College football Week 10 takeaways, including reactions to Notre Dame upsetting No. 1 Clemson and how we should get a rematch in the ACC Championship Game.
Week 10 was the biggest and best one yet in college football this year. This week was the first to have all conferences in action and it ended with No. 1 Clemson losing in the regular season for the first time in more than three years. From the MAC kicking off with a full slate on Wednesday to Notre Dame upsetting Clemson and storming the field after a double-overtime instant classic and everything in between, let’s rewind and highlight the best in the week that was.
Ian Book has a career-defining moment
Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book has had his ups and downs during his three-year run as the starter, but he’s often been the subject of unfair criticism for whatever reason. Forget about all that, because he just had the biggest game of his Notre Dame career, leading the Fighting Irish to a double-overtime win over No. 1 Clemson. Book only had one passing touchdown in the 47-40 win but his 310 yards on 22-of-39 passing and his 68 yards rushing, many of which came scrambling for his life was imperative to the upset. Book did fumble when he was inches away from running in for a score, but otherwise played the best game we’ve seen from a Notre Dame quarterback this century.
D.J. Uiagalelei is already a top-5 college quarterback
No quarterback has thrown for more yards against Notre Dame than the 439 D.J. Uiagalalei threw against the Fighting Irish, albeit in a losing effort. This is the backup! Trevor Lawrence will be back for the next game against Florida State on Nov. 28 but it’s clear the five-star freshman is already a top-five quarterback in college football. Besides Lawrence, Justin Fields, Mac Jones and Kyle Trask, there’s not a quarterback I’d take today over the 2021 Heisman front-runner and No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. The 439 yards are also the most for a Clemson quarterback against a top-five opponent. He finished with two passing touchdowns and had a rushing score in the first overtime.
Run it back
With Notre Dame joining the ACC because of the scheduling issues raised by the coronavirus, we’ll likely get a rematch on Dec. 19 between the Irish and Clemson and Lawrence will be playing in this one. If Notre Dame needed two overtimes to beat their backup quarterback and while Clemson had a handful of defensive starters and impact performers out, will we get another instant classic?
I’m leaning toward Clemson dominating in the potential rematch and winning by double-digits. Of course, I’ll take another classic overtime game but I think we saw the best from Notre Dame while Clemson was without the best player in the nation and without several defensive stars. The revenge factor will be exorbitantly high and I think Dabo Swinney’s team will learn a lot from this and be better for it. They’ll have something to prove and it could get ugly for Brian Kelly’s club.
Alabama new No. 1
Last week’s AP Top 25 showed just how important one person’s vote means when the Crimson Tide fell two votes shy of overtaking Clemson for the top spot. Clemson had two more votes than Alabama but if one person voted the other way, we would have had the Crimson Tide atop the poll. Notre Dame would have been upset because there’s a lot less acclaim beating the No. 2 team in the nation than No. 1. But now, there will be no debate and Alabama will move up to No. 1 despite having the week off ahead of next Saturday’s tilt vs. LSU, which is going to be a blood bath. I have Ohio State, Notre Dame, Clemson and Florida rounding out the top five in my college football rankings.
Kyle Trask has his Heisman moment
Kyle Trask fell behind in the Heisman chase after Florida lost to Texas A&M, but he’s back in the mix, especially with Lawrence missing two games and opening the door. Trask was sensational in leading the Gators to a win over the Georgia Bulldogs, throwing for 474 yards and four touchdowns in the 44-28 win.
He is the first SEC quarterback to have four-plus touchdowns in five straight games and ties Tua Tagovailoa for the second-most touchdowns in the first five SEC games with 22. Only Joe Burrow with 23 last year had more in the same span. Pretty great company to be in, huh?
Justin Fields is a cheat code
Thankfully the Big Ten reversed their decision to play because being deprived of another season of Justin Fields would have been hard to stomach. The Ohio State junior quarterback is a human cheat code and making up for the lost time. He’s closing the gap in the Heisman race and on Lawrence for the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Fields has more touchdowns than he has incompletions this year in the most mind-boggling stat of the year. Fields added five more passing scores with 314 yards on 24-of-28 passing and added a rushing score in the win over Rutgers. Considering how bad Michigan and Michigan State are in the Big Ten East, no one is going to slow down the Fields onslaught.
Welcome back, Pac-12
Welp, two-thirds of the Pac-12 football games had to be canceled because of COVID but at least we got four games. It started with Pac-12 with brunch featuring Arizona State and No. 20 USC that saw Kedon Slovis lead the Trojans back from down 13 to eke out a 28-27 win in the closing minutes. No. 12 Oregon looked strong against Stanford who had to play without starting quarterback Davis Mills who was held out due to COVID, with the news breaking a few hours before kickoff. It’s going to be that kind of year, but at least the conference is giving it a go and allowing these players and coaches an opportunity to get back on the field. Hopefully, there won’t be too many more games canceled and too many more players and coaches affected.
Big Ten swing states
The story in the Big Ten this year is Ohio State’s march toward the College Football Playoff and attempting to win their first national championship since the 2015 team. However, the biggest Big Ten story off the field came in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania where those swing states swung the election in favor of president-elect Joe Biden over Donald Trump. In 2016, those three states were won by Trump and we know what happened next. The residents in those three states weren’t swayed by Trump’s lies of saving the Big Ten season on top of his other lies and general debauchery and made sure to vote him out in droves.
Auburn rolls Toomer’s Corner for Joe Biden
There was a lot of rejoicing and celebrating with the election being called in favor of Biden around 11:30 a.m. ET. One of the coolest scenes came at Auburn where students rolled Toomer’s Corner in celebration of the Biden/Harris ticket defeating the Trump/Pence ticket. Rolling Toomer’s Corner is typically reserved for celebrating big football games, but with the Tigers enjoying an open week, there was still plenty to celebrate for Auburn students as 75 million other Americans and countless others around the world wished they could have tossed a roll right alongside them. Bravo, Auburn.
College Football Playoff picture
Despite Clemson losing to Notre Dame, I don’t have the College Football Playoff picture changing at all from last week. I have the same four teams in, albeit in a different order. Now, I have Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson and Ohio State. I already alluded to running it back in the ACC Championship Game so if Notre Dame wins that game, Clemson will be out, but if Clemson wins, Notre Dame will likely be on the outside looking in with Florida, Cincinnati, Texas A&M and BYU attempting to get in through the back door.
- Mac Jones, Alabama, QB
- Justin Fields, Ohio State, QB
- Kyle Trask, Florida, QB
- Trevor Lawrence, Clemson, QB
- Zach Wilson, BYU, QB