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 week 13 picks

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

Away Home Location Rob Joe
Ole Miss #14 Mississippi State Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, MS Miss State Miss St
Western Michigan Toledo Glass Bowl, Toledo, OH Toledo Toledo
#2 Miami Pittsburgh Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA Miami Miami
Baylor #12 TCU Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX TCU TCU
Northern Illinois Central Michigan Kelly/Shorts Stadium, Mount Pleasant, MI NIU CMU
Navy Houston TDECU Stadium, Houston, TX Navy Houston
Ohio Buffalo UB Stadium, Buffalo, NY Ohio Ohio
Missouri Arkansas Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, AR Mizzou Missouri
South Florida #15 UCF Spectrum Stadium, Orlando, FL UCF UCF
New Mexico San Diego State SDCCU Stadium, San Diego, CA SDSU SDSU
Texas State Troy Veterans Memorial Stadium , Troy, AL Troy Troy
Iowa Nebraska Memorial Stadium , Lincoln, NE Iowa Iowa
Western Kentucky Florida Intl FIU Stadium, Miami, FL FIU FIU
#25 Virginia Tech Virginia Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA VT VT
Texas Tech Texas Royal Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, TX Texas Texas
California UCLA Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA UCLA UCLA
#7 Georgia Georgia Tech Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA Georgia Georgia
#9 Ohio State Michigan Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI OSU OSU
Kansas #19 Oklahoma State Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OK OK State Ok State
East Carolina #20 Memphis Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TN Memphis Memphis
Florida State Florida Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL FSU FSU
Louisville Kentucky Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington, KY Kentucky Louisville
Indiana Purdue Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN Purdue Indiana
Connecticut Cincinnati Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH Cincy UC
Tulane SMU Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, TX SMU SMU
Boston College Syracuse Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY BC BC
Duke Wake Forest BB&T Field, Winston-salem, NC Wake Wake
North Texas Rice Rice Stadium, Houston, TX UNT UNT
UTEP UAB Legion Field , Birmingham, AL UAB UAB
Appalachian State Georgia State Georgia State Stadium, Atlanta, GA App St App St
Florida Atlantic Charlotte McColl-Richardson Field, Charlotte, NC FAU FAU
Southern Mississippi Marshall Joan C. Edwards Stadium, Huntington, WV So Miss USM
Old Dominion Middle Tennessee Floyd Stadium, Murfreesboro, TN MTSU MTSU
Arkansas State Louisiana Monroe Malone Stadium, Monroe, LA Ark St Ark St
UNLV Nevada Mackay Stadium, Reno, NV UNLV UNLV
#1 Alabama #6 Auburn Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, AL Auburn Alabama
#5 Wisconsin Minnesota TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN Wisconsin Wisconsin
#10 Penn State Maryland Maryland Stadium, College Park, MD Penn St PSU
#23 Boise State Fresno State Bulldog Stadium , Fresno, CA Boise Boise
North Carolina NC State Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC NC State NC State
Iowa State Kansas State Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, KS Kansas St Iowa State
West Virginia #4 Oklahoma Memorial Stadium , Norman, OK Oklahoma Oklahoma
#16 Michigan State Rutgers High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, NJ Mich St MSU
#22 Northwestern Illinois Memorial Stadium , Champaign, IL NW NW
Vanderbilt Tennessee Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN Vandy Vandy
Temple Tulsa Chapman Stadium, Tulsa, OK Temple Temple
Idaho New Mexico State Aggie Memorial Stadium, Las Cruces, NM Idaho Idaho
Arizona Arizona State Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ Arizona Zona
Georgia Southern Louisiana Cajun Field, Lafayette, LA ULL ULL
Wyoming San Jose State CEFCU Stadium – Home of the Spartans, San Jose, CA Wyoming Wyoming
Oregon State Oregon Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR Ducks Oregon
#3 Clemson #24 South Carolina Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, SC Clemson Clemson
Texas A&M #18 LSU Tiger Stadium , Baton Rouge, LA LSU LSU
UT San Antonio Louisiana Tech Joe Aillet Stadium, Ruston, LA La Tech LA Tech
#8 Notre Dame #21 Stanford Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA Stanford Notre Dame
#13 Washington St #17 Washington Husky Stadium, Seattle, WA Wash St Wazzu
BYU Hawai’i Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI Hawai’i Hawaii
Colorado Utah Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT Utah Utah
Utah State Air Force Falcon Stadium, Usaf Academy, AFA AFA
Gameday Guest Picker (Auburn) Charles Barkley Charles Barkley
# of coaches fired/resigning  by midnight Sunday 7 6

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Five things to watch for in college football week 13

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

1. The Iron Bowl

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

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

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

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

2. The Game

College football week 13 preview

Curtis Samuel in 2016 (photo by usatoday.com)

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

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

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

3. Running backs in Notre Dame vs. Stanford

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

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

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

4. The Apple Cup

College football week 13 preview

(Photo by mercurynews.com)

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

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

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

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

5. UCF vs. USF

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

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

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

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College Football Playoff bracketology 11/5/17

There were plenty of ranked matchups this weekend, which means that these rankings are changing yet again. The College Football Playoff committee will rank the teams on Tuesday once again and this is how they should rank the teams. (All rankings in the “this week” section are based on AP Poll ranking)

Playoff teams:

1. Georgia Bulldogs (9-0)

The Bulldogs remained undefeated by beating South Carolina 24-10. It may not be the biggest scoring margin of all time, but Georgia controlled the game and had a good game on both offense and defense. Jake Fromm is remaining efficient, while the many talented running backs help move the chains. The defense is dominant.

With the committee ranking Notre Dame at number three last week, they obviously value Georgia’s win over them pretty highly. Mississippi State is also moving up the rankings and Georgia blew them out. The rest of the wins have been pretty mundane, but those two wins help carry the resume.

Georgia still has a few tests left this season and are not a guarantee to win out, although they are playing like the best team in the country.

This week: at 10 Auburn Tigers

 

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (9-0)

College football playoff bracketology

Jalen Hurts (Photo by gridironnow.com)

Alabama also had a win that wasn’t by the biggest margin, but was controlled by them the whole time. They beat LSU 24-10 in a very tough, physical game. The Crimson Tide remains undefeated and a lock of a top two team when the committee comes out with their rankings.

After Florida State’s fall this season, this is Alabama’s best win of the season. Their wins over Colorado State and Texas A&M are their next most impressive. Alabama has looked like a great football team and blows out inferior competition, making them deserving of the number two spot.

Their are still a few games that will be difficult for the Crimson Tide that need to be won in order to get to the SEC Championship Game.

This week: at 18 Mississippi State Bulldogs

3. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-1)

The Fighting Irish battled injury, but were able to hold off Wake Forest 48-37. Wake Forest is likely going to a bowl game, so the committee will value the win a little bit. This was one of the easiest games that Notre Dame has in the back of their schedule and they were able to get the win.

Notre Dame still has only one loss to Georgia by one point, but they also have some impressive wins. Their win over Michigan State looks better after they upset Penn State this week. They also have wins over top 25 teams in North Carolina State and USC. There is no doubt that Notre Dame is one of the top four teams on Tuesday again.

More toughness remains in the Notre Dame schedule as they have another big matchup this week.

This week: at 7 Miami Hurricanes

4. Clemson Tigers (8-1)

Clemson was able to hold off a late come back by N.C. State to win 38-31. The Tigers racked up another win over a top 25 team, which should help them hold their spot in the CFP rankings for the week. Their defense needs to be addressed, as they allowed the most points all season to the Wolfpack.

Their win over Auburn is looking better as the weeks go on, while their wins over Louisville and Virginia Tech look worse. Clemson gets the nod in the rankings over Oklahoma for beating a lot of quality teams rather than just a few big wins. Every team on their schedule, besides Kent State, has a chance to become bowl eligible. At this point in the season that is an accomplishment.

The Tigers’ schedule eases up down the stretch, so they may lose ground to other teams who play in more marquee games.

This week: vs. Florida State Seminoles

First four out:

5. Oklahoma Sooners (8-1)

Oklahoma has the best pair of road wins in the country after they won in Stillwater on Saturday. In a high scoring affair, the Sooners were able to shut Mason Rudolph down on the last drive to secure the victory, 62-52. Their playoff chances look really good if they can win out.

The Sooners now have big road wins against Oklahoma State and Ohio State. On top of those they have solid wins over Texas Tech, Kansas State and Texas. Their loss had looked better, but Iowa State just lost to West Virginia. Don’t be surprised if Oklahoma jumps into the top four this week, but their two marquee wins now have two losses and are leaving people questioning how good of teams they are.

If the Sooners win again this week they will be in the top four for sure in the next edition of the rankings.

This week: vs. 8 TCU Horned Frogs

6. Miami Hurricanes (8-0)

College Football Playoff bracketology

Malik Rosier (Photo by twitter.com)

Sound the alarm and cue up the smoke, because Miami is back. The Hurricanes got a big win at home over Virginia Tech 28-10. This drastically helped out a lackluster case to the committee despite Miami being undefeated.

This win is the best on the season for the Hurricanes and with a few more wins, can help propel Miami into the CFP. They also have wins over Toledo, a very solid MAC team that has just one loss, and a .500 Georgia Tech team. They haven’t lost, so if they win out they are in, but a lot more football is left to be played.

Miami has one more tough test in the regular season that needs to be passed this weekend. After that, it’s all about avoiding upset bids.

This week: vs. 3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

7. TCU Horned Frogs (8-1)

TCU got a win over a Texas team that always seems to fall just short of big upsets. Their defense stepped up again, only allowing seven points. The balance of good offense and defense is what makes this team so good.

Their win in Stillwater over Oklahoma State looks less monumental now that the Cowboys have also lost at home to the Sooners. The Horned Frogs also have solid wins against West Virginia and Kansas State to help their case. The loss to Iowa State likely won’t hold the Horned Frogs back too much going forward if they take care of business.

For a chance to really bolster their resume and keep their hopes for the CFP more real, TCU has to win this weekend against a very tough Oklahoma team.

This week: at 5 Oklahoma Sooners

8. Wisconisn Badgers (9-0)

Wisconsin looks good, but that’s about all you can say about them. They beat a sub-par Indiana team that is likely going to miss a bowl game, 45-17. The Badgers are tough and physical, but have yet to be tested by a challenging team.

The problem for their case to be in the CFP is that their biggest wins on the year are over Northwestern and Florida Atlantic. Their win over Northwestern is looking better now that the Wildcats are on a four game winning streak. In order to climb up the rankings, other teams need to lose and the Badgers have to beat a good football team.

The Badgers may get their stiffest test of the season when Iowa comes to town, as the Hawkeyes are brimming with confidence after blowing out Ohio State.

This week: vs. 25 Iowa Hawkeyes

Next four out:

9. Washington Huskies (8-1)

College Football Playoff bracketology

Myles Gaskin (Photo seattletimes.com)

The Huskies are slowly making their way back up in these rankings by continuing to win, even if it isn’t against the greatest competition. This week they beat an Oregon team that is trying to fight it’s way to bowl eligibility. To be fair, Washington did blow them out 38-3.

Washington played an awful non-conference schedule and is now paying for it. They beat a 6-3 Fresno State team, who is better than expected, for their only decent non-conference win. In conference they are beating .500 teams or below. They need some help to move up higher in these rankings.

Fortunately, Washington gets a chance to play a few games that should help their case in the last three weeks of the season.

This week: at Stanford Cardinal

10. Auburn Tigers (7-2)

Auburn is an intriguing two loss team that can inflict the most chaos over the last three weeks of the regular season that college football has ever seen. This week though, they defeated Texas A&M, who is a solid team even if the rumors continue to swirl around Kevin Sumlin.

The Tigers have two road losses, one to Clemson and one to LSU. Neither of those is a terrible loss. To go with their decent win over the Aggies, Auburn also has beaten Mississippi State, who is also moving up the CFP rankings. Auburn will get a chance to improve their ranking by playing the top two teams in the country over the last three weeks.

The schedule is tough for Auburn, but if people want the most chaos, Auburn is the team to root for.

This week: vs. 1 Georgia Bulldogs

11. Ohio State Buckeyes (7-2)

Ohio State ran into a buzz saw in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes looked like they were going to get a sizeable win, but then kept their foot on the pedal to blow out the Buckeyes. The loss knocks Ohio State down quite a bit in the rankings, but they are lucky in that a lot ranked teams lost this week.

The Buckeyes have now lost to both Iowa and Oklahoma and don’t have many great wins on the season. They do have a win over Penn State, which isn’t as good after the Nittany Lions lost to Michigan State. Ohio State is likely eliminated from the CFP and needs some serious disarray to even come close to the top four.

The next few weeks features some opportunities for some good wins for the Buckeyes if they can get back on track.

This week: vs. 13 Michigan State Spartans

12. USC Trojans (8-2)

USC has made their way back into the rankings this week after defeating Arizona 49-35. Arizona was a newly ranked team that hadn’t lost with new quarterback Khalil Tate under center. The Trojans are in a position much like last season and might be in store for a New Year’s Six bowl.

The Trojans have wins over Arizona and Stanford now, but both teams are fringe top 25 teams. Their losses, to Notre Dame and Washington State, are both to good teams, but it is always hard to make a case to the committee with two losses. USC is another team that is hoping that absolute chaos happens to help them move up in the rankings.

With their win over Arizona, USC likely now will clinch the Pac-12 South. They won’t have any more opportunities until the Pac-12 Championship Game to make a statement, so they will be scoreboard watching a lot the last few weeks of the season.

This week: at Colorado Buffaloes

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Five things we learned from college football week 7

It was a great weekend of college football that really changed the College Football Playoff picture. It may not have looked like a great weekend going into it, but whenever that is the case, crazy things happen. Here are five things we learned from the wild weekend.

1. Never underestimate an opponent

College football week 7

Manny Wilkins (Photo by azcentral.com)

This was the first weekend this season of no matchups between ranked opponents. It looked like a lot of the teams were going to win big time, but that turned into a lot of big upsets. On Friday Clemson lost on the road to Syracuse, despite being over 20 point favorites. Washington State got absolutely decimated by Cal 37-34.

The craziness continued on Saturday. West Virginia beat a newly ranked Texas Tech team, while Memphis upset Navy. Weeks after questioning Ed Oregeron’s capabilities at LSU, he led the Tigers to an upset win over Auburn. San Diego State suffered their first loss of the season to Boise State. To cap things off, Arizona State upset the number five team in the country, Washington.

All in all, seven ranked teams lost, which included four teams that were ranked in the top 10. The chaos is just getting started.

2. Alabama is the best team in the country

While this isn’t too much of a surprise, this was a debate last week. With Clemson losing, Alabama stands alone as the best team in the country, without any team that is being touted as a great challenger.

The Crimson Tide struggled to get past Texas A&M last week, but this week was able to roll past Arkansas. The defense has been elite, while the running game has been dominant. On top of that Jalen Hurts has been protecting the football, which is all he needs to do to get Alabama wins. Hurts threw his first interception of the season against the Razorbacks, so if he can keep up his ability to not turn the ball over, the Crimson Tide will have a huge advantage in any game.

With the rest of the SEC West beating up on each other, it doesn’t look like Alabama will be tested too much in the regular season.

3. Baker Mayfield is tough and clutch

College football week 7

Baker Mayfield (Photo by newsok.com)

The Red River Rivalry was one of the best games of the weekend. Texas put up a good fight and had a fourth quarter lead behind a gutty performance from Sam Ehlinger at quarterback. Unfortunately for them it wasn’t enough as Baker Mayfield was able to lead the Sooners back to victory.

Mayfield was driven into the ground and hurt his throwing shoulder during the game. He had it worked on by the trainers and was able to play through the pain. It came to the point were Mayfield had to throw, as the Sooners were behind in the fourth quarter. He let a pass rip to Mark Andrews down the sideline, which turned into a game-winning score.

While Mayfield isn’t the leader for the Heisman right now, he certainly has had a lot of memorable moments.

4. Butch Jones is getting fired

Tennessee lost a close game at home to South Carolina. They failed to get the offense going, with offense being head coach Butch Jones’ specialty. The Volunteers were only able to manage to score nine points and they only needed 16 to win the game.

Butch Jones was already on the hot seat, but after another loss, he may be getting fired earlier than expected despite a huge buyout clause in his contract. Tennessee is now 3-3 as they head into a game with Alabama. Their back half of the schedule also has big games against LSU, Kentucky and Vanderbilt, so it will not be easy to get to bowl eligibility.

Watch the bottom ticker on your screens the next couple of weeks as Jones could be getting the ax at any moment from here on out.

5. UAB can get to a bowl

College football week 7

Bill Clark (Photo by cbssports.com)

In probably the craziest story of the year, UAB is having a very successful season in their first year back as a college football program. They program was cancelled after the 2014 season and after a few seasons off, have made it back to the highest level of college football.

The Blazers beat Middle Tennessee this weekend, as they were able to take advantage of a banged up Blue Raiders team. Now UAB sits at 4-2 with a couple easy games left on the schedule. If they can get two more wins, they will make their second bowl game in their history.

This season has already seen a lot of wacky results, but it would be such a wild story if a newly reinstated team was able to make a bowl game.

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College Football Playoff bracketology 10/8/17

Some of the teams from last week’s rankings had big results that will really change up these rankings from last week. Here are how the teams stack up after week six:

Playoff Teams:

1. Clemson Tigers (6-0)

Clemson won a hard fought game against a solid Wake Forest team this week. Unfortunately, starting quarterback Kelly Bryant had to leave the game with a leg injury. True freshman Hunter Johnson came in and played flawlessly, but Bryant’s health is worth keeping an eye on for the next few weeks.

Their win over Louisville looks worse after the Cardinals lost to NC State this weekend, but their win over Auburn is looking increasingly better. With wins over Louisville, Auburn and Virginia Tech, Clemson has definitely done the most this season thus far.

With a non-threatening game against Syracuse and then a bye, Bryant has time to get fully healthy before coming back.

This week: at Syracuse Orange

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (6-0)

College football playoff bracketology

Damien Harris (Photo by saturdaydownsouth.com)

The Crimson Tide won a game against Texas A&M in a game that was closer than expected. The final score was 27-19, but the Aggies did score a touchdown with under 20 seconds left to play, so Alabama controlled the game. If they keep winning there is no need to rack up any style points.

Although a lot of their wins aren’t against the greatest teams, they have only played one bad team, Fresno State. To go along with that, they have dominated their competition making it look easy. Purely based on the eye test, they are right up there with Clemson.

They may not have been truly tested yet, but the back of the schedule should provide some tough games.

This week: vs. Arkansas Razorbacks

3. Georgia Bulldogs (6-0)

Georgia won big over a Vanderbilt team that has now lost three in a row. The Bulldogs have stuck with Jake Fromm and it has paid off for them so far. They are playing tough, physical football and look like they will take the SEC East easily.

Their win over Notre Dame looks better every week and they have a lot of solid SEC wins. Their only win over a bad team is Samford, barring Tennessee getting much worse. Add in the fact that they have won these games with a backup quarterback, maybe not anymore, and it just makes what they’ve done more impressive.

The Bulldogs get an easy game and a bye week and look like they will still be in a good position at the end of those two weeks.

This week: vs. Missouri Tigers

4. TCU Horned Frogs (5-0)

The Horned Frogs kept their undefeated season alive by beating number 23 West Virginia by seven. TCU’s defense came up big time to limit one of the best scoring offenses in the country to 24 points. They look like the best team in the Big 12 and will be tough to deal with.

With their win this week paired with their wins over Arkansas and Oklahoma State, TCU has a very impressive case. The win over Oklahoma State is one of the few best road wins on the season. While their win over Jackson State is not going to help, beating SMU was a solid victory.

In the coming weeks, TCU has to get ready to play the teams from Kansas, which are manageable games.

This week: at Kansas State Wildcats

First four out:

5. Washington State Cougars (6-0)

Washington State got an impressive road win this week over Oregon. The Ducks were without their starting quarterback, Justin Herbert, but they still have a talented team. The Cougars won the game pretty handily too, winning by 23 points.

The win this week really helps, as they only have a few other good wins this season. Beating USC was a huge reason why they are in this spot, but they also beat Boise State. The Broncos lost to Virginia, but Virginia is looking better as the season goes on.

There are a lot of big matchups in the Pac-12 North to be played for Washington State, but they are in a great position right now.

This week: at Cal Golden Bears

6. Penn State Nittany Lions (6-0)

Penn State traveled to Evanston to take on Northwestern in an early game, but it didn’t faze them. The Nittany Lions took the lead early and never looked back. Saquon Barkley was bottled up for most of the game and Penn State was still able to find a way to win big.

The fact of the matter is that Penn State has not beaten a team that has been ranked at any point since the season started. They have decent wins over Pitt, Iowa, Indiana and now Northwestern. They will need to play and beat somebody tougher in order to make the cut for the playoff.

The Nittany Lions are off this week as they prepare for their back-loaded schedule.

This week: Bye

7. Washington Huskies (6-0)

College Football Playoff bracketology

Jake Browning (photo by thenewstribune.com)

The Huskies clobbered Cal this week to get to 6-0. The defense was unrelenting as they won the game 38-7. While this isn’t the biggest win, Cal is better than expected this season.

Washington is a team that has played an awful schedule. They look dominant, but their best win is over Colorado. They will need to make the most of their big games against the Pac-12 North, because with their schedule, they don’t have much margin for error.

Before they get to the Pac-12 North, the Huskies have to take on a couple of teams from the Pac-12 South.

This week: at Arizona State Sun Devils

8. Wisconsin Badgers (5-0)

Following the Huskies is another team that also has scheduling issues. The Badgers were able to beat an average Nebraska team, but it was on the road in a hostile environment. Their running game is in full swing as Jonathan Taylor rushed for 249 yards.

With their best wins being over Nebraska and Northwestern, Wisconsin still has a lot of work to do. The problem is the Big Ten West is very weak. Their hopes to get into the CFP are contingent on them making the Big Ten Championship game and winning, because with this schedule they won’t get in otherwise.

Like before, the Badgers have a lot of easier games coming up on their schedule.

This week: vs. Purdue Boilermakers

First four out:

9. Miami Hurricanes (4-0)

Miami is still hurt by being two games behind some of the teams higher on this list. They won their rivalry game with Florida State for the first time in the last eight tries. It was a good road win, even though Florida State is 1-3 this season.

While their win over Bethune-Cookman isn’t going to do them any favors, their other wins are solid. They beat a very good MAC team in Toledo and a solid Duke team. With more games played, comes more opportunity in these rankings and Miami will see that benefit if they continue winning.

They have a few big ACC games left on their schedule to make their move up the list.

This week: vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

10. Oklahoma Sooners (4-1)

Oklahoma lost this week in a stunner to Iowa State. The Sooners defense allowed scores on five straight second half possessions in order to allow Iowa State to win the game. They had a chance for a game winning drive, but were unable to come up with an answer.

While losing to Iowa State is not a good look, the committee has been known to overlook losses in favor of good wins. Their win at Ohio State is still one of the best wins of the season and can’t be forgotten. While they don’t have much margin for error, at this point they still have a good case to be in the top 12.

The Sooners have to get ready for a big rivalry game this weekend, that has the chance to help or ruin their season.

This week: vs. Texas Longhorns (Neutral Site)

11. San Diego State Aztecs (6-0)

The Aztecs just keep winning, which is all they can do. This week they defeated UNLV by a wide Margin. This win doesn’t really help their case, but they did look good dominating the football game.

It’s going to take an absolute doomsday scenario to get the Aztecs in the CFP, but their resume thus far is good. They have beaten Stanford, Arizona State and Northern Illinois, who are all solid teams. Stanford is back in the top 25 now and really bolsters the Aztecs’ case to be in the top 12.

San Diego State has a big game this weekend that should draw some eyes their way.

This week: vs. Boise State Broncos

12. USC Trojans (5-1)

There are honestly a lot of teams who haven’t separated themselves who are worthy of this spot. The Trojans were able to blow out Oregon State this week and move up in the rankings because of other teams sliding out.

Their win over Stanford has to be recognized, now that it looks like Stanford is going on a roll. Their win over Texas is also looking better by the week. They only have one win over a sub .500 team, coming this week to Oregon State.

The Trojans have a couple of big games in the next few weeks and can capitalize on them to move up in the rankings.

This week: vs. Utah Utes

 

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College Football Playoff bracketology 10/2/17

With some upsets the rankings have been shaken up yet again. Who has the best resume for the College Football Playoff right now? Here are the rankings:

Playoff Teams:

1. Clemson Tigers (5-0)

Another week and Clemson gets another impressive win. The Tigers traveled to Virginia Tech to take on the Hokies and ended up winning by a decent margin, while controlling the game. Getting a top 12 road win does not go unnoticed and with the rest of their results, they have done the most so far.

Clemson has two impressive road wins on the season now after also beating Louisville on the road. They have played and beaten three top 15 teams (Auburn, Louisville and Virginia Tech). All of these teams only have one loss on the season, coming to the Tigers. The wins over BC and Kent State are nice, but the other games are what have the Tigers in the top spot.

The schedule gets a little bit easier from here on out for Clemson, so they really just have to stay healthy and keep from beating themselves before the ACC Championship Game.

This week: at Wake Forest Demon Deacons

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (5-0)

College football playoff bracketology

Jalen Hurts (photo by theundefeated.com)

The Crimson Tide have been rolling through their competition. This includes their 66-3 win over Ole Miss this week. The Rebels don’t have the best team this year after the Hugh Freeze scandal, but that is still a crazy margin of victory for Alabama.

With a total score of 125-3 in their SEC games, Alabama is taking no prisoners. Vanderbilt looks to be a solid win, even if they did lose to Florida this week. The Crimson Tide’s win over Colorado State is an underrated one that will look better with time. Florida State avoided going 0-3 with a win at Wake Forest, which means that if they can put it all together, Alabama will have a really solid win. One of the metrics that the CFP committee looks at is game control and Alabama is dominating that category with how they’ve blown out teams.

They have more SEC play coming up, but don’t face a team that has looked particularly well for a while.

This week: at Texas A&M Aggies

3. Oklahoma Sooners (4-0)

Oklahoma was off this week and for the time being will be moved down one spot in the standings because of that extra data point that the CFP likes to reference. The Big 12 looks like it is for real this season so Oklahoma may have a chance to move back up in the rankings. Hopefully they used this week for rest and recovery.

The win at Ohio State is still one of the best wins of the season. They haven’t played anyone else of note yet, which is hurting their case to be higher in the rankings.

The Sooners will certainly have some more challenging games in the coming weeks and get a chance to move up the rankings. This week, however, will be more mundane.

This week: vs. Iowa State Cyclones

4. Georgia Bulldogs (5-0)

What a year Georgia has had early on. They have added to their impressive season by absolutely destroying Tennessee this weekend. The defense didn’t let the Volunteers get anything going and the offense was able to coast. They have done all this with a “backup” quarterback, which makes it even more impressive.

This was another road win for Georgia, who also have a big road win against Notre Dame. The win over Notre Dame is looking really good, as the Fighting Irish haven’t lost since. With solid wins against Mississippi State and Appalachian State to go with the two previously mentioned victories, Georgia is in a great position as of now to make the CFP.

The SEC may not be the toughest this season, but there are a couple of games that could trip Georgia up before the end of the season.

This week: at Vanderbilt Commodores

First Four Out:

5. TCU Horned Frogs (4-0)

College Football Playoff bracketology

Kenny Hill (Photo by si.com)

TCU was another team that was off this week, but stays pretty high in these rankings based on their past results. Gary Patterson has this team poised to do some huge things in the Big 12 conference and could find themselves in the Big 12 Championship Game.

The Horned Frogs still have one of the best wins of the season with their win on the road over Oklahoma State. They also have a good road win over Arkansas as well as a solid victory against SMU.

There are a couple tough games coming up for the Horned Frogs to prove how good they are.

This week: vs. 23 West Virginia Mountaineers

6. Washington State Cougars (5-0)

Mike Leach’s Cougars pulled off the greatest win of his tenure on Friday night. They beat a USC team that a lot thought would be in the College Football Playoff. They can still get there, but now Washington State is in the best position to make the CFP from the Pac-12.

The Cougars’ also beat Boise State, but that win looks a little bit worse after they fell to Virginia. Their wins over Nevada, Oregon State and Montana State won’t really sway the committee, so their hope is Boise State can reel off some wins to help them look better. Even so, the win over USC is a great win and has gotten them into a great position.

One thing the Cougars have not experienced is a road game. That will change in the next few weeks.

This week: at Oregon Ducks

7. Penn State Nittany Lions (5-0)

The Nittany Lions added another decent win after this weekend. This week they beat the Indiana Hoosiers pretty thoroughly. While it isn’t a win over a big football school, Indiana will likely make a bowl game. With the committee keeping track of ow many bowl teams a given team has defeated, this may mean more come the end of the season.

Penn State doesn’t have any wins over elite competition, which is holding them back a little bit. They have beaten a lot of decent teams, which is helping their case. With wins over Pitt, Iowa and now Indiana, the Nittany Lions will be fine if they get some big wins in Big Ten East play.

The brutal part of the Penn State schedule starts this week and lasts about a month with a bye week wedged in between.

This week: at Northwestern Wildcats

8. Michigan Wolverines (4-0)

Michigan was yet another team that had a bye week. While they were off there were some results that actually worked in their favor. They have had to grind out wins, but if they keep winning, that is all that matters.

The win over Florida is looking better week by week. Florida hasn’t lost since, even if they have played poorly. While the Air Force and Purdue wins don’t really help the Wolverines move into a great spot yet, they will have their chances in the coming week.

Michigan State also won this week to help set up an intriguing rivalry game Saturday night.

This week: at Michigan State Spartans

Next Four Out:

 

9. Wisconsin Badgers (5-0)

The Northwestern Wildcats came to town and in typical Wisconsin style, the Badgers won an ugly game. Northwestern has a loss to Duke to go with this one, but figures to be a contender for second in the Big Ten West, behind Wisconsin.

Wisconsin hasn’t played too many good teams yet, so the Northwestern win is crucial to their season so far. Utah State could turn out to be a good win, but the wins over BYU and FAU won’t help much.

They have one of the easiest schedules in the country, but if they can make the Big Ten Championship Game anything is possible.

This week: at Nebraska Cornhuskers

10. Washington Huskies (5-0)

They are in conference play now, but Washington played another bad team. This week they beat Oregon State, who is not very good. It was a road game so give them credit for that, but Washington needs to start playing better teams before they can move up much further on this list.

Their win at Colorado looks a little worse now that the Buffaloes lost to UCLA. Other than that, wins over Rutgers, Montana and Fresno State don’t help. Washington is undefeated, which isn’t easy, but most fans are waiting to see them get tested against a good team.

Washington’s schedule still has a few weeks before their schedule gets really tough, but have to be careful in the tricky Pac-12.

This week: vs. California Golden Bears

11. Miami Hurricanes (3-0)

Miami got a win over an undefeated Duke team on Friday night. The Canes were able to win pretty easily on the road and look like a team that can win the ACC Coastal Division.

Because of Hurricane Irma, Miami has only been able to play three total games so far. To go along with their win at Duke, they also were able to beat a very solid MAC school, Toledo. Their win over Bethune-Cookman is a non-factor, but the other two wins are nice.

The Hurricanes have a unique schedule as a result of some rescheduling due to the hurricane.

This week: at Florida State Seminoles

12. San Diego State Aztecs (5-0)

College football playoff bracketology

Rashaad Penny (Photo by usatoday.com)

The Aztecs were able to best Northern Illinois this week to improve on their already impressive season. Northern Illinois has a good road win over Nebraska and looks to be a solid MAC team.

So far San Diego State has beaten Stanford, Arizona State, Air Force, UC-Davis and Northern Illinois. With Stanford playing better by the week and Arizona State doing better than expected so far, the Aztecs have a great start to their season. They likely won’t stay in this spot when they play more Mountain West teams, but have a real shot to make a New Year’s Six bowl game.

San Diego State can only keep winning, but it may not be enough to move up further than this spot in the rankings.

This week: at UNLV Rebels

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College Football Playoff bracketology 9/24/17

Another week of college football in the books and another week of the world knowing more about the teams. Now every team in these rankings has at least played a decent team, which is not something we could say last week. Without further adieu lets get to the rankings.

Playoff teams:

1. Clemson Tigers (4-0)

This week, Clemson struggled to pull away from Boston College, but finally did in the fourth quarter. They ended up winning the game 34-7. While it wasn’t pretty for most of the game, getting a win to add to their already impressive case to be number one is all that matters.

The wins over Auburn and Louisville both still look good, as both teams haven’t lost to anyone but Clemson. Add the road win over Boston College and the Tigers earn the number one spot. There will be more tests coming up, but so far their case is the best.

Clemson will be in the marquee matchup of the week against Virginia Tech, with ESPN’s College Gameday traveling to cover the game.

This week: at 12 Virginia Tech Hokies

2. Oklahoma Sooners (4-0)

The Sooners had a scare at Baylor this weekend. The Bears are without a win on the season and almost were able to upset Oklahoma. That would have been a terrible loss for Oklahoma’s resume, but they were able to come out of Waco with the win.

Because they didn’t play well this week in their victory, it hurts them, but their resume is still good. The win on the road over Ohio State will carry their case just like the opposite did for Ohio State last year. They will likely move down in these rankings in the near future, but for now stay in the second spot.

This week the Sooners will be off, which will let them prepare for Iowa State in early October.

This week: Bye

3. Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0)

College Football Playoff bracketology 9/24/17

Bo Scarbrough (Photo by gridironnow.com)

Alabama sure does look like the best team in the country. This week they demolished Vanderbilt 59-0. The backups were in early and got a lot of run in. This is impressive because Vanderbilt had been one of the best defenses in the country and looked to be a solid team with their win over Kansas State the week before.

The reason why Alabama doesn’t move up is what happened in elsewhere in college football. Their big win of the season so far was over Florida State, but the Seminoles are now 0-2 and look like they might struggle down the stretch without quarterback Deondre Francois. The win over Colorado State is nice, while the win over Fresno State was easy.

Nick Saban’s team will be fine when they continue to win and will probably get to the top spot on these rankings at some point this season. Their focus now is SEC West for the next three weeks.

This week: vs. Ole Miss Rebels

4. Georgia Bulldogs (4-0)

The Bulldogs keep rising up these rankings with their good play. This week they blew out a good Mississippi State team 31-3. Mississippi State had moved their way into the rankings before the loss and afterwards stayed in the rankings, despite the loss.

Georgia also has a key win at Notre Dame, which looks better and better as the Fighting Irish keep winning. They also have a win over Appalachian State that will look better as the season goes on. Add it all up and the Bulldogs are one of the most impressive teams in the country.

More big games are coming for the Bulldogs, so they can move up even further if they continue to perform well.

This week: at Tennessee Volunteers

First four out:

5. TCU Horned Frogs (4-0)

College football playoff bracketology 9/24/17

Kenny Hill (Photo by tigerdroppings.com)

One of the biggest wins of the season happened this weekend when TCU upset Oklahoma State in Stillwater. The Cowboys were slowly climbing up these rankings, but the Horned Frogs were their first test and now TCU has shot up the rankings as a result of the win.

TCU has a couple of other key wins other than the one over the Cowboys. They beat Arkansas on the road and SMU at home. Arkansas is a team that will likely find a way to squeak out a bowl appearance, while SMU is a solid AAC team. With that resume the Horned Frogs have flown up the rankings.

They get a week off before getting back to Big 12 play.

This week: Bye

6. Michigan Wolverines (4-0)

Michigan has not played up to their potential yet this season and that trend continued this weekend. The Wolverines pulled away from Purdue in the second half to win the game 28-10. It may not look pretty yet, but they were able to win this game without starting quarterback Wilton Speight for the majority of the time.

The win over Florida is still the defining factor of the Wolverines’ case. Florida outlasted Kentucky to go to 2-1 this week, which makes the win still look good. The other wins over Air Force and Cincinnati are nice, but they need to start adding more if they wish to stay this high in the rankings.

This week the Wolverines will have off before they take on in-state rival, Michigan State.

This week: Bye

7. Virginia Tech Hokies (4-0)

The Hokies continue to look good against lower talent-level teams. This week they beat Old Dominion 38-0. This won’t do much to help their case, but it is important to not stumble to these teams.

It doesn’t look like Virginia Tech has broken a sweat since their season opening win over West Virginia. The Mountaineers have worked their way back to the top 25, making it a good win for the Hokies. The problem is that they haven’t played anyone else of note.

Virginia Tech will get a big chance to move up the rankings this weekend as they play Clemson at home.

This week: vs. 2 Clemson Tigers

8. Penn State Nittany Lions (4-0)

The best game of the college football weekend was Penn State at Iowa. It came down to the last second and Trace McSorley threw a touchdown pass as time expired to seal the win. While Iowa wasn’t ranked, it is tough to play them on their home turf and it is a good road win.

Penn State is at number eight right now, because the win over the Hawkeyes is the only good one on the season for the Nittany Lions. Their win over Pitt looked like it could be a decent one, but now the Panthers have fallen to 1-3 after losing to Georgia Tech. The blowouts over Akron and Georgia State are nice, but that’s about it.

The next few weeks will be tough for Penn State, so they need to continue playing their best football.

This week: vs. Indiana Hoosiers

Next four out:

9. USC Trojans (4-0)

USC was able to grind out a win over a surprisingly decent Cal team. The Trojans were without Ronald Jones, but still came away with the win. They still haven’t been able to play as well as they can and Sam Darnold has made some mistakes, but college football is about surviving and advancing nowadays.

With wins over Western Michigan, Stanford and Texas, USC’s case is still murky. There are so many unknowns with the teams they have beaten that is hard to fully assess the Trojans. Texas lost to Maryland, Stanford has two losses already, Western Michigan has two losses and no wins over power five teams, while Cal has exceeded expectations.

The Trojans will get their chances to play some good teams coming up, as their mid-season schedule is tough.

This week: at 16 Washington State Cougars

10. Washington State Cougars (4-0)

The Cougars put a lot of points up on the board again this week and beat Nevada 45-7. The Wolfpack are not a very good team, so Washington State simply took care of business. Luke Falk looks to be back on track after getting injured and benched against Boise State.

Washington State’s win over Boise State looks a lot worse now that Virginia was able to go into Boise and beat the Broncos. It will still likely end up being a solid win, but the rest of their wins also aren’t that impressive. They are able to move up the rankings incrementally because of other teams ahead of them losing, but if that wasn’t the case, they may be outside these top 12 teams.

Falk and the Cougars will get their shot to prove to everyone what they can do when they get their fifth straight home game this weekend.

This week: vs. 5 USC Trojans

11. Washington Huskies (4-0)

College football playoff bracketology 9/24/17

Jake Browning (Photo by si.com)

The Huskies have finally broken through to the rankings after winning a game this week at Colorado. In a rematch of the Pac-12 Championship Game from last season, Washington turned it on in the second half and won 37-10. Colorado likely is a tad worse than last season, but they will still be a solid team.

That was the first solid win of the season for Washington, because they played so many bad teams in the non-conference schedule. They played an FCS team (Montana) to go along with Fresno State and Rutgers. Both of the FBS teams will struggle to get to three wins on the season.

Washington will get another easy game this weekend, but their schedule does get tough at the end.

This week: at Oregon State Beavers

12. Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-1)

There are a few other undefeated teams that could be in this slot, but they don’t have the same wins as the Bulldogs. This week they did get destroyed by Georgia, but that may say more about Georgia than it does Mississippi State.

The Bulldogs still have wins over LSU and Louisiana Tech, which are both solid wins. LSU barely stayed in the top 25 after they barely beat Syracuse. Louisiana Tech took South Carolina to the wire this weekend and should pick up a lot more wins as the season goes on after starting the season 2-2.

Everyone will be able to find out whether Mississippi State deserves this spot during their tough road test this weekend.

This week: at 12 Auburn Tigers

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Five things we learned in college football week 3

The third week of college football has reminded fans why we love the sport. It is crazy, dramatic and unpredictable. In all of the football played, here are five things we learned:

1. Kelly Bryant is capable of leading Clemson to the ACC Championship

Clemson’s defensive line has gotten a lot of the press in the opening weeks and they continued their dominance with four sacks of Lamar Jackson. Really the whole team has played well, but there were some questions on whether quarterback Kelly Bryant could step up against good competition. On Saturday night he proved that he can.

Bryant threw for 316 yards and a touchdown, while running for two more scores. The most impressive thing about his performance was how he completed a lot of throws down the field. He utilized his offensive weapons, which he has a lot of. If he can continue his progression Clemson will be even tougher to beat.

The remaining schedule has a few tough games left, including matchups with Virginia Tech and Florida State. Even if the Tigers drop one or two of their games, they should still be able to make the ACC Championship Game and possibly the College Football Playoff.

2. Baker Mayfield has a huge lead in the Heisman race

College football week 3

Baker Mayfield (Photo by usatoday.com)

Mayfield has the most signature moment of the season with his flag-plant at Ohio Stadium. He also has led his team to the best win of the season thus far. With 715 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions he is on the right track to make himself this year’s Heisman winner.

Against Tulane Mayfield threw for 331 yards and four touchdowns to continue his great pace. The Big 12 struggles with defense, so he will likely put up some ridiculous numbers in the next few weeks. He will have a chance to have more big moments against Oklahoma State later in the season.

Part of the reason why Mayfield is so far out ahead is because of Lamar Jackson’s loss to Clemson. There is still a lot of football to play and Jackson, along with others, have time to play catch up with Mayfield.

3. The SEC West is murky behind Alabama

Week 3 college football

Nick Fitzgerald (Photo by al.com)

Alabama is off to a great start to the season with a big win over Florida State. They also took care of business against Fresno State and Colorado State. There were some contenders for the SEC West, but they have all already lost. This doesn’t mean teams can’t improve and compete, but right now Alabama looks like a runaway favorite in the SEC West.

Last week, Auburn lost to Clemson and this week they struggled to pull away from Mercer. LSU was thought to be another one of Alabama’s contenders, but they got destroyed at Mississippi State this week. Arkansas lost to a good TCU team, but looked very bad doing so. Texas A&M lost to UCLA and had a horrendous first half against the Louisiana Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns. The new trendy contender is Mississippi State, but only time will tell if they can hold up.

While many people predicted Alabama to win the SEC West and more, it is looking like it might be easier than expected. It is unlikely an SEC East team will be able to knock them off in the SEC Championship game either.

4. Don’t kick to Dante Pettis

Week 3 college football

Dante Pettis (Photo by seattletimes.com)

Dante Pettis is a dangerous wide receiver for the Washington Huskies, but is also a star in the return game. He returned a punt 77 yards against Fresno State for a touchdown and reminded everyone that they are better off kicking the ball out of bounds.

The punt return touchdown against Fresno State was the eighth of his career, which ties an NCAA record. Seeing how much success he has had, it would not be a surprise to see him break the record soon. While Washington hasn’t played anyone of note yet this season, his punt return ability could prove to be an x-factor in a much bigger game down the road.

Hopefully teams don’t learn and continue to kick to Pettis so that football fans get to see more highlight reel plays from the dynamic playmaker.

5. It’s going to be a wacky season

College football week 3

Chase McGrath (Photo by nbclosangeles.com)

Texas was supposed to lose by a lot, they took USC to overtime. Memphis beat UCLA in a thrilling game. Kansas State traveled to Nashville and lost to Vanderbilt. Stanford went to San Diego and lost to the Aztecs. Mississippi State upset LSU. Florida beat Tennessee on a last second bomb. Northern Illinois upset Nebraska in Lincoln. Are you not entertained?

This was seen as a rather mundane weekend going into it after two good weeks of football, but it turned out to have a lot of good games. More of this will go on as the season progresses. The main lesson is to be very careful of road games and who you schedule on the road.

With how crazy the football season has already been, watch out for a lot of surprises still to come.

 

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College football preseason 2017 top 25: 5-1

The college football season is about a week away and even the things that most fans take for granted can’t come soon enough. Good guard play, a gunslinger quarterback, hook and ladders and craziness are all things that need to happen sooner rather than later. The rest of the rankings are out and we are down to the top five teams, who will all be trying to make the college football playoff.

For the last installment of the rankings: click here.

5. Penn State Nittany Lions

College football top 25

Saquon Barkley (Photo by youtube.com)

Penn State surprised everyone by going 11-3 and making the Rose Bowl in James Franklin’s third season as the head coach. The good news for the Nittany lions is that they return 16 starters from that team and should be a force in the Big Ten again this season.

Saquon Barkley is one of the best players in college football and returns at running back. He totaled 1,496 rushing yards last year and will produce again this season. Four of his offensive linemen return to help pave the way for him. With that, Barkley should be in the thick of the Heisman race if he can have some big games against good competition.

The quarterback position is filled by Trace McSorley, who was a catalyst to taking their team to the Rose Bowl last season. He threw for 3,614 yards, 29 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 2016, but will need to improve his efficiency. He also provides an extra running threat for Penn State. He has plenty of good targets returning in DaeSean Hamilton, Saeed Blacknall and Mike Gesicki. Gesicki is one of the best tight ends in the country.

On defense, Penn State returns seven starters and brings a little experience back at every level of the defense. Two new starters will be needed at defensive end, but Parker Cothren and Curtis Cothran return at defensive tackle. They will be tasked with stopping the run, which they did at an average rate last season.

Jason Cabinda thought about leaving for the NFL draft, but elected to return for his senior season. He is a great linebacker, who will lead the defense this season. Marcus Allen, a safety, also considered leaving early for the NFL, but came back and is the leading returning tackler. With Grant Haley and John Reid returning at the corners, Penn State’s defense should improve this season.

Penn State plays in one of the toughest divisions in all of college football, the Big Ten East, which results in a tough schedule. In all, their tough games will be against Pittsburgh, Iowa, Northwestern, Michigan, Ohio State and Nebraska. While the schedule does have some tough opponents on it, the Nittany Lions should be able to get through the regular season with only a loss or two and put themselves in the conversation for the College Football Playoff.

4. Washington Huskies

College football top 25

Jake Browning (photo by si.com)

The third year at a school must provide some magic, because Chris Petersen took Washington to the College Football Playoff in just his third season as the head coach. Although they lost to Alabama, they have a lot of talent returning this season, which could result in them getting back to the College Football Playoff this season.

Jake Browning is back at quarterback and should have gotten more consideration for the Heisman last season. He threw for 3,430 yards and 43 touchdowns. While John Ross is on to the NFL, Dante Pettis is a good receiver in his own right and will step up. The speedster Chico MClatcher also returns to provide a unique weapon for Browning.

Three offensive line starters return from last year’s team and should be a good unit. Behind them, Myles Gaskin was able to rush for 1,373 yards and 10 touchdowns. He will produce again this season, making Washington’s offense multi-faceted and dynamic.

Only five starters return on defense, but a lot of these players have experience. Greg Gaines returns on the defensive front, while Vita Vea has the potential to be a star at nose tackle and had five sacks last season. Azeem Victor and Keishawn Bierria are both talented linebackers who are returning.

The “Death Row” secondary needs to be revamped with the departures of Sidney Jones, Kevin King and Budda Baker. JoJo McIntosh and Taylor Rapp both have experience at safety, while Byron Murphy and Jordan Miller will need to play well at corner. Murphy was redshirted last season after being a solid recruit and should have the tools to be a lock-down corner.

Washington plays no one outside of the Pac-12 that is worth noting, but do play Stanford, Oregon, UCLA, Colorado and Washington State in conference. All in all that is a pretty lousy schedule, which will allow the Huskies to escape with only a loss or two before likely heading to the Pac-12 Championship Game.

3. Ohio State Buckeyes

College football top 25

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

The Buckeyes were good enough to get to the College Football Playoff last season, but got blown out by Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl. Urban Meyer continually loses talent to the NFL, but has 15 returning starters this season. The goal for Ohio State every season should be to get to the College Football Playoff.

J.T. Barrett is back for what seems like his tenth season at Ohio State. He’s a senior now and has completed 63% of his passes over his career for 6,381 passing yards. The problem is that the people he is throwing to don’t have too much experience. Parris Campbell and Marcus Baugh return, but need to step up their production, while others will need to succeed early in their careers.

Four of five offensive linemen return and are a great unit. Billy Price is a good lineman could have gone pro, but decided to stay on for his senior season. Mike Weber will be a sophomore at running back and had a solid freshman season. He finished 2016 with 1,096 yards and nine touchdowns and will build on that this season.

The front four starters all return and features a lot of talent. Sam Hubbard, Tyquan Lewis and Nick Bosa are all very good players and are fighting for playing time at the defensive end positions. Lewis led them in sacks with eight. Dre’Mont Jones and Michael Hill return at the tackle position.

Jerome Baker and Chris Worley both are back at linebacker. Baker had 83 tackles last season. The only returning starter in the secondary is Damon Webb at safety. The defense was the third best scoring defense in the country last season and will be great again this season.

Oklahoma, Nebraska, Penn State, Iowa and Michigan are all going to be tough games for the Buckeyes. With Urban Meyer as head coach and a talented roster returning, Ohio State should be able to get out of the regular season with at most two losses, but could go undefeated if they reach their potential.

2. Florida State Seminoles

College football top 25

Derwin James (Photo by zimbio.com)

Florida State finished last season at 10-3 and won a thrilling Orange Bowl against Michigan. Jimbo Fisher has a lot of returning talent including some of the best players in all of college football. They have a tough schedule, but should still be able to make the College Football Playoff.

Deondre Francois had a good freshman season, despite bad offensive line play in front of him. He threw for 3,350 yards and 20 touchdowns. Ryan Izzo returns as a starter at tight end, but no starters are back at wide receiver. Nyquan Murray did have 441 receiving yards and five touchdowns last year and will be the go-to-guy this season.

The offensive line only returns two starters, but that may not be such a bad thing given how poorly they played last season. The hope is that Fisher’s recruiting will pay off. Jacques Patrick and Cam Akers will split time in the backfield for the Seminoles. Patrick is a junior and Akers is one of the best freshman in the country.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Seminoles have a lot of key players that should help them improve immensely. Josh Sweat, Derrick Nnadi and Demarcus Christmas all return on the defensive line, but Brian Burns, who didn’t start last year, comes back with 9.5 sacks. Their front four will make plays all year. The linebackers aren’t as talented as in year’s past, but they do have experience with three starters back from last year’s team.

The secondary always produces NFL-level talent. Derwin James sat out most of last season with an injury, but is back this season. He not only is a great NFL Draft Prospect, but if healthy, could be the best defensive player in college football this season. Tarvarus McFadden returns at corner and will be a high draft pick himself.

Florida State should be a team that has the offense and defense take a small step forward from last season. Their schedule is brutal and will give them challenges. They have games against Alabama, Miami, Louisville, Clemson and Florida. The Seminoles should be able to get out of the regular season with only a loss or two, which should put them in the ACC Championship Game, if things fall their way.

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

College football top 25

Minkah Fitzpatrick (Photo by draftblaster.com)

Losing in the National Championship Game has left a sour taste in Alabama’s mouth. Nick Saban is ready to lead his team back to prominence again this season and they will have another great season.

Jalen Hurts led the team to the title game last season and will be attempting to throw the ball better this season. Saban has admitted that he should’ve let Hurts throw more last season and it may have cost them. He did manage to throw for 2,780 yards and 23 touchdowns. O.J. Howard and ArDarius Stewart are gone, but Calvin Ridley returns. Other playmakers on the outside need to live up to their recruiting ranking this season.

The offensive line has three starters coming back and will be solid again with all the good recruiting Saban does. Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough return at running back to provide an elite one-two punch. Harris is shiftier, while Scarbrough runs with power. They create a great dynamic.

The defense has five starters that are returning for this season, but Alabama always has talented replacements waiting. Da’Ron Payne returns on the defensive line and will be flanked by Da’Shawn Hand and Josh Frazier. All of which will stop the run well. Shaun Dion Hamilton is back in the middle of the defense to patrol things as the next man in line to be Alabama’s top inside linebacker. Rashaan Evans had four sacks last season from his outside linebacker position.

Minkah Fitzpatrick can do anything in the secondary, but will line up safety this year. Ronnie Harrison will be at the other safety and is the leading returning tackler with 86. Anthony Averett and Trevon Diggs will be the corners and will need to prove to Saban, a former defensive backs coach, that they are up to par with previous Alabama secondary players.

Alabama too has a very tough schedule. Their tough games are against Florida State, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Tennessee, LSU and Auburn. While predicting anyone to go undefeated in today’s college football is tough, Alabama should be able to get out of the season with a maximum of two losses and a minimum of none. Either way they will be in the SEC Championship Game and will be in contention for the College Football Playoff.

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