The revenge tour for the Canes’ 2019 losses came to a screeching halt yesterday after their 62-26 loss to the North Carolina Tar Heels. Miami wasn't the only top ten team to get shocked this weekend, the Florida Gators also fell to the abysmal LSU Tigers 37-34. With another Top 25 loss for the Colorado Buffaloes and with Ohio State, Texas A&M, Cincinnati, Oklahoma, and Indiana all having the weekend off, the polls saw plenty of action.
Let’s see how the blowout victories for some and all-time losses for others shook up the AP Top 25 and Coaches Poll.
AP Top 25
9.Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
17.Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns
25.San Jose State Spartans
12.Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
18.Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns
22.Oklahoma State Cowboys
25.San Jose State Spartans
Other teams receiving votes: Buffalo 102; Auburn 45; Army 35; Boise State 30; Marshall 29; Washington 22; Missouri 17; Colorado 17; Nevada 10; Wisconsin 8; Southern Methodist 7; Oregon 6; Utah 4; Texas Christian 1.
Let’s kick things off at the top of the rankings. Alabama smothered the Arkansas Razorbacks 52-3 to remain unbeaten and the No. 1 team in the country. Playmaking wide receiver DeVonta Smith’s first quarter touchdown broke the game’s 3-3 tie. From that point, the Crimson Tide scored 42 points and never looked back. They meet the Florida Gators in the SEC Championship game this weekend.
Speaking of the Gators, their 37-34 loss to the LSU Tigers took them completely out of playoff contention. The embarrassing loss, to a fading LSU team, had all of the drama. Gators DB Marco Wilson tossed LSU tight end Kole Taylor’s shoe 20 yards downfield. The penalty extended the LSU drive and led to the Tigers’ 57-yard game winning field goal. With two losses already, even if the Gators could miraculously beat Alabama in the championship, they would still probably be on the outside looking in at the playoffs. The Gators are ranked 11th in the country.
In the same conference, Georgia’s 49-14 blowout victory against the Missouri Tigers set them up for a New Year’s Six bowl berth, assuming they beat the Vanderbilt Commodores the weekend. USC transfer. quarterback JT Daniels threw for 299 yards and 3 TDs in the win. The Bulldogs are ranked 10th in the country.
In the Big Ten, Iowa beat the Wisconsin Badgers 28-7. The 6th straight victory for the Hawkeyes locked them in at 18 in the polls. Northwestern got their act together and eventually knocked off the Illinois Fighting Illini 28-10. The Wildcats rushed for a startling, until you see the UNC statistics, 411 yards on 58 carries. The No. 15 Wildcats will take on No. 3 Ohio State for the Big Ten championship this Saturday at noon.
USC is getting good at late-game heroics. The Trojans have put together game-winning drives in the final minutes in three out of five games this season. Kedon Slovis’ pass to star wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown gave USC the 43-38 win against the UCLA Bruins. As the conference’s only unbeaten team, the No. 13 Trojans will take on the Washington Huskies in the Pac-12 Championship game. If the Huskies can’t play, for COVID-19 concerns, they will take on the Oregon Ducks.
The third Top 25 upset of the weekend came with Colorado’s loss to the Utah Utes. The Buffaloes needed to pull out the win to have any chance of a reaching the Pac-12 Conference Championship game and of taking the Pac-12 South. Instead they lost 38-21 and dropped out of the polls.
Following up on their victory against BYU last week, the No. 9 Chanticleers drove 75 yards in 45 seconds to retake the 42-38 lead over Troy. Staying unbeaten gives Coastal Carolina a chance to claim the Group of Five’s bid to the New Year’s Six in the event that the No. 6 Bearcats lose to No. 20 Tulsa in American Championship game. In that event, Coastal Carolina will also have to take care of the No. 17 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns in the Sun Belt Championship. Speaking of BYU, their 28-14 win over San Diego State locked them in at 14 in the AP Top 25.
The No. 2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish and No. 4 Clemson Tigers stayed in the Top 5 this weekend ahead of their matchup in the ACC Championship game. The Canes could’ve put their name in the ring for a New Year’s Six by beating North Carolina. The game also determined the third-best team in the ACC behind Notre Dame and Clemson. However, Miami lost 62-26 and threw Manny Diaz’s and D’Eriq King’s surging season into a pit of shambles. The Canes were destroyed for the second time this year against at Top 25 opponent. The loss continues to highlight just how much work Miami has to do to get back to upper-ranks of collegiate teams.
An 8-2 season is not a total failure, but the two losses in dismantling fashion, leaves us with more questions than answers. The Canes are ranked 19th in the country.