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College Football

Riding the Fences: Week 8

Photo: Patrick Gorski - USA TODAY Sports

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Each week HornSports will take a look back at the national scene in college football, so mount up and let’s ride out and check the perimeter.

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Texas 50 – Kansas 48: The Longhorns survive and still control their own destiny in the Big 12 championship race thanks to a clutch field goal as time expired on Saturday night. If you want to spend time contemplating the Kansas game, read this.

Illinois shocked the college football world and upset Wisconsin. South Carolina beat UGA the week prior, and this weekend it was the Badgers turn to play out of character. It’s mid to late October, which is when the Top 10 always begins to sort itself out via natural selection.

Virginia Tech beat UNC 43-41 in a six overtime game. S-I-X. The contest was the first time the new OT rule of going for a 2-point conversion (instead of a standard possession) was put in practice. There were players quoted after the game as not understanding what was happening.

This week in Ugh-lternate uniforms: Louisville made an early bid for the honor with their helmets; but llinois would not be denied the top spot. The Illini’s official colors are orange and navy blue, so, naturally, when they played their homecoming game against Wisconsin, they wore…gray.

Saturday won’t be remembered as a day featuring contests between ranked teams, but there were plenty of games that helped clarify how the middle tier of conferences will shake out: Iowa State beat Texas Tech (34-24); Iowa knocked off Purdue (26-20); and Florida dispatched South Carolina (38-27). Add UVA over Duke; Oregon beating Washington; and Utah besting Arizona State, and conference hierarchies really took shape.

While the second tier of teams started establishing position, some of the top teams continued to cruise, including Oklahoma (52-14 over WVU); Clemson (45-10 over Louisville); and Auburn (51-10 over Arkansas).

As spectacular as Illinois’ upset over Wisconsin was, and as horrid as the Illini’s uni’s were, the star of the show Saturday afternoon was head coach Lovie Smith’s beard. Rather than calling it a beard, let’s just agree that a cloud attached itself to Smith’s face.

Arkansas was blown out at home by Auburn, 51-10. Losing to the Tigers isn’t particularly shameful, but the Hogs haven’t won an SEC game and are a meek 2-5 overall. After going 2-10 in his first year as head coach at Arkansas, Chad Morris has yet to prove he has the Razorback program headed in a positive direction.

After a lopsided win over Temple, the SMU Mustangs are 7-0. Shane Beuchele threw for 457 yards and six touchdowns against the Owls. The Ponies are rolling and have cemented themselves as one of the top stories in college football this season.

Speaking of undefeated and cruising, Minnesota is 7-0 after crushing Rutgers 42-7. The Golden Gophers have consistently improved since Week 1 and are scoring over 36 points per game.

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