Early college football top 25 for the 2018 season

Alabama had a thrilling comeback to win yet another title. It included putting in a freshman quarterback, who hadn’t played a meaningful snap all season long. The game just goes to show that college football is unique and great. While the 2017 season is now over it is time to look ahead to the 2018 season. Here is the early college football top 25 for the 2018 season:

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

While they always lose talent to the NFL, Alabama can replace it. Jalen Hurts or Tua Tagovailoa will lead the offense alongside any of the talented running backs that decide to return to school. Najee Harris found some daylight in the title game and will also be back. The defense will lose a lot more talent to the NFL, but they always step up. A lot of players got experience this season due to injuries.

2. Clemson Tigers

Clemson made a third straight College Football Playoff and will compete for another next season. Kelly Bryant and the talented running backs will be back. Deon Cain and Hunter Renfrow need to make their decisions still, but Clemson can replace them. The defense always reloads and will at the very least have stud defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence to build around.

3. Ohio State Buckeyes

Early college football top 25 for the 2018 season

J.K. Dobbins (Photo by cleveland.com)

J.T. Barrett may be leaving, but Dwayne Haskins looked good in relief against Michigan. Add him with J.K. Dobbins, Mike Weber and the majority of the offensive line returning and it has the makings of a good offense. The defense will still have Nick Bosa and Dre’Mont Jones, which will help make up a good defensive line.

4. Washington Huskies

The Huskies had a young team this season that saw them replace a lot of NFL talent on defense. Jake Browning should return to school to lead the team at quarterback. Myles Gaskin and Dante Pettis could both be lost to the NFL, but if Gaskin elects to return to school, the offense will be solid. The majority of the defense will return, but will have to fill holes left by Vita Vea and some very good linebackers.

5. Miami Hurricanes

Is Malik Rosier the answer at quarterback? Only time will tell. The Hurricanes should have him, Mark Walton and Ahmmon Richards back to make plays. They do lose a lot on the offensive line, but should be able to replace it. Miami should also get most of their defense back, which includes a great back seven of talented linebackers and a good secondary.

6. Michigan State Spartans

L.J. Scott decided to return to school, giving Michigan State almost all their starters back for next year. After winning ten games this season, they should be expected to compete even more next season. Brian Lewerke is a dual-threat that is expected to improve this offseason. The defense was very young and should also get a lot better next season.

7. Georgia Bulldogs

The Bulldogs just played in the National Championship, but are going to lose a lot of talent, especially on their defense. They could lose up to nine or ten players from the defense, which will not be easy to replace. Georgia has some playmakers on offense returning in Jake Fromm, D’Andre Swift and Riley Ridley. Most of their offensive line also returns.

8. Wisconsin Badgers

Wisconsin got a huge win when linebacker T.J. Edwards said he was returning for his senior season. He will give the defense some stability, as they lose a lot this offseason. The offense will be expected to pick up the slack, as Jonathan Taylor had a fantastic freshman season and most of his offensive line will return. The question is: How well can Alex Hornibrook play?

9. Oklahoma Sooners

Lincoln Riley did a fantastic job in his first year as head coach, but now has to move on without Baker Mayfield. Kyler Murray was a highly-touted recruit that Riley can mold. Freshman running back Rodney Anderson also returns after having a great season and Rose Bowl. Add those two to wide receiver “Hollywood” Brown and the offense should be set. Defensively, some talent will move on, but the offense is the strength of the team.

10. Virginia Tech Hokies

Early college football top 25 for the 2018 season

Josh Jackson (Photo by cjonline.com)

Josh Jackson had a fantastic freshman season that resulted in nine wins. His progression is what carries this ranking. Travon McMillan and Cam Phillips, his two offensive weapons at running back and wide receiver, are gone. Young receivers will need to step up and they will also need to replace a few offensive linemen. The Hokies will return about six or seven starters on defense, but will need to replace some NFL-level talent.

11. Penn State Nittany Lions 

Saquon Barkley is gone, but Trace McSorley is back again. He will now have to be the focal point of the offense with a new offensive coordinator. Most of the offensive line returns, but a lot of new faces will have to step up on defense, as they had a lot of seniors getting significant playing time.

12. Auburn Tigers

The Tigers had a great season that resulted with them playing in the Cotton Bowl. Auburn gets quarterback Jarrett Stidham back, while Kerryon Johnson is leaving for the NFL. They will lose some quality players on defense, but will get the majority back for 2018.

13. Stanford Cardinal

Bryce Love is likely going to the NFL. The good news for Stanford is they can seemingly plug in a lot of running backs into their system to be productive. K.J. Costello also showed some flashes of being a very good quarterback. They lose more than half of their defense to seniors, but the returning players are solid.

14. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Both Josh Adams and Equanimeous St. are trying to make it at the next level. Losing Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson deals a significant blow to the offense of Notre Dame. They still have some good offensive linemen, running backs and wide receivers who will step up next season. That only leaves the matter of quarterback. Ian Book and Brandon Wimbush will battle it out in the offseason for the starting role. The seniors leaving the defense will leave a mark, but a lot of players returning have gotten significant playing time due to injuries over the previous few seasons.

15. Boise State Broncos

Boise State has a chance to be in the national spotlight again this year, after fading in the past few seasons. Quarterback Brett Rypien and running back Alexander Mattison return, which should help keep the offense rolling. Losing wide receiver Cedrick Wilson and some offensive linemen will hurt, but they will manage. The defense is young and pretty much all returning next season, meaning they should be dominant.

16. LSU Tigers

The Tigers will have to replace a lot of their offense, but they have some talented recruits waiting to take the team to the next level. Myles Brennan looks to take over at quarterback after seeing action in six games this season. He was a highly-touted recruit that should be able to make plays with another year under his belt. A lot of good players from LSU’s defense will be missing as well, so they’re recruits will need to step up.

17. Michigan Wolverines

Early college football top 25 for the 2018 season

Shea Patterson (Photo by freep.com)

Michigan won the Shea Patterson sweepstakes and the quarterback transfer from Ole Miss. Brandon Peters also showed potential at the position this season. They’ll need skill position players to step up next season. Donovan Peoples-Jones is in store for a big year at wide receiver if the quarterback play is good enough. The defense returns most of its key players. A player to watch is linebacker Devin Bush, who is one of the best in the country.

18. USC Trojans

Sam Darnold helped lead USC back to prominence, but now he is gone. Gone too are running back Ronald Jones and wide receiver Deontay Burnett. Two offensive linemen also graduate, so they will have some big shoes to fill in Los Angeles. A lot of their players on the defensive side of the ball will be testing the NFL Draft waters, so sophomore corner Jack Jones will have to step up and be a leader.

19. West Virginia Mountaineers

Will Grier had a great season for West Virginia and has decided to return to school. With most of his weapons back, Grier should have the Mountaineers in good position to have one of the best offenses in the country once again. While the defense isn’t the strength of the team, a lot of returning players will be good to work with.

20. Florida Atlantic Owls

Florida Atlantic hit a home run when they hired Lane Kiffin. He took a team that was supposed to be very bad and made them a conference championship team. Running back Devin Singletary was one of the most productive running backs in the country this season and will be back for his junior year. A young defense should also improve as a lot more people hop on the “Lane Train”.

21. Kansas State Wildcats

Bill Snyder is back for another season. They won nine games in 2016 and eight games this season with young teams. Now, with a bunch of veterans, the Wildcats are looking to compete more in the Big 12. Wide receiver Byron Pringle will be asked to do a lot for this team, but they will mainly try to run the football. If D.J. Reed decides to return at corner, it should be another solid year for the Wildcats.

22. Northwestern Wildcats

They won ten games this season and will be back for more next season. While their career leading rusher, Justin Jackson, is graduating, they seem to believe freshman Jeremy Larkin can be a workhorse back in his sophomore year. Quarterback Clayton Thorson is also back for next season, but is recovering from a torn ACL in the Music City Bowl. Freshman linebacker Paddy Fisher looks like he will be on of their all-time greats.

23. Florida State Seminoles

Early college football top 25 for the 2018 season

Deondre Francois (photo by gridironnow.com)

Willie Taggart did a good job of turning around Oregon in his one season in Eugene. He is a solid coach who will get some talent returning. With Deondre Francois back at quarterback, Cam Akers at running back and a lot of good receivers, they should be solid on offense. The offensive line has struggled in the last few years, they are young and shold improve. A lot might need to be replaced on defense, but they have recruited well.

24. Mississippi State Bulldogs

If Nick Fitzgerald can recover from a gruesome leg injury, the Bulldogs have the makings of a good team. They get most of their team back, which is encouraging, but Dan Mullen left for Florida. Joe Moorehead will try to make Mississippi State’s offense a lot better, just like he did at Penn State.

25. Texas A&M Aggies

Jimbo Fisher is a great haul for Texas A&M. He will have to work with quarterbacks Kellen Mond and Nick Starkel, but they can be successful. Trayveon Willliams returns at running back, along with a lot of the offensive line, but they will have to replace Christian Kirk. A lot of their best defensive players will be playing on Sundays next year, so Fisher has a little bit of work cut out for him on that side of the ball.

 

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NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 Playstation Fiesta Bowl

Penn State and Washington both have a lot of quality players and as a result are in a New Year’s Six Bowl Game. There is plenty of talent on the field and NFL scouts will be watching intently. Here are the top NFL draft prospects in the 2017 Playstation Fiesta Bowl:

Washington Huskies 

Vita Vea, DT/NT

NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 Playstation Fiesta Bowl

Vita Vea (Photo by youtube.com)

Vea is one of the best defensive tackles in the class. He has experience on a three man defensive front, but could easily fit into a 4-3 system as well. Because he plays on a three man front, he doesn’t produce a lot, but he does take on a lot of double teams. This season Vea has 37 total tackles, 5.5 tackles and 3.5 sacks.

He has tremendous size at 6’5″ and 340 pounds and a lot of teams will want to take a chance on him based on that. Vea will likely go in the first round in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Projected draft range: 1st round-2nd round

Dante Pettis, WR

Pettis produces in a lot of ways for the Huskies. He is a record setting return man and also catches a lot of passes. This season he has 62 catches for 721 yards and seven touchdowns. He has nine career punt returns for touchdowns and is a threat every time he touches the ball.

He has decent size at 6’1″ and 195 pounds, but his speed is his greatest asset. His ability to play on special team elevates his draft stock. Pettis is probable to play in the Fiesta Bowl with a leg injury.

Projected draft range: 2nd round-3rd round

Keishawn Bierria, LB

Bierra has gotten a lot of playing time at Washington. He has 229 total tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. While he has only played nine games this season, he still has 49 total tackles, four tackles for loss and one sack. His production isn’t great, but he is a good player on a good defense.

He isn’t the biggest at 6’1″ and 223 pounds, but has good enough size. He will be selected in the late rounds of the draft, but will get a chance to make a roster.

Projected draft range: 5th round-7th round

*LB Azeem Victor is out for this game with a suspension.

Other notable Washington prospects: LB Azeem Victor (4th round-5th round), RB Myles Gaskin (5th round-7th round), C Shelton Coleman (5th round-7th round), QB Jake Browning (6th round-undrafted free agent)

Penn State Nittany Lions

Saquon Barkley, RB

Barkley is one of the best prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft class. He will be selected in the top ten and has 3,706 rushing yards, 1,157 receiving yards and 49 touchdowns in his career. Barkley is one of the most complete backs to ever come out of college and is able to do just about everything well.

He is well-built at 5’11” and 228 pounds, which has put him in good position to get drafted early. If he lasts past the top ten picks, it will be a surprise.

Projected draft range: Top 10 pick

Mike Gesicki, TE

NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 Playstation Fiesta Bowl

Mike Gesicki (Photo by post-gazette.com)

Gesicki has really produced the past two seasons for Penn State. In his four seasons as a Nittany Lion, he has 1,419 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns. This season, he has become a great red zone target and has nine receiving touchdowns.

At 6’5″ and 257 pounds, Gesicki is big enough to handle tight end duties in the NFL. He will be one of the first tight ends selected, but that might mean being taken on day two or three.

Projected draft range: 2nd round-4th round

Jason Cabinda, LB

Cabinda is the defensive leader of Penn State. He has 281 total tackles, 17 tackles for loss and seven sacks in his career at Penn State. This season he has 86 total tackles, seven tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. He doesn’t produce as much as other linebackers, but still is one of the best players on the field.

He is 6’1″ and 234 pounds, which isn’t the biggest, but he can be successful. Cabinda is a prime candidate for the middle rounds of the NFL Draft.

Projected draft range: 3rd round-5th round

Other notable Penn State prospects: S Marcus Allen (4th round-6th round), QB Trace McSorley (6th round-undrafted free agent), OT/G Brendan Mahon (Undrafted free agent)

 

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2017 Playstation Fiesta Bowl preview

Two teams that had hopes to make the College Football Playoff will be playing in the 2017 Playstation Fiesta Bowl. Both Penn State and Washington stumbled a little bit in the regular season, but were still able to make it to a New Year’s Six Bowl Game. Here is the 2017 Playstation Fiesta Bowl preview:

11 Washington Huskies (10-2)

2017 Playstation Fiesta Bowl preview

Jake Browning (Photo by texasfootballexpo.com)

Washington made the CFP last season, but this year will have to settle for the Playstation Fiesta Bowl. They got to 10 wins on the season and beat five bowl eligible teams. Their notable wins include Fresno State and Washington State.

The offense scores 36.9 points per game and has some stars at almost every position. Their running game is the strong point and averages 189.8 rushing yards per game. Myles Gaskin leads the charge with 1,282 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns. His backups, Lavon Coleman and Salvon Ahmed, each have over 300 yards on the season in relief.

Jake Browning still operates the offense and has had an efficient season. He has thrown for 2,544 yards, 18 touchdowns and five interceptions on 68.8% completion. Dante Pettis is his favorite target and makes plays on offense and is a record setting return man. He has 62 catches for 721 yards and seven touchdowns. He has blazing speed and gets separation from anyone covering him.

The defense is one of the best in the country, allowing 14.5 points per game. They have the number one rush defense in the country and are 21st against the pass. Defensive lineman Vita Vea is a big part of helping Washington stop the run. He has 37 total tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks this season. He is often double teamed, which frees up teammates to get to the ball.

8 Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2)

2017 Playstation Fiesta Bowl preview

Saquon Barkley (photo by usatoday.com)

Penn State lost two tough games on back to back weeks to knock them out of playoff contention. They lost at Ohio State and at Michigan State, but won every other game on their schedule to get to 10 wins. Michigan, Northwestern and Iowa are some of their notable wins.

The offense has been great the past few seasons and this year they averaged 41.6 points per game. Their running game has one of the best players in the country in Saquon Barkley. Barkley rushed for  1,134 yards and 16 touchdowns this season, while cementing his status as one of college football’s best players. Quarterback Trace McSorley runs the ball well too with 431 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.

McSorley had a great season passing the ball with 3,228 yards, 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions on 65.3% passing. He has plenty of good targets to throw to between DaeSean Hamilton, Juwan Johnson, Barkley and tight end Mike Gesicki. All of the players listed have over 500 yards receiving. Hamilton leads the team with 747 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.

Their defense has been elite this season and allows 15.5 points per game. They rank 16th against the run and 47th against the pass. Senior linebacker Jason Cabinda is the leader of the defense and has 86 total tackles, seven tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks this season.

Prediction

Penn State will find a way to get Barkley the football, whether it’s handing it to him, throwing it to him or letting him return kicks. Washington’s defense is good, but Barkley will be the best player on the field. Bryce Love was the last running back that Washington played that was somewhat near Barkley’s ability and Love gashed them for 166 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Expect much of the same.

Penn State Nittany Lions 26 Washington Huskies 21

 

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College Football Playoff Bracketology 12/3/17

The season is over and all that is left is for the committee selecting the teams for the College Football Playoff (CFP). Here is how the committee should rank the teams in their final rankings of the season:

In the playoff:

1. Clemson Tigers (13-0)

The Tigers won the ACC yet again. This time they beat Miami to secure the ACC crown. They were ranked first last week by the committee and that shouldn’t change in the final rankings.

Clemson has a great resume and beat nine teams who are playing in bowls this winter. The loss to Syracuse happened when Kelly Bryant wasn’t healthy and didn’t play the full game. If the Tigers aren’t ranked first by the committee it would be a surprise.

2. Oklahoma Sooners (12-1)

Oklahoma locked up a spot in the CFP with their 41-17 win over TCU in the Big 12 Championship Game. Winning would’ve been enough, but they really put their stamp on this game and proved to the committee that they belong in the CFP.

The Sooners have the one blemish on their record that came at the hands of Iowa State. Their resume is great outside the loss. They beat Ohio State, Oklahoma State and TCU twice. With the second best strength of record at the completion of their game, Oklahoma doesn’t have much to worry about.

Can the Sooners’ defense step up in the College Football Playoff?

3. Georgia Bulldogs (12-1)

Georgia avenged their only loss of the season with a big win in the SEC Championship over Auburn. This was a play-in game for the CFP, so Georgia is in.

The Bulldogs tested themselves with a game at Notre Dame and passed the test. Adding that game to their wins over Mississipi State and Auburn, along with the fact that they are the SEC Champions, puts them in the CFP.

Georgia finally has the chance to play for a national title, but what can they do now that they have the chance?

4. Ohio State Buckeyes (11-2)

College Football Playoff Bracketology

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

Ohio State was able to hold on in the Big Ten Championship and beat Wisconsin 27-21. The Buckeyes will now be hoping their resume looks better to the committee than Alabama’s does.

The Buckeyes have a lot of solid wins, which puts them in the conversation to be in the CFP. They beat Penn State, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Michigan. Three of these teams will be in or around the top 15 in the CFP committee’s final rankings. Alabama will have one team beat near the top 15, being LSU. I’ll take Ohio State beating three top 15 teams over, Albama’s possible one.

A Big Ten Championship is nice, but the Buckeyes feel they deserve to make the CFP.

First four out:

5. Auburn Tigers (10-3)

The Tigers lost in the SEC Championship Game. They would have been in had they won, but since they didn’t they will have to settle for a New Year’s Six bowl game.

Auburn lost three games, all coming to good teams, but was the only team to beat Alabama. They also beat Mississippi State and Auburn in their first meeting. At the end of the day, Auburn was in the position they wanted to be in at the end of the season, but failed to execute.

6. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1)

College football playoff bracketology

Nick Saban (Photo by usatoday.com)

Alabama was the only team with realistic CFP chances that was idle this weekend. The Crimson Tide will be hoping that their metrics and resume can get them into the playoff.

The strength of record was sixth in the country heading into the weekend, but likely will drop when all the metrics are updated. They beat LSU, Mississippi State and Fresno State for solid wins, but other than that their resume isn’t great. They failed to beat an elite team all season (unless LSU is considered elite) and are paying for it now.

Had Florida State been as good as expected the resume might have had the necessary boost to get Alabama in the CFP.

7. Wisconsin Badgers (12-1)

Wisconsin lost in the Big Ten Championship and lost their chance to play in the CFP. It was a well fought game, but they ultimately fell short.

The Badgers didn’t play a great schedule, which meant they had no room for error this year. Wins over Northwestern and Michigan are nice, but won’t get anyone in the playoff without a conference championship.

It isn’t what Wisconsin fans wanted, but the team will still get to play in a big time bowl game.

8. USC Trojans (11-2)

USC won the Pac-12 Championship over Stanford in a 31-28 win. It’s a too little too late for the Trojans, but they have secured a second straight New Year’s Six bowl.

The Trojans beat Stanford twice and Arizona for their best wins of the season. Their losses to Washington State and Notre Dame aren’t bad, but they haven’t beaten enough good teams to warrant a higher ranking than this.

Next four out:

9. Miami Hurricanes (10-2)

Miami got off to a slow start against Clemson and were never able to recover in the ACC Championship Game. They had a great season, but came up just short of the CFP. A New Year’s Six Bowl game is not a bad result for Mark Richt in his second season.

The Hurricanes successfully beat Notre Dame and Virginia Tech, but were unable to accrue any other great victories. The loss at Pittsburgh, who didn’t qualify for a bowl game, really hurt Miami’s chances. If they were undefeated heading into the ACC Championship Game, they may have been able to afford a loss.

Mark Richt has started to bring the “U” back, but they haven’t gotten all the way back.

10. UCF Golden Knights (12-0)

UCF completed the undefeated record heading into the bowl games. They beat Memphis in a double overtime thriller 62-55 to win the AAC Championship.

It’s a shame that UCF, isn’t getting more recognition for the CFP, but they did lock up a chance to play in a New Year’s Six bowl game. Their two wins over Memphis are great and they also beat a Power 5 conference team in Maryland. If their game against Georgia Tech wasn’t cancelled due to a hurricane, they would’ve gotten much more love from the committee.

Scott Frost is reportedly out, so how will UCF respond in their big bowl game?

11. Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2)

Penn State did not play this weekend, but drop in the rankings as a result of other teams winning conference championships.

The Nittany Lions only have two solid wins, one over Michigan and one coming at the expense of Northwestern. They lost in both games in which they had a chance to really impress the committee. Had they beaten Ohio State and/or Michigan State, they would rightfully be in the CFP talk. They’ll have to settle for a New Year’s Six bowl.

Might we see another Penn State vs. USC matchup?

12. Washington Huskies (10-2)

Like Penn State, the Huskies didn’t play anyone this week. They benefit from teams losing in conference championship games though.

The Huskies couldn’t put it all together this season against good competition. Their best wins were over Fresno State and Washington State, but had a horrid schedule outside of those games.

Washington will also have to settle for a New Year’s Six bowl game.

 

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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 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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