November 9, 2017 v4 p53
With such high profile games being played weekly you’re bound to have a let down from time-to-time. The weather is starting to become a factor too, but more in the time of games, not the actual gameplay.
Michigan – The Wolverines sank Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck’s boat in his first appearance in The Big House and The Little Brown Jug rivalry. The Michigan ground game was able to do pretty much whatever it wanted to do, whenever it wanted to do it last week, hopefully it’s a sign of improvement and not a sign of ineptitude on behalf of the Gophers. While the victory was easy, I still would like to see more from Freshman QB Brandon Peters, although he certainly stood in there and took some shots.
Michigan State – The Spartans endured a three hour storm delay and came out on top against the higher ranked Penn State Nittany Lions. Saquon Barkley was pretty much a non-factor, and the Spartan defense seems to have returned to the level Coach Dantonio had them playing at earlier in this decade. The Spartans control their own destiny in the conference title race, but will winning it be enough to get them into the playoffs, probably not with two losses.
Ohio State – After an emotional, come from behind fourth quarter victory at home against Penn State in week nine, the Buckeyes travelled to Iowa and laid an egg. It was just an ordinary egg, but an ostrich sized faberge egg. Iowa had a pick six on JT Barrett’s first pass, and the game never got closer the rest of the way.
Penn State – Heisman hopeful Saquon Barkley is showing that he is human, mustering just 63 yards on 14 carries, maybe he should have been more worried about the game than updating the opponent on the Ohio State game. After being considered as one of the top two teams in the country by some people around the nation, the Nittany Lions have looked like they may not be one of the top two teams in their conference division. There’s still an outside chance to make the conference championship game, but it needs a lot of help.
Big Ten West – Wisconsin continues to be the measuring stick on this side of the table, remaining the only undefeated team in the conference after blowing out Indiana. Northwestern won their third consecutive game in OT, that’s three straight games that went to OT, the first time it has ever happened in the FBS. A lot of people think and undefeated Badger team is the conferences only hope to get into the CFP, and that will be tested as they host a hot Iowa team in week 11.
Notre Dame – The Irish continued their winning ways with an easy 48-37 victory over Wake Forest, that wasn’t as close as that score reflects. This win would mean more in my eyes if they were an actual member of the ACC conference. Notre Dame should find themselves in the CFP at the end of the season if they can win out, which won’t be an easy task starting with undefeated Miami (FL) this week.
SEC – Georgia looks to be the team to beat in the conference, and the nation as they clinched a divisional title as they rolled over South Carolina. LSU finally scored a touchdown against Alabama, but still fell short in a 24-10 loss, tied for their lowest scoring output on the season. Mississippi State and Auburn are both hanging around with two losses, looking to play spoiler to somebody down the road.
ACC – Clemson remained in the hunt to repeat as national champs as they held off a late charge from NC State for a 38-31 victory. Miami remained the only undefeated team in the conference with an easy 28-10 victory over Virginia Tech. Despite having not lost a game the pundits keep Clemson atop the conference, a couple of narrow victories for the Hurricanes seem to be hampering them, all they can do is continue to survive and advance.
PAC 12 – The Washington Huskies look to be the team to beat once again in the conference, as they rolled Oregon to the tune of 38-3, the opposite of how this matchup looked about five years ago. USC held its own against RichRod’s spread offense, and continues to impress. This may be one of three conferences left out of the CFP if things shake down the right, or wrong, way.
Big 12 – In a game that featured a score almost every time I looked up at the TV, the Oklahoma Sooners showed they are the front runners in the conference with a 62-52 victory over Oklahoma State. The winner of the game between them and TCU will have the only chance to represent the conference in the CFP, but they will most likely be one of a possible three conferences left out. Baylor picked up their first victory of the season, but against Kansas, which is definitely a basketball school.
Western Michigan – Playing in the MAC doesn’t get you much exposure on Saturday, which is why the conference plays a lot of its games during the week in November. As I’m writing the Broncos are leading Kent State on senior night. A victory tonight makes them bowl eligible for the fourth straight year, which would be a program record.
Maryland – The Wolverines come into this matchup heavily favored against former assistant coach DJ Durkin. The ground game should continue to flourish, but the passing game needs an opportunity to work in some game situations if Michigan has any hopes of being able to win in their last two games. Maryland has lost four of their last five after a promising start to the season, and with games against Michigan State and Penn State to finish the season, making a bowl game doesn’t look hopeful.
There looks to be a distinct possibility that both Georgia and Alabama will make the CFP along with the winner of the ACC, and Notre Dame if they can win out. That leaves three of the Power 5 conferences out of the loop, which helps make the case for expansion. I can’t wait to watch how it all works out.