Every week is a test in college football, and some teams passed theirs with flying colors this afternoon. Others...well, did not. Here are five things we've learned so far today:
Charlie Strong is firmly on the hot seat
The seat of Charlie Strong is on fire and growing hotter with each game. The Texas Longhorns are 1-6 in their last seven games, and each one has been embarrassing. Games against Notre Dame, Arkansas, and TCU (twice) feature an offense that resembled a dumpster fire. Losses to California and Oklahoma State featured awful defensive efforts (which was supposed to be Strong's strength), along with plenty of physical and mental mistakes.
None of those mistakes was more unacceptable than Strong's 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty for arguing a questionable defensive holding call late in their loss to the Cowboys. The flag put Oklahoma State in field goal position with under two minutes to play. The Cowboys won the game after a fumbled punt on Texas' last possession led to field goal. That special teams miscue came a week after Texas shanked an extra point late in the fourth quarter that would have tied the game.
It's tough to blame the special teams mistakes on Strong, but penalties are often directly attributable to coaching. Texas committed 16 penalties for 128 yards against Oklahoma State - more yards than the Longhorns had passing.
Strong has the worst winning percentage in the history of Texas football, and the heat will always be on you when that's the case and your team isn't showing any improvement.
TCU's demise was greatly exaggerated
TCU started the season ranked second in the country, but fell to No. 3, then in a tie for No. 3, then dropped to their current No. 4 ranking in consecutive weeks thanks to unimpressive victories against Stephen F. Austin, SMU, and Texas Tech. Many were starting to think that the Horned Frogs were overrated, but this blowout victory over Texas should change their image.
Sure, Texas is struggling, but the Longhorns nearly knocked off an undefeated Cal team and a ranked Oklahoma State squad in the two weeks leading up to this game, adding to the impressiveness of this win for TCU.
Baker Mayfield is a true Heisman candidate
Mayfield had to beat out Trevor Knight to win the starting job for the Sooners, but he's taken the opportunity and run with it. He has mastered offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley's spread up-tempo system and has routinely gashed Oklahoma's opponents, racking up 1,082 passing yards and 10 touchdowns to go along with 139 rushing yards and four more touchdowns. The numbers are certainly there for Mayfieldm and he led a thrilling comeback victory over Tennessee on the road. Mayfield is starting to gain more and more national notoriety, and as he continues to put up big numbers in big games, his stock will rise even higher. Don't be surprised if Mayfield ends up in New York at the end of the season.
Michigan State is not the second-best team in the country
Yes, the Spartans 24-21 win over an awful Purdue team wasn't pretty, but Michigan State's struggles go further than that.
The Spartans have perhaps the biggest victory of any team this season with a home win over Oregon, but the Ducks were starting a quarterback who had only been with the team for a month and was playing with a broken finger. That victory had carried them to a lofty ranking despite less-than-impressive wins over lowly Western Michigan (37-24) and Air Force (35-21).
Their usually stout defense ranks just 70th in the country in points allowed per game, and their offense ranks just 73rd in the country - far from elite numbers. The near-loss to Purdue is alarming, but their season-long struggle to dominate bad teams is even more troublesome.
Michigan's defensive dominance can not be overstated
I've raved about Michigan's defense each of the past few weeks, and rightfully so, but they continue to amaze me. The Wolverines put up their best performance to date, limiting Maryland to just six first downs, one third-down conversion, and 105 total yards of offense in their second straight shutout. Michigan was ranked No. 2 in the country in total defense coming into this game, but make no mistake about it - the Wolverines have the best defense in the country.Back to the NCAA Newsfeed
Related Topics: Michigan Wolverines Football, College Football, Oklahoma Sooners Football, NCAA Football, TCU Horned Frogs Football, Michigan State Spartans Football, Texas Longhorns Football, Baker Mayfield, Charlie Strong