24. THE WOE OF MOST OF THE 102,455 IN KNOXVILLE. Alabama’s 49-10 win at Tennessee was the most decisive in the 115-year-old series since a 51-0 win in 1906, which people will remember as the second of seven straight Alabama shutouts of Tennessee during that era, preceding that 5-0 win of 1907 and then that unforgettable 4-0 win of 1908.
23. THE NEW PURDUE OPENING. Life is hard.
22. THE UNPREDICTABILITY OF BIG 12 EXPANSION ON MONDAY. You know how it goes in boardrooms at airport hotels. Sometimes those things are just wild.
21. THE BIZARRE REALITY OF THE REBOOKED GAME BETWEEN FLORIDA AND LSU. When it looked like Tennessee might suffer from Florida playing one fewer SEC game after Hurricane Matthew prevented the Florida-LSU match of Oct. 8, Tennessee Coach Butch Jones lobbied for Florida-LSU to be played. Now that the SEC read its rulebook and noticed that teams that don’t play all eight conference games aren’t eligible for the SEC title game, and the game got rescheduled to Nov. 19, Jones should have been lobbying for an outright cancellation.
20. HALFTIME: IOWA STATE 6, TEXAS 3. The estimable Austin American-Statesman columnist Kirk Bohls sat in the stands for the first time since his college days of the 1970s. He marveled that the “$8 beer was cold. Or so I was told.” He asked, “Does anyone smuggle in flasks anymore? Heard that was common back in the ’70s.” And he reported that a “John from Westlake” said, “It’s 6-3 to Iowa State at halftime. I don’t need WikiLeaks to tell me what’s going on.” Saturday nights in Austin just brim with possibility.
19. SCORE OF THE WEEK: COAST GUARD 56, CURRY 54. Before Curry quarterback Alex Corvese threw seven touchdown passes, and Coast Guard quarterback Derek Victory threw six, no two teams in all the history of Division III football had combined for 13 touchdown passes. The world continues to evolve.
18. DRIVE OF THE WEEK. Temple took over at its own 30-yard line with 32 seconds left at Central Florida, then moved 62 yards in three plays, then went to spike with 10 seconds left, then didn’t spike, with Phillip Walker throwing an eight-yard touchdown pass to an acrobatic Keith Kirkwood in the back of the end zone for a mind-boggling 26-25 win. And people actually volunteer to coach this stuff.
17. MY COLORADO SCHOOL OF MINES OREDIGGERS. There’s nothing in the world like competent tight end play, and our Brody Oliver got two touchdown catches in our 56-28 win over South Dakota Mines to run his season total to a staggering 16 after seven games. That’s a Division II record for tight ends, and a reminder of the enduring relevance of tight ends.
16. A WORD FROM UP ABOVE. When Fox’s Erin Andrews asked Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, after the mauling of Green Bay, about Brett Favre’s guess that Lambeau Field might overwhelm the rookie, Prescott said, “I played in the SEC, so I’ve been prepared for it a little bit.” Yeah, don’t bring us any of this crud about tepid NFL stadiums being intimidating when you’ve gone into that wall of sound in Tuscaloosa.
15. THE INCREDIBLE CONRAD UKROPINA. If you ever hoped to see a game-winning field goal from field level, the one to see might have been Ukropina’s last-play, 45-yarder for Stanford last November against Notre Dame, the way it went seemed to scream as it tore through the top of the uprights. If you ever hoped to see a 45-yarder rise and then plunk down squarely on the top of an upright, as Ukropina’s did Saturday at Notre Dame — actually, nobody ever hoped to see such an implausibility.
14. BRIGHAM YOUNG (4-3) AT NO. 14 BOISE STATE (6-0). Boise State will aim to recover from Colorado State scoring three touchdowns in 82 seconds in the fourth quarter Saturday and recovering two onside kicks in that frame. Most people would never recover from such horror.
13. THE SEC WEST VERSUS THE SEC EAST. Alabama’s rout of Tennessee made the West’s record 7-0, with an average win of 38.0-14.6. Will the Florida-LSU game be replayed if the East is banished from the league?
12. NO. 17 ARKANSAS (5-2) AT NO. 21 AUBURN (4-2), AND NO. 23 OLE MISS (3-3) AT NO. 25 LSU (4-2). Meanwhile, intra-West, out of the four sets of fans who’ll study these games, the number of fan bases who believe their record should be better will be four.
11. NEBRASKA, BELITTLED. After the Cornhuskers went to 6-0 with a hard win at Indiana, some of them seethed that the people on ESPN’s “GameDay” had sneered at them. It just went to show that no sneer stings quite as much as a sneer on “GameDay.”
10. LOOK, IT’S VANDERBILT. With their 17-16 triumph at Georgia — holding Nick Chubb to 40 rushing yards on 16 carries — the Commodores stand 1-3 in the SEC, and three plays from being 4-0. On that marvel alone, the SEC East can stay in the league.
9. THAT QUIET UTAH. The No. 19 Utes have reached 6-1 hardly anyone noticing, and have overcome such a slew of injuries that running back Cory Butler-Byrd said, “We’ve got so many injuries, it’s just the norm now.” Next, in Pasadena, they’ll go for a sweep of the two Los Angeles teams and aim to prove that Salt Lake City is more exciting.
8. THAT SLIGHTLY LESS QUIET COLORADO. With Phil Lindsay scoring on a 75-yard run and praising the offensive line with, “Those guys right here made me man” — apparently, that’s “man” as a verb — the formerly lowly Buffaloes (5-2, 3-1) join Utah atop the Pacific-12 South after an impressive, we-know-how, 40-16 win over Arizona State (5-2, 2-2). This could get really interesting if recruits begin to realize that Boulder is the best college town in the United States.
7. AND THAT SLIGHTLY LESS QUIET WEST VIRGINIA. Texas Tech had scored 50-plus points in nine straight home games, but as West Virginia (5-0) bolted from No. 20 to No. 12 in the Associated Press rankings, it limited the Red Raiders to 17 and caused a forlorn Coach Kliff Kingsbury to call it “the worst I’ve seen since I’ve been associated with Texas Tech,” which began as a quarterback last century. It just goes to show it’s possible to have a rowdy weekend in Lubbock.
6. “WHEN I GOT IT, I KIND OF BLANKED OUT. I ALMOST DIED. NO, FOR REAL, I ALMOST DIED. EVERYBODY KEPT PILING ON ME.” So, to local reporters, said Marcus Edmond, the Clemson player who has made two of the key plays of the national season, a stop against Louisville at the 3-yard line with 33 seconds left and an interception against N.C. State in the end zone in overtime. Not only that, when he signed with Clemson in 2013 out of Lower Richland (S.C.) High, he looked smashing in a purple dress shirt and an orange bow tie, which not every man can do.
5. OHIO STATE MAESTRO J.T. BARRETT. Some of those late throws, on the hard road at Wisconsin, deserved accompaniment from violins.
4. WASHINGTON STATE MAESTRO MIKE LEACH. It looks hard to recover from two dispiriting opening losses (to Eastern Washington and Boise State), to beat Oregon, Stanford and UCLA in a row, and to overcome a sloppy game in which, Coach Mike Leach said, “The other team was yelling out our snap count, which is illegal.” The Cougars (4-2, 3-0) have done all, and Nov. 25 against No. 5 Washington (6-0, 3-0) looks ever juicier.
3. NO. 6 TEXAS A&M (6-0) AT NO. 1 ALABAMA (7-0). Approaching another colossus in Tuscaloosa, remember that over the last nine seasons, Alabama is 105-12. Just think: There’s not a single thing for any fan to complain about.
2. THE CASE OF THE BURNING OAR. As Western Michigan and 35-year-old Coach P.J. Fleck have surged to 6-0 and No. 20 with the slogan “Row The Boat,” Akron players used pregame for a ceremonial oar-burning on the field, before their 41-0 loss. Here is another reminder that we Americans are some of the weirdest people on Earth.
1. A SPEECH IN SYRACUSE. For audience participation, for pacing, for body language, for needling Las Vegas wagering lines and for stoking players perched atop lockers to bang those lockers, first-year Syracuse Coach Dino Babers’ postgame masterpiece raised the goose bumps after the upset of Virginia Tech. Watch the thing a few times, you almost wish Syracuse into the playoff.