It was another exciting Saturday in the world of intercollegiate football. Conferences rose and fell, and here is how I graded them.
The ACC played host to some big games this weekend, but the results were mixed. While Miami crushed Ohio State and Clemson ended Auburn's 17-game win streak, other coastal powers also faltered on their home turf. Florida State couldn't knock off #1 Oklahoma, and Maryland fell by 6 to West Virginia at home. Among other results, Georgia Tech put up 66 in a win over Kansas and Virginia Tech, NC State and Wake Forest all posted victories over obsolete programs.
Overall grade: B+
Big 12 (9-1)
Aside from Kansas, the Big 12 had a strong showing heading into conference play. The Sooners beat down Florida State in Tallahassee, and Texas walloped UCLA. Iowa State beat Connecticut, and Missouri, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Baylor, Kansas State and Oklahoma State all cruised to blowout wins versus local mid-majors.
Overall grade: A (c'mon, Kansas!)
Big East (4-3)
The Big East, blatantly put, did not have a great weekend. Pitt blew a 17-point fourth quarter lead to lose to Iowa, Connecticut lost by 4 to Iowa State, and Syracuse was pummeled at USC on Saturday night. Aside from those losses, South Florida put up 70 points in a win over Florida A&M, West Virginia held on to oust Maryland on the road, Cincy beat up on Akron, and Louisville outlasted Kentucky in the battle for the 'bluegrass state'.
Overall grade: B
Big Ten (9-3)
The B1G Ten did alright, they just forgot to win important road games. Illinois was the highlight of Saturday for the conference, upsetting Arizona State at home, and Nebraska ground out a home win over Washington. As for vital road tests, they killed the Big Ten. Ohio State was demolished in Miami, and Sparty got rocked by a slumping South Bend squad. While Michigan, Iowa and Wisconsin all came out on top, Northwestern lost to Army and Penn State barely escaped Temple, winning 14-10.
Overall grade: B
With four big games on the slate for Saturday, the Independents definitely held their own. Navy lost by just three points at South Carolina, Notre Dame pounded Michigan State and Army upset Northwestern in a close contest. The only odd result for the Independents on Saturday was BYU's 54-10 loss to Utah at home. Not quite sure how that happened, but seven BYU turnovers might provide a clue.
Overall grade: A
Mountain West (5-2)
Both TCU and Boise State beat up on lesser opponents, and San Diego State pulled off an 18-point win over Washington State on Saturday. Wyoming and UNLV beat Bowling Green and Hawaii respectively, while Colorado State lost by just two touchdowns to rival Colorado. The Mountain West is looking respectable heading into conference play, where the Horned Frogs and Broncos' ranking generally starts to taper due to lack of competition.
Overall grade: A
Pac 12 (5-4)
Washington fumbled away their chances of beating Nebraska, and Arizona State was upset at Illinois on Saturday. UCLA lost to Texas by 29, and Washington State fell to San Diego State 42-24. Aside from those disappointing results, Oregon, Cal and Colorado all downed smaller schools, while USC beat Syracuse and Utah walloped BYU.
Overall grade: B- (generous I am)
Some conferences had a strong weekend heading into conference play; the SEC was not one of them. Clemson snapped Auburn's 17-game winning streak, and Louisville beat Kentucky for the first time in four years. South Carolina beat Navy by just three points (at home), and Troy came within ten points of Arkansas on Saturday. Meanwhile, Alabama and Georgia took care of business, demolishing North Texas and Coastal Carolina respectively.
Overall grade: C+