Sunday Takeaways explores the memorable moments, oddities, trivia and trends from college football’s weekend.
If it’s one of those crazy seasons, a two-loss team could very well be selected for the College Football Playoff semifinals.
Two losses already in September?
So although fine finishes and perhaps conference title contention can’t be ruled out, we’re going to say goodbye to realistic national-championship hopes for eight teams that were ranked in the Associated Press preseason top 25.
No. 3 Oklahoma (1-2) — We wouldn’t be shocked if the Sooners repeat as Big 12 Conference champions, but non-conference losses against Houston and Ohio State, when the Oklahoma defense pulled serious no-shows, effectively sunk any hopes of a CFP semifinal repeat.
No. 5 LSU (2-2) — More than a few observers picked the Tigers to win a national championship, but it’s looking like a square-peg, round-hole kind of year on the Bayou. Things just don’t quite fit. The season-opening loss against Wisconsin looks more palatable as the Badgers flex unexpected muscle, but Saturday’s SEC West loss at Auburn was a crusher.
No. 10 Notre Dame (1-3) — It’s coming apart at the seams following a home loss against Duke. After being outscored in a riveting opener at Texas, then being outmuscled at home against Michigan State, the Fighting Irish are officially out of answers after watching the Blue Devils celebrate in the shadow of Touchdown Jesus.
No. 11 Ole Miss (2-2) — Even after Saturday’s much-needed bounce-back win against Georgia, it can’t negate losses against Florida State and Alabama, when the Rebels surrendered leads of 22 and 21 points. Ouch!
No. 16 UCLA (2-2) — The Bruins could very well be 4-0 had the football bounced a bit differently. It did not. So UCLA must find a way to rebound from narrow defeats against Texas A&M and Stanford.
No. 20 USC (1-3) — A bitter, final-minute defeat at Utah might have sealed a lost season for the Trojans, who desperately needed to recover from losses against Alabama and Stanford. Now the Trojans are teetering in dangerous territory while playing a rugged schedule.
No. 21 Oklahoma State (2-2) — The Cowboys were beaten at Baylor, watching the game turn for the worse on a fourth-quarter fumble near the goal line. We know what you’re thinking. The controversial loss against Central Michigan should’ve been a victory. You’re right… but in the record books, it’s a defeat, so the Cowboys are done.
No. 24 Oregon (2-2) — The Ducks have been undone by an injury to running back Royce Freeman. No doubt he would’ve made a difference in three-point defeats against Nebraska and Colorado.
TEAM OF THE DAY: The Wisconsin Badgers are 4-0. Nobody saw that coming, especially because Wisconsin just doesn’t do style points, but the Badgers are brutally effective with a physical style of football. Michigan State came in with big momentum, but Wisconsin subdued the Spartans, 30-6.
Next Saturday, it’s Wisconsin at Michigan, a big moment in the Big Ten Conference’s early race.
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) September 25, 2016
CATCH OF THE DAY: Speaking of Oregon, Colorado surged ahead in its 41-38 victory on a 31-yard touchdown pass from QB Steven Montez to receiver Bryce Bobo, who leaped at the goal line and pulled in the third-and-10 toss with his Velcro-like right hand. It highlighted Colorado’s first football win against Oregon since the 1998 Aloha Bowl and was probably the Buffaloes’ most significant moment since joining the Pac-12. (They entered this game with a 5-40 conference record.)
(ALMOST) CATCH OF THE DAY: It appeared that LSU pulled out a riveting 19-18 win at Auburn on a final-play touchdown pass from QB Danny Etling to receiver D.J. Chark, but the play came off a penalty. As Etling walked to the line with one second remaining, officials wound the clock. Etling couldn’t get the snap before the clock expired. After an official review, it was ruled no play. Auburn won 18-13.
PASSER OF THE DAY: Louisville QB Lamar Jackson. Of course. In a 59-28 win against the Marshall Thundering Herd, Jackson had 417 yards passing and five touchdowns. It’s always fun to check out Jackson’s obscene season totals: 1,301 passing yards (13 touchdowns) and 510 rushing yards (12 touchdowns), although he has only played 11 quarters.
Note: Jackson is on pace to produce 75 touchdowns during the regular season.
Another note: Louisville is at Clemson next Saturday night.
RUNNER OF THE DAY: Florida State RB Dalvin Cook, who had 228 yards in the Seminoles’ first three games, raced for a career-high 267 yards in a 55-35 win against the South Florida Bulls. Cook had 266 yards in last season’s game against USF.
RECEIVER OF THE DAY: Syracuse WR Amba Etta-Tawo, who had 12 receptions for a school-record 270 yards in a 31-24 victory against Connecticut. Etta-Tawo, a graduate transfer from Maryland, had a previous season high of 500 yards. He’s now on pace for a 2,118-yard season, which would break the Football Bowl Subdivision record of 2,060 yards by Nevada’s Trevor Insley in 1999.
COMEBACK OF THE DAY: Tennessee ran out 38 unanswered points, rallying for a 38-28 victory against the Florida Gators, ending an 11-game losing streak against its SEC East rival. The Volunteers outgained the Gators 154 yards to 8 in the third quarter.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We looked on the other side and knew we had them beat, really. We just took their soul.’’ — Tennessee safety Todd Kelly Jr. on the comeback against Florida.