Here are some “surprising” thoughts about Week 9 in college football…
- The most surprising team in the month of October was Boston College. After finishing the month of September 2-3, the Eagles went 3-1 that included wins over Louisville and Florida State. What makes this resurgence even more impressive is that it may just mark the beginning of a championship run in Chestnut Hill. The Eagles are the only FBS team with a freshman who leads the team in rushing, passing and receiving.
- Florida State fans have been surprised by their team’s performance so far this season and not in a good way. Ever since the Seminoles lost quarterback Deondre Francois to a season-ending injury in their opening game against Alabama, the year has mostly been lost. With a 2-5 record and games left against Clemson, Syracuse and Florida. FSU is looking at their first losing season since 1976 and failing to appear in a bowl game for the first since 1982.
- Considering it took place two days before Halloween, it isn’t surprising that Florida fired head coach Jim McElwain, Quite frankly, his firing was based on a witch hunt conducted by the local and national media over a perceived fabrication of death threats to himself, his players and his staff in what they believed was an attempt to change the narrative of his job status. The media beat the drum so loud that university administrators, who were looking for any opportunity to divorce themselves from their head coach, caved and dismissed McElwain one day after they lost to arch-rival Georgia, 42-7. True, the Gators have struggled this season, especially on the offensive side of the ball. But how else do you explain firing a coach who when the month of October started was 16-3 against the SEC?
- When Bret Bielema resigned as the head coach at Wisconsin to take the same position at Arkansas in 2013, everyone in college football was surprised. In his seven seasons as the Badgers head coach, Bielema was 68-24, 37-19 in the Big 10 and won three conference titles. Now in his fifth year at Arkansas, Bielema and the Razorback fan base are certainly having second thoughts. Bielema, who probably saved his job for the time being after Arkansas came back from a 31-7 deficit Saturday against Ole Miss to win, 38-37, has a 26-26 overall record and an 11-22 SEC won-loss record. Simply put, Bielema has been a major disappointment and barring something unexpected, will probably lose his job at the end of the season.
- Don’t be surprised when the college football selection committee announces their initial rankings of the 2017 season that Georgia sits atop the list. Here’s what the rest of the rankings might look like when they are announced on Tuesday: First Four In: 1. Georgia, 2. Alabama, 3. Ohio State, 4. Miami. First Four Out: 5. Notre Dame, 6. Clemson, 7. Penn State, 8. TCU. Next Four Out: 9. Oklahoma State, 10. Oklahoma, 11. Wisconsin, 12. Virginia Tech.
- Penn State’s Saquon Barkley’s Heisman Trophy coronation game against Ohio State on Saturday took a surprising turn after the Buckeyes defense suffocated the Nittany Lions running back, holding him to 49 yards rushing on 21 attempts. Not only did the 39-38 loss severely damage Penn State’s playoff hopes, but Barkley’s sub-par performance on a national stage altered the Heisman race as well. With the month of October now in the books, here’s one man’s current Heisman ballot: First place-Barkley; 2nd place-Mason Rudolph, quarterback, Oklahoma State; 3rd place-J.T. Barrett, quarterback, Ohio State; 4th place-Baker Mayfield, quarterback, Oklahoma; 5th place-Josh Adams, running back, Notre Dame.
- After listening to the FOX broadcast of the Ohio State-Penn State game, it was surprising to hear that play-by-play announcer Gus Johnson didn’t suffer a heart attack or lose his voice. For over four hours, from the opening kickoff to the final play, Johnson screamed and yelled every description of the game as if the technology of television microphones did not exist. It’s one thing to show emotion and excitement during the telecast when the opportunity arises. Just listen to Joe Buck during the World Series this year and you’ll hear how it is supposed to be done. Putting up with Johnson, on the other hand, describing the action as if he is under enemy attack is distracting and flat-out annoying.
- Baylor University should have known their football season would come to this. After deciding to literally clean out their football program prior to the start of 2017 following the Art Briles regime that featured players and staff run amok and allegations of sexual assault, it shouldn’t surprise the school that they are winless so far this year and probably won’t win a game the rest of the season. That’s no reflection on the coach they hired to rebuild and redeem the program, Matt Ruhle. He’s the absolute best man for the job, a coach who has rebuilt a program from the ashes (Temple) and who conducts his business with integrity and holds all his players accountable. No, the Bears are falling on hard times because karma has a way of making you pay a very hefty price.