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
(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
(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
(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):
(3) OHIO STATE
Next Two In:
(5) PENN STATE
-Fan in the Obstructed Seat