The Weekend: SEC and Big Ten control Top Four; Barrett Balls Out; PLAYOFF?
It's finally here. The college Football Playoff rankings. From here on out, each game for the teams within top-ten will be in elimination type games. A loss for any of them could potentially and will most likely end their National title hopes. And of course the Weekend before the first set of rankings were released, we had drama.
1. Alabama (59 first-place votes)
2. Georgia (2)
3. Ohio State
5. Notre Dame
7. Penn State
11. Oklahoma State
13. Virginia Tech
14. Iowa State
20. NC State
21. Mississippi State
24. Michigan State
25. Washington State
Kendall's Fan-i 25
- Alabama (8-0) BYE
- Georgia (8-0) W 42-7 v. Florida
- Wisconsin (8-0) W 24-10 @ Illinois
- Ohio State (7-1) W 39-38 v. #2 Penn State
- Miami (7-0) W 24-19 @ North Carolina
- Penn State (7-1) L 38-39 @ #7 Ohio State
- Clemson (7-1) W 24-10 v. Georgia Tech
- Oklahoma (7-1) W 49-10 v. Texas Tech
- Notre Dame (7-1) W 35-14 v. #12 NC-State
- Oklahoma State (7-1) W 50-39 @ #23 West Virginia
- Virginia Tech (7-1) W 24-3 v. Duke
- UCF (7-0) W 73-33 v. Austin Peay
- Washington (7-1) W 44-23 v. UCLA
- TCU (7-1) L 7-14 @ Iowa State
- Iowa State (6-2) W 14-7 v. #4 TCU
- Auburn (6-2) BYE
- NC State (6-2) L 14-35 @ #10 Notre Dame
- Memphis (7-1) W 56-26 v. Tulane
- USC (7-2) W 48-17 @ Arizona State
- Michigan State (6-2) L 31-39 OT @ Northwestern
- LSU (6-2) BYE
- USF (7-1) L 24-28 v. Houston
- Stanford (6-2) W 15-14 @ Oregon State
- Arizona (6-2) W 58-37 v. #18 Washington State
- Michigan (6-2) W 35-14 v. Rutgers
Michael's Fan-i 25
1. Alabama(59) 8-0, BYE
2. Georgia(2) 8-0, W 42-7 v. Florida
3. Notre Dame 7-1, W 35-14 v. #12 NC-State
4. Wisconsin 8-0, W 24-10 @ Illinois
5. Ohio State 7-1, W 39-38 v. #2 Penn State
6. Clemson 7-1, W 24-10 v. Georgia Tech
7. Penn State 7-1, L 38-39 @ #7 Ohio State
8. Oklahoma 7-1, W 49-10 v. Texas Tech
9. Miami 7-0, W 24-19 @ North Carolina
10. TCU 7-1, L 7-14 @ Iowa State
11. Oklahoma State 7-1, W 50-39 @ #23 West Virginia
12. Washington 7-1, W 44-23 v. UCLA
13. UCF 7-0, W 73-33 v. Austin Peay
14. Virginia Tech 7-1, W 24-3 v. Duke
15. Iowa State 6-2, W 14-7 v. #4 TCU
16. Auburn 6-2, BYE
17. Michigan 6-2, W 35-14 v. Rutgers
18. USC 7-2, W 48-17 @ Arizona State
19. Stanford 6-2, W 15-14 @ Oregon State
20. LSU 6-2, BYE
21. NC State 6-2, L 14-35 @ #10 Notre Dame
22. Mississippi State 6-2, W 35-14 @ Texas A&M
23. Memphis 7-1, W 56-26 v. Tulane
24. Arizona 6-2, W 58-37 v. #18 Washington State
25. Michigan State 6-2, L 31-39 OT @ Northwestern
Alabama is still number 1! The Crimson Tide unleashed another beatdown to a lesser opponent two weeks ago. This time it was Tennessee who was fodder for the monster that is the Alabama Crimson Tide as they dominated for a 45-7 win. Jalen Hurts was okay from a passing perspective, as he was 13/21 with 198 passing yards and a passing touchdown. Damien Harris had 13 carries for 72 yards and 1 rushing touchdown. Overall, it was pretty pedestrian nights for those two statically because they both are usually much better. However, considering that the backups got a lot of time to play and the result was still so lopsided, those two get a pass. With that being said, Alabama do have some things to worry about.
Now Tennessee is not a scrub at all, but they are not a ranked-level opponent and Alabama has been facing a lot of lackluster competition this year. Add in that Bo Scarbrough has taken a massive step-back this year and DB Deionte Thompson was recently indicted on aggravated assault charges and suddenly Coach Saban may have to worry about his team from a compliancy standpoint. While the Tide will cross that compliance bridge when they get there, the playoff are just around the corner. LSU is their opponent next week so they will get a relatively tough test for the first time in a while.
imilar to Alabama, the Georgia Bulldgos got a nice ‘tune up’ matchup against the Florida Gators. The Gators are not bad by any stretch of the imagination, however, they did lose two straight heading into this matchup. In other words, Georgia caught them at the right time, but it didn't matter when they caught them, this result was inevitable. What is interesting about this game is that Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm only threw 7 times.
This is an absolute testament to the Bulldogs running game as everyone and their mothers knew who was going to get the ball and that was the backs. Yet! Yet, the duo of Sony Michel and Nick Chubb still stomped a mudhole all over the Gators defense. What is also interesting is if we will see whether or not more first place votes go Georgia’s way.
Why the AP Rankings have Ohio State above Wisconsin is beyond me. Now granted Wisconsin’s schedule looks a little soft as their toughest matchup to date was Maryland, however, the team is beating everyone in front of them. This is something that USC, Michigan, Oklahoma and even Ohio State cannot say that they have done. Thus, everyone is asking ‘Why are they ranked a little low’? Well because of this week.
This week, Wisconsin faced Illinois and did little to instill confidence in the ranking committee. While Wisconsin beat Illinois 24-10, the team did not look dominate. Particularly on offense as Alex Hornibrook threw for only 135 yards against an inferior opponent. Now teams like Michigan are chomping at the bit that they can be the ones to hand Wisconsin their first loss rather than Wisconsin putting fear into those teams’ hearts.
You have to hand it to Ohio State. There was a time this season when even the most ardent Buckeyes’ supporter was a little down on their team but the Ohio State Buckeyes just kept winning and eventually it paid off. The Buckeyes went into Ohio Stadium and defended home field, knocking off the Penn State Nittany Lions. J.T. Barrett had the game of his life as he passed for 328 yards and 4 touchdowns. No touchdown was more important than the one he tossed to Marcus Baugh for a 16 yard game-winner with 1 minute and 49 seconds left. Barrett also led the team in rushing with 95 yards.
Much to Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield’s chagrin, Ohio State now owns a spot in the top four and with that almost certainly means a playoff spot. Now as much as it sour grapes from Baker Mayfield, he may have a point. The only reason why the Buckeyes had to work so hard to get a top 4 ranking in the first place was because Oklahoma convincingly beat them in week 2. Those rankings are subjective and bipolar and it also has been.
Player of the Weekend
J.T. Barrett, QB Ohio State - 33/39 328 yards 4 Touchdowns, 95 rushing yards v. #2 Penn State
Ronald Jones, RB USC - 18 carries 216 yards 2 TDs v. Arizona State .
Khalil Tate, QB Arizona - 421 total yards, 3 TDs
What is up with the Rankings
Now I understand that because teams make their own schedules, it is hard for both the coaches and the AP to make rankings without upset fans. I also understand that the rankings are never perfect. With that being said, there are so many inconsistencies. For example, look at Notre Dame’s situation. Notre Dame’s only loss was to number #2 Georgia and the Fighting Irish only lost by one. Yet, the Fighting Irish are in 5th in the AP poll and 7th in the coaches poll. Yet, Notre Dame has to swallow that Wisconsin and Ohio State are ahead of them. Other possible inconsistencies include: the Wolverines not being on the AP list, Miami being ranked so low, UCF being ranked so low, TCU dropping 6 spots in the AP and 8 sports in the coaches after one loss despite beating 2 ranked opponents this year, and Oklahoma being ranking lower than Ohio State.
Now Michael Asiffo has not been saying that Saquon Barkley is bad but he does not think he is good either and believes this was on display in Penn State’s 39-38 defeat to Ohio State. On one hand, Barkley rushed for only 44 yards on 21 carries and most of that was from one 36 yard run. On the other hand, he did have a 97 yard touchdown return and was a very good receiving option from the backfield with 23 yards on 4 catches. Thus the question is posed to you, did Saquon Barkley have a bad game. Right now, Barkley is number one on the ESPN experts’ Heisman poll, however the quarterback that beat Barkley’s team, J.T. Barrett is 8th. Not only that but J.T. Barrett is also 4th in SBNation’s Heismen Watch as well. I do understand the apprehensiveness of putting Barrett high, however, I was expecting more people to be swayed by his Saturday performance.
- Saquon Barkley, RB Penn State - Barkley opened up the Ohio State game with a 97-yard kickoff return, and scored another touchdown later on in the 1st half. As long as he keep his touchdown streak a live, the trophy is for the taken.
- Baker Mayfield, QB Oklahoma - Mayfield's consistency is making this race a lot closer than what it really is.
- Lamar Jackson, QB Louisville - Jackson and the Cardinals had a bye week but no one played big enough to leap frog the defending champ. He still has some ground to cover.
- Mason Rudolph, QB Oklahoma State - Rudoldph leaped frogged Bryce Love, due to Love's current injury. He didn't have big numbers this past weekend but the Cowboys got the victory, which is just as important.
- Bryce Love, RB Stanford - Love is currently a game-time decision for next weekend matchup against Washington State. Another missed game could knock him out of the top five.
I really do feel for Florida State. A hurricane, a tough opponent out of the gate, and the dreaded “I” word (injuries) haunted them early on this season. However, they have been all kinds of bad this year, their most recent loss being a 35-3 drubbing to Boston College. The Seminoles had such high hopes for themselves this year and have basically fallen into 2016 Notre Dame territory. In other words, they thought they were good but they are not.
Games to Watch
#7 Penn State @ #24 Michigan State, Noon- This can either be a rebound game for the Nittany Lions or a storm the field game for SpartyLand. Will Tom Izzo be in the building?
#3 Ohio State @ Iowa, 3:30pm - I circled this game in the beginning of the season as a potential trap game for the Buckeyes and after a big win like that, the trap is still possible.
#6 Clemson @ #20 NC State, 3:30pm - Clemson needs a statement win in order to get some points from the playoff committee. Right now I would say they are possibly trending down in the playoff market.
#14 Iowa State @ West Virginia, 3:30pm - Not much playoff implications on this game but it will be interesting to see how Iowa State handles being the hunted instead of the hunter.
#18 Stanford @ #25 Washington State, 3:30pm - If you're a fan of Pac-12 Football, then this will be a good one.
#8 Oklahoma @ #11 Oklahoma, 4pm - A rivalry game with strong playoff implications. Winner lives for another week, losers plays the rest of the season for pride.
Texas @ #10 TCU, 7:15pm - Vegas is picking TCU as seven point favorite. We say pick the Longhorns to cover the spread and beat the Horned Frogs.
#19 LSU @ #1 Alabama, 8pm - Can somebody give Bama a challenge?
#13 Virginia Tech @ #9 Miami - This has the makings of a classic Big East football battle. Both teams in dire need of a signature win so expect a fight to the finish.
#23 Arizona @ #19 USC, 10:30pm -This will be Khalil Hill's first test against a major program like USC. If he can continue his hotstreak against the Trojans, put him in the Heisman race.