Week 4 was not without its moments. Arizona State battled back against Stanford in the week’s prime-time showcase, Michigan State and Notre Dame battled in a close (but ugly) game, Michigan nearly Akron’d itself against Connecticut, and a handful of Saturday’s early matchups on the undercard proved to be closer than many anticipated.
As a whole, however, let’s hope that this kind of lineup doesn’t surface again this season. And although there are no guarantees, it shouldn’t be a problem with a matchup-packed Week 5 on deck.
Before we turn the page on the week that was, however, let’s first revisit some of the highlights—well, lowlights—and the strangeness that made Week 4 memorable for the wrong reasons.
Two games were cut short in two very different ways.
Florida International’s 72-0 loss against Louisville included a running clock, although in true FIU fashion, this was a misunderstanding of sorts.
Head coach Ron Turner never actually called for the running clock, and Conference USA coordinator of officials Gerald Austin released a statement following the game to clear up the confusion, via Kevin McGuire of College Football Talk:
Coach Turner made a comment to one of the officials that, given the amount of injuries and the limited numbers of players he had available, he wanted to run the ball in the second half. One official misinterpreted that comment. Coach Turner, at no time requested that the clock run. FIU threw just one pass in the second half.
After reviewing the tape there were five times that the clock should have been stopped and it did not. Four times were on first down and one play where the runner went out of bounds, based on a quick review of the video.
Yes, they couldn’t even get the running clock right. This more or less sums up Week 4, although the time manipulation doesn't stop there.
Playing as a 60-point underdog against Miami, Savannah State…played the part of a 60-point underdog. Miami scored 49 first-half points and backed it up with 28 more in the third quarter.
The head coaches of both teams then agreed to shorten the fourth quarter by three minutes. The Hurricanes announced this move through their official Twitter account:
Officials announce that both coaches have agreed to a 12 minute fourth quarter.— Hurricanes Football (@MiamiHurricanes) September 22, 2013
Yes, apparently this is possible, although perhaps not playing the quarter at all might have been a better idea. And while we’re offering up free advice, not playing the game at all—despite the financial incentive for Savannah State—should have also been on the table.
Elsewhere, Ohio State beat Florida A&M by 76, Washington beat Idaho State by 56, Florida State beat Bethune-Cookman by 48 and Baylor beat Louisiana-Monroe by 63 (although Baylor is beating everyone by absurd point totals at this point).
There were no major upsets and plenty of blowouts, and the day lacked intrigue overall. ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt paints the overall picture quite well:
405-20 was the winning margin for ranked teams :Ohio St, 'Ville, FSU, The U, U Dub & Baylor. Love CFB but this is not a day to be repeated— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) September 22, 2013
The good news—and there is some—is that Week 5 will likely be a much different story. The matchups on paper are encouraging, and this should translate to better games. At the very least, the potential is there.
LSU will head to Georgia—along with ESPN’s College GameDay—in a game featuring two Top 10 teams playing for status in the “which team do you like after Alabama?” debate in the SEC. Speaking of, the Crimson Tide will welcome Ole Miss to Tuscaloosa in Week 5 for another fascinating matchup loaded with potential.
Oklahoma will travel to Notre Dame, a game that should serve as a measuring stick for both schools. Notre Dame has struggled in the early part of the season, while Sooners quarterback Blake Bell exploded in his first start of the season before the team’s Week 4 bye.
The Big Ten will see two of its biggest contenders go toe-to-toe, as Wisconsin will make the trip to Columbus to take on Ohio State. The status of injured Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller will be intriguing to follow, while Badgers running back Melvin Gordon is quickly becoming a must-see attraction anytime he takes the field.
Other matchups of note include: Virginia Tech-Georgia Tech, USC-Arizona State, Texas A&M-Arkansas, and Arizona-Washington, just to name a few. There are options—lots of them, actually—and Week 5 should help remove the aftertaste of a lackluster weekend of college football.
It’s important to note, however, that football—even bad football—is monumentally better than the alternative of no football at all. Just remember what those days in February feel like, and suddenly a 70-point victory looks appetizing. We can do better, however, and we will.
We welcome Week 5 with open arms.