Where to begin in looking back to last week’s results?
Normally that would be an easy question to answer after Texas lost to Kansas — yes, Kansas — to extend its losing streak to five. The last time the Longhorns had a losing streak this long was 15 Bevos ago.
But a bad team losing to a worse team was overshadowed by some bizarre in-game coaching that contributed to losses, most notably by Penn State’s James Franklin and Miami’s Manny Diaz. It’s nothing new for either one, but it underscores how good college coaches at the Power 5 level are more scarce than ever.
For some reason, Franklin’s name is being floated for other jobs even though he is 10-9 the past two years with an experienced quarterback and an established program. It’s at the point now where Penn State might build a statue in Franklin’s honor — just so they can tear it down.
Virginia Tech’s Justin Fuente became the latest coaching casualty in a season already teeming with interim guys taking over. Fuente continues a trend that has seen former successful AAC coaches become busts at Power 5 jobs, joining a list that includes Tom Herman, Scott Frost, Chad Morris and Willie Taggart. The jury is still out on Mike Norvell, Geoff Collins and Josh Heupel.
As for what’s ahead this week, what exactly does 10-0 Cincinnati have to do to crack the top four of the playoff rankings?
Time is running out and the Bearcats need to make a move. Up next is 8-2 SMU on Saturday at Nippert Stadium.
On to the games:
CINCINNATI over Smu, giving 11 1/2
The Bearcats need to make an impression. What better way to do that than against 8-2 SMU in the final home game for Cincy’s 32 seniors on ESPN? That group of seniors includes QB Desmond Ridder, who is 24-0 at home as a starter. Mustangs ended a two-game losing streak by beating UCF last week, with both of their losses this year coming on the road. They’re pretty much a one-dimensional team — QB Tanner Mordecai has thrown for 3,264 yards and 37 TDs — that lacks a quality win. More times than not, Cincinnati’s defense will shut down pass-happy teams like this one. Time for the Bearcats to make a statement.
WISCONSIN over Nebraska, giving 9 1/2
One of the hottest teams in the country vs. one that keeps finding ways to lose. Badgers have won six straight, most in impressive fashion, rank first nationally in total defense and rushing defense and second nationally in passing defense and scoring defense. The unit is so good that it doesn’t matter that erratic Graham Mertz is still the QB. Frosh Braelon Allen has taken over as the star on offense anyway, with six straight 100-yard rushing games. Cornhuskers have lost four straight by a combined 24 points, but eventually the constant losing will take a toll — especially in a game where turnover-prone QB Adrian Martinez is Nebraska’s entire offense. Wisconsin’s defense has been too dominant for a one-dimensional opponent to succeed.
East Carolina over NAVY, giving 4