By: Monte Perez
In the 2004 movie, Friday Night Lights, Coach Gaines played by Billy Bob Thorton says, “It took me a long time to realize that, uh, there ain’t much difference between winnin’ and losin’, except for how the outside world treats you” As a former college basketball coach I couldn’t disagree more. There is a ton of difference. My last season coaching college basketball my team finished 26-4 and lost in the elite 8, NCAA Tournament. We finished 6th in the country but I don’t remember wins, I think about that loss. I remember how empty I felt, that all my hard work was wasted because we didn’t win the National Championship. Since today is Halloween I will say this, “Losing haunts you till the day you die.” Some of these college coaches and players will never get over their losses this weekend. It was a day of upsets, that will haunt them forever.
Here are 5 things the Sports Whisperer learned about week 8 in college football.
Charlie Strong is fighting for his career: The Texas Longhorns (4-4), defeated previously unbeaten #8 Baylor (6-1) 35-34. There were over 1,000 yards of total offense in this game. Texas RB D’Onta Foreman dominated the Baylor defense for 250 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries. Foreman averaged 7.8 yards per attempt on the day. This was a much-needed win for Strong. There are rumors about his future every day. I like Strong and I think he will turn this program around. The question is… do the Texas alumni have the patience to see it happen?
Clemson rises to the challenge: Two years ago, Florida State had a national championship hangover. Last year, the Ohio State Buckeyes had the same problem. Both teams did not make it back to the championship game. Clemson was on that same path, it almost looked like individuals were playing for their draft status instead of playing for their team. The #2 Tigers defeated #12 FSU 37-34 in Tallahassee, for the first time since 2006. It is only the second time in series history that Clemson has beaten Florida State in two straight years. Deshaun Watson had 430 yards of total offense. The junior quarterback completed 27 of 43 passes for 378 yards with two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. With this win, Watson should be the clear-cut favorite to win the Heisman Trophy.
Is the Big 10 the best conference in the country? Over the past 10 years, the Big 10 Bowl records have been horrendous. The SEC and PAC-12 have clearly been the two best conferences. But all that has changed this year. The PAC-12 has only one legitimate team in their conference #4 Washington. #11 Wisconsin beat #7 Nebraska 23-17 and #2 Michigan beat Michigan State 32-23. The Wolverines (5-0 Big Ten, 8-0 overall) reclaimed the Paul Bunyan Trophy for the first time since 2012. The Spartans have dominated this series over the past 8 years but under Jim Harbaugh, the Wolverines are now a national powerhouse. The Big 10 is deep and talented.
West Virginia is no longer undefeated: The #10 Mountaineers lost on the road to (6-2) Oklahoma State 37-20. This was a classic trap game for WV. After dominating TCU last week at home 34-10 WV looked flat and out of sync against a tough Cowboys team In Stillwater. OSU should be ranked in the top 20 this week. West Virginia’s offense was held to their second-lowest point total of the season. They finished with 421 yards, but the Mountaineers had trouble finishing drives, settling for a pair of red zone field goals. You can’t win consistently if you settle for FG’s in a hostile environment. Good news for the Mountaineers, their next opponent is 1-7 Kansas.
#4 Washington wins on the road against #17 Utah: There is an old saying amongst coaches, “It is better to win ugly than lose pretty.” This wasn’t a classic game by any stretch of the imagination but anytime you can gain a victory in Salt Lake City, in front of a raucous crowd, it is a good win. The Huskies have a clear path to the Pac-12 championship game and a possible College Football Playoff berth. Utah was the last team on the schedule that is currently ranked. If Washington goes undefeated they will be one of the four teams picked to play in the 4-team playoff.
#6 OSU needed a late touchdown to beat Northwestern 24-20. This Buckeyes team has a ton of flaws. I fully expect them to lose to #2 Michigan, the day after Thanksgiving (November 26th) They play Nebraska at home next week.
In a game that no one cared about, #13 Boise State lost to (6-2) Wyoming.
#15 Auburn hammered Ole Miss 40-29 on the road. The Rebels are now 3-5, who would have thought that? The Tigers will move up in the rankings this week and all eyes will be on their matchup with #1 Alabama on November 26th.
#5 Louisville continues to roll. After beating Virginia, 32-25, they are now 7-1. Their only tough game remaining will be at Houston (7-2) Houston on November 17th
Remember: “Life is a competition, act accordingly.”
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