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College Football 2016: Week 9 Recap
Thursday, 2016 November 3 - 1:52 pm
Michigan defeats Little Brother; NCSU loses in disappointing fashion.

Michigan 32, Michigan State 23
This game was, in one respect, not as close as it looked; in another respect, much closer than you might expect.

The final scoring margin doesn't really mean much, as Michigan was up 30-10 in the fourth quarter and proceeded to just milk away the clock, while Michigan State clawed to make the score more respectable. Did MSU think they could win? Well, they went for a field goal (and missed) while down 20 points, and that was my sign that they'd given up. When they scored a practically meaningless touchdown with one second left, to bring the margin to seven points, they opted to go for two points to make the scoring margin tighter, rather than even entertain a possible miraculous finish that might allow them to win. (That failed in spectacular fashion, as they fumbled a pitch and Jabrill Peppers picked it up and returned it for two points for Michigan.)

On the other hand, MSU was able to run the ball against Michigan like no one else had, mostly with clever blocking schemes that isolated linemen against the Michigan secondary. So, credit to Dantonio for that.

On the other other hand, MSU was inept at passing the ball, and the once-fearsome MSU defense allowed Michigan to score on its first four possessions. Not only that, but MSU had the benefit of some really egregious referee calls; they were only able to slow the Michigan DL with holding that wasn't called, and there were some phantom pass interference calls that went their way too.

In the end, MSU gets to claim some style points, but Michigan brings home the victory and the 8-0 record, and that's what really matters.

NC State 14, Boston College 21
Ugh. Ugh. This is a bad BC team, and NCSU simply didn't show up. Turnovers. Penalties. A failure to run the ball despite having better athletes. These are signs of a poorly-coached team, and the Wolfpack fan base is rightly starting to grumble about Dave Doeren.

NCSU faces a lot of headwinds in football, being a non-football school in a non-football state. But that's no excuse for falling behind Duke in execution and coaching. I don't know what State needs: maybe a big-name coach to bring some excitement back to the program.

I hear Les Miles is available.

Notable Games
#3 Clemson averted playoff chaos (for now) by beating #12 Florida State 37-34. Florida State looked potent, but inconsistency plagued them as it has all season.

#4 Washington held off a good #17 Utah team 31-24.

#5 Louisville struggled against lowly Virginia, winning 32-25. Louisville is a dangerous team, but their record looks less and less impressive as the season goes on.

#6 Ohio State struggled to get past Northwestern, needing a late touchdown to win 24-20.

#11 Wisconsin won a very entertaining contest against previously undefeated #7 Nebraska, winning 23-17 in overtime. Wisconsin missed the PAT after scoring an overtime touchdown, but Nebraska failed to take advantage when it couldn't score itself.

Texas shocked #8 Baylor 35-34. Baylor was a bit overrated, to be sure.

#10 West Virginia suffered a similar fate at the hands of Oklahoma State, losing 37-20. The Big 12 lost two undefeated teams this weekend, possibly knocking the conference completely out of the playoffs.

#13 Boise State was another undefeated to go down, losing to a scrappy Wyoming team 30-28.

#15 Auburn beat Ole Miss 40-29, and remains in the hunt in the SEC West if they can knock off Alabama.

#18 Tennessee lost to South Carolina 24-21, which means I was right early in the year about Tennessee being overrated.

Notre Dame beat also-overrated Miami, winning 30-27.

Indiana upset Maryland, winning 42-36.

USC beat Cal 45-24.

Oregon beat Arizona State 54-35.

Stanford crushed Arizona 34-10. RichRod is now 0-5 in the Pac-12 this year.

Georgia Tech beat Duke 38-35.

Ken's Top 10
1. Alabama
2. Michigan
3. Clemson
4. Washington
5. Texas A&M
6. Louisville
7. Ohio State
8. Wisconsin
9. Nebraska
10. Auburn
(Honorable mention: Western Michigan, still undefeated at 8-0.)

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