Well, that was wild.
A Week 7 that featured zero games between top 25 teams looked terribly boring on paper, but as we’ve come to learn with this sport, it’s these types of weeks when the most chaos tends to occur. That’s exactly what happened. Two top-10 teams, Clemson and Washington State, were upset on Friday night. Two more top-10 teams, Washington and Auburn, blew games on the road.
With so much happening, we hash out the best and worst below with this week’s version of Winners and Losers.
Ohio State, the benefactor of chaos: There were three upsets involving top-10 teams in Week 7. That means Sunday’s polls will get a shake-up, and quietly, Ohio State might be the biggest winner of this chaos after a 56-14 win at Nebraska. Since losing to Oklahoma, the Buckeyes have outscored opponents 266-56. Granted, those opponents have been average at best and putrid at worst. But a manageable schedule is the best medicine for an early-season loss and it has given the Buckeyes a chance to improve their passing attack. Quarterback J.T. Barrett entered Saturday with the Big Ten’s second-highest passer rating at 252 yards per game through the air, and come Sunday, don’t be surprised if Ohio State sniffs the top five in the polls. It’s amazing what a month does.
Dino Babers and his agent: One storyline has been notably lacking from this season, and that is an in-demand in the coaching carousel. Who was going to be this year’s Tom Herman, ready to work his way up the coaching ladder or re-work his contract? We might have our answer in New York.was the Orange’s second major upset over a ranked team in as many years under Babers. This one obviously trumps last year’s home win over Virginia Tech, but the point is Syracuse is worthy of your best shot now. (This has somewhat quietly been the case for a while.) Babers has done a magnificent job at a program that seemed left in college football’s past, and with five opportunities to get two more wins, a bowl game is a real possibility for a team that faces one of the toughest schedules in the nation. I’m not here to predict what Babers will or won’t do in a couple of months, but I am here to tell you he’s the name to watch.
LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda: LSU’s come from behindover No. 10 Auburn is big because it moves LSU to 5-2 while notching a quality W vs. a good opponent and recovering from a disastrous September. But LSU doesn’t get this win if its defense doesn’t do a complete 180 for the better in the final 30 minutes. Auburn, whose offense was averaging a SEC-best 7.69 yards per play in conference games, was shut out in the second half and held to 73 yards on 32 plays. That’s 2.28 yards per play. Blame coach Gus Malzahn and play-calling if you will — and that’s certainly part of it — but that’s a hell of a way to circle the wagon. Low key, LSU’s defense has been taking it in the teeth this year. Great job by Aranda to turn it around.
Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate: The one-time backup quarterback is quickly becoming one of the most entertaining players in college football. As a follow-up to his 327-yard rushing performance against Colorado, Tate had 230 yards and two touchdowns on the ground against UCLA, including this doozy of a touchdown run that should have been a sack. You know, Rich Rodriguez discovered Pat White out of injury and necessity at West Virginia. Tate looks like Arizona’s version of White. RichRod entered the season on the hot seat, but if you give him some time, he’ll find an electric quarterback.