TCU, Wazzu, Mi­ami all work­ing their way into ti­tle con­tention ... It’s Death Val­ley for No. 10 Auburn ... In Love with the run at Stan­ford ... Record run for Tate

Edmonton Sun - - SPORTS -

Raise your hands if you saw this com­ing af­ter six weeks of the NCAA foot­ball sea­son ...

The No. 6 TCU Horned Frogs lead­ing the Big 12 ...

The No. 8 Wash­ing­ton State Cougars run­ning hot at the top of the Pac-12 ...

The No. 11 Mi­ami Hur­ri­canes join­ing the defending cham­pi­ons as the only un­beat­ens in the ACC ...

Raise ’em up high if you had this in your sights in early Septem­ber. Liars. All of you. Yet, here we are with TCU (5-0), Wash­ing­ton State (6-0) and Mi­ami (4-0) hav­ing turned from pre­tenders to con­tenders at this point of the col­lege pigskin cam­paign.

Shame on us for not see­ing the po­ten­tial of TCU, given the suc­cess of Gary Pat­ter­son since tak­ing over the job as head coach in Fort Worth, Tex. Since 2000, Pat­ter­son has hip-hopped the Horned Frogs to a 14347 record with 10 10-plus win sea­sons, in­clud­ing 12-1 and 11-2 records two and three years ago. He’s got his Frogs play­ing strong on both sides of the ball, which is no easy feat in the de­fen­sive ly­chal­lenged Big 12, and a mar­quee win over Ok­la­homa State has put TCU one step ahead of pre-sea­son faves OK State and Ok­la­homa — both of whom sport one loss al­ready — in the na­tional ti­tle con­ver­sa­tion.

Wash­ing­ton State has been solid un­der the radar, ri­valling in-state ri­val Wash­ing­ton with a per­fect record. Wazzu’s sig­na­ture win came over much­bal­ly­hooed USC — then the No. 5 team in the na­tion — in a 30-27 nail­biter. The Cougs then went in to Ore­gon and tri­umphed eas­ily 33-10, giv­ing vi­brant head coach Mike Leach rea­son to be­lieve he’s got a con­tender. Like TCU, which still faces host Kansas State this week and Texas, Ok­la­homa and Texas Tech down the line, the Cougars are chal­lenged by a sched­ule to prove their worth, in­clud­ing this week against host Cal­i­for­nia fol­lowed by late-sea­son tests against Stan­ford, Utah and Wash­ing­ton.

It’ll be a larger task faced by Mi­ami, since it doesn’t get a bye-week af­ter Hur­ri­cane Irma post­poned its open­ing week game against Ge­or­gia Tech. So that’s who the ’Canes get this Satur­day fol­lowed by big­gies later against North Carolina, Vir­ginia Tech and Notre Dame. But af­ter wins over Duke and ri­val Flor­ida State — whom Mi­ami beat in the dy­ing sec­onds in Week 6 — the ’Canes are teem­ing with con­fi­dence un­der sec­ondyear head coach Mark Richt. Trou­ble is key in­juries to three starters —right guard Navaughn Don­ald­son, cor­ner­back Dee Delaney and safety Sheldrick Red­wine — hurt them in fac­ing the hand­ful that is GaTech.


You have to go back to 1998 to find the last time Auburn beat LSU in Death Val­ley. That’ll be a load on the mind of No. 10 Auburn (5-1) on Satur­day af­ter­noon vs. host LSU (4-2) … Af­ter sprain­ing his an­kle in Week 6, QB Kelly Bryant is a go for Fri­day night’s No. 2 Clem­son (6-0) bat­tle with host Syra­cuse (3-3) ... Stat of the week: The defending champs are play­ing like defending champs due to their bal­anced at­tack — Clem­son has passed for just more than 1,400 yards and ran for just more than 1,400 yards so far this sea­son ... Good bet No. 17 Michi­gan (4-1) gets back to win­ning af­ter los­ing to in-state ri­val Michi­gan State since they face In­di­ana (3-2), which it’s beaten 21 straight times head-to­head ... Michi­gan, by the way, comes back with QB John O’Korn, who threw three INTs against Sparty, with starter Wil­ton Speight out with bro­ken ver­te­brae in his back.


The Heis­man Tro­phy is nearly al­ways won by a guy who wasn’t among pre-sea­son favourites. So with that, it’s time to give some love to Stan­ford RB Bryce Love, who’s al­ready amassed an FBS-best 1,240 rush­ing yards so far. He’s gone eight straight with 100-yard ef­forts, and that was af­ter get­ting ‘only 152’ in Week 6 against a st­ingy Utah de­fence in a 23-20 win by No. 23 Stan­ford (4-2). On Satur­day, Love faces a sur­pris­ing Ore­gon run ‘D,’ which is av­er­ag­ing just 93.7 rush­ing yards against ... BTW, Ore­gon (4-2) won’t re­turn with sopho­more QB Justin Her­bert (col­lar­bone) just yet ... Re­ports have Ten­nessee (3-2) turn­ing to red­shirt fresh­man QB Jar­rett Guar­an­tano against South Carolina (4-2) for his first start. Quin­ten Dor­mady, who threw two INTs and for just 64 yards in that Week 5 41-0 home loss to Ge­or­gia, has strug­gled in Rocky Top.


Move over Stan­ley Jack­son, Ari­zona’s Khalil Tate is the game’s new dy­namic pivot af­ter rack­ing up a record-set­ting 327yard rush­ing ef­fort against host Colorado in Week 6. That’s the most ever for an FBS quar­ter­back in one tilt ... Backup QB Gyree Du­rante knelt on his own dur­ing the na­tional an­them last Satur­day, and Div. III Al­bright cut him af­ter the team had made a uni­fied de­ci­sion to kneel dur­ing the coin toss and stand for the an­them ... Rea­son No. 112 to love NCAA foot­ball — the Red River Show­down, fea­tur­ing Texas vs. No. 12 Ok­la­homa in Dal­las in their 112th meet­ing. Yee­haw!

AP file


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