By: Ryan Moreland (@ryanmoreland)
Wow, what a week! This week is tied for the most upsets we have seen in a week this season… AND there are still four games left to be played! Let’s dive right in.
The Fall From Perfection
The victims of two of this week’s upsets were previously unbeaten teams. This started with the first game of Week Five. Florida traveled to Miami on a mission and they saw it through. It wasn’t the prettiest game (the Gators had two turnovers and allowed 401 yards of total offense), but they did enough to upset their in-state rival. Miami is now 4-1 and looks to get back to their winning ways next week at Pittsburgh. The now 3-2 Gators will host the 3-2 Seminoles next week.
The second team to fall from the ranks of the unbeaten was Oklahoma. We all know this one is a bit more controversial and that is the talking point coming out of this game around the league. However, for those of us who watched this game, the real excitement was on the field. This game was simply wild. Both teams combined for four touchdowns of 63 yards or longer. We also saw four turnovers in this game as well. With 1:54 seconds left in the third quarter Illinois had a four-point lead and was driving.
That is when the power at the home base went out thanks to bad weather. It was an unfortunate occurrence (and a very rare one as you will see in the next segment of this article). The game was called as it stood and Illinois came away with a four-point win. Oklahoma will look to get back to their winning ways next week vs Oregon. Illinois will look to keep their two-game winning streak alive next week against Notre Dame.
A Word on the Power Outage
As we all know the power went out at the CFSL home base in the 3rd quarter of both the Notre Dame vs Ohio State game and the Oklahoma vs Illinois game. At the time of the power outage, Ohio State held a 30-point lead over Notre Dame. That game was all, but over (we have never seen a comeback of that size in the history of the league). However, the score was much closer in the game on YouTube. This has understandably left many wondering exactly what happened, what if it happens again, and what the rules are for a game that ends prematurely. I wrote this section in hopes of shedding a little light on the situation.
To fully understand the ruling we have to take a trip back to September 27th, 2021. There was a wild playoff game between the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma State Cowboys going on. Texas was leading 41 to 37 in the final minutes. The Cowboys had the ball and were putting a potential game-winning drive when the game froze. The decision was made then that Texas would be given the win since they held the lead so late in the game. Almost immediately talks began on hammering out a rule in the unlikely case that this ever happened again. The two months later the ADs voted unanimously to pass the rules as they still stand today. Here are the rules:
|The game stops between 9:00 and 4:30 of the 1st quarter.||The game will be replayed.|
|The game stops between 4:29 and 0:00 of the 1st quarter AND the point differential is 16 or less.||The game will be replayed.|
|The game stops between 4:29 and 0:00 of the 1st quarter AND the point differential is 17 or more.||The results of the game are final.|
|The game stops in the 2nd quarter AND the point differential is 9 or less.||The game will be replayed.|
|The game stops in the 2nd quarter AND the point differential is 10 or more.||The results of the game are final.|
|The game stops at any point in the 2nd half (including a tie game).||The results of the game are final.|
Since the game between Illinois and Oklahoma was in the second half, by rule the results of the game were final. Some people might not like the rules as they stand, but as league commissioner, Mike Peters puts it, “Trying to come up with an all-inclusive rule that will make everyone happy is impossible.” And he is right. Personally, my heart breaks for Oklahoma, as they didn’t get a chance to come back and win a game that was so close. If I was a Sooner I would be upset. However, I also know that games are never restarted in real life. Take the NFL for instance. This season we saw a game called early between Buffalo and Cincinnati. That game was never replayed. And that took about a week for a multi-billion dollar entity to figure out. There is no great way to handle this, but the parameters set up by the league after Season 12 are the best that I can think of.
Overall, it was an unfortunate occurrence (mainly because that game was amazing and we didn’t get to see the finish), but it is extremely rare. In over 1300 games this has only happened twice. I hoped this helped put what happened Wednesday night into context.
The Largest Upsets of the Season
Miami and Oklahoma’s losses this week both tied for the largest upset of the season according to the sportsbook spread. That made me interested to see what were the best upsets we have seen so far and what information we can glean from them. Here are the top ten biggest upsets so far in Season 16.
|Sportsbook Spread||Actual Score|
|Clemson -17.5||Pittsburgh 30, Clemson 3|
|Oklahoma -17.5||Illinois 28, Oklahoma 24|
|Miami -17.5||Florida 34, Miami 31|
|Boise State -16.5||Illinois 37, Boise State 21|
|Boise State -14.5||Ohio State 23, Boise State 21|
|Auburn -12.5||Clemson 38, Auburn 35|
|Michigan -9.5||Alabama 48, Michigan 28|
|Notre Dame -9.5||Florida 24, Notre Dame 17|
|Florida State -8.5||Michigan 62, Florida State 21|
|Auburn -7.5||Pittsburgh 32, Auburn 22|
The first thing that jumped out to me when making this list is the repeat names pulling off these upsets. Pittsburgh, Illinois, and Florida are the only names to appear on the list as the winning side more than once. They are also the three teams that are tied for the largest upset this season. Some might call that luck or catching the perfect sim. I think that is downplaying what we are seeing. I think there are some giant killers lurking amongst us. Opposing ADs better not overlook these three schools or they might find their name on the left side of this list later this season.
The War Eagle Blues
If it wasn’t for bad luck, Auburn would have no luck at all right now. The Tigers find themselves 0-5 on the season when many (including myself) thought they might put some pressure on the SEC’s best before the season started. It just hasn’t been their season. But their record has not been the result of poor play.
Auburn has played a difficult schedule. Their opponents have won 58% of the games they have played. Teams like 5-0 Kentucky, 4-1 Oklahoma, and the 3-2 Flordia Gators have graced the Tiger schedule so far. And you would expect these teams to dominate an 0-5 opponent, right? Well, that hasn’t been the case. Auburn has been in every game that they have played. The Tigers’ average margin of defeat is eight points. This includes three one-possession games. Their largest defeat came this week at the hands of the unbeaten Kentucky Wildcats. Auburn lost by 18 points in a game where the Tigers refused to be put away. This is the second-closest game Kentucky has played this season.
We have established that Auburn is far better than their record. This team has had tough breaks late in games and the ball just hasn’t been falling their way. However, style points in losses don’t mean much. The Tigers are hungry for a win. The good news, the next few games should provide them with opportunities to notch that first victory.
Next week Auburn will host North Carolina and the following week they will travel to Athens to battle Georgia. These teams have a combined one win. However, they aren’t just going to roll over and let Auburn win. The Tigers need to be prepared to take on talented rosters that have had their stretches of bad luck vs great teams. That being said, it is not crazy to think the Tigers could be 2-5 heading into their final game.
And keep an eye on that one. This year Auburn will host the Iron Bowl. Even with two wins in-a-row and home-field advantage, the Tigers will likely be massive underdogs. But you can bet that Auburn will bring their best to the field against their bitter rival. After all, there is no better cure for the War Eagle Blues than beating Alabama. Good luck Tigers.
What I Will Be Watching This Week
Normally this is where I talk about the games for the coming week, but I will start this off by saying I will be tuned into some Saturday MACtion! The league announced earlier today that the games that could not be played Wednesday and Thursday night will be made up tomorrow. Here is the Saturday schedule:
|Time||Match-up||Where to watch|
|1 P.M.||Alabama at Georgia||Twitch|
|1 P.M.||Toledo at Eastern Michigan||YouTube|
|3 P.M.||Ohio at Bowling Green||Twitch|
|3 P.M.||Northern Illinois at Kent State||YouTube|
As for Week Six, there are so many great matchups. Here are a few of my favorites:
The Wildcats of Kentucky will travel to Tuscaloosa to play fellow SEC Powerhouse Alabama. Can the Crimson Tide be the first team to claim victory over Kentucky? Or will the Wildcats continue their perfect season? With only two unbeaten teams remaining, this game will be huge.
Michigan and Texas are both hoping to finish the season in the top six and earn a playoff bye. The winner of this game will go a long way in realizing that dream. To add more drama to an already exciting game, this will be the first-ever meeting of QBs Sam Dobbins and Avery Ware. Both are firmly in the hunt for freshman of the year. Will one of them prove they deserve the title by vanquishing the other?
In Week Six we will also see the Sunshine Showdown between visiting Florida State and the hometown Florida Gators. A win in this game would clinch the Florida Cup for the Gators after a win over Miami this week. Not only that, but both teams sit at 3-2 and are looking to continue their climbs up the CFSL rankings. This should be an exciting game.
There are so many great matchups next week, but I will hold myself to just the three. We are in for a treat in Week Six.
The Adieu Haiku
We started with four,
Only two perfects remain.
The rest want to ruin.