NCAAF Notebook: Can Wake Forest remain undefeated?
College football missed out on of the biggest potential upsets in the history of the sport when Big 12 officials elected not to call forward progress against Oklahoma Sooners running back Kennedy Brooks, and allowed quarterback Caleb Williams to rip the ball out of his teammates’ hands to earn a critical first down against the Kansas Jayhawks this past weekend.
A WILD 4th-down play from Caleb Williams and Oklahoma 😳 😳 😳— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) October 23, 2021
(📍 @NavyFederal) pic.twitter.com/vEIu4CgjGN
It was a microcosm of the Sooners’ season, and perhaps the entire sport’s season at large, as college football’s blue bloods repeatedly flirt with disaster and leave us all in shock at the action on the field.
As we eagerly anticipate Week 9, here are the top stories from around the country in this edition of our NCAAF Notebook.
Big 12 Race
The Big 12 has always seen Oklahoma lead the pack, but as we probably could have predicted the race is tightening up entering the final third of the season.
Big 12 Conference Winner 2021
Sun, December 5 2021, 11:01 AM
Iowa State Cyclones
Oklahoma State Cowboys
TCU Horned Frogs
Texas Tech Red Raiders
West Virginia Mountaineers
Kansas State Wildcats
Iowa State won a hard-fought game against Oklahoma State in Week 8 to get to 3-1 in conference play and maintain a chance to play for the conference title, handing Oklahoma State their first defeat in the process. Oklahoma is still unbeaten in conference play, while Baylor is a surprising 3-1 with a big contest this weekend against Texas.
Oklahoma is deservedly favored to make the championship game yet again, but the race for second place is going to be excellent over the next month with three teams sitting at 3-1 and Texas close behind at 2-2.
Wake Forest is Undefeated
Don’t look now, but the Wake Forest Demon Deacons are undefeated. At 7-0, Wake Forest is leading the ACC and is technically still in contention for a playoff spot.
Nobody really thinks that Wake Forest will maintain their unblemished record, but it is a remarkable story as quarterback Sam Hartman leads the offense to bunches of points at a time. They’ve scored 302 total points, including a 70-spot last week against an Army team that traditionally controls the clock.
Sam Hartman: Most 20+ yard TDs this season (11)— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 26, 2021
Don’t 😴 on @WakeFB pic.twitter.com/QxHYusctxV
In the span of just one year, the ACC has been flipped almost entirely on its head, with Wake Forest, Pittsburgh, and Virginia becoming the best of the league.
With just over a month to go, it appears our Heisman winner will be coming from the SEC.
Alabama quarterback and NIL-renowned millionaire Bryce Young is the favorite as the Alabama Crimson Tide offense continues to churn up the yards with Young behind the wheel.
Heisman Trophy 2021
Sun, December 5 2021, 10:57 AM
Walker III, Kenneth
Robinson Jr., Brian
The second betting choice currently is Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral, who brings a gunslinger style into Lane Kiffin’s offense to produce exciting play and good statistics. It doesn’t hurt that the Rebels are winning, either.
Ohio State young quarterback C.J. Stroud is the third choice, but he has too much ground to make up with neither Young nor Corral likely to slow down anytime soon.
USC Coaching Speculation
The USC coaching job should be one of the more sought-after positions in the sport, and certainly so for West-Coast minded candidates. Thanks to their financing, history, and reputation, it is a national search that has caused a lot of speculation.
Early rumors called for Urban Meyer. Those were followed by remarks about Deion Sanders. Now Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers is being asked, and James Franklin of Penn State is being mentioned.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin swiftly rejects any speculation he’d be a candidate for the USC job. “Never say next, but never.” pic.twitter.com/EiP1spB4jc— Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 26, 2021
While USC fans and college football fans in general would surely like to know who the next man up is, we shouldn’t expect any sort of resolution until closer to season’s end. Until then, however, enjoy the speculation.
College Football Game of the Week
The best game of the week will take place early on the Saturday slate, as the intrastate rivalry game between Michigan and Michigan State takes the spotlight.
Sat, October 30 2021, 4:00 PM
Both teams are undefeated, but the visiting Wolverines are 4-point favorites. The total is set at a relatively low 50.5 as both offenses are conservative in nature and both defenses should play inspired given the nature of the rivalry.
Michigan is 6-1 ATS this season while the Spartans are 5-0-2. The Wolverines are just 2-11 ATS in the last 13 matchups in this series, but this does feel like their opportunity to finally get over the hump that has plagued them since Jim Harbaugh arrived in Ann Arbor.