The Obstructed NCAA Top 5-Week 11

What a week. Sadly. What a week.

Yes, I’m an Alabama fan so no, you won’t see any pictures of the game. Yes, I am bitter. That said, LSU deserved to win that game without question. And it exposed Alabama’s defense badly (which had been a concern of mine all season). So obviously, the question is who is #1, Ohio State or LSU?

If that wasn’t all, Minnesota is making their candidacy for the Playoff with a HUGE win against Penn State. Now if they can find a way to win next week in Iowa and then see Wisconsin at home and take care of business there, possibly the Playoff for them could happen if they can do the unthinkable against Ohio State. So who knows?

As for other teams, can Baylor try to crash the rankings as well? A lot of close calls are happening for the Bears but Oklahoma will be its ultimate challenge. A few byes happened as well, but with Alabama losing it was a big week for certain teams that are in the top ten. Let’s have a look.

TOP 5 WINNERS

Minnesota may be the sleeper story in the College Football World

(1) MINNESOTA: The Golden Gophers needed a monumental win for its program especially under PJ Fleck. They got it with the Penn State win that really felt like Minnesota was in control of that game the whole way. Now are they ahead of schedule in the “Row the Boat” Era under Fleck? Perhaps, but if they can take care of their business the rest of the way which will include two likely ranked teams (Iowa, Wisconsin) and then a likely date with Ohio State, the Gophers will be in the Playoff without question as that resume will look very shiny. Of course they will have to win out all of them.

(2) LSU: Why I put LSU at second isn’t of spite or anything like that, but it pretty much solidifies them as at least a top 2 team in the nation and barring a massive implosion, a Playoff. Even if the Tigers lose one, I don’t see them falling out of the top 4. Minnesota will be the one making a big jump in the polls while LSU will either stay put or move up one. But Joe Burrow solidified his Heisman Trophy with his performance especially in the second half of that game. And mad props to Ed Orgeron for keeping his team poised for that game, something that had been lacking for LSU in their tilts with Alabama in recent memory.

(3) OREGON & UTAH: Both teams had byes but the one thing that was desperately needed was an Alabama loss. To add on, the Tide see Auburn in three weeks in Jordan Hare which if Alabama loses that one (and I’d say it’s VERY likely) it will propel the PAC-12 champ to the Playoff. All these two teams need to do is win out.

(4) CLEMSON: It wasn’t like they would lose to NC State but they needed a monster win to show they were still the team. We can say all we want about the Tigers cotton soft schedule but they have done what they needed to do. And the two teams ahead of them fell. So Clemson is at #3.

(5) GEORGIA: Well, they are now in position if they can win out they will be back in despite seeing South Carolina keep losing (I do wonder if that factors into any of the committee’s minds about THAT loss especially if the Gamecocks continue to collapse). They are probably sitting at the #4 spot but Auburn is in the horizon. A loss will end Georgia’s playoff hopes and continue the national championship drought for 40 years.

TOP 5 LOSERS

(1) ALABAMA: The LAST thing Alabama needed was to lose to the team they needed to beat for the resume boost. People have wondered what game Alabama has won was the most important and it was LSU. And the Tide looked bad against the Tigers, especially on defense. So Saban & Co have to figure out what is needed to get the Tide rolling (no pun intended) again. But right now, this was the win they needed on that resume. It’s possible chaos happens, but I don’t see Alabama even at one loss gets in the Playoff without a Conference Championship this year.

(2) PENN STATE: The Nittany Lions were away from Happy Valley and it showed. They really got beat by a Golden Gophers team who really controlled the game from beginning to end. Not what they needed with Ohio State looming. And it also builds the question if James Franklin will ever get them over that hump.

(3) IOWA: Just not enough to take down Wisconsin. Really not how you need to go into the game against Minnesota even if it is at home.

(4) MICHIGAN STATE: And this year’s Super Bowl Atlanta Falcons award winner goes to….Sparty! Blowing a 28-3 at home to Illinois is inexcusable on any level. Yes, Illinois is better as the season has progressed but Mark Dantonio is really finding himself on the hot seat for this one. It shouldn’t have happened at all on how this game happened. But Michigan State’s glory run from 2010-2017 is done and there isn’t any revival coming up soon.

(5) WAKE FOREST: Probably not too surprising they lost to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, but the Deacons are aiming for a New Year’s Six bowl game. And you still have Clemson on the horizon. Not good chances for that game now.

TOP 5 QUESTIONS

(1) IF ALABAMA WINS OUT CAN THEY STILL GET IN THE PLAYOFF? No, but again, chaos has to happen. Oregon & Utah will have to find a way to lose a second game before they get to each other in the PAC-12 Championship. What also needs to have happen is Georgia loses to Auburn next week but still manages to beat LSU in the SEC Championship. And then somewhere Oklahoma takes an L and Baylor gets an L too. It’s possible, just not probable.

Norvell is a hot commodity for teams needing a coach. As soon as I typed in the name Mike Norvell on Google it said Arkansas next to his name.

(2) MIKE NORVELL COULD HAVE SOME INTRIGUING JOB OFFERS. WOULD HE TAKE IT AND LEAVE MEMPHIS? If the money is there, yes. Going to Arkansas seems like a logical fit for Norvell as he knows the area well and could take a lot of players in the Arkansas/Western Tennessee area. Or….he could go to Michigan State if the Spartans do send Dantonio on his way. He is probably the top candidate for any job right now. Or South Carolina says enough with Will Muschamp. So keep an eye on this one.

(3) DOES CLEMSON FANS HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE SLIGHTED ABOUT BEING RANKED #5 IN THE FIRST COMMITTEE SELECTION? No! The Tigers had a soft schedule. But also, it’s the first dang week of the polls. Who cares! It’s going to be in 4 weeks that matters. So if you’re a Clemson fan, relax!

(4) DID THE COMMITTEE GET IT RIGHT FOR OHIO STATE OVER LSU? Yes. While LSU’s resume is very impressive the one massive concern for the Tigers is that defense has lapses badly. Ohio State hasn’t had those lapses and are a stout bunch with or without Chase Young on the field. If I had to choose between Ohio State or LSU in a game, I’d err towards the Buckeyes.

(5) IS BAYLOR GOING TO BE ABLE TO GET IN THE PLAYOFF AT 13-0? That’s a hard one. The resume is lagging, but if they beat Oklahoma en route then it’s possible. However, it means two wins against Oklahoma who would have 3 losses and the rest somewhat fell apart on them the rest of the way. They also need some major chaos to erupt somewhere. And Baylor fans are probably prepping for 2014 all over again where they felt like they got jipped.

MY PLAYOFF COMMITTEE SELECTION PREDICTION:

(1) LSU

(2) OHIO STATE

(3) CLEMSON

(4) GEORGIA

NEXT TWO IN: OREGON, UTAH

-Fan in the Obstructed Seat

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The Obstructed NCAA Top 5-Week 10

The calm is before the storm.

With the first selection coming out this week for the playoff, the week had really some uneventful match-ups. 5 remaining undefeated teams (LSU, Alabama, Ohio State, Penn State, Minnesota) all had byes while two more unbeatens from non-power 5 conferences took a hit to the chin. The rest of the contenders from the 1-loss group (Utah, Oregon, Georgia) continued building their resumes to get back in the mix. But the week still had some moments and some jolts for certain teams.

TOP 5 WINNERS

Fromm and Georgia answered some critics this weekend with a big win against Florida

(1) GEORGIA: Pretty much following the moniker of their season, the Bulldogs won in a not-so-pretty form, but are now firmly in the driver’s seat in the SEC East. November is a rough schedule regardless despite having two home games (Missouri, Texas A&M) and then having Auburn at Jordan-Hare. If they do not have another trip-up game somewhere, the Bulldogs lone loss won’t matter if they win out, if that means winning against either LSU or Alabama in the SEC Championship as they will be in the Playoff. A nice win for sure.

(2) UTAH: Do NOT sit on the Utes. The defense knows how to grind games out and play tough. On the other side, Tyler Huntley may not be considered for a Heisman, but he is as tough as they come. A win in Washington, while the Huskies aren’t the same squad as they were in 2016, is still a great feat. The Utes may control their own destiny the rest of the way and finally break the Playoff drought the PAC-12 has.

(3) OREGON: I was going to make it 2A & 2B because really the Ducks had a similar accomplishment of winning a tough road game and just exploding in the second half at USC. The Ducks also have a great shot at controlling their own destiny and look out for a possible Utah/Oregon PAC-12 Championship. One side note: Justin Herbert doesn’t get enough love. I guess in part because his name isn’t Tua, Burrow, or Fields.

(4) MEMPHIS: Keep an eye on the Tigers for a push to the New Year’s Six. A few things need to go their way, but Memphis already has a big win against SMU on a big stage. The American Conference really wants to make a point they are as good if not better than any Power 5 program and this one is a good one.

(5) WAKE FOREST: I flip-flopped between the Deacons and Baylor, but the W was very impressive against a decent NC State squad. The hope is Wake can sneak in the New Year’s Six bowl game (perhaps Orange?) but Clemson looms in two weeks in Death Valley. But a win would be a major landmark for Wake Forest, who is having an amazing 2019 season.

HONORABLE MENTION: BAYLOR

TOP 5 LOSERS

Mullen has a lot of questions to answer for the Gators performance against Georgia

(1) FLORIDA: Dan Mullen HAS to improve his coaching style. Yes, it’s a far cry from the days of Muschamp and McElwain at Florida where the Gators were just slightly above mediocre at best. But Mullen’s coaching decisions/style doomed Florida. And this hasn’t been the first time. Just check how he coached at Mississippi State when he had Dak, notably against Alabama in 2014. Go back to the fourth quarter of that game, compare it to the 4th quarter of this recent game and it showed Mullen hasn’t learned his lesson. Which means….Florida is pretty much eliminated from the Playoff and likely the SEC race. And until Florida (and Mullen) figures out how to beat Georgia, it will continue that way.

(2) SMU: No, I don’t think the Mustangs would have crashed the Playoff party. But, SMU was in the driver’s seat for a New Year’s Six game. I mean things can still bounce their way, but now the road to get to that game is very bumpy.

(3) APPALACHIAN STATE: Hard to even consider them on here, but the Mountaineers were undefeated and ranked #20 with hopes of a New Year’s Six game too. Instead, they lose at home to their long-time foes in Georgia Southern. So the hopes of the Sun Belt getting love for a New Year’s game is now eliminated.

(4) WASHINGTON: You have to wonder at this point that the Huskies window has passed under Chris Petersen. Jacob Eason is not the problem, but that defense isn’t the same defense that gave even Alabama fits. And with Oregon rolling under Mario Cristobal, the Huskies need something to fix it or they will remain second fiddle under the Ducks.

(5) FLORIDA STATE: Yeah, the Noles have had it rough the last few seasons. Willie Taggart was the scapegoat for the issues in Tallahassee. But he inherited a mess. But he could not clean it up. Florida State has just looked like a shell of itself over the season despite some moments. And pretty much getting embarrassed by a mediocre Miami squad at home, well that isn’t going to cut it down for the faithful at Florida State.

TOP 5 QUESTIONS

Tyler Huntley is putting Utah in a great position for a Playoff shot.

(1) ASSUMING UTAH AND OREGON WIN OUT UNTIL THE PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP, WILL ONE OF THEM TAKE A PLAYOFF SPOT? It all depends on what happens with the loser of the LSU/Alabama game does the rest of the way. LSU doesn’t have a rough schedule the rest of the way (Arkansas, Ole Miss, Texas A&M at home) while Alabama still has their Iron Bowl trip at Auburn. So if you’re a PAC-12 fan, you are hoping Alabama loses to LSU and Auburn as especially it will nullify the Ducks loss against the Tigers to begin the year. So, if LSU wins, yes. If LSU loses, that’s bad news for the PAC-12 honestly.

(2) ASIDE FROM LSU AND ALABAMA PLAYING EACH OTHER, ARE THERE ANY UNDEFEATED SQUADS OR 1-LOSS TEAMS IN MASSIVE DANGER THE REST OF THE WAY? Oh yes. If anything, EVERYONE needs to be scared. If LSU loses, it may not do massive damage, but if Alabama loses it will be VERY hard to win in Auburn. Ohio State and Penn State play each other but the Nittany Lions also get Minnesota who is playing their best ball. The Buckeyes may also have to go to Michigan against a team who is playing very inspired right now. Oklahoma still has to travel to Baylor and if the Sooners lose, they may not even make it to the Big 12 Championship. Georgia sees Auburn in Jordan Hare. And a few interesting quirk games that if the contenders don’t watch it they could be primed for an upset: Clemson against a Wake Forest team who is firing on all cylinders (granted that game is in Death Valley) and while it may look like a mismatch on paper, keep an eye on that Civil War game with Oregon and Oregon State. The Ducks are rolling but the Beavers are playing very tough and have a shot at being bowl eligible. Do not sit on this game if you are a Ducks fan.

(3) BAYLOR, MINNESOTA, AND WAKE FOREST COULD END UP BEING SLEEPERS IN THIS COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF RACE. WHICH OF THEM HAS THE BEST CHANCE TO CRASH THE PLAYOFF? IF Minnesota beats Penn State then the Golden Gophers could go to Indianapolis at 12-0 vs. all likelihoods Ohio State. A stunning win would obviously put Minnesota in (which would net wins vs. Penn State, Wisconsin, and Ohio State). Is it the team with the BEST shot? I think it’s probably Baylor if they can beat Oklahoma and Texas. And better, they would probably avoid the Sooners in the Big 12 Title game as Oklahoma would lose the tiebreak to Kansas State. Wake needs to beat Clemson obviously which I don’t think it will happen but even with that notch under their belt the Deacons resume would be unimpressive especially when they see that 62-59 loss to Louisville at home.

(4) CHRIS ASH AND WILLIE TAGGART ARE THE FIRST TWO POWER 5 COACHES TO GET THE AX. WHO IS NEXT? Chad Morris at Arkansas. I never understood the hire at all as he struggled at SMU. He turned the Mustangs program around at 6-6 but really it wasn’t overly impressive. The style of play doesn’t fit for the conference especially with the talent that the rival schools have. Yes, Arkansas is already on the hook still for Bieliema but yikes. The Razorbacks cannot afford to languish like they are where the last few seasons it is “when does basketball season start?” when kickoff happens.

(5) WHO WILL THE SEMINOLES GET FOR A HEAD COACH NOW? Ideally, Bob Stoops. The Seminoles view themselves as one of the college football bluebloods. They will go after the biggest available name out there like how Alabama did with Saban, Ohio State did with Meyer, and Michigan did with Harbaugh. The names of PJ Fleck, Josh Heupel, Mike Norvell, and Matt Campbell are brought up (Fleck & Campbell are at Power 5 schools while Heupel and Norvell have put UCF and Memphis at the forefront of the American). Is it getting mouths water for Noles fans with those guys? Not really. But they have to start somewhere. Norvell should be the one they need to go after. While Fleck has done a great job in his third year at Minnesota, I’m not sold he can mix it up in the recruiting wars in Florida having to deal with Miami, Florida, and the neighboring states of Alabama and Georgia. Campbell is also in that same boat. Norvell has gotten his players in Memphis rolling and right now you can make an argument American Conference is top-to-bottom better than the ACC. Well, after Clemson.

PLAYOFF COMMITTEE PREDICTION TUESDAY:

(1) LSU

(2) OHIO STATE

(3) PENN STATE

(4) ALABAMA

NEXT 2: CLEMSON, OREGON

-Fan in the Obstructed Seat

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The Obstructed NCAA Top 5-Week 9

Another week has come and gone and another big upset took place, this time in the Big 12 and now we may have a brawl for the Playoff as you have to think that all conferences are really believing they have a shot, including the PAC-12. So, who had the biggest weeks and who really shot themselves in the foot?

TOP 5 WINNERS

Dobbins established his Heisman candidacy with a great performance vs. the Badgers

(1) OHIO STATE: Even the physical Badgers had no answers for the Buckeyes especially in the second half as Ohio State wore them down physically and mentally. All roads look smooth until those back-to-back dates with Penn State and Michigan to end the season, but they should be favored to win both. Time will tell though.

(2) LSU: LSU’s offense looked “normal” against Auburn ONLY putting up 23 points (most years under Les Miles 23 was considered a shootout) but it was good enough to beat a pesky Auburn team. Now the big game for them is next with Alabama November 9 in Tuscaloosa. It will be interesting to see the chess moves made between both the Tigers and Tide, but right now you have to figure the winner of that game will be the SEC representative for the Playoff.

(3) PENN STATE: Yeah, beating Michigan State isn’t big like it would have been 5 years ago, but Penn State has as many issues with the Spartans for the last 5 years as they have had with the Buckeyes. So it was an ugly game but they still won decisively. Their true tests are in a few more games with road trips at Minnesota and Ohio State.

(4) MICHIGAN: It was a needed win for the Wolverines who just have issues under Harbaugh beating the upper end of teams. Notre Dame looked like they didn’t belong. This is one of those games that if Michigan goes on a run and upsets Ohio State, we will look back and go “yup, the Notre Dame game changed everything.”

(5) MINNESOTA: Yeah, they beat Maryland decisively, but Minnesota remains undefeated and better for them may end up winning the Big Ten West with relative ease assuming they can stun Penn State in two weeks in Minnesota. If that happens, the Golden Gophers will be going to Indianapolis for a date with Ohio State from all likelihoods.

HONORABLE MENTION: KANSAS STATE

TOP 5 LOSERS

Oct 26, 2019; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes defensive tackle Davon Hamilton (53) stops Wisconsin Badgers running back Jonathan Taylor (23) for no gain during the first quarter at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

(1) WISCONSIN: The last two weeks has just been total Wisconsin in the eyes of the college football world. The Badgers lose to an unranked Illinois team and then gets thumped by an Ohio State squad. In other words, they always have that trip-up game and then the moniker is they cannot beat a powerhouse squad. Boom. No playoff dreams for Wisconsin.

(2) NOTRE DAME: People lauded the Irish after their near miss in Athens a month ago. And then they go to Michigan and get their clocks cleaned out by the Wolverines. A 2-loss independent isn’t going to do it for Notre Dame in the Playoff, so you can say bye-bye.

(3) AUBURN: If there is always one team who has a shot at still being in the Playoff with 2 losses it always seems to be Auburn. So am I going to count them out at this juncture? No. BUT….it’s slim and none, even if they beat an undefeated Alabama in the Iron Bowl they wouldn’t go the SEC Championship. So that will probably do it. About that LSU game….why’d they stop rushing Joe Burrow? That is what I think decided the game ultimately. That and Bo Nix looked like Bo Derek at times throwing the football.

(4) OKLAHOMA: All is not lost for the Sooners as one loss can not take them out, but the road to get to the Playoff for a third straight year may be bumpier than it was last year. The Sooners still have road trips to Oklahoma State, who is probably the most unpredictable team in college football and undefeated Baylor. Adding on, you have Oregon and Utah in the PAC-12 gaining a head of steam while you have to figure the LSU/Alabama winner will probably take the hold of the SEC and Clemson & Ohio State look unstoppable in their conferences. The Sooners can’t afford any more trip-ups because their Big 12 Title game doesn’t have the same meaning as the other conferences, despite what the conference heads say.

(5) ARIZONA STATE: The next thing Herm Edwards will have to do is build some consistency in Tempe with his team. At times, the Sun Devils look very formidable on both sides of the ball with a stout defense. And others is more of a “run for cover” bit. And the UCLA game was proof of that as they got socked pretty good.

TOP 5 QUESTIONS

The Ducks could be back in the Playoff in 2019

(1) WITH THE POSSIBLE CHAOS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW, WHICH FOUR TEAMS DO YOU SEE GETTING IN THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF? Goodness, I don’t know. I’d say it will be Ohio State, Clemson, LSU (yes, I think they stun Bama sadly), and Oregon as the top 4. It’s too jumbled still and even with a few one-loss squads there it is tough to say. This may be the most difficult decision the Committee will have to make.

(2) DID JIM HARBAUGH SAVE HIS JOB WITH THE WIN AGAINST NOTRE DAME? If he wins out through the Ohio State then yes. It doesn’t seem like there is a road to the Big Ten Championship for Michigan again this year, but the hope is they can put the sting into the Buckeyes on November 30 and make things interesting in the Playoff race. But it has been done before a team will fire a head coach despite a 9-3 year. But who would the Wolverines get? So honestly I think he is saved

(3) IS THE SEC BACK TO BEING DOWN TO JUST LSU OR ALABAMA? Until Georgia ever figures out to adapt their offense into being a little more spread out and open things up, then yes. Florida has been strong to this point, but I don’t see them beating either Alabama or LSU even on a neutral field (SEC Championship is that possibility). So right now I think the winner of the LSU/Bama game will represent the SEC in the Playoff (or perhaps it may be another year of two SEC teams get in if the loser still wins out and that will really satisfy the masses).

(4) IS OKLAHOMA IN SERIOUS JEOPARDY OF MISSING OUT ON THE PLAYOFF? Honestly, yes. If you look at the one-loss schools vying for the playoff right now, the Sooners, while dominating their games save for Kansas State does not have the strongest of resumes among them. That I think would have to go to both Florida and Oregon. Oregon’s loss to Auburn was one that may not factor in and Florida’s loss to LSU on the road is well, understandable. So hypothetically IF it came down to the final playoff spot and both Oklahoma and Oregon win out, then I’d probably give the last spot to Oregon (especially if they face an 11-1 Utah team in the PAC-12 title). But crazy things can still happen in the final month of college football so…

(5) HOW FAR CAN APPALACHIAN STATE GO WITH THEIR RANKING? Not far unless just a complete blowup happens in front of them. UCF was ranked in the top 10 when their season started last year and still got passed up. And the American Conference is far better than the Sun Belt. So, App State may end up with a New Year’s Six bowl (which I think they might if SMU somehow falls back), but that’s about it. Had North Carolina stunned Clemson, it would have gotten people talking though.

MY TOP 4 PLAYOFF TEAMS (BASED ON WHAT I THINK THE COMMITTEE WOULD VOTE IF IT WAS TODAY)

(1) LSU

(2) OHIO STATE

(3) ALABAMA

(4) CLEMSON

NEXT TWO IN: (5) PENN STATE (6) FLORIDA

-Fan in the Obstructed Seat

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The Obstructed NCAA Top 5-Week 8

I guess you can say we have finally hit that halfway point of the season as most teams have played half of their games or the majority of it. We are starting to see gaps among the contenders while we are seeing teams that are trying to crash the party and other teams who just don’t have it. And this week, another big upset took place, maybe bigger than the one between South Carolina and Georgia last weekend.

On to the Top 5

TOP 5 WINNERS

The Nittany Lions had a big win against Michigan which is needed for their run down the stretch.

(1) PENN STATE: This was a big win for the Nittany Lions playing a rival school in primetime. They did enough to win the game and have to be figured as the best shot against Ohio State in the Big Ten. But one thing will have to be can they avoid another upset by Michigan State before traveling to Minnesota two weeks after.

(2) OREGON: The Ducks got a HUGE W in Seattle this weekend and have played themselves back in. The schedule is favorable to run the table for Oregon and if that is the case, the PAC-12 plays a factor in the Playoff once more.

(3) UTAH: The Utes may have the best defense in college football right now with their overall balance of attack on defense. If Utah can win out, it will be interesting to see if the Utes can crash the Playoff party. The only time Utah would see Oregon would be in the PAC-12 championship, which could mean the winner has a nice resume spike.

(4) BAYLOR: The Bears had an impressive W against an Oklahoma State squad who is always prime to knock a team out especially in Stillwater. The Bears handled the Cowboys with relative ease and have to be considered a threat to Oklahoma in the Big 12 right now.

(5) FLORIDA: After a tough loss in LSU and going to South Carolina facing a team that won a big one against Georgia, Florida could have fallen flat on their faces. But they grinded it out with a W in Columbia and really are the team in the driver’s seat in the SEC East.

TOP 5 LOSERS

Wisconsin once again finds victory and their national title hopes just out of reach

(1) WISCONSIN: The Badgers blew out Michigan State in an impressive manner and then they had a “warm up” with Illinois before Ohio State. And then…upset of the season. There is no way Wisconsin should have lost that game or even let Illinois hang around in that game. When you lose a game like that, it isn’t a player issue. It is a coaching issue. And how the Badgers blew that game was on Paul Chryst, who until yesterday was probably the coach of the year. Wisconsin now has to win out which I am not sure if they will do having to go to Ohio State and at Minnesota to end the year. This was probably the worst loss at the worst time for any contending team.

(2) MICHIGAN: It depends on how you carve up this L. Michigan fought and fought against Penn State until the end, but lost. But, it is also another loss against a top ranked team that Jim Harbaugh has under his belt which means the barking continues in Ann Arbor if he is really the guy. It will be interesting to see how Michigan reacts the rest of the way with their season.

(3) WASHINGTON: I’m really thinking the run for the Huskies of being a major threat in the PAC-12 has passed because something is not right out there in Seattle. Jacob Eason is not the problem out there, but the defense which has been solid for so long, imploded on itself and right now going to Husky Stadium is no longer a major obstacle for teams. Chris Petersen is a good coach, but he will need to figure things out because Washington should not be a team that is eyeing the Holiday Bowl.

(4) ARIZONA STATE: Had the Sun Devils gone into Utah and upset the Utes, you have to think they would be a sleeper as well for a Playoff. However, they came out flat as flat can be. And there are some offensive woes there that keep the Sun Devils from being a major threat. That said, whenever that offense improves, Arizona State is going to be a problem because Herm Edwards is doing a mighty fine job out there, save for yesterday.

(5) MISSOURI: With Georgia and Florida already chalking up losses, the Tigers (assuming they would win their appeal) had a strong shot to win the East. However, their second loss of the year (first conference loss) is another unexplainable loss to a team nowhere near as good as they are. So you wonder if Missouri has the issue of playing against lower teams on their levels. And that is a coaching issue, again.

TOP 5 QUESTIONS

Something isn’t right with Lawrence at Clemson

(1) HAS TREVOR LAWRENCE REGRESSED? Yes. I know he’s still very young, but the passes he’s throwing are not smart passes. Two interceptions yesterday and his receivers have been bailing him out on a few other passes. Is it an issue of he is not focused to read defenses? Or is he seeing something that is different than what it actually is? Is he thinking he can make any throw and trying to thread the needle? I gave Lawrence a pass for the first half of the season, but now you do have to wonder what is going on inside his head a bit. That said, the minute things get worked out, Clemson should be the favorites again because the rest of that team is beyond dangerous.

(2) IS THE SEC REALLY WIDE OPEN? Yes, though LSU fans think they may be the best team in the conference right now. It’s hard to decipher because all the contenders (Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Florida, Georgia) have major issues going on. The default option is Alabama, but the defense is not strong (has more of a bend-don’t-break defense) and if Tua is dinged up that will hurt. LSU’s defense is in question now. Auburn has consistency issues. Florida’s run game is in question and Georgia’s coaching is a major question mark at this point. So it’s anybody’s guess. The winner may be that team who plays the hottest football down the stretch.

(3) CAN BAYLOR BE THE TEAM TO SHOCK OKLAHOMA? Yes. This not the Art Briles Baylor Bears where they relied on the offense to win games at 52-49. The Bears can actually play some defense as they (until yesterday) held teams to at least 21 points. And the Bears offense continues to roll. Have they had near misses? Yes, but they *SHOULD* enter the Oklahoma game 9-0. Do I think they will beat Oklahoma? Well, the game is in Waco, but I don’t think they will honestly. But the game can possibly be decided on the last play regardless. So it is possible they can. Probable? A different story.

(4) WILL WISCONSIN EVER GET OVER THAT HUMP? If you look at teams for the past 20 years in college football, the constant programs are there (mostly-save for a few years here & there) such as Alabama, LSU, Florida, Auburn, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Florida State until recently, and even to a lesser extent USC. Those teams also have National Championships to their credit as well. But two teams who are mainstays yearly in the top 10 or top 15, have been Wisconsin and Georgia. Save for 2017 with Georgia, both the Bulldogs and Badgers have been maligned with those “shoot themselves in the foot games” over the years. Georgia we saw last week with South Carolina and Wisconsin now. The recipe has been pretty similar for both: great ground game, solid defenses over time, but it is either a preparation issue, or they are so reliant with the run game the passing games often get forgotten. But also, it seems like when the game is on the line, bad decisions really show up for the coaches at these places. And Wisconsin made a lot of questionable decisions in Illinois yesterday. So right now, my answer is no for Georgia North (Wisconsin).

(5) HAS THE PAC-12 PLAYED THEMSELVES BACK IN THE PLAYOFF PUSH? For Oregon, yes. For Utah, perhaps. The issue will persist for the Ducks is that Auburn loss despite the big W in Washington last night. What the Ducks need is either for Oklahoma, Clemson, or Ohio State to trip up somewhere along the way. We know a 1-loss SEC Championship team (or a 1-loss SEC team in general) will get in especially if they have a W against Auburn. It’s possible a team gets tripped up as we have seen the last few weeks.

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The Obstructed NCAA Top 5-Week 7

The week that was…..

And we have some separation with a few teams this past week. We had a few upsets including one that is inexplicable. But wow, what a week. Let’s get started.

TOP 5 WINNERS

Hurts did his thing against Texas but the Sooners hurt Ehlinger all day

(1) OKLAHOMA: We know the Sooners will score points and in the past we knew they would give up points. While Oklahoma still gave up their share yesterday, it never felt they were going to lose that game against Texas at all because the defnese was solid all game long. And 9 sacks proved that. They remain the big boy in the Big 12.

(2) PENN STATE: The Nittany Lions win away from Happy Valley against a ranked team is something big for the program under James Franklin, who often struggles against some of the better squads. So while Iowa isn’t Ohio State, it is a big boost for them and they also can show they can be physical with the best of them as well. A run with the Michigan schools begins (home vs. Michigan and a road trip at Michigan State) and if the Lions roll in those games, Ohio State and Penn State could be a top 5 tilt when they see each other in November.

(3) LSU: Big win at home against rival Florida. The Tigers offense just look unstoppable at this point and many believe that the Tigers and Tide are destined to meet in Tuscaloosa in early November undefeated and possibly 1 & 2 on the committee.

(4) ALABAMA: Yeah, Alabama was expected to win, but given the backdrop of the Georgia/South Carolina game before that and Alabama’s history with Texas A&M you had to wonder if an upset would happen. But nope, the Tide rolled easy in College Station after a semi-slow start.

(5) WISCONSIN: The Badgers blew the doors off of Michigan State, worse than what Ohio State did. Maybe it is time to consider Wisconsin a major threat to the Buckeyes or no?

TOP 5 LOSERS

Ehlinger was chased all day by the Sooners

(1) TEXAS: Yes, nobody though the Longhorns were going to make a push to the National Championship nor thought they would even beat Oklahoma. But they were still a threat to the Big 12 title game. They still are technically but Oklahoma exposed the defense and their flaws. It’s going to be another year before the Longhorns make it back.

(2) GEORGIA: The ONLY reason why I have Georgia at #2 and not #1 is that Texas is eliminated from the National Championship picture. I should make Georgia #1A. Yes, Georgia is still “in it,” but the Bulldogs lost to a team they were favored to beat by 24 at home and they were outplayed and “outcoached” (well, Muschamp was rough himself, but his mistakes weren’t as many and beyond silly like Kirby Smart’s were). Stale, too conservative play-calling once again reared its ugly head in Athens and now you have to figure Georgia needs to win out. And that schedule now looks very challenging even with home tilts against Missouri and Texas A&M. Florida and Auburn look nearly impossible now.

(3) IOWA: The Hawkeyes had an offense that was respectable to start the year. Since they have played Michigan and Penn State, Iowa’s offense has gone AWOL. Surprising given the talent on that side this year. Pretty much this eliminates Iowa from Big Ten West contention (which is down to Wisconsin and-wait for it, Minnesota).

(4) WAKE FOREST: Let’s be clear here. No, I didn’t think the Deacons would play spoiler in the college football landscape but having a game at home to a Louisville team that isn’t Clemson, well, you should take care of business. And Wake didn’t. Back to the unranked category the Deacons go.

(5) FLORIDA: I even considered not even having the Gators here but they needed the W. Now the Jacksonville game with the Gators and Bulldogs will likely be for the SEC East title. That said, a few good things came out: they showed they can have an offense and they fought tooth and nail in a tough environment to a top 5 team. Sure beats losing to an unranked team at home who also has a losing record.

TOP 5 QUESTIONS

Smart’s not-so-smart decisions doomed Georgia in their loss to South Carolina

(1) HAS KIRBY SMART SHOWN HE ISN’T A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP CALIBER COACH? Yep. I loved a Georgia fan on Twitter making a comment defending Smart and his coaching prowess saying how Smart took it to Saban to the limit two straight years. You also know who took Saban to the limit a lot with limited results? Les Miles (Forgive me, but I know that Les beat Saban a couple of times, but the last 5 games in Miles tenure vs. Alabama were all losses). Here’s why he isn’t: 1. He poorly prepared his players against South Carolina. 2. His stubbornness to open up the offense has really killed him in his time at Georgia already. 3. He’s a reactionary coach/coaches out of fear. ANY Championship caliber coach prepares his players well, is willing to adapt and is proactive. So again, Georgia with all the talent in the world continues to underachieve as a national threat.

(2) CAN WISCONSIN LEGITIMATELY CHALLENGE OHIO STATE IN THE BIG TEN? Still up in the air. Michigan State looked stronger against the Buckeyes in Columbus before mailing it in with Wisconsin a week after. Wisconsin’s offense is probably one of the most balanced offense the Badgers have seen in recent memory. That said, I don’t know if Wisconsin could play shootout against Ohio State in the air if that happens. So right now my answer is “they could, BUT!” Everything needs to go right.

(3) SHOULD WE CLASSIFY OKLAHOMA AS A TRUE THREAT FOR THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP? Yes. Their defense is not a top 10 defense, but definitely not a joke either. It is legit and strong. All that team needs is just a little defense and they could take down anybody in the nation.

(4) DOES LOUISVILLE STAND A CHANCE AGAINST CLEMSON? The Cardinals have gotten better as the season has continued. They can score and they can put up a fight. However, Clemson obliterated Florida State, a team that beat the Cardinals just a few weeks back. And it seems like Clemson is firing on all cylinders after their near disaster at North Carolina. So I expect it to be close for a half, maybe even 3 quarters, but Clemson pulls away.

(5) DID GEORGIA’S LOSS HELP OR HURT NOTRE DAME? Helps for the time being. The Irish need one more loss from Georgia to move ahead perhaps in any Playoff selection. And after how the Bulldogs played against South Carolina, you have to figure Florida and Auburn are likely losses at this point. However, they can’t have Georgia just completely implode the rest of the way. That was the Irish’s big game and they blew it. Virginia isn’t going to give them that jolt in the resume nor will USC. So yes, it helps, but if the Bulldogs go 8-4, that’s bad for Notre Dame.

MY TOP 4 PLAYOFF TEAMS AS OF NOW (BASED ON CURRENT RESUME):

(1) LSU

(2) OKLAHOMA

(3) OHIO STATE

(4) ALABAMA

Next Two In:

(5) PENN STATE

(6) CLEMSON

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The Obstructed NCAA Top 5-Week 5

The first month of college football is in the books. What have we learned? We are always going to be knee-jerkish with our responses on a week-to-week basis. But we are also starting to see about 8 teams who legitimately have a great shot at being a national champion. However, a few of those teams get to see each other from here on out (5 SEC teams notably) so it will mean a lot of intense games. On the other hand, we see one conference finally eliminate themselves from the Playoff chatter. And we are zeroed in on conference play.

This week was a bit of a lull for games as a few top teams got byes while others had easy tilts despite a near-upset in Chapel Hill with UNC against Clemson. But aside from that, nothing. Which is good because Dish and Fox are in another dispute over fees so I missed those games on Fox and the Big Ten Network which stinks. So I had to look at highlights and reviews of those games. So I guess you can also call this the angry edition of the top 5 this week.

TOP 5 WINNERS

Fields is proving he is one of the best QB’s in college football

(1) OHIO STATE: Dominate on offense. Dominate on defense. Dominate everywhere. Ohio State has been obliterating their opponents left and right on both sides of the ball. It looks like there is no team that can stop the Buckeyes. Justin Fields is playing great and playing with a chip on his shoulder and that’s a problem. October will be interesting as they see Michigan State and their defense (top ten in defense) and at the end of the month Wisconsin and their top defense. If they can show they can run all over them, they have to be the favorites from here on out.

(2) AUBURN: The Tigers are dominating on both sides of the ball. That’s a major uh-oh to their 4 SEC rivals who are sitting in the top ten (that Auburn gets to play all of them). Next week is Florida and the end of the month is LSU (both on the road). The Tigers if they complete the upsets then they have to be without question the #1 team in the Playoff Committee selection as it opens up.

(3) PENN STATE: 59-0 win at Maryland is very impressive. The Nittany Lions want to show that they are also as dominant as Ohio State. But what they have to go through in October isn’t fun (at Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State) so if they can escape all three games, then that Ohio State game will be one with Playoff implications.

(4) NOTRE DAME: The Irish faced off against a ranked Virginia team after taking a tough loss to Georgia last week. However, the Irish stood tall in the second half getting key turnovers and making big plays for a nice win. That all said, they will need major help to get back in the Playoff chase.

(5) OKLAHOMA STATE: Big win against Kansas State and showing it more on defense. Of course their season always is defined in Bedlam, but having one loss and to Texas isn’t something to be stung on. They still could run the table until they see Oklahoma in November. And then, who knows?

TOP 5 LOSERS

Adios College Football Playoff PAC-12

(1) PAC-12: California losing sealed the deal that all 12 teams have a loss to their credit. With Washington and Oregon playing each other later on in the year while California and Utah both still have to play each other. It’s hard to even think a PAC-12 champion will even have one loss. But pretty much, the conference is out. And PLEASE could we eliminate this “Conference of Champions” moniker they have? They have the longest droughts among the power 5 in football and in basketball. It is getting to the point where it is hard to take the conference as a whole seriously.

(2) VIRGINIA: The good news for the Cavaliers is that the Notre Dame loss isn’t going to play into effect of the conference standings. They will likely be the favorite to win the ACC Coastal still. However, too many mistakes were made against the Irish in the second half and that doomed Virginia. I like Bryce Perkins but some of the decisions he made hurt. But he’s still a quality QB. Just wasn’t really yesterday.

(3) KANSAS STATE: It wasn’t like we were thinking the Wildcats would be in the mix of a playoff spot, but their offense being unable to do anything against Oklahoma State is a massive problem. They play solid defense, but mixing an offense with it is needed to be really considered a threat to Oklahoma.

(4) NEBRASKA: Scott Frost’s team is still a year or two away from being legitimately competitive and it showed last night. To beat a team like Ohio State, you gotta keep your composure. Nebraska lost that composure early and often. They were flat-out dominated.

(5) TEXAS TECH: You know how crazy is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? This is Texas Tech. I thought it was Kliff Kingsbury and his system that really kept the Red Raiders from being competitive with the quick strike air raid offense and the “option” defense. But it is still that and how the highlights showed yesterday the Red Raiders defense is a joke again. They can’t tackle, they get bullied up front, they just look like lost kids out there. The entire program in Lubbock needs an overhaul.

TOP 5 QUESTIONS

People should know the UNC game is similar to the last few years for Clemson football. Relax.

(1) IS CLEMSON REALLY THE TOP DOG IN THE NATION? If you look at their game yesterday against North Carolina, no.. But again, I’m giving them a free pass. Clemson does this EVERY. YEAR. They always scuffle in that first month before ramping it up the rest of the way. However, Trevor Lawrence has to get better. This isn’t the same Trevor Lawrence who carved up Alabama’s defense in the National Championship game last year. But my attitude remains: Clemson is still the top team in the nation until somebody beats them.

(2) WHO IS THE BEST TEAM IN THE SEC RIGHT NOW? It’s a team from Alabama. Just not the one we are thinking of. Auburn’s defense is strong and if they continue to get more consistency from Bo Nix (so far it’s been panning out), the Tigers are going to be the team that can just get after you. With a schedule they have, a 1-loss Auburn team is a lock for the Playoff. And remember, they get Georgia and Alabama at home. Alabama (problems against the run), Georgia (problems against the pass & coaching decisions), LSU (problems against the pass), and Florida (offensive consistencies) all have major things to work on right now. At this point, Auburn doesn’t.

(3) IS THERE ANY TEAM IN THE BIG TEN THAT CAN STOP OHIO STATE? People want to point at Wisconsin and Penn State. Wisconsin was rolling until yesterday against Northwestern where they had issues on offense, but the Badgers defense can do their thing. Iowa has given Ohio State fits too (we still remember the beatdown the Hawkeyes gave Ohio State in 2017 where it was the nail in the Buckeyes playoff chances) and their offense is pretty solid this year. Penn State rolled all over Maryland on Friday so there is hope the Nittany Lions can upend the Buckeyes but that game is in Columbus. But again, it isn’t the Buckeyes offense that has been the most impressive to me. It is their defense. And that is scary.

(4) DOES OKLAHOMA FINALLY HAVE A DEFENSE TO GO UP WITH THEIR STOUT OFFENSE? Yes. Is it great? Probably not but it is far better than the defenses the Sooners had taking with them to the playoff the last couple of years. But aside from their first week win against Houston, the Sooners have allowed less than 20 points in each game. And how often did we see the Sooners and Texas Tech win a game that was like 65-58? So for Oklahoma to take down Texas Tech by holding them to 16 points, this shouldn’t go unnoticed.

(5) WHAT DOES THE PAC-12 NEED TO DO TO GET THEMSELVES BACK IN THE PLAYOFF HUNT? If you’re talking about this year, nothing. I don’t see a one-loss PAC-12 champion get in. In hindsight, Oregon desperately needed that win against Auburn. That would have given them the inside edge and really a major argument for the Ducks being in the playoff. The hope is now for the PAC-12 is that the SEC teams all beat each other into oblivion where the top team still has two losses and you get upsets somewhere from Ohio State, Clemson (probably two losses), and Oklahoma. But again, two losses from every top team would have to be it. I don’t see it. But the issue is, there needs to be some team that dominates the PAC-12 like Oregon did in 2014. We have yet to see that happen.

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The Obstructed College Football Rankings-Week 4

A big week took place in college football with numerous teams having big resume-filling wins. Now, does that mean things changed in the landscape of the college football world in the top ten? Let’s take a look. I was unable to make one last week, but this week we are back in the saddle.

(1) CLEMSON: The Tigers beat Charlotte 52-10 last night. Ho-hum. Right now Clemson has the smoothest sails among anybody in college football. They may see Virginia in the ACC Championship and then that could be their toughest game all season. But the rest, I’d be surprised if there were any issues for the Tigers.

(2) OHIO STATE: The Buckeyes obliterated Miami 76-5. People want to talk about Justin Fields and rightfully so, but it has been the defense who has rolled to this point. The next two weeks are going to be tough with a trip to Nebraska and then a home tilt with Michigan State, which is always a tough battle.

(3) ALABAMA: The Tide rolled all over Southern Miss 49-7. While the run game looked far sharper this weekend, they still have questions if it is consistent (my answer is it can be with Najee carrying the ball) and the defense.

(4) OKLAHOMA: The Sooners had a bye week after beating up UCLA 48-14. And after seeing the fact that the Bruins put up 67 points in Pullman this past weekend, you have to think Oklahoma’s defense feels pretty good right now moving forward. But Texas Tech is coming to town and we know those scores will be basketball-esque.

(5) LSU: While all the talk and love has been for Joe Burrow and the LSU offense, there should be a lot of concerns out in Baton Rouge on the defense. In the next 5 games the Tigers will face Florida, Auburn, and Alabama in that span. Many think it will be a shootout, but I wonder if LSU will have any answers stopping Alabama’s passing game, Auburn’s running game, and if they can put up big points on those defenses.

(6) AUBURN: Auburn had a quality win over Texas A&M in College Station Saturday 28-20. It marked the 4th straight time they won there. Whenever Auburn’s running game is on the spot, that is when they are very lethal. They did nearly everything right Saturday against the Aggies and were well prepared and well-coached.

(7) GEORGIA: Georgia unsurprisingly beat Notre Dame 23-17. From a TALENT STANDPOINT, Georgia should be #1 or #2. They should not be this far down especially after beating Notre Dame. But the guy that will decide whether or not Georgia solves their near 40-year drought is Kirby Smart. He has a quality QB in Jake Fromm but he won’t let Fromm air it out to put games away. He has great runners and an offensive line but can’t let his impact players do their things. He’s too conservative of a guy to honestly beat the teams in front of him right now. And he keeps letting teams get back in the games (see Alabama and Notre Dame last night). They got away with it last night, but with Florida and Auburn still looming, that is a problem. Adding on, Georgia didn’t look fully prepared or well-coached last night either.

(8) FLORIDA: The SEC run continues with the Gators who smacked Tennessee 34-3. Who knows what Kyle Trask can bring to the table for the Florida offense, but he is already a far better option than Feleipe Franks ever was. If the defense gets stronger and the offense keeps making those steps, Florida could legitimately have a shot against Georgia.

(9) WISCONSIN: Throttled Michigan 35-14. The Badgers dominated Michigan in all sides of the ball and continues to play stellar defense while having a quarterback that can make passes. Probably the lone team that can truly challenge Ohio State in the Big Ten is Wisconsin.

(10) NOTRE DAME: Lost to Georgia 23-17. The Irish did prove they can hang with the big boys last night and they came pretty well prepared. They still have some gaping holes to figure out but overall they still could go 11-1 the rest of the way.

NEXT 5: Texas, Virginia, Penn State, California, Michigan State

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The Obstructed NCAA Top 5-Week 4

Another week down and some big games took place. Did we start to identify the contenders to the pretenders? Are we overvaluing some of these early games (like we mostly do) or are some of these games a sign of things to come?

I think we are sensing a lot that 7 teams right now, maybe 8 have a legit shot to be the National Champion. Two teams right now really just look flawless. But as we turn the page to mostly in-conference games, time will tell if anything will be what they seem.

TOP 5 WINNERS

Wisconsin had no issues with Michigan Saturday

(1) WISCONSIN: The Badgers dominated a Michigan team that has major issue right now on really both sides of the ball. Is Michigan overrated? Yes. But to dominate Michigan like they did and now have a quarterback in the process, I applaud the Badgers for a job well done. Of course, time will tell if or when they play Ohio State.

(2) AUBURN: I very nice, decisive win on the road at Texas A&M. Whenever the Tigers have those magical seasons, it is when they run the ball effectively. They did that Saturday to a T and gave Kellen Mond fits. And it shows that when the pressure is on Gus Malzahn, he can deliver. And just some food for thought: assuming if Auburn can go to Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge and win (and in Gainesville), they would probably be #1 in the Playoff committee polls to begin with given their big wins already.

(3) CALIFORNIA: For the PAC-12’s sake Golden Bears: DO. NOT. LOSE. ANY. GAME! The losses for Utah, Arizona State, and Washington State means Cal is the last undefeated. And of course it means, the PAC-12 is likely going ot miss the Playoff for the third straight year and the fourth time in five years. Nice win against an SEC school against Ole Miss. But I don’t know if they could handle the top dogs in the Nation. But they can play some defense.

(4) FLORIDA: Yeah, beating Tennessee doesn’t say much, but given how the Gators played and dominated the Vols and actually have a quarterback in Trask who knows what he is doing back in the pocket, it really does add a dimension to the team they haven’t seen in a very long time. All of a sudden that Georgia game on November 2 looms large.

(5) THE SEC, ACC, BIG TEN, AND BIG 12: Largely because it means the PAC-12 is no longer in the running (sorry Cal) and Notre Dame took the L at Georgia last night means if the conference champions can hold serve, there will be one representative in there come December/January.

Honorable Mention: Georgia (I’ll explain why they didn’t fall into my top 5 later)

TOP 5 LOSERS:

Cougars showed they PAC-12’ed the game last night

(1) WASHINGTON STATE: How how how??????? You were up 32 in the second half to a team who hadn’t won a game all year-at home! Everything I said about Mike Leach over the years of being a coach who does the Air Raid but also could adapt to the times of running/playing defense went out the window last night. You don’t do things like that and expect to be an actual contender to…anything.

(2) MICHIGAN: You think the bye week would give the Wolverines some time to improve the anemic offense. And, nope. And now the defense has some things to figure out. And Jim Harbaugh is really under fire for the mess that took place in Madison. They were poorly prepared, poorly coached, and they played poorly. Not the hope that Michigan fans had in year 5 of the Harbaugh era.

(3) UCF: The 29-game regular season winning streak is over for the Knights. And they couldn’t have done it in a worse way. Blowing a lead against a team that isn’t as strong as you are and showing some holes on the defense that still plagued this team even when they were winning is a major problem. Props to Pitt but how UCF blew that game, well, I think we can go chill about the Knights crashing any Playoff.

(4) TEXAS A&M: The Aggies flatlined at home to Auburn and probably played worse than they did at Clemson. I got the schedule wasn’t going to be a fun one for the Aggies, but having a home game to Auburn was a needed W. And they failed. They also haven’t won a game to the Tigers at College Station since joining the SEC. Jimbo Fisher is only in year #2 but so far this year’s results haven’t been too impressive for Aggies fans.

(5) NOTRE DAME: Only reason why I’m putting them here is because they did take an actual L. So when December rolls around and the Irish are 11-1, do we do the same thing for them as we did for Georgia when they played Alabama in the SEC Championship and think they “won by losing?” They lost. Simple as that.

DISHONORABLE MENTIONS: Utah, Arizona State, BYU, North Carolina

TOP 5 QUESTIONS

Georgia won a tough game against Notre Dame, but a lot of mistakes were made by the head coach.

(1) YOU DIDN’T PUT GEORGIA AS ONE OF THE TOP 5 WINNERS. WHY? To be fair, I think Notre Dame showed they weren’t as weak as people (especially in Georgia) made them out to be. Of course we will hear what I’m calling the “Tyler Simmons Excuse” (“onsides vs. Bama” and now “muffed punt/dropped TD catch vs. Notre Dame”) but Simmons was NOT the reason why that game was closer than what many thought. Kirby Smart had a poorly prepared gameplan and it showed in the first half. Then he started to get aggressive in the second half and let Jake Fromm air it out a little bit only to dial it back time after time. It is the same problem that haunted the Bulldogs against Alabama the last two years and it nearly bit them with Notre Dame. He can’t do that with Auburn and Florida in November. He has to decide whether he wants to be more aggressive on offense or stay conservative. Right now if Georgia ends up failing to get to the National Championship OR the Playoff, it is on him. He still hasn’t adapted to the times.

(2) DOES THE ACC NOT HAVING ANY QUALITY TEAM (SAVE MAYBE FOR VIRGINIA) HURT CLEMSON’S CHANCES AT A REPEAT? I don’t think so. We know they will likely run the table until the Playoff which will put them at a 28-game winning streak. They should be all right and I think what helps them out is they take every game like it’s the big game of their schedule. Now the question will be how will they respond to a team in the Playoff if they throw the first punch on the Tigers? But honestly, they are good enough to beat any team.

(3) IS OHIO STATE AT LEAST THE SECOND BEST TEAM IN THE NATION? It looks that way, but again, who have they played? Cincinnati was an impressive win obviously and really it’s the defense. My biggest concern is they are trying to showcase Justin Fields way too much. I don’t get why but if something happens to Fields, it may not bode well. But what I’m more impressed with has been the Buckeyes defense. They have dominated since the Florida Atlantic game. But given how LSU and Alabama have gone to being offensive minded schools now, you have to say they may be better than those teams and Georgia.

(4) WILL JIM HARBAUGH BE FIRED AFTER THE SEASON AT MICHIGAN? Depends on the record. A 9-3 or an 8-4 season probably doesn’t. Anything less will. And all of a sudden those games with Michigan State, Maryland, Ohio State, and Penn State loom way larger now as does Notre Dame. But the question would be “who would take over?” As much grief and flak (and possibly rightfully so) as Harbaugh gets, who would be the guy to replace him? Do you try to find any way for Bob Stoops to listen? Do you bring in Charlie Strong, Josh Heupel, Butch Jones, Lane Kiffin, Bill Clark? Aside from Stoops, none of those sound all that exciting for a Michigan fan. So here’s the thing: Harbaugh may stay at Michigan largely because there is nothing out there and Michigan would want a home run hire

(5) ASSUMING CALIFORNIA LOSES, IS THERE ANY ONE-LOSS PAC-12 TEAM THAT COULD SNEAK IN THE PLAYOFF? Right now Oregon is probably the lone team that could take one loss as it was to Auburn. The rest at this point have played themselves out. Washington with a very far outside chance.

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The Obstructed NCAA Top 5-Week 3

This week in college football started out like nothing really going on. No games between two top 25 opponents. But we had some interesting games and games that at least the top 10 were doing everything they can to flex their muscle. So let’s begin.

TOP 5 WINNERS

Clemson had little problems against a team that’s given them big problems

(1) CLEMSON: I don’t want to hear anything about Trevor Lawrence’s issues. He will be fine come November/December. Plus, how often do we see Clemson “scuffle” in the first half of the season only to go on a massive tear the rest of the way? The defense looks as good as it did last year even with replacing the entire defensive line and the team still remains hungry. And Lawrence WILL get better. Adding on, thumping a team gives you nightmares the last few years is a big thing. Nice win, and a win that Clemson showed their defense is atop of their game.

(2) WASHINGTON STATE: A road trip to Houston and against a team that was really going after them is still impressive. The Cougars still remain a slim chance at a Playoff, but they still have a shot. Already sad to think we are talking about Playoff hopes for the PAC-12 in Week 3 though, but the Cougars still have to be considered a favorite in the North.

(3) OHIO STATE: If you’re a team going against Ohio State, what is worrisome isn’t the Buckeyes offense, but the defense. Ohio State’s defense has dominated for the first part of the season. Yes, not a lot of competition either, but doing it to a team that fought with the Buckeyes last year in Columbus is a major bonus. This will be a huge step moving forward for the Buckeyes.

(4) VIRGINIA: It’s not like they were overly impressive with their win against Florida State, but the Cavaliers are in the driver’s seat in the ACC Coastal already. North Carolina showed they have some growing pains to go through, Georgia Tech is bad, Duke has issues, Miami has yet to beat a quality opponent, Cavs hold a W over Pitt, and Virginia Tech is not impressive at all. All the Cavaliers need to do is hold serve and be in Charlotte in December.

(5) ARIZONA STATE: The Sun Devils are off to another good start under Herm Edwards. What’s odd is that Arizona State isn’t winning it by offense but by defense. They did a great job stopping Michigan State (though Michigan State continued to have self-inflicted wounds too). They remain as one of the two undefeated teams in the PAC-12 South. The offense does need to generate some points however. Odd to say that too, but at least Herm is giving hope for Sun Devil fans, something that went missing under Todd Graham in his final years there.

TOP 5 LOSERS

Maryland quarterback Josh Jackson (17) sits on the field after an incompletion on third down during the second half of an NCAA college football against Temple, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, in Philadelphia. Temple won 20-17. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola) ORG XMIT: PACS118

(1) MARYLAND: And with that…..the Terps bandwagon has emptied. After scoring 142 points in their first two games including to Syracuse, Maryland could only muster 15 points on offense (+2 by safety) and had some questionable play-calls. Mike Locksley probably failed to prevent Maryland from drinking their rat poison. That said, they are a young team AND they will have their own growing pains a la North Carolina. An upset of a team is still possible in the cards for the Terps.

(2) MICHIGAN STATE: New year, same mess. Michigan State’s offense went AWOL again despite an impressive performance by the defense, where many think it is the tops in the nation. It doesn’t matter however if there is no offense to go with it a la 2012 when Michigan State had the same issues. Adding on, Mark Dantonio is starting to get roasted by Spartans fans for his inability to make coaching moves on that side of the ball. They have a great shot at winning some games they shouldn’t with their defense, but it gets nullified by that display called an offense.

(3) USC: Not like it was an unexpected loss, but the Trojans still had more talent than BYU and just really got outplayed in Provo. USC is still a threat in the PAC-12 but a threat to get into the Playoff? No way.

(4) STANFORD: For some reason this blowout loss to UCF just feels like the days of Stanford being super competitive are gone. They just don’t have that feel like they will make you work for 4 quarters anymore. Time will tell as it is early, but not liking on what I’m seeing from the Cardinal.

(5) MISSISSIPPI STATE: I don’t think many had the Bulldogs to be a super competitive squad but strong enough to to get in the faces of teams in the SEC West and they have historically given Alabama fits in recent memory. But a loss to a Kansas State team in the land of the Cowbell is not good. Granted we don’t know what team Kansas State is going to be in 2019 as the schedule wasn’t too strong to start with, but the Bulldogs still have more talent compared to Kansas State, or so we think.

TOP 5 QUESTIONS:

GAINESVILLE, FL – OCTOBER 06: Tim Tebow is inducted into the Ring of Honor during the game between the Florida Gators and the LSU Tigersat Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 6, 2018 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

(1) TIM TEBOW IS GETTING ROASTED FOR HIS COMMENTS ABOUT COLLEGE PLAYERS GETTING PAID. IS HE RIGHT OR RIGHTFULLY DESERVED TO GET ROASTED? Rightfully deserved. Tebow was a well-to-do guy in college where his parents had money. He also was treated like a god down in Gainesville when he was a Gator. He didn’t need to do anything. He didn’t have an issue. But he’s not a large portion of athletes either. My take is that maybe give these kids “bonds” or something of that sort and figure out how much to give them pending on what they are bringing in for the schools. I mean colleges are making money off these kids. It’s simple as that. But Tebow to say that is selfish in his own right. Just my take.

(2) IT FEELS LIKE THERE IS A VIBE OF 6, MAYBE 7 TEAMS THAT HAVE A REAL SHOT FOR THE PLAYOFF (LOOK AT THE TOP 7). WILL THERE BE A TEAM THAT COULD SHAKE IT ALL UP? Yep. Auburn if the quarterback play is consistent enough. Of course they are #8 but get Alabama, Georgia, and LSU this year (first two teams at home). But outside of Auburn, I don’t think so. Florida has too many issues as does Michigan for right now. And I’m always going to be in the “I’ll believe it when I see it” category with Wisconsin.

(3) COULD MARK DANTONIO BE ON THE HOT SEAT AT MICHIGAN STATE? I don’t think so just yet. He’s earned a lot of frequent flyer miles since he arrived at East Lansing in 2007 including a few Big Ten Championships (where it had been Ohio State and Wisconsin dominating that landscape forever), a Rose Bowl win, a Cotton Bowl win, and a Playoff. However, since the Playoff berth Michigan State has only been 22-19 and the last few years the Spartans have been the butt of jokes with their offense. He really hasn’t changed the offensive mentality in the last couple of years and how the Spartans loss really infuriated the Sparty crew. IF Michigan State doesn’t figure out to get that offense going he may end up in the hot seat by the end of the year just as much as Jim Harbaugh is if Harbaugh can’t beat Ohio State.

(4) WILL THERE BE ANY TEAM TO SERIOUSLY GIVE CLEMSON A RUN IN THE ACC? Nope. The only team who could try to stand up to the Tigers may be of all teams North Carolina. But even then, I would expect a 3-TD W at the least and that game is in Chapel Hill. So I don’t see anybody really scaring Clemson from their winning streak. If they see Virginia in the ACC Championship, it may be interesting, but until then, the Tigers are going 12-0 this year.

(5) WHAT WOULD BE THE WEAKNESSES OF THE TOP 8 (MAY AS WELL INCLUDE AUBURN) MOVING FORWARD? Clemson (?-currently people are pointing to Lawrence), Alabama (defensive line is getting pushed around right now), Georgia (coaching decisions), Ohio State (?-Fields has done great but when the competition spikes, how will he respond?), LSU (DBU ), Oklahoma (defense), Notre Dame (size), Auburn (streaky QB play)

-Fan in the Obstructed Seat

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The Obstructed NCAA Power Rankings: Week 2

Honestly, it is way too early to do power rankings. As I said before, we can have awesome teams to start in September (Texas A&M 2014 anybody?) only to be useless by late October. And Clemson always seems to be sluggish to begin the year. It’s really where you are at in the end. Now my Rankings I am even taking with a grain of salt. It’s still too early but…..why not?

(1) CLEMSON: Clemson may have made out like a bandit this week, handling Texas A&M with relative ease and seeing Syracuse get obliterated by Maryland before their tilt. But the Tigers two near mistakes last year were to the Aggies and the Orange. They were zeroed in on Texas A&M and won. Now they will focus their attention to really go after Syracuse. Until the champs can be beat, they may remain atop of my standings for a while.

(2) ALABAMA: Alabama’s offense is well, sick. They just dominated every aspect of the game and the biggest concern is that they are more passing-oriented than they ever have been. But then again, this is the best WR crew the Tide have ever put out in Tuscaloosa. Defense wasn’t really challenged again. Next week is a trip to South Carolina where the last time Alabama played there, they lost. But that was nearly 10 years ago.

(3) LSU: LSU’s offense is ROLLING. You cannot be unimpressed with how the Tigers offense has clicked. Now, the secondary did get shredded up a bit with Texas but still, the defense went after Ehlinger time after time so you have to be impressed with that as well. So that Alabama game instead of being a 17-13 game or one of those smash-mouth may take more of a game you might familiarize with a Big 12 game.

(4) OHIO STATE: You have to be impressed with how Ohio State dominated Cincinnati, especially on the defensive side. Justin Fields did much better this week and is really solidifying his position of the guy running the show in Columbus.

(5) OKLAHOMA: Much ado remains about the Sooners defense and if they are up to snuff and so far the jury is still out on that one (let’s face it, Houston can put up points), but they have an offense that may be (gasp) BETTER than last year with Murray and even the year before with Mayfield. And Jalen Hurts looks NOTHING like he did at Alabama. He has a bit of a swag to him that wasn’t really seen with the Tide.

(6) GEORGIA: Don’t for those who are my Georgia Bulldog friends. The Bulldogs have the same amount of talent as the five teams ahead of them. But Georgia while still dominating has been playing very sloppy. It may be nothing when the Bulldogs are playing Vanderbilt and Murray State, but the minute they see the talent level on the other side spike, those issues cannot happen.

(7) MARYLAND: The Terps make a huge jump for how they rolled against Syracuse. Yes, probably too high and I’m overrating them, but they just look like a team that has been zeroed in and focused, like Mike Locksley has been. Road game at Temple shouldn’t be an issue but a late September Friday game against Penn State is going to be the first big test.

(8) NOTRE DAME: The Irish have a bye after their somewhat “not so impressive” win against Louisville. They get a “tune-up” against New Mexico before a huge tilt against Georgia in Athens in 2 weeks.

(9) AUBURN: They did a great comeback win against Oregon in Week 1. But they really did struggle against Tulane on offense. If Bo Nix is going to struggle like he did this, make it early in the season. Auburn does have a tendency to play to other teams levels as well. They’ll probably be fine once Georgia and Alabama come to the Plains in November

(10) WISCONSIN: Well, so far, they are showing they can do a lot on offense AND defense. But again, what is the trend for the Badgers when they are good? “Who have you beaten?????” But so far, they have never looked THIS sharp in a long time.

NEXT 5: Texas, USC, Utah, Penn State, Florida

-Fan in the Obstructed Seat

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