Florida coach Dan Mullen had a bad Saturday and, somehow, an even worse Sunday. Let's start with Saturday, when Mullen's Gators lost at LSU 49-42 in a game they should've won. I say that not just because the oddsmakers said so -- Florida was a 10.5-point road favorite -- but because LSU was in such bad shape that it fired coach Ed Orgeron the following day anyway.
When was the last time you saw a coach get fired a day after pulling off a home upset of a ranked team? How about less than two years removed from a national title? That doesn't happen often, but it's possible when that coach is the head of a reportedly broken program. Ever since news broke of Orgeron's "separation agreement" with LSU, we've been flooded with reminders of Orgeron being named in reports of sexual assault allegations at LSU last year -- which, as per usual, didn't become a severe problem until LSU began losing too often.
Then there were the stories about Orgeron's personal life and gas station habits, along with reports that the relationship between Orgeron and his players became fractured because of his response to social justice concerns. When you put all of that together, it becomes an environment so toxic that a coach is fired after a big win just to stave off any possibility of him being able to rally support with more wins.
It's an incredibly complicated and messed up situation. It felt like everyone was standing around waiting for the guillotine to drop, wondering whether or not they wanted to be there when it happened.
That's the team that beat Mullen's Gators on Saturday.
The decision to fire Orgeron will only make life more difficult for Mullen. Just like there must always be a Stark in Winterfell, there must always be an SEC coach on the hot seat. Orgeron had been holding that spot comfortably for a while. Now, it will belong to Mullen.
The problem Mullen faces is that Saturday was not an isolated incident. On the contrary, it marks the second straight season the Gators have lost to an LSU team in flux, and it drops them 4-3 on the season and 2-3 in the SEC. The team's hopes of winning a division title are nonexistent no matter what happens against Georgia -- I think we all know what's likely to happen -- and it fell out of the AP Top 25 for the first time since September 2018, Mullen's first season in Gainesville.
Mullen is 33-12 at Florida, including 21-10 in the SEC. It's a better record than Jim McElwain when he got canned, but Mullen wasn't brought back to Gainesville to simply improve on McElwain. He's there to compete for national titles like the Gators did when he was offensive coordinator under Urban Meyer, and right now, this team feels like it's far away from that goal.
To be clear, I'm not saying I think Mullen should be fired. In fact, It would be foolish of Florida to do so right now and he deserves at least one more season before it's seriously considered.
But this is the SEC. You don't need to ask Orgeron twice what that means, and now, Mullen is next in line for the meat grinder.
Hype Train of the Week
Considering my longstanding public assertions that Caleb Williams is the best quarterback on Oklahoma's roster, I can't help but feel partially responsible for the hype that is building ballooning around him. It started in Week 6 when Williams replaced Spencer Rattler during a comeback win over Texas, running 66 yards for a touchdown on his first snap. It carried through the week when coach Lincoln Riley tried to hide beneath a tinfoil hat, hoping we were all dumb enough not to know who would start against TCU.
The hype officially blew up on Saturday. Williams threw for 295 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 66 yards and a fifth score in a 52-31 rout over TCU. And it's awesome. In a season which so few teams look the part of a national title contender, Oklahoma could play that role with Williams at the helm.
There's just one problem: Despite being Oklahoma's starter for roughly six quarters, people are already talking about Williams as a Heisman candidate. Let's slow that down a bit and concentrate on players who have played the entire season so far, shall we?
Photo of the Week
The regression finally came for Iowa, and it was wearing a Purdue uniform. The Boilermakers went into Iowa City and knocked off the No. 2 Hawkeyes 24-7. After being the team that forced others into stupid mistakes all season long, it was the Hawkeyes' turn with four interceptions from quarterback Spencer Petras.
All of that led to this photo of Purdue offensive lineman Greg Long pouring a beer he found on the field -- a Tennessee fan must have thrown it from Knoxville -- into his mouth. Or it might be one of those seltzers the kids love so much. Either way, it's an iconic photo.
In the most badass moment of the game, Purdue offensive lineman Greg Long pours a can of @budlight over his face after a fan tossed the beer onto the field in @BoilerFootball's 24-7 win over No. 2 Iowa today in Iowa City. pic.twitter.com/ymZUxWhP2V— Bryon Houlgrave (@bryonhoulgrave) October 16, 2021
Appreciation Note of the Week
Speaking of Purdue, another reason the Boilermakers pulled off the upset is that wide receiver David Bell ripped the Hawkeyes secondary to shreds. Bell finished the day with 11 receptions for 240 yards and a touchdown, and it's not the first time he's done this to them. In three career games against Iowa, Bell has now caught 37 passes for 558 yards and five touchdowns. He's had a season's worth of numbers against Iowa, but he doesn't save it all for the Hawkeyes.
Bell has been one of the best receivers in the country over the last few years, but he's toiled in relative obscurity. Purdue is not competing for Big Ten titles, nor is it often featured in spotlight games. He's a player who will likely need to reach the NFL before he's fully appreciated. For now, I hope this note helps spread the word.
Momentum Shift of the Week
Clemson avoided another upset loss in Week 7, beating Syracuse 17-14 in a win that sort of felt like progress? I don't know. Clemson is in a strange situation in that it's been left for dead by the College Football Playoff, but it's still 3-1 in the ACC and alive in the Atlantic Division. The problem is that the Tigers lost to NC State already, and their three ACC wins over Georgia Tech, Boston College, and Syracuse were by a combined 15 points.
The biggest indicator of how much things have changed might be the spread for Clemson's game against No. 23 Pitt. The Tigers and Panthers are in separate divisions, so they don't play every season, but Clemson has been favored in their last three matchups by 21.5 points (2016), 28 points (2018) and 24 points (2020). This year, Pitt is favored by 3.5. It's just another example of how fast life can come at you and why it's always important to keep your head on a swivel.
Longest Run of the Week
I bet there were two thoughts running through Ohio QB Armani Rogers' mind as he was rushing for his 99-yard touchdown -- a FBS record. The first was "Oh my God, I'm going to score a 99-yard touchdown!" The second was "I never want to do this again."
I would lay down on the field and take a nap afterward. You know, assuming my body was still functioning well enough to do it.
Stock Advice of the Week
BUY -- Baylor OC Jeff Grimes: Grimes had been the offensive coordinator at BYU since the 2018 season, but didn't become a name until 2020 when the Cougars were going 11-1 behind No. 2 NFL Draft pick Zack Wilson. After going 2-7 in his first year at Baylor, with good defense and an inept offense, Dave Aranda thought Grimes would be just what his program needed and brought him to Waco.
It's paid off. Last season, Baylor's offense finished 111th nationally with 1.57 points per possession and 120th with a success rate of 34.1%. So far this season, Baylor ranks 15th with 2.99 points per possession and seventh nationally with a success rate of 48.5%. That's a remarkable turnaround and the kind that will get noticed by other programs this winter. Whether Grimes is at Baylor for another season or leaves, he's going to get a raise.
BUY -- Utah QB Cameron Rising: There's a decent chance you went to bed before it ended, but Utah came back from a 21-7 deficit against Arizona State to beat the Sun Devils 35-21 Saturday night. The win improved the Utes to 3-0 in the Pac-12 and left them as the lone undefeated team in the South Division. The Utes began the year 1-2 with losses to BYU and San Diego State, but the Utes' season changed during that loss to the Aztecs.
Quarterback Charlie Brewer was replaced by Rising, and he's lived up to his name since. Rising has thrown for 843 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions since replacing Brewer. He's also rushed for 164 yards and two touchdowns, bringing a new dynamic element to the offense that isn't all that dissimilar to what we've seen Williams bring Oklahoma. Suddenly, the Utes have gone from a team it looked like we could forget about in September to one that might win the Pac-12.
BUY -- UTEP bowl tickets: Every year since 2013, I have been ranking the worst teams in college football in The Bottom 25. In that long, illustrious eight-year span, only one team has managed to win The Bottom 25 Championship twice: UTEP, in 2017 and 2018.
So you'll have to excuse me if I got a bit teary-eyed on Saturday night when the Miners took down Louisiana Tech 19-3 to improve to 6-1 on the season and reach bowl eligibility for the first time since 2014. I have fun with the teams The Bottom 25, but at the end of the day, all I want for any of them is to experience success and get out. To see the job Dana Dimel has done with the Miners this season will be one of the high points of 2021 for me.
College Football Playoff Projection of the Week
Until the next Monday After!