2, despite devastating the loss of Seth Russell for the season. They're probably going to end up dropping a game with a brutal end of the season schedule, but since the Sterritt Score is only reactive to what has already happened on the field, the Bears will probably hang around for a few weeks. Baylor is off this week, and they have a really struggling Kansas State team next week. Then, they have a three week stretch of #8 OU, #18 OKST, and #15 TCU. Honestly, I'd be impressed with them winning two out of three. Ohio State claims Utah's spot at #3 after the Utes were handled with ease by USC. Similar to Baylor, OSU's most difficult games are at the end of the schedule. While they're best win was over #40 Penn State two weeks ago, their last two games of the year will be #19 Michigan State and at #7 Michigan. The Buckeyes have actually looked pretty good the last few weeks, with a margin of victory of 30 and average KO of about 33 minutes in their last three games. They're definitely hitting their stride at the right time, now that J.T. Barrett is leading the way at QB. LSU sticks at #4, with a solid 28 point win over then #27 Western Kentucky. That showdown with #6 Alabama in two weeks is looking juicier and juicier (or just more vomit-inducing, either or). Stanford and Bama are the first two teams out, although if either or both of those two teams win their conference, I think they're in.
Another Crazy Ending
Last week, it was Michigan/Michigan State. It drew immediate comparisons to the Kick Six. This week, Georgia Tech pulled it off over Florida State.** I was doubly excited, mainly because the overrated (among other things) FSU got embarrassed, but also because I was happy for Tech. My older brother is an alum, and this season has been about like our 2012. Except for instead of them getting blown out in conference games, they've had several games go down to the last minute. In many ways, that's worse. But they got a huge win and a legitimate reason to storm the field. Good for them.
It still doesn't top this, though.
Winners and Losers
Even though they technically only moved up six spots, I'd have to say Clemson was this week's biggest winner, jumping from #7 all the way to #1. Their only major games left are against #24 NC State this week, #30 FSU, and whatever decent but uninspiring team the ACC Coastal throws out there for the ACC Championship. Unless they "Clemson", they're looking really good to go undefeated. Our biggest loser has to be #22 Utah, who made #16 USC look like they were USC again. I guess I'm pulling for USC for the rest of the year, though, since interim coach Clay Helton is a Birmingham native and former Auburn quarterback. Hopefully he can spin this into a head coaching job elsewhere next year and I can go back to not liking USC.
Same old, same old. SEC is the best conference by a good number. The Big 10, Pac 12, and Big 12 are all ranked similarly, averaging about #50. The ACC is definitely the worst Power 5 conference (more on that in a bit). The American, even with four ranked teams, has no depth past those four teams. What is interesting though is that the AAC is basically the definition of average. As a conference, they have exactly a 0.500 record, and on average win their games by less than a point and knock their opponent out inside the last minute. Temple gets to try its hand at hosting Gameday this week with their game against Notre Dame, and if Temple wins that would be a HUGE win for the entire conference.
The ACC is in quite a position, too. Despite having the #1 ranked team in the country, they're still the worst P5 conference. The next group of teams is #24 NC State, #26 UNC (who just beat Pitt as I'm typing this), and #30 FSU. What I'm saying is, the ACC NEEDS Clemson to go win out. That's probably the conferences only hope for a playoff spot. Most other conferences still have a handful of teams in contention for a spot, but not the ACC. You could argue that #5 Stanford is the Pac 12's only real chance, but the SEC, Big 10, and Big 12 all have at least three teams that could make it. Notre Dame is not too far out, either.
Games of the Week
What is there to look forward to this week? By the rankings, the Game of the Week is #1 Clemson at #24 NC State. If Clemson is going to Clemson, this could be the week, but I actually see them winning by two scores. ESPN decided to send Gameday to Philadelphia Saturday, as #13 Notre Dame travels to #23 Temple. Go Owls. The other big game of the weekend is going to be the late night special, as #5 Stanford heads to the #38 Washington State Cougars. Yeah, you read that right. If Washington State somehow wins this, then they would be in first place in the Pac 12 North. That is bizarre, and that's about all I have to say about that. Here's Mike Leach.
Moving On Up... Still... Somehow?
Even with the loss, Auburn moved up three spots to #68. You may be asking how that's possible, but it makes sense. If you take a team that is ranked 15-20 spots ahead of you to 4 OT, that probably means you're a little better than people thought. We didn't move much, but a win this week against #21 Ole Miss would certainly help. I know it's going to be early, especially for for Halloween, so let's pack the stadium Saturday and wake up our Tigers. See you at 11 A.M., and don't forget to Stripe the Stadium!
Questions? Comments? Let me know in the comments or let me know @SterrittScore!
*Really though, I would do it the exact same way if I could do it over again. That kid is my best friend, and with some of the things she's gone through, my hero. She's also way better at softball than I was at baseball, so there's that.
** Again, I didn't see it live. I was home, but I was watching the recording of the Auburn game. The only way to watch it would have been to turn on ESPN, and that would've risked me seeing the Auburn final score.