College football put on a show this weekend to prove yet again why it’s the most beautiful sport in the world. Unless you’re an Alabama or Texas fan.
With apologies to Alabama and Texas football fans, this was the greatest Saturday in college football that I can remember in a long time.
The Red River Showdown began as if it was going to be a lopsided affair with Steve Sarkisian winning his first rivalry game with Oklahoma. Then, things got crazy and it was a sign of just how special Oct. 9 was.
Texas was back for one half of football but then Lincoln Riley benched his preseason Heisman favorite and potential No. 1 overall pick, Spencer Rattler for freshman Caleb Williams.
Such a brash decision that can only be matched by Nick Saban benching Jalen Hurts in the national championship game vs. Georgia and inserting freshman Tua Tagovailoa.
As it did for Saban, this decision worked out for Riley.
Williams was otherworldly, looking like the next great Oklahoma quarterback, and potentially sending Rattler to the transfer portal in the process.
Caleb Williams replaced Spener Rattler to lead Oklahoma to Red River Showdown comeback vs. Texas
Oklahoma football fans had expected more out of Rattler who was also benched in the Red River Showdown last year before leading a comeback win in four overtime periods.
History didn’t repeat itself as Texas blew the biggest lead in program history and Oklahoma staged the biggest comeback in Red River history.
If the day ended with Oklahoma’s historic comeback against Texas as the top story, it would have been a satisfying end. It was arguably the best game in the rivalry since the peak when Mack Brown and Bob Stoops were annually ranked in the top five.
It was just the beginning of the best Saturday of the year.
Lost in the madness that was Texas choking away a 99.9 percent win probability were Ole Miss and Arkansas playing in a similarly drunk game at the same time.
Lane Kiffin’s Rebels rebounded after being humbled a week prior vs. Alabama. Kiffin was literally praying in the final seconds after Ole Miss allowed a touchdown with zero time on the clock and Arkansas lined up for the game-winning two-point conversion.
Go figure in a game with more than 100 points scored it would be a defensive stop to decide the game but that’s what happened in the 52-51 win. Kiffin can finally have his popcorn.
Iowa defense leads Hawkeyes past Penn State in Big Ten game of the week
The afternoon wave gave fans the best game on paper with No. 3 Iowa hosting No. 4 Penn State in a battle of Big Ten unbeatens. It looked like Penn State was going to come away with a momentous road win but then starting quarterback Sean Clifford was injured and didn’t return. That was the opening Iowa needed to seize the momentum and they never looked back, winning 23-24.
As great as Georgia’s defense has been this year, Iowa’s defense has been a notch below. The Hawkeyes added four more interceptions against the Nittany Lions and look like they have no competition in the Big Ten West. A showdown with Michigan, Michigan State or Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game stands in the way of their first playoff berth.
The NFL has a ‘witching hour’ when the noon games all bottleneck with dramatic finishes all happening at the same time. There was a similarly dramatic effect taking place on Saturday night with Alabama, Michigan and Notre Dame all trailing in the fourth quarter.
The three historic programs were all on the ropes like Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury, but two avoided the knockout blow to remain upright.
Notre Dame was first to stage a last-second comeback against Virginia Tech with a touchdown and two-point conversion to tie the game and later a 48-yard field goal to win it.
Michigan handed Nebraska another heartbreaking one-possession game and Scott Frost has to be questioning whether someone put a curse on him. The Wolverines remain undefeated and it’s time to give Jim Harbaugh his props. He humbled himself after taking a pay cut last offseason and his offense is the best it’s been in years. He’s also got a likely top-five pick in defensive end, Aidan Hutchinson, causing havoc off the edge. He may be the best Michigan defensive lineman in years, and they’ve had some good ones.
LSU lost to Kentucky and Ed Orgeron is running out of games to be the LSU football coach. After winning the national championship with Joe Burrow in 2019, he’s just 8-8. Orgeron is a dead man walking. There is nothing he can do to keep his job short of running the table, which includes a game against Alabama.
Speaking of Alabama, the Crimson Tide fell behind Texas A&M early and outside of a brief lead in the fourth quarter never looked like they were comfortable against the Aggies.
Jimbo Fisher became the first former Saban assistant to beat his master and he did it with his backup quarterback Zach Calzada. And it was Calzada, playing for the injured Haynes King, who shook off a shot to the knee that looked like it would sideline him for a month, who led the game-winning drive.
Texas A&M drilled the game-winning field goal from Seth Small from 28 yards out as time expired and sent all the 12th men onto Kyle Field and pandemonium was on in College Station.
It was the first time that Alabama lost since 2019 and the first time since 2007 the Tide lost to an unranked team.
I guess they were due?
College football fans were certainly due for a day like today, especially after the 2020 COVID season was a miserable experience. The games took place, without fans, and while it was good they were played, it was largely a joyless experience surrounded by the backdrop of COVID deaths, positive tests, campuses shut down, empty stadiums and canceled games.
We needed this.
We got everything we could have hoped for to remind us why we love this sport in the first place.
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