Another week down and more Top 4 team tumbles. Mississippi State headed to Tuscaloosa looking to show it was the elite team that no one said existed in college football this year. It was not to be though. Alabama has been great at home all year and they fended off a late Bulldog rally to remain with only one loss. The biggest games are still to come for those still in the playoff race, and Week 13 will no doubt provide us with another set of great games.
What We Learned Last Week
Florida State Escapes Again
Every week it seems Florida State finds another way to cheat death. The AP Rankings that came out Sunday have Florida State as the nation’s new No. 1 following Mississippi State’s tumble in Tuscaloosa. But No. 1 doesn’t earn Florida State the nation’s respect as the best team after failing repeatedly to be dominant against much weaker opponents. The Seminoles found themselves down 23-7 at one point to a mediocre Hurricane team last Saturday night in Miami. Florida State only seems to find its grove in the 2nd half, and at some point may find themselves in a hole they can’t dig themselves out of. One loss and the ‘Noles could be out of the playoff hunt all together. They haven’t played to an elite level and until they do, the scrutiny will continue to flow for Jameis Winston and company.
Muschamp Not the Right Fit
He just didn’t win enough games during his time in Gainesville, and he admits it. Will Muschamp is a brilliant defensive mind, but it was the inability to get the offense going at Florida that ultimately did him in. The SEC is a brutal, talent-rich conference that provides tough match-ups week-in and week-out. Florida played some inspired games this season, particularly against Georgia, but couldn’t produce a consistent result. Don’t be surprised if Muschamp leaves his stamp on the Florida program by leading the Gators to a win over the Seminoles the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Florida will turn things around fast, they have had a Top 12 recruiting class every year under Muschamp who will be a defensive coordinator next year at a major program. Time will tell however, who gets this talented mind.
Tide Keep Rolling
The Crimison Tide held on Saturday in Tuscaloosa for a much needed win. Taking down the nation’s No. 1 team can do a lot for a team’s resume, especially in a year such as this. What remains to be seen is if Alabama can make sure this win continues to matter and not stumble in upcoming games against Auburn and potentially the SEC title game. Alabama started fast against the Bulldogs and hung on for a 5-point victory. The difference between the teams wasn’t so significant that Alabama can afford mistakes down the stretch. For now, the Tide are rolling once again, and a spot in the playoff is theirs if they can win out.
Stat of the Week
Wisconsin RB, Melvin Gordon, carried the ball 25 times for a NCAA single-game rushing record of 408 yards. Ridiculous.
What We Are Looking Forward To
Can Notre Dame Hold It Together?
What will become of this Notre Dame season that was once so promising for their fan base. After getting manhandled in Tempe by Arizona State, the Irish returned home as big favorites against a struggling Northwestern team. The result – a 43-40 OT loss to the visiting Wildcats. A tough contest comes this Saturday against Louisville followed by a trip to the Coliseum against USC on Nov. 29. If Notre Dame wants to play in a possible New Year’s Day bowl, they must win out. A 7-5 final record and a trip to a random bowl will not sit well with the Irish faithful.
Melvin Gordon vs. Hawkeye Defense
Wisconsin RB, Melvin Gordon raced to the record books on Saturday in Madison and put himself as the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy. The Badger junior now leads the country with 1,909 yards on the ground while possessing 25 total touchdowns. There are still 719 yards to go for Gordon to reach Barry Sanders single-season record of 2,628 yards, but another big day like Saturday, and he just might get within reach.
TCU Needs Their Swagger Back
Whatever swagger that TCU built up through the first 9 games of the season went out the window last Saturday when they traveled to Lawrence to face a troubled Jayhawks’ squad. A 34-30 win over a 3-7 football team isn’t the recipe for success for a team that needs to be dominant every week. Contests against Texas and Iowa State remain for the Horned Frogs, and they will need to be great with both of them. No conference championship game means 2 strong wins, and TCU will almost certainly take its seat at the table for the College Football Playoff.
Upset Pick of the Week:
USC still seems to be struggling to figure out who they are. Saturday they will head to the Rose Bowl to make a statement against the Bruins who are playing their best football of the year. A big day from Kessler and the Trojans can get it done.