Top 25 takeaways: Upsets rule in wild Week 7

Top 25 takeaways: Upsets rule in wild Week 7

The craziness came early and often on Saturday, with four top eight teams — Georgia, West Virginia, Washington and Penn State — all losing. No. 5 Notre Dame escaped Pitt with a win.

Here’s what we’ve learned so far. And make sure to check back later Saturday as games end for an updated look at the day’s impact.


No. 1 Alabama 39, Missouri 10

It might have been the sloppiest game the Crimson Tide have played to date, and they still beat Missouri by four touchdowns. Wide receiver Jerry Jeudy was once again spectacular, and the defense certainly did its part in limiting future pro quarterback Drew Lock. But the biggest news, by far, was Tua Tagovailoa re-injuring his sprained knee in the second half. The Heisman Trophy front-runner was looked at by trainers for a long time before he returned to the sideline. He appeared to be OK, but it goes to show you how fragile success can be, even when you’re top-ranked Alabama. — Alex Scarborough


No. 13 LSU 36, No. 2 Georgia 16

One way or the other, it sure looks as if the road to the SEC championship will include a stop in Baton Rouge, particularly given the way LSU put a hurting on Georgia. The Tigers, who now own three top-10 wins, came roaring back after last week’s loss to Florida to beat the previously unbeaten Bulldogs and get Mississippi State and Alabama at home in the next two games. The Tigers are disruptive enough on defense to be in every game they play the rest of the way and are finding an identity on offense with quarterback Joe Burrow getting a little more comfortable each week. — Chris Low

If Georgia is going to make a return appearance in the College Football Playoff, the path just got a lot more difficult. The Bulldogs, on the heels of a loss at LSU, will need to win out, which could mean having to beat Alabama in the SEC championship game. This is the second straight season that the Dawgs have gone on the road in the SEC West and been exposed. They recovered a year ago after their loss at Auburn, but will be hard-pressed to do so again this year given some of their sloppiness and inconsistency on offense. They still have to play at Kentucky and Florida in Jacksonville. And get ready for a ton of questions about the Dawgs’ quarterback situation, too. — Low


No. 3 Ohio State 30, Minnesota 14

Nothing seemed to go right for Ohio State in its game against Minnesota, but the Buckeyes still came away with a win. The defense has been an issue for Ohio State all season and the struggles continued Saturday. Ohio State gave up 169 rushing yards to a team that ran for 86 against Iowa the previous week. The Buckeyes struggled running the ball themselves, gaining only 71 yards on the ground. Injuries have factored in to some of these stats for Ohio State, but a lot of the issues have been lingering. It might not come back to haunt the Buckeyes during the regular season, but if the team has playoff hopes, it needs to eliminate the repetitive mistakes. — Tom VanHaaren


No. 5 Notre Dame 19, Pitt 14

Notre Dame’s offense came back to earth this week in a survive-and-advance kind of week among college football’s top teams. The Irish defense managed to hold Pitt to a single offensive touchdown (the Panthers added another on a 99-yard kickoff return to start the second half) and make enough plays down the stretch to avoid the upset scare. This Saturday is evidence that despite a remaining schedule full of winnable games, the rest of the year won’t be a cakewalk. Notre Dame will need its offensive line, now without veteran starter Alex Bars, to keep improving if it’s going to make it through the back half of the season unscathed. — Dan Murphy


Iowa State 30, No. 6 West Virginia 14

Reality struck Dana Holgorsen’s team hard Saturday night in Ames. After a sloppy win over Kansas, West Virginia looked nothing like a Big 12 title contender against an Iowa State team that has made a habit of taking down top-10 opponents under third-year coach Matt Campbell. The Mountaineers were overwhelmed on both offense and defense — unable to protect Will Grier or stretch the field with their talented receivers, and unable to stop Iowa State star running back David Montgomery, dynamic freshman quarterback Brock Purdy, stretchy wide receiver Hakeem Butler and others. WVU had a chance in the second half only because of Iowa State’s dreadful kicking game and a few defensive stops. It’s a long season and the Big 12 is getting wacky in recent weeks, but West Virginia has to repair its offensive line and its defensive front seven, which entered Saturday’s game very banged up, especially at linebacker. Grier’s Heisman campaign could be over after the past few weeks, as the lack of a consistent run game and his own habit of holding the ball too long showed up in the Iowa State loss. An open week arrives at a good time before West Virginia tries to revive its season Oct. 25 against Baylor in Morgantown. The Mountaineers then visit surging Texas, which probably will use Iowa State’s blueprint in defending Grier. — Adam Rittenberg


No. 17 Oregon 30, No. 7 Washington 27 (OT)

They needed a missed field goal attempt at the end of regulation to stay alive, but the Ducks will take that bit of fortune after feeling unlucky in their loss to Stanford at Autzen a couple of weeks ago. Any win against the Huskies is reason for celebration and this one will be especially satisfying considering their hated rival’s revival under coach Chris Petersen coincided with a precipitous decline in Eugene. Oregon is now very much in a contender to win the Pac-12 — maybe the favorite. It doesn’t get much easier, though, as the Ducks will now head to Pullman where a good, rested Washington State team awaits next week. — Kyle Bonagura

The Huskies’ College Football Playoff hopes took a hit early in the day when Auburn lost, again, but that topic of conversation has felt shallow for weeks. Washington hasn’t played like a playoff team at any point this season and it’s nearly impossible to come up with a scenario where that changes now. The Huskies had few answers for Oregon’s pass rush, and while they’ll remain part of the Pac-12 title discussion, it was as deflating a loss the team has had in a long time. — Bonagura


Michigan State 21, No. 8 Penn State 17

Cross off Penn State as one of those one-loss teams with a chance to still make the College Football Playoff. The Nittany Lions couldn’t hold on to a late lead and lost yet another close game, for their second loss of the season. Penn State is 24-5 in its past 29 games, and those five losses have been by a combined 12 points, including a 27-26 loss to Ohio State two weeks ago. Even with an extra week to recover from that Ohio State loss, Penn State was never able to get on track offensively against Sparty and still faces a challenging schedule the rest of the way with games remaining against Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa. — Low


No. 9 Texas 23, Baylor 17

Losing Sam Ehlinger to a shoulder injury clearly affected the Longhorns’ offensive game plan, taking away a major component (his running ability), but Shane Buechele came in and got it done. The Longhorns’ defense, which has been solid for most of the season, carried the day again, holding Baylor to only 17 points and standing tall on the Bears’ last-gasp effort. The possibility of a “letdown game” is always there after a win as big as Texas’ was over Oklahoma in Week 6. Now that the Longhorns are past that mostly unscathed with their Big 12 title game hopes intact, they’ll get a well-timed off week, given Ehlinger’s uncertain health. — Sam Khan Jr.


No. 10 UCF 31, Memphis 30

The Knights trailed by 16 points at one point in the first half against Memphis, and the nation’s longest winning streak appeared to be in serious jeopardy. UCF had all sorts of problems, and they all started up front as Memphis dominated on both the offensive and defensive lines. But faced with more adversity than any other game this season, UCF kept its composure. Josh Heupel made the call to go for it on a fourth-and-1, and the result was a rushing touchdown that helped turn the tide and gave UCF its 19th straight win. After giving up 222 yards rushing in the first half, the UCF defense tightened and gave up only 59 yards rushing the rest of the way. More important, it pitched a second-half shoutout. But there are areas that need to be fixed, starting with a run defense that has ranked in the bottom half of the country all season. — Andrea Adelson


No. 12 Michigan 38, No. 15 Wisconsin 13

For fans and critics alike who claimed Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines hadn’t delivered in a big game against a ranked opponent, Saturday was an impressive rejoinder. Michigan pulled away in the second half against Wisconsin, controlling the clock with a running game reminiscent of those bullying teams that Harbaugh built at Stanford. Even Shea Patterson did more damage with his legs than his highly touted arm, peeling off an 81-yard run that was the longest for Michigan in eight years, and scoring on a 7-yard run in the third quarter. The Wolverines reaffirmed their status as the nation’s best defense, too, holding Wisconsin to 192 yards in the first three quarters. In all, it was a long-awaited triumph for Harbaugh. Now he’ll have do it again — and again. Michigan will travel to Michigan State next week and then host Penn State two weeks later. — Joel Anderson

Considering the Badgers’ defense barely had enough bodies to get through the whole game, their loss on the scoreboard could eventually pale in comparison to the losses in their lineup. At one point in the loss at Michigan, Wisconsin was missing four regular starters on defense, including three in the secondary. Safety D’Cota Dixon (foot) was a surprise scratch after pregame warm-ups, but the Badgers also lost cornerback Faion Hicks (leg) and safety Scott Nelson (leg) to injuries during the game. Defensive end Isaiah Loudermilk (leg) was ruled out earlier in the week. Getting healthy will have to be the Badgers’ priority in the coming week, though their schedule eases up a bit the rest of the way. Only a road trip to Penn State (Nov. 10) figures to involve a ranked opponent. — Anderson


No. 14 Florida 37, Vanderbilt 27

It looked ugly, then it turned ugly just before halftime against Vanderbilt, when Dan Mullen and Todd Grantham got into an expletive-filled verbal confrontation with Derek Mason. But that little brouhaha seemed to fire up the Gators, who came back from a 21-3 deficit to beat the Commodores. Florida had too many undisciplined plays, from busts on defense to poor red zone execution in the first 25 minutes. But as has been the case over their past five wins, Florida found a way. Behind Jordan Scarlett and Lamical Perine, Florida made some big plays in the run game, and special teams came up big, too, when punter Tommy Townsend executed a fake punt to perfection. The games between these two teams are often chippy, and this was a tricky spot for Florida, a game it should win sandwiched between a huge victory over LSU and its rivalry game with Georgia in a few weeks. It was far from perfect, but Florida will take it. — Adelson


Virginia 16, No. 16 Miami 13

The Hurricanes thought they had their quarterback woes solved when they made N’Kosi Perry the starter. But that was not the case against Virginia. Mark Richt benched Perry after he threw two interceptions (including one returned for a touchdown) and went back to Malik Rosier, who started the season. But Rosier was ineffective, too, and now the Hurricanes have to grapple with an uncomfortable reality they tried to move past: Who is their starter? Miami probably should have lost to Florida State last week but found a way to win. The issues they had on the offensive line and in the passing game came back in a big way on the road, against a vastly improved Virginia team. Now, their College Football Playoff hopes are completely gone, and they can no longer be counted as the favorites to win the Coastal Division. It does not get easier, either. After a bye, Miami must play at Boston College. At the midway point in the season, there are way more questions than answers about the Hurricanes. — Adelson


Tennessee 30, No. 21 Auburn 24

There was already major unrest on the Plains, and even some reported dissension in the locker room, but Auburn’s 30-24 home loss Saturday to Tennessee — snapping the Vols’ 11-game SEC losing streak — will take that unrest to a whole different level. With an ominous schedule remaining, the Tigers — after starting the season as a top-10 team — could be hard-pressed to even have a winning season. The pressure on Gus Malzahn will only ratchet up, but with his enormous buyout, he’s not going anywhere. — Low


No. 22 Texas A&M 26, South Carolina 23

An SEC road win is good any way you can get it, even if it’s in less-than-aesthetically pleasing fashion as Saturday’s was vs. South Carolina. It’s the second straight week the Aggies have had to win an ugly one (they did the same vs. Kentucky in overtime in Week 6). Credit the Texas A&M defense, which held an opponent to fewer than 60 offensive plays for the second straight week (Kentucky ran 50 plays; South Carolina just 53). The Aggies are gradually developing into a unit that can be considered one of the nation’s best. They came into Saturday giving up only 20 points per game and had South Carolina under that mark until the final minute, when the Gamecocks went hurry up to try to erase a two-score deficit. There’s still some things to clean up offensively, but Jimbo Fisher’s team appears to be getting better overall. — Khan Jr.


No. 23 South Florida 25, Tulsa 24

The Bulls are 6-0, but it has not looked pretty for much of this season. Their 25-24 comeback win over Tulsa provides the latest example. For three quarters, USF quarterback Blake Barnett had trouble getting the offense moving. Even though Jordan Cronkrite had another 100-yard performance, without any balance in the passing game, USF could not move the ball consistently. Meanwhile, the defense tackled poorly and had major lapses against the run (Tulsa had 220 yards rushing). But Barnett played on a different level with USF down 14, using both his arms and legs to rally USF to its largest fourth-quarter comeback in school history. Still, Barnett ended up completing less than 50 percent of his passes. The warning signs are all there in wins that have either required comebacks or been too close for comfort, all against overmatched opponents. The back end of the schedule gets much tougher, and there is little doubt USF is going to need a better overall effort moving forward. — Adelson

Best of Week 7: 'Dixieland Delight' makes its glorious return to Alabama

Best of Week 7: 'Dixieland Delight' makes its glorious return to Alabama

Alabama fans did their best to keep the “Dixieland Delight” tradition alive on Saturday night. 

Week 7 has us singing a new verse of an old tune.

The biggest news this week in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was Tua Tagovailoa’s sprained knee the return of beloved stadium anthem “Dixieland Delight” for the Crimson Tide’s game against Missouri.

The fan favorite — by the band Alabama, the three-time Country Music Association Entertainers of the Year, no less — was last played in Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2015, but was nixed due to the annotations made by a large segment of the crowd (their additions indicated in bold):

Spend my dollar (on beer)
Parked in a holler ‘neath the mountain moonlight (Roll Tide)
Hold her up tight (against the wall)
Make a little lovin’ (all night)
A little turtle dovin’ on a Mason Dixon night (F— Auburn)
Fits my life (and LSU)
Oh so right (and Tennessee, too)
My Diiiixielaaaaaaaaand Delight

Such a shame to corrupt a beautiful tune about … what’s that now? We’ll let Wikipedia break it down:

“The song’s title refers to the girlfriend of the singer. Later in the song, [songwriter Ronnie] Rogers conjures up images of various forest animals (e.g. a white-tailed buck and a red-tailed hawk) and how they bring peace to him, before returning to how the main character plans to become intimate with his girlfriend during their weekend outing.”

Seems like the perfect jam to get the people going in the fourth quarter. So along come athletic director Greg Byrne, Tide running back Damien Harris, UA student body president Price McGiffert and one Miss Terry Saban, begging fans to let “Dixieland Delight” live by not saying the very bad words.

And we’re pleased to report that it made its triumphant return, albeit with an assist from the stadium’s speaker system which blasted the word “beat” over the offending word before Auburn.

Miss Terry is so very proud of y’all. “Dixieland Delight” lives to see another day. Now let’s see what happens when the song plays in the Iron Bowl.


Warning: You might get fired up

LSU defensive end Breiden Fehoko, from Hawaii, performs a haka outside Tiger Stadium with his dad to get ready for Georgia. In retrospect, this was probably a bad sign for the Dawgs, who lost 36-16.


Swish swish

Ohio State’s band has joined your mom in learning how to floss.

Meanwhile, Iowa State not only treated its fans to a 30-14 upset of No. 6 West Virginia, but also this scene at halftime.


A decade of Dabo

A year ago today, Clemson introduced Dabo Swinney as its interim head coach following the ouster of Tommy Bowden. The Tigers released a video to commemorate the anniversary.


Was it in the basement?

Did you know Texas A&M and South Carolina played for a trophy? Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp did not.

According to myaggienation.com, the trophy hasn’t been seen in past years because it has actually been at the Alamo. It’ll stay there for the fifth year as the Aggies are 5-0 against South Carolina since joining the SEC.

Wanna see it? Here it is being held by Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush.


Just kicking it around

Tennessee forced a Jarrett Stidham fumble and bounced it down the field until picking it up for a touchdown.


Off the bench

After Sam Ehlinger left with a shoulder injury on the first drive of the game, Texas quarterback Shane Buechele took over and helped the No. 9 Longhorns to a 23-17 win.

What they’re wearing

Illinois honored a legend for its homecoming game against Purdue.

Ole Miss wore all whites for its visit to Arkansas.

West Virginia suiting up in the Stormtrooper unis for its night game at Iowa State.

Packers HOF fullback Jim Taylor dies at 83

Packers HOF fullback Jim Taylor dies at 83

Hall of Fame fullback Jim Taylor, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards over five straight seasons with the Green Bay Packers, died Saturday morning at the age of 83, the team announced.

Taylor rushed for 8,207 yards and scored 91 touchdowns in his nine seasons with the Packers from 1958-66, and he was the first of the Vince Lombardi-era players to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, in 1976.

Taylor led the league with 1,474 rushing yards in 1962, when he was named the league’s MVP by The Associated Press.

“Taylor may not be as big as some fullbacks, but he has balance and determination,” Lombardi once said. “He is hard to knock off his feet and he fights for every yard.”

A five-time Pro Bowl selection, Taylor was the Packers’ career rushing leading until Ahman Green broke his mark in 2009. Taylor was a member of the Packers’ NFL championship teams in 1961, 1962 and 1965, and the Super Bowl I title team.

“The Green Bay Packers family was saddened to learn of Jim Taylor’s passing this morning,” Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy said in a statement. “He was a gritty, classic player on the Lombardi teams and a key figure of those great championship runs.

“One of the best runners of his era, he later was greatly appreciated by multiple generations of Packers fans during his many returns to Lambeau Field with his fellow alumni. Our deepest condolences go out to his wife, Helen, and their family and friends.”

Taylor, a Louisiana native and former LSU star, played his final season in 1967 for the expansion New Orleans Saints.

“Jim Taylor lived life the same way he played football, with passion, determination and love for all he did,” Hall of Fame president/CEO David Baker said in a statement. “… While Jim’s spirit forever resides at the Hall, we will miss his smile that would light up a room.”

Lombardi came up with the concept of the Packers Sweep, which featured pulling guards and Taylor or Paul Hornung running around the end. But it was 6-foot, 216-pound Taylor who showed the play’s punishing promise.

“That son-of-a-gun is the toughest son-of-a-gun in the league,” Hornung, another Hall of Famer, once said of Taylor. “I’ve seen him run over guys 30 or 40 pounds bigger than he is like that [snap of a finger].”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Browns signs ex-Ravens WR Perriman

Browns signs ex-Ravens WR Perriman

The Cleveland Browns signed former Baltimore Ravens first-round pick Breshad Perriman on Saturday, bolstering a depleted receiving corps.

Rashard Higgins is out this week against the Los Angeles Chargers because of a sprained MCL, and fellow receiver Derrick Willies was placed on injured reserve Saturday with a broken collarbone.

Jarvis Landry, Antonio Callaway, Rod Streater and Damion Ratley were the only healthy Cleveland receivers for Sunday’s game. Streater and Ratley have yet to catch a pass this season.

Perriman was cut by the Ravens in September and worked out for several teams since. The No. 26 overall pick in the 2015 draft became the Ravens’ first first-round pick to be cut before his rookie contract expired.

He managed 43 catches for 576 yards and 3 touchdowns in 27 games, never eclipsing 65 yards receiving in any game.

Injuries and dropped passes defined Perriman’s time in Baltimore.

He missed the 2015 season with a partially torn PCL in his right knee. He was sidelined for training camp in 2016 with a partially torn ACL and missed the preseason and one regular-season game in 2017 with various injuries.

Last season, Perriman was ranked 116th out of 116 receivers by ProFooballFocus.com. Ravens fans cheered him in training camp when he caught passes during workouts, and late last season booed him sarcastically when he caught two in the season finale.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Perriman had eight drops during the 2016 and 2017 seasons for a drop rate of 8.2 percent of all passes thrown to him — the third-highest drop rate in the league.

Information from ESPN’s Pat McManamon was used in this report.