It has taken 14 incredible weeks of college football to get to conference championship week, and we still aren’t exactly sure who the four teams that will be invited to the college football playoff will be. There are major implications Saturday that could shake things up even further. TCU pulled ahead of the Florida State in the latest playoff rankings released Tuesday night, pushing the Seminoles down to fourth. The undefeated Seminoles now find themselves behind three teams with one-loss, and it’s very clear that the playoff committee doesn’t respect their body of work.
What We Learned Last Week
Don’t Hate on the ACC
It went 4-0 last week over the SEC, football’s best conference. Georgia Tech, Florida State, Louisville and Clemson were all victorious over their counterparts from the Southeastern Conference last week. Alongside Saturday’s strong performances is the fact the ACC will now have 11 bowl eligible teams. Usually an overlooked conference when it comes to football, the conference made a strong statement on Saturday
‘Bama and Auburn Put on a Thriller
For the second year in a row, the Iron Bowl was nothing short of entertaining television. The two teams combined for 1,169 yards and 99 total points. At one point Auburn led 33-21 behind the strong play from QB Nick Marshall but would see the lead slowly dwindle as Alabama pulled away in the fourth quarter. This was a huge game for the SEC, a loss by Alabama might have taken the SEC out of the College Football Playoff all together.
Notre Dame is in a Bad Spot
… And now has a QB controversy for their projected bowl game. Notre Dame found itself down 35-0 at one point last Saturday against USC, which caused Irish head coach, Brian Kelly, to pull entrenched starter Everett Golson in favor of sophmore, Malik Ziare. Notre Dame, which at one point found itself in the playoff hunt, lost five of its last six games to finish the season at 7-5. This won’t sit well in South Bend, and with the teams regression since its national title appearance in 2012, that seat might be getting a little bit hot for Brian Kelly. They don’t pay you four million dollars a year to finish 7-5 in South Bend.
Stat of the Week:
Jameis Winston threw four interceptions Saturday against the Gators, bringing his total for the season to 17. That is the most from a QB in a Power 5 conference, and he now ranks fourth in the entire FBS.
What We Are Looking Forward To
Can Arizona Do It Again?
Arizona dominated Oregon when they met in Eugene back in early October, but can they do it again? Arizona is the one team that seems to give the Ducks fits as they are one of the few teams that match-up well against their speed. Oregon will rely heavily on Heisman Trophy candidate, Marcus Mariota, to make the big play. The junior signal caller for the Ducks has tossed 99 touchdowns in his career against only 12 interceptions. That’s efficiency and a big reason why the Ducks have been so good over the past few years. The difference in this game will be the Oregon defense, however. They will need to find a way to slow down Wildcat freshman QB, Anu Solomon, and their very balanced attack. This is the only conference championship game that will feature two teams ranked in the playoff committee’s Top 10, No. 7 vs. No 2, Friday night at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
No JT Barrett Could Spell Disaster
With J.T. Barrett going down last weekend against Michigan, it will mean the Buckeyes will technically be starting its third string quarterback against Wisconsin. Cardale Jones is not a name known by many, but he will start in place of the injured Barrett Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium. Jones will need to keep the Buckeye offense efficient and on the field to keep his defense from being warn down by the strong running game of Wisconsin. Badger RB, Melvin Gordon, has already amassed 2,260 yards on the ground with two games still remaining in his season. If Ohio State fails to slow the Badger run attack, it will be a very long night for the Buckeyes.
Georgia Tech Ready for Florida State
For most of the year, Georgia Tech has remained somewhat under the radar. Now they are 10-2 and ranked No. 11 in the latest playoff rankings by the College Football Playoff Committee. They bring a different dynamic on offense which runs the ball with authority through many different schemes. The Yellow Jacket rush attack ranks fourth nationally, and teams are rarely prepared for the wrinkles this offense brings. Florida State hasn’t found itself to be dominant in many games this season, and the defense, which has been the driving force behind the Seminoles’ success this season, will need to be the difference maker in this one. If not, it could be bye-bye playoffs for the ‘Noles.
Upset of the Week:
The time has finally arrived for Florida State. They have let other teams find ways to beat themselves and pulled it out late in the fourth quarter to get to 12-0. Florida should have beaten the ‘Noles. BC should have beaten the ‘Noles. Clemson should have beaten the ‘Noles. The Yellow Jackets will be the team that beats the ‘Noles.