Lott IMPACT Trophy | Honoring College Football's Defensive Best

“IF YOU CAN BELIEVE IT, THE MIND CAN ACHIEVE IT.”

-RONNIE LOTT

Blog-The Upside-Down World of College Football

USC and Notre Dame are 1-3. Louisville defeated Florida State by nearly 60 points. San Diego State is ranked in the Top 20!

Welcome to the upside-down world of college football, 2016.

The simple explanation for the downward cycle of the hallowed programs at USC and Notre Dame is that they do not have the best players and they are playing better teams (Duke?).

USC, in fact, has now lost five of its last six games dating back to last season. They were routed by Alabama, outmuscled by Stanford and blew a 10-point lead against Utah.

“They just don’t seem to have that old mjo,” says former Trojans head coach John Robinson. Meaning, they no longer swagger into a stadium with the biggest, baddest players on the planet.

It might have been worse in South Bend where the Irish were three-touchdown favorites over a pedestrian Duke team – and still lost.

The last time both schools started 1-3 was in 2001 (Pete Carroll’s first year at USC).

It was a wacky week for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, too. Each week during the football season our voter panel chooses a Player of the Week, sending $1,000 to the general scholarship fund of the winners’ school.

Some weeks are easier than others. This last week was a challenge. Players who had big weeks played on losing teams: Cameron Smith of USC had 15 tackles and teammate Adoree’ Jackson took a kickoff back 100 yards for a touchdown, but the Trojans lost; Andrew King of Army had 12 tackles and forced a fumble, but the Cadets lost; and Jerome Whitehead of Pitt recorded a dozen tackles in a losing effort.

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What have you done for me lately? In 12 years at LSU, Les Miles was 114-34 and won a national championship. But he was fired Sunday after a 2-2 start.

It’s the second interim head coaching job for LSU’s Ed Orgeron. He took over at USC after Lane Kiffin was fired in 2013 and won six of eight games, but lost to Notre Dame and UCLA. The Trojans did not retain the popular Orgeron, instead they hired Steve Sarkisian.

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The two best coaches in the country – Nick Saban at Alabama and Urban Meyer at Ohio State – seemed to be able to avoid all those ups and downs. The Tide and Buckeyes are ranked 1 and 2 in the nation.

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Lott IMPACT Trophy finalist Jeremy Cash of Duke was an undrafted free agent. He signed with the Carolina Panthers who have moved him from safety to linebacker…Georgia quarterback Jacob Eason is the son of Tony Eason. Not the Tony Eason who quarterbacked Illinois, but the Tony Eason who played wide receiver for Notre Dame…Colorado beat Oregon for the first time since 1998…Wisconsin held Michigan State’s vaunted running game to just 75 yards…T.J. Watt, brother of former Lott IMPACT Trophy winner J.J. Watt, starred for the Badgers with 2.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for losses…Lamar Jackson of Louisville has accounted for an amazing 25 touchdowns in the first four weeks of the season…

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