Saturday’s college football action was the epitome of what college football is all about. A lot happened, so let’s catch up on all of the important headlines.
We Got Bama
The highlight of the day was surely LSU’s win over Alabama. The Tigers snapped their eight-game losing streak in head-to-head games against the Crimson Tide. It’s also safe to say that both teams have come a long way since LSU’s last win over Alabama, which ended 9-6.
This time around, the Tigers won a 46-41 shootout, with Joe Burrow continuing to state his case for the Heisman. More importantly, the win puts the Tigers on track to reach the SEC Championship Game while the Crimson Tide will need a little help reaching the College Football Playoff as a one-loss team that probably won’t play in its conference championship game.
Fear the Mighty Gopher
In breaking news, the Minnesota Golden Gophers might actually be for real. The Gophers knocked off No. 4 Penn State 31-26 in Saturday’s other battle of unbeaten teams. Minnesota is now 9-0 for the first time since 1904. The catch is they still have to play both Iowa and Wisconsin and will need to beat at least one of them to secure a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game.
Meanwhile, Penn State is still alive for a spot in the Big Ten title game if it can beat Ohio State in two weeks. However, their path to the CFP is a little less clear.
Shocking, Not Shocking
Elsewhere in the Big Ten, Ohio State rolled Maryland 73-14. However, the real story was the absence of defensive end Chase Young, who has emerged as a darkhorse Heisman candidate.
The Buckeyes held out Young in anticipation of a suspension from the NCAA after Young admitted to accepting a loan from a family friend. Ohio State anticipates a four-game suspension, which would keep Young out for the rest of the regular season, including massive games against Penn State and Michigan. Of course, only in the eyes of the NCAA is accepting a loan from a family friend a crime.
Survive and Advance
While Alabama and Penn State are no longer undefeated, Baylor still is. The Bears had another close call on Saturday, needing a 51-yard field goal in the closing seconds to force overtime and then beating TCU 29-23 in triple overtime.
Baylor is now 9-0 and still in the mix for a CFP spot. Of course, the Bears play perhaps their two most difficult games the next two weeks against Oklahoma and Texas, although Baylor plays both games at home.
Patience Pays Off
It’d be wrong not to give a little love to Lovie Smith and Illinois. The Fighting Illini were 9-27 in Smith’s first three seasons at the school, a record that would get most coaches fired. But Illinois showed faith and patience, which have now been rewarded.
Illinois trailed Michigan State 28-3 midway through the second quarter on Saturday. But they came storming back, outscoring the Spartans on the road 27-6 in the second half to win 37-34. It’s the Illini’s fourth straight win and sixth win of the season, sending them to a bowl game after starting the season 2-4. It also makes Illinois a good case study for schools being patient with good coaches like Smith.