Hess: Wisconsin Badgers fall to BYU on a bizarre Saturday of college football (column)
On College Football
It was a strange week in college football, with the postponements of four FBS games due to Hurricane Florence. The two quarterbacks in the Alabama vs. Ole Miss game both grew up together in Hawaii. You wouldn’t expect to see two Hawaiians in the deep South. But, the third week of college football was even more bizarre than two Hawaiians taking snaps in Oxford, Mississippi.
The Big 10 had arguably its worst day in conference history. They lost seven nonconference games on Saturday, Sept. 15. And it was who they lost to that made it even worse. Teams such as Akron, BYU, Kansas, Missouri, Temple, Troy and USF aren’t traditional powers and the Big 10 shouldn’t be losing to those teams. This weekend is going to hurt the Big 10 champion when they are trying to make a case for a playoff spot at the end of the year.
After 59 minutes, 58 seconds of grueling back-and-forth football between future NFL players, the LSU/Auburn games came down to 5-foot-11, 188-pound Cole Tracy’s right foot. The transfer from Assumption College drilled a 42-yard field goal with 2 seconds left to give the Bayou Bengals the win over the Tigers from the Plains. LSU should be in consideration for the top team in the country. They have the best resume with wins over two top 10 teams (Miami, Auburn) from last season.
LSU wasn’t the only team that had to rely on its kicker at the end of their game. It’s just Wisconsin wasn’t as lucky. The Badgers kicker Rafael Gaglianone couldn’t hit his 42-yard field goal which would have sent Wisconsin to overtime. However, it should never have come down to that for the Badgers. Wisconsin’s was a 22-point favorite over BYU. Jonathan Taylor was held to only 117 yards rushing and didn’t reach the end zone. The good news, if any for the Badgers, is that they are the first of the contenders to lose. Sure they are playing behind the 8-ball right now and have to win out, but they have an easy path to the Big 10 championship game, where they could face Ohio State.
Speaking of Ohio State, they were one of the few Big 10 teams to win its nonconference game. The Buckeyes passed a big test in Arlington against Texas Christian. The game was entertaining for the first three quarters and then the Buckeyes pulled away late. Ohio State looks like one of the best teams in the country and now they get Urban Meyer back from suspension. The Buckeyes will travel to Happy Valley in two weeks to take on Penn State, but after that it is smooth sailing for them until the yearly end-of-season rivalry against Michigan.
Oklahoma State was a big winner this weekend over Boise State and the Big 12 suddenly doesn’t look like a cake walk for the Oklahoma Sooners. The Men from Norman still have games at TCU, vs. Oklahoma State for Bedlam and at West Virginia. Oklahoma struggled to dominate Iowa State in a revenge game, so expect the Big 12 to be an interesting race this year.
The second straight week against an SEC opponent for the Colorado State Rams did not go as well as the first one. Coming off a win at home against Arkansas, the Rams traveled to Gainesville to take on Florida. The game was over at halftime, but the Gators hung 21 more points on the Rams in the fourth quarter for good measure. The good news is that it was the first game K.J. Carta Samuels didn’t throw an interception. The bad news is he was sacked five times.
The Buffs beat New Hampshire in what The Associated Press called a matchup of longtime ski rivals. I didn’t even know New Hampshire had a football team. Steven Montez and Lavish Shenault Jr. didn’t have to show much as the Buffs got it done on the ground by the tune of 311 yards rushing. The Buffs have a week off before they play a real football team again. They will host Chip Kelly and UCLA on Sept. 28.
Colorado received votes in the AP Top 25 Poll and as the lone undefeated team in the Pac 12 South Division, the Buffs could be ranked when they travel to Southern Cal in October.
Saturday, Sept. 22’s games don’t look as enticing as this past week, but as we saw Saturday upsets can come from anywhere, even from Mormons of BYU. Alabama’s Nick Saban will host former assistant Jimbo Fisher and the Texas A&M Aggies in the CBS game of the week. But, the premier game of the weekend is Stanford vs. Oregon. Stanford can jump into the top 5 with a convincing win in Eugene.