Take a bow, Kenneth Walker III.
There are few words to give justice to the Spartans RB’s performance against rival Michigan in East Lansing on Saturday. He arguably positioned himself as the new Heisman Trophy frontrunner, rushing for 197 yards and 5 TDs—3 coming in the second half when he put the offense on his back en route to a 37-33 win after storming back from a 16-point second-half deficit.
Spartans head coach Mel Tucker still needs to be concerned about the team’s secondary after it allowed 406 passing yards and is now giving up over 300 yards through the air per game. But, at least for another week, Sparty stayed perfect in the standings.
For Jim Harbaugh, this was simply a game he should not have lost. Now, six teams enter the month of November with perfect records. The Wolverines should have been one of them. The offense looked so good in the first half, and QB Cade McNamara had the best game of his career after entering as a question mark because up to this point he had not been asked to do much. But the Wolverines could only muster points on two of their seven second-half drives, and they fell to 2-9 on the road against AP-ranked teams under Harbaugh.
Here is how I stacked up the Top 25 this week:
Note: Due to the workload of my Monday-Friday gig, this is an abbreviated newsletter. Don’t forget the first set of College Football Playoff rankings will be released this Tuesday night.
*To the surprise of no one, top-ranked Georgia basically cemented itself as an entry into this year’s College Football Playoff. Kirby Smart’s squad still has business to take care of before a likely matchup with Alabama in Atlanta on December 4, but this is a team that just eased past Florida 34-7 and should get a playoff berth even with a loss to the Crimson Tide in the SEC title game. The Bulldogs have looked like the best team in the country all season and are the clear favorites to claim the natty.
*What in the world has happened to Iowa? The Hawkeyes had one of the worst offensive halves we have seen in the first 30 minutes of their game at Wisconsin. Since its win over a primarily Sean Clifford-less Penn State squad, Iowa has been outscored 51-14 over the past two games in blowout losses to unranked opponents.
*It’s been a WILD ride for college football fans all across the state of Texas: Steve Sarkisian and the Longhorns are 4–4 after blowing yet another double-digit lead in the second half—the third straight game it’s happened. The defense just wilts over the course of the game. Can UT recover and salvage the first year of the Sark era?…Jimbo Fisher and Texas A&M delivered Alabama its lone loss and gave Nick Saban his first setback against a former assistant, but the Aggies also have losses to Arkansas and Mississippi State, essentially knocking TAMU out of the CFP race very early…Houston is leaving the American Athletic Conference for the Big 12, and the Cougars are coming off of a big win against previously unbeaten SMU, which did not get an invite out of the AAC and into a Power Five league…The American raided Conference USA and added North Texas, Rice and UTSA, which has one of the fastest-rising head coaches in the sport in Jeff Traylor and may find it difficult to keep him in the fold…Speaking of coaches, Texas Tech fired Matt Wells while TCU and Gary Patterson came to a “mutual agreement” to go their separate ways…One school that certainly doesn’t want to lose its head coach is Baylor, which is 7-1 under Dave Aranda, who could be sought by LSU for its head-coaching vacancy…Will Texas State soon be searching for a new program builder? Jake Spavital could be on the outs, while UTEP has gone from the C-USA outhouse to almost the league penthouse at 6-2, though Florida Atlantic held off a late Miners comeback attempt last week that snapped their four-game win streak heading into a showdown with UTSA this week.
*All was not lost after all for Miami (FL) after losing D’Eriq King to a season-ending shoulder injury. It turns out that backup Tyler Van Dyke has potentially emerged as the future at the QB position. In an upset of Pittsburgh, he threw for 426 yards and 3 TDs, and in the team’s past two victories over ranked teams, Van Dyke is completing over 75 percent of his throws with just 1 INT. Can the new QB actually be the key to Manny Diaz keeping his job in Coral Gables?
*Sam Hartman has helped engineer a Wake Forest offense that ranks fifth nationally at 43.4 points per game, which has helped propel the Demon Deacons to an 8-0 start and a spot in the AP Top 10 for the first time in school history. He is surrounded by a ton of weapons at receiver and running back as well as a sound offensive line, but Hartman certainly deserves some Heisman Trophy buzz, which has started to pick up over the last couple of weeks.
Follow me on Twitter @Miller_Dave & email me at firstname.lastname@example.org