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
(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
(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
(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)
(2) OHIO STATE
NEXT TWO IN: (5) PENN STATE (6) FLORIDA
-Fan in the Obstructed Seat