College football Week 4 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 4 Roundup
Winners & Losers From Week 4
Winner: Notre Dame defense
The Fighting Irish defense had a rough second half against Florida State. Other than that, it’s been terrific as it saved the offense’s bacon time and again over the first three games. And then came the date in Chicago with Wisconsin. Notre Dame allowed 240 passing yards, but it picked off Graham Mertz four times and blew the game wide open taking two for scores.
Loser: Notre Dame offense
There’s talent there, and going against the Badger defense isn’t a proper indiction of anything, but the line gave up six sacks, 12 tackles for loss, got QB Jack Coan knocked out of the game, and paved the way for a net total of nine rushing yards.
4-0 is 4-0, and 41-13 is what the score says it is, but a rested Cincinnati is up next. It’s 13th in the nation in scoring defense and second in college football in red zone D.
Winner: WKU QB Bailey Zappe
WKU threw for 1,972 yards and 12 touchdowns in 12 games last season. The team might be 1-2 after losing to Army and Indiana over the last two weeks, but the Houston Baptist transfer has thrown for 1,224 yards and 13 touchdowns in just three games. He pushed IU for three scores and 365 yards in the 33-31 loss.
Loser: Navy’s passing game
It’s the last team in college football to fail to throw a touchdown pass. It’s more than that, though. Army has thrown two touchdown passes, but it leads the nation in passing efficiency. Navy is dead last in the category even with a 4-of-8 day for 98 yards in the 28-20 loss to Houston.
Winner: SMU QB Tanner Mordecai
Mordecai was always that guy that was supposedly in the hunt for the starting Oklahoma quarterback job, but Kyler Murray was Kyler Murray, and some Jalen Hurts guy came in, and then the program brought in Spencer Rattler. Stuck in a backup role, he moved on to SMU.
Through four games, Mordecai leads the nation with 20 touchdown passes, hitting 71% of his throws for 1,268 yards for the 4-0 Mustangs. He threw for four scores in the 42-34 win over TCU on Saturday.
Loser: Oklahoma’s scoring offense
The Sooners might be 4-0, but they only scored 23 points in the win over Nebraska two weeks ago, and beat West Virginia 16-13 on Saturday. Before that, they had never scored fewer than 24 under Lincoln Riley.
The 33-23 loss to Houston to start the 2016 season was the last time OU didn’t get to 24. The middle of 2013 was the last time OU failed to hit 24 in back-to-back regular season games. Kansas State is up next.
NEXT: The really big Week 4 thing was …
The Really Big Week 4 Thing Was …
The ACC is effectively knocked out of the College Football Playoff chase.
No one wanted to come right out and say it, but yeah, that’s it. Clemson is out of the national title hunt even if everything turns around right away.
There rest of the slate isn’t good enough to make up for the 2-2 start.
Now, it’s not finished in the fight for yet another ACC Championship – this is still the league’s most talented team, However, the Clemson Tigers are dead last in the ACC in passing. They’re dead last in yards per completion, passing efficiency, time of possession, scoring offense, total offense, and first downs.
The offensive line isn’t able to pave the way for much – the Tigers are second-to-last in the ACC on the ground – DJ Uiagalelei isn’t getting a whole lot of help, and he’s struggling when the throws are there. And on the other side, the injures are mounting – superstar DT Bryan Bresee is done for the year with a torn ACL.
Still, even with all the problems, the Tigers still battled for a full 60 minutes with what’s becoming a dominant force of a Georgia team, and it took overtime and everything to work right for NC State to slay the dragon on Saturday.
Clemson can certainly flip a switch, and it’s probably going to bounce back over the last two months – at least, it should. But the CFP? Yeah, that’s over because that’s it for the big chances. The playoff has never taken a two-loss team, and there just isn’t anything left on the Tiger slate to make a splash.
Boston College this week and Wake Forest in late November. With no Notre Dame to face, the Eagles and Demon Deacons are as big as it gets the rest of the way.
Combine that with North Carolina losing to Wake Forest, Miami getting kicked out of the CFP hunt almost instantly, and no one likely to get through the rest of the schedule unscathed – Boston College and Wake Forest play each other in the regular season finale – that’s it.
The ACC conference chase is going to be a blast, but it’s not even October and Clemson is out.
NEXT: The most overrated thing was …
The Most Overrated Thing Was …
About 128 college football teams.
On a day of zaniness across the board – more on that in the What It All Means section – Alabama had Southern Miss.
It was hardly anything to get into a sweat over, and America blew off the 63-14 win as Alabama being Alabama, but Oregon struggled for about three quarters against a bad Arizona. Oklahoma didn’t look like a world-beater against West Virginia, Clemson lost, and on and on and on.
Auburn had to pull a rabbit out of its hat to get by Georgia State.
Vanderbilt might be having a few problems, but it’s an SEC program at home against Georgia. The final score was 62-0, and that’s because Georgia didn’t want to make it 162-0.
It was 35-0 in the first 12 minutes.
We’re just about to turn the corner into October, and there are plenty of big matchups coming up soon for both the Crimson Tide and the Dawgs. But for now, the idea of the College Football Playoff seems like it’s going to come down to this.
Was Florida’s chance to convert the two-point conversion a few weeks ago the closest anyone will get to the Crimson Tide? Was a healthy Clemson defense as close as good as it’s going to get against a Georgia team that’s getting better and stronger reach week?
We know who the two best teams in college football are after the first month. Now it’s time to find who else can make it four.
NEXT: The most underrated thing was …
The Most Underrated Thing Was …
Well hello, Texas Longhorns.
We’re about to know just how good Steve Sarksian’s team is over the next few weeks with a trip to TCU up next followed up by the showdown against Oklahoma.
For now, though, we all might be sleeping on a team that could be arriving faster than expected.
Texas was quickly memory-dumped from the national consciousness after a 40-21 loss to Arkansas in Week 2. Okay, whatever, Texas has to rebuild a bit and we’ll see what Sark can put together in 2022, and …
Now, the loss to the Hogs certainly seems more than fine – that might be the most pound-for-pound blocking-and-tackling team going right now.
Also blown off was how Louisiana was a preseason top 25 team, and Texas dropkicked it 38-18 in the opener – the Arkansas loss erased the good vibes from that. The Longhorns bounced back by rolling Rice 58-0 with 620 yards of total offense, but who doesn’t?
That was a nice tune-up, and then came the game against a dangerous Texas Tech team loaded with super-seniors and armed with a rising star pro prospect QB in Tyler Shough.
639 yards and 70 points later, Texas was almost perfectly balanced on offense, the defense came up with a pick six and knocked Shough out of the game, and it was an explosive overall performance with the game over midway through the second quarter.
With Oklahoma struggling to get its groove back and Iowa State totally unable to recapture the magic, this might be when Texas makes a whole lot of noise over the last two months.
Again, though, beat TCU, beat Oklahoma. Then it’ll be time to get fired up.
NEXT: What It All Means: Week 4
What It All Means: Week 4
This was the week college football world went wacky.
It’s become a cliché, but when you least expect it, expect it.
Every season there’s one week that doesn’t seem like it should be much, but all of sudden it turns into something amazing.
Whether it was a case of teams looking ahead to the coming conference seasons, of if there was simply a lack of focus overall, or maybe it’s because there’s more parity, this week was insane – just ask anyone you know who enjoyed investing.
We should’ve known something was coming after Friday night.
Syracuse pulled off a shocker over Liberty to make up for last year’s loss – how some enterprising Orange student didn’t create an Own The Libs t-shirt for the attempted white out is a miss.
Wake Forest destroyed a normally sound Virginia, and a UNLV program that’s done absolutely nothing for years almost got the Fresno State team that shocked UCLA the week before.
And then came Saturday. If you wanted weird, it was for you.
Minnesota had never lost a non-conference game under PJ Fleck – including bowls, and including a dominant performance over Colorado a week after the Buffs almost beat Texas A&M. Bowling Green hadn’t beaten an FBS team since early November of 2019, and that was against a horrendous Akron squad.
The Falcons 14, Gophers 10. It was the first non-conference win over an FBS team for Bowling Green since a trip to Purdue in 2015.
That helped start the day, and for about three quarters late Saturday night, Arizona – who lost to Northern Arizona from the FCS last week – pushed Oregon way too hard before hitting a wall in a 41-19 Duck win.
Wisconsin went from about to take over to an all-time meltdown in a 41-13 loss to Notre Dame.
Arkansas proved it’s for real by beating Texas A&M, Clemson lost to NC State in an overtime thriller, Baylor overcame the 2020 disaster with a win over Iowa State to stay unbeaten, and it didn’t stop there.
Georgia Tech pushed Clemson two weeks ago – but that was supposedly fluky. On Saturday, the Yellow Jackets rolled by North Carolina.
Georgia State had Auburn dead-to-rights, but lost in brutal fashion in the final moments. Colorado State hung around with Iowa, Old Dominion almost got a good Buffalo team, and UConn – possibly the worst team in college football – almost beat Wyoming in a 24-22 fight.
ULM went winless last year – it beat Troy.
Oregon State beat USC. UTEP went to 3-1 with a win over New Mexico. UTSA is 4-0, and Florida State is 0-4. Defending MAC champion Ball State is 1-3, defending Mountain West champ San Jose State is 2-2.
Texas A&M is in trouble, Clemson is done, Wisconsin is gone, USC is a disaster, and in all, nine teams in the preseason top 25 Coaches Poll are no longer ranked.
That’s how you end a September after all but missing the month in 2020.
You’re up, October. Good luck following that.