Week 10 Tales
Quite a weekend of college football!
Week 10 didn’t look like it would be great on paper but it ended up a wild week with two top 10 teams falling and three others having real scares. Plus there’s even more potential coaching carousel moves afoot and only one team has really looked impressive enough week-in and week-out to be called a national title contender. Here’s our Tales emerging from Week 10:
Does everyone stink?…It appears that with the notable exception of the Georgia Bulldogs, every other top level college football team is prone to playing with their food, losing or struggling with inferior competition or, at best, inconsistent in performance. Michigan State and Wake Forest both went down after debuting in the top 10. Those were not probably as surprising as Alabama having to sweat out LSU throwing into their end zone on the final play to Ohio State being on the ropes at Nebraska to Cincinnati having to turn back Tulsa 7 times inside their 10, the top teams, it was a tough road for playoff contenders. Baylor and Kentucky also went down. The only top 10-12 teams that looked impressive other than Georgia were Notre Dame and Michigan who played pretty bad teams and Oklahoma (who didn’t actually play).
The Coaching Carousel is already spinning wildly, may be about to go into orbit …We’ve already got USC, LSU and mid-tier P5 jobs like Texas Tech, Washington State and TCU open. Virginia Tech seems almost certain to open and while Manny Diaz at Miami seems to be winning his way off the list - and Nebraska just announced they are keeping Scott Frost with a restructured contract - but now we have Florida and Dan Mullen sitting at 4-5 after an embarrassing blowout loss to South Carolina, the Gators fourth loss in five games. Chances of this job opening – which would rival USC and LSU for top opening – have dramatically improved, although the schedule sets up for Florida to close on a three game winning streak. For Mullen’s sake, they better. Jimmy Lake and Washington could be a possible divorce too (see my coaching performance rankings below) Between that and several other G5 jobs open, it’s getting wild out there!
Best Game of the Week:
North Carolina 58 – Wake Forest 55 – a 14 point comeback late in the fourth quarter by the Tar Heels sent the Demon Deacons to a tough defeat. If you love defense, this was NOT the game for you but it was a high-flying shootout. Hard to believe that beating Wake Forest initiated a field-storming by North Carolina fans…but that’s what 2021 has brought us.
Top 3 Coaching Performances of Week 10:
Jeff Brohm - Purdue: For the second time this year, the Boilermakers took down a top 4 team, both times in relatively convincing fashion. Purdue had Michigan State bamboozled for a large portion of this game, going up and down the field. Purdue at 6-3 is looking like a team that will be in a pretty good Florida bowl at the end of the season and Brohm may show up on a lot more coaching search lists.
Jerry Kill - TCU: Imagine taking over a team that’s lost three games in a row and just fired its legendary 22-year coach? Kill – who had had some success in a previous stop in Minnesota – got the Frogs organized and took down one of their biggest rivals, #12 Baylor in a great game in Fort Worth. Kudos to Kill.
Shane Beamer – South Carolina: Flu concerns for Florida aside, anytime South Carolina beats the Gators by 23 points it’s cause for celebration. That the Gamecocks were supposed to be AWFUL this year and are actually positioned to possibly go to a minor bowl is a…minor miracle. If Beamer can build on this season with good recruiting, South Carolina may be able to get back to mid-tier SEC status sooner than expected.
Honorable Mention: Josh Heupel, Tennessee, Andy Avalos, Boise State, Bret Bielema, Illinois
Worst 3 Coaching Performances of Week 10:
Dan Mullen – Florida: Things are not looking good in Gainesville after a disastrous 40-17 loss at South Carolina. Mullen keeps digging himself deeper in this disappointing season – even though, in fairness, the Gators were missing a bunch of players because of a flu outbreak. From his dismissive comments on recruiting to the bad results on the field, Mullen is on a real hot seat which was unthinkable 6 weeks ago.
Jimmy Lake – Washington: 3 and a half quarters through the Oregon game, Lake was not going to be on this list. The Huskies gave the Ducks all they could handle as big underdogs. But an altercation with a player on the sideline followed by a give up punt down 8 with 1:50 to go and only two timeouts (followed by a disaster bad snap to give up a safety) soured any good feelings here. Lake has now fired the offensive coordinator he never should’ve hired but he himself may be in trouble just two years in.
P.J. Fleck - Minnesota: I love P.J. – but you can’t lose to Illinois at home in a situation where you can stay on top of the Big 10 West. Just can’t…definitely not only score 6 points. Rough loss for the Gophers, especially after also gacking it against Bowling Green earlier in the year.
Dishonorable Mention: Walt Bell, UMass, Steve Sarkisian, Texas, Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech
Tune in later this week for my Top 10 Most Meaningful Matchups of Week 11. As always, if you’re interested in only the finest takes on college football and other sports, follow me on Twitter @ReadyCFB.