We got to see the top 10 change again for the second week in a row, but the top four are still the same and look stronger than ever. Alabama, Georgia, Clemson and Ohio State are leading the way and look like the teams who will be in the playoff. But neither one of them are there yet. As we look at games to watch for weekly, we will find out more and more about the top teams.
Let’s also not forget about Notre Dame, who is on the outside looking in with their 6-0 record, but they two have more important games left. So let’s take a look at what to watch for this Saturday.
TOP 25 VS. TOP 25:
2 Georgia vs. 13 LSU
After easily handling their first six games, Georgia finally enters the toughest part of their schedule. This week is LSU, and then they have a bye week before heading down to Jacksonville to take on the Florida Gators (5-1). They still have games against the surprising 5-1 Kentucky Wildcats and the 4-2 Auburn Tigers. This is the biggest thus far because Georgia has complete control over the SEC East and one loss against any of these teams could hurt their chances at not only the SEC Championship, but the playoff as well.
With Florida and Kentucky both at one loss, Georgia’s need to take care of business, especially with Florida’s loss being against Kentucky. Florida just beat LSU last week to make them another one loss team in the SEC.
LSU has surprised us all early this season with their quick start and wins over Miami and Auburn. Their loss to Florida last week might be the point where the team starts to cool down. But they too have a tough schedule ahead of them, as they still have Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Alabama left. Can LSU manage to rebound from their loss to the Gators, or will they blow their chances in another loss like Auburn?
7 Washington versus 17 Oregon:
Washington’s only hiccup was the season opener against the Auburn Tigers. Since then, they have won five straight games and are in sole possession of the PAC-12 North with the recent loss by Stanford. That’s what makes this game more interesting. Washington lost to an SEC team who has two losses. Oregon lost to Stanford, but then Stanford got crushed by Notre Dame (Independent) and Utah (PAC-12). Whoever wins this game could very well go on to win the PAC-12 North and play in the title game.
If it is Oregon who wins, their chances of making the playoffs are still very slim to none compared to Washington’s. Oregon does have the more favorable schedule remaining in the PAC-12. But the fact that there is no big non-conference game on their schedule, Oregon will need to make a statement in this win.
For Washington, they still have games against undefeated Colorado, California, and Stanford. If they want any chance of making the playoff for the second time in three years, they have to win those games. Of course, it’s still a high road to climb, and their loss to Auburn in week one of the season no longer helps their case, as Auburn is now a two loss team. Washington still needs to run the tables like I have been saying since the beginning of the season, and they need to start winning by more than just a touchdown against their weaker opponents. I mean seriously, UCLA is 0-6 and they lost to Washington by a touchdown…
12 Michigan versus 15 Wisconsin:
Michigan, like Washington, lost the first week of the season and has been clawing their way back into the playoff picture. That week one loss was to No.5 Norte Dame, and it may have been the most costly game of the Wolverines season. Yeah, that doesn’t make sense right? But have you looked at their remaining schedule? Not only does Michigan have to play Wisconsin this week, but they still have games against in-state rival Michigan State and Penn State before finishing the season against their biggest rival, Ohio State.
This game could give Michigan what they need to power their way through the rest of the season and hope for a playoff berth if they manage to get by this rough schedule. Wisconsin’s one loss came to BYU, and that showed us that Wisconsin is not the same team they were last year when they went 12-0 heading into the Big Ten championship game. They lost that game to Ohio State and clearly aren’t the same.
For Wisconsin, this game with Michigan will give them an image again. The image of one of the best teams in the Big Ten. They are most likely going to win the Big Ten West regardless of the results to this game because of how the division works, but if they want any chance at the playoff, they will have to beat Michigan and take care of the rest of the schedule like Northwestern and Penn State.
BOUNCE BACK GAMES:
21 Auburn vs. Tennessee
You can kiss the Tigers playoff chances goodbye, as they took their second loss in the SEC. Auburn’s 22-21 loss to LSU does not hurt them as much as their 23-9 loss to Mississippi State does. The Tigers were unable to score a touchdown in this game, and if they want any chance to beat Alabama and Georgia as an upset, they will need to figure things out again. What better way to do that than against the 2-3 Tennessee Volunteers, whose season was over before it even got started when they got beat by West Virginia. Tennessee has also lost to Florida and Georgia. Ironically, the deficit of each game was 26 points. Auburn’s explosive offense should bounce back nicely against the Vols.
16 Miami versus Virginia
This isn’t a bounce-back game that Miami lost, but they did come very close to it. Luckily, their defense was able to hold off Florida State and win 28-27. In that win, the Hurricanes lost WR Ahmmon Richards to a career-ending neck injury. Richards wasn’t a huge part of the offense, but that does change the morale of a team. They do have a favorable schedule for the rest of the season. They would need to win out if they wanted a chance. Virginia isn’t much of a threat when it comes to football, so Miami should take care of business.
9 Penn State versus Michigan State:
This is a bounce-back game from Penn State’s late loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes two weeks ago. Penn State had a week off to think about what they should’ve done to win against the Buckeyes. This 27-26 loss may cost them the chance at the playoff, but they could still represent the Big Ten East with a few loses by Ohio State. Although that may not happen, Penn State should prepare themselves, and a huge win over Michigan State will help them get back on track. They still have games against Michigan and Wisconsin, who are both competing against each other this week. All three of these teams are looking to take down the Buckeyes, but only Michigan plays them in the regular season. Let’s keep a close eye on the Big Ten.
GAMES OF INTEREST
5 Notre Dame versus Pittsburgh
Another team to keep an eye on is the 6-0 Notre Dame Fighting Irish. It’s no surprise to see the Irish undefeated and ranked so high, but their level of competition is nothing compared to the four teams ahead for them. If Notre Dame finishes the season undefeated and there is a one loss conference champion, I still believe the conference champion should be in the playoff over them. It’s been a great season for Notre Dame, but apart from their win over Michigan and Stanford, they haven’t played against any top ranked opponents. Of their remaining games, none are ranked or likely to be ranked at the time of their game.
6 West Virginia versus Iowa State:
After watching Texas hold off the Oklahoma Sooners late comeback, West Virginia is now the front runner for the Big 12 title. This game is important because West Virginia has no room for slip ups. They are 6-0 and playing great football, but they still have games against both Texas and Oklahoma, so as quickly as they lead the conference, they could lose the conference too. Fortunately, the Mountaineers have Iowa State this week and this should help them prepare themselves a bit more for the bigger teams. Iowa State is known for their physical play and could actually give West Virginia a hard time early, but I expect West Virginia to pull away late and remain undefeated heading into a short week.
9 Texas Versus Baylor
As mentioned above, Texas beat Oklahoma 48-45 late in the fourth quarter as the Long Horns had to hold off the Sooners offense looking to make a comeback. That game moved Texas ahead of the Sooners and ready for top 10 match up with West Virginia to take over the top position. But that is still weeks away and Texas needs to stay focused on what’s in front of them now. Baylor should be an easy win for Texas, but also should not be overlooked. It’s been a great season for Texas, who have fully recovered from their upset loss against Maryland in the opening week of the season, and they need to continue to add on it, especially since they have back to back games coming out of their bye week next week.
19 Colorado versus Southern California
When you see the headline of this game, you probably think it’s USC who is ranked and Colorado is the team trying to spoil a perfect season, but what you see is the 19th ranked 5-0 Colorado team taking on 3-2 USC. Colorado is trying to win the Pac-12 South for the second time in three years. If they manage to do so, they could likely play Washington for the second time this season and revenge their loss in the title game. But let’s take it a game at a time with Colorado because they are only half way there and no matter what USC’s record is, they could still win the PAC-12 with a win over Colorado. That’s why it’s important for Colorado to win over USC and then look ahead to their game against the Huskies next week. This is the rough part for Colorado’s schedule, and this game is the biggest one of the season. Winning against USC is an almost guarantee for them to represent to South in the title game, even if they lose to Washington. But two losses makes them just another team in the PAC-12. So let’s see how Colorado plays against USC late Saturday.
Will we see upsets and can teams continue to stay undefeated? Tune in Saturday to find out what your favorite college football team does this week!