Clemson & Michigan Still In It While U-Dub Pretty Much Eliminated
The College Football Playoff committee got what it did not want, a Saturday full of chaos when not just one team in its Final Four lost, but three of them.
Yes, 3/4 of the teams that would be playing for the National Championship “if the playoffs were held today” went down on a single Saturday.
But not all is lost for two of those teams; in fact if they win out then Saturday’s losses won’t matter in the end. And that’s saying something in college football, where a single loss can destroy a season.
Clemson and Michigan are still poised for the playoffs. The Tigers are still in it because they’ve beaten Louisville and Florida State and the Wolverines play Ohio State and have whipped Penn State.
As for U-Dub, well, the party is pretty much over Huskies. They looked like what many thought they were going into their game against USC – questionable because of a weak schedule and a run through a very easy Pac-12 schedule to date. Their only hope is that Washington State is over-regarded by the committee and the Huskies beat them badly on the road the final game of the regular season. And that Colorado – yes, Colorado – is by default more than by talent and ability, a Top 10 team going into the Pac-12 Championship.
In fact, Washington showed very little as to how it ran roughshod through its schedule (44-6 over Stanford, 70-21 over Oregon, 66-27 over Cal, with a narrow thank-goodness-they-didn’t-call-clipping-penalties-on-the-punt-return 31-24 escape at Utah).
USC dominated on defense, quarterback Jake Browning looked nowhere near a Heisman Trophy candidate and overall U-Dub looked like nothing more than a slightly above-average team.
Clemson, of course, has been flirting with disaster all year. It should have lost to N.C. State when the Wolfpack missed a short field goal at the end of regulation.
Everyone expects the Tigers to play the way it did against Alabama in last year’s National Championship game but that’s not happening because that performance was more of a fluke than a standard. Deshaun Watson was like a precision laser. beaming balls right between defenders to receivers who were making diving catches. Clemons was “on” and it’s been “off” most of this year.
It finally caught up with the Tigers against Pittsburgh, tho only gimmies remain, against Wake Forest, South Carolina and whatever team from the other ACC division falls backward into the championship game.
Michigan is in a pretty favorable position, primarily because of Penn State. The Wolverines beat the Lions while Ohio State lost to them. Still, if Michigan beats Indiana and Ohio State then likely Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship, then it’s headed to the playoffs.
This is not easy, tho, if the shaky Michigan that showed up in Iowa makes another appearance. If that’s the case – and quarterback Wilton Speight may be out if not slowed considerably by a shoulder injury – then the Wolverines will lost to Ohio State and could fall to Indiana, as well.
So really, other than U-Dub, the “shakeup Saturday” on November 11, won’t shake things up too much. For now.