The college football season is in full gear and it is glorious. Each week has been filled with upsets, intense games, and players putting together superstar seasons. Here are a few notable storylines so far this season:
Will We Get The Same Playoffs?
Last year’s college playoffs featured Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and Michigan State, with Alabama beating Clemson in the national championship. Through five weeks, there is a very high chance we see three of these four teams once again. Alabama has outscored their opponents 220-65 this season, Clemson beat Louisville in an instant classic, and Ohio State has allowed just 37 points in four games. Clemson should have a clear path to the ACC Championship, Alabama looks unstoppable, and Ohio State’s playoff destiny will come probably come down to the November 26th showdown against Michigan at home. Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, and Dabo Swinney all have their eyes on the prize.
Can An “Outside” Team Make the Playoffs?
The usual powerhouse schools sit atop the college ranks right now: Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Michigan, and Texas A&M. There are three teams that don’t quite have the powerhouse history as an Alabama or Ohio State, but are primed to be in the playoff picture. Louisville, Washington, and Houston are three teams that have played extremely well this season and are looking to end up with final top four ranking come December.
The Washington Huskies probably have the best chance if they can remain undefeated and run away with the Pac-12. Louisville and Houston will control each other’s faith with a matchup set for November 17th. If both win all of their games to that point, it will be a final audition for the playoff committee. The loser of the Ohio State-Michigan will likely be knocked out of the top four, so that leaves an open window.
Heisman Race May Be Over
Louisville Cardinals’ sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson started the season with 100-1 odds to win the Heisman Trophy. Before the Clemson game, his odds were at 4-11. Jackson has accounted for 28 total touchdowns this season and is third in the country with 688 rushing yards. Jackson remains the favorite, despite his loss to Deshaun Watson and the Clemson Tigers, which should not take away from his phenomenal season. Preseason favorite Christian McCaffrey lost steam this weekend, as he was held to only 49 rushing yards in Washington’s dominating 44-6 win over Stanford. Watson, McCaffrey, J.T. Barrett, and Jabrill Peppers are all behind Jackson in the Heisman race.
Surprise Teams Continue to Rise, While Others Continue To Fall
Five weeks have passed and we now have a clearer picture of who is legit this season and who is not. Teams like the #10 Miami Hurricanes, #17 North Carolina Tar Heels, #9 Texas A&M, #18 Florida, and #25 Virginia Tech all were either unranked or near the bottom of the top 25 in the preseason polls. As these teams keep rising, other notable programs have taken a nosedive. Teams such as Florida State (preseason #4), LSU (#5), Notre Dame (#10), Michigan State (#12), UCLA (#16), Georgia (#18), and USC (#20), all started the season with high expectations but are now totally unranked. Most of these teams suffered embarrassing losses, notably USC’s 52-6 opening week loss to Alabama and Notre Dame’s 38-35 home loss to Duke.
The stakes of the remaining games will only become higher and higher as the weeks go by. As the saying goes, the cream always rises to the top. When we are near the end of the season, the top four teams will have proven themselves worthy of playing in the national college football playoffs.
(Welcome aboard Brian.)
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