College Football – The National landscape has changed?

This past weekend saw a major change in the national landscape as No. 3 Georgia was upset at home by South Carolina in double overtime, 20–17. If you watched the game, you know that Georgia Quarterback Jake Fromm had a subpar performance for the Bulldogs. But South Carolina lost their starting quarterback Ryan Hylinski almost the entire second half as well. What was more incredible is the Gamecocks had numerous opportunities to just make one single play and seal the game early but couldn’t do it. That’s what a losing culture will do for you. Instead, it was Georgia, who had who had escaped an interception in the first OT, got the ball down three with the expectation of winning the game with a touchdown in the second overtime. The Bulldogs gift- wrapped the game to South Carolina again, when Georgia’s iceman kicker, Rodrigo Blankenship, missed a 42-yard field goal. It’s when you don’t play well but still win that is the mark of a great team. By contrast, Alabama has not lost to an unranked team since 2007. That’s the difference. Georgia should never have been in that situation but when you don’t show up and turn the ball over, it’s hard to overcome.

We were at the Notre Dame for USC game which played to the script. The Trojans had a chance if they could just stop the Irish on their final drive but instead allowed them to go to 75 yards and score the clinching touchdown which put them up 10 points. The Trojans added a meaningless score at the end unless you took the 10 points as I did. There were numerous opportunities for USC to make one big play on that final Notre Dame drive to deprive the Irish of a clinching score but every time Ian Book either completed a pass on third down or ran it himself converting a first down. Again, that is where the present culture of USC football is. Now 3-3 this year, unless Coach Clay Helton can somehow win the Pac 12 championship, there’s no question he will not be retained. Former athletic director Lynn Swann was forced out after giving his blessing to another year so others will decide his fate. It is clear he is not the right guy for the job. It says here that it’s 50-50 Urban Meyer is the next coach of the USC Trojans. Yes, that same Urban Meyer who carries all the baggage from the University of Florida and Ohio state. Yes, that same Urban Meyer lacks character and lied to the media as well as the public about the whole Zack Smith fiasco. Yes, that same Urban Meyer who many overlook schools overlook his flaws because he wins.

Minnesota pasted Nebraska 34-7. It wasn’t even that close. Coach Scott Frost of the Huskers needs some players, especially on defense. Outside of Washington State, I don’t know if there is a worse tackling team in college football. I still think they will make a bowl but they’re a long way from playing head-to-head with Ohio State. The Golden Gophers are now 6-0 and have a chance to be 8-0 going into the game against Penn State in three weeks. Wouldn’t that be something? Of course, they haven’t beaten anybody good.

How about what LSU and especially Quarterback Joe Burrow did Saturday night against a solid Florida defense? Coach Dan Mullen of Florida is the best play-caller in college football. There are other good ones, too, but right now, he is getting more out of less from his offense than anyone. The Gators led 28-21 in the third quarter and Burrow basically took over the game. The Tigers led by seven at 35–28 only to see Kyle Trask Of Florida throw an interception in the end zone. A short time later, Burrow threw the clinching long touchdown pass and Florida never recovered.

UCLA did not lose this week. They did not play. But Rutgers continued their embarrassing season as they lost to a weak Indiana team, 35-0. The Big Ten is probably trying to figure out a way to remove the Scarlet Knights for the conference.

Wisconsin has the best running back in the country and we’ve been telling you that from day one in Jonathan Taylor. But they also have another exceptional defense and they are putting teams away early. Michigan State was humiliated 35-0 and Mark Dantonio needs to get to a bowl game I think to save his job. I know he’s been there 14 years and brought the Spartans to new heights after he arrived, however, that spark is burnt out.

Just seven weeks in the season, and certain teams are still in the mix and most of teams are out of it. Let’s start with the five conferences.

In the Pac 12, only Oregon has any chance of qualifying for the college football playoff. Yes, I know there are other teams with one loss including Utah and Arizona State. These teams just do not have the resume even if they run the table to overtake a one loss team from the SEC or Big Ten and perhaps even a two-loss team. It’s that simple. I do think this conference plays very good football but with the three-hour time difference and some of the members not having national followings, it will be highly unlikely that anyone, but Oregon has a chance.

In the ACC, it’s Clemson or bust. The Tigers are now at number three after LSU pulled up one spot and they are a solid team which needs to be reckoned with. They have talent, speed and skill as well as coaching. What they don’t have is competition. They either win out or no ACC team qualifies this year for the CFP.

The Big 12 has a similar problem. Of course, they only have 10 teams and that’s another problem. Fortunately, one of them is undefeated Oklahoma. The Sooners may need to run the table but still might get into the CFP with one loss against a quality opponent. The surprise here has been Baylor which once again sneaked an OT victory against Texas Tech and his 6-0. Texas has two good losses against Oklahoma and LSU and could get revenge against Oklahoma in the big 12 championship game, but they are almost certainly out of the national discussion, I think this conference doesn’t get enough respect because of the elite teams of yesteryear have left for greener pastures. They include Nebraska, Colorado, and Texas A&M. Some of them obviously are down right now but these were national teams with national followings when they left the conference. Their absence means this conference has just ten teams left and less teams who are in the national conversation.

That leaves the SEC in the Big Ten. The SEC as usual has numerous possibilities with the west division. They have undefeated Alabama, undefeated LSU, set to clash on November 9. Auburn has only one loss as well. In the east, it looks like it’s just Georgia and Florida, each with one loss and with no room for error. I know Missouri also has one loss but that was to Wyoming and that will hurt them the rest of the year. If any of those three teams run the table, they would be in the CFP.

Then there is the Big Ten, where Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Penn State remain undefeated. Who knows what will happen here with Wisconsin playing a crossover game against the Buckeyes in two weeks and Penn State playing at Ohio State on November 23? Michigan still has only one license as well. As far as Minnesota, they may be undefeated, but I can’t take them seriously just yet.

Finally, there is Notre Dame. The Irish have just one loss and still play at Michigan in two weeks. Their schedule is a creampuff and I would put a two loss Big Ten or SEC nonconference champion ahead of the Irish. Remember the Irish already lost to Georgia.

My first four in our Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, and Oklahoma. First four out are Clemson, Penn State, Georgia and Auburn.


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