Points Over Pints: Carr, Fresno Finally Break Through
By Joe Jenkins
This Week’s Beer
You have to hand it to the folks who brew Heineken. Through creative marketing, we’ve come to believe that Heineken is a “premium imported beer.”
Last time I cracked open one of those green, short-necked bottles, it smelled like I got the bottom end of the first batch brewed in 1864.
This isn’t a one-time bad experience. Skunking the beer apparently is part of Heineken’s brewing process. But because we see some hipster with a patchy beard being the life of the party in their commercials, we get duped into thinking we’re enjoying some Dutch delicacy.
Truth is, Heineken is just a beer that stinks, which is how a lot of people feel about week four in college football every year.
With most teams still playing eight-game conference schedules, week four is normally the last big week for non-conference games. The traditional powers historically take this opportunity to put a patsy on the schedule before gearing up for the conference slate.
How is this any different than week one? With the exception of one or two games, it’s not. The novelty of a new season has just worn off and your football taste is becoming more discerning.
It’s true that the fourth week doesn’t normally produce many marquee matchups, but this year wasn’t a total wash. There was still plenty of good football to watch and plenty to learn from the week that was.
So let's put the clothespin on our nose, pour a fresh Heineken and talk some college football.
The First Sips
If ESPN had to do it over again, I’m sure they would have sent the GameDay crew out to Central California instead of North Dakota and scheduled the Boise State/Fresno State tilt for Saturday night instead of Friday. It was the most entertaining game of the week.
The game was as close as the score suggests: Both teams were similar in total yardage, penalty yardage and third-down efficiency. Even time of possession was in line when you take into account BSU’s 29 extra rushing attempts.
The difference in this game was Derek Carr, who threw for 460 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.
The Bulldogs have rested their fate on Carr's arm, and so far he’s responded (1,121 passing yards, 12 touchdowns, one interception). Thanks to his performance, FSU is a front-runner to win the Mountain West and become the last team to bust the BCS.
Carr’s biggest win on Friday, however, had to be seeing his wife and his month-old son Dallas in the stands. Dallas required multiple surgeries as a newborn to fix a life-threatening intestinal issue. Having his son healthy enough to attend a game trumps a win over a rival any day.
• There are teams that will always be ranked no matter who they beat or how they win, and Michigan is one of them. Somehow the Wolverines turned the ball over eight times in the last two games against inferior competition — including four in their 24-21 win over UConn — and managed to pull out victories late in the game. This is a team primed to get demolished in the Big Ten if they don’t clean things up.
• If you’re looking for a statistic that sums up what week four is in college football, consider this: Miami (FL), Ohio State, Louisville and Baylor outscored their opponents 295-14 on Saturday. All four teams scored 70 or more.
• This just in from the Unsustainable Statistics Department: Baylor is averaging 69.7 points through three games. It’s the first time a team has opened a season with three games of more than 60 points since LSU did it in 1930.
• Stanford was beating Arizona State, 39-7, going into the fourth quarter and won fairly easily, 42-28. Giving up 367 passing yards and three touchdowns to ASU’s Taylor Kelly in the fourth quarter alone, however, is not how a potential title contender should close out games.
• Sometimes stats don’t matter. Notre Dame had fewer first downs and fewer total yards than Michigan State. The Irish only converted 35 percent of their third downs, averaged 2.4 yards per carry on the ground and still won, 17-13. Probably because the Spartans' stat line was just as ugly. It’s best we just burn all evidence that this game ever happened.
• The Heisman candidate we never saw coming might be LSU’s Jeremy Hill. His 150 yards in the first half against Auburn definitely opened some eyes. He’s big at 235 pounds, but still has the speed to break off long runs as evidenced by his 8.3 yards per carry. After his legal troubles this summer, he’ll need to clean up his image for that to happen.
• In case you missed it, players from Northwestern, Georgia and Georgia Tech marked up their gear with “APU,” or “All Players United,” in protest of the NCAA’s treatment of student-athletes. This will become a growing trend as the season wears on.
The Last Gulp
Take a deep breath and hold your nose because it’s time to finish off this Dutch stink bomb the way we do every week.
Here’s to Florida's head coach, Will Muschamp. We watched Jeff Driskel stumble along through the first two weeks of the season while you continued to support your underwhelming quarterback.
It took an injury to Driskel for us to get a glimpse at backup Tyler Murphy. All he did was complete eight of his 14 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown.
It’s too small of a sample size to say that Murphy will be a game-changer for the Gators, but he provided a spark.
It makes you wonder why he was never considered an option earlier in the season.
So here’s to a speedy recovery for Driskel; and for you, coach Muschamp?
• Florida lost quarterback Jeff Driskel for the remainder of the season with a broken fibula.
• Texas signal caller David Ash was being evaluated for a head injury during the Longhorns win over Kansas State. He did not return to the game.
• BYU linebacker Spencer Hadley has been suspended for five games after pictures surfaced of him drinking in a Las Vegas nightclub, a violation of BYU’s Honor Code (though perfectly acceptable at Points Over Pints).