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
(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.
(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:
(2) OHIO STATE
NEXT TWO IN: OREGON, UTAH
-Fan in the Obstructed Seat