What We Learned: Week 8

logoHow did UNC lose to South Carolina?  After Thursday night’s win over Pitt, people wanted to know how this North Carolina team lost to that South Carolina team.  Short answer: South Carolina is better.  Their 3-5 record doesn’t look as nice as North Carolina 7-1 mark, but strength of schedule is everything.  Like I wrote last week, North Carolina, Pitt and Duke’s impressive records were built on the backs of weak competition.

How would North Carolina do against South Carolina’s schedule?  Probably 4-4, maybe 5-3.  UNC isn’t beating Georgia in Athens, LSU in Baton Rouge or Texas A&M in College Station.  They probably win the rest of the games, maybe they lose to Missouri or Kentucky, maybe not.  See what a difference schedule makes?

Duke Lost the ACC Coastal on an Officiating Gaffe.  By now you’ve seen and heard about the missed calls and botched replay at the end of the game Saturday night.  You may not have realized that call may cost Duke the Coastal.

Entering the weekend, North Carolina, Duke and Pitt were in a three way tie for the lead.  The round robin the three teams were going to play was going to determine the division.  Now there’s a wildcard in there.  Now if Duke doesn’t beat North Carolina and Pitt, they’ll be out.  Before splitting the round robin would have all but assured at least a share of the division.

2000px-UGA_logo.svgThis is Georgia.  Things is Athens follow this pattern more often than not.  Talented recruits pour into Georgia.  Off season hype builds, and is later crushed by a loss.  An unexpected loss or another loss or two occurs, and suddenly the sky is falling.  This is where we are right now in the Bulldog cycle.  Next, Georgia will win their remaining games, finish 9-3 and probably get their 10th win in a bowl game.  Everything will be fine again, and people will stop calling for Mark Richt’s head.

Kentucky’s Done.  The Wildcats upset South Carolina and Missouri early in the season.  They lost to Florida, but it was a close game.  Optimism was high when Auburn came to town.  For most of the game a win was within reach, but a crushing loss killed the momentum in Lexington.  The next two weeks Kentucky was blown out by Mississippi State and now Tennessee.  The optimism is gone, and everything is back to mediocre in the Blue Grass state.  Following next weekend’s loss, Kentucky should reel off three more wins to finish 7-5.  Hopes of a program changing season are gone as is the hope of a winning record in conference.

Houston looks good.  Vanderbilt has a good defense.  Perhaps is too strong of a word, but competent is accurate.  Houston put up 34 points on the Commodores.  That may not raise many eyebrows for those who haven’t paid much attention to Vanderbilt, but that is impressive.  Two weeks until the Houston Memphis game.

2000px-Clemson_University_Tiger_Paw_logo.svgClemson’s last test.  There was not Clemsoning in Raleigh.  If the Tigers were going to fall victim to historical mis-steps, last weekend was the time for it to happen.  Despite the game being slightly close in the fourth, the Tigers won, covered the spread and move on to this week’s big game.

Barring some sort of massive upset, it’s difficult to see how anyone left on the Tigers’ schedule can reasonably expect to stop a playoff run.  Florida State goes to Memorial Stadium on Saturday, and they stand as the last obstacle.  Win and the Tigers can start celebrating their playoff appearance.

About Billy Koehler

Billy Koehler is the founder of ThirdDownDraw.com and a contributing writer at DixielandSports.com. He has been covering college football since 2006. You can follow him on twitter @billykoehler.
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