Things We Learned In College: Rivalry Week Edition

I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday weekend and overdosed on food and football as much as I did. I’m running on fumes (and leftovers) right now, between late-night football and early-morning Black Friday shopping, but it was completely worth it. Here’s what we learned during Rivalry Week:

-Not a great Black Friday for Nebraska. Tommy Armstrong, Jr. was picked off four different times by four different Hawkeyes as Iowa won 28-20 despite converting on third down exactly zero times in nine attempts.

-Great job by Houston, finding a way to not only stop the Navy offense, but also managing to score on their defense. The Cougars accomplished this despite being forced to play a defensive back at running back due to multiple injuries.

-Baylor and TCU lived up to expectations (once the game started, that is; it was delayed about 45 minutes due to lightning) in terms of being a close game. Well-executed, not so much. The lightning stopped, but the wind and torrential rain didn’t, and the teams played bad-weather football. Baylor committed five turnovers and only managed to pass for 62 yards (granted, they were starting their third-string quarterback). The Bears did rush for 273 yards, but lost a heartbreaker in double OT.

-The temperature in Fort Worth was in the upper 30’s, with wind chills in the upper 20’s, and pouring rain throughout most of the game. I cannot think of weather I’d less want to be outdoors in. Give me actual snow any day. I’m not sure if the players wearing short sleeves were tough or just plain crazy.

-The fact that TCU has 10 wins while having played 30 freshmen this year (second only to Rice) is pretty incredible.

-Mercifully, the Les Miles situation is over. After the Tigers’ 19-6 win over Texas A&M, Athletic Director Joe Alleva spoke at the press conference, saying “Les Miles is our football coach, and will continue to be our football coach.” Why he didn’t say that a week ago is anyone’s guess, but I’m glad the right decision was ultimately made. Firing Les Miles would have been on an epic level of stupid.

-He probably won’t win the Heisman, but Leonard Fournette did break Charles Alexander’s single-season rushing record for the Tigers.

-Bedlam wasn’t so much “bedlam” as “butt-kicking” this year as Oklahoma won 58-23 and became the undisputed Big XII champion. I still can’t understand how this Sooners team lost to Texas. They just look so good, top to bottom. Mayfield, Perine, Mixon, Striker… it’s an embarrassment of riches in Norman.

-Another butt-kicking took place in Ann Arbor, as Ohio State ran roughshod over the Wolverines yet again. I hope Michigan fans aren’t too disappointed, because their team is moving in the right direction. I thought six, maybe seven wins was realistic for Michigan this year, and they won nine, coming within seconds and a fluke play of not only winning ten but beating a possible Playoff team in Michigan State.

-Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott passed Eddie George on the Buckeyes’ career yardage list. He now sits second to Archie Griffin. That’s some decent company.

-If he played at a Power Five school, I have to think Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch would be getting some Heisman love. Lynch completed seven of just nine pass attempts against SMU, but all seven were in the first half. Oh, and they all went for touchdowns. Seven TD passes in the first half. I know SMU isn’t very good, but that’s ridiculous. Keep in mind, they beat #13 Ole Miss back in October too.

-Speaking of Ole Miss, they won the Egg Bowl (versus Mississippi State) on the road for the first time in quite awhile. The last time they did it was 2003. The Rebels’ quarterback for that game? Eli Manning.

-The Iron Bowl score may have been close for much of the game, but the 29-13 final score is misleading. The game was not close, and this is how you know: Alabama’s Derrick Henry rushed for 271 yards and a touchdown. All of the Auburn Tigers combined to run for 91 yards and no touchdowns.

-Great job by Virginia Tech to eke out a sixth win and earn a bowl game for retiring head coach Frank Beamer.

-Between losing to Stanford, and Oklahoma winning, I have to think Notre Dame can kiss the Playoff goodbye. What a gutsy last drive by the Cardinal.

-Clemson and South Carolina always play such crazy, fun games against each other. This year was no exception. Normally, you figure a team ranked #1 versus a team with three wins, even when they’re in-state rivals, will be a blowout. But with these two, you never know. They’re Exhibit A of why you throw out the records in a rivalry game. Sure enough, Clemson won- but only by five points. Go figure.

-Another excellent example of this? Oregon, ranked 17th in the country, and Oregon State, with two wins this season. The Ducks won 52-42.

-This is your Play Of The Week right here, courtesy of Michigan State’s Aaron Burbridge. Just ridiculous.


Coming next Sunday: the Championship Week edition of Things We Learned In College. Don’t forget to check back later today for the LWOS Top 25!

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