Clemson: The Tigers have two big wins in the past two weeks, first against Auburn and now against Florida State. The win against the Seminoles is particularly a big deal since it gives them a huge advantage in the ACC Atlantic Division over FSU. The other bright point is that their offense continued to roll, and if they triumph next week over Virginia Tech, they could be in the driver’s seat for the ACC.
Oklahoma State: A win against a top 10 ranked team is always a good thing, but for Oklahoma State that big win came not only against a Big 12 opponent in Texas A&M, but they rallied from a 20-3 deficit at halftime. It was particularly tense in the last few minutes of the game, but the Cowboys held on. Like Clemson over Florida State, Oklahoma State’s win against Texas A&M is a big conference win and will only boost their confidence going forward.
Texas A&M: The Aggies’ demoralizing loss is set against the backdrop of them officially joining the SEC, as the conference announced Sunday. Though this is only one loss and the team can rebound, the juxtaposition of these 2 events might sow the seeds of doubt that they can handle the tough schedule of the SEC. If they want to be competitive in their new conference, then they cannot give up big leads on a regular basis. A win could have made a big statement for the program and their future conference move.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers got clobbered by LSU, despite gaining substantially more yards then the Tigers. 10 penalties and 2 INTs were particularly bad in stalling momentum. The defense had its moments, but LSU just seemed the better team as they jumped out ahead early and never looked back.
North Carolina State: The Wolfpack had designs upon the ACC Atlantic, but their loss to Cincinnati threw a wrench into that plan. Their defense did not show up at all, giving up over 200 yards in both rushing and passing for over 500 total. The offense was a bit better, but the team ‘gained’ -26 yards on the ground in a truly bad showing.
USC: The Trojans had an 11 game winning streak against Arizona State, but the Sun Devils ended that streak and knocked off USC. Trojan players spent part of the week trash talking about how dirty the Sun Devils played. In hindsight that wasn’t such a good idea and it does nothing for the program’s reputation. Seriously, what were they thinking?
The ‘Charlie Weis Ate My Cheeseburger’ Award for Defense: Alabama. Usually a candidate fort his award every week, the Tide defense rolled over the Arkansas offense, allowing only 226 total yards, including a miniscule 17 yards on the ground. Grabbing two INTs was icing on the cake.
The ‘Surely You Must Be Joking’ Offensive Performance Of The Week: LaMichael James. James kept eluding the Arizona defense to the tune of a school record 288 yards rushing in addition to 2 rush TDs, which helped him break the school record for career rushing TDs. Such a performance against a conference opponent puts the rest of the Pac 12 on notice.
The ‘These Are Not The Droids You’re Looking For’ Mystery Of The Week: Conference realignment. So Texas A&M is in the SEC? The Big 12 is not dissolving? The Pac 12 won’t be the Pac 16? A slew of realignment news in the past week have made the future of the conferences even murkier. The Pac 12 says it will stay at 12 teams and the Big East is putting on a brave face, but nothing is settled and you can expect more rumors and stories about teams switching conferences in the future.