Week 9 Rundown
In our picks column, we mentioned how there were quite a few teams facing road tests this weekend. It was trick and treat across the nation for the teams leading up to Halloween. Eleven top 25 teams went down over the weekend. That is a lot, but the top is still as stable as ever. Clemson eviscerated Florida State to the point where shirtless professors were sitting in the stands just to get some sun and read a good book. Utah kept on rolling against UCLA and controls the PAC 12 south. Kentucky and Washington State both had to make 4th quarter comebacks to keep their division hopes alive. But there were plenty of other losses by other contenders to make this an exciting weekend.
I think this weekend showed why our rankings system has Texas out of the top 25 despite them being all the way up to #6 nationally. They couldn't go on a true road test and beat the previously hapless Oklahoma State offense. When defensive juggernauts like Texas Tech can hold the Pokes to 17 points on the road, you figure the vaunted Texas defense could at least do that. Nope. But all is not lost. The Big 12 keeps beating up on each other so they are still in the running for the conference championship, if not the Playoff. And surprise of all surprises, we are going into November and TCU is at the bottom of the table for the Big 12, not Kansas. Remember when TCU almost beat Ohio State and we thought TCU was in for a good season?
Speaking of conferences that keep beating up on themselves, the PAC 12 had another eventful weekend. Top 25 teams Washington, Oregon, and Stanford all went down. Granted, Stanford lost to #14 Washington State, but that conference has basically beaten itself into Playoff irrelevance. Not sure what is happening at Washington. Coming into the season they looked so solid with all their returning players. They just haven't been able to put it together.
How about the Big 10. It was a big weekend for Ohio State and Michigan because they didn't play. Wisconsin got beat by Northwestern on the road. Iowa went and lost in Happy Valley. Northwestern has almost clinched the Big 10 west. They have the head-to-head tiebreaker over Wisconsin and Purdue, now which amounts to a 2 game lead over them with 3 conference games to go. If they win their road tilt against Iowa, they will have a 99% probability to win the big 10 west. Ohio State's resume keeps looking worse as TCU doesn't look like that great of a win. Maybe the best team they have beaten so far is Penn State? Plus they got demolished by Purdue. And yet the new rankings this week has them climbing 4 spots? I guess it just goes to show again, that name brand is just about more important than results.
The ACC is Clemson and everybody else. Virginia is leading the division opposite of Clemson. (Again, still don't know who is in what division in the ACC.) Talk about a shocking standing right now. Virginia was barely above the level of Kansas for years before making a bowl last year. That would be like Kansas trailing only Oklahoma in the Big 12 standings in 2 years. And the only ranked teams from the ACC are Clemson, Syracuse, Virginia, and Boston College. What is going on! Clemson's resume isn't exactly sparkling either. Their best win is maybe a road win at 5-3 Texas A&M - another top 25 team that lost on the road this weekend. Clemson has had some close calls but at least they have looked dominant for the past month now.
And over in the SEC, Georgia and Kentucky are playing the SEC east title game this upcoming weekend. Another one of those "who saw that coming" events. Georgia got beat by LSU, Florida beat LSU, Georgia beat Florida. None of that makes sense except in rock-paper-scissors. But there you have it, and we get to see who will be the sacrificial lamb in the SEC championship against Alabama.
What does this all mean in the big picture? This is why we love college football! It all seems like you know what will happen and then it is so unpredictable every year. And if UCF finishes the season undefeated, and they don't get in the Playoff, that's just unacceptable. If a Group of 5 team can't make the Playoff in a year like this, then maybe the BCS was a better system. At least when a Boise State, or Hawaii, or Utah had a magical season, they were within a few different game results of making the championship. It feels like that's not the case with the Playoff system because of the subjective "best teams" criteria. Going undefeated is hard -very hard- as we have seen no matter what conference or perceived level of competition you face. Let them play. Let them play. I don't care about schedule strength in this situation. They deserve a shot to play for the national title, not the Power 5 title.