The Weekend: Four top-ten teams take L's; New Top Five
Four teams in the AP Top Ten suffered losses this weekend, two teams within the state of Washington. With only two weeks before the first set of College Football Playoff rankings, victories are becoming more valuable and losses are turning into season-enders. Let's check out all the action for an eventful weekend.
1. Alabama (61 first-place votes)
2. Penn State
6. Ohio State
10. Oklahoma State
13. Notre Dame
14. Virginia Tech
15. Washington State
16. NC State
18. Michigan State
23. West Virginia
Michael's Fan-i 25
1. Alabama(61) (7-0) W 41-9 v. Arkansas
2. Penn State (6-0) BYE
3. Georgia (7-0) W 53-28 v. Mizzou
4. TCU (6-0) W 26-6 @ Kansas State
5. Wisconsin (6-0) W 17-9 v. Purdue
6. Miami (5-0) W 25-24 v. Georgia Tech
7. Clemson (6-1) L 24-27 @ Syracuse
8. Ohio State (6-1) W 56-14 @ Nebraska
9. Oklahoma (5-1) W 29-24 v. Texas*
10. USC (6-1) W 28-27 v. Utah
11. Oklahoma State (5-1) W 59-16 v. Baylor
12. Michigan (5-1) W 27-20 @ Indiana
13. Washington (6-1) L 7-13 @ Arizona State
14. Notre Dame (5-1) BYE
15. Virginia Tech (5-1) BYE
16. Washington State (6-1) L 3-37 @ CAL
17. NC State (6-1) W 35-17 @ Pitt
18. Michigan State (5-1) W 30-27 @ Minnesota
19. South Florida (6-0) W 33-0 v. Cincinnati
20. UCF (5-0) W 63-21 v. East Carolina
21. Auburn (5-2) L 23-27 @ LSU
22. Stanford (5-2) W 49-7 v. Oregon
23. West Virginia (4-2) W 46-35 v. #24 Texas Tech
24. LSU (5-2) W 27-23 v #10 Auburn
25. Memphis (5-1) W 30-27 #25 Navy
Kendall's Fan-i 25
- Alabama(61) (7-0) W 41-9 v. Arkansas
- Penn State (6-0) BYE
- Georgia (7-0) W 53-28 v. Mizzou
- TCU (6-0) W 26-6 @ Kansas State
- Miami (5-0) W 25-24 v. Georgia Tech
- Wisconsin (6-0) W 17-9 v. Purdue
- Ohio State (6-1) W 56-14 @ Nebraska
- Oklahoma (5-1) W 29-24 v. Texas*
- USC (6-1) W 28-27 v. Utah
- Clemson (6-1) L 24-27 @ Syracuse
- Oklahoma State (5-1) W 59-16 v. Baylor
- NC State (6-1) W 35-17 @ Pitt
- South Florida (6-0) W 33-0 v. Cincinnati
- Michigan (5-1) W 27-20 @ Indiana
- Notre Dame (5-1) BYE
- Virginia Tech (5-1) BYE
- Washington (6-1) L 7-13 @ Arizona State
- UCF (5-0) W 63-21 v. East Carolina
- Michigan State (5-1) W 30-27 @ Minnesota
- Auburn (5-2) L 23-27 @ LSU
- Washington State (6-1) L 3-37 @ CAL
- West Virginia (4-2) W 46-35 v. #24 Texas Tech
- Stanford (5-2) W 49-7 v. Oregon
- Memphis (5-1) W 30-27 #25 Navy
- LSU (5-2) W 27-23 v #10 Auburn
The Crimson Tide just keep on rolling, still unbeatable after delivering another beatdown for their seventh win of the season. This time it was a 41-9 win over Arkansas. Jalen Hurts had 155 passing and rushed for 41 yards in the victory. Damien Harris also had a heck of a game as he rushed for 125 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns. Even the backups got in on the action as Najee Harris impressed in limited minutes. Najee Harris had 5 carries for 33 yards in the victory as well. Now if there is an argument as to why Alabama should not be number 1, it is their strength of schedule. The Crimson Tide has faced only one ranked opponent and that was Florida State (dropped out of rankings after starting 0-2). While the 'Beat who is in front of you' argument is valid, it also is not considering that all college teams make their own schedule. With that being said Alabama once again look complete this year.
Penn State is getting a lot of praise and it is well deserved. The Nittany Lions did their job against Northwestern, beating the Wildcats 31-7. The Nittany Lions were in a similar situation as Alabama. Many first string and second string players got their chance to make an impact on their field. This includes Heisman Trophy hopeful Saquon Barkley and senior quarterback Trace McSorley. Penn State next test will be against coming up against Michigan under the lights. Michigan are a couple weeks removed from their self-implosion against Michigan State and are hungry for a huge victory. If Penn State can protect home-field, that would really add to the case that Penn State should be the number one seed. However, Michigan's defense will be a tough test for this Penn State roster.
The Georgia Bulldogs have quietly put together a great season. The team is undefeated at 7-0, the Nick Chubb is rolling, and the team is at #4 in the AP rankings. This week the Bulldogs faced Missouri and beat them by a score of 53-28. Chubb is the feature back on this squad, however, many backs made their impact in this contest, in particular, D'Andre Swift. Swift had a 71-yard gain and finished with 94 yards rushing on six carries. Georgia is similar to Alabama in the sense of strength of schedule concern, except Georgia's schedule might be weaker. So far they have not faced a team that was ranked at the time Georgia faced them. As we approach the final stretch, Georgia will have Florida this week and Auburn in week 10. Georgia really have to crush the teams they face to prove that they belong in the top four.
Remember the term strength of schedule? Now look at TCU Horned Frogs... does anyone think TCU's schedule was tough? The answer to that question is 1000% yes. TCU has been beating the who’s who of College Football. To be honest, it has been an absolute grind for this TCU team as they have faced West Virginia, Oklahoma State in back-to-back weeks and the Horned Frogs have come out the other side 6-0. Their most recent victory was 26-6 against Kansas State. TCU Quarterback, Kenny Hill, passed for 297 passing yards in the victory. The story of this team is the ability to beat a team at its own game. If a team plays a grind it out style TCU can do that, as they proved against Arkansas when they won 28-7. If a team wants to have a shootout, TCU proved that they can do that too against Oklahoma State when they won 44-31. Now TCU is not out of the woods yet as they still have to get passed Oklahoma (Geez their schedule is bonkers), however TCU has impressed thus far.
Player of the Weekend
Khalil Tate, QB Arizona - 378 Total Yards (230 rushing), 3 Total TDs v. UCLA
- AJ Dillion, RB Boston College - 39 carries 272 yards 4 TDs v. Louisville
- James Washington, WR Oklahoma State - 6 catches 235 yards 1 TD v Baylor
Oklahoma is in a weird situation, and to understand why, their matchup with the Texas Longhorns is a great case study. Week six saw a huge upset when Oklahoma was dealt a serious blow to their College Football Playoff chances when they suffered an upset loss to the much underrated Iowa State Cyclones, 38-31. As a result, their matchup against the Texas Longhorns was especially important as the Sooners could not lose again, however, they nearly suffered a similar fate. Oklahoma's offense wasn't clicking, Baker Mayfield was getting roughed up (especially in the end of the 3rd), and Texas was actually playing some good football on both sides of the field. At one point, with 6:59 left in the game, Texas held a 24-23 thanks to quarterback Sam Ehlinger's rushing touchdown. But when the chips down, Mayfield hooked up with Mark Andrews for a 59 yard touchdown pass.
Now here is why Oklahoma is in a weird situation, because that Iowas State loss was way more hurtful to the Sooners playoff chances than one would think. Now look, one loss is not the apocalypse and it is not over for Oklahoma when it comes to their quest for the college football playoffs, but their air of invincibility is fading. Thus every team will give it their absolute best shot against the Sooners in order to get ranked and that is what happened here with Texas. While I think Oklahoma is still a great team and probably will not lose again in 2017, Oklahoma needs dominating victories to get back into playoff contention and this was not it. Therefore, do not except Oklahoma to get another dominating win and furthermore do not expect them to be playing come New Year's Day.
Maybe Kelly Bryant is much valuable than college football experts originally thought and maybe fans took him for granted. The Tigers starting pivot went down as he sustained a concussion in the final minute of the first half of their matchup with the Syracuse Orange and as a result the orange proceeded to upset the Clemson Tigers 27-24. Now there's question that with Bryant under centre, the Tigers are a better team. However, it just seemed like the stars were aligned for the Orange on Friday. Eric Dungey had 3 passing touchdowns, Dontae Strickland averaged 4 yards a carry, and Clemson's offense clearly had a rough time scoring. Also, the Tigers' defense was surprisingly ineffective. It is probably a one off for Clemson, however, this will definitely hurt the Tigers chances at the College Football playoff.
Penn State has been capturing the imagination of college football fans everywhere and one reason why is because of the season Saquon Barkley is having. Now here is the thing, if one goes by the '75+ yard rushing is a solid game, 100+ rushing is a good game' rule, then Saquon has only had 2 good games and 2 solid games. However two things, first those 2 games were 211 and 172 yards rushing respectively. Second, he is doing this with teams legitimately loading up between the tackles. Trace McSorley deserves a lot of credit as well, however, Saquon is getting so much praise that he is not only a candidate to win the Heisman, he is the favourite. To be honest, Barkley has not had the level of consistent great games as his most recent game against Northwestern, Barkley only had 75 yards on 16 carries. That is good but it is not Heisman trophy good when that is his 4th best rushing yards in a game total this season. With that being said, he is a fantastic receiving option as well out of the backfield and the fact is his team is currently undefeated. If Penn State can stay undefeated and Barkley can continue to rush and receive well, then why not Barkley for Heisman.
Games to watch this weekend
#10 Oklahoma State @ Texas - The Cowboys can fall victim of the trap as they visit Austin. The last time Texas defeated Ok-State in Austin was 2009.
Tennessee @ #1 Alabama - How many points can The Tide put up on The Volunteers?
#19 Michigan @ #2 Penn State - At this point Michigan can only play spoiler with little-to-no chance of making the playoffs. Knocking off the Nittany Lions in Happy Valley will not be an easy feat but very possible.
#11 USC @ #13 Notre Dame - A win for either team could propel them into the playoff discussion. A win here for the Trojans could be what the doctor ordered to remind people of why they were a pre-season favorite for the National Championship. A win for the Irish could give them the national recognition they have been missing this season.