By Phil Rodriguez
Ohio State’s defense
Man, that game was ugly. As a Sooner fan, it’s hard to even think back on it to write about in a professional sense, but oh well. After OU backup quarterback Austin Kendall referred to Ohio State’s vaunted defense as “basic,” saying that starting QB Baker Mayfield would “light them up” they came out with a proverbial fire lit under them. They stayed focused on the target on Mayfield’s back, making him panic throughout the entire game, forcing him to throw 2 interceptions and hitting him frequently. Although it was the offense racking up yards and points in a 45-24 win, it was the defensive effort that sealed the deal for the Buckeyes.
Really, dude? Take Trent Dilfer’s poorly timed advice to backup quarterbacks (yeah, Google that one) to heart and sit down and shut up. It’s one thing to insult an incredibly talented defense, but to do so in a way that implicates a guy above you on the depth chart is just dumb and uncalled for. Mayfield had enough respect for OSU’s defense to keep his mouth shut, and Kendall would have been wise to follow his lead.
During Baylor’s visiting game at Rice, the famous Marching Owl Band made light of Baylor’s massive mishandling of sexual assault allegations against players on the team. The band initially got into formation as the Roman numeral for 9, clearly referring to Title IX, the statute directly referencing allegations of sexual abuse on college campuses. The band then formed a star, referencing Baylor president Kenneth Starr. As the band broke into “Hit the Road, Jack,” Rice’s announcer then reminded the crowd that Starr famously said he would not investigate former Baylor football coach Art Briles, who was implicated as failing to report allegations of sexual abuse against his players. The video and a better explanation from the Texas Observer can be found here: https://www.texasobserver.org/rice-versus-baylor-band-title-ix/
Lamar Jackson QB Louisville
Not so much of an overachiever at this point, because with what we’ve seen of Jackson so far this season, his performance against Florida State looked about par for the course. But there’s no denying that few expected this much out of Lamar Jackson, who at this point has to be far and away the Heisman frontrunner. Jackson hit 13 of 20 passes for 216 yards and a touchdown against 2nd ranked Florida State, with additional 146 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground on 17 carries.
Dalvin Cook RB Florida State:
Cook hasn’t looked himself this season, rarely breaking off the long runs we’re so used to seeing from him. He was hounded by hamstring issues last year, yet managed to grab more than 1600 yards, averaging 7.4 yards per carry as he finished 6th in all of college football in rushing. This year, he’s barely managing 4.5 yards a carry, and could only manage 16 carries for 54 yards and no scores against Louisville. Both Cook and Florida State look to be much less than we expected in 2016.
Games of the Week
Stanford at UCLA
Last year’s Heisman runner-up Christian McCaffrey leads the 7th ranked Cardinal into dangerous territory, as they take on the unranked UCLA Bruins in Los Angeles. Quarterback Josh Rosen and the Bruins offense haven’t quite done as well as many expected this season, but Stanford must be on their game to avoid an upset by their SoCal rivals.
Prediction: Stanford 27 UCLA 17
Phil’s “No Frills” Lock of the Week:
Wisconsin at Michigan state
The 11th ranked Wisconsin Badgers and 8th ranked Michigan State Spartans will reignite an old rivalry that hasn’t been played in 4 years when they meet in East Lansing on Saturday. The Badgers will start redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook at quarterback after a strong relief performance against Georgia State. He’ll face a Michigan State defense that’s looked strong against the run, but suspect against the pass.
Prediction: Wisconsin 27 Michigan State 26