College football conference championship week picks

Conference championship week is here, which means less games to pick. Joe DiTullio and Rob Doerger pick their conference champions and more!

AwayHomeLocationRobJoe
#12 Stanford#10 USCLevi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CAStanfordUSC
#20 Memphis#14 UCFSpectrum Stadium, Orlando, FLUCFUCF
AkronToledoFord Field, Detroit, MIToledoToledo
North TexasFlorida AtlanticFAU Football Stadium, Boca Raton, FLFAUFAU
UMassFlorida IntlFIU Stadium, Miami, FLFIUFIU
Louisiana MonroeFlorida StateDoak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FLFSUFSU
#11 TCU#3 OklahomaAT&T Stadium, Arlington, TXOklahomaOklahoma
Georgia SouthernCoastal CarolinaBrooks Stadium, Conway, SCGeorgia SouthernGeorgia Southern
IdahoGeorgia StateGeorgia State Stadium, Atlanta, GAGeorgia StGeorgia St.
LouisianaAppalachian StateKidd Brewer Stadium, Boone, NCApp StApp St
#6 Georgia#2 AuburnMercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GAAuburnAuburn
South AlabamaNew Mexico StateAggie Memorial Stadium, Las Cruces, NMUSAUSA
TroyArkansas StateCentennial Bank Stadium, Jonesboro, ARTroyTroy
#25 Fresno StateBoise StateAlbertsons Stadium, Boise, IDBoiseBoise
#7 Miami#1 ClemsonBank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NCClemsonClemson
#8 Ohio State#4 WisconsinLucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, INOhio StOhio State
Gameday Guest Picker (Charlotte)Michael JordanRay Lewis

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Five things to watch for in conference championship week

College football is winding down, but before bowl season comes, conference championships are left. With so much good football this weekend, here are five things to watch:

1. Two great defenses going at it in Atlanta

Conference Championship Week

Jarrett Stidham (Photo by saturdaydownsouth.com)

Georgia and Auburn get a chance to play again in the SEC Championship. It’s not often that a rivalry game ends up happening in the conference championship games, but this one should be exciting. Both teams will be going at it hard to try and clinch a spot in the College Football Playoff (CFP).

The Bulldogs have the fifth best scoring defense in the country and are hoping they can do more to stop Auburn this time around. Georgia allowed 40 points, which is by far the most they have allowed all season. Their front seven is going to need to step up to stop a potent rushing attack. They have the talent, with NFL-bound players like Roquan Smith and Lorenzo Carter, but they didn’t step up last time.

Auburn ranks ninth in scoring defense. The Tigers run the football and play good defense, much like Georgia, which is usually a good recipe to win a lot of games. They have given up 27 points twice, but that is the most they have allowed in a game all season. For this matchup, they will be tasked with stopping all of Georgia’s great running backs. They should be able to continue doing what they have been doing.

Get ready for yet another defensive and physical game in the SEC Championship.

2. Can Miami dethrone Clemson?

Miami and Clemson meet in the ACC Championship Game on Saturday night. While Clemson’s resume is very impressive, Miami’s leaves a lot to be desired. At the end of the day though, if Miami can win, they are in the CFP.

Clemson is battle-tested, having faced eight teams that will likely get bowl invites. They did lose a game to Syracuse, but their quarterback, Kelly Bryant, wasn’t 100% healthy and had to leave the game. The Tigers have so many other good wins that they have still put themselves in a good position to make the CFP.

The Hurricanes have been one of the best stories in college football this season. Mark Richt has started the process of bringing the “U” mentality back to Coral Gables. They do have a loss to a lackluster Pitt team they suffered this past week, but the main thing that is concerning is their wins. Their wins over Virginia Tech and Notre Dame, which were good wins at the time, look a lot worse now that Notre Dame lost again and the Hokies nearly dropped out of the rankings. To compound some of their concerns, they pulled their starting quarterback, Malik Rosier, near the end of the game against Pitt.

Miami will be the underdog in this game, but usually that’s how it works until the top dog is knocked off.

3. Wisconsin’s perfect season on the line

Conference Championship Week

Jonathan Taylor (Photo by dailycardinal.com)

Wisconsin is another team that has been criticized for not playing a very difficult schedule. They are undefeated and now will get their chance to prove to the world, and more importantly the committee, that they can beat a good team. Ohio State still has a chance to make the CFP, with some help, so a lot is at stake here.

The Badgers need to win to make the CFP, just like every other team playing this weekend. They haven’t played any premier teams and are doubted by a lot of people. Wisconsin can run the ball and play defense like most years. In what should be a low-scoring game, Jonathan Taylor will need to make big plays in the running game to set up Alex Hornibrook in good situations to throw the ball downfield. If Taylor can’t, Wisconsin will not be able to move the football.

Ohio State has been up and down all season. Their inconsistencies are in all three phases of the game. There are a lot of questions surrounding this team, especially after J.T. Barrett went down with an injury against Michigan. Dwayne Haskins came in and made some good throws to help keep Ohio State in this position. No matter who the quarterback is, the Buckeyes are favored and should be able to run the ball well.

Another conference championship game that should be low-scoring, the Big Ten Championship Game, will ultimately let everyone know if Wisconsin is for real or not?

4. Oklahoma’s potent offense vs. TCU’s balanced team

The Oklahoma Sooners and TCU Horned Frogs will have a rematch in the Big 12 Championship Game. The Big 12 moved to a championship game to get a better chance of having a team in the CFP, but this year it can backfire on them if TCU pulls off an upset.

Oklahoma will have Baker Mayfield for the full game this weekend, and he won’t disappoint. The Sooners’ offense has scored 45.3 points per game, with the fewest in a single game being 29. There will be fireworks when Mayfield and the offense take the field. He is still trying to pad his stats to win the Heisman Trophy, but already has over 4,000 yards passing.

TCU, on the other hand, has a top ten defense and a top 30 offense in terms of points allowed and points scored. Their offense won’t be explosive, but will take what the Oklahoma defense gives them. The defense will be tasked with slowing down Mayfield, something they failed to do in the first meeting.

The only question that remains is: Can TCU play spoiler for the whole Big 12 conference?

5. Offense, offense and more offense in the AAC Championship Game

The AAC Championship Game is going to be one of the more entertaining games to watch this weekend. Not only will the winner likely go to a New Year’s Six bowl game, but it will have a lot of offense and scoring along the way.

UCF is undefeated, and quite honestly, should be way higher up in the CFP standings. They have the highest scoring offense in the country, averaging 47.6 points per game. McKenzie Milton has been able to spread the ball around from his quarterback position, to get the Golden Knights to such a good standing. It’s only Scott Frost’s second year and he is already playing in the league title game with a lot on the line.

Memphis has lost only one game, coming at the hands of UCF. While the offense is only the fourth best in terms of scoring, they probably have bigger stars than UCF. Riley Ferguson has thrown for 3,500 yards in just 11 games. His top receiver, Anthony Miller, has made so many highlight plays and has 1,212 receiving yards. Look for Ferguson and Miller to connect a lot in this game.

 

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Five things we learned in college football week 13

For most teams, the college football regular season has wrapped up and conference championships are coming. It may be late in the season, but something can be learned from every game of college football. Here are five things we learned from week 13’s action:

1. Alabama still doesn’t have any great wins

Alabama lost their rivalry game with Auburn and will be in misery for about a year. The Crimson Tide are out of the SEC Championship Game and don’t control their own destiny for the College Football Playoff. Losing to Auburn also makes them very vulnerable to the committee, because they don’t have many great wins this season.

Saban’s squad was able to beat Florida State in a highly anticipated season opener, but the Seminoles ended up struggling this season. Alabama beat LSU and Mississippi State, both of which are solid wins, but not great. The Crimson Tide had their chance against Auburn, but were unable to get the job done. Now they are at the mercy of the CFP committee.

2. J.T. Barrett is a legend and will have a story to tell

College football week 13

J.T. Barrett (Photo by sportingnews.com)

J.T. Barrett started his fourth straight game for Ohio State against Michigan. Although he has had to leave two of these games due to injury, Barrett has been able to go 4-0 as a starting quarterback in one of the biggest rivalries in sports. He may get criticized a lot, but going 4-0 as a starting quarterback has never happened in this rivalry. Barrett also has plenty of records and memories to keep his legacy in tact, even if there are a lot of haters.

Interestingly enough, Barrett had to leave the game against Michigan due to a re-aggravated knee injury. While most fans thought Barrett was hurt during the game, he actually disturbed his injury when warming up. Reportedly, a cameraman ran into Barrett right before kickoff. Barrett was tough enough to gut it out for over two quarters, but was unable to complete the game. Luckily, Ohio State has Dwayne Haskins as a backup, who made some key throws down the stretch to win the game for the Buckeyes.

3. Coaching Changes already in motion

This is the point of the season that always has coaching changes, so that new coaches can come in and start recruiting. Some coaches have already been fired and need to be replaced with one such opening already being resolved.

Jim Mora was fired and recently replaced by Chip Kelly at UCLA. Arkansas didn’t even let Bret Bielema leave the field before firing him. Mike Riley had one of the worst seasons in Nebraska history and won’t be returning. With Florida, Tennessee, Ole Miss and Oregon State searching for coaches, there should be an active coaching carousel. Kevin Sumlin, as usual, is also rumored to be fired which opens up yet another power five job.

4. Baker Mayfield can pencil in his name for the Heisman

college football week 13

Baker Mayfield (Photo by usatoday.com)

Baker Mayfield sat out the first drive, which lasted all of two plays, due to suspension against West Virginia. He made obscene gestures and had some choice words for the Kansas Jayhawks after they refused to shake his hand before the game. While some people have said they won’t choose him as their Heisman winner, he has had the best season in college football and deserves it.

In the game against West Virginia, Mayfield went 14-17 for 281 yards and three touchdowns to add to his impressive season. With over 4,000 passing yards, some key wins and a likely CFP appearance, Mayfield is clearly the guy that should be voted as this year’s Heisman.

5. Clemson has the best CFP resume

Clemson was able to win comfortably over South Carolina to finish the regular season at 11-1. While some people will complain about their loss to a bad Syracuse team, they still have the best case to be the number one team in the CFP rankings.

The Tigers beat four different eight win teams on the road: Louisville, Virginia Tech, South Carolina and N.C. State. On top of these good wins, Clemson also beat Auburn, who now is going to be in the CFP top four. With wins over Wake Forest, Boston College and Florida State, Clemson has literally had a schedule littered with bowl eligible teams.

 

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College Football Playoff bracketology 11/26/17

Conference championship games are set. There is still a lot of different scenarios that can happen, which will make the next week in football, on the field and off, fun to watch. Here are how the teams should be ranked after rivalry week (rankings of opponents are based off last week’s CFP rankings):

Playoff teams

1. Clemson Tigers (11-1)

College football bracketology

Kelly Bryant (Photo by greenvilleonline.com)

The Tigers beat yet another ranked team, South Carolina, to finish the regular season 11-1. With other teams ahead of them losing, they move up to the top spot of these rankings.

Clemson has beaten so many quality teams this season it is almost impossible to keep them out of the top spot. Their win against Auburn looks really good after the Tigers were able to beat Alabama. With other wins over Louisville, Virginia Tech, N.C. State and South Carolina, Clemson is sitting pretty entering the ACC Championship Game. The knock on them is their loss to Syracuse, but because they didn’t have their starting quarterback healthy for the game, the committee gives them a slight pass.

Ultimately, if Clemson wins in the ACC Championship Game, they are in.

This week: vs. 2 Miami Hurricanes

2. Oklahoma Sooners (11-1)

Baker Mayfield was suspended for two plays, but it didn’t matter. Oklahoma outscored another Big 12 team in West Virginia. They too benefit from teams ahead of them losing and are now in a great spot.

Oklahoma has big wins over TCU, Oklahoma State and Ohio State, making their resume really impressive. The loss to Iowa State isn’t that bad. With so many wins over great teams, including over a top ten team in Ohio State, Oklahoma controls their own destiny.

There haven’t been too many upsets in conference championships during the CFP era, but Oklahoma needs to stay focused against a tough opponent.

This week: vs. 12 TCU Horned Frogs

3. Auburn Tigers (10-2)

Auburn knocked off a number one team for the second time this season when they beat Alabama by 12. The Tigers played a physical and defensive game to beat Alabama and will get one more chance to prove what they can do to the committee.

The Tigers have beaten Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi State for a list of really good wins. They do have two losses, to Clemson and LSU, but the wins make up for it. At this point the committee can’t put Alabama or Georgia over them, so by virtue of winning their tough games, they are in the CFP slot at three.

They get a rematch in the SEC Championship Game to solidify their spot in the CFP.

This week: vs. 7 Georgia Bulldogs

4. Wisconsin Badgers (12-0)

The Badgers finished off the regular season undefeated after destroying their rival Minnesota. They may not have played the toughest schedule, but they are undefeated in a power conference, so they should be ranked within the top four this week.

Wisconsin’s big wins are over Northwestern and Michigan. Northwestern has won nine game on the season, while Michigan has won eight. Neither are great wins, but both are solid.

They will need to have their biggest game of the season, but if the Badgers win the Big Ten Championship, they are in the playoff.

This week: vs. 9 Ohio State Buckeyes

Next four out

5. Georgia Bulldogs (11-1)

Georgia didn’t have any trouble with their rival, Georgia Tech, and finished the season at 11-1. They get to move up the rankings slightly, but will need to win the SEC Championship Game to make the CFP.

The win at Notre Dame really helps them, as well as their win over Mississippi State. While they did get blown out by Auburn, they get a chance at revenge against them in the SEC Championship Game.

Basically, if Georgia wins, they are in.

This week: vs. 6 Auburn Tigers

6. Miami Hurricanes (10-1)

In a Friday noon game that was easy to lose in the shuffle of the holiday weekend, Miami lost a road game to Pitt. This was a game they couldn’t get the offense going and suffered their first loss of the season because of it.

Miami blew Notre Dame out and also had a big win over Virginia Tech. They were not able to play a full 12 game schedule due to all of the hurricanes this fall, which hurts them, but only minimally. The Hurricanes lost to Pitt, who is not a good football team. The good news is that they still control their own destiny.

Can the “U” come all the way back and win an ACC Championship Game with so much at stake?

This week: vs. 3 Clemson Tigers

7. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1)

Alabama is out of the SEC Championship race after losing to Auburn. It was their first loss of the season, but their offense couldn’t get much done against a stifling Tigers’ defense.

Even though it is their first loss, they have to wait and see how other teams do next weekend to see if they can make the CFP. They have solid wins over LSU and Mississippi State, but have yet to beat an elite team. Their hope is that they can squeeze into the CFP, but they will need help.

The wait and see approach is never fun, but that’s all Alabama fans can do right now.

This week: N/A

8. Ohio State Buckeyes (10-2)

College football playoff bracketology

Dwayne Haskins Jr. (Photo by thelantern.com)

The Buckeyes got the win in their big rivalry game over Michigan. They finished with 10 wins in the regular season and now get to play Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship.

The loss to Iowa hurts, while losing to Oklahoma is a little more understandable. For good wins, the Buckeyes bring their wins over Penn State, Michigan State and Michigan to the table.

If they beat Wisconsin, Ohio State will have a shot at the CFP.

This week: vs. 5 Wisconsin Badgers

Next four out

9. Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2)

Penn State beat Maryland this week to finish off a second straight double digit win season. This win will solidify their spot in a New Year’s Six bowl game, but they will not be able to make the CFP.

Their two losses are to Ohio State and Michigan State, but they don’t have many good wins. Their best wins are over Iowa and Michigan, so their resume will not be good enough.

A New Year’s Six Bowl is not a bad finish, but Penn State fans had higher hopes.

This week: N/A

10. USC Trojans (10-2)

USC finished their season a week early and got to watch all of the football unfold this week. They already have 10 wins and qualified for the Pac-12 Championship Game.

The Trojans lost to Notre Dame and Washington State. Those teams are both of good quality, but the wins haven’t made up for the losses. Arizona and Stanford are their best wins and that isn’t good enough to make the CFP. The only way they have a chance is if the committee goes crazy and thinks that the PAC-12 Champion deserves to be in.

They get to try to avenge one of their losses in the Pac-12 Championship Game, but it is likely too little, too late.

This week: vs. 17 Washington Huskies

11. TCU Horned Frogs (10-2)

TCU gets to play in the Big 12 Championship Game as a result of their win over Baylor this week. The Horned Frogs pulled away late to secure the victory.

Unfortunately, even if they win the Big 12 Championship Game over Oklahoma, they likely won’t get in. They do have good wins over Oklahoma State and West Virginia. The losses to Oklahoma and Iowa State aren’t bad, but the resume isn’t good enough to get them in the CFP.

Can the Horned Frogs be the spoiler for Oklahoma’s CFP chances?

This week: vs. 4 Oklahoma Sooners

12. UCF Golden Knights (11-0)

College football playoff bracketology

Shaquem Griffin (Photo by yahoo.com)

The Golden Knights finally find their way to the top 12 after defeating rival USF to finish the season off undefeated. They did lose the opportunity to play 12 games due to a hurricane, but are undefeated nonetheless.

UCF has beaten Memphis and USF who are both quality teams. They also beat a power five team in Maryland. The hurricane canceled a game against Georgia Tech that could have helped their resume, even though the Yellow Jackets are below .500. Their wins over Memphis and USF are better than they’ll ever get credit for, but they don’t play quality teams every week in the AAC.

They play Memphis in the AAC Championship Game this week, which should once again bolster their case to move up the rankings. With other teams losing ahead of them, they could get close to the CFP top four, but will likely be a handful of spots short.

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College football week 13 picks

Joe DiTullio and Rob Doerger make their picks for every single FBS college football game for week 13. With it being rivalry week, and the last week of the regular season for most conferences, they have some fun with the coaching carousel too. Here are the picks for week 13 in college football:

AwayHomeLocationRobJoe
Ole Miss#14 Mississippi StateDavis Wade Stadium, Starkville, MSMiss StateMiss St
Western MichiganToledoGlass Bowl, Toledo, OHToledoToledo
#2 MiamiPittsburghHeinz Field, Pittsburgh, PAMiamiMiami
Baylor#12 TCUAmon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TXTCUTCU
Northern IllinoisCentral MichiganKelly/Shorts Stadium, Mount Pleasant, MINIUCMU
NavyHoustonTDECU Stadium, Houston, TXNavyHouston
OhioBuffaloUB Stadium, Buffalo, NYOhioOhio
MissouriArkansasRazorback Stadium, Fayetteville, ARMizzouMissouri
South Florida#15 UCFSpectrum Stadium, Orlando, FLUCFUCF
New MexicoSan Diego StateSDCCU Stadium, San Diego, CASDSUSDSU
Texas StateTroyVeterans Memorial Stadium , Troy, ALTroyTroy
IowaNebraskaMemorial Stadium , Lincoln, NEIowaIowa
Western KentuckyFlorida IntlFIU Stadium, Miami, FLFIUFIU
#25 Virginia TechVirginiaScott Stadium, Charlottesville, VAVTVT
Texas TechTexasRoyal Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, TXTexasTexas
CaliforniaUCLARose Bowl, Pasadena, CAUCLAUCLA
#7 GeorgiaGeorgia TechBobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GAGeorgiaGeorgia
#9 Ohio StateMichiganMichigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MIOSUOSU
Kansas#19 Oklahoma StateBoone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OKOK StateOk State
East Carolina#20 MemphisLiberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TNMemphisMemphis
Florida StateFloridaBen Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FLFSUFSU
LouisvilleKentuckyCommonwealth Stadium, Lexington, KYKentuckyLouisville
IndianaPurdueRoss-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, INPurdueIndiana
ConnecticutCincinnatiNippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OHCincyUC
TulaneSMUGerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, TXSMUSMU
Boston CollegeSyracuseCarrier Dome, Syracuse, NYBCBC
DukeWake ForestBB&T Field, Winston-salem, NCWakeWake
North TexasRiceRice Stadium, Houston, TXUNTUNT
UTEPUABLegion Field , Birmingham, ALUABUAB
Appalachian StateGeorgia StateGeorgia State Stadium, Atlanta, GAApp StApp St
Florida AtlanticCharlotteMcColl-Richardson Field, Charlotte, NCFAUFAU
Southern MississippiMarshallJoan C. Edwards Stadium, Huntington, WVSo MissUSM
Old DominionMiddle TennesseeFloyd Stadium, Murfreesboro, TNMTSUMTSU
Arkansas StateLouisiana MonroeMalone Stadium, Monroe, LAArk StArk St
UNLVNevadaMackay Stadium, Reno, NVUNLVUNLV
#1 Alabama#6 AuburnJordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, ALAuburnAlabama
#5 WisconsinMinnesotaTCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MNWisconsinWisconsin
#10 Penn StateMarylandMaryland Stadium, College Park, MDPenn StPSU
#23 Boise StateFresno StateBulldog Stadium , Fresno, CABoiseBoise
North CarolinaNC StateCarter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NCNC StateNC State
Iowa StateKansas StateBill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, KSKansas StIowa State
West Virginia#4 OklahomaMemorial Stadium , Norman, OKOklahomaOklahoma
#16 Michigan StateRutgersHigh Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, NJMich StMSU
#22 NorthwesternIllinoisMemorial Stadium , Champaign, ILNWNW
VanderbiltTennesseeNeyland Stadium, Knoxville, TNVandyVandy
TempleTulsaChapman Stadium, Tulsa, OKTempleTemple
IdahoNew Mexico StateAggie Memorial Stadium, Las Cruces, NMIdahoIdaho
ArizonaArizona StateSun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZArizonaZona
Georgia SouthernLouisianaCajun Field, Lafayette, LAULLULL
WyomingSan Jose StateCEFCU Stadium – Home of the Spartans, San Jose, CAWyomingWyoming
Oregon StateOregonAutzen Stadium, Eugene, ORDucksOregon
#3 Clemson#24 South CarolinaWilliams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, SCClemsonClemson
Texas A&M#18 LSUTiger Stadium , Baton Rouge, LALSULSU
UT San AntonioLouisiana TechJoe Aillet Stadium, Ruston, LALa TechLA Tech
#8 Notre Dame#21 StanfordStanford Stadium, Stanford, CAStanfordNotre Dame
#13 Washington St#17 WashingtonHusky Stadium, Seattle, WAWash StWazzu
BYUHawai’iAloha Stadium, Honolulu, HIHawai’iHawaii
ColoradoUtahRice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UTUtahUtah
Utah StateAir ForceFalcon Stadium, Usaf Academy,AFAAFA
Gameday Guest Picker (Auburn)Charles BarkleyCharles Barkley
# of coaches fired/resigning  by midnight Sunday76

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Five things to watch for in college football week 13

Rivalry week is now upon us, which means good football games are back. While not everyone is playing a rival, week 13 is going to be crazy for all college football fans. Here are five things to watch for in college football week 13:

1. The Iron Bowl

Alabama and Auburn is a great rivalry that has gotten even better over the last ten years. A lot of times at least one team has national title aspirations by the time the game comes around and some times both teams are in that position. This year both teams control their own destiny in terms of making the College Football Playoff.

The Crimson Tide are undefeated and haven’t even really been challenged too many times. This will definitely be a test for Alabama. Nick Saban has tried to get his team away from “rat poison” this season, but the Crimson Tide average the seventh most points per game and allow the least. They are ridiculously good.

Auburn has two losses, one to Clemson and one to LSU. Their season has been so great because of their defense and running game. They have a top ten defense and average 244 yards per game. The Tigers are tough to beat and have really come on the last few weeks.

The winner of this game will come as a result of better quarterback play. Jalen Hurts and Jarrett Stidham will need to make throws in key situations in order to get the win. The running games will be slowed due to the good defenses, so keeping the defense honest will win the game.

2. The Game

College football week 13 preview

Curtis Samuel in 2016 (photo by usatoday.com)

Ohio State and Michigan meet up for their annual game this weekend. The Buckeyes still have a feint hope of making the College Football Playoff and need to win. For Michigan, they don’t have too much to play for, but in this game, they don’t need much.

J.T. Barrett and the Buckeyes have been one of the most inconsistent teams in college football, yet they still only have two losses. When the offense is clicking, the team is one of the best in the country. If Barrett and the offense can limit turnovers they will be in a good position to win the game.

Michigan’s strength is its defense. They allow the 11th fewest points per game in the country and are especially tough against the run. They slowed down Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor for most of the game before wearing down in the second half. If Ohio State’s offense shows up, Michigan’s defense will need to have its best game of the season.

3. Running backs in Notre Dame vs. Stanford

Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick has decided that one of Notre Dame’s biggest rivals is Stanford. He decided wrong, but it is still a good game. The Fighting Irish still have a very slim chance to make the College Football Playoff, but should be thinking more about a New Year’s Six bowl game.

A week after beating Navy, Notre Dame gets a chance to finish the season with 10 wins. They have a good ground game and are great at causing turnovers. Their running back, Josh Adams, has had a great season behind a great offensive line. He will highlight a matchup of elite college running games.

Bryce Love is the other quality running back in this game. Love actually still has a chance to win the Heisman with his great statistical season. The offense runs through Love and if the Cardinal have any chance of winning, he will need to have a great game.

4. The Apple Cup

College football week 13 preview

(Photo by mercurynews.com)

One of the better emerging rivalries is the Apple Cup between Washington and Washington State. This year the Pac-12 Championship Game is on the line for the Cougars and both teams are ranked to make it a very appealing game.

Mike Leach has turned Washington State’s program completely around. This season they only have two losses and are knocking on the door for the Pac-12 Championship Game. That is something a lot of people would have never expected. A thing most people expect is how much Washington State throws the ball, as they have one of the best passing attacks in the country.

Washington had College Football Playoff hopes entering the season after making it last season. They are out of that picture now due to having two losses and a weak non-conference schedule. The Huskies are still a talented team that could sneak into a New Year’s Six bowl game with a win and some help.

The big matchup to watch is the Cougars’ passing attack against the Washington pass defense. If the Huskies can shut down the passing attack they can win.

5. UCF vs. USF

A couple weeks ago the thought was that this could be a matchup of undefeated teams. Unfortunately USF lost to Houston to ruin that. The Florida teams in the AAC still have a lot to play for. The winner of this game will get to play in the AAC Championship Game and could make a New Year’s Six bowl game.

UCF has had a tremendous turnaround under Scott Frost. The year before he got there, they were 0-12. Last season, Frost’s first year, UCF went 6-6. Now they have a chance to turn it all the way around and finish with a 12-0 regular season record. The Golden Knights will make an exciting game out of this one way or another, as they have the highest scoring offense in the country.

The Bulls were the team that were thought to be undefeated at this point in the season. They had an easy schedule and a lot of players returning from a successful team last year. While they do have a loss, they can still reach a great bowl game, something that was likely their ceiling this year anyways. With Quinton Flowers at quarterback and a good defense, they can spoil UCF’s perfect season.

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College Football Playoff bracketology 11/19/17

This week of the season was not very eventful with a bunch of cupcakes on the schedule. The bad games this week will prep college football fans for a great rivalry week that has a lot of good matchups. Here are how the teams rank before the big weekend:

Playoff teams

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-0)

College football bracketology

Jalen Hurts (Photo by gridironnow.com)

Alabama won big over Mercer (FCS) this weekend. It was an easy game, in which Alabama even held out some of their players as a precaution. Hopefully they are at their best for rivalry week.

The wins over LSU, Mississippi State and Texas A&M are solid, but Alabama lacks a big win. Still though, with the undefeated record, the Crimson Tide will stay in the top spot in the rankings.

Rivalry week is here and Alabama has a chance for a great win over Auburn.

This week: at 6 Auburn Tigers

2. Clemson Tigers (10-1)

The Tigers didn’t have a problem with The Citadel (FCS). Clemson rolled 61-3. They look primed for big things in the next few weeks.

Clemson has some of the most impressive wins in college football, especially their win over Auburn. Their victories over Louisville, Virginia Tech and N.C. State also add to their good resume and help them stay in the second spot.

They will have a small test against South Carolina on rivalry week.

This week: at South Carolina Gamecocks

3. Miami Hurricanes (10-0)

Miami is one of the few teams that played a decent team this week. Although they trailed Virginia for much of the game, they scored 30 unanswered points to run away with the game. They played like they did before the last two weeks, which is up and down with the level of their competition, for most of the time against Virginia.

The Hurricanes have jumped up to this spot in the rankings and will stay here because of their performances in recent weeks. Wins over Virginia Tech and Notre Dame aren’t quite as impressive as the wins Clemson has overall. They should still feel confident though, as they will get to play Clemson in the ACC Championship Game.

Unfortunately Miami doesn’t play one of its biggest rivals this week, but they should be able to get the win to stay undefeated.

This week: at Pittsburgh Panthers

4. Oklahoma Sooners (10-1)

Oklahoma had a conference game this week, but it was still an easy game, as they played Kansas. While there was a lot of extra-curricular activity, the important thing is that Oklahoma won 41-3.

With good wins over Ohio State, Oklahoma State and TCU, Oklahoma is in a good position. They are already in the Big 12 Championship Game and if they win out, they will be in the CFP.

The Sooners will get a tough game this week, albeit not against a rival.

This week: vs. West Virginia Mountaineers

First four out

5. Wisconsin Badgers (11-0)

The committee decided to put the Badgers at number five last week, so they will likely be ranked at five again. This week Wisconsin got a win over a decent Michigan team. Michigan has a good defense, but really shouldn’t have been ranked in the top 25.

Beating Michigan still gives Wisconsin another solid win, but it won’t be enough to get into the top four, yet. The wins over Iowa and Northwestern are nice, but if Wisconsin wants to make the CFP, they will need to beat a really good team.

The Badgers’ rival is Minnesota, so they will likely go into the Big Ten Championship undefeated.

This week: at Minnesota Golden Gophers

6. Auburn Tigers (9-2)

College football playoff bracketology

Kerryon Johnson (Photo by al.com)

Auburn started slow against UL Monroe, but picked it up and ended up winning 42-14. This sets up another great Iron Bowl that will have CFP implications.

The Tigers have big wins over Georgia and Mississippi State. Their losses to LSU and Clemson aren’t that bad either. If Auburn wins out, they will be a CFP team.

If the Tigers can win this week, they will be rewarded with a chance to play Georgia again in the SEC Championship.

This week: vs. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide

7. Georgia Bulldogs (10-1)

The Bulldogs bounced back from their loss to Auburn very well by beating Kentucky 42-13. Kentucky is a solid win for Georgia, but ultimately the important thing is that they won, as they still control their own destiny.

Georgia’s wins over Notre Dame and Mississippi State are both good. The loss to Auburn is something they will want to avenge if possible. If they win their rivalry game and the SEC Championship Game, they are in the CFP.

Can Georgia shut down Georgia Tech’s triple option this week?

This week: at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-2)

Notre Dame won a tough game over Navy this week to stay in the top ten. While it was one of the tougher games that a top ten team faced, the Fighting Irish should’ve played better.

Wins over Michigan State, USC and N.C. State have kept Notre Dame this high in the rankings. It will be hard for the Fighting Irish to make the CFP, but not totally impossible.

Bryce Love and Stanford are on the schedule for the last week of the season, so Notre Dame better be ready for a physical game.

This week: at 22 Stanford Cardinal

Next four out

9. Ohio State Buckeyes (9-2)

College football playoff bracketology

Urban Meyer (Photo by newsok.com)

It has been an up and down season for Ohio State, but this week they destroyed Illinois. With the win they kept their small CFP hopes alive.

The Buckeyes have beaten Michigan State and Penn State for some really good wins. The two losses are holding them back. If they can win out, which includes a victory over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship, Ohio State will be very close to the cutting line, one way or another.

The big game is this weekend for Ohio State. Throw records aside for how big of a rivalry game this is. Ohio State hasn’t struggled with Michigan much in the 21st century, but anything can happen.

This week: at 24 Michigan Wolverines

10. Penn State Nittany Lions (9-2)

Penn State beat Nebraska pretty easily this weekend. The Nittany Lions are pretty much out of the CFP picture, but getting another ten win season is nice.

James Franklin has to hope for absolute disaster and chaos to happen to make the CFP. It would take some upsets in the final week of the regular season and some during conference championship week to make it even slightly possible. All Penn State can do is win this week and then wait and see where the chips fall.

Ten wins should be the expectation when they take on Maryland this weekend.

This week: at Maryland Terrapins

11. USC Trojans (10-2)

The Trojans finished off their regular season with a win over rival UCLA. They get a nice week off to prepare for the Pac-12 Championship Game.

USC probably has a better chance of making the CFP than some teams ahead of them (Notre Dame, Penn State). It all depends on how they play in the Pac-12 Championship Game and if the teams above them hold to form. They are rooting for Washington State to win the Apple Cup, so they can play them in the Pac-12 Championship for another solid win.

A week off before a conference championship is unique, but can USC make the most of it and win the Pac-12?

This week: Bye

12. TCU Horned Frogs (9-2)

TCU was able to beat Texas Tech pretty easily, despite not having quarterback Kenny Hill. If they can beat Baylor in the final week, they will get a chance to play in the Big 12 Championship Game.

The Horned Frogs need some help to make it into the CFP. Beating Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game would be a nice start, but it will not be enough on its own. It will likely take: USC losing in the Pac-12 Championship, Ohio State winning the Big 10 and much more to go their way.

They should be focusing on what they can control and winning the Big 12 would be a great feat for TCU.

This week: vs. Baylor Bears

 

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Five things to watch for in college football week 12

After a few good weeks of quality football games, week 12 in college football looks pretty mundane. That doesn’t mean that good games won’t happen, it just means that it will be a surprise. Here are five things to watch for in week 12 of college football:

1. Jonathan Taylor against Michigan’s run defense

College football week 12

Jonathan Taylor (Photo by dailycardinal.com)

Jonathan Taylor has had a great freshman season for Wisconsin. He, like the rest of the Badgers, haven’t really been tested yet, but will be this week when they play Michigan. The Wolverines aren’t a great football team, they don’t have a win over a team above .500, but they will still challenge Wisconsin. As bad as it may sound, this might be the toughest challenge of Wisconsin’s regular season.

Taylor has 1,525 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns already this season. With a strong finish, he can eclipse the 2,000 yard mark on the season. Not only can he be one of the best players in Wisconsin’s history, he is currently on pace to be the college football’s all-time leading rusher. Taylor will be getting a lot more Heisman recognition if the Badgers are able to win out, but he has already surpassed all expectations this season.

Michigan may not be the best team this season, but that is mostly because of their offense. Their defense ranks ninth in the country in points allowed per game. The Wolverines also have allowed the ninth fewest rushing yards in the country this season, making it a difficult matchup for Taylor. Can Taylor continue to produce against a solid defense.

2. Josh Rosen vs. Sam Darnold

UCLA and USC meet in their annual game, although it likely won’t be too competitive. USC is playing good football again, while UCLA is struggling to make a bowl game. The best thing to watch in this game is the quarterback play.

Josh Rosen has had a solid season that has helped him stay in the running to be one of the top draft picks this year. He has thrown for 3,094 yards, 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions. His team isn’t very good, but the competitive juices will be flowing for Rosen and the Bruins.

USC is playing good football, even though Sam Darnold is having a rough season. He has turned the ball over a lot with plenty of fumbles and 11 interceptions thrown. Darnold has actually played his way out of being the first quarterback selected in the 2018 draft, but will want to prove new doubters wrong against another top level prospect.

3. Bret Bielema’s last game (or two)

Arkansas is 4-6 this season and another loss takes them out of bowl eligibility. Bret Bielema has not been great as the head man of the Razorbacks, with a terrible SEC record and a losing record overall. With a loss this weekend, Bielema is likely going to have to find a new job.

Mississippi State comes to town to take on the Razorbacks. The Bulldogs have a lot to play for still, as they can still make a New Year’s Six bowl game. Arknasas, on the other hand, almost lost to FBS bottom feeders, Coastal Carolina at home, so it should be a relatively easy win for Mississippi State.

Without a win, resulting in no bowl game, Arkansas will likely move on from Bielema after the game, or at season’s end. The Arkansas administration has already gotten rid of athletic director Jeff Long, so the next athletic director will likely want their own people. The only question is: How many SEC jobs are going to be open by the end of the season?

4. Mike Riley’s last few games at Nebraska

College football week 12

Mike Riley (Photo by mlive.com)

Nebraska’s athletic director has had to answer question about Mike Riley’s status as coach, which isn’t a good sign. What is worse is that all he can say is that Riley deserves to finish the season. That means he is likely gone after the season and Nebraska is yet another big program that will be looking for a new head coach.

If Riley has any thoughts about saving his job, he needs to win the last two games of the season. The problem is that those two games are going to be tough. This week they play at Penn State, while next week they get to take on Iowa at home. Both of these will likely be losses for the Cornhuskers.

It was a short tenure at Nebraska for Riley, but since they fired Bo Pelini after continually getting eight wins, firing Riley is the right call.

5. Blowouts

This week is filled with games designed to be blowouts with rivalry week coming up. While blowouts usually aren’t great to watch, some of the games could result in a broken scoreboard due to how many points are scored. Can anyone break 70 this week?

Oklahoma plays Kansas in a game that is pretty self-explanatory. Baker Mayfield will get a chance to pad his Heisman campaign with some explosive plays. Ohio State plays one of the worst power 5 teams, Illinois. It should be a good way to get the offense clicking before the game against Michigan.

Throw in a lot of teams playing FCS competition and the week will have plenty of blowouts. Try to tune into the limited amount of good games this weekend and prepare for rivalry week.

 

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Five things we learned from college football week 11

Week 11 provided a lot more good college football and even late in the season there is a lot to be learned. Here are five things we learned from week 11 action:

1. Miami is for real

Leading in to this week there was a lot of talk about whether Miami was for real or not. They were undefeated, but had only beaten one solid team in Virginia Tech. Miami needed a big game to prove to everyone that they were legit and they were provided with a top 10 matchup and rivalry game with Notre Dame.

Miami didn’t just win the game, they dominated it. They won 41-8 and Notre Dame didn’t have much of a chance after the first half. The Hurricanes have now clinched a spot in the ACC Championship and can make the College Football Playoff, which is not something many thought at the start of the season.

2. Oklahoma is going to make the CFP

Oklahoma showed they were the dominating team in the Big 12. They beat TCU by 18 points and are now in the driver’s seat in the Big 12 to make the Championship Game.

Baker Mayield has the offense rolling and no Big 12 defense can stop them. They have to get through Kansas and West Virginia then they get the Big 12 Championship Game. No matter who the opponent is, Oklahoma is playing too well to lose. Slot them into the CFP now and watch other contenders fall by the wayside.

3. Ohio State is inconsistent at best

Ohio State was looking bad after getting killed by Iowa. They had two losses and it looked like the players could give up on the season with a very slim chance of making the College Football Playoff. That was not the case and the Buckeyes proved it this week.

The Buckeyes pounded Michigan State 48-3. They put themselves in good position to win the Big Ten East now, which was up in the air after last week. Now, Ohio State has lost to Oklahoma and been blown out by Iowa, but the Buckeyes have beaten Penn State and now Michigan State. It is hard to get a read on how the rest of the season will go for Ohio State.

4. The Iron Bowl is going to have CFP implications for both teams

Auburn was able to defeat Georgia this week, which will have them move up in the CFP rankings. They have two losses, but just beat the number one team in the country and control their own destiny. If they beat Alabama and win the SEC Championship against Georgia they are going to be in the CFP.

Alabama is still undefeated, but now gets a tough game with Auburn to end the year. If they lose that game, and the chance to play for the SEC Championship, they cold still make the CFP, but they will need help. That game, which is two weeks away, is going to be another classic Iron Bowl that could decide who gets a chance to play for the National Championship.

5. More Jobs are opening up

Butch Jones has been fired as the head coach of Tennessee after losing 50-17 to Missouri. He had a winning record in his time at Tennessee, but at a program like Tennessee that can’t be the biggest achievement. Jones was going to be fired after the year anyways, but the Missouri loss was too much.

Tennessee, Oregon State, Florida and Ole Miss are all power five jobs that are already open. Kansas, Texas Tech, Nebraska, Illinois, Arkansas, Vanderbilt and Texas A&M all could be available at the end of the season. Get ready for the rumor mill to start up in the next few weeks.

 

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College Football Playoff bracketology 11/12/17

College football just gets crazier and crazier. In this edition of the college football bracketology, things are a bit different as a result of the games this week. Here are the top teams in college football for this week:

Playoff teams

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (10-0)

One of three remaining undefeated teams from a power five conference, Alabama got the job done again, getting a win over Mississippi State. The Bulldogs kept it close and were actually leading late, but could not hang on for the win. Alabama got a balanced effort and calmly came back to win.

The Crimson Tide are clearly going to be the number one team when the rankings come out on Tuesday. They haven’t lost and have played a much better schedule than the other two undefeated teams from power five conferences. Their best wins are over Mississippi State and LSU. They may not have the best wins, but being undefeated this late in the season gets the number one spot.

Alabama has one easy and one tough game left in the regular season and they need to win the latter to get into the SEC Championship Game.

This week: vs. Mercer Bears (FCS)

2. Oklahoma Sooners (9-1)

College Football Playoff Bracketology

Baker Mayfield (Photo by usatoday.com)

Oklahoma got another great win when they dismantled TCU this week 38-20. Baker Mayfield and the offense are rolling on all cylinders. The best defense in the Big 12, TCU, couldn’t stop them and it looks like no one can. The Sooners genuinely look like they could be the best team in the country right now.

Now, Oklahoma has three top tier wins, over Ohio State, Oklahoma State and TCU. The loss to Iowa State prevents them from being the number one team. With their great wins, Oklahoma takes the number two spot in the rankings and control their own destiny for the CFP.

Oklahoma, like Alabama, has one game that will be easy and one game that won’t be.

This week: vs. Kansas Jayhawks

3. Clemson Tigers (9-1)

The Tigers beat Florida State this weekend, in what many years would’ve been a good win. This year however, the win is not that impressive. It was close for a lot of the game, but Clemson ended up pulling away 31-14.

Clemson has plenty of quality wins, which has helped them stay ahead of some of the undefeated teams. Their win over Auburn looks really good after Auburn upset Georgia. With other solid wins coming over Virginia Tech, Louisville and others, Clemson has earned the number three spot. The majority of their wins have come over teams that can make bowl games.

With the win over N.C. State and the results this weekend, Clemson has locked up a spot in the ACC Championship Game.

This week: vs. The Citadel (FCS)

4. Miami Hurricanes (9-0)

Miami got the biggest win they have had since the early 2000s. They destroyed Notre Dame 41-8 and are now back in big time college football. The defense showed its speed and athleticism by stopping Josh Adams and the Notre Dame offense. They made some first round draft picks on the Notre Dame offensive line look bad and are now in the CFP picture.

The Hurricanes have a great win over Notre Dame and a win over Virginia Tech that looks worse after their loss to Georgia Tech. They are carried by their win over Notre Dame and their undefeated record, but now that they have locked up the ACC Coastal, they will get a chance to prove themselves against another CFP contender in Clemson.

The remaining schedule for Miami slots them against two average or below average ACC teams.

This week: vs. Virginia Cavaliers

First four out:

5. Georgia Bulldogs (9-1)

Georgia lost to Auburn this week and slides down four spots in these rankings. They didn’t look good in the game, losing 40-17. It was a tough game to win at Auburn, but the Bulldogs looked bad and need to step it up in the next couple of weeks to make the CFP.

Although they lost this week, Georgia can still make the CFP without much chaos happening. They still have good wins over Notre Dame and Mississippi State to fall back on. Every FBS team they have played can still make a bowl game. If Georgia can win out, they will be in the CFP.

They play two solid teams in their last two regular season games, but should be able to win out until the SEC Championship Game.

This week: vs. Kentucky Wildcats

6. Wisconsin Badgers (10-0)

Wisconsin won a big game against Iowa and showed how tough they can be. They won 38-14 and did not allow Iowa to score an offensive touchdown. Iowa is now 6-4 so the win will likely not go as far as they hope, but it was a dominating performance that made the Badgers look good.

The Badgers look better as a result of Northwestern turning it on in the back half of the season. The problem is they have two decent wins, one over Northwestern and one over Iowa. The undefeated record has gotten them to number six in the country, but they have no margin for error.

With two Big Ten games left, Wisconsin needs to bring their “A” game every week.

This week: vs. Michigan Wolverines

7. Auburn Tigers (8-2)

College Football Playoff Bracketology

Kerryon Johnson (Photo by al.com)

Auburn helped create some chaos in the college football landscape with their win over then number one ranked Georgia. They played their best game of the season in their 40-17 win. They may have two losses, but they control their own CFP destiny with games against Alabama and a possible rematch with Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.

The Tigers lost to LSU and Clemson, but the wins and possible future wins have Auburn in a great position. With wins over Mississippi State and now Georgia, Auburn has the best case out of any two loss team. If they keep winning, it will make the committee’s decisions very interesting.

They have one easy game and then the Iron Bowl before the possible SEC Championship Game appearance.

This week: UL Monroe Warhawks

8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-2)

The Fighting Irish lost another game to a top tier team this week. They stood no chance against Miami by the time halftime hit. Losing that big won’t do them any favors with the committee, but at least it came at the hands of an undefeated and good football team.

Notre Dame lost to two of the best teams in the country, which will count for something with the committee, even if they got blown out in one of the games. They still have some solid wins over Michigan State, USC and N.C. State. It will be hard to get back into the CFP without a conference championship game to play in, but in college football, never say never.

They play Navy and Stanford in the next two weeks, so Notre Dame has to remain focused and hope for some losses from the teams ahead of them.

This week: vs. Navy Midshipmen

Next four out

9. Ohio State Buckeyes (8-2)

Ohio State seemingly can’t figure out what team they are this season and followed up a loss with a big time win over Michigan State 48-3. Michigan State had risen up the rankings to number 12, making it another good win for the Buckeyes, but it might be too little too late.

The Buckeyes have the two losses to Oklahoma and Iowa, with the latter really holding them back. Iowa is just 6-4 now. Ohio State does have two good wins, over Penn State and now Michigan State, but they have to finish strong in orderto keep their CFP hopes alive.

They get Illinois before their regular season finale against Michigan.

This week: vs. Illinois Illini

10. TCU Horned Frogs (8-2)

The Horned Frogs lost to Oklahoma by 18 this week to get their second loss of the season. TCU looked outmatched and now has some serious work to do to get back in the CFP picture.

TCU beat Oklahoma State and West Virginia for solid wins, but the problem is the Big 12 beating up on each other. Three teams are tied for second place and a chance for the Big 12 Championship. TCU currently holds the tie-breaker over these two, Oklahoma State and West Virginia, so they should be able to make the title game if they take care of business.

If they can hold off two of the teams in the bottom half of the Big 12 standings in the last two regular season games, TCU will get a rematch with Oklahoma.

This week: at Texas Tech Red Raiders

11. Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-2)

Oklahoma picked up a big win over Iowa State that helps their case for the CFP and also significantly improved their chances of making the Big 12 Championship Game. The Cowboys won with a controversial finish, but it still counts as a win.

The Cowboys’ two losses, to Oklahoma and TCU, can prevent them from making the Big 12 Championship Game, so they need some help to win a conference championship. In terms of a CFP resume, they have beaten both Iowa State and West Virginia.

They won’t pick up much love playing the two Kansas teams in the Big 12 to finish the season, so they really need to make the Big 12 Championship Game.

This week: vs. Kansas State Wildcats

12. USC Trojans (9-2)

USC picked up another win, this time against Colorado. The Buffaloes aren’t the same team as last year, but could still make a bowl game.

The Pac-12 is likely out of the CFP, but USC holds its best chances. USC has beaten Arizona and Stanford for solid wins and will likely have a tough time picking up too many more solid ones. The Trojans  need a lot of help.

USC has one more regular season game left and then the Pac-12 Championship to prove themselves. It likely won’t be enough.

This week: at UCLA Bruins

 

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