The Pride. Michigan certainly looks different with Jim Harbaugh, don’t they? The Wolverines weren’t supposed to be ranked this year; it was supposed to be the beginning of a rebuilding process. Now Michigan is sky rocketing up the polls behind a defense that refuses to yield points and a Utah loss that is looking more respectable by the day. This week Michigan annihilated Northwestern, which sounds like to good ole days, but was in fact a quality win against a good opponent.
The Shame. It’s tough to call out one team for shaming the conference when all of the teams are playing each other. However, a top 15 team shouldn’t get blown out by anyone, and they shouldn’t get shut out at all. Northwestern, ascendant in the conference no more than a week ago, was blasted by Michigan. The Wildcats managed 38 yards on 25 carries to go with 130 yards passing on 33 attempts, less than 4 yards an attempt.
The Pride. Leonard Fournette. The LSU superstar didn’t make it to 50 yards in the first half against South Carolina, but he made up for it in the second half and finished with 158 yards on 20 carries. That’s not why he’s here though. He’s also gone over 1,000 yards rushing for the season in five games, but that’s not why either. After the game Fournette read remarks he had prepared supporting the victims of flooding in South Carolina. He then announced he would be auctioning off his jersey and donating the proceeds to the same flood victims. Although usually such a gesture wouldn’t be tolerated by he NCAA, they have made an exception here.
The Shame. South Carolina. The Gamecock defense actually played well for times in this game, and at times some Gamecock players showed real fight, but at the end of the day it was another big defeat, this week by 21. After the game Steve Spurrier wasn’t witty, wasn’t angry, wasn’t anything other than sad, which is appropriate given the state of his program. Next week’s game against Vanderbilt could very well determine if the Gamecocks’ season is just bad or becomes an unmitigated disaster.
The Pride. Clemson. The Tigers still have to make it through Florida State to claim the position at the top of the league, but this weekend’s relatively easy dispatch of Georgia Tech was not something all past Clemson teams would have been able to do. In fact, unranked Georgia Tech and their triple option presented an ideal opportunity for the Tigers to Clemson, but they didn’t. November 7th’s game against Florida State may be a play-in game for the Playoff.
The Shame. Syracuse. A week after hanging with LSU for most of the game and posting a respectable 10 point loss, the Orange headed to South Florida to get embarrassed by 21 points. Is the Carrier Dome that big of a home field advantage? How does a team stay within 10 points of a legitimate national championship contender with the presumptive Heisman trophy winner and then lose by three touchdowns to an American Athletic team.
The Pride. Remember when Utah was added to the Pac-12 and everyone sort of wondered why? Remember when it seemed that Urban Meyer represented the pinnacle of what could be accomplished in Salt Lake City? Well perhaps someone should tell the Utes how much they are over-achieving. Fresh off a blow out of Oregon (not by Oregon) Utah managed to beat their second ranked team in as many weeks by forcing 5 Cal interceptions. Expect a 10-0 Utah team to be waiting for UCLA on November 21.
The Shame. Southern Cal. What is going on over there? Is there a more unstable major power than USC? A 42-14 win over Arizona State made it appear things were back on track, or approaching normal, for the Trojans, but this weekend’s home loss to Washington dashed those hopes. Bad play on the field coupled with the news that head coach Steve Sarkisian will be taking a leave of absence is the latest in a bizarre saga that won’t get better soon. Next up are games at Notre Dame, home against Utah and at Cal. That’s not a recipe to get back on your feet.
The Pride. TCU. More than a few highly ranked teams have seen their seasons and national championship hopes dashed in Manhattan by a Bill Snyder coached team. It appeared that 2015 TCU was going to be added to that list, but the Horned Frogs managed to escape. In a weekend where Oklahoma removed itself from the playoff race the Big 12 needs its big teams to avoid upsets.
The Shame. There are plenty of teams who would get blown out by Baylor, but poor Kansas was this week’s victim. The Jayhawks have been so bad that they’ve been the shame of the conference every week. Basketball season can’t come soon enough. In an effort to stop picking on a defenseless bird, this will be the last week Kansas will be here as the shame of the conference. Instead, this section will be re-named Kansasing in honor of the team who most ineptly performs that week.