We are a month into the season and five weeks away from the first College Football Playoff ranking. It’s a good thing because as of right now there are many teams that believe they are a top four team. We witnessed many top tier programs handling their business against lesser opponents while schools such as TCU were taken to the brink and barely survived. We got to watch a Heisman hopeful widen the gap from his opponents and we got to see Karl Malone still use a flip phone.
The current top two schools in the country, Ohio State and Michigan State took care of business with 38-12 and 30-10 victories. The Big Ten is definitely representing themselves well right now. TCU and Trevone Boykin escaped a close one against in state rival Texas Tech on a fourth down tipped reception for the game winning touchdown with under 30 seconds remaining. UCLA went on the road to take on Arizona and took care of business with a 56-30 victory. Number 17 Northwestern remained undefeated after a 24-19 victory over Ball State and number 18 Utah put a whooping on number 13 Oregon. Are we witnessing the fall of the Ducks?
Here are some quick takeaways from Saturday’s action.
1) The SEC title race is taking shape
In the SEC East, the Florida Gators beat a young and exciting Tennesse Volunteer program by one point. The Gators are now 4-0 and with their win over Kentucky last weekend are 2-0 in the division. Behind the running attack of Nick Chubb who scored three touchdowns against Southern, the Georgia Bulldogs will be the Gators biggest opponent in the East. The two schools do not meet until October 31st.
In the West, Ole Miss, LSU, and Texas A&M remain undefeated. Ole Miss had a tough time with Vanderbilt and walked away with an 11 point victory. LSU and their fans traveled up north to take on a Syracuse Orange team that was starting their 5th string walk on quarterback. Behind the legs of Heisman front runner Leonard Fournette, LSU was able to leave the Dome with a 34-24 victory. Texas A&M was able to provide Bret Bielema with another loss for the Razorbacks with a 28-21 win.
2) Even with a win, TCU’s playoff chances look slim
While the Horned Frogs did provide the most entertaining game of the weekend, they did fail to provide faith in their chances of making the playoffs. Granted they have lost players to injuries, suspension, or leave of absence. That does not give them a reason to struggle. The defense will have to pick its game up if they want to have any chance against Baylor and Oklahoma. TCU will also face much better defenses than the Red Raiders throughout the season. At this point, it looks like the Big 12 will come down to Baylor and Oklahoma.
3) The Big Ten’s top two might actually be top three
Has Jim Harbuagh and the Michigan Wolverines finally figured it out? It sure look like they did Saturday as they shutout BYU 31-0 and held the cougars offense to 105 yards, more than 325 below their season average. The khaki pants has this team ahead of schedule, while Sparty, who struggled for the first three quarters is now 0-4 against the spread this season. Some could argue they do not look as good as advertised. Perhaps the Big Ten is more open than everyone thought. The final two games on the Buckeyes schedule – vs Michigan State, at Michigan – suddenly look like tough competition.
My player of the week goes to TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson who recorded 18 receptions for 267 yards and 3 touchdowns. 17 of those catches and all three touchdowns came within the first three quarters. Not bad at all. Continue to put up numbers like that and we may see his name in the Heisman discussion.