Look Around: College Football News and Notes
November is here and that means the college football season is officially in the stretch run. Not that the last two months weren’t important, but everything that happens from here on out is even more important for teams that are going after a spot in the College Football Playoff or just trying to secure a bowl bid. Let’s catch up on everything that happened this past weekend.
Schedule Is Set
Even with three weeks left in the regular season, the SEC Championship Game has been settled. It will be a rematch of last year’s national championship game between Alabama and Georgia. The Crimson Tide rolled over LSU on Saturday night, erasing any doubt that they’re the team to beat this year. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs handled their business against upstart Kentucky. Both teams can’t necessarily afford to lose between now and then, but for all intents and purposes, the winner of that game will begin the CFP.
For whatever reason, most teams can’t stand the thought of being ranked because they keep losing. In total, nine ranked teams lost this weekend, with five of them losing to unranked opponents. Florida was the most egregious example, losing by three touchdowns to a Missouri team that hadn’t yet won a conference game this season. The likes of Iowa, Virginia, and Texas A&M also their top-25 spots taken away by upset losses.
Is There A Doctor in the House?
This was a bad weekend to be a starting quarterback. Multiple quarterbacks went down with serious injuries on Saturday, and that doesn’t even include Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, who re-aggravated his sprained knee but appears to be fine moving forward. Here are the other quarterback injuries you should know about moving forward:
- Texas Tech quarterback Alan Bowman had a “recurrence” of a partially-collapsed lung during his team’s 51-46 loss to Oklahoma. The freshman had some trouble “catching his breath” while warming up for the 2nd half. He did not return to the game was taken to a hospital. Bowman initially suffered a partially-collapsed lung earlier this year against West Virginia, a game the Red Raiders also lost. Needless to say, his availability for the rest of the season is in question.
- Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley suffered a broken collarbone that will keep him out the rest of the season during his team’s 38-20 loss to Arizona State. The game was close when Huntley went out, but the Utes couldn’t generate much offense without him. A week ago, Utah was the favorite to win the Pac-12 South, but that has changed. There are now four teams in that division with three conference losses while the other two have four losses. What a mess.
- Finally, Wake Forest has lost freshman quarterback Sam Hartman for the rest of the season. Hartman played the entirety of his team’s 41-24 loss to Syracuse on Saturday but has now been ruled out for the season because of a leg injury. The Demon Deacons need to win two of their final three games to reach a bowl game, starting with a quick turnaround Thursday night at NC State.
While a number of teams lost this weekend, all but knocking them out of the CFP conversation, a few breathed a sigh of relief to keep their hopes alive. Notre Dame survived a tough game against Northwestern, leaving them with just wins why of running the table. Washington State also survived a scare against suddenly competent Cal. The Cougars will need to win out and get a lot of help to reach the top four, but a one-loss Pac-12 champion could have a shot depending on how things shake out.
Things are officially crazy in the Big 12 after this weekend. West Virginia won a wild game at Texas while Oklahoma did the same against Texas Tech. Both teams have just one loss, and both the Mountaineers and Sooners have a good chance to still have one loss when they meet the final week of the regular season. There’s also a good chance of those teams meeting the very next week in the Big-12 title game. Of course, the same team would have to win both of those games to have any chance of reaching the CFP.
We’ll close with some good news, as the UTEP Miners put an end to the nation’s longest losing streak on Saturday with a 34-26 win over Rice. The win snapped a 20-game losing streak for the Miners, who last won in November 2016. Rice, the team they beat, now owns the longest losing streak in the country at nine straight losses.