Yesterday was one of the most important of the 2017. Unfortunately, it was also one of the worst weeks of play on a game-by-game basis: Too many teams played sloppy, reckless, flat or error-laden ball. It’s almost November, y’all.
A few did stand out, however. Notre Dame absolutely thrashed another good team with its monstrous ground game. The best offensive line in the country is hitting its stride, and they toyed with NC State. Ohio State decided to play an Alabama Upset Special: The Buckeyes kicked Penn State’s ass up and down the field, but made too many mistakes, had too many empty drives, forgot to #RTDB, couldn’t get off the field on third down, and gave up freak big plays that made this game closer than it should have been. I swear, I thought I was watching Clemson Part II...or basically any other Tide loss of the past 6-7 years. USC rebounded, annihilating Arizona State. We have to give a shoutout to Iowa State. They have beaten four teams in a row that were ranked at some point this season, including two in the Top 10. After the Cyclones found themselves in October, few teams anywhere are playing better. They completely shut TCU down and out yesterday. They’ve been able to win defensively and in shootouts. What a great job by Matt Campbell. Oklahoma remembered how to play defense in the second half and laid a 30-minute whoopin’ on Kliff’s Red Raiders. Clemson rebounded nicely against the Yellow Jackets, especially on defense, where the pass rush was ferocious and the secondary was flying around like Jack Russell Terriers on that yac.
Georgia probably put the nail in Jim McElwain’s coffin, abusing a thin young Florida team. The Gators are trending seriously downward. Should they fire him? Probably not; he’s earned another year to work with his first full recruiting glass. Will they? Coach Mac sounded like it after game, so it’s more than even money. The dueling press conferences in Knoxville and Gainesville are going to be lit today, y’all.
The first Playoff rankings come out on Tuesday. We’ll have our staff predictions for those in a few days. But, for now, here’s the WNaBP for Week 10.
|1||Alabama Crimson Tide||1|
|4||Notre Dame Fighting Irish||8|
|5||Ohio State Buckeyes||9|
|9||Oklahoma State Cowboys||10|
|10||Iowa State Cyclones||20|
|11||TCU Horned Frogs||2|
|13||Virginia Tech Hokies||15|
|15||Penn State Nittany Lions||4|
|18||MIssissippi State Bulldogs||--|
|22||Washington State Cougars||11|
|23||North Carolina State Wolfpack||17|
|24||San Diego State Aztecs||--|
|Michigan State Spartans|
|West Virginia Mountaineers|
|Boston College Eagles|
Dropped Out: Michigan State looked awful and predictably lost (told you they would.) Stanford had a one-point win against the worst team in the PAC 12 (and that says a lot.) Worse, they played terribly getting there. To the corner to think about what you’ve done. Not that it matters: Notre Dame is going to run for approximately 9,703 yards and put half a hundred on this team. I think USF is a Top 25 team, but they lost to the first team they faced that plays defense (And I told you that yesterday too. It’s like they should pay me or something!)
The SEC Dumpster Fire: SEC coaching is a super-hot mess at the moment. As many as eight coaches could get fired or move on for new jobs. But, let’s be honest, the only hot commodity for an advancement is Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen. After whipping Texas A&M’s butt in Kyle Field, the Bulldogs stand at a nifty 6-2. Florida gave him a hard look in 2015. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him swap divisions and return to the Swamp. Everyone else will be gracing C-USA sidelines or broadcast booths in the near future.
As for the West, it’s impossible to rank State-Barn-LSU in an internally consistent matter. Let’s just say that LSU’s win over Auburn was impressive, but they were outplayed that game and....lost to Troy. From there, State’s win over LSU becomes more impressive...but they got blown out by Auburn. So, Auburn it is.
Heisman Watch: J.T. Barrett has a 22:1 TD-INT ratio, great rushing numbers, and just carved out a legacy moment against the overrated but nonetheless No. 2 team in the nation. No way he’s not in New York. Saquon Barkley had a big play in the kicking game but was otherwise mostly shut down on the ground -- again. Baker Mayfield has played consistently the best, against a better schedule, than anyone else in the country...and he has eye-popping numbers, including lighting up and outdueling Ohio State. That’s probably your field of finalists.
Playoff Prediction: FINALLY, after 10 weeks, I am changing what I think will be the final playoff contestants -- and that’s because the PAC 12 sucks out loud. UW can still get in the conversation assuming that Wazzu turns it around and USC plays consistently. That’s a big ask: No one in this conference is consistent. So, for the reasons set forth in our final roundtable, on New Year’s Eve we have...
3. Ohio State
Washington Notre Dame