Wow, what a Saturday of college football! All over the country history was made and classics unfolded, with a top-5 vs top-5 matchup living up to the hype.
We’re seeing some teams feed off of big wins to create more big wins, like Indiana, and some teams take a loss or two and fall apart, like Penn State.
The most exciting part of Week 10 is that we’ll likely get a Clemson-Notre Dame rematch in the ACC Championship (though getting a game as good as that one is like trying to catch lightning in a bottle twice, so don’t get too hyped).
Anyway, here’s the five biggest winners from Week 10:
5. USC Trojans
Arkansas, you almost crashed the party again after beating reeling Tennessee, but USC’s comeback involved an onside kick so they get the honors this time. The Sun Devils were up 13 with about three minutes to go, about the time USC fans typically leave (except there weren’t any as far as I could tell), but after scoring a touchdown, recovering an onside kick, and throwing another one with 1:20 left, the Trojans survived the upset bid and helped coach Clay Helton stave off the wrath of the fiery hot seat for another week (as many USC fans have been, uh, unsatisfied with his coaching in recent years).
The “worst team in the Big Ten” not only shocked Penn State on the road last Saturday, but made them look like the roles were reversing. Maryland is 2-1, and Penn State is 0-3 (and dead last in the Big Ten East). Hmm, interesting. Now that they don’t have to play Ohio State, the Terps can beat Michigan State and Rutgers to finish 4-3 (or better). That’s good for a bowl bid, something Penn State will have to climb uphill to find after this horrendous start. Enjoy this, Maryland fans. You got a cookie this year. As for all you Penn State fans, there’s still plenty of season left to grab some wins and badly needed momentum.
3. Liberty Flames
Now that’s something you don’t see every day. Tie game, Liberty kicks field goal, Virginia Tech blocks it, returns it for walk-off touchdown, officials say Virginia Tech coach called timeout right before snap to ice kicker, Liberty runs a quick play, kicks another field goal, wins. The ultimate example of a clever strategy, icing the kicker, backfiring right in your face. Now the Flames are 7-0 and trying to run the table. Looming large is a trip to NC State in a couple weeks.
Once again 2020 has shattered the record books. A few weeks after Kentucky won at Tennessee for the first time since 1984, Indiana snapped a 24-game losing streak against the Michigan Wolverines in dominating fashion, never trailing and making a statement win to vault themselves into the Top-10, something most Hoosier fans have not been alive long enough to have ever seen. The next longest losing streak still being played annually? The Hoosiers’ 24-game losing streak to Ohio State, which will be put on the line in the Buckeyes’ next game in two weeks. Meanwhile, it’s a party in Bloomington. Not so in Ann Arbor, however, where fans are running out of patience with coach Jim Harbaugh, a fantastic coach who isn’t giving them what they want.
Who else? From the moment Notre Dame joined the ACC for the 2020 season, one thought was on everyone’s mind: when will they play Clemson, and what will happen when they do? For years football fans have longed for a worthy ACC challenger to face the Clemson dragon every since the downfall of Florida State. I think this is what they had in mind, and what a game it was! Two overtimes, boatloads of points, big touchdown passes, and a very controversial pandemic court-storming. One thing we’ll never know, though: what would have happened if Clemson had Trevor Lawrence? Maybe an ACC championship rematch will offer a clue.
Top 5 winners of 2020 so far:
5. Missouri W over LSU
4. Kansas State W over Oklahoma
3. Kentucky W over Tennessee
2. Indiana W over Penn State
1. Notre Dame W over Clemson