At Alligator Army, we love and cover the Florida Gators - but the Gators are part of a larger national landscape of collegiate gridiron goodness.
Here’s a look at what happened this past Saturday in college football.
No. 2 goes down again
As was the case last week, the team ranked second in the nation suffered their first loss. Last week Georgia was thoroughly defeated by ranked LSU, and this week Ohio State decided to up the ante by getting blown out by unranked three-loss Purdue, 49-20. It was the first time since 1984 that an OSU team ranked No. 2 was knocked off by an unranked team (also Purdue).
The Boilermarkers handed the Buckeyes a 29-point loss, notching the third largest victory by an unranked team over a top-two team in AP poll history. The defeat also marked OSU’s second largest defeat as a top-two team. (Fun fact: the first and third largest top-two losses in Ohio State history also involve Urban Meyer. The first was to Clemson in the 2016 Playoff (31-0) and the third was Urban Meyer-helmed Florida over the Buckeyes in the 2006 National Championship Game (41-14).)
Cue the Urban Meyer sad pizza memes.
The Buckeyes’ playoff and Big Ten title aspirations seem to be in trouble now. Ohio State’s defense had been suspect for stretches this season, but against the Boilermakers the offense also struggled mightily - rushing for a record low 78 yards under Urban Meyer.
Clemson will surely be ranked No. 2 next week heading into their meeting with Florida State. Is there any chance the curse of the second ranking could continue in Tallahassee?
Michigan makes their case as the class of the Big Ten
The No. 6 Wolverines handled their business against No. 24 Michigan State in East Lansing, leaving with a 21-7 victory. The story of this game was mostly the animosity on display between the two rivals.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio both had some words regarding the antics. Harbaugh called Michigan State’s pregame warm-up line walking through a few Michigan players “bush league” and noted that he believed Dantonio to be close and smiling during it. When told about Harbaugh’s comments, Dantonio called the accusation “BS.”
Michigan celebrates right on the logo pic.twitter.com/YwpqoONGky— Max Marcovitch (@Max_Marcovitch) October 20, 2018
Michigan snapped a 17-game road losing streak to ranked teams with the win and emerges as the Big Ten’s primary playoff hope and leading conference title contender. Their last ranked road win before Saturday was a victory over No. 2 Notre Dame all the way back in 2006.
Washington State upsets Oregon
The No. 25 Cougars defended their home turf - and staved off a Ducks comeback - en route to a 34-20 win. No. 12 Oregon now has two losses, leaving Washington State as the sole one-loss Pac-12 team. With their fourth consecutive victory over the Ducks, the Cougars tie their longest winning streak all-time against Oregon.
Two more teams fall from the ranks of the unbeaten
Unlike the last two years, No. 16 NC State didn’t put up much of a fight against No. 3 Clemson. Oddsmakers certainly knew what they were doing when they set the over two-touchdown spread. The Tigers notched their second largest win versus a ranked opponent on Saturday in freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s first true (successfully passed) test.
The other previously unblemished team to earn their first L was No. 20 Cincinnati, who fell 24-17 in overtime to Geoff Collins’ Temple squad. Despite quarterback Anthony Russo tossing three interceptions, the Owls engineered a 75-yard drive in the closing minutes to force overtime with the Bearcats.
Temple knocks off No. 20 Cincinnati in overtime, the Owls first win at home against a Top-20 opponent since beating No. 13 Holy Cross 3-0...in 1936!— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 20, 2018
The Owls' 35 straight home losses against Top-20 teams was the longest in AP Poll history.
The ranks of the undefeated have shrank to include just five teams - No. 1 Alabama, No. 3 Clemson, No. 4 Notre Dame, No. 10 UCF, and No. 21 USF.
How many teams do you expect to remain perfect at the end of the season?
Kentucky and LSU ride defense to wins
Once again, as they had with Georgia early and Florida in the first half, Vanderbilt played a ranked SEC East opponent tough for a while before ultimately succumbing. The No. 14 Wildcats had their hands full with the Commodores for a half or so, before pulling away late for a 14-7 victory. Kentucky is still very much in the SEC East race, along with Florida and Georgia.
The No. 5 Tigers of LSU again defeated a ranked team in Death Valley, handing No. 22 Mississippi State another loss. The Bulldogs had an abysmal day in their 19-3 loss, with quarterback Nick Fitzgerald throwing four interceptions.
The LSU strength coach is out here HEADBUTTING PEOPLE WITHOUT A HELMET pic.twitter.com/PI6b1Swur3— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) October 20, 2018
LSU is off next week in preparation for their November 3rd showdown with Alabama, a game which should feature them both ranked in the top-five. The Tigers will be without defensive star Devin White in the first half of that game however, as he was ejected for targeting in the second half of the MSU win.
Alabama rolls over Tennessee
Speaking of the top-ranked Tide, they unsurprisingly had no issue taking care of the Volunteers in Knoxville, cruising to a 58-21 victory. It was Alabama’s 12th straight win over the Vols. At this point, is there anyone who can touch the Tide?
Alabama has scored at least 50 points in 6 games this season, tied for 2nd-most by a SEC team in SEC history.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 20, 2018
Only Florida (7) had more such games en route to the 1996 national championship.
Not much was notable from this game, other than Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt remarking at halftime that his team wouldn’t be able to hang with the Tide until he had more recruiting classes under his belt - and former Vols head man Butch Jones celebrating with Alabama, where he is now employed as an analyst in Nick Saban’s Home for Wayward Coaches program.
Butch Jones gets a Gatorade bath pic.twitter.com/TDRhdypKjT— Bill Bender (@BillBender92) October 20, 2018
Past analysts have included Steve Sarkisian, Lane Kiffin, Brian Daboll, Mike Locksley, and Tosh Lupoi.
Scott Frost and Nebraska finally get a win
The Huskers took the coveted $5 Bits of Broken Chair Trophy from the Gophers with their 53-28 win. Nebraska snapped a program record ten-game losing streak in the process, and gave Scott Frost his first win at the helm of the Huskers.
Gators get GameDay and SEC Nation
For what will likely be a top-ten showdown next week in Jacksonville, both College GameDay and SEC Nation will be in attendance for the annual rivalry game between Florida and Georgia. It’ll be the first time that both programs will air from the same location.
For the first time since 2005 ...— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) October 21, 2018
We're headed to Jacksonville for Florida vs. Georgia! pic.twitter.com/tWf8gGA9z1
The atmosphere should be excellent for the biggest game of the Gators’ season.