College football top 25 scores, overreactions, Week 7: Good luck keeping up with LSU, Florida best in SEC East
Let's parse through the biggest storylines on 'Separation Saturday' in college football
If you thought this weekend would have a "Separation Saturday" feel to it, you were right. Some of the biggest games of the college football season went down on Saturday, from a showdown of Big 12 heavyweights in Dallas to some surprising SEC outcomes. We're officially in the meat of the season and there's no more blind guessing when it comes to these teams.
Weeks like these always lead to overreactions, and that's OK. We are creatures of the moment. Overreactions are just as much a part of the game as touchdowns. So with Saturday's action mostly in the books, let's look at the biggest overreactions from the action and how absurd -- or completely warranted -- they might be.
If Florida can't contain LSU, maybe no one can: LSU ran just 48 plays and racked up 511 yards in a . For those keeping score at home, that's 10.6 yards per play; the Gators allowed just 4.5 on the season coming into Saturday. LSU also attempted just four third downs all game. If Florida, who has one of college football's best defenses, can't prevent LSU from effectively getting a first down every snap, maybe no one will.
That said, Georgia isn't the best team in the SEC East anymore: The Bulldogs were long assumed to be, but it's officially time to re-evaluate. Even though Florida and Georgia both lost Saturday, the Gators clearly looked better (and better coached) in their loss to LSU. I'll give the Bulldogs a mulligan on the turnovers and missed field goals in the against South Carolina, but slow starts have been a disturbing trend over the past few games. This offense has some limitations with deep passes and it's only about to get harder with Florida and Auburn left to go.
Penn State has found its RB1: I wouldn't even call this an overreaction as much as a decision that's been in the makings for a while. Noah Cain has been the best option at running back for the Nittany Lions even if the ball-sharing offense hasn't showed it on paper. That changed in a 17-12 win at Iowa. Cain led all rushers with 22 carries for 102 yards and a score. He's a tough runner and is the best fit for this offense. Love his game.
Florida State should never be this far behind Clemson: I've ragged on the Seminoles and coach Willie Taggart plenty this year already, so I'll spare the monologue. Instead, this stat tells you everything you need to know about how far the Seminoles are behind Clemson after a 45-14 loss.
Oklahoma's defense makes it a championship contender: . Oklahoma's defense previously had been such a liability that last season's team operated with zero margin for error on offense. New defensive coordinator Alex Grinch has completely transformed the Sooners and a 34-27 win over Texas showed just how good this group can be. The offense remains excellent, but now Oklahoma doesn't have to rely on it to score every single time. Imagine!
Clay Helton can't lean on excuses: True. Sooner or later, everyone thinks they're going to be jobbed by the refs. USC has a legitimate gripe in its 30-27 loss to Notre Dame. A questionable roughing the passer penalty stood out among the calls that went Notre Dame's way. And while Helton has every right to be upset -- he was actually diplomatic in his post-game presser all things considered -- the reality is his team is 3-3 ... about where many figured this it would be. With no AD to go to bat for him, this all seems to be pointing to a singular ending, barring a back-end turn around.
Wisconsin is more than Jonathan Taylor, and that's dangerous: I still wonder whether Wisconsin will have the overall speed and big-play ability to keep up with Ohio State. We'll find out for sure on Oct. 26. For now, let's continue to marvel at the fourth shutout the Badgers have posted this season -- the latest being a 38-0 win over Michigan State. Taylor rushed for 80 yards and two touchdowns -- good, but at only 3.1 yards per rush. Combine Wisconsin's defense with a good group of playmakers around Taylor (QB Jack Coan went 18-of-21 for 180 yards and a TD) and this showed it doesn't just need to lean on Taylor.
Minnesota is Wisky's biggest competitor in the Big Ten West: Ehhh -- we'll see how the Golden Gophers do in November. That's when they get Penn State, Iowa, Northwestern and Wisconsin in succession, with the middle two on the road. Minny is 6-0 for the first time since 2003 and on an eight-game winning streak for the first time since 1949. But that November slate could easily be an 0-for.
So ... we should be talking about Arizona State: There are plenty of underrated teams throughout college football, but Arizona State is 5-1 with some decent wins on its resume, including a gutsy 38-31 home win vs. Washington State. Herm Edwards still feels like an unlikely success story, but here we are. The Sun Devils have a good defense, a nice, young quarterback in Jayden Daniels, an all-conference running back in Eno Benjamin and a play-making receiver in Brandon Aiyuk. Up next is a road game at Utah, though.
No one in the MAC is good: It might not register too much if a Group of Five conference beats itself up, but man, no one in this conference is standing out at all. While South Carolina's upset of Georgia grabbed the headlines, no loss was more befuddling than Toledo's 20-7 loss to Bowling Green, who is probably one of the five worst teams in the FBS. Is any team in the MAC good at all?
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