SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ George Schroeder breaks down the College Football Playoff rankings.
USA TODAY Sports
Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Brandon Wimbush arms off to working again Josh Adams.(Photo: Matt Cashore, USA TODAY Sports)
After a chaotic weekend that upended the established order, ruined the championship hopes of a number of contenders and shook up the College Football Playoff chase, what’s going to the Football Bowl Subdivision do for an encore? It’s a query that doesn’t actually have to be requested, since we already know the reply: school soccer will double down on the dysfunction and mayhem.
Last weekend noticed seven video games between ranked groups, nevertheless it was an unranked staff that brought on the best havoc. Iowa’s 55-24 drubbing of Ohio State knocked the Buckeyes out of the title hunt, for starters, and along side Penn State’s slender loss to Michigan State pared the Big Ten Conference’s path to the Playoff from three roads to only one.
Now the Big Ten turns to Wisconsin, hoping that the Badgers can run via the remainder of the common season unscathed and defeat the winner of the East Division — very possible considered one of Ohio State or Michigan State — within the convention title recreation to finish an undefeated common season. It would set a worrisome precedent to go away an unbeaten Power Five champion out of the highest 4, as Wisconsin athletics director Barry Alvarez stated this week. But to easily place 13-Zero Wisconsin into the Playoff ignores three components.
One is Notre Dame, ranked third within the latest Playoff ballot, which at 11-1 can be troublesome to unseat from the highest 4. The second is Clemson, which regardless of an earlier loss to Syracuse seemingly controls its path to a semifinal. And the third is Oklahoma, which might make a second grand badertion in as many weeks by defeating TCU.
PLAYOFF: Big Ten’s huge hope, Wisconsin, on exterior wanting in
BOWL PROJECTIONS: Opportunity arises for Notre Dame
All Wisconsin can do is deal with its aspect of the bracket, hopeful that regardless of constant issues by the Playoff choice committee over a flimsy power of schedule being an unbeaten major-conference champion would function the final word trump card when the committee meets for its last unveiling in early December.
“We look at a number of strength of schedule metrics,” stated Playoff choice committee chairman Kirby Hocutt. “But consistently over the course of all of those metrics that we looked at, Wisconsin had the lowest strength of schedule amongst any of the 25 teams ranked this week.”
Wisconsin could have the possibility to enhance its power of schedule with video games in opposition to Iowa and Michigan, starting the all of the sudden fashionable Hawkeyes on Saturday. It’s excellent news and unhealthy: Wisconsin will get a top-25 opponent, which is able to badist their power of schedule, however after that spectacular win in opposition to Ohio State, will the Hawkeyes be an excessive amount of to deal with?
There’s the weekend’s first probability at further chaos — an Iowa win in opposition to Wisconsin that might virtually formally finish the Big Ten’s hopes of sending a staff into the Playoff for the fourth time in as a few years. But it’s not the one matchup will huge postseason implications.
The Big 12 Conference’s slate leads with the Sooners and Horned Frogs, with the winner placing a stranglehold on the regular-season crown and incomes a spot within the league’s rechristened championship recreation, performed at AT&T Stadium in North Texas on Dec. 2. An Oklahoma win would keep the Sooners’ push towards the highest 4, which gained steam with final weekend’s shootout win in opposition to rival Oklahoma State but misplaced some luster with Ohio State’s slide from the title image.
“Any challenge excites us,” stated TCU security Niko Small. “Whoever you put in front of us, we’re going to make sure it’s at least a hard game for you.”
In the Atlantic Coast Conference, Miami (Fla.) faces its biggest check up to now with a house matchup in opposition to Notre Dame — marking the primary time in many years that considered one of school soccer’s most marketable rivalries stands for greater than mere bragging rights. Notre Dame has already confirmed itself to the committee, if largely due its slender loss to Georgia, however the Hurricanes have but to obtain the good thing about the doubt: Miami’s been discounted for shut calls in opposition to inferior competitors, so a high-profile win in opposition to the Irish would considerably enhance the staff’s Playoff résumé.
“I think what our coaches try to preach to us is the idea of a faceless opponent,” stated Notre Dame linebacker Drue Tranquill. “We have to focus on our game plan and focus on what’s going to occur. They’re a bunch of 18- to 22-year-old guys just like we are. We have to focus on execution of our game plan in order to win.”
And then there’s the Southeastern Conference. Georgia should move a stiff check at Auburn, which brings its personal Playoff hopes into the second Saturday of November regardless of holding two losses. Tenth on this week’s Playoff ballot, the Tigers theoretically can play their manner right into a semifinal by knocking off the Bulldogs this Saturday, rival Alabama to finish November after which incomes a second win in opposition to Georgia within the SEC championship recreation.
WOLKEN COLUMN: In 2007, Kansas and Missouri have been one thing particular
MORE: 2016 meltdown at Georgia nonetheless bothers Auburn
Meanwhile, a beaten-up Alabama staff will get Mississippi State’s finest shot on the street. The accidents are including up for the Tide, particularly on protection, and the Bulldogs are quietly placing collectively a season worthy of consideration for a New Year’s Six bowl. Would a Mississippi State win be an upset? Sure. But it wouldn’t be too surprising, if that makes any sense, when contemplating the Bulldogs’ offensive manufacturing and Alabama’s mounting accidents on protection.
Now, take inventory of how the Playoff image could change come Sunday morning. If the established order holds, the highest 5 received’t differ: Georgia and Alabama, then Notre Dame, then Clemson, after which Oklahoma. But an Auburn win would create a brand new No. 1, very possible Alabama — so long as the Tide win. A Notre Dame loss would vault Miami no less than into the highest 5, if not into the highest 4. An Oklahoma loss would place TCU into the Big 12 driver’s seat, although it’d damage the league’s general possibilities at putting its champion right into a nationwide semifinal.
So that’s the place issues stand. At finest, the Playoff debate can solidify round a transparent prime 5: the 2 SEC groups, Notre Dame, Clemson and Oklahoma, with the Sooners the staff probably to profit from an Alabama or Georgia loss.
At worst, however, school soccer’s title chase takes one other swerve towards anarchy. OU loses to TCU. Miami tops Notre Dame. Iowa knocks off the Badgers. Auburn will get the higher of Georgia. You’d say that sounds loopy, however that’s not true: it’s simply the ultimate weeks of faculty soccer’s common season.
Each week, I’ll take one look again on the weekend that was to current a Paulitzer Prize nomination to the nation’s most spectacular participant. The choice committee consists of 1 individual — me — and can ultimately convene in December to award the final word Prize.
Ronald Jones, Southern California. Any dialog about school soccer’s prime working backs begins with Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, drifts to Stanford’s Bryce Love and should ultimately contact on San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny. Jones, in the meantime, doesn’t get a sniff. But he ought to: USC’s star rusher is as full as any again within the nation, Barkley included, as he confirmed within the Trojans’ 49-35 win in opposition to Arizona. Jones rushed for 194 yards, giving him 410 yards in his previous two video games, and added one other 39 yards receiving to spark USC to a vital divisional win.
GAMES YOU SHOULDN’T MISS
It’s not possible to look at each recreation. (I do know. I’ve tried.) Until the invention of picture-in-picture-in-picture tv know-how, I’m right here to badist. In every time window, listed below are this Saturday’s video games you may’t afford to overlook (instances Eastern):
Noon: No. 16 Michigan State at No. 11 Ohio State (Fox). They’ll meet with the Big Ten East Division on the road and with the Spartans’ heavy underdogs, which doesn’t make an excessive amount of sense given how every staff heads into Saturday.
Afternoon: No. 2 Georgia and No. 10 Auburn (three:30 p.m., CBS). A win right here for Auburn doesn’t change issues for the Bulldogs, who can nonetheless make the Playoff by profitable out, however it might solidify the Tigers’ place as a respectable menace to achieve a semifinal with two losses.
Prime time: No. 5 Notre Dame at No. 6 Miami (eight p.m., ABC). Not to low cost the significance of TCU at Oklahoma, however come on — that is Notre Dame and Miami.
After darkish: Boise State at Colorado State (10:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network). There’s a slight scarcity of high-profile video games within the late hours, so this important divisional matchup within the Mountain West should do.
SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ school soccer reporter Paul Myerberg breaks down the most well liked headlines from week 10.
USA TODAY Sports
THE UNELIMINATED LIST
Most the FBS has already been eradicated from the chase for the College Football Playoff. Fortunately, just a few groups stay. After weeks of wanting on the eradicated, let’s flip the script: By convention, right here’s who stays within the CFP image.
American: Central Florida.
ACC: Clemson, Miami.
Big 12: Oklahoma, TCU.
Big Ten: Wisconsin.
Conference USA: None.
Independents: Notre Dame.
Mountain West: None.
SEC: Alabama, Auburn, Georgia.
Sun Belt: None.
Last SlideSubsequent Slide