College football Week 11 winners and losers: Baylor, Oklahoma, Texas

November 14, 2021
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz earned a $500,000 bonus after his team beat Minnesota on Saturday.
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Georgia was kind enough to spot Tennessee seven points on the game’s opening possession, delighting the crowd at Neyland Stadium, before outscoring the Volunteers 41-10 the rest of the way.

Ohio State’s offense dropped 59 points on Purdue, quickly extinguishing any chance of the Boilermakers cutting down another Big Ten contenders.

Alabama whipped New Mexico State. Michigan survived against Penn State. Michigan State and star running back Kenneth Walker III had no problem with Maryland.

Saturday went well for every major College Football Playoff contender but one: Baylor smothered star quarterback Caleb Williams and beat Oklahoma 27-14, knocking the Sooners well out of the contention for the national semifinals.

Now owning a loss with another pair of tough games ahead in November, Oklahoma tops this week’s list of the biggest winners and losers in college football:

WINNERS

Baylor

Baylor’s defense rebounded from a humbling letdown in last week’s loss to TCU and held OU to just 260 yards, the Sooners’ worst performance on offense in more than a decade. Meanwhile, Baylor’s offense controlled the tempo with 296 rushing yards, with two players — underrated running back Abram Smith and quarterback Gerry Bohanon — cracking the 100-yard mark. The loss shakes up the Big 12 race and opens a path through a series of convoluted tiebreakers for the Bears to play for the conference championship. 

Michigan

In recent history, these are the sort of games Michigan tends to lose: Leading Penn State 14-6 in the fourth quarter, the Wolverines allowed the game-tying touchdown and two-point conversion, fumbled the ball deep in their own territory on the ensuing possession and then fell behind 17-14 with six minutes left. But Michigan responded with a 47-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Cade McNamara to tight end Erick All and will remain in the thick for the playoff with the game against rival Ohio State looming at the end of November.

Ohio State

The Buckeyes dropped 45 points in the first half and sidestepped Purdue’s attempt at a third major upset in conference play, as an offense that scuffled in last week’s win against Nebraska broke through with four scoring plays of 20 or more yards. Quarterback C.J. Stroud completed 31 of 38 attempts for 361 yards and five touchdowns, freshman running back TreVeyon Henderson ran for 98 yards on 13 carries and wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba had a team-best 139 yards and a score. With the offense back in form, the attention now turns to a defense that had rallied from the low point of September but gave up 481 yards on 6.8 yards per play.

Kirk Ferentz

Iowa’s 27-22 win against Minnesota nets coach Kirk Ferentz a $500,000 bonus, an amount he receives when the Hawkeyes win eight games in a season. That gives Ferentz a total of $600,000 in on-field bonuses so far this year, joining a $100,000 bonus for making a bowl game. Racking up bonus money is an annual thing for Iowa’s longtime coach: Ferentz, who is making $5 million in basic compensation, has totaled $4.775 million in bonuses since the start of the 2015 season.

Mark Stoops

Another coach cashing in is Kentucky’s Mark Stoops. With the Wildcats’ 34-17 win against Vanderbilt, Stoops will get an automatic one-year contract extension triggered when the Wildcats win at least seven games, including bowls. That extension will take him through June 30, 2027. Now 56-53 overall and eligible for postseason play for the sixth straight season, Stoops is making $5.25 million this season, and is contractually entitled to a $250,000 pay increase annually. Since his agreement already runs through June 30, 2026, his pay for the additional year is scheduled to be $6.5 million. Because he would receive 75% of the money left on his contract if he were fired without cause, the guaranteed value of the additional year is $4.875 million.

SMU

Tanner Mordecai had three touchdowns without an interception as SMU beat Central Florida 55-28, snapping a two-game losing streak just in time for next weekend’s key American Athletic Conference matchup with unbeaten Cincinnati. The Mustangs’ win is good news for the Bearcats, who need to add wins against strong competition to end up in the top four of the playoff rankings in early December. 

Notre Dame

The Irish took advantage of a Virginia offense clearly missing quarterback Brennan Armstrong and beat the Cavaliers 28-3 to improve to 9-1 in what is shaping up to be the best coaching job of Brian Kelly’s tenure with the program. Despite obvious flaws, Notre Dame is virtually locked into a New Year’s Six bowl bid and has a faint shot at returning to the playoff, though it’ll be very difficult to crack the top four should Cincinnati run the table in the regular season. 

LOSERS

Texas

Texas paid over $24 million to jettison Tom Herman and his staff, shelled out another $34.2 million to hire Steve Sarkisian and still managed to lose 57-56 in overtime to Kansas, which converted a two-point try in the first extra frame for the win, and almost everyone is having a deep belly laugh at the Longhorns’ expense. That makes five straight losses for Sarkisian, who will leave his debut season on the hot seat, and there’s a sneaking suspicion that UT is not any better today for last winter’s coaching change. You’d call losing to Kansas a wake-up call, but that’s doubtful.

Texas A&M

A&M had been one of college football’s hottest teams for more than a month, a stretch kicked off by an upset of Alabama that rejuvenated the Aggies’ season. Losing 29-19 at Ole Miss is painful across the board: A&M is no longer in the mix for the SEC West, obviously eliminated from the playoff mix — those odds were already borderline at best — and maybe even in bad shape for a New Year’s Six bowl, depending on how things unfold in the division in the next two weeks.

LSU

Arkansas’ 16-13 overtime win in Baton Rouge has LSU staring at its first losing season since 1999. Now 4-6, the Tigers get Louisiana-Monroe at home next Saturday before taking on A&M to avoid a 5-7 finish. The loss to the Razorbacks was this season in miniature: LSU’s offense gained 308 yards, the seventh time this season the Tigers have failed to crack 380 yards in a game. Remember when this program was home to be the most explosive offense in FBS history? Yeah, that was just two seasons ago. 

Florida

The Gators gave up 530 yards of offense and 52 points to Samford — and that’s Samford, not Stanford of the Pac-12 or even Stamford, the second-largest city by population in Connecticut. That Florida gained 717 yards and won 70-52 doesn’t really matter, to be honest. Getting blitzed by the opponent from the Football Championship Subdivision is the latest red-faced embarrassment for the program and embattled coach Dan Mullen, joining the horrible loss to South Carolina just seven days ago.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s playoff odds took a potentially fatal blow with the loss to Baylor, though enough chaos could unfold in the next three weeks to get the Sooners into the top four at 13-1 and atop the Big 12. The conference championship remains in play, though that would demand beating Iowa State, Oklahoma State and possibly the Cowboys again. The team that was flattened by Baylor probably isn’t running the table, unfortunately. The loss represents a major setback for the Sooners and young quarterback Caleb Williams, who looked mortal for the first time in his freshman season.

Auburn

Up 28-3 deep into the first half, Auburn would not score again until under two minutes left and lost 43-34 to Mississippi State. With the loss, the Tigers have essentially ceded the SEC West to Alabama, taking a chunk of the hype away from this year’s Iron Bowl. (Not that the rivalry won’t be must-see TV.) After taking that 25-point lead, Auburn’s defense gave up touchdown drives of 75, 75, 98, 72, 55 and 45 yards. The nation’s most accurate passer heading into Saturday, Mississippi State’s Will Rogers completed 44 of 55 attempts for 415 yards and six scores.

Miami (Fla.)

The good vibes and optimism around this program and coach Manny Diaz in the wake of a three-game winning streak were erased with a 31-28 loss to rival Florida State, which scored the game-winning touchdown with 26 seconds left to cap the Hurricanes’ late-game meltdown. Between the penalties, the turnovers and a clown show of a final drive, this loss exhausts any goodwill developed over the previous three weeks and places Diaz right back on the hot seat.  

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