Well, the home stretch has officially started. This week was the first official College Football Playoff list. We will put the list below after our Takes, but let’s just say there’s a good chance that we will have semifinal games IN THE REGULAR SEASON. Well one of them is this weekend, but the question with LSU/Alabama is this. Does it matter? Will the committee keep both of them there next week regardless of what happens? And the defending National Champions Clemson Tigers are OUT right now. Even though they’re undefeated. More on that below, let’s get to these scorching hot takes!
Willie Taggert out at Florida State: I usually start with Notre Dame on my takes, but since I’ve totally trashed Willie Taggert for being way over his head in Tallahassee I have to begin here. Well after a 24-10 loss to an equally mediocre Miami team, enough was enough. Taggert was fired after taking a proud, championship program and turning them into..well just another team. Bobby Bowden must be furious as to what has happened to a team that he consistently had in the Top 5 every year with a couple of national championships to his credit. Now the talent isn’t even staying in Florida (well Gainesville maybe). Florida State must still hate Jimbo Fisher for bailing to go to a lateral job in a tougher conference. Time will tell what happens but for now assistant Odell Haggins, who served as interim coach after Jimbo Fisher left in 2017, will once again serve as interim coach. Perhaps Urban Meyer would like to try his hand at a resurrection?
Or…perhaps he wants to go back to South Bend: There is such a thing a job fatigue. Longtime ESPN analyst, the late Beano Cook always said “The three toughest jobs in America are President of the United States, mayor of New York and head coach of Notre Dame. Brian Kelly has done a pretty good job of fixing the broken program at Notre Dame in his tenor. However, after an ugly loss in Ann Arbor followed by a sleepwalking 21-20 win at home over mediocre Virginia Tech, is it time for a change here too? Sometimes you just get fried, even the great Frank Leahy had to walk away from his dream job. No one stays at a college job forever like Bo Schembechler or Joe Paterno or Eddie Robinson. A change of scenery for both the coach and the school is sometimes good. Would ND be better with Urban Meyer? ND may think his hands aren’t quite clean enough for it, but who knows. With ND’s playoff chances gone, perhaps they’re looking to replace the Big Ten team in the Rose Bowl?
I don’t wanna hear the hypocrisy: Clemson throttled Wofford 59-14 on Saturday, but right now they’re sitting at #5 in the CFP poll. Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne had their usual great games but it’s Wofford so we’ll leave it at that. What’s mind boggling is why the committee is punishing the defending national champions for being undefeated and doing what they’re supposed to do? I don’t wanna hear the Wofford excuse because LSU & Alabama still have their November cupcakes to play. They probably won’t be punished for it either. Was the one point win at North Carolina THAT big a deal? The question right now is, will the LSU/Bama loser be bumped in next week’s poll and Clemson move up if they beat North Carolina State Saturday (which they will)? I mean, they should right? The only team in the Top 4 playing a cupcake this week is Ohio State against Maryland. Dabo will certainly NOT CALL THE DOGS OFF in Raleigh Saturday. Eventually the disrespect will end.
Odd team out in Eugene: There’s plenty of teams right now that feel slighted (Baylor) but one team that may feel they deserve some publicity is Oregon. They do have the one loss, but after a 56-24 woodshed job at the Coliseum against USC perhaps they do need some respect. They started 0-1 after a six point loss to Auburn, but have rolled ever since. They’ve clearly stood out as the best team in the Pac-12, and finally this conference may have a national standout team. They have Arizona, Arizona State & the Civil War with the Beavers left on the schedule. They don’t want Pasadena, they want more.
Academies Update: Air Force’s last second stand on Fourth Down Saturday handed Army their 5th straight loss 17-13. And that means that the Army-Navy game next month will decide the CIC trophy. If Army wins they keep the trophy since it will end in a 3 way tie. If Navy wins they get the trophy since they already have a win over Air Force. Navy crushed UConn 56-10 last Friday, and this week have a bye. Army is home to UMass, and Air Force is at New Mexico.
Kylin Hill and Bulldogs Run All Over Arkansas: This game on Saturday in Fayetteville between Mississippi State and Arkansas won’t mean anything when it comes to rankings or championships at the end of the year, but this was a huge game for both teams. The winner of this game would get out of their respective losing streaks and maybe gaining some momentum, while the loser would continue searching for answers and likely start looking towards next year. Well it didn’t take too long to figure out which team was going to be which. Mississippi State and their RB Kylin Hill would completely dominate every aspect of this game and ran all over the Razorbacks defense. The Dogs would gain 640 yards of offense, while Kylin Hill ran for 234 of those as well as 3 TDs. While it doesn’t provide all the answers for the Bulldogs, it feels good to get back on the winning side of things and it provides you possible momentum to build on. For Arkansas, this puts head coach Chad Morris in an unenviable position of having to continue to search for answers while also worrying about whether you’ll have a job at the end of the year.
Georgia Wins Huge SEC East Clash: Coming into Saturday’s SEC East matchup between the Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs, they both knew the winner of this game would likely represent the division in Atlanta for the SEC Championship. Both QBs needed to show up in this game, because in each of these teams losses on the season the QB play had been suspect. Georgia QB Jake Fromm answered the bell in this game as the Bulldogs we able to get the lead and keep it comfortably through the game on the way to a 24-17 victory. Like I said above this likely puts Georgia in the SEC Championship for the third year in a row, with playoff implications added on to it.
Utah Keeps Playoff Hopes Alive: The PAC 12 as a conference is one that is looking for the respect of the rest of the country. The best way to get that respect would be to get a team in the College Football Playoff. Coming into Saturday, they had to hope that Utah and Oregon could both win their huge games. While Scott will talk about the Ducks, I’ll handle the Utes side of things. While trailing for a majority of the game Utah was able to really bust things open in the 4th quarter and come away with 33-28 victory over the Washington Huskies. This victory puts them in the driver’s seat in the South and as long as they can avoid late season upset it will set up a PAC 12 championship matchup with the Oregon Ducks that will have possible playoff implications.
Memphis Welcomes GameDay In a Huge Way: College GameDay strolled onto Beale Street in Memphis Tennessee for the first time, ahead of the clash between the Memphis Tigers and the undefeated SMU Mustangs. This game was a matchup of two very high powered offenses and they did not disappoint. While neither team exploded offensively in the first half, the second half was a whole different story. Memphis was able to use a 6 point halftime lead to come away with the 54-48 victory, in a game where each team scored 31 points in the second half.
Baylor Sneaks One Out to Stay Undefeated: All the hype in the Big 12 this year has been around Oklahoma Sooners. Under the radar though, the Baylor Bears are 8-0 and have gotten to this point in a very un-Big 12 way using their defense. This was definitely the case with their midweek clash against against West Virginia. The Bears were able to use defense and a late field for to come away with the 17-14 victory. Their big test comes in two weeks when they welcome in Oklahoma to Waco, in what could honestly be the first of two matchups between the teams because of their championship game taking the teams with two best records. The Bears are definitely a team to keep your eye on.
So, here is the first official CFP rankings. The top four teams make the playoff:
IN THE PLAYOFF:
1. Ohio State (8-0)
2. LSU (8-0)
3. Alabama (8-0)
4. Penn State (8-0)
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN:
5. Clemson (8-0)
6. Georgia (7-1)
7. Oregon (8-1)
8. Utah (8-1)
So there’s some huge games this weekend that could change this list drastically, so here they are:
All games Saturday EST unless noted:
Noon: #4 Penn State at #17 Minnesota
Noon: #12 Baylor at TCU
3:30pm: #2 LSU at #3 Alabama
4pm: #18 Iowa at #13 Wisconsin