This weekend’s games didn’t have all of the greatest match-ups as previous weeks, but there was still a lot of good football. Four weeks into the season we have learned a lot of things about plenty of teams, but here are some takeaways from the week:
1. The Big Ten is for real.
A lot of people have been debating whether the Big Ten is the best conference in college football this week, but one thing isn’t in doubt after this weekend: The Big Ten has a few elite teams. Ohio State was off this weekend, but remains number two in both the Coaches’ and AP Polls. Michigan got another blowout win this week, this time demolishing Penn State in the Big House, and remain in the top five of both polls. Michigan State lost to a very good Wisconsin team, but both teams should be pretty good the rest of the way. Wisconsin worked their way up to eight in the polls with the win and Michigan State dropped to a respectable number seventeen in the Coaches’ Poll. Nebraska followed up their win over Oregon this week by beating Northwestern this weekend, while moving up to fifteen in both polls. Polls can be misleading because of schedules and how they were formatted to start the season, but Ohio State went on the road to beat Oklahoma, Michigan got a win over a Colorado team that went on to beat Oregon, Nebraska squeaked by that same Oregon team, Wisconsin surprised an LSU team that at the very least has a lot of talent and Michigan State beat an under-performing Notre Dame team on the road. The Big Ten has challenged itself and has earned the right to be called the best conference in the country.
2. It is really hard to lead a nationally prominent team for a long time.
Les Miles has been fired from LSU after losing to Auburn this weekend. Defensive line coach, Ed Orgeron, will take over the head coaching duties on an interim basis. He previously was an interim coach at USC, after the firing of Lane Kiffin. Miles had a very successful run for the Tigers, winning a national championship and countless other big games. LSU had some of the best recruits in the country every year under Miles, which is something they will wish to continue under their new leadership. In the end though, Miles was fired because he refused to change and was too predictable on offense. Handing the ball to outstanding running back Leonard Fournette every down may sound like a great idea, but teams simply stacked the box because LSU couldn’t find anyone to consistently complete passes. Miles also refused to change the offensive system to open things up for the quarterbacks. He hasn’t had much success against Alabama, which has been frustrating for LSU fans. Now that it is all said and done, Miles had a successful stint as LSU’s head coach, but if you aren’t winning national championships regularly, it is hard to keep people happy.
3. Baylor is the Big 12’s last hope at the College Football Playoff.
The Bears got a big win over Oklahoma State this weekend, which has made them the team to beat in the Big 12. Oklahoma has two losses and is a long-shot to make the playoff. Oklahoma State lost to a MAC team two weeks ago. Texas lost to Cal to weeks ago and has a shaky defense at best. TCU lost to Arkansas in a close match-up, but hasn’t looked good otherwise either. Baylor never plays anyone of note in the non-conference schedule, but they may not need to if every other contender in the conference continues to lose. Even with a lousy schedule, the College Football Playoff Committee will select the Bears if they run the table or, if the circumstances are right, finish with one loss.