As promised, here is the second bye week check-in on the state of the nation. A lot has changed in just a month, but in many ways (at least at the top) there’s surprising stability.
One thing that you will immediately notice are how many one-dimensional teams there are in 2019. You have some programs that have supremely dangerous offenses but no defense (Oklahoma, Wake Forest, Memphis, SMU — and, in the case of the Tigers, the best special teams in the country). Then you have others that are one-dimensional defensive squads (Iowa, Florida, Auburn, SDSU). You have the incredibly flawed teams that nonetheless just keep winning (Kansas State, Air Force, Baylor, Boise State). You have the playoff fringe teams that seem to just be missing something (Georgia, Utah, Penn State, Oregon come to mind.) You have the teams that have pummeled awful teams, and there’s not much to take away from the schedule (Alabama, Clemson, Minnesota). You have the teams that seem to be putting it together...but it took them 2/3rds of a season to do so (Michigan, Texas A&M). Then you have the contenders whose marquee wins are looking a less impressive each week: Hello, Ohio State and LSU.
Is there a complete team in 2019? So far, OSU has seemed to be the only one. But, heavy lifting still awaits for the Buckeyes. Like the LSU Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide,they face their biggest tests down the stretch — and that depends on what you think of Penn State, Minnesota/Wisconsin/Iowa, and Michigan. As for Clemson? We just won’t know until they get in the playoffs — if they even do. It’s not a stretch to see a 12-1 Georgia team or an 12-1 LSU team getting the nod over the Tigers. Quality wins matter, not just pasting woeful patsies.
As always, these criteria are nebulous, far-ranging, and capricious. The usual caveats apply: The Blog Poll takes into account strength of schedule, bad and good coaching, injuries, exigent circumstances, home/away, defense or lack thereof, offense or lack thereof, weather, line play, power poll-ishness, head-to-head where possible or prudent, and my lying eyeballs.
Yell at me below:
Nov Bye Week WNABP
|RANKING||TEAM||30 Days Ago|
|RANKING||TEAM||30 Days Ago|
|22||San Diego State||--|
The winner of the LSU-Alabama QB battle has the inside track here. Tua Tagovailoa has not thrown a TD in 2 weeks — then again, he only played two quarters. With two Top 10 teams (and potentially three) remaining for the Tide, he can lock it up with a great November. Joe Burrow, the White Dwayne Haskins, has great stats, though the shine somewhat dulled following a fairly meager game vs. Auburn: Who knew that tackling at the LOS would harm his numbers?! (Everyone, BTW). But like Tua, the same high profile opportunity holds true for Burrow: With Alabama, TAMU, and potentially an SECCG, he can impress the national voters and sew it up.
Barring one of them having a command performance leaving no doubt down the stretch, then Jalen Hurts is the logical beneficiary.
Chase Young is having as dominating a season as Quinnen Williams did last year — and, like Williams, he’ll get lapped by the quarterbacks. He’s the best player on his team, but he’s going to split some votes with the efficient Justin Fields, who is gaining some momentum. Memphis’ Kenneth Gainwell is outstanding, but he’s only going to pick up protest votes.
- Ohio State
For the first time since February, I am revising this. Georgia has a chance to still get in, but it will rely on beating Auburn, winning the SECCG, making a case superior to that of say Oregon or Oklahoma, and then hoping the rest of their opponents win out (esp. Notre Dame, Auburn and Florida).
The only way Alabama makes it in is to win out. The schedule just isn’t there this year. For LSU that is not the case. They have a win over Texas that people still pretend is good, an SEC West schedule, and picked up Florida from the East. That’s much better than what the Tide would have. And, even if they ran the table and lost to Georgia or Florida in the SECCG, you still have to like the case a 12-1 LSU team would make. Of the all the 2019 teams, LSU can most afford a loss and still get in.
Ohio State is a no-brainer. They’ve come up big in their biggest games, though those games are looking less impressive with Cincy slogging around and Wisconsin being Wisconsin. If they’re not tested in Big 10 (and they probably won’t be), you can even see the Buckeyes moving to No. 1 with wins over a ranked B1G West representative, a Top 10 Penn State, and a Top 15 Michigan.
Do I still think Clemson gets in? Likely.
Is it fair? Of course not.
I think you can make a better case for a 1-loss P12 Champ Oregon or even a 12-1 B12CG Oklahoma. But, I firmly predict the CFP Committee will contrive “Top 25 matchups” for the Tigers so as to justify not leaving them at home. Wait until this week and see what the Committee does with Wake Forest and Texas A&M, and then see if Louisville, Virginia or Virginia Tech slide in towards the bottom. This thing has turned into feel-good geographic representation rather than the four best. And, like Alabama, these Tigers have to win out to sniff the Playoffs. Unlike Alabama though — with the paucity of good opponents on their schedule and few chances down the stretch — they have to do so impressively just to make their case over a 1-loss P12 or B12 representative.