The 2015 college football season just keeps getting better. After a wild Week 10, Week 11 did not disappoint fans either. Four Top Ten teams lost and seven of the nation’s Top 25 fell over the weekend. The new College Football Playoff poll to be released Tuesday will likely feature the same top four – Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State, and Notre Dame – but the rest of the poll is in for a shakeup. Here’s a look at the winners and losers in Week 11.
Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds became the NCAA’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns when he scored four times in a 55-14 win over SMU. The four scores leave Reynolds with 81 career rushing TDs. More importantly, it moves 20th-ranked Navy to 8-1, 6-0 in the American Athletic Conference. The Midshipmen are on track to meet unbeaten Houston in the season finale for the right to represent the AAC West Division in the conference’s first-ever championship game.
Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer and Missouri’s Gary Pinkel both announced that they will retire at the end of this season. On Thursday, the Hokies played inspired and came from behind to defeat Georgia Tech, 23-21. Beamer’s team moved to 5-5 on the season and needs one more victory to keep the nation’s longest bowl streak alive. Another win could send Virginia Tech to a 23rd-straight bowl game. Pinkel announced he would end his 15-year career at Missouri earlier this week. The Mizzou head coach was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and wants to take some time away from the rigors of the game. The Tigers beat a very good BYU team Saturday to move to 5-5. A win over Tennessee or Arkansas in the team’s remaining games will make Missouri bowl eligible.
Georgia head coach Mark Richt may have bought himself some more time with a gritty 20-13 win over Auburn on Saturday. The Bulldogs are now 7-3 with two games, both in Georgia, remaining on the schedule. Georgia takes on 7-2 Georgia Southern next week and then finishes the season on the road at rival Georgia Tech. Two wins would go a long way to salvaging the season and Richt’s job.
After a few years of reveling in obscurity, Southern Mississippi is back. The Golden Eagles are 7-3 after a 65-10 victory over Rice, a game win which QB Nick Mullens threw five touchdown passes…in the first half! Southern Miss faces Old Dominion next week and then faces Louisiana Tech in a game that will likely determine the Conference USA West Division champion.
Can things get any worse for TCU? Last week, wide receiver Josh Doctson missed most the game with a wrist injury. This week, both Doctson and QB Trevone Boykin missed significant time as the Horned Frogs squeaked out a 23-17 win over 0-10 Kansas. If the star pair cannot play the next two weeks, TCU is in trouble. Head coach, Gary Patterson’s team, finishes the season with Oklahoma and Baylor.
The Pac-12’s playoff hopes all but disappeared when Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan’s two-point conversion pass fell incomplete in a 38-36 loss to Oregon. Stanford falls to 8-2 overall and faces Cal in a rivalry game next week and then closes the regular season with No. 4 Notre Dame. Utah, ranked No. 10 entering last Saturday’s game with Arizona, watched their playoff hopes slip away in a double overtime defeat to the Wildcats. The best the conference can do now is a two-loss champion, which likely will not qualify for the College Football Playoff.
The Duke football program under head coach David Cutcliffe is better than anything the program has put on the field since the short tenure of Steve Spurrier. With the program used to winning under Cutcliffe, the Blue Devils have watched their season take a turn for the worse after the wild and crazy kick return against Miami. Duke started the season 6-1 then lost to Miami on the wacky kick return. The Blue Devils then lost to rival North Carolina and last Saturday to Pittsburgh. Cutcliffe’s squad has lost its last two games by a combined 97-44. At 6-4 and with games remaining against Virginia and Wake Forest, Duke can still finish with eight wins.
LSU started the season 7-0 and appeared to be in the running for a College Football Playoff berth. Now with two consecutive losses, the Tigers just need to salvage the rest of the season. After rushing for over 150 yards in each of the first seven games, running back, Leonard Fournette was held under 100 yards for the second straight game. Fournette ran 19 times for 91 yards in the 31-14 loss to Arkansas on Saturday night. The Tigers finish the season against a pair of 7-3 teams, Ole Miss and Texas A&M.