why college football is awesome - week five

By Simon Carroll

Things start to get serious as conference games hit the schedules in week 5. Si still manages to find some of the more lighthearted moments of last weekend’s action…

MIKE LEACH HAS SOMETHING TO GET OFF HIS CHEST

We start off up in Pullman – always a good place for some CFB entertainment. Fresh off that ridiculous capitulation to UCLA last weekend, Washington State backed it up with a disappointing performance in their defeat to Utah on Saturday. Losing to The Utes is no disgrace – we’ve waxed lyrical about the talent Utah has here at The Touchdown on numerous occasions. But Cougars head coach Mike Leach was far from happy with their meek display. Questioning their resilience, Leach had some choice words for his student athletes:

Let’s face it – Leach hardly has a beach body himself. And he might have gone a little overboard with the words he used in his rant. But calling your own team fat is hilarious. If this is your first time encountering the man, just know he is one of the best things about college football. Here he is deciding which of the PAC-12 mascots would win in a fight:

Let’s hope Leach’s unique motivational speeches hit home. A Washington State football team sticking it to the big boys is a glorious thing to see.

CLEMSON CLING TO VICTORY

Mack Brown feels like a permanent fixture in this weekly article. Not content with two dramatic rivalry games against teams from The Carolinas, The Tar Heels added another nail biter on Saturday. The task couldn’t have been tougher; Dabo Swinney and #1 ranked Clemson coming to town. But Mack has been a head coach since Swinney was in short pants and this game was never going to be a gimme for The Tigers.

North Carolina took the lead and looked good from the start. Even at halftime with the scores level there was a feeling this one could be problematic for Trevor Lawrence & co. A tense second half had Clemson take the lead with just under ten minutes left, but rookie quarterback Sam Howell had plenty left in his locker. A sixteen play drive, with two 3rd down conversions and two 4th down conversions had The Tar Heels at the 1 yard line with just over a minute remaining. Running back Jonathan Williams crashes over the line to send the sky blue faithful into raptures! UNC – a program with just two wins in 2018 – are just an extra point away from tying the game with the best team in the country…

But wait – what’s this?! Old Macky Boy rolls the dice, dials up a two point attempt to keep the ball out of Lawrence’s hands in overtime and tries to steal the victory. A ballsy decision – and without doubt the right one – let down by the play calling of offensive co-ordinator Phil Longo, who dials up an option play that Clemson sniffed out before The Tar Heels had even lined up. A disappointing end to an epic battle – Clemson got away with one on Saturday.

A BLACK DAY IN BLACKSBURG

Duke, without Daniel Jones, are supposed to be rubbish. Now that Danny Dimes is slinging it in The Big Apple the Blue Devils were pegged to revert back to being a basketball school who can upset the apple cart on occasion. Well they certainly did that on Sunday, waltzing into Blacksburg and opening up a can of whoop ass on Virginia Tech 45-10. In reality this game was over by halftime, David Cutcliffe dialling up a cheeky double pass just before the break to put this one to bed:

But enough about Duke. The bigger story here is the demise of Virginia Tech, a storied college football program who must be wondering where the good old days of Frank Beamer have gone. Since Beamer retired at the end of 2015, The Hokies have gone from 10 wins to 9 to 6 and are now 2-2 with two ACC losses and two wins against division two opponents. Justin Fuentes came over as head coach from Memphis with an impressive resume and plenty of optimism but he’s taken this school backwards at an alarming rate. We’re used to seeing the maroon and orange grace the top 25 year in, year out. The defeat on Saturday was their biggest home loss in more than 45 years. Buckle up Hokies fans – it’s going to be a long season.

PUNTERS ARE RUNNERS TOO?

Right. Let’s get to what you guys really came here for. Hands up if you’ve heard of Western Carolina? Yeah, me neither. But it turns out they’ve got a Punter who can use his legs for more than just belting a ball sixty yards downfield. We’re accustomed to seeing a Punter throw the ball on a fake punt, but running it? SIXTY NINE YARDS?! Say hello to Caleb Ferguson folks. But be quick – blink and you’ll miss him:

Full disclosure; Ferguson is actually listed as a running back AND a punter on the depth chart. But that’s not the point. We need more of this tomfoolery in our lives, and you just ain’t going to see Carlos Hyde line up as a Punter on Sundays. Quick tip of the hat to The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga (Terrell Owens alma mater), who decided they didn’t want to spoil the fun by attempting to tackle Ferguson at any point. I mean – the punt returner – what the hell bro? At least PRETEND you’re interested in stopping him.

A WOOF DAY AT THE OFFICE

This week’s five from Si terminates in Auburn Alabama, where Mississippi State visited in an SEC showdown. The South East is famous for it’s hospitality when it comes to college football, and that usually extends to mascots. Bully the bulldog had a different experience on Saturday. They say to keep your head on a swivel in football. I just didn’t realise it applied to canines as well:

To be fair, he took it well. And he did a better job of stopping the running game than Mississippi State did all evening – they allowed 225 yards on the ground as they went down 56-23 to The Tigers. No bulldogs were harmed in the making of this college football game by the way – Bully was checked over and returned to the sideline a few minutes later. It’s quite lucky that Auburn have an Eagle as their gameday mascot and not a Tiger – I don’t think a similar hit would have been quite so well received by a 300kg feline. Something to consider for the Iron Bowl maybe…

Simon

Simon Carroll

CFB/NFL DRAFT EDITOR

previously the founder of nfl draft uk, simon has been covering college football and the nfl draft since 2009. based in manchester, simon is also co-creator & weekly guest of the collapsing pocket podcast.

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