Week 9 Rundown

Another week, another top 10 team falls as a massive favorite.  This time it was Oklahoma going down.  It looked like their defense went from horrible to respectable this season, but it reverted to its old ways against Kansas State this weekend.  The Wildcats ran all over the Sooners averaging 4.7 yards per attempt on the game.  Oklahoma was down 25 points in the 4th quarter before a furious comeback ran out of time.  So once again everyone says this is the death of another top team's Playoff chances.  It just seems we don't learn our lesson.  Every season at this time we say this about teams and project there will be about 8 unbeaten teams at the end of the year, but it never happens.  Maybe it will happen, but history has shown us it probably won't.  That means these 1-loss teams will be right back in the mix for a Playoff spot.  Although all of it still feels a bit futile because Clemson and Alabama are still unbeaten.  Until one of them is out of the Playoff, it won't ever truly feel like mass chaos is happening.

And as stated above, we don't learn our lesson about prematurely calling for the death of a team's/conference's Playoff hopes.  The PAC 12 was left for dead after an opening week loss by Oregon to Auburn.  And then again when Utah went down to USC.  Well, the PAC 12 now has 2 teams in the top 10 of the rankings.  They have as good a shot as anyone to make the Playoff, especially now that Notre Dame has suffered a second loss.  They shouldn't have to worry about the Irish taking a spot from a Power 5 conference this year.  Especially since their loss to Michigan was so horrendous.

In the Big 10, Ohio State had another huge statement win.  Their top scoring offense went against Wisconsin's top scoring defense, and it wasn't a contest.  Ohio State is on another level this year so far.  If the Buckeyes can avoid their annual baffling loss and they can run the table against Penn State, Michigan, and then winner of Big 10 west, there should be no doubt they will get in the Playoff.  Speaking of the Big 10 west, Minnesota sits atop the standings undefeated with a 2 game lead with 4 conference games to go - although 3 of those 4 games are against ranked teams.  At the beginning of the year the talk was about Minnesota getting bowl eligible and after narrow wins against South Dakota State (not the powerhouse Dakota team), Fresno State, and Georgia Southern, it looked like they weren't really going to be anything more than a middle of the pack team this year.  But they have found some sort of groove.  Row that boat!

The ACC is can't miss football for an almost entirely different reason.  There is Clemson, and not another single ranked team in the conference (looks like Wake Forest has sneaked into the rankings at #23 with their 2-1 conference record).  It is can't miss football because you never know who is going to win, and the conference has a legitimate chance for every team in the Coastal division to finish with a conference record of 4-4.  Who doesn't want to see that?  How would they even work out that tiebreaker?  It's fascinating!

Most other years #2 LSU beating #9 Auburn would lead most of the week's discussion.  But the weird thing is, almost everyone expected LSU to win this game.  LSU's offense is on such a high level this year, that it's expected at this point they will find a way to pull out wins.  Who would have thought that would be the norm for them?  LSU has now beaten three top 10 teams (at the time they played) this year and have Alabama on deck.  LSU has rightfully vaulted to #1 in the rankings.  If they beat Alabama, they will be the clear cut favorite for the National Title going forward this year.  And if Alabama loses, they should be behind lots of teams in the Playoff pecking order.  But they won't be just because their name is Alabama.  What is the Tide's best win?  Beating Texas A&M 47-28?  Their next best is beating South Carolina 47-23.  That resume does not scream one of the 4 best teams.

And for the Group of 5 New Years 6 bid, all talk was centered around UCF and Boise State.  It looked like it was going to be that way too.  Boise State started off with a win on the road against Florida State.  UCF kept their ridiculous winning streak up.  But those 2 loss, and now we are actually looking at an undefeated SMU team and an undefeated Appalachian State team to take that spot.  It would be fun to see one of those 2 teams in a New Years 6 bowl.  Something new.

It was a very impactful week 9.  Let's see what the last month of the season brings us.

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