All the talk about injuries and some holes on the defensive side of the ball did not show against a tough UCLA team. The Ducks forced 3 turnovers (also gave 3 away), to the Bruins. Kayvon Thibodeaux was a wrecking machine having two sacks and a forced fumble on the day. When he is on the field opposing offenses need to pull resources to help stop him, which exposes other parts of the offense. The Oregon Ducks are looking good, and now are the true front-runner to win the Pac-12.
For the past seven years, Pat Narduzzi has had Pitt on the cusp of being a good team failing to ever record 9 wins in a season. This will be the year Pitt might finally turn the corner and find themselves in a New Years Six bowl. Clemson still has an elite defense and Panthers quarterback Kenny Pickett looked great going 25-39 for 302 yards and two touchdowns. Pickett has been at Pitt for what seems like forever. He is having an absolutely stellar year, and the Pitt Panthers are rolling.
The Cyclones were supposed to be the team to knock off Oklahoma in the Big-12. Matt Cambell’s crew had a rough go-around to start the year losing to rival Iowa and Baylor. As the season moves forward Baylor is looking like a better team than originally thought, and Iowa is still a great team despite a loss to Purdue. Oklahoma State came into Ames undefeated and was handed a loss to the Cyclones. A lot of people have counted out Iowa State, but with only 1 conference loss they can still run the table in the Big-12.
The bye week looked to have come at the perfect time for the Nittany Lions. Suffered a close loss to Iowa, where their quarterback Sean Clifford left at the start of the second quarter. It surprised many fans to see Clifford start against Illinois. After an embarrassing loss to Illinois, fans might be thinking if that was the right choice. Clifford was clearly limited in his ability to run the football. He couldn’t turn upfield as he did on a few first downs against Iowa in the first quarter. Penn State’s thin defensive line (lost 3 projected starters) got exposed by Illinois “jumbo sets”. Penn State’s defense did all it could though, only allowing 10 points in regulation, but a one-dimensional offense stopped any momentum in its tracks. Penn State lost its chance at a Big Ten chance to the Fighting Illini on Saturday, but James Franklin needs to right the ship before this once-promising season sinks faster than the titanic.
The Wolfpack were looking like the front runner to win the ACC, now that Clemson is in a bit of a rebuilding mode. The Wolfpack had to go on the road to play a Miami, team that is in some major turmoil. Quarterback Devin Leary had an average day but the inability to convert on third down (3-14) was a giant factor in NC State’s struggles. Hurricane’s hold on in a win to try and salvage a season, and NC State needs to regroup to get back into the ACC title race.
Over the past 10 years, College Football fans can’t seem to find the answer to this question. “How good is Utah?”. Sometimes the Utes look like they can potentially win the Pac-12, other times they look like they did on Saturday. They couldn’t seem to stop Oregon State when it mattered the most. The offense still looks good, but can Kyle Whittingham turn this defense around, and make a run at a solid bowl game this year.