Written by: David Parks – Staff Writing Intern (@_Parskie)
On the bright side, Tennessee’s offense has looked great the last two weeks. On the downside, Tennessee’s defense just set a record for futility allowing over 740 total yards against Missouri. Injuries have definitely played a part, but there’s still major red flags with how this defense has looked under first year coordinator Bob Shoop. Vols open up as 9.5 point favorites against their in-state rival.
Would’ve been easy for Pitt to suffer a letdown against Duke after upsetting Clemson, but Narduzzi’s crew blasted Duke by six touchdowns. James Conner set the ACC’s all-time record for career touchdowns. Expect Narduzzi’s name to come up in searching coaches as the carousel starts to ramp up.
23) West Virginia
Humbling beatdown on Saturday. The “impressive” road win at Texas lost what little luster it had as soon as Kansas beat the Longhorns yesterday. West Virginia has the best defense in the Big 12 but Oklahoma’s offense is playing too well for anyone to stop right now.
Very quietly about to finish 9-3. After some early growing pains, the offense is finally starting to look competent. And in case anyone had forgotten, Christian McCaffery is still good at football.
21) Washington State
It looked as though Leach’s crew was in a good place at halftime, but credit to the Buffs as they wore the Cougars down in the second half. Luke Falk missed a couple of big throws that could’ve pulled Washington State close in the second half. A 4-15 performance on third downs didn’t help their cause. Can still clinch the Pac 12 North with a win over Washington on Friday.
20) Boise State
Big day for Jeremy McNichols running for over 200 yards and four touchdowns against UNLV. On the season, McNichols now has 1575 rushing yards to go along with 22 touchdowns. The win gives Bryan Harsin his second ten+ win season in three years with the Broncos.
The Tar Heels knocked a team from the ranks of the unbeaten…. The Citadel!
Can we please stop with these November FCS games? In all seriousness though – congrats to the Tar Heels on finally picking off a pass this year. Prior to this game, UNC was the only FBS team without a single interception all year.
Was dumb to not have them in here before. The SMU loss was bad no question, but their other loss was by one possession, on the road, in the rain, to a potential ten-win team. Enjoy what you have left of Tom Herman, Cougs.
17) Virginia Tech
It looked as though the Hokies would relinquish controlling their own destiny in the Coastal trailing the Irish on the road in the fourth quarter. But Jerod Evans led his team back, outscoring Notre Dame 13-0 in the final quarter. Virginia Tech opens up -18.5 against their in-state rival. That feels like way too many on first glance.
Bad, bad loss. Forget that it was Oregon. Forget that it came with just two second remaining. Utah controlled its own destiny in the Pac 12 South. Now? Even with a win over Colorado, the Utes have no chance at the division.
15) Penn State
Remaining steadfast in my stubbornness to keep Penn State out of the top ten. Part of me hopes they win the BIG Title Game and make the playoff as the fourth team so they can be exposed for the frauds they are by Alabama…. Not that Alabama doesn’t make pretty much everyone look like frauds.
14) Oklahoma State
Another year, another high-stakes Bedlam. We first touched on it two weeks ago, but Oklahoma State may very well get screwed by a blown call earlier in the year against Central Michigan. If they were to upset Oklahoma, their only other loss would be at Baylor. I don’t know for sure if an 11-1 Big 12 Champion would make the playoff, but I know they’d have a better chance than a 10-2 Big 12 Champion.
Brutal loss to a depleted Florida team, but in the long run, this may be a blessing for LSU. Ed Orgeron was never the long term answer, so losing a couple of games in order to put that argument to rest was for the best. Expect the Tigers to hone their sights in on Jimbo and Fedora.
No need to keep the Coach of the Year race going. I’m still not sure people fully appreciate the job Mike MacIntyre has done at Colorado. With a win against Utah Saturday, the Buffs will head to the conference championship against the winner of the Apple Cup.
Even for as well as Auburn’s played this season, the Tigers open up as 20-point underdogs to Bama in the Iron Bowl. The race for the SEC’s Sugar Bowl berth will be interesting – the Bowl is required to take the highest ranked SEC team that doesn’t make the playoff. As strange as it sounds, the team best positioned may be Tennessee. Auburn has Bama this weekend, Florida has both FSU and Bama and LSU/Texas A&M play each other this coming week. Bizarre year in the SEC outside of Bama.
Finally…. The event we’ve all been waiting for. Mike Leach, Chris Petersen, high stakes and a whole bunch of apples. Although the Huskies lost some playoff momentum, there’s still an outside shot at a birth provided they were to win out. Tricky line as Washington opened -6 before quickly being bet down to -5.
9) Florida State
Another week, another beastly performance from Dalvin Cook. 225 yards and four touchdowns and in doing so, became Florida State’s all-time leading rusher passing the great Warrick Dunn. Noles battle Florida for state bragging rights to finish the season.
Complete and total disaster for the Ville on Thursday. As soon as they fumbled the opening kickoff, you knew it was going to be one of those nights. Louisville will still win ten games and be incredibly attractive to a New Year’s Six Bowl (The Orange Bowl).
Some think that game may have cost Lamar Jackson the Heisman – don’t buy it for a second. Who would jump him? Watson? Barrett? Peppers? No chance.
Easily the best offense in the country right now. The answer to the above question about who should be second in the Heisman race might be Baker Mayfield. 3300 yards and 35 touchdowns. DeDe Westbrook ain’t bad either (1350 yards, 15 TDs).
Bedlam is going to be…. Bedlam.
There’s some chatter USC could sneak into the playoff provided Utah upsets Colorado and the Trojans come away with the South. That would set up a rematch with Washington whom they dispatched two weeks ago. For as good as Darnold has been, the defense has been the big star. Another very good effort against UCLA this past Saturday.
How the hell does Wisconsin do it. Every year they’re solid in both football and basketball while simultaneously using more white guys than the rest of the sport(s). What’s been amazing about Wisconsin is how they haven’t missed a beat defensively despite losing Joe Aranda and replacing him with Justin Wilcox. It’s extremely rare to have a defense play at as high a level as Wisconsin’s has in their first year of a new system.
It’s officially time to start getting nervous about the Michigan offense. Yes they beat Indiana, but this team is going to have to score more than 20 points if they want to beat Ohio State and make the playoff. A Michigan win would likely save the committee from a Penn State nightmare.
Clinched their fourth division title in seven years, but the offense isn’t nearly what it was last year – specifically the running game. They must find a way to get Gallman going like he was last year toward the end of the season. Whether it turns out to be Virginia Tech or UNC, the ACC Championship Game is not a gimme.
2) Ohio State
Since arriving to Ohio State, Urban Meyer hasn’t lost to the same coach in consecutive years. Despite Mark Danotnio’s best efforts, that remained the case as the Bucks escaped with a one-point win to set up a de facto playoff elimination game this Saturday.
Hopefully Bama gained some confidence after thumping Chattanooga this past weekend – they seemed a little down on their luck recently.