PORTIONS PREVIOUSLY APPEARING ON WTOP.COM–

Yes, there are blowouts in college football.  I’ve happened to watch Maryland paste each of its first two home foes by an average score of 51-10…and both games haven’t even been that close.  But on an autumn Saturday seasons are often made-or broken-on crazy plays and last-minute miracles.  Witness #25 Georgia salvaging its SEC East hopes with a 47-yard TD pass with 10 seconds left…only to cough up a 43 yard TD pass to #11 Tennessee on the game’s final play.  Witness #12 Florida State fall on a last-minute field goal to North Carolina-at home.  Witness #18 Utah stumbling to Cal after being stuffed at the one-yard line on the game’s last play.  Witness #3 Louisville rallying from 18 down at Clemson…only to lose an 8-point fourth quarter lead.  Once again, thanks to LSU and Les Miles for having their last-second heartbreak one weekend before I decide to write about that topic.  In the unforgiving college football world where one loss can make or break a season as well as a Heisman campaign and coaching career…these nailbiters never go away.  Trust me, just as there are still people chatting about Herschel Walker running over Bill Bates in 1980 on the way to the end zone…this year’s Vols-Bulldogs fantastic (or furious, depending on your loyalties) finish will live for some time.

Dave’s Dream- I know it took us almost 20 years to get from a two-team to a four-team playoff…and it took 30+ years of the jigsaw puzzle format to get there.  But one can still dream of an 8-team field that includes all Power Five Conference winners plus three wildcards.  So…going by this week’s combined Top 25 Polls for seeding and wildcard selection, your first round matchups would feature #1 Alabama-Baylor, #2 Ohio State-Louisville, #3 Clemson-Washington and #4 Michigan- Houston.  Somehow that mid-December quadruple-header sounds more intriguing than a Saturday of sub-500 in their conference teams playing in the Pinstripe Bowl.  Here’s to the dream…

Alma Mater Update- so there just may be a few defensive deficiencies on this year’s team.  Allowing 62 points to Louisville is not ideal…but 30 to Notre Dame IN THE FIRST QUARTER?  Thank goodness the Eric Dungey to Amba Etta-Tawo connection continues to pump points out on the scoreboard like a runaway gusher.  A trip to Wake Forest looms for a team that may I remind you is unbeaten on the road (Meadowlands game counts as a “home” game).  The Pinstripe Bowl dream lives…

Virginia Tech (3-1, 1-0 ACC) had the weekend off but worked its way into the top 25..just barely.  The #25 Hokies visit the new bully on the ACC Coastal Division block, #17 North Carolina, Saturday at 3:30 pm (Tar Heels fresh off that victory over Florida State).  I’ve long referred to October as “moving month”…and Saturday will be an important barometer for Justin Fuente’s team. 

Maryland (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) began Big Ten play with a 50-7 rout of Purdue.  The Terps dodged an early bullet when the Boilermakers missed a 35-yard field goal following a Perry Hills interception…and proceeded to play so well that now instead of the “can they make a bowl” conversation we have the “which bowl would they go to” talk.  Because sad-sack Rutgers , always-suspect Indiana and suddenly slumping Michigan State (0-2 in the Big Ten) remain on the slate.  Terrapin Triumphs- the running game gained 400 (YES-400!) yards on the ground as sophomore Ty Johnson had gains of 48, 56 and 77 yards.  The defense sacked David Blough six times and held the Boilermakers to 6-20 on third down. Terrapin Troubles- 11 penalties for 92 yards is not ideal…and while Perry Hills threw two touchdown passes while running for another the senior was sacked four times and threw an interception.  Next:  Saturday at 3-2 Penn State, 12 noon.

Virginia (2-3, 1-0 ACC) vanquished four years of road struggles with their first win away from Charlottesville since November of 2012, defeating Duke 34-20.  And there’s more:  UVa by being in the Coastal Division doesn’t have to play Clemson OR Florida State this fall.  Time for the downer:  they do face Louisville.  Cavalier Congrats- Kurt Benkert threw for 336 yards and 3 touchdowns as the offense converted 11 of 21 third down attempts.  Juan Thornhill and Bryce Hall each noted two interceptions…as Quin Blanding added an INT as well.  By the way, Micah Kiser tallied 18 tackles.  Cavalier Concerns- not accounting for the two sacks allowed, the running game averaged just a whisker over 3 yards a carry.  With the presence of Taquan Mizzell and Albert Reid you’d hope for a little more productivity.  But honestly-after snapping and 18 game road losing streak, concerns take a major backseat.  Next: October 15th vs 3-2 Pitt.

Navy (3-1, 2-0 AAC) went outside the conference to Colorado Springs and was ambushed by Air Force 28-14.  Something about the mountain air?  While the Mids have won 10 of the last 14 games in the series but have dropped 3 of the last 4 on the Falcons’ home field.  Midshipmen Medals- Will Worth throws for a career-high 260 yards.  Micah Thomas leads the defense with 11 tackles.  The offense converts on 3 of 5 fourth downs.  Midshipmen Miscues- how did they get to fourth down?  By converting just 5-15 third downs.  Chris High was held to a season-low 32 yards rushing (2.9 yards per carry). The offense also turned the ball over three times while the D had issues getting off the field (Air Force converted 50% of their third downs).  Next: Saturday vs #6 Houston (5-0).

 

 

 

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