Note: This article contains references to shoes at every opportunity. This might get annoying, but that’s the point.
The word “shoe” means multiple things in college football. Per the College Football English Dictionary, a shoe is (1) the cleats on a player’s feet or (2) the stadium in Ohio with a mascot named Brutus. Now we can add (3) the LSU-Florida game last Saturday.
The word “shoe” completely describes that game. About to get the football booted back to them, Florida threw a shoe in the game-plan by, well, throwing an LSU shoe down the field. The unsportsmanlike conduct foul got the Tigers back on their feet by giving them fresh down to boot a field goal. After kicking the football back to Florida, the Gators foot-marched downfield to try to shoehorn a game-tying field goal in before time ran out. The kick missed, and LSU won the game and socked Florida’s playoff hopes to boot. I think I just kicked to the curb the old record for most words referring to shoes, feet, socks, kicking, etc.
But there were more winners who stepped up in the last two weeks—and today I’m going to walk through nine of them in addition to the Tigers.
Enough about shoes though (well, maybe not). Here are your 10 biggest winners from Weeks 14 & 15!
10. North Carolina Tar “Heels”
No, this did not make the list because of all the kicking (12 combined XPs and FGs), but was chosen to credit the Tar Heels for continuing to show that they are no longer the conference doormat. They concluded their season at 8-3 after kicking top ten Miami 62-26 to the curb on the road (so they kicked them from the road to the curb?). They’ve taken big steps under Mack Brown so far.
Congrats, Cal. You beat a ranked team picked in the preseason as a shoe-in to win the conference. Looks like that it for you though; every other game has been booted from the schedule. Oh well. One win is better than none, and it’s always nice to end the season with a win and positive momentum to boot.
8. TCU “Shoe” Horned Frogs
Let’s see; who did TCU beat again? Oh yeah, Louisiana Tech. No wait, the other game. Oh yeah. They de”feet”ed ranked Oklahoma State by seven, ending their season 5-4 and with wins over both of the Sooner State schools. Those wins are shinier than a new pair of shoes.
The Trojans escaped by a thread once again against UCLA (by a very specific thread—a shoelace! Is this getting annoying yet? Good!). Looks like coach Clay Helton won’t get the boot just yet.
Wow, what a crazy football season! Rutgers now has three wins—and I ranked their Maryland win at sixth! That’s because (GASP!) they are...actually kinda good. After winning at Maryland on a Valentino Ambrosio 42-yard field goal (kicked by his foot that was wearing a shoe), Rutgers improved to 3-5 going into their Champions Week game against Nebraska. Side note: I love this Champions Week idea and would be thrilled to see it become a regular thing.
Wheeeee! That was a fun game! The ultimate roller-coaster shootout (Hey, by the way, has anyone noticed how “shootout” sounds like “shoe”?) in Columbia was decided by a walk-off field goal after being decided by a roll-the-dice two-point conversion after being decided by a 25-yard TD run. The teams scored 7(!) times in the fourth quarter, using shoes for six of those scores. What a thrill for Mizzou, who could score a winning season with one more win.
Well that was unexpected. Rice, a CBS Bottom 25 heavyweight and ESPN Bottom 10 shoe-in, demolished undefeated and ranked Marshall on the road. Huh. I bet that hurt a lot of bettors. Better luck next time, bettors. Also, Rice’s season ended last Saturday and they finished only one game below .500 at 2-3. Football can be strange sometimes.
3. Indiana (S)Hoosiers
The Hoosiers are a machine, cranking out wins that two years ago seemed impossible for this program to get. But they’ve come a long way, getting their shoes dirty in a 14-6 slugfest victory that improved Indiana to 6-1 and on track for a New Year’s Six Bowl. What a season for this squad!
2. Coastal Carolina
This one was one of the rare instances this year when covid gave us a good thing. Scheduling on the fly, BYU found itself on the coast of Carolina against some pumped Chanticleers in a battle of undefeateds. They also found themselves one yard short of a win (which is three shoe-clad feet in English measurements), giving the birds their biggest win in program history. What a game, what a win, and what a season for Coastal Carolina!
1. LSU (Louisiana Shoe University)
Who else? The team that won by the shoe! I already recapped the game at the top, so I’ll just say here that after a disappointing follow-up to a 15-0 national championship season, the Tigers put a big shoe-shaped stamp on their year with a monster win at The Swamp over a team trying to crash the College Football Playoff. That makes LSU (Louisiana Shoe University) the biggest winner of Weeks 14 & 15 (yeah sorry I had to combine them; it wound up giving you twice as many shoes). Oh, and the SEC now stands for the Shoe Ejecting Conference.
Stay tuned for next week, when we recap the 5 biggest winners of Champ Week (and leave the shoes behind)!