Just when everyone thought we’d have a boring weekend in college football, the No.’s 2, 3 and 4 teams in the College Football Playoff rankings stumbled toward their first losses of the year. But for all of the anti-Clemson, Michigan and Washington folks, don’t be so quick to gloat.
Yeah, the Wolverines lost to an Iowa squad that has four losses, but falling to Iowa by one point at this late stage of the year, in a rugged conference slug fest on the road, will be forgiven if they beat Ohio State in tow weeks.
Washington’s 23-16 loss to USC wasn’t devastating to their playoff hopes either, as the Trojans have rebounded from their underwhelming 1-3 start to reel off six victories in a row. Southern Cal is playing like one of the best teams in the country right now, so the Huskies won’t fall very far in the rankings.
Clemson’s 43-42 loss to unranked Pitt looks bad on the surface, but they’re still the best team in the ACC and will likely, barring a complete collapse against Wake Forest or South Carolina, be playing for the conference title. So they still remain in prime position to contend.
This weekend was the first time that the No.’s 2, 3 and 4 squads lost on the same day since Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick dropped The Show back in ’85, and yet with all of the mayhem that many thought would initially ensue, they all firmly remain in the playoff mix.
In lieu of the impending rankings that will determine the frontrunners for this year’s semifinals, here’s how we see things at this stage of the game, if these teams finish strong as the clock begins ticking on the season’s fourth quarter:
1. Alabama – Right now, everybody else is just a butter knife, the Crimson Tide are a machete. Mississippi State walked into their game with some major swag, talking junk like Steve Jackson and Wardell Franklin after having beaten Texas A&M the week prior. After Alabama got through treating them like a wet food stamp, the Bulldogs walked out looking like Jackson and Franklin after loud talking Little Seymour. To make a musical analogy, the Tide are shining like Smokey Robinson right now,while everyone below them in the rankings play the background like the Miracles.
2. Louisville – This might be putting them too high, and they still need some help, but I can’t help but wish that Lamar “Pulled More Stunts Than My Man Action” Jackson, this year’s certain Heisman Trophy winner, gets a chance to show off on the game’s biggest stage. If the Cardinals beat up on a very good Houston team this weekend and then take care of business to close out the regular season against Kentucky, the committee will have to look at The ‘Ville very seriously. Who wouldn’t want to see Alabama’s ferocious defense try to slow down Jackson and Louisville’s explosive offense?
3. Ohio State – They need some more chaos to clear their path into the playoff picture, despite seeming to recapture their aura of dominance after beating Maryland worse than Tommy and Jimmy did Billy Batts in Goodfellas, 62-3. If the Buckeyes and Penn State both win out, that means the Nittany Lions will shockingly be champs of the Big Ten East. But it will be hard for the committee to leave Ohio State out of the playoff mix, even if that scenario plays out.
4. Oklahoma – Yeah, yeah, yeah, they have two losses, but if they beat West Virginia this weekend and Oklahoma State the following week, don’t sleep on the Sooners crashing the party. After starting the year 1-2, Bob Stoops has proven once again why he’s one of the best coaches in America. A win against the Mountaineers would set up an incredible Bedlam game against the Cowboys to close out the regular season. And even if you give as much of a crap about college football as those who voted for Trump give about diversity, women, intelligence and common sense, you need to tune into Oklahoma vs Oklahoma State just to hear my man Gus Johnson’s spontaneous combustions of “SAMAJE PERINE!!!” throughout the game.
Others still in it to win it include Michigan, Clemson, Wisconsin and Washington.
Amid the wonderful chaos of the weekend, my standout players include:
Jalen Hurts, Quarterback, Alabama – The true freshman passed for 347 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for 100 yards and another score, confounding Mississippi State worse than Trump did liberals on election night.
Quinton Flowers, Quarterback, South Florida – In a 42-49 win against Memphis, the junior completed 24 of his 29 passes for 263 yards and two touchdowns while also running for 210 yards and three more scores, including the game-winner with less than two minutes to play.
Derrius Guice, Running Back, LSU – Guice rushed for 252 yards, including a 96-yard TD scamper, in the Tigers’ 38-10 win over Arkansas.
ArDarius Stewart, Wide Receiver, Alabama – Stewart caught eight passes for 156 yards and three touchdowns in the 51-3 smackdown of Mississippi State.
Scott Orndoff, Tight End, Pitt – The senior caught nine balls for 128 yards and two touchdowns in the Panthers’ shocking 43-42 win over Clemson.
Jordan Evans, Linebacker, Oklahoma – Evans led the Sooners with nine tackles, broke up two passes, had two sacks and two interceptions in their 45-24 win over Baylor.
Adoree’ Jackson, Cornerback, USC – The multi-faceted weapon intercepted two passes and blocked a field goal in the Trojans win over previously undefeated Washington.