A decade ago, Florida State made a statement at Clemson. The Seminoles waltzed into a top-five matchup against the Tigers and waltzed out as a serious national title threat. This year’s Noles may not have won that definitively, but their result does ring bells across the sport as they won in overtime against the Tigers.
Before Saturday, Florida State hadn’t beaten Clemson since 2015. This is a seismic result at the top of the ACC. It’s Florida State asserting that the LSU game wasn’t just a fluke, and the Boston College closer-than-expected victory was just an aberration. The Seminoles can scratch and claw in a tough road environment and come out on the other side victorious.
To say that it’s dire right now in Death Valley might be an understatement. Clemson hasn’t started 0-2 in ACC play since 2010. It’s another brick taken out of the once firm foundation of the program’s reputation. As unsettling as getting physically dominated by Notre Dame was last year—not to mention losing the Palmetto Bowl to South Carolina—surrendering pole position in the ACC to the Noles proves that something needs to change. The advantages have evaporated, and the high ground has been ceded. Clemson must evolve into whatever Dabo Swinney’s next era in charge is going to look like, and they’d better do it fast to save this season as far as their goals are concerned.
Clemson and Florida State could still meet again, but the Tigers are between a rock and a significant hard place now in the ACC as they’d lose a tiebreaker to Duke, if it came down to it. It may seem wild to think about it, but that’s where Clemson is right now. The Tigers are, for now, just another team in a deep conference chasing Florida State.
SI top 10 (of the week)
1. Ohio State
Maybe Ohio State needs some bulletin board material every week? Former Notre Dame head coach Lou Holts questioned Ohio State’s toughness this week. That didn’t sit well with the Buckeyes. Head coach Ryan Day cut a damn promo on the field after the 17-14 win over Notre Dame.
“I’d like to know where Lou Holtz is right now,” Day said on NBC. “What he said about our team. I cannot believe it. This is a tough team right here. We’re proud to be from Ohio. It’s always been Ohio against the world it’ll continue to be Ohio against the world.i tell you what. I love those kids, we’re a tough team.”
Ohio State’s short-yardage plunge to win the game is pretty impressive, but what’s equally as unimpressive is the fact that Notre Dame, with the game on the line, took the field with only 10 players. More games are lost than are won in the sport of football. Ohio State won this one, but Notre Dame was complicit in its own demise.
I just don't know that I've ever seen anything like this. Two straight plays with the game on the line and you have 10 players on the field, the first one was coming out of a timeout. pic.twitter.com/jijvuo1j7U— Richard🇬🇾Johnson (@RJ_cfb) September 24, 2023
2. Florida State
Consider the job properly done for the Noles, and it puts them lock stock and barrel right behind the Buckeyes in our rankings after the 31-24 overtime win.
It was over, effectively, from the beginning. The Ducks came into this game looking to prove a point. At halftime, that point was well taken. It ended up with a 42-6 win over Colorado, and it’s clear that the Ducks didn’t take too kindly to the attention paid to the Buffaloes. As comprehensive a beatdown as you will ever see went down in Autzen today.
4. Penn State
Normally you worry about the Nittany Lions against Iowa. The Hawkeyes have made a habit out of dragging Penn State down to their level whenever they play. That didn’t happen on this night. Despite the weather, the whiteout blinded Iowa to the tune of a 31-0 beatdown over the Hawkeyes.
The Longhorns keep passing some of those tests you might, in years past, be concerned about them handling. They barely broke a sweat, winning 38-6. Onto Kansas next week.
Sure the Dawgs were a little sluggish coming out against UAB, but they took care of business, 49-21.
Ditto for the Wolverines. Yes, Rutgers made it a little tougher than you’d like but 31-7 in the end is indicative of a Michigan team that is still yet to get out of first gear.
How about the Huskies? On offense, there really might not be any team better. Another offensive clinic, 59-32, over Cal. The defense might not be on the same level, but Washington’s offense is second to none.
The Trojans still aren’t much for defense, giving up 28 points to an Arizona State team that was just shut out by Fresno State.But they did get another win, 42-28, as the Colorado matchup looms.
Cam Rising didn’t start, and it’s still not a problem as the Utes grinded it out against UCLA, winning 14-7. They’ve proven yet again that their blueprint works no matter who’s playing.
SI Players of the week: Washington State WR Josh Kelly, and the Oregon defense
- Kelly was serious in Wazzu’s big win over Oregon State. Battery mate Kyle WIlliams may have put up more yards, but Williams’ 159 yards receiving and three touchdowns puts him over the top.
- Don’t ask us—Oregon’s own video team put together a supercut of the seven sacks the defense racked up and made the entire unit the in-stadium player of the game. Colorado punted on eight straight drives, excluding their end-of-first-half kneel down. It wasn’t competitive, and as good as Oregon’s offense was, a moment is needed for the defense as well.
Did you see that?
Drake Maye is so good he doesn’t need hit good hand to throw a TD:
Drake Maye throws a left-handed touchdown! pic.twitter.com/Xaz6uGIyGj— Ian Valentino (@NFLDraftStudy) September 24, 2023
It’s highly against the rules, but sometimes a phone on the sideline can come in handy when you think the refs missed a call:
Great moments in college football pic.twitter.com/mMZQgEb3fs— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) September 24, 2023
Hey, that’s not very nice …
They say Cincinnati is known for its chili:
God bless the Oregon Duck: