College Football Week 7 Highlights: Top Plays, Plays, Takeaways

Michigan won Saturday’s round.

We could have printed this sentence in any of the last seven weeks, and we will probably write it again in each of the next few weeks. Heck, we could have written it on a card back in July, sealed it in an envelope and locked it in an unbreakable safe, then opened it again on a Saturday afternoon with absolutely no fanfare in our prophetic brilliance. The Wolverines’ dominance is the least surprising development of the season.

There is good reason to believe Michigan is the best team in the country. The problem with this argument is the lack of any hard evidence, thanks to a schedule in which the Wolverines essentially played Andy Reid in punt, pass and kick competitions in the 1970s.

Saturday’s defeat came against Indiana, but that doesn’t matter. It looked the same against ECU and UNLV, Nebraska and Minnesota. The best team Michigan has played so far might be Rutgers. The biggest problem the Wolverines faced may have been tying their shoelaces.

Of course, it’s not Michigan’s fault that two-thirds of the Big Ten are made up of teams that should be wearing Starfleet red uniforms – just cannon fodder for the big stars.

And it’s only partially Michigan’s fault that the non-conference slate is so bad. Who could have predicted that Bowling Green wouldn’t be able to host a real test? (Don’t answer this.)

In fact, it wasn’t even Michigan’s fault that it won. such unmatched competition was so boring. Part of it is a slow start, part of it is boredom, and the first three Saturdays of the season are partly because their head coach was suspended and was using the time to finish his teen novel about a magical pair of time-traveling khakis made by the enchanted themes of L.L. himself. Bina.

The real story behind Michigan’s season requires a deeper dive into the text. JJ McCarthy has truly blossomed into an all-around defensive star. He led the nation in total QBR on Saturday and increased his tally against Indiana, throwing for three touchdowns and averaging 13 yards per pass. The ground game remains strong, with Blake Corum handling end zones the same way Kevin Hart handles movies – he’s in all of them. The defense has yet to allow multiple touchdowns in a game. All the analytics show Michigan’s dominance to be noteworthy, with most metrics showing the Wolverines to be the most impressive team of the year – which is to say, watching LeBron dunk on a team full of second-year players is impressive.

The narrative isn’t much different for Michigan’s archrival Ohio State. Ohio State beat Purdue 41-7 on Saturday. Yes, the Buckeyes beat Notre Dame—on the road, ugly, and by a low score—but the list of teams that have done it in the last two years includes other luminaries like…Marshall and Stanford. . The Buckeyes have wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., but otherwise the offense has been similar to recent seasons of The Walking Dead – sometimes fun, but mostly we’re just watching out of obligation.

And frankly, it’s all very similar to Penn State, which hosted the University of Massachusetts on Saturday for homecoming, in a game in which the Minutemen were thrown into a line of unsuspecting insects leisurely flying across the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Sure, the Nittany Lions held Iowa without a touchdown earlier this season, but it’s also worth remembering that Iowa gave up the offense in September as part of a periodic fast. Meanwhile, Penn State’s vaunted tailbacks have been far from electrifying this year so far, with reporters openly wondering why James Franklin doesn’t just let his QB throw it deep in every game like a drunk guy playing Madden.

The Ohio State-Penn State dilemma will at least be resolved next week when the two face off in Columbus. After that, we’ll know for sure who Michigan’s true competition can be for the Big Ten title and playoff spot.

But it will be another month before we see Michigan play anyone who could pose a serious challenge.

So unless you have a magical pair of time-traveling khakis, the real answers on Michigan’s ceiling will have to wait a while longer.

Jordan Travis Appreciation Section

Florida State crushed Syracuse 41-3 on Saturday to remain undefeated. There’s not much to reveal here – FSU is good, Syracuse not so much – so let’s instead make this a moment of appreciation for Jordan Travis.

Travis arrived at Florida State in 2019 and was essentially told by the coaching staff that he was not a QB. When Mike Norvell took over as head coach, Travis suggested a position change. Even though he led the Soviet Union to within a few points of a Cup appearance at the end of 2021, the general consensus was that Travis was a damn good runner but not a very good passer.

How stupid this all sounds now.

Against Syracuse, Travis threw for 284 yards and a touchdown (he also scored two short scores) despite playing without one of his best receivers, Johnny Wilson. But over the past calendar year, the numbers are staggering: 65% completion rate, 3,035 yards, 26 touchdown passes, three picks and a 12-0 record.

Lesson here: Willie Taggart’s reversible backpack idea wasn’t the worst decision he made at Florida State.

Another, more important lesson: never doubt Jordan Travis.

JMU still undefeated

Jordan McCloud threw for 259 yards and three touchdowns in a 41-13 win over Georgia Southern, giving James Madison its most convincing win since judicial review precedent was set – or at least crushing Bucknell in Week 1.

JMU is now 6-0 on the season and 14-3 since moving up from the FCS in 2022.

The Dukes’ defense has been tremendous, and McCloud has emerged as one of the top transfer QBs in the 2023 class after spending the first five years of his career at Arizona and USF.

JMU’s reward for all this success? It won’t be an appearance in the Sun Belt title game or a bowl game – both of which are prohibited because the Dukes are still in the second year of their transition to the FBS.

Sure, it’s a stupid rule, but the NCAA has always been a federalist group.

Colorado fails in non-prime time

To his credit, Deion Sanders saw this coming.

“Who makes these 8-hour games?” Sanders asked last week. “The stupidest thing in the world. The stupidest thing ever invented in life. Who wants to stay up until 8 o’clock for a damn game?”

First, we have to take issue with Prime’s opinion that this is “the dumbest thing ever invented” when we have an emotional support goldfish in Tallahassee.

Secondly, boy, Prime was right about everything else. By halftime on Friday night, the Buffaloes had all eaten melatonin gum, changed into official Coach Prime pajamas (complete with a cowboy hat and sunglasses-shaped eye mask) and focused on getting a good night’s sleep.

Unfortunately for Colorado, Stanford’s team was accustomed to pulling all-nighters on advanced theoretical physics exams, so the Cardinal continued to play in the second half, erasing the Buffs’ 29-0 lead and winning 46-43 in double overtime.

Sheader Sanders threw for 400 yards and five touchdowns, including two to newcomer Travis Hunter, but his INT in the second frame of overtime proved to be the final dagger in Colorado’s hopes.

Was this awkward for Prime? Certainly. Was this a sign that maybe Colorado was a fun, but not entirely good, football team? Still would.

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