The Weekend: Fighting Irish Crack top ten; Nittany Lions roar over Big Blue
This Weekend was fairly quiet compared to last week, but it was still The Weekend. This upcoming weekend will set the table for the first set of playoff rankings which drop next Tuesday, so let's get into it.
1. Alabama (61 first-place votes)
2. Penn State
6. Ohio State
9. Notre Dame
11. Oklahoma State
13. Virginia Tech
14. NC State
15. Washington State
16. Michigan State
17. South Florida
22. West Virginia
25. Iowa State
Kendall's Fan-i 25
- Alabama (8-0) W 45-7 v. Tennessee
- Penn State (7-0) W 42-13 v. #14 Michigan
- Georgia (7-0) BYE
- TCU (8-0) W 43-0 v. Kansas
- Miami (6-0) W 27-19 v. Syracuse
- Wisconsin (8-0) W 38-13 v. Maryland
- Ohio State (6-1) BYE
- Oklahoma (6-1) W 42-35 @ Kansas State
- Clemson (6-1) BYE
- Notre Dame (6-1) W 49-14 v. #9 USC
- Oklahoma State (6-1) W 13-10 @ Texas
- NC-State (6-1) BYE
- South Florida (7-0) W 34-28 @ Tulane
- Virginia Tech (6-1) W 59-7 v. North Carolina
- UCF (6-0) W 31-21 @ Navy
- Washington (6-1) BYE
- Michigan State (6-1) W 17-9 v. Indiana
- Washington State (7-1) W 28-0 Colorado
- Auburn (6-2) W 62-20 @ Arkansas
- USC (6-2) L 14-42 @ #15 Notre Dame
- Memphis (6-1) W 42-28 @ Houston
- LSU (6-2) W 40-24 @ Ole Miss
- West Virginia (5-2) W 38-36 @ Baylor
- Stanford (5-2) BYE
- Michigan (5-2) L 13-42 @ #2 Penn State
110,000+ packed inside of Beaver Stadium to see the big matchup between the Nittany Lions and Michigan Wolverines. The home crowd gave a huge advantage to the #2 team in the country, helped Saquon Barkley and company pass their first test of a three-game stretch that includes Ohio State and Michigan State. All season everyone looked at these three games as the barometer to gauge Penn State. Knocking off Michigan at home was the first indication that they are a real contender for the national championship. Can they keep it going?
For Michigan, this is another loss in what has been a disappointing season for Big Blue. When Jim Harbaugh, expectations were set high, and so far, they haven't been met. This will be another season Big Blue will not be in the College Football playoffs and theres a strong possibility they will miss the conference championship game. Only one thing could salvage the season at this point: Beat Ohio State.
The Fighting Irish have crept their way into the top-ten. A big win against their rival USC plays a major part but you also have to factor in their loss to UGA. In college football, your losses are just as important as your wins. Georgia current run makes Notre Dame's 20-19 loss to them in week two, a little bit more legitimate. Notre Dame could easily be in the spot Georgia is currently in. I personally don't think neither team's season would play out the same if ND did win that game but that's another topic. All that matters is the Irish have three more ranked opponents on their schedule, #14 NC-State, @ #8 Miami, and @ #20 Stanford. If they are able to finish the season with only one loss, a playoff spot should be their for the taken.
USC's disappointing loss takes the Pac-12 out of the top ten and possibly completely out of the playoffs. USC was the Pac-12 last hope to have a team in the College Football Playoffs but it looks like they will be left out completely. For the Trojans, they are in the same boat as the Wolverines; another underachieving season. They entered the year with National Championship hopes, and could finish outside of the AP Polls.
The Hurricanes are still in the top-ten, and as you can see, I think they should be higher. The Hurricanes last three victories were all decided by one possession. Head coach, Mark Richt, doesn't want to get to excited about the program's new found glory, needing to see his squad impose their will on other teams and not just win games. For now, they can enjoy being in the thick of the playoff conversation one week before the official rankings are released.
The SEC could be the first conference to have two schools in the four-team college football playoffs. Even if Georgia or Bama lose in the SEC championship, where they could possibly meet, the experts are saying both are still good enough to get voted in. Bama doesn't look like they will have any hiccups before the SEC championship and Georgia has only one ranked opponent to worry about in Auburn. It will be interesting to see which conference will be left out if in fact the SEC does sneak two teams in.
Player of the Weekend
Josh Adams, RB Notre Dame - 19 carries, 191 yards, 3 TDs v. USC
- Drew Lock, QB Mizzou - 23/33 467 Yards 6 TDs 1 INT
- Darrin Hall, RB Pitt - 24 carries 254 yards 3 TDs
- Darius Guice, RB LSU - 22 carries 276 yards 1 TD
The University of Virginia hired Carla Williams to be their new Athletic Director, the first Power Five school to hire a black woman for the position. Williams was Georgia's Deputy Athletic Director, handling all administrative task for the football and women's basketball team. She was an All-SEC guard for the Lady Bulldogs during 1985-89.
- Saquon Barkley, RB Penn State - Barkley leads the country in all-purpose yards per game and exciting plays. Barkley has the most Heisman moments so far this season, the reason why he is the top candidate for the stiff-arm trophy.
- Baker Mayfield, QB Baker Mayfield - Mayfield leads the country in quarterback rating, currently sitting at 200. Mayfield and the Sooners are still in the thick of the playoff conversation and another big game from the passionate signal caller could propel him to the top of the list.
- Lamar Jackson, QB Louisville - If it wasn't for Louisville's record, Jackson would be the top Heisman candidate. In his last four games, Jackson has totals of 334 yards, 512 yards, 427 yards, and 349 total yards.
- Bryce Love, RB Stanford - Love leads the country in rushing and has four games with 180+ yards rushing.
- Mason Rudolph, QB Oklahoma State - Rudolph leads the country in passing yards but doesn't have the signature moments that make a Heisman winner. He has some games where he can create some.
Games to watch
#11 Oklahoma State @ #22 West Virginia 12pm - WVU almost gave up a loss to the winless Baylor Bears. They have a chance to redeem themselves against the Cowboys and possibly end their playoff hopes.
#2 Penn State @ #6 Ohio State 3:30pm- A Big Ten Playoff game for these two. A loss for Penn State won't be as detrimental compared to the Buckeyes, who are already on the brink of elimination.
#3 Georgia v. Florida 3:30pm - The biggest Cocktail Party of them all will have some playoff implication, only for the Bulldogs. For Florida, they'll look to play spoiler. This has trap game written all over it.
#4 TCU @ #25 Iowa State 3:30pm - The Cyclones are ranked for the first time since 2005. They already have knocked off a top-four team earlier this year. Will TCU be the second?
#14 NC-State @ #9 Notre Dame 3:30pm - The road doesn't get easier for the fighting Irish. A big game for both teams and heavy playoff implications.