Nothing changed in the Playoff teams this week. All four won, though Oklahoma did survive a major scare in Norman to Army. At this moment I honestly only see two real contenders for the championship this year and they are the same two teams from last year's championship game; Alabama and Georgia. Oklahoma and Clemson have both looked shaky in stretches and as we begin to entire conference play we should find out rather quickly if those two teams can overcome the shakiness.
What about Ohio State? What about Notre Dame? What about Penn State? Well, for two of those teams (Ohio State and Penn State) we will find out this weekend as they face off in Death Valley. We will also find out about Notre Dame and fellow undefeated Stanford as they face off this weekend as well. This weekend, just on those two games will definitely separate the pretenders from the contenders. However, a close loss this week (and potentially a blow out loss) by one of these teams does not eliminate them from playoff contention.
W 45-23 against Texas A&M
They handled the Aggies by 22 and it really was not that close. Early in the season there are games where a top team starts off slow (and even causing some concern among their fans in the first half) before turning on the jets. This game was not one of them. The Tide had this game in hand early and never looked back.
Next week: at home against Louisiana
W 28-21 (OT) against Army
This is one of the games that frankly had me concerned for the Sooners in the off-season. Army runs a triple-option offense (like Oklahoma used to run back in the day) and defenses that are not accustomed to those types of offenses tend to struggle. Oklahoma struggled on both sides of the ball Saturday and honestly Army should have won that game. Fortunately for the Sooners, they intercepted a pass while Army was driving down the field for a potential go ahead score ... and then preceded to miss a field goal on their side of the field sending the game into overtime. I am honestly not sure if this is just a stretch the Sooners are going through (much like last year) or if there is a quick fix.
Next week: at home against Baylor
W 49-21 against Georgia Tech
Clemson easily dispatched Georgia Tech over the weekend. I did not catch this game unfortunately but Clemson was up 28-7 at halftime so it was not much of a game. Looking ahead at Clemson's schedule they do not have many (if any) challenges left this season. They face off with an extremely down Florida State team, but do not have to play Miami. If they trip up down the stretch this year, even with one loss, I do not see them making the playoffs based on how weak their schedule is.
Next week: at home against Syracuse
W 43-29 against Missouri
Georgia got a bit of a scare out of Missouri this weekend, but it never felt like a game that may get away from Georgia. They were in control of the game throughout but Missouri kept it closer than the experts believed. Georgia's real first test from here on out will be on October 13 against LSU.
Next week: at home against Tennessee
Best of the Week
ODU restarted it's football program in 2009 after lying dormant for 68 years. On Saturday they hosted Virginia Tech (not sure how that scheduling happened) in one of (if not) the biggest game in their football history. They defeated the Hokies 49-35. What makes this even more stunning is that up to that game they were 0-3.
Worst of the Week
You saw the score above. The game was back and forth until late in the 4th quarter when ODU finally pulled away. I am all for bigger name teams traveling to smaller schools for games but you have to wonder how this came to be. Even with Arkansas they used to play the visiting team in Little Rock games to help smaller schools be able to report better attendance numbers. This is an ugly, ugly loss for the Hokies that is up there, if not bigger, than Michigan losing to Appalachian State.
State of Arkansas and Nebraska football
I was very positive last week about the direction of both schools. Turns out neither team had quite hit bottom. The Huskers trailed 39-0 at halftime. 39-0. On the way to a 56-10 absolute stomping by Michigan. I hope it cannot get any worse than that. However, Nebraska has to play Ohio State and Wisconsin this year and there are serious questions at quarterback and most surprisingly on defense. Arkansas lost 34-3 to Auburn but beneath that score there was something odd about the game. Arkansas outgained Auburn 290-225, held the ball longer, and the teams each had 13 first downs. That is a very small silver lining to a thumping from Auburn. Auburn only scored on one long drive (the covered 72 yards) and had a kickoff return for a touchdown. The other 20 points were scored on drives equaling 28 yards total. However, Arkansas has Texas A&M this week in Jerry World.