Welcome back to the front of the Heisman Trophy race, Baker Mayfield.
Oklahoma's star quarterback went all out in the Sooners' Bedlam win over Oklahoma State in Week 10. With a number of other Heisman candidates struggling across the rest of the landscape, Mayfield emerges as this week's biggest winner.
The Big Ten, however, was this week's biggest loser with Ohio State and Penn State falling on the same day. While that makes the Big Ten East race more intriguing, Georgia locked up the SEC East with a low-key win over South Carolina.
From statement wins to upset losses, quarterback ejections and game-winning catches, a lot happened this weekend. With so much unfolding, we hash out the best and worst below with this week's version of Winners and Losers
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield: No other Heisman candidate had a better Week 10 than Mayfield, who threw for a school-record 598 yards with six total touchdowns in a wild 62-52 Bedlam win over Oklahoma State. Compare that to Penn State running back Saquon Barkley (63 yards, zero touchdowns), Stanford running back Bryce Love (69 yards, one touchdown) and Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett (four interceptions). Mayfield should be a clear No. 1 moving forward until he gives someone a reason not to make him No. 1. November is (historically) when you win the Heisman, and Mayfield is certainly one-for-one on November performances. His career record in road games at Oklahoma remains jaw-dropping.
Georgia: There was nothing particularly spectacular about Georgia's 24-10 win over South Carolina. But it served two purposes. Most importantly, it helped lock up the SEC East, Georgia's preseason goal just a few months ago. Secondly, on a day in which two top-10 teams lost and another -- Clemson -- got a scare, just taking care of business is actually good enough to warrant a figurative fist bump. Georgia was , something coach Kirby Smart, channeling his best Nick Saban, called a "distraction." To Smart's credit, it can be tough to keep a team focused with new-found attention, praise and national expectations. On a chaotic weekend, Georgia handled them better than most.
Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush: Ho hum, just 390 yards of offense (at 9.25 yards per play) and three touchdowns for Wimbush in a 48-37 win against Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons' defensive front is no joke, either. With running back Josh Adams held to just 22 yards, it was up to Wimbush to pick up the slack. It was quietly one of the more dominating performances from Week 10 and it's evident by now just how much Wimbush means to this offense and this team's success.
Miami: Count me as one of Miami's doubters against Virginia Tech. The Hurricanes have been good, certainly -- you don't win every game otherwise -- but let's be real, they had been living on the edge. I figured that would come back around on 'em against the Hokies. Wrong. That Miami defense is for real, and a 28-10 win over Virginia Tech was the proof. Miami held Virginia Tech to about four yards per play, had four takeaways and hit quarterback Josh Jackson so hard and often it's a minor miracle he made it through the game at all. This is the type of defense "The U" was founded on. Their Week 11 game against Notre Dame should be a great matchup and a lot of fun.
Iowa defensive back Joshua Jackson: The junior had not one, not two, but three interceptions against Ohio State in a 55-24 win. None were more absurd than this one at the goal line. That's a legit nomination for pick of the year and one hell of an Odell Beckham Jr. impersonation.
Ohio State's playoff hopes: They're dead, right? They have to be after losing at Iowa. Following an improbable and dramatic comeback against Penn State in Week 9, the Buckeyes laid an egg in one of coach Urban Meyer's worst losses ever. Even if the Buckeyes win the Big Ten -- technically they still control their destiny in the East division with a win over Michigan State next week -- there's no way the playoff committee can look at two blowout losses and determine that's a top-four team. With Ohio State's loss coupled with Penn State's loss to Michigan State, Wisconsin is now the conference's lone playoff hope.
Florida interim coach Randy Shannon: Florida's first game post-Jim McElwain was somehow worse than when McElwain was actually the coach. A 45-16 loss at Missouri was a lifeless attempt at salvaging anything for the season. Opting for a field goal in the third quarter on a fourth-and-goal from the 7-yard line when you're down 28-6 isn't exactly the type of move that inspires confidence from your players. It's also a bad coaching move when it's clear your defense isn't going to win you the game. Will the Gators win a game the rest of the season? Even UAB doesn't seem like a sure thing.
Wake Texas A&M up when November ends: The numbers are just comical now. Texas A&M's 42-27 loss to Auburn was the latest setback in coach Kevin Sumlin's abysmal November record. The Aggies are now 3-10 against SEC opponents in November since 2013 and they haven't beaten a ranked SEC opponent in that month since Auburn in 2014. Finishing above .500 in SEC play was probably going to be the benchmark to save Sumlin's job. With no more conference home games, that task seems almost impossible. If Texas A&M does part ways from Sumlin, it's sadly appropriate a bad November is what will do him in. It's a shame since Sumlin had quietly done a decent job this season, all things considered, before taking a nose dive in the past two games.
Anyone betting FAU to cover: It's always something with Lane Kiffin. Friday night's 30-25 win over Marshall was significant in that it cleared the way for the Owls, now bowl eligible, to win the Conference USA East division. It also involved a bizarre late game cover for the Thundering Herd when FAU, up 30-23, willingly took a safety on a fourth-down punting situation. As it so happened, the line for that game was -6 for FAU. It didn't help matters that Kiffin said he knew the line.
Lane Kiffin knew the FAU betting line all week. He told me Wednesday he couldn’t believe it. FAU had never beaten Marshall before.— Chris Vannini (@ChrisVannini) November 4, 2017
Trolling Vegas and Nick Saban Kiffin's tweet was a joke. And chances are the playbook calls for a deliberate safety in this scenario because you can safely give up two points and kick off without pressure while still forcing a game-winning touchdown vs. giving Marshall a chance to block and/or return the punt for a score and game-tying extra point. Still, Kiffin trolling Vegas is a fun fantasy.is peak Kiffin. However, if he knowingly took the safety with the spread in mind, that would be point shaving and a serious, serious no-no. FAU cleared up the story on Saturday morning by saying
Best of the rest
UAB coach Bill Clark: Has any coach in college football done a better job at not just building -- but rebuilding -- a program than Clark? The Blazers had to shut down their program three years ago, went without football in 2015 and '16, and are now bowl eligible thanks to a 52-21 win over Rice. On Friday night, Clark and UAB agree in principle to a five-year extension that will take Clark through 2022. Lord knows he's earned it. Clark's salary will start at $900,000 in 2018 and go up as high as $1.15 million in the final year of his contract.
Washington State: With everything that happened in the midday spot, there won't be a lot of attention on Washington State's 24-21 win over Stanford. The Cougars had a nice defensive effort limiting Bryce Love to 69 yards. That marks the first time Loves has been held under 100 yards on the ground this season and the first time in nearly a year (43 yards vs. Cal on Nov. 19th, 2016).
Iowa State: The Cyclones didn't play terribly in a 20-16 loss to West Virginia, but they did get off to a slow start and at one point trailed 20-0 in the first half. Credit Matt Campbell's group for battling back, but that bad start and failure to convert two second-half red zone trips to touchdowns were two big differences in the game. This can still be a special season, but with Oklahoma State coming to Ames next week, a little market correction may be in order for the 'Clones.
USC running backs Ronald Jones and Aca'Cedric Ware: We'll get to Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate below, but the MVPs of USC's 49-35 win over the Wildcats were Jones and Ware. The duo had 194 and 122 yards, respectively, with Jones tallying three touchdowns. Jones can sometimes get lost in the elite running back conversation, but from a pure talent standpoint, he's right there with the Barkleys and Derrius Guices of the world. His burst and shiftiness is as good as any.
Army: A late addition that slipped through the cracks. The Black Knights beat Air Force on Saturday 21-0 without attempting a single pass. That is peak Army and marks the fourth time this season the offense has had zero passing yards. Army's record in those games: 3-1. As it so happens, the last FBS team to go an entire game without attempting a pass was ... Air Force in 2012 against Hawaii. The Falcons won that game in similar fashion 21-7.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks scored 14 straight points in the fourth quarter to come from behind and upset Coastal Carolina 39-38. What a win for coach Bret Bielema and his upstart program. It's the type of win you can build a program around. Program-changing.
Northern Arizona quarterback Case Cookus: We already touched on this in our Saturday recap, but it's too good not to include here. As far as I know, Cookus (great name) is the first quarterback to be ejected under the new targeting rule. I don't plan on corroborating this and neither should you. Just watch the video below, as it was surely the highlight of NAU's 17-9 loss to Montana.
Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf: The Rebels' stud receiver is becoming a regular at W&L for making big-time catches. This game-winner against Kentucky was a classic case of "Moss'd 'em."
- Is Kinnick Stadium the toughest place to play in college football? Iowa is 4-1 at home vs. AP Top 5 teams since 2008. The Hawkeyes were also the first team to hang at least 50 points on the Buckeyes since 1994.
- Paul Chryst moves to 30-6 at Wisconsin, joining Urban Meyer and Jim Tressel as the only Big Ten coaches to win at least 30 games in their first three seasons.
- Baylor's 38-9 win at Kansas marked the program's first regular-season win since Oct. 15, 2016 against ... Kansas, 49-7.
- Northwestern has played in three straight overtime games this season, a FBS record. The Wildcats have won all three.
- Oklahoma wideouts keep taking turns having big games. Saturday, it was Marquise Brown's turn with 265 yards and two touchdowns. Brown had 478 yards and two touchdowns coming into Week 10.
- If you were surprised that UMass gave Mississippi State hell, consider this: The Minutemen might just have two wins, but their average margin of defeat has been 7.7 points. They've basically been in every game.
- Washington wide receiver Dante Pettis with his ninth career punt return for a touchdown during the Huskies' game against Oregon.
- How one-sided has TCU's series been with Texas? The Frogs have outscored the Longhorns 153-33 over the past four meetings.
- Washington's 38-3 win over Oregon is the Huskies' second straight win over the Ducks. The last time that happened was 2002 and '03.
- San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny had 234 yards against San Jose State. While that wasn't a season-high, it was the third time this season Penny has eclipsed 200 yards on the ground.
- Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate became the first Pac-12 quarterback in history to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards in a season during a loss to USC. Between Tate and Mayfield, the Heisman race has narrowed significantly.