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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Heisman watch 11/5/17

Now that the college football season is through ten weeks, the Hiesman Trophy race is becoming a lot more clear. Here are the top players that should be on the “Heisman Watch” after the weekend’s good slate of games:

6. Khalil Tate, QB, Arizona

Heisman Watch

Khalil Tate (Photo by yahoo.com)

The electric quarterback has come on strong for the Wildcats. He only made his fourth start of the season against USC and once again showed how valuable he is, even in a loss. He threw for 132 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, but was able to do some more damage on the ground. Tate rushed for 161 yards and another score.

He has now rushed for over 1,000 and passed for just under 1,000 yards on the season. Tate is the man that  has sparked a good season for Arizona. It would be a stretch to see him win the award, but if he keeps up at the current pace he is on track to be in contention to at least be a finalist.

Season stats: 930 passing yards, 8 passing TDs, 61.2% completion, 5 interceptions, 1087 rushing yards, 9 rushing TDs

5. Josh Adams, RB, Notre Dame

It is unfortunate that Adams got injured and had to leave the game against Wake Forest and as a result loses a chance for another big game. That’s how it goes in college football though. He managed to rush for 22 yards on five carries. His team was able to win without him, which is always good for a Heisman campaign.

Adams has been the master of long runs this season as he has had several runs of at least 50 yards for touchdowns. He benefits from a great offensive line, but he does a lot of damage after contact. Ultimately if he wants to win the award, he needs to play in the last three games of the regular season and put up a lot of good numbers.

Season stats: 1,191 rushing yards, 82 receiving yards, 9 total TDs

4. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin

Heisman Watch

Jonathan Taylor (Photo by dailyherald.com)

Taylor is having an amazing freshman season for the Badgers and that continued on Saturday against the Indiana Hoosiers. He finished with 29 carries for 183 yards and one rushing touchdown. The Badgers remain undefeated, but Taylor lacks a “Heisman Moment”, as they haven’t played in any big games thus far.

On the season, Taylor has rushed for 1,368 yards already. He is gaining yards as a freshman at the same pace and even faster than some of the all time greats. Taylor needs to continue racking up the yards and have Wisconsin win most if not all of their remaining games to have a shot to win it.

Season stats: 1,368 rushing yards, 41 yards receiving, 12 total TDs

3. Bryce Love, RB, Stanford

Love sat out the game against Oregon State, which hindered his chance to break some serious records, like the all-purpose yards in one season record. He did play this weekend against Washington State and had his worst game of the season totaling 69 rushing yards and one touchdown. His team also lost, which sets him a little further behind.

The thing that keeps Love his high in the rankings is his gaudy stat line. He already is approaching 1,500 yards, even with sitting out the Oregon State game. He very well could have 2,000 yards rushing at season’s end. Love needs to get to 2,000 yards rushing to win the award, but should be able to get invited with his current stat line.

Season stats: 1,456 rushing yards, 19 receiving yards, 12 total TDs

2. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Yes, Barkley and Penn State have really slowed down, while number one on this list is picking it up. The Nittany Lions lost to Michigan State for their second straight loss, which damages Barkley’s campaign a little bit. More importantly though, he only had 63 yards rushing and 33 yards receiving in this game with no touchdowns.

Barkley has fewer than 1,000 rushing yards, which is alarming considering one of the quarterbacks on this list, Tate, has 1,000 yards rushing in four starts. One thing Barkley brings to the table is versatility, as he has over 500 receiving yards on the season and also has two kickoff returns for touchdowns. He also has some highlight plays that make him look like he is a created player in a video game. He needs to pick it up down the stretch and see Baker Mayfield stumble to win the award.

Season stats: 864 rushing yards, 502 receiving yards, 14 total TDs

1. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

The Sooners got another big win, defeating Oklahoma State in Stillwater. It was a high-scoring game which afforded Mayfield the opportunity to let the ball fly. The win helps the Heisman case, but the stats are just downright crazy. He threw for 598 yards and five touchdowns to help lead his team to victory.

Mayfield still has a few games left, including a possible Big 12 Championship Game, but already has 3,226 passing yards. He is lighting up defenses and has the Sooners in place to make a run at the College Football Playoff. His “Heisman Moments” at Ohio State and at Oklahoma State also help improve his case for the Heisman. The crazy thing is, he still has a few big games coming up to further his case for the Heisman.

Season stats: 3,226 passing yards, 28 passing TDs, 71.7% completion, 5 interceptions, 181 rushing yards, 5 rushing TDs

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Five things we learned in college football week 10

Week 10 of college football offered a great day of games that required multiple screens or a quick hand on the remote. Through it all, a lot was gleaned about the teams and players. Here is what we learned this week in college football:

1. Iowa City is a great Place For football

Iowa has been in the spotlight on multiple occasions this season for some of the big games they have hosted. First, they almost were able to beat Penn State, but ended up losing a close one. This week though, they didn’t just beat Ohio State, they throttled them. The fans fed off the performance and stormed the field after the victory.

That isn’t the only thing going on in Iowa. Yes, the atmosphere was electric and the Hawkeyes got a big win, but the biggest story comes from their newest tradition. This has been getting headlines all season, but it continued this weekend. All the fans and players waved to the children’s hospital overlooking the stadium after the first quarter. Even opposing fans and players have started waving. Anything people can do to make sick kids feel better is amazing.

It’s not just the win, not just the atmosphere and not just the tradition that makes Iowa City great, but the combination of the three.

2. Michigan State can still win the Big Ten East

College football week 10

Matt Coghlin (Photo by centurylink.net)

Michigan State was coming off of an overtime loss to Northwestern last week and got rewarded with a home game against Penn State. The game was delayed for a few hours due to lightning, but was competitive and entertaining the whole way through. The Spartans were able to upset Penn State with a last second field goal.

The loss for Penn State really puts them behind the eight ball for a Big Ten Championship appearance. Michigan State however, is now tied with Ohio State for the lead in the Big Ten East after Ohio State’s loss this weekend. The teams will battle it out this weekend, with the winner more than likely going to Indianapolis for the Big Ten title game.

Through these two results, the Big Ten faces an uphill battle to make it to the CFP. They are relying on Wisconsin now.

3. Heisman race is clearer now

Baker Mayfield and Saquon Barkley are the two top dogs vying for the Heisman after this weekend. Mayfield won a big game and broke the school record for passing yards. Barkley struggled, but has his fair share of highlights on the season.

Other key players fell off the trail for the Heisman this week. Josh Adams had to leave Notre Dame’s game against Wake Forest with an injury. Mason Rudolph lost to Mayfield in a head to head matchup, which will be hard to overcome. J.T. Barrett threw four interceptions against Iowa. Now Rudolph and Adams will be fighting to make it to the ceremony in December.

Two names that may receive an invite, or win it if Mayfield and Barkley fall off more, are Jonathan Taylor and Khalil Tate. Taylor is a freshman running back for Wisconsin, who already has 1,368 yards on the season. It helps that his team is undefeated too. Tate has started in just four games as the quarterback of Arizona and already has over 1,000 rushing yards. His team may have three losses already, but if he keeps going at the pace he is on, he is going to break a lot of records without even starting the whole season.

4. Miami is back

Miami is a team that had been ranked low by the CFP committee in the first week of the rankings, and rightfully so. Their best win to date was over an 8-1 Toledo team. Toledo is a god team, but they are from the MAC. The Hurricanes needed to play well against good competition to prove themselves.

This week Miami was able to beat Virginia Tech to take a lead in the ACC Coastal, which sets them up nicely for a chance at the ACC Championship Game. This was their first big test, but they passed and are now going to be ranked somewhere in the top eight.

More tests are ahead for Miami, but they have a very good football team and created an atmosphere at Hard Rock Stadium that hasn’t been there since the Hurricanes played at the Orange Bowl. Even if they lose to Notre Dame this week and lose the ACC Championship Game, this has been the best Miami football season in a long time.

5. Auburn can really shake things up

College football week 10

Kerryon Johnson (Photo by al.com)

Auburn only has two losses on the season and are moving up the CFP rankings. They actually have a chance to make the CFP, even with two losses. That is a tall order given their remaining schedule, so the best possible way to look at them is to see them as a team that can create chaos.

The remaining schedule features games against Georgia and Alabama, the committee’s top two teams. If they win those, they will likely get a rematch with Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. With most fans wanting to see as much parity as possible, the best thing to do is watch and root on Auburn in the last few weeks.

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Five things to watch for in college football week 10

The college football playoff race is getting heated and a lot of great story lines are going on in college football. Here are five things to watch this week:

1. Bedlam

Yes one of the best things to watch this week is bedlam. This is the rivalry game between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Both teams have just one loss and want to keep it that way so they have a better shot of making the College Football Playoff. These games are always exciting, but with the added pressure, it will be a joy to watch.

These two teams have two high-powered offenses, both of which rank in the top six in scoring. These teams also have Heisman Trophy contenders in Baker Mayfield and Mason Rudolph. There will be a lot of passing and offense in this game, so defenses need to step up and get some key stops. Whoever’s defense steps up will win this game.

The game is in Stillwater, so home field advantage goes to the Cowboys. Make sure to check out this game at 4:00 p.m. EST, as it will have CFP ranking implications.

2. ACC Coastal Clash

Week 10 college football preview

Josh Jackson (Photo by detroitnews.com)

The two best teams in the ACC Coastal will square off as well. Like Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, this game has CFP implications. Miami is undefeated, but hasn’t beaten anyone of note yet this season. Virginia Tech is very similar in that regard and they have a loss to Clemson earlier in the year.

Because these are the two best teams in the ACC Coastal, this game will likely decide who ends up playing in the ACC Championship Game. Miami hasn’t been playing well as of late and survived an upset bid from the woeful North Carolina Tar Heels this weekend. The defense will have to continue to be solid in this one and Malik Rosier will need to make throws against talented defenders for the Hokies. Virginia Tech has been kicking butt ever since their loss to Clemson and has a lot of NFL talent on its roster.

The game is in Miami, where they are hosting the biggest game they have had in a long time. Will the fans show up and create a dynamic atmosphere?

3. Pac-12 South contest

After last weekend the Pac-12 South got a little more clear. Arizona and USC are the two teams that are most likely to go to the Pac-12 Championship and they square off this weekend. Both teams have just one loss in conference and will play this weekend to take a commanding lead in the division.

Sam Darnold has been turnover prone and will need to play well to give USC a chance. The defense is extremely average and will need to have their best game of the season if they have any shot to win. Khalil Tate has taken over as starting quarterback for Arizona and is a great dual-threat. Since he has taken over, Arizona is a completely different team and is now even ranked. They are very dangerous.

This game will offer up a battle of quarterbacks with completely differing styles, but it will be very fun to watch. The quarterback that plays the best will win this game.

4. Battle for ACC Atlantic

College football week 10 preview

Kelly Bryant (Photo by tigernet.com)

Another battle in the ACC that has title implications is N.C. State vs. Clemson. Clemson has one loss to Syracuse, while the Wolfpack haven’t lost in ACC Play. Clemson is favored by over a touchdown, but N.C. State has had a solid season.

Clemson got back on track last week with a win over Georgia Tech, after losing to Syracuse two games ago. With quarterback Kelly Bryant healthy the team is good enough to go to the CFP. The defensive line creates havoc for any offense. N.C. State’s defensive line is good itself, but they just got gashed by Notre Dame. The offense protects the football well, while moving the ball well, which is hard to do.

The Tigers will likely win the game, but if the Wolfpack’s defense can stop Clemson’s offense, it’s anyone’s game. N.C. State will have the game at home, which should make it more interesting.

5. Other big matchups

There are seven games this weekend involving ranked teams so get the remote ready.

Michigan State takes on Penn State. The Nittany Lions are still a great team, but can’t have a hangover after their tough loss to Ohio State. The only way Michigan State has a chance is if Mark Dantonio’s defense can slow down Saquon Barkley.

Stanford travels to Pullman to take on Washington State. The game features the passing attack of Washington State, with whatever quarterback they decide to play, and Stanford’s power game, which may not feature Bryce Love due to injury. The Cardinal are seemingly on their late season roll and can still make the Pac-12 Championship Game. The winner still has to take on Washington, but this will show a lot about the Pac-12 North standing.

LSU is going to Alabama for their annual game. The Tigers will have to do something to make up for their lackluster offense in this game. The Crimson Tide just need to keep on rolling. This is the toughest stretch of their schedule, but they are a much better team than LSU. The rivalry game gives this game more juice, as LSU will play with extra pep in their step.

 

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Five things we learned in college football week 9

Week nine was wild and crazy. College football is an awesome sport an there is still a lot more to be played. Here are five things we learned in college football week nine:

1. It’s going to be chaotic

There has already been a fair amount of chaos, but there is more coming. This weekend Ohio State beat Penn State, which knocks the Nittany Lions out of the top four for now. TCU was also in the top four and lost to Iowa State. In a matchup of two good teams Notre Dame enhanced their case to be considered for the CFP with their win over N.C. State.

The field has been narrowed down to four teams from power five conferences who are undefeated. Alabama and Georgia are two of these teams and will likely play each other in the SEC Championship. Miami and Wisconsin are also undefeated, but haven’t played anyone of note. With plenty more good games (Oklahoma-Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech-Miami, Notre Dame-Miami, Alabama-Auburn, etc.) the current rankings will not hold to form.

Buckle in, more great football is coming.

2. J.T. Barrett is Clutch

week 9 college football recap

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

J.T. Barrett is a record setting quarterback at Ohio State, but takes a lot of blame for the losses he has suffered while at Ohio State. His first few years as quarterback he had a lot of NFL talent around him, but lately that hasn’t been the case, particularly this season. He hasn’t played well in big games and he hasn’t had much help from the rest of the offense.

Ohio State needed to win to stay alive in the College Football Playoff race and that was a tall order with Penn State coming to town. They started off trailing and had to try to play catch up the rest of the game. It looked like the game was over at several different points, but Barrett kept on scoring. In the fourth quarter he was 13/13 passing for 170 yards and three touchdowns. This concluded with a touchdown pass to Marcus Baugh with under two minutes left to take a one point lead over the Nittany Lions. The Buckeyes were able to hold on for the big win.

Barrett turned in one of the best fourth quarter performances of all time to get his team the victory and proved a lot of haters wrong in the process.

3. Iowa State is really good

When Iowa State beat Oklahoma a lot of people thought it was a fluke, but the Cyclones have put a nice season together now. This week they took on TCU and won a tough, physical game 14-7. They have now beaten two top five teams this season and are 6-2. Because of their success Iowa State is in a four way tie for first place in the Big 12.

Matt Campbell has done a great job of turning this program around and they are already bowl eligible. They still have tough games against Oklahoma State and West Virginia, but there is a possibility they can go to the Big 12 Championship Game. Even if they don’t get that far, Campbell has to be in the discussion for a lot of coach of the year awards.

4. Notre Dame’s offensive line is the best in college football

Notre Dame got another good win this week over the N.C. State Wolfpack. The big matchup in the game was the Notre Dame offensive line against the stout Wolfpack defensive line. The Fighting Irish were able to control the line of scrimmage again and win the game, which put themselves in the thick of the College Football Playoff picture.

The offensive line did allow a sack to future NFL player Bradley Chubb, but otherwise played a great game. Josh Adams was able to rush for 202 yards, which is partially due to his talent and partially because of the great line in front of him. Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson, future NFL draf picks on the Notre Dame offensive line were able to clear a lot of holes for Adams. McGlinchey did allow the sack to Chubb, but the line still looks like the class of college football.

5. Arizona can win the Pac-12

College football week 9 recap

Khalil Tate (Photo by sfgate.com)

Arizona picked up another win this week to set them up nicely for the Pac-12 race. This week they beat Washington State 58-37, which officially ended Washington State’s CFP hopes. The offense has been sparked by quarterback Khalil Tate, who has used his dual threat abilities to torch opposing defenses. This game Tate had 275 yards passing and 146 yards rushing.

With Tate at the Helm, Arizona can win the Pac-12. Right now their main competition in the Pac-12 South is USC. The Trojans still only have one loss in Pac-12 play and look to be back on track with their domination of Arizona State this weekend. Arizona has been on a tear and can take advantage of the holes in USC’s defense. If they can get by USC they will find themselves in the Pac-12 Championship Game after starting the season off with lower expectations.

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College Football Playoff bracketology 10/29/17

The season has officially gone bonkers. There is still a lot of football left to play, but these rankings will reflect how the committee should rank the teams. The committee’s first rankings come out this Tuesday.

Playoff teams:

1. Georgia Bulldogs (8-0)

Georgia has finally made the jump up to number one. The Bulldogs were able to destroy Florida 42-7 to get through two-thirds of their season unbeaten. Florida isn’t a great team, but Georgia looks like a dominant team and has a great case to be the number one team.

Their win over Notre Dame is continuing to look better as Notre Dame shoots up these rankings. Mississippi State will also be in the committee’s initial rankings at 6-2 and Georgia destroyed them. The other wins for the Bulldogs aren’t great, but they are undefeated still, which goes a long way.

Every single game left for Georgia will be tough in different ways, but they look like one of the best teams in football.

This week: vs. South Carolina Gamecocks

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0)

The Crimson Tide were off this week and were able to prepare for a couple crucial games at the end of the season.

Alabama doesn’t have any great wins. Florida State has completely fallen off. Texas A&M is an ok win, but they just lost to Mississippi State to fall to 5-3. Their best win might be over Colorado State, who is 6-3 and will probably finish with eight or nine wins. They still have played some decent teams, which is more than a lot of undefeated teams in these rankings can say.

Can the Crimson Tide stay undefeated through three more tough games?

This week: vs. 19 LSU Tigers

3. Clemson Tigers (7-1)

Clemson beat a decent Georgia Tech team this weekend in the rain. Defending the triple option is never easy but they were aided by a bye week last week and the weather. They needed to get back on track after their only loss of the season to Syracuse.

Even with the loss to Syracuse, Clemson has a great case to be a top four team. Their wins over Auburn and Virginia Tech are still very good. The win against Louisville looks worse, but is still a solid road win. Heck, even their wins over BC, Wake Forest and the recent victory over Georgia Tech help their case.

The Tigers will have one of their stiffest tests this weekend against N.C. State, who is coming off of the loss to Notre Dame.

This Week: at 20 N.C. State Wolfpack

4. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-1)

College football playoff bracketology

Brandon Wimbush (Photo by indystar.com)

Another week for Notre Dame and another big win for the Fighting Irish. This week they were able to pull away from N.C. State in the second half. The Wolfpack were rated at number 14 in the AP poll, but likely won’t drop too far as a result of the loss.

Notre Dame’s loss by one to Georgia makes them look like they can compete with any team in the country, which will appeal to the committee. They also have some solid wins over Michigan State, USC and now N.C. State. Michigan State did lose to Northwestern this week, but that is just their second loss of the season. USC got back on track with a domination of Arizona State 48-17. With those three wins and the one point loss, Notre Dame is right on the cut line for the top four.

More tests still remain for Notre Dame, but they have put themselves in a good position after week nine of college football.

This week: vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

First four out:

5. Oklahoma Sooners (7-1)

The Sooners put up a lot of points and beat an average Texas Tech team. They have looked sluggish as of late,which will scare some committee members, but looked better in this game.

How good does the Sooners’ win over Ohio State look now? With Ohio State stepping up big time, Oklahoma’s win has them right back in the CFP picture. They beat out Ohio State because of their win head to head. Their loss to Iowa State looks  a lot better now that Cyclones upset TCU. Their wins over Texas, Kansas State and Texas Tech are decent, but won’t turn any heads.

Oklahoma has a back-loaded schedule that they will have to get through.

This week: at 11 Oklahoma State Cowboys

6. Ohio State Buckeyes (7-1)

College Football Playoff Bracketology

Urban Meyer (Photo by usatoday.com)

Ohio State has been the loser and winner of two of the best college football games of the season. This week they had an unbelievable comeback win over Penn State and won 39-38. The Nittany Lions were ranked highly and the win drastically helps out Ohio State’s case to be in the CFP.

So they lost to Oklahoma and beat Penn State, but the Buckeyes don’t have too much more going on. The best team they have beat outside of Penn State is a 6-2 Army team. Other than that they have beaten average Big Ten teams or worse. The good news for Ohio State is that if they win out, they likely will be in the CFP, which is something only a handful of teams can say.

More big games are coming for the Buckeyes in the last third of their schedule.

This week: at Iowa Hawkeyes

7. TCU Horned Frogs (7-1)

TCU drops as a result of their loss to Iowa State this weekend. The Cyclones are on a tear and were able to win at home 14-7. This loss is bad for TCU, but they still can make the Big 12 Championship and play their way back into the top four teams with some help.

The Horned Frogs still have a great win that came on the road over Oklahoma State. With the Cowboys winning every other game of the season, it sets TCU up nicely. TCU also has nice wins over Kansas State and West Virginia. The problem for TCU might be that they will have to play a team for a second time in the Big 12 Championship.

Oklahoma is still on the schedule, but TCU should be able to win any other game on their schedule.

This week: vs. Texas Longhorns

8. Penn State Nittany Lions (7-1)

Penn State played Ohio State tough, but ended up losing 39-38. It was a great effort on the road, but they could not finish off the Buckeyes. The Nittany Lions move way down and have to hope for a lot of help to make the CFP.

James Franklin’s squad moves down as a result of the loss and the lack of big wins on their resume. They beat Michigan, who is a borderline top 25 team. They got wins against Iowa and Northwestern, but those teams are just barely above .500. All they can do is keep winning and take the help of other teams ahead of them losing.

The Nittany Lions have another big game this weekend against Michigan State.

This week: at 24 Michigan State

 

Next four out:

9. Wisconsin Badgers (8-0)

College Football Playoff Bracketology

Jonathan Taylor (photo by athlonsports.com)

Wisconsin got another easy win this week to stay undefeated, which is about their only case to the committee at this point. They got a victory over Illinois 24-10.

The Badgers have won games against two teams that are over .500: Florida Atlantic and Northwestern. Their wins over teams that are .500 include Maryland and Nebraska. They play some tougher teams down the stretch, but when it’s all said and done, they have to run the table.

Games still remain against Iowa and Michigan, which will be their best games to show to the committee what they can do before the conclusion of the regular season.

This week: vs. Indiana Hoosiers

10. Miami Hurricanes (7-0)

Miami got another close win this week, but it did not make them look too good. They beat North Carolina 24-19, which will do nothing for their case in the CFP committee’s eyes. North Carolina is now 1-8 on the season and a good team should have blown them out.

The problem with the Hurricanes is that they don’t have any good wins. They have beaten Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Toledo and Duke. Toledo is their best win. They beat the Rockets 52-30 and Toledo is now 7-1, while receiving votes to be in the top 25.

Everyone will find out if Miami is for real in the next two weeks when they take on Virginia Tech and Notre Dame.

This week: vs. 13 Virginia Tech Hokies

11. Oklahoma State Cowboys (7-1)

The Cowboys outscored West Virginia 50-39 to take their winning streak to four games. West Virginia was ranked at number 22 in the AP poll and is a solid win. The problem is that the Big 12 is beating up on each other, which will result in a lot of these wins to look worse as the season goes on.

Oklahoma State dropped the game to TCU, but doesn’t have too many wins to make up for it. They have solid wins over Texas Tech, Texas and now West Virginia. Like the other teams in the Big 12, they have some key games down the stretch and a tough rematch in the Big 12 Championship Game.

The next two weeks are going to be brutal for the Cowboys, as they play Oklahoma and Iowa State.

This week: vs. 8 Oklahoma Sooners

12. Virginia Tech Hokies (7-1)

Virginia Tech has worked their way back into these rankings after beating Duke 24-3. Duke is 4-5, but is on a five game losing streak and likely won’t be bowl eligible, meaning the win won’t do much for the Hokies. They moved up as a result of other teams losing.

The Hokies have solid wins over West Virginia and Boston College, but that’s about it. They lost at home to Clemson, but were able to stay close, losing 31-17. Virginia Tech still needs to probe they can beat a very good team before the committee will move them too much higher in the rankings.

Fortunately for Virginia Tech, they will get the chance to play a good team this weekend.

This week: at 9 Miami Hurricanes

 

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College football week 9 picks

Joe DiTullio and Rob Doerger make their college football picks for week nine including all games that include FBS teams.

AwayHomeLocationRobJoe
Eastern MichiganNorthern IllinoisHuskie Stadium, DeKalb, ILNIUNIU
ToledoBall StateScheumann Stadium, Muncie, INToledoToledo
South AlabamaGeorgia StateGeorgia State Stadium, Atlanta, GAGeorgia StUSA
#20 StanfordOregon StateReser Stadium, Corvallis, ORStanfordStanford
Tulane#24 MemphisLiberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TNMemphisMemphis
Florida StateBoston CollegeAlumni Stadium , Chestnut Hill, MABCFlorida State
TulsaSMUGerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, TXSMUSMU
BuffaloAkronInfoCision Stadium, Akron, OHAkronAkron
#5 WisconsinIllinoisMemorial Stadium , Champaign, ILWisconsinWisconsin
#8 MiamiNorth CarolinaKenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, NCMiamiMiami
#11 Oklahoma State#22 West VirginiaMilan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, WVOK StateOk State
RutgersMichiganMichigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MIMichiganMichigan
ArkansasOle MissVaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MSArkansasArkansas
TexasBaylorMcLane Stadium, Waco, TXTexasTexas
LouisvilleWake ForestBB&T Field, Winston-salem, NCLouisvilleLouisville
VirginiaPittsburghHeinz Field, Pittsburgh, PAUvaUVA
CaliforniaColoradoFolsom Field, Boulder, COColoradoCal
Florida IntlMarshallJoan C. Edwards Stadium, Huntington, WVMarshallMarshall
Kansas StateKansasMemorial Stadium , Lawrence, KSK StateK-State
Air ForceColorado StateCSU Stadium, Fort Collins, COColorado StCol St
San Jose StateBYULaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo, UTBYUBYU
#2 Penn State#6 Ohio StateOhio Stadium, Columbus, OHOSUOSU
#3 GeorgiaFloridaEverBank Field, Jacksonville, FLGeorgiaGeorgia
#4 TCU#25 Iowa StateJack Trice Stadium, Ames, IATCUTCU
#14 NC State#9 Notre DameNotre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, INNC StateND
UCLA#12 WashingtonHusky Stadium, Seattle, WAWashingtonWashington
#16 Michigan StateNorthwesternRyan Field, Evanston, ILNWMichigan State
Georgia SouthernTroyVeterans Memorial Stadium , Troy, ALTroyTroy
Margin of victory3323
Appalachian StateUMassWarren McGuirk Alumni Stadium, Amherst, MAApp StApp State
Louisiana TechRiceRice Stadium, Houston, TXLa TechLa Tech
IndianaMarylandMaryland Stadium, College Park, MDIndianaIU
Houston#17 South FloridaRaymond James Stadium, Tampa, FLUSFUSF
VanderbiltSouth CarolinaWilliams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, SCSouth CarolinaSouth Carolina
Florida AtlanticWestern KentuckyL.T. Smith Stadium, Bowling Green, KYFAUFAU
Austin Peay#18 UCFSpectrum Stadium, Orlando, FLUCFUCF
Louisiana MonroeIdahoKibbie Dome, Moscow, IDULMULM
UtahOregonAutzen Stadium, Eugene, ORUtahUtah
Texas StateCoastal CarolinaBrooks Stadium, Conway, SCCoastalCoastal
MissouriConnecticutRentschler Field, East Hartford, CTMizzouMissouri
Old DominionNorth TexasApogee Stadium, Denton, TXUNTUNT
MinnesotaIowaKinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IAIowaIowa
UABSouthern MississippiM. M. Roberts Stadium, Hattiesburg, MSUSMUSM
Mississippi StateTexas A&MKyle Field, College Station, TXA&MTAMU
Duke#13 Virginia TechLane Stadium, Blacksburg, VAVTVT
New MexicoWyomingWar Memorial Stadium , Laramie, WYNew MexicoWyoming
TennesseeKentuckyCommonwealth Stadium, Lexington, KYKentuckyTennessee
NebraskaPurdueRoss-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, INNebraskaNebraska
Georgia Tech#7 ClemsonMemorial Stadium , Clemson, SCClemsonClemson
Texas Tech#10 OklahomaMemorial Stadium , Norman, OKOklahomaOklahoma
UT San AntonioUTEPSun Bowl, El Paso, TXUTSAUTSA
Arkansas StateNew Mexico StateAggie Memorial Stadium, Las Cruces, NMArk StArk State
#15 Washington StateArizonaArizona Stadium, Tucson, AZArizonaWazzu
UNLVFresno StateBulldog Stadium , Fresno, CAFresno StFresno St.
Boise StateUtah StateRomney Stadium, Logan, UTBoiseBoise
#21 USCArizona StateSun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZUSCUSC
San Diego StateHawai’iAloha Stadium, Honolulu, HIHawai’iHawaii
Gameday Guest Picker (Columbus)Archie GriffinA.J. Hawk

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Five things to watch for in college football week 9

It is coming down to the end of the season, which means more good games are on the way. Here are five things to watch for in college football in week nine:

1. Notre Dame’s offensive line vs. Bradley Chubb

Week 9 college football

Bradley Chubb (Photo by: fansided.com)

Notre Dame is coming off of a good win against USC and now has a bunch of hype surrounding them. N.C. State only has one loss and will be traveling to South Bend with high hopes. This game will be a marquee win for whichever team ends up winning and the game will be won in the trenches.

N.C. State has one of the best defensive linemen in the country in Bradley Chubb. Chubb has 13 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks on the season. He has worked his way into being in the talk to be a first round draft pick. Chubb has been able to help the Wolfpack defense to hold opponents to 639 rushing yards on the season. He and the entire N.C. State defensive line will need to step up to stop Notre Dame’s running game.

Josh Adams has worked his way into the Heisman conversation now. He is a big play threat and has had several long runs for touchdowns. The offensive line has been key in clearing holes for Adams. Both Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson anchor the left side of the offensive line and are probably going to be selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

The team that wins the trenches will win the game and move up in the rankings.

2. Big Ten East Clash

Both teams have been waiting to play each other again after last season. Penn State beat Ohio State, which gives the Buckeyes a reason to want revenge, while the Nittany Lions missed the CFP in favor of OSU, so they will want to leave no doubt who the better team is. This game will be one of the best games of the college football season, so it needs to be watched.

Penn State won big over Michigan and looks like one of the best teams in the country. The offense is star-powered with Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley and the defense hasn’t allowed more than 19 points this season. The Nittany Lions still haven’t won a game over a great team so they have a chance to do that for the first time this year.

Ohio State also hasn’t beaten a good team all season. They have likely been itching for a chance to win a big game since their loss to Oklahoma early in the year. The Buckeyes have the top scoring offense in the country and the tenth best scoring defense, albeit against mostly lackluster competition. These units will be put to the test this weekend against Penn State.

The environment will be electric in Columbus on Saturday and the winner will likely make the CFP this time.

3. important Big 12 Shootouts

There are five teams in the Big 12 with one loss or less and four out of the five will be trying to knock each other off this weekend. While there is still a lot of football to be played, this will be a key weekend to figure out who will be in the Big 12 Championship Game.

Oklahoma State and West Virginia matchup in a game in Morgantown, West Virginia. There will be a lot of offense and passing yards, as both teams are ranked in the top five in scoring and passing yards. Whichever defense can get more stops will win the game and put themselves in a good position in this weird round robin Big 12 setup.

In the other game, TCU will take on the hot Iowa State Cyclones. TCU looks like the best team in the Big 12, with a good offense and defense. They are also the only undefeated team left in Big 12 play. Iowa State has a loss to Texas, but got the big upset win over Oklahoma. The Cyclones have gone to Kyle Kempt at quarterback with Jacob Park on injured leave and Kempt has done well. Iowa State is still a pretty big underdog, but they are used to that by now.

4. Pac-12 after dark games

College football week 9

Khalil Tate (Photo courtesy: washingtonpost.com)

Pac-12 after dark always has wild and crazy games and this week is no different. There are two matchups that will be exciting, while also featuring some of the favorites to make the Pac-12 Championship Game.

In the first game, Washington State takes on Arizona. Both teams can put up a lot of points. Washington State has only one loss on the season, coming at the hands of Cal. They are still in good position to make the Pac-12 Championship Game and have a great offense. Arizona is a surprise team that could end up winning the Pac-12 South. They have found new life with quarterback Khalil Tate, who has amassed over 1,000 yards in his three starts. There will be a lot of offense and a lot on the line.

The second game on the docket for Pac-12 after dark is USC at Arizona State. Both these teams, along with Arizona and UCLA, are still vying to win the Pac-12 South title. USC just lost to Notre Dame big time and need to get back on track. That starts with Sam Darnold protecting the football better and the defense being more physical. Arizona State surprisingly beat Washington to get on track. The Sun Devils’ defense has stepped up as of late, giving up 17 points in their last two games.

As crazy as it may sound it is likely the Arizona schools that will provide the biggest competition for USC in the south.

5. USF vs. Houston

USF is a team that a lot of people thought would go undefeated due to their easy schedule. There schedule is a little tougher with the emergence of other teams in their conference. Even so, the Bulls have to win out to make it to a New Year’s Six Bowl Game.

This week they play a Houston team that was supposed to be one of their toughest games of the season. Houston has stumbled a bit, but it will still be a good test for USF. If the Bulls can win this game they will likely win all others until their regular season finale.

If this result holds to form and there are no upsets in the AAC, the last few games will have a lot riding on them. First USF will play UCF in a rivalry game in a battle of unbeaten teams. The winner will go to the AAC Championship Game to face Memphis, who has only one loss. The winner of that game will likely be in a New Year’s Six Bowl.

Buckle up. The last few weeks of college football are going to be wild.

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Heisman Watch 10/23/17

A lot has changed in college football in the last few weeks, so it is time for another Heisman Watch. Here are the players who are leading the way in the Heisman race:

1. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Michigan’s offense may not be very good, but there defense is. Saquon Barkley had another big game in prime time to enhance his case for the Heisman. Barkley totaled 108 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground with 53 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown. He made highlight plays with a long touchdown catch that he bobbled then caught and a lot of good runs.

This was the performance that Barkley was missing last year to be in the Heisman race. He had a big game against a decent team that has a great defense. Now he has created an even bigger gap between him and the rest of the pack. Barkley could get to over 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards with a strong finish.

Barkley has two more tough games in a row to help his case even more. If Barkley can play well against Ohio State and Michigan State, he will virtually have the Heisman locked up.

Stats: 757 rushing yards, 448 receiving yards, 13 total touchdowns

2. Bryce Love, RB, Stanford

Heisman Watch

Bryce Love (Photo by: zimbio.com)

Love is still being overlooked, but one look at his stat line will make people see how historic his season has been so far. His last game came in week seven against Oregon, which was his worst performance of the season. He still managed to rush for 147 yards and two touchdowns. With some bad Pac-12 defenses still left to play, Love’s stats can get even better over the back stretch of the season.

Stanford losing two early games has hurt Love’s case, but they are coming on now. He needs to have some big games in prime time to close the gap on Barkley. Love will have a few big games to help his case, but is hard for any non-USC player to win the award from the west coast. Love has a chance to break the NCAA single season rushing record if he can have some big games down the stretch. Barry Sanders has the record at 2,628 rushing yards, so Love has to pick up the pace a little bit and have a few postseason games to reach the mark.

Washington State, Washington and Notre Dame should all be big games for Love to make his mark the rest of the way.

Stats: 1,387 rushing yards, 19 receiving yards, 11 total touchdowns

3. Josh Adams, RB, Notre Dame

Adams was highlighted as a result of the Fighting Irish’s big win over the USC Trojans. He was able to put on a show with his 191 rushing yards and three touchdowns. A lot of credit needs to be given to the Notre Dame offensive line, which is one of the best in college football, but Adams is the guy benefiting from their great play.

This season Adams has averaged 9.2 yards per carry, which ranks second nationally behind Bryce Love. While many claim that Notre Dame gets too much publicity, Adams seems to still be flying under the radar. Adams does have a sub par performance already against Georgia, but will have plenty of opportunities to have big games against good teams.

Three of the last five games for the Fighting Irish are against ranked teams and Adams will need to continue running well to get Notre Dame some key wins.

Stats: 967 rushing yards, 84 receiving yards, 8 total touchdowns

4. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

Baker Mayfield (Photo by: usatoday.com)

Mayfield had another great game against Kansas State. He had his first game of the season of over 400 passing yards, finishing with 410. Mayfield added 69 rushing yards and two touchdowns to go along with two passing touchdowns. He has had a lot of big games, but has needed to in order to win a lot of close games.

His touchdown to interception ration is almost 10 to one, so Mayfield has found a way to be productive, while protecting the football. The game against Ohio State is still one of the biggest moments of the season, but he needs to continue to produce and have big games.

In the next few weeks Mayfield has chances to improve his case. Oklahoma still has to play Oklahoma State, TCU and West Virginia, which will give Mayfield plenty of opportunities to make his way up the list.

Stats: 2,347 passing yards, 170 rushing yards, 22 total touchdowns, 2 interceptions

5. Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

Mason Rudolph had a mundane game against Texas and the Cowboys were lucky to get out of Austin for a win. He threw for 282 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. Rudolph was able to complete 65.8% of his passes this game and he protected the football enough for the defense to hang on for the win.

Rudolph is throwing the ball further down the field this year and putting up huge numbers. He lacks a big win and a “Heisman moment” right now, so he will have to do better to garner more support from Heisman voters.

In the game against Oklahoma, Rudolph has to out-duel Mayfield to have any chance at the award.

Stats: 2,650 passing yards, 60 rushing yards, 25 total touchdowns

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College Football Playoff bracketology 10/22/17

The top four is still the same after the action played out in week eight, but there were some more results that changed the lower end of these rankings. Here is how the teams should be ranked after week eight:

Playoff Teams: 

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0)

The Crimson Tide got another blowout win this week, routing Tennessee 45-7. It may not have been a win over a successful team, but Alabama looks really good, which means a lot to the committee too. If they can keep controlling games like this they will be at the top of the rankings when the committee release their initial rankings next Tuesday.

Alabama has their decent wins so far, but none of the teams they have beaten are currently ranked. They will get this ranking because of their game control, dominance and because they have beaten a lot of solid teams, even if they aren’t ranked. Wins over Texas A&M, Colorado State and Vandy will all likely end up being wins over bowl teams.

The schedule does get tougher from here on out, as Alabama plays at least two ranked teams, depending on how things change.

This week: Bye

2. Georgia Bulldogs (7-0)

Georgia didn’t play this weekend, but were able to retain their number two spot in the rankings.

The Bulldogs still have some really solid wins and deserve the number two spot. Their win over Notre Dame looks more impressive now that the Fighting Irish dominated USC. They also have recorded wins over an Appalachian State team that is on their way to a 10 win season, a solid Mississippi State team and a tricky Vanderbilt team.

Of their five games left, Georgia has three rivalry games. They should be favored in each game, but anything can happen in rivalry games.

This week: vs. Florida Gators (in Jacksonville, Florida)

3. TCU Horned Frogs (7-0)

TCU did exactly what they were supposed to and blew out Kansas. They won 43-0 and set records for the defensive performance. While this won’t do much for their resume, the look like the most balanced and best team in the Big 12.

The Horned Frogs have beaten two teams that are still ranked and have one of the best wins of the season: at Oklahoma State. The Cowboys haven’t lost since, so TCU has a great case to be in the top three teams. Their other big win over West Virginia also looks pretty good, as the Mountaineers will be moving up the rankings again this week. Add those two wins to a decent road win over Kansas State and you have one of the most battle tested teams in the country.

Their are still some tough games on the schedule for TCU, including Oklahoma, but the key is to make sure they make the Big 12 Championship Game even if they suffer a loss.

This week: at 25 Iowa State Cyclones

4. Penn State Nittany Lions (7-0)

College Football Playoff Bracketology

Trace McSorely (Photo by: nbcsports.com)

Penn State destroyed a Michigan team that had been struggling. That was their first win over a ranked team this season, but Michigan isn’t ranked any longer. They controlled the game and look like a playoff team.

The reason why Penn State is still number four is that they haven’t beaten too many good teams. The win at Iowa looks worse now that the Hawkeyes lost to Northwestern. The win over Michigan won’t be as much of a statement with Michigan likely trending downwards. The good news is that Penn State looks like one of the top two or three teams in the country and the committee will appreciate that.

One game down on the gauntlet of a three week schedule for Penn State, two more to go. If they win in Columbus this week they will move up the rankings into a more secure position.

This week: at 6 Ohio State Buckeyes

First Four Out:

5. Clemson Tigers (6-1)

The Tigers got a bye week to regroup after their tough loss on the road to Syracuse. A lot of the future of this team depends on the health of Kelly Bryant, so the next few weeks will show people a lot as far as how healthy Bryant is.

Losing to Syracuse still hurts their resume, but Syracuse is putting up good fights against good teams. The committee tends to care more about wins than losses and Clemson still has a lot of impressive wins. The wins over Virginia Tech and Auburn are still very good wins and the win at Louisville is still solid.

There are still some tough games left for Clemson, but they still have a good resume and if chaos happens could get in the CFP with two losses.

This week: at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

6. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-1)

College Football Playoff Bracketology

Nyles Morgan (Photo by: thesportsbank.net)

Notre Dame dominated USC in a way that no one saw coming. They were the more physical football team and ended up winning 49-14. The Trojans ended up falling to number 21 in the rankings as a result of the game, but it is still a very good win for Notre Dame.

The Fighting Irish have this win to pair with their huge road win over Michigan State, which looks better by the week. In every win on the season they have physically dominated their opponent and it has shown up on the scoreboard. With their only loss coming to Georgia, Notre Dame looks like one of the best football teams in the country.

If people don’t like Notre Dame being this high over undefeated teams then: A. Those undefeated teams need to play someone. B. Notre Dame will have a chance to play their way into or out of the CFP with the remaining schedule, because it is brutal.

This week: vs. 14 N.C. State Wolfpack

7. Oklahoma Sooners (6-1)

Lincoln Reilly got a nice bonus in his first year after the Sooners became bowl eligible. They were able to come back and beat a tough Kansas State team on the road. The Wildcats are under .500, so this win won’t do much, but it was a tricky game and the Sooners were able to avoid a second loss.

Oklahoma has the win at Ohio State to keep them this high in the rankings. Ohio State has continued to win and make Oklahoma look better. If the Buckeyes can beat Penn State this weekend it would help more. The Sooners’ wins over Texas and Kansas State should look better with time as well. Even the Sooners only loss on the season looks better, as Iowa State cracked the top 25 this week.

The last five games will have four tough matchups and a cakewalk, so the Sooners have to be ready to go.

This week: vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders

8. Miami Hurricanes (6-0)

Miami keeps on edging out wins in close games. This week they avoided a second straight upset bid from Syracuse and won the game 27-19. They may not be winning in a good-to-watch fashion, but they are getting the job done.

So what separates Miami from Wisconsin? A win over Toledo. That’s how bad of schedules these two teams have. Toledo is not a bad team by any stretch and will likely be ranked by the end of the year, but that is the only team getting votes in the AP Poll that either team has beaten. The Hurricanes get the nod for now over Wisconsin, but these rankings get updated every week for a reason.

Miami will find some separation in a few weeks when they get to play Virginia Tech and Notre Dame in back to back weeks.

This week: at North Carolina Tarheels

Next Four Out: 

9. Wisconsin Badgers (7-0)

College Football Playoff Bracketology

Jonathan Taylor (Photo by: thedailyherald.com)

The Badgers got another win, which is all they can do. This time they beat a Maryland team who is on their third string quarterback due to injury. Wisconsin won 38-17, which is what they should have done.

Wisconsin has only beaten two teams that have a record above .500, Northwestern and Florida Atlantic. They will need to beat stiffer competition than that to make it into the CFP.

The schedule gets a little tougher going forward, but it couldn’t get easier. There will be games against Iowa and Michigan to prove themselves before the Big Ten Championship Game.

This week: at Illinois Fighting Illini

10. Washington State Cougars (7-1)

Washington State had to play in the rain, but got a win over a Colorado team that is now .500. They won easily, 28-0. This was just the win that the Cougars needed to get back on track.

Their win over USC looks worse now, but it is still a solid win. They also have a win over a Boise State team that they can hang their hat on. Both are good wins. Their loss to Cal was pretty embarrassing, but there is still hope if they can handle their difficult Pac-12 schedule.

This week the Cougars’ high-powered offense will be in a shootout with an Arizona team that has Khalil Tate making plays all over the field.

This week: at Arizona Wildcats

11. N.C. State Wolfpack (6-1)

The Wolfpack had a bye week to prepare to their back-loaded schedule.

N.C. State have wins over Louisville and Florida State that probably were thought more highly of a couple of weeks ago. Other than those, their win over Marshall is nice, but their resume needs to have some bigger wins on it for the Wolfpack to move up.

The next two weeks will tell the world if N.C. State is for real or not.

This week: at 9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

12. Virginia Tech Hokies (6-1)

Virginia Tech won big over North Carolina, 59-7. North Carolina isn’t very good, but the Hokies looked good.

The Hokies still have just the loss to Clemson. They only have one win of note coming at the expense of West Virginia, who is now number 22 in the rankings. There are about eight or so teams that could easily slide into this spot, but Virginia Tech has the best win so they get the nod.

Justin Fuente’s team will get a few more chance for marquee victories in the coming weeks, to enhance their status in these rankings.

This week: vs. Duke Blue Devils

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