B/R's College Football Weekly Awards: Week 6
During the last six years, college football has followed a relatively predictable road. While the regular season featured a few upsets, at least three of Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma reached the College Football Playoff.
In theory, that possibility remains this fall. So far, however, the path is anything but a normal one.
Two-loss Texas A&M upset the nation's top-ranked team. Oklahoma benched Spencer Rattler—the preseason Heisman Trophy favorite—for a freshman, and it worked. Iowa keeps climbing the polls, and LSU is only falling out of national contention.
B/R's Weekly Awards will cover all of those storylines, along with our usual brand of nonsense featuring trolls and more.
If you're new here, hello! Every Monday this season, B/R will distribute a handful of awards. Some will review the previous weekend's slate, and others will preview what's coming up. A few topics might be humorous or downright strange.
Catch of the Week: Marvin Mims' Clutch TD
Oklahoma's comeback win against Texas dominated the headlines Saturday, and Marvin Mims provided the key catch.
Midway through the fourth quarter, OU trailed 41-33. The defense had forced a punt, giving the Sooners a potential game-tying drive. But after they reached Texas' 38-yard line, a holding penalty and five-yard loss resulted in a 3rd-and-19.
Sooners quarterback Caleb Williams evaded one defender, stepped up and launched an off-balance throw down the right sideline.
If the pass fell incomplete, OU would've punted. Marvin Mims, however, made an incredible catch, twisting his body and snatching the ball beyond the outstretched arms of Texas defender Darion Dunn.
Most impressively, Mims tapped his left foot literal millimeters from the sideline and fell into the end zone for a touchdown.
That wouldn't be the final highlight-reel play for the Sooners, considering both Caleb Kelly's fumble recovery and Kennedy Brooks' last-second run followed Mims' catch. But without Mims' instant-classic grab, it's impossible to know whether Oklahoma would've edged Texas 52-45.
Defensive Play of the Week: Arizona State's Sneaky Lateral
Last weekend, Stanford pulled off a shocker and handed Oregon its first loss of the season. But on Friday night, Arizona State didn't allow a second straight upset.
While holding a 21-10 lead in the third quarter, the Sun Devils threw the dagger—a very unique one.
Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee tried to hit John Humphreys, but ASU cornerback Jack Jones jumped the in-breaking route. Humphreys was all over Jones, so the play looked finished.
But as Jones fell toward the ground, he saw DeAndre Pierce and flipped the ball to his teammate. Pearce outran Stanford tight end Bradley Archer and gave Arizona State a 28-10 lead, scoring one of the season's most interesting touchdowns.
Arizona State improved to 5-1 and is now ranked No. 18 nationally.
#TeamChaos Win of the Week: Texas A&M Aggies
The streak is dead. Long live the streak.
For the first time, a former Nick Saban assistant has defeated the teacher. Heading into Week 7, the Alabama coach boasted a 24-0 mark against his former assistants.
Jimbo Fisher, who coached under Saban at LSU from 2000-04, blemished Saban's record Saturday.
Texas A&M raced out to a 17-7 advantage in the first quarter, setting off upset-alert alarms all over the country. And immediately after Alabama blocked a punt for a touchdown to get within seven points in the third quarter, Devon Achane returned a kickoff 96 yards for a score and restored A&M's lead.
Alabama fought back in the fourth quarter and went ahead 38-31, but the Aggies responded right away. Zach Calzada led a six-play, 65-yard touchdown drive to even the score.
Texas A&M's defense then forced a punt, and Calzada pushed the offense into field-goal territory. As time expired, Seth Small sliced his 28-yard kick through the uprights for a stunning 41-38 win.
Now, an already-messy College Football Playoff picture is a downright mess. And as a #TeamChaos zealot, I could not be happier.
Troll of the Week: Ole Miss Rebels
Quick summary: Ole Miss defeated Arkansas 52-51, and the offenses combined for 1,287 yards. Arkansas scored a touchdown as time expired in the fourth quarter and attempted a two-point conversion instead of playing for overtime. Spectacular game.
We could explore the exciting back-and-forth moments, but what happened after the game might be even better.
Dating back to his time as Georgia's offensive line coach, Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman has celebrated a recruit's commitment with a video of himself saying "yessir!" Coaches are not allowed to publicly discuss an unsigned player, so it's a workaround to recognize a verbal pledge while staying within the rules.
Friends, Ole Miss prepared for this moment.
Immediately after the thrilling win, the social media crew posted a brief message—DidArkansasLose.com—which redirects to a video of Pittman saying his catchphrase.
Troll on, college football.
Panic Alarm of the Week: LSU Tigers
Kentucky is somewhere between good and great in 2021, and the Wildcats have an excellent home-field advantage. They are 14-4 against the spread at home since 2019, which is the fourth-best cover percentage in the nation, per TeamRankings.
That's the long version of saying Kentucky is a difficult opponent, especially in Lexington.
But to lose by 21? With this roster? That's unacceptable for LSU head coach Ed Orgeron.
Kentucky didn't just defeat LSU, which has the fifth-most recruiting talent in the country, per 247Sports. No, the 'Cats overwhelmed the visitors and racked up 330 rushing yards.
Will Levis completed 14 of his 17 passes for 145 yards and three touchdowns. LSU had absolutely zero answers for Kentucky's offense.
Orgeron's time in Baton Rouge is probably running out.
Since winning the national title in 2019 with one of the sport's greatest teams ever, the Tigers have mustered an 8-8 record. Barring a rapid change in performance, Orgeron will likely be seeking employment elsewhere this coming offseason.
Historic Rise of the Week: Iowa Hawkeyes
Six years ago, Iowa was a fourth-down stop against Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game from making the College Football Playoff. This isn't the first season in recent memory that the Hawkeyes have played great football.
But the 2021 squad is earning some milestones.
Entering the weekend, Iowa held an AP Top 25 ranking 347 times in program history. It's the 24th-most appearances ever. However, the Hawkeyes hadn't been as high as No. 2 nationally since November 1985—not until Sunday, that is.
Thanks to a 23-20 triumph over No. 4 Penn State and Alabama's loss at Texas A&M, Iowa trails only Georgia in the polls.
In the coming weeks, there will be conversations about the Hawkeyes' below-average offense. A team averaging 4.7 yards per snap might not be able to realistically compete in the College Football Playoff.
Make it, sure. Win? Maybe not.
However, that discussion isn't crucial yet. Iowa should be celebrating its 6-0 record and uncommon ascent in the national rankings.
Week 6 Rundown
Freshman of the Week: Caleb Williams, Oklahoma
Obvious choice. Soon after a 66-yard touchdown run on 4th-and-1, Williams replaced Rattler. The freshman ended Oklahoma's epic comeback with 300 total yards—including three completions for 30 yards on the game-winning drive—and three scores.
Buzzkill of the Week: Boise State Broncos
BYU fans were feeling confident after a 5-0 start, even suggesting Tyler Allgeier should be in the Heisman race. Well, so much for that. BYU squandered a 10-0 lead to Boise State, which limited Allgeier to 3.8 yards per carry, generated four turnovers and handed BYU its first loss of the season.
Explosive Offense of the Week: Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State scored four touchdowns in its 31-13 victory over Rutgers. During the first half, Jalen Nailor caught two 63-yard scores and a 65-yarder. In the third quarter, Heisman Trophy contender Kenneth Walker III ripped off a 94-yard scamper. For perspective, MSU had four touchdowns of 60-plus yards in the last four seasons combined.
Best Week 7 Storylines
Texas fans, I'm impressed if you're still around. Reliving the weekend probably hasn't been an enjoyable few minutes. Be sad for a while, but remember a big opportunity is coming up.
Saturday at noon, Texas hosts undefeated Oklahoma State in a pivotal Big 12 contest. The winner will secure a valuable tiebreaker with the hope of reaching the Big 12 championship game—which isn't certain to feature Oklahoma but likely will.
The mid-afternoon window (3:30 p.m. ET) pits No. 11 Kentucky against No. 1 Georgia in a battle to stand atop the SEC East. Both programs enter the contest at 6-0.
Georgia will be favored. But if the Wildcats spring the upset, the national championship race will be wide open.
And we're completely here for that.