CFB Roundup: Houston’s Playoff Hopes Dashed, Misery In Piscataway

Ryan Mayer

Every college football weekend is jam packed with games starting on Thursday night and running through the early morning hours of Sunday. You probably didn’t have a chance to watch all the action, nobody does. So, we’re here every Monday to recap some of the highlights (or lowlights) of the weekend.

Week 6 in the college football landscape was a wild one largely due to the changes to the schedule forced by the arrival of Hurricane Matthew in the Southeast. However, there was plenty of craziness playing out on the field as well. In particular, one playoff contender was knocked from the ranks and Rutgers, the birthplace of college football, getting blown out for the second straight week. Let’s dive in!

Navy Downs #6 Houston 46-40, Ends Hopes Of Cougars Playoff Berth

It was a long shot for Houston to make the College Football Playoffs this season despite the talent that head coach Tom Herman has collected. Through no fault of their own, the Cougars are in the American Athletic Conference, which, as you well know sits outside the Power 5 conferences. Due to that, they likely had to go undefeated this season with upsets of Oklahoma (check) and Louisville (yet to be seen) in order to have a shot at one of the four playoff spots. And they’d likely have to have two or more Power 5 conference champs with two losses.

Well, Navy put a wrench in those plans in Annapolis on Saturday with a 46-40 win. To put it in perspective, the Cougars had given up 56 points the entire season heading into Saturday. The Midshipmen of course dominated on the ground with 306 yards on 63 carries, but more impressively, they picked off Cougars QB Greg Ward Jr. twice, taking one back for a touchdown.

The Midshipmen are always tough to play in Annapolis, but this was a big victory for the program, their first win against a Top 10 opponent since 1984. It earned them the No. 25 spot in this week’s AP Poll.

Rutgers Is A Long Way From Contention in the Big Ten

You may have had the same reaction I did when seeing the Michigan-Rutgers score scroll across the screen on Saturday: Michigan 78, Rutgers 0. Thinking, hmm that can’t be right. Somebody messed up.

Nope, it was correct. That loss, combined with last week’s 58-0 blanking by Ohio State, means the Scarlet Knights have been outscored 136-0 in the month of October so far and even worse, they’ve been outgained 1,269 to 155 in offensive yards in those two games.

We knew Rutgers would be rebuilding, but this doesn’t look like a rebuild so much as starting a completely new project. Against their four Power 5 foes (Washington, Iowa, Ohio State and Michigan) Rutgers has been outscored 198-20. The lone close game was a 14-7 loss to Iowa the week after the Hawkeyes got physically dominated by North Dakota State. Chris Ash has a lot of work ahead of him.

Seats Get Hotter For Charlie Strong and Brian Kelly

Both Texas and Notre Dame lost their games over the weekend. Kelly’s team in a hurricane-muddied, sloppy contest against an average to below average NC State team. Texas lost to Oklahoma, which is an understandable loss, but it’s Texas’ biggest rival. On top of that, the Longhorns allowed 40-plus points for the fourth time in five games this year. The only time they haven’t? Against noted football powerhouse UTEP.

Charlie Strong’s seat has been hot seemingly since he took the job and now Kelly, in the midst of a 2-4 season in which the Irish were expected to be a contender, seems to be joining him on the hot seat list. Both coaches are quantifiably good coaches in their careers (Strong 50-33; Kelly 110-49), but it may be time for them to ply their trade elsewhere.

Welcome to the Heisman Conversation, Mr. Browning

Louisville’s video game quarterback Lamar Jackson was on a bye this week, so the college football world needed someone to step into the void and provide Jackson’s normally insane numbers. Enter Washington QB Jake Browning.

With the Huskies on the road in Eugene taking on Oregon, all Browning did was put up the following stat line: 22/28, 308 yards, 6 passing touchdowns and 6 carries for 21 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns. Washington won 70-21 to move to 6-0 this season and snapped a 12-game losing streak to Oregon in the process.

Browning is completing 72.2 percent of his passes for 1,418 yards 23 touchdowns and just two interceptions this season while adding three touchdowns on the ground. Granted, Browning is nowhere close to Jackson in terms of running ability, but he’s making a statement with his efficiency and decision-making so far this season.

Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him.

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