Every Monday at noon, Luke Carlton will post an easily digestible recap of the weekend’s top news and what it means moving forward.
There were so many great storylines in a game with a wild finish that will ultimately be remembered for the wrong reasons.
Take a second to realize that in back-to-back-to-back weeks, we’ve had games finish on a fumbled punt snap, a blocked field goal return and now, a lateral laden kick return for a touchdown.
Now, credit where it’s due to Miami, but as everyone is now aware, the play shouldn’t have stood.
The crew has since been suspended for two games, but that won’t give Duke their undefeated record in conference play back.
The game had many storylines to begin with, as Miami started life without Al Golden. Duke was looking to keep pace with rival North Carolina heading into a big game this Saturday that could potentially decide the ACC Coastal.
But it was that of an officiating error that stole the show on yet another walk off special teams return.
2. Let’s talk about Josh Doctson.
Specifically, let’s talk about Josh Doctson since week two.
In the last six games, Doctson is averaging just under 10 catches per game. He’s averaging 182 receiving yards per game and has 13 touchdowns to his name.
He leads the nation in receiving yards by 128 yards. He’s second in the nation in touchdowns with 14, behind only the equally ridiculous Coleman.
In the last six games alone, Doctson’s 59 receptions would be good enough for 15th most in the country.
His 1,095 yards would leave him second in the nation.
His 13 touchdowns would also place him second in the nation.
TCU is hitting form at just the right time, and Sonny Cumbie and Doug Meacham are getting the ball to Josh Doctson. Which is great because, at the time of writing, defenses still can’t stop Josh Doctson.
3. End of an era at Virginia Tech
The 2015 season is one that will go down in history for so many reasons.
We’ve had incredible finishes. We’ve had record-breaking performances.
But in the midst of all this madness, the year 2015 holds special significance, as we see the departure of two of the best college football coaches of all time from the game.
The longest tenured head coach in college football set up his stall in Blacksburg, Virginia in December of 1986. The nation was bouncing to the tune of “Walk Like An Egyptian” by Bangles.
We were watching a new TV show called The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Gas was $0.93 per gallon.
The Virginia Tech Hokies were readying themselves for a the final game of Bob Dooley’s reign, a reign that saw the program and university left in huge debt.
By today’s standard, Beamer would have been fired after his first six years only yielded 24 wins. But the administration at Virginia Tech held their faith, and was rewarded with 22 straight winning seasons.
For many people, we’ve grown up on Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech.
For anybody under the age of 30, the only head coach we remember seeing at Virginia Tech is Beamer.
4. Mark Richt’s seat is getting hotter.
Mark Richt is a great football coach. His record speaks for itself.
But Georgia might need some new blood.
The Bulldogs look lifeless. They look like a team that lost all sense of direction after Nick Chubb’s injury. They look like a team without motivation.
Since starting 4-0 (Against an FCS team and three FBS teams with a now combined record of 7-17), the Bulldogs are 1-3. Nothing about them looks dangerous. Nothing about them strikes fear in opponents.
In regards to quarterbacks, they failed to prepare for the inevitable departure of Hutson Mason. Through recruiting, they have set themselves up poorly and have paid the price for leaving all the eggs in the basket of Nick Chubb.
While Alabama needed time to get Jake Coker acclimated, he is solidly in place as the Crimson Tide’s starting quarterback and looking comfortable doing so.
Georgia is still trying to find theirs. They are about to play their ninth game of the season.
Off the back of consecutive losses to the Gators in Jacksonville, the Bulldogs have four games remaining, needing just one win to reach a bowl game.
A home game against Kentucky should do the trick, but is far from a gimme.
They then travel to a quietly improved Auburn, who will be eager to get payback for an embarrassing loss last year that put their playoff hopes to bed.
Then comes Georgia Southern, as big a trap game as any. Just ask Florida how dangerous the Eagles can be.
Then one last game against Georgia Tech, who’re always up for the game and have shown a blatant disregard to playing like the 2015 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets when playing good teams (see State, Florida).
It’s conceivable that Georgia goes 2-2 in these four games, leaving them at a less than convincing 7-5 and a mediocre bowl game. Is that enough to bring back Richt? We question if Georgia fans will be okay with another 10-win season, but how about a seven-win season?
Richt is firmly on the hot seat, and it’ll only get hotter if he can’t correct this sinking ship.
5. It’s a Big 12 month
Kudos to the schedulers; November belongs to the Big 12, with quality matchups all round.
Thursday sees undefeated Baylor head to Manhattan, Kansas under the new leadership of five-star freshman Jarrett Stidham, while Saturday sees a battle of the undefeated, with TCU heading up to Stillwater, OK to face the Cowboys of Oklahoma State.
Week 11 sees Oklahoma head down to McLane Stadium to face off against Baylor. A loss from Oklahoma almost certainly removes them from the playoff picture and from a Big 12 Championship.
Week 12 brings us the penultimate challenge, with Oklahoma welcoming TCU and Oklahoma State welcoming Baylor.
Then three days of action kicks off on Thanksgiving night, with Texas Tech travelling across the Lone Star state to Austin to face the Longhorns.
The very next day sees the most anticipated rematch of the 2015 season. Baylor takes the short trip up I-35W to Fort Worth in what could potentially decide the Big 12. This rivalry that isn’t quite a rivalry but definitely is a rivalry finished 61-58 last year, sees two of the best receivers on two of the highest scoring teams in the country going at it in what is sure to be a contender for game of the year.
Not to be outdone, the last weekend of November features the Oklahoma State Cowboys looking for back-to-back victories over their in-state rivals Oklahoma for the first time since 2002.
6. Let’s talk about the G5
November sees crunch time arrive to the G5 conferences.
A quick stop by the Mountain West shows it’s really San Diego State and Boise State’s to lose. Air Force can spoil the party with a win over Boise State in three weeks' time, but it seems the Broncos' loss to Utah State won’t be too damaging.
The #FunBelt is decided this weekend, as 5-3 Arkansas State travel to 7-1 Appalachian State. Both teams are 4-0 in conference play.
Now we head to the conferences where it’s still all to play for.
Conference USA has been largely disappointing this year, with just four of the 13 teams over the .500 mark. But those four teams are split up into two divisions, and just so happen to play each other on the last week of the season.
The East will be decided on Friday 27th November when 8-1 Marshall travel to 7-2 Western Kentucky. It’s well worth remembering that the Hilltoppers were the team dealt Marshall their only loss last year, a 67-66 OT barnstormer.
The West is decided a day later, where former bottom dwellers Southern Miss head to Louisiana Tech. Head Coach Todd Monken has turned the Golden Eagles around in three years, going 1-11 in his first year to 6-3 currently.
Skip Holtz continues his three-year mission and is surely a contender for some lower level P5 jobs bound to be opening up shortly.
Now onto the American, where the East is Temple’s to lose.
The West is where the intrigue lies. #15 Memphis faces off against #18 Houston in two weeks' time, but the small matter of a 6-1 Navy stands in Memphis’ way of entering that game undefeated.
Under quarterback Keenan Reynolds, Navy has quietly brushed aside all but Notre Dame this season. Reynolds, who is currently tied with Montee Ball for most rushing touchdowns in NCAA history, is looking to break the record this weekend, as well as the championship hopes of Memphis.
And last but not least, we head up to the MAC, where Midweek #MACtion is well underway.
As the leader in the MAC, Toledo looks to run the gauntlet against the four next best teams over the next four weeks.
Trips to 5-3 Central Michigan and the MAC East leaders Bowling Green State are sandwiched between home games versus 5-3 Northern Illinois and Western Michigan and sandwiched. Should Toledo run the table, they’ll most likely face Bowling Green State in the championship game, as long as the Falcons discard of Ohio this week.
7. Oregon looked like Oregon again.
Scoring a ton of points? Check.
Conceding a ton of points? Check.
Yup, Oregon is back to being Oregon.
In what turned out to be a great match, Oregon scored with 12 seconds left of the clock to take their game with Arizona State to overtime.
The #Pac12AfterDark game might not have been seen by many, but it should have. Oregon’s offense was looking the way it should do with Vernon Adams Jr. bringing a respected passing game to the offense, something Jeff Lockie hasn’t been able to provide.
Well out of the playoff picture, Oregon is just playing out the rest of the season, trying to salvage a good record. At 5-3 with four games remaining, they’ll be in a bowl game, and have nothing to lose.
An Oregon with nothing to lose makes an Oregon that is somehow more fun to watch. They face Cal in another #Pac12AfterDark game on Saturday.
8. Clemson are just one game away from the ACC Championship Game.
And they’re two away from the playoffs.
This weekend’s game against Florida State was looking better when Florida State was undefeated, but Team Chaos had other thoughts.
But now, Clemson faces a challenge from a Florida State team that knows their only chance at getting into the ACC Championship game is by travelling to Death Valley and beating the #3 team in the country.
As much as Clemson will deny, there has to be a sense of anxiety creeping into the players. Year in and year out, Clemson have gotten themselves into a position where they control their own destiny, only to let it slip away.
In 2014, it was at Georgia Tech.
2013 saw them fall heavily to Florida State.
Clemson led Florida State by 14 in 2012 before losing 49-37.
In 2011, it was Georgia Tech who sent an 8-0 Clemson off of their National Championship path.
Whether you believe in this Clemson team or not, the last time Clemson beat both Georgia Tech and Florida State in the same season was 2006.
Clemson is 43-7 in ACC regular season games not against Georgia Tech and Florida State since 2007
Clemson is 7-10 in ACC regular season games against Florida State and Georgia Tech since 2007.
If Clemson beats Florida State this Saturday, it is a huge win. Not just for the team this year, but for the entire program at large. It’s a Monkey off their back moment.
However, they have to beat the Seminoles to remove that Monkey.
9. J.T. Barrett’s arrest is unfortunate. His suspension is too.
Let me start out by saying this is not an attack on J.T. Barrett. He made a mistake and I’m sure he knows this.
This is more of an open question towards college football and their suspensions.
Just two weeks after a horrific incident involving a drunk driver at Oklahoma State resulting in four fatalities, it seems inherently clear that college football programs do not see drink driving offenses as ones of great severity, including Oklahoma State themselves.
Whether it is OVI, DUI or DWI, there is still a young person in a car while intoxicated. This is a dangerous situation, where you are not entirely aware or responsible for your actions.
As Jason Priestas of Eleven Warriors points out, one-game suspensions seem to be the standard for drink driving related offenses. This includes Oklahoma State’s Jhauan Seales, who received a one game suspension for a DUI.
But why? Regardless of individual history, is it right to give a slap on the wrist suspension for doing something that, according to the CDC, results in almost 30 deaths per day?
Whether it’s down to needing these players back playing to win games and protect their own jobs or just a disregard for the severity of these incidents, drink driving related offenses are being punished less than the officials in the Duke-Miami game have been for blowing a call.
Once again, this isn’t aimed specifically at J.T. Barrett and Ohio State. This is just a call for all of college football to take a step back and re-evaluate their suspension policy.
10. North Carolina lost to South Carolina and is leading the race in the ACC Coastal
The Tar Heels are in the driving seat of the ACC Coastal. They’d be undefeated and somewhere around the top 10 if they hadn’t of lost to South Carolina to open the season.
South Carolina is now without a head coach and sits at 3-5.
The Tar Heels went on the road to fellow Coastal frontrunners Pitt and walked out of Heinz Field with a win. Marquise Williams threw two second quarter touchdowns as North Carolina went into the break with a 17-point lead.
The Tar Heels aren’t leading the nation in anything, but they’re above average in everything. It is team football at it’s finest. And now, a game against Duke might just decide who goes to the ACC title game in something other than Basketball.
The Blue Devils are bound to be agitated from being robbed against Miami. Throw in the atmosphere of it being a rivalry game and what’s at stake for North Carolina and to going to be a fierce battle between the two.
For North Carolina, it’s their chance at securing their first ever ACC Championship Game appearance. For Duke, it’s doing their bit to attempt to prevent North Carolina from reaching their first ever ACC Championship Game appearance, before facing off against Pitt one week later.