College football has seven weeks in the books, but there is still a long way to go. Each week more is learned about each team, even though not everything can be known. Putting the pieces together on college football each season is part of why fans love it. With that being said, here are five things learned from week 7.
1. Michigan vs. Ohio State a battle for the Big Ten East
This weekend saw Michigan dominate Wisconsin in Ann Arbor. The win does a lot to alleviate the fears of Michigan fans, giving hope that they can still win the Big Ten and make the College Football Playoff. This hope was helped by the fact that Penn State dropped a game to Michigan State and now already has two losses in conference. The problem for Michigan is that their rival, Ohio State, stands in their way.
Ohio State struggled against Minnesota, but was able to close them out late. The Buckeyes have been the class of the Big Ten since Urban Meyer arrived and are undefeated this season. They will be ready and battle-tested by the time “The Game” happens between Ohio State and Michigan.
Even if either team drops a game before the regular season finale, whoever wins will, in all likelihood, represent the Big Ten East in the Big Ten Championship Game. This fact will make “The Game” that much more important this season.
2. Oregon has to win out for Pac-12 CFP chances
Washington was the Pac-12’s best bet to reach the College Football Playoff (CFP), but lost this weekend in overtime at Oregon. With two losses, Washington and Stanford, the preseason favorites for the conference, will need a miracle to make the CFP. There has never been a two-loss team to make the CFP, and even if they come close, the legitimacy of their conference will come into question.
With the rest of the Pac-12 having at least one loss, including Colorado and Washington State, Oregon, who also has one loss, is likely the Pac-12’s last hope to make the CFP. The Ducks have beaten Cal and Washington now, giving them a few legitimate wins, but there is still a long way to go.
Oregon will not have too many chances to get resume-building wins the rest of the season and will need some help from the teams above them in order to really get consideration for the CFP. They are though the only hope for the Pac-12.
3. Iowa State is no longer a doormat
Iowa State is a program that has had little success over its years, but that is quickly changing. They were able to upset West Virginia on Saturday, which helped shake things up after a crazy weekend of football. This could be seen as a fluke, but over the last two seasons Iowa State has shown they aren’t an easy win.
This upset pairs nicely with the Cyclones upset of Oklahoma last year. What’s better than just scoring a few upsets, Iowa state is winning enough games to go to bowl games. Last year they finished at 8-5 with a win over Memphis in the Liberty Bowl. This season they are 3-3 with a lot of winnable games left.
The Cyclones need to do everything possible to keep Matt Campbell in Ames, as he has started to build a consistent program.
4. LSU can (and has) shake up the whole CFP race
After losing to Florida, there were questions about how good LSU was this season. The Tigers bounced back though and upset Georgia at home. The win gives them some confidence heading into some important games down the road, but also has shaken up the CFP picture. There could be more of this to come.
The Tigers’ win over Georgia will make it harder to get two teams in the CFP, as all teams, but Alabama have a loss already with more tough games coming up. Georgia will likely have to go undefeated the rest of the way, with games against Florida, Kentucky, Auburn and a possible SEC Championship Game left. If LSU can beat Alabama, which is a big if, the Tigers would likely be the representative from the SEC West in the SEC Championship Game. This would leave Alabama idle in the last weekend, which went in their favor last season, but could end in a different result this year.
The key games to watch for the SEC CFP race are Florida vs. Georgia and LSU vs. Alabama, but as always, anything can happen on a college football Saturday.
5. Auburn is ice cold and struggling
Auburn was thought to be a good team with a chance to be great with their early-season win over Washington. Unfortunately, the season hasn’t played out like the Tigers would’ve hoped. They sit at 4-3 and have had two straight losses, including this week’s loss to Tennessee.
Losing to LSU and Mississippi State is understandable, but the loss to the Volunteers this weekend really exposed Auburn. Tennessee is under a first-year head coach and in the midst of a rebuild. Auburn is supposed to be competing for the SEC West. The offense sputtered and now they are likely looking at a mediocre bowl game.
Auburn has yet to find a lot of consistency under Gus Malzahn. They have gone from seasons of competing for the SEC and National Championships to 8-5 records. Can Malzahn get the Tigers back on the right track soon?
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