College football Week 7 roundup with the 5 things that matter, winners and losers, overrated and underrated parts of the weekend, and what it all means.
College Football Week 7 Roundup
Winners & Losers From Week 7
Every college football player deserves to have some fun. UConn was having a rough run. It didn’t play in 2020, covid issues contributed to the loss two weeks ago in what was finally a winnable game against UMass, and the program hadn’t won a game since October of 2019. It hung on to beat Yale on Saturday, and now 128 FCS teams have a win. Of the two that don’t, one of them is …
From all indications, first year head coach Jedd Fisch has the Wildcats on the right track. The program needed a total overhaul, and it’s happening with a better defense and young offensive players being thrown to the wolves. However, the Colorado game should’ve been winnable. Instead it was a 34-0 loss making it 19 straight defeats going back to the middle of 2019.
2014 was the last time UTEP went bowling, and it was the lone winning season from 2006 until now. One of college football’s perennial doormats beat Louisiana Tech 19-3 to get to 6-1 for its best start since 2005.
It’s the other team along with Arizona that doesn’t have a win. It’s playing better – the last three loses were by eight points or fewer – but the team can’t seem to catch or create any sort of a break. With the loss Utah State, the Rebels have lost 12 straight after closing out the 2019 season with a win over Nevada.
That’s top 25-ranked UTSA to you. The 7-0 Roadrunners rolled through Rice 45-0 with a showdown – as weird as this might seems – with UTEP on the road coming up and UAB in a few weeks. Win those two games, and they’re almost certainly going to be unbeaten going into the Conference USA title game.
Loser: The U … Miami
There’s no Clemson on the schedule, and there’s no Notre Dame. The schedule was right, several nice pieces were in place, and this seemed like the year to rise up and take over the ACC – especially with Clemson struggling.
Instead, after yet a second straight brutally close loss – 45-42 to North Carolina – the Canes are 2-4 and have to win four of their last six against NC State, at Pitt, Georgia Tech, at Florida State, Virginia Tech, and at Duke just to get to a bowl.
Winner: Minnesota head coach PJ Fleck
Oh did Nebraska Nation have an all-in-good-natured-fun time with Fleck on social media last week, PJ Fleck was trending, but in the end, he got the win to go 4-1 against the Huskers. At 4-2, Minnesota bounced back from the horrendous loss to Bowling Green and with a win over Purdue earlier, control it its own destiny in the Big Ten West race.
Just when it seemed like the Huskers were turning a corner under Scott Frost, they suffered yet another close loss thanks to just enough mistakes to add up. With the 30-23 defeat to Minnesota, Nebraska has lost four of its last five games and now have to win two of its last four against Purdue, Ohio State, at Wisconsin and Iowa just to get bowl eligible.
NEXT: The really big Week 7 thing was …
The Really Big Week 7 Thing Was …
The behavior of a portion of the Tennessee fans.
To be clear, not all of the Vol fans at the Ole Miss-Tennessee games threw things on the field – and at Lane Kiffin and Rebels players – late in what was an otherwise phenomenal college football experience.
Enough of them did to set off what needs to be a warning signal.
The world has changed in a huge way since 2019. Boorish fan behavior has been baked into the cake since sports began, but attitudes are different now.
The political climate is more divisive, the rhetoric has been cranked up to toxic and violent levels, and all the clichés about a divided America have created an environment that emboldens the jerkweeds and bullies – but you know that.
Unfortunately, that all fits in perfectly with the irrational world of sports. College football has always had its fringe elements of fandom, but there’s usually a reasonable limit.
Ha ha, Ohio State and Michigan fans don’t like each other, and friendships are strained when Auburn and Alabama play, and some of the stories about business deals after the Oklahoma and Texas game are goofy fun. But now that fans are back and the emotions are so high overall, college football has to be careful.
Everyone needs to let off steam, but that doesn’t make it okay to chuck something at a head coach. The question was asked, “Who brings a golf ball to a football game?”
Someone who intended to throw it.
Now, more than ever, we have to stop using the concept of passion to excuse criminal behavior.
No, it’s not cool that Kiffin had to OBJ-catch a water bottle being thrown at him.
No, it’s not funny that someone fired a bottle of mustard on the field.
No, it’s not okay for fans to release their tension in a It Just Means More sort of way, because this is all going to cross a more frightening line in a real hurry for an official if there’s a bad call, or if someone doesn’t like a coach, or for whatever unhinged reason there might be.
College football is just a stupid game, and no, it doesn’t matter in the scheme of the real world, and no, it’s never, ever, ever, ever okay to do anything violent, or mean, or cruel just because you like a team or a school.
That we can get so riled up and so emotional about something that’s so inconsequential is the entire reason why college football is awesome, but it’s entertainment. That’s all.
To the credit of the SEC and the University of Tennessee, everyone in charge said all the right things after the end of the game on Saturday night, but before things get out of hand, there have to be changes and new rules before someone gets hurt.
There has to be a less than zero tolerance policy when it comes to inappropriate fan behavior in stadiums, online, and everywhere else.
College football has to be fun – and safe. If it’s not, then there’s no point in playing it.
NEXT: The most overrated thing was …
The Most Overrated Thing Was …
Purdue 24, Iowa 7
We all knew the exposure of the Iowa offense was coming at some point. We just got there faster.
However, the impact of the No. 2 team in the country losing really isn’t the giant deal that you might think it is.
Oh sure, Iowa tumbled down the rankings, and it might have opened up the race in the Big Ten West, but it didn’t change things all that much.
To go to the College Football Playoff, Iowa has to win the Big Ten Championship – at least that has to be a part of the mix.
It wouldn’t have mattered if it was unbeaten, or if it got there with one loss. If it beats Wisconsin, Northwestern, Minnesota, Illinois, and Nebraska – all very doable – and it gets to 11-1 with a shot at the Big Ten title, it’s in with one more win.
There could be some strange twist – like if Wake Forest goes unbeaten, or if the committee doesn’t look at Cincinnati’s schedule, or if it’s a moral imperative that Alabama and Georgia have to be in – but just assume that a one-loss Big Ten champion will get into the College Football Playoff.
Iowa needs to find a steadier offense to get there, but this wasn’t a deathblow loss. It just made things more interesting.
NEXT: The most underrated thing was …
The Most Underrated Thing Was …
Utah 35, Arizona State 21
Help them, Oregon, you’re the Pac-12’s only hope.
I had Utah as my preseason pick to win the Pac-12 South – I’m not puffing my chest out considering I was 51% on Utah and 49% on USC, and it still might be ASU – but Arizona State was the hot call from a whole lot of very smart Pac-12 people.
The Sun Devils were humming, getting past the loss to BYU with terrific, emphatic wins over UCLA and Stanford as they looked like the star of the Pac-12 South.
The dream and goal for the league was to have an 11-1 Oregon vs. an 11-1 Arizona State for the Pac-12 title, with the winner almost assured a spot in the College Football Playoff. Now that’s gone, all while Oregon is doing everything it possibly can to lose football games without actually doing it.
The ASU loss was another big piece in the overall puzzle. Cincinnati needed that. A second SEC team needed that. Notre Dame needed that. The ACC needed that if there’s hope for a one-loss NC State or even an unbeaten Wake Forest to get there.
Oregon is still good enough and talented enough to win out, but it’s certainly shaky. The Pac-12 needed another star, and it needed the national buzz to grow. It just lost that.
NEXT: What It All Means: Week 7
What It All Means: Week 7
It was a week that confirmed a whole lot of what we already knew. After the previous few weeks of craziness, that’s okay.
How do you know the college football season has gone bonkers? Iowa and Cincinnati were in the top three in mid-October.
It took a whole lot of upsets and a whole bunch of twists and turns to get to this point, but this week made everything a bit clearer.
We already knew Georgia was awesome, but beating Kentucky as handily as it did shouldn’t be blown off. The Bulldogs are winning with frightening ease.
We already knew something was going to slip with Iowa at some point, and the defense was going to go a game without forcing 193 turnovers.
We already knew Cincinnati was good and UCF had fallen after the injury to QB Dillon Gabriel, but the Bearcat blowout win cemented just how focused and strong the team really is.
The Oklahoma offense was going to show up at some point, and after the way it rolled late against Texas, it found its guy in Caleb Williams to make the team look like we thought it would.
Alabama lost, then Alabama got its mind right, and then Alabama rolled Mississippi State to look like it might be the best team in the country when all the parts are humming.
We’re now getting down to a few teams left to be in the title chase, and we’re also now looking at what might be The Georgia Invitational unless someone can rise up and pull off something amazing.
We know more insanity, more upsets, and more big things are on the way. For this week, though, it was more like college football took a deep breath to get ready for the wild second half of the year.