After this past weekend’s action, barring some catastrophic upsets and unforeseen shakeups down the home stretch, it’s pretty clear that the four-team College Football Playoff will be comprised of either of the following squads: Alabama, Michigan, Washington, Clemson, Louisville or Ohio State. Right now, they seem to stand head and shoulders above the pack.
Alabama was more than impressive in their 10-0 win, on the road, against LSU. Despite being held scoreless for three quarters, their defense was spectacular, allowing just six first downs and 125 yards of total offense. They surrendered a mere 25 yards after halftime.
Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts accounted for 221 of Alabamas 323 overall yards, and his steady control of the offense in the face off some supreme pressure was commendable. It’s hard to believe that this guy was playing high school football last year.
The Tigers’ exceptional running back Leonard Fournette was once again unable to do much against the Crimson Tide D. A week after rushing for 284 yards against Ole Miss, Bama held him to 35 yards on 17 carries. Against any other team in the country, Fournette looks like the reincarnation of Bo Jackson. Against Nick Saban’s defenses, which have held him to less than two yards per carry over the past two years, he looks more like Jermaine Jackson!!!
In this era of prolific scoring attacks and fast-paced spread offenses that now define the modern game, Alabama vs LSU was a treat, hearkening back to some earlier days of great smash-mouth football. It was the antithesis of what we saw from the other top teams in the country over the weekend.
Clemson beat Syracuse by 54 points, Louisville smacked the excrement out of Boston College 52-7, Michigan obliterated Maryland 59-3, Washington stomped a mudhole in Cal’s hind parts by a score of 66-27 and the Ohio State Buckeyes recaptured their dominant mojo with a 62-3 whipping of No. 10 Nebraska.
But to me, Alabama’s win spoke louder than all of those blowouts.
We were also treated to some fantastic individual performances as well, with Texas running back D’Onta Foreman’s being the most jaw-dropping. He firmly inserted his name among the challengers to take second place in the Heisman balloting with his phenomenal stat line in the Longhorns’ 45-37 win against Texas Tech. Foreman put up one of the greatest single-game performances in the program’s storied history with 341 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
He’s currently the second-leading rusher in the nation with 1,446 yards. With three games left in the regular season, and a possible bowl game, it’s a safe bet that he’ll surpass the magical 2,000-yard plateau.
But no one is catching the clear front-runner in Louisville’s magician of a QB, Lamar Jackson, who completed 12 of his 17 passes for 231 yards and four touchdowns to go along with his 15 carries for 185 yards and three more scores.
Washington State signal caller Luke Falk completed 32 of his 35 pass attempts for 311 yards and four touchdowns. He’s now tossed 29 TD passes for the season.
In the biggest upset of the weekend, Mississippi State shocked No. 4 Texas A&M 35-28, knocking them out of the playoff picture. Bulldogs sophomore QB Nick Fitzgerald passed for 209 yards, rushed for 182 and scored four TD’s. He has quietly been putting in some major work over the last few weeks.
Washington now has the country’s second-longest active FBS winning streak, behind Alabama, after copping their 12th consecutive victory. If you have yet to see their QB, Jake Browning, running back Myles Gaskin, and the dynamic receiving duo of John Ross III and Dante Pettis, who combined for 312 receiving yards and six touchdowns against Cal, you’ve been missing out on the exciting rebirth of the Huskies as a national championship contender.
Browning completed 19 of his 28 passes for 378 yards and six touchdowns, setting a new single-season school record for scoring tosses.
Michigan QB Wolverines quarterback Wilton Speight passed for 292 yards while completed 13 of his 16 attempts in the first half against Maryland, finishing the day with a career-high 362 yards for two scores and running in another. Their finale against Ohio State on November 26th, should they both win out, will be the biggest game of the year.
The Heisman race is all but a wrap, with Lamar Jackson poised to win in a landslide. But Jake Browning, D’Onta Foreman and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson have a sweet little competition going for who’ll grab second place.
If there’s one thing that college football has always taught us, it’s that whatever we think we know can all change in a minute. Nothing is certain, especially with a month remaining before the bowl season and playoffs get under way.
Alabama looks to be the king of the hill, and Jackson is having a season for the ages. But all it takes is one stumble for the puzzle to take a different shape in the weeks ahead.