Tigers vs. Tide: Fighting an inner battle to predict a winner

And yet another college football bowl season is almost behind us. There is one game standing between today and a long seven month wait: the college football national championship.

After extremely one-sided semifinal match ups on New Year’s Eve, we were presented with the two contenders, the Tigers out of Clemson University and the Crimson Tide of the University of Alabama.

I was beyond excited for the semifinal matchups. I predicted one high scoring extremely offensive game, Clemson vs. Oklahoma; and one low-scoring defensive heavy game, Alabama vs. Michigan State; and, well, I got neither. And above all, both teams I predicted to win fell and fell ugly.

Sometimes I catch myself being that sports fan who loses all interest when my team loses, and currently I am walking the tightrope with that issue.

The only way I have learned to snap out of this mindset is to pick a new team, go all in. Unfortunately that has presented another issue for me. I am not an SEC fan; never have been, and that makes me want to march straight to the Clemson sidelines. But comparing the two teams and having watched them play all year, I just don’t think the Tigers have what it takes to stop the Roll Tide in their tracks.

Despite the fact that Clemson is undefeated, entering the championship game at 14-0, the Tigers are still the underdogs. It comes down to can Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and the rest of the offense get past Alabama’s intense defensive line and then also stop Heisman trophy winner Derrick Henry?

Clemson will be the strongest offensive opponent the Tide will face to this date, but Bama displayed against Michigan State that it has the toughest defensive line in the country. Its front seven also all come in with more than one season of experience.

While you can’t say the Tigers don’t have a defense, we can say that they are young. Clemson had the top defensive line in the country in 2014, but then its entire front seven went and graduated. If Alabama’s Jake Coker shows up and completes at least 75 percent of his passes like he did against Michigan State, the Tigers will have a lot more to stop than just Henry.

No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 Alabama will meet on the gridiron Monday at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The winner will go down as the best team in the 2015-16 season, the loser a strong second, but as my dad always told me, second place is first loser.

With a 40 bowl game postseason, minus the only game that matters, I am 23-17 with predictions. Fifty-seven percent is not the greatest but definitely not the worst either. At least I am above even.

I’m not predicting a blowout by any means, but I think betting against Bama is the wrong decision here. As much as I dislike the SEC and would love for Clemson to win it all, 15-0, Roll Tide whatever the rest of it is.

Prediction: Alabama


A Merry Bowl Season

Saturday kicks off the happiest time of the year — BOWL SEASON. 2015 brings a record-breaking 41 bowl games. With the high number of spots to fill, organizers had to welcome in three teams with losing records (5-7) — Minnesota, San Jose State and Nebraska.

The bowl schedule brings some great matchups, including ones that may turn out to be a bit surprising, cue teams with losing records pulling off the upset.

For the next three weeks I will be bringing you all of my hopefully correct predictions.

DEC. 19

New Mexico Bowl: Arizona (6-6) Vs. New Mexico (7-5)

These two teams come in with very similar playing styles. Both are run-heavy teams, rushing the ball more than 45 times per game and yet neither team has a running back that is averaging more than 15 carries per game.

The Wildcats have had a hard time stopping the run this season ranking in at 89th in rushing yards allowed. The Lobos are even worse at 97th.

New Mexico enters the contest with a stronger passing game than the Wildcats which will be put to use if needed. The Lobos’ triple-option rushing attack will be too much for Arizona, like it was for other opponents not familiar with it this season.

Prediction: New Mexico

Las Vegas Bowl: BYU (9-3) Vs. Utah (9-3)

Utah began the season almost too impressively. I knew they weren’t going to hold on to their playoff spot but I also didn’t expect the Utes to drop all the way to No. 22. Utah has lost two of their last three games and lost starting running back, Devontae Booker — the momentum is in BYU’s favor. The in-state rivalry wasn’t supposed to be reprised for another year though, so either way it is bound to be a strong fight on both sides.

Prediction: BYU

Camellia Bowl: Ohio (8-4) Vs. Appalachian State (10-2)

Bowl Season say hello to Appalachian State who is making its first appearance ever. Appalachian State showed dominance against a fairly weak schedule but ranking 13th in scoring defense and 19th in scoring offense. Ohio has been blown out by three non-Power Five teams — Western Michigan, Buffalo and Bowling Green. Both teams are coming off three-game win streaks.

Prediction: Appalachian State

Cure Bowl: San Jose State (5-7) Vs. Georgia State (6-6)

Despite a losing record, San Jose State is the nation’s No. 2 pass defense and Georgia State’s No. 8 passing offense is going to have some trouble. Georgia State also comes in at No. 73 in yards allowed per carry leaving plenty of opportunity for San Jose State’s running back Tyler Ervin. Ervin has a total of 1,469-yards this season and averages 5.6 yards a carry.

Prediction: San Jose State

New Orleans Bowl: Arkansas State (9-3) Vs. Louisiana Tech (8-4)

Arkansas State lost their season opener against the USC Trojans but finished off the season with the better record. The Red Wolves have won eight straight scoring more than 40 points in all but one matchup. Louisiana Tech, with the help of running back Kenneth Dixon, should be able to move the ball. Dixon has scored 83 career touchdowns, 22 this season. I’m just not sure about Louisiana Tech’s defense and their ability to stop the Red Wolves offense — Arkansas State may be too much to handle.

Prediction: Arkansas State

Dec. 21

Miami Beach Bowl: Western Kentucky (11-2) vs. South Florida (8-4)

Like New Mexico, South Florida has what looks like home-field advantage. The Bulls had a rocky start but finished out its final eight games with only a loss to Navy to get that 8-4 record. Western Kentucky has a high-powered offense backed by sixth-year senior quarterback Brandon Doughty, who has passed for 45 touchdowns this season. The Hilltoppers are averaging 23 points a game against Power Five opponents, and 50.6 points against everyone else.

Prediction: Western Kentucky

Dec. 22

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Akron (7-5) vs. Utah State (6-6)

This is Akron’s first trip to a bowl game since 2005. Utah State has a slightly more difficult schedule than Akron which contributes to the difference in record (not much). The Akron offense I’ve seen throughout the season has been shaky at best. If they don’t show up at kick-off, Utah State will run circles. Plus, the Aggies are no stranger to the Potato Bowl, this is Utah State’s third appearance in five years.

Prediction: Utah State

Marmot Boca Raton Bowl: Temple (10-3) vs. Toledo (9-2)

Temple has put up some strong fights and some impressive wins this season. The Owls almost beat the Fighting Irish, held Houston to just 24 points and beat Penn State for the first time in 74 years. With Toledo players knowing head coach Matt Campbell is surely heading to Iowa State next season, there could be some emotions running on the field.

Prediction: Temple

Poinsettia Bowl: Boise State (8-4) vs. Northern Illinois (8-5)

Boise State, despite wins against Washington and Virginia, isn’t too happy with its performance this season. They are looking to end the season on a high note and their offense has the ability to deliver. Northern Illinois cornerback, Shawun Lurry, leads the nation with nine interceptions this season, so the Broncos will want to watch out for him. But the Huskies haven’t been the same since they lost starting quarterback Drew Hare to injury.

Prediction: Boise State

GoDaddy Bowl: Georgia Southern (8-4) vs. Bowling Green (10-3)

Without their coach, Dino Babers (moving to Syracuse), it’s hard to pick Bowling Green. Georgia Southern is another school making history with its first-ever bowl appearance and they hope to continue making history with their first-ever bowl win.

Prediction: Georgia Southern

Dec. 24

Popeyes Bahamas Bowl: Middle Tennessee (7-5) vs. Western Michigan (7-5)

Western Michigan enters the game with two receivers totaling more than 1,100 yards in 2015, Corey Davis and Daniel Braverman. Middle Tennessee doesn’t stand a chance with a defense ranking in at No. 91.

Prediction: Western Michigan

Hawaii Bowl: San Diego State (10-3) vs. Cincinnati (7-5)

I grew up attending the Hawaii Bowl every Christmas Eve, at least if my grandma allowed it. It was always interesting to see which team brought in a stronger crowd, because more times than not, the team with the larger fan base pulled off the win.

Due to location, San Diego State most likely will be the winner in traveling fan base, they also have a few local players on the team to draw in the Hawaii crowd from the parking lot. But the Aztecs haven’t lost a game since Sept. 26 and are bringing the nation’s No. 15-ranked rushing offense.

Cincinnati’s biggest weakness is its rushing defense.

Overall, both teams win for having a destination Christmas.

Prediction: San Diego State Bowl

Things I have learned from the CFP Committee

College football made it relatively easy for the College Football Playoff Committee this year. Last weekend’s conference championship games pretty much all went as predicted leaving us with four teams for the playoff –four teams that I can’t exactly form an argument against.

We have the ACC champion, undefeated 13-0 Clemson at No. 1. We have the SEC champion, 12-1 Alabama at No. 2. We have the Big 10 champion, 12-1 Michigan State at No. 3. And lastly, the one without a conference championship, Big 12 champion Oklahoma at No. 4.

As much as I enjoyed not being in distress over the committee’s selections this year, part of me had been wishing for chaos. I needed chaos in order to get insight into how this committee decides which teams get to have their dreams come true.

Last year, we saw the committee shaft two Big 12 schools, the Baylor Bears and the TCU Horned Frogs. Prior to conference championship weekend, TCU was ranked No. 3. Even having played a game that weekend and winning, it wasn’t a conference championship, and the Horned Frogs dropped to No. 6.

I was in complete shock, confusion and slight anger over the committee’s decision to rank Ohio State above the two Big 12 universities. For a blog I started during my college career, I wrote a heated column explaining why the committee made a mistake.

The Buckeyes went on to prove that they may have been the right candidate after beating Alabama to become the National Champions, but I can still argue that if TCU or Baylor had been slotted at No. 4 they could have earned the title as well. It’s a huge “what if” at this point.

What I learned from last year’s selection is that the Big 12 may be hurting itself by not having a conference championship. With the 10-team round robin thing it has going on, TCU and Baylor were co-champions in 2014 and I can’t help but wonder if they had played each other for a second time, if the winner would have been a shoe-in for the playoff.

Bob Bowlsby, the Big 12 commissioner, didn’t let last year’s snubbing force them into making rash decisions. No new teams were added and there was no change in their model. This year, it didn’t seem to be an issue.

The one team we knew for sure would be granted a ticket to the playoff prior to conference championship weekend was Oklahoma. The Sooners got to sit idle while all other potential candidates battled one more time.

I don’t think two years is enough to say there is a trend one way or the other, but I definitely think the next few years will be strong signs in telling the Big 12 what they need to do.

Right now, I will say this, the Sooners are lucky the teams around them that needed to win in order to keep sanity won. There were really no teams that were able to put up a true fight against them. And, with Michigan State’s jump over the Big 12 candidate, No. 4 to No.3, I can’t help but think that the years ahead will lead to change within the conference.

Who’s In and Who’s Out


The last time Michigan State went to the Big 10 Championship they beat the favored Ohio State Buckeyes, 34-24. With the win the Spartans earned themselves a ticket to the Rose Bowl where they went on to beat Stanford, 24-20.

For as crazy of a season it’s been, the College Football Playoff committee’s job is looking pretty easy right now. After conference championship weekend last year, there were some not-so-happy fan bases with legitimate arguments for why they should be in the playoff, but this year, if everything plays out like it should Saturday, No. 1 to 4 are pretty self-explanatory.

There are four major conference title games taking place Saturday: ACC, SEC, Big Ten and Pac-12. The two games with the highest probability of making the committee’s job difficult, are No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 8 North Carolina and No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 18 Florida. But before I get into the different worst-case scenarios, let us take a look at what we already know for sure.

The first guaranteed is that the No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners are in no matter what. There is a lot of discussion about the teams ahead of them and the teams below them, but there isn’t much talk about that No. 3 spot. The only question I have for the committee is how come last year the Big 12 conference was left out due to its lack of conference championship game, whereas this year they are automatically in due to the same fact? We will save that for another time.

The second guarantee is that the winner of the Big Ten championship game will have a spot in the playoffs. The undefeated Iowa Hawkeyes take on the 11-1 Michigan State Spartans. The Spartans are the favorite, but only by a couple points.

If Clemson and Alabama, the favorites in both their respective games win, the rankings will remain No. 1 Clemson, No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Oklahoma, and No. 4 Iowa/Michigan State. But if either the Tigers or Tide fall or it’s a miracle and they both do, there are several teams on the sideline with valid arguments as to why they should be the next team in.

Scenario 1: Clemson loses to North Carolina, and Alabama beats Florida

If Clemson loses, it would also be added to the list of sideline teams with the potential of making that No. 4 spot. In years past, No. 1 teams who lost their conference championships were demoted to No. 4, but that was before we had this thing called the college football playoffs. But the Tigers still have an extremely impressive schedule and win over Notre Dame.

Just because North Carolina wins, the Tar Heels are not guaranteed a spot. Although North Carolina has gone 11-0 since its season-opener loss to South Carolina, that loss along with a weak schedule that included two Football Championship Subdivision opponents, will probably not be enough for the Tar Heels even with a head-to-head win over the Tigers.

Scenario 2: Alabama loses to Florida, and Clemson beats North Carolina

No. 18 Florida has zero chance of making the playoff even with a win over Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide. Florida has had a very lackluster back end of the season with close wins over Florida Atlantic and Vanderbilt. After it ended the regular season with a loss to in-state rival Florida State, the Gators do not stand a chance.

But if Alabama loses, it doesn’t have the same opportunity as Clemson to still be in the top four. After suffering an early season loss to an Ole Miss team that failed to produce throughout the remainder of the season, the Tide cannot afford another loss. A two-loss Alabama team would have even less of a playoff argument than sideline teams.

Craziest thing about an Alabama loss, the college football playoff would be SEC-less. No one ever predicted that happening.

Scenario 3: Alabama and Clemson lose

While this scenario is the least likely, it is the best chance the sideline teams have of making it into the coveted college football playoffs.


With scenarios one through three, none of which are the most probable, Ohio State, Stanford, North Carolina and the Big Ten loser have opportunities of making the playoffs.

Ohio State: If Michigan State beats Iowa, Ohio State’s argument and resume only gets better. With the defending national champion’s only loss coming from a CFP team, the Buckeyes have a high chance. Also considering the Big Ten East division has the stiffer competition — MSU, Michigan and OSU — it has a better argument than Iowa, the Big Ten championship loser in this scenario.

Stanford: If Stanford wins the Pac-12 Conference game against the University of Southern California, the Cardinal can set itself up for a playoff spot. Stanford is going against the fact it is a two-loss team.

With a nine-game conference schedule, plus a conference championship and five games against top-20 opponents, you can almost ignore the season opening nonconference loss to No. 13 Northwestern on the road. A win over then No. 4 Notre Dame kind of cancels out the 38-36 loss to No. 15 Oregon, who has seemed to redeem itself since September.

Where Stanford would beat any of its sideline counterparts would be in its conference title. No. 24 USC has no chance of making the playoff even with a win.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels’ best chance in making the playoffs would be to win the ACC and for Alabama to lose. Like mentioned before, with just a Clemson loss, North Carolina would not be an automatic. The Tar Heels, like the Cardinal, would have a conference title on their side, but schedule weakness would be their biggest holdback.

Big Ten loser: The best chance of the loser of the Big Ten championship making the playoff is if both Alabama and Clemson lose.

If Michigan State is the loser, it would be a two-loss team like Stanford, but unlike Stanford would not have a title to back it up. The Spartans’ losses come from two higher-ranked teams, but some would say the Cardinal had the tougher schedule. MSU has the head-to-head on Ohio State but would have one more loss than the Buckeyes.

If Iowa is the loser, the Hawkeyes’ only loss would be from a playoff team much like Ohio State. Iowa would still have a better record than Stanford but wouldn’t have the title for an extra boost. The Hawkeyes and Buckeyes would have one loss suffered by the same team, but while Iowa at least made it to the title game, Ohio State had the tougher schedule.

Football Roundup

In the world of football, it was just another week. The College Football Playoff committee released another set of rankings — but again, it’s entirely meaningless until Dec. 6. And we just finished celebrating Thanksgiving, or as I like to say, “Turkey and Football Day,” but the game outcomes aren’t going to make a tremendous difference, at least at this point in the season.


The NFL has remained pretty uneventful in 2015. It’s the teams at the bottom that have created the most excitement and it’s because we are all looking to see who could be the team to knock New England or Carolina off the high horse.

The Panthers dominated their Thanksgiving game against a struggling Dallas Cowboys team that has been looking all season to make a comeback. Dallas thought that if it could take down the undefeated Panthers, playoff hopes would be reunited. But if a win were at all possible, the Cowboys knew they needed quarterback Tony Romo.

Romo returned last week to pull off a not very impressive win, but a win nonetheless against Miami. The starting QB missed seven games after suffering a collarbone break against the Eagles on Sept. 20.

Thanksgiving wasn’t all so giving to the face of the Cowboy franchise; Romo went down and stayed down following a sack by the Panthers. It has been reported that he will miss the remainder of the season, so Cowboy fans, if you haven’t already done so, say so long to the playoffs.

The only game that was exciting on turkey day was the Chicago Bears vs. the Green Bay Packers. The Packers were definitely the favorite going into the game, but I can’t say I’m all that surprised by the Bears’ 17-13 win. Since the Packers fell to the Broncos on Nov. 1, Green Bay has won one of five games.

After Week 5 of NFL play, this season was turning out to be pretty interesting. We had five undefeated teams. But after Week 6 there were only four, and now we are left with two.

Following the top tier we had six teams with 3-3 records, which although being subpar were second tier considering there were 18 teams with losing seasons by Week 5. The average in years past was 13.5.

Since Nov. 1, the league’s second-tier teams look much better than 3-3, with 8-2 and 7-3 records. The third tier are no longer the teams playing losing football, but we can’t exactly say they are playing winning football either.

The game to watch this weekend is New England at Denver. Can the Broncos be the ones to pull off the upset? The remainder of games should either be complete blowouts or have the ability to shake up the middle of the pack.


College football definitely has all my attention right now. In Week 10 we went from 11 undefeated teams to Week 13 where only two are left standing, Clemson, No. 1, and Iowa, No. 3. Every week has been exciting with big wins and big losses, and in the last three weeks we have seen such an array of different teams in the top 10, I’m on the edge of my seat to see what goes on this weekend.

We have five matchups between top-25 opponents with four having strong promise to spark great change in the top 10 once again. The conference with the most on the line this week is the Big 12.

This weekend brings on state rivalries for the Big 12. Baylor, No. 7, at TCU, No. 19, kicks off first, and on Saturday No. 3 Oklahoma at No. 11 Oklahoma State will meet.

Baylor is the favored team in the Texas state matchup, but TCU almost pulled off an upset at Oklahoma last week, 30-29. If the Bears beat the Horned Frogs, they have a chance at moving up in the College Football Playoff rankings, but they are heavily dependent on those ahead of them to secure a playoff spot. Because the Big 12 doesn’t have a conference championship, Baylor has one more regular season game next week, against a Texas team that has not brought much to the table this season other than a win over the Sooners.

Oklahoma is the Big 12’s best chance at not being snubbed by the CFP committee for the second year in a row. Following their one-point win over the Horned Frogs, the Sooners jumped from No. 7 to No. 3. However, the 10-1 Sooners need a win at the 10-1 Cowboys to remain in playoff conversation. The Cowboys fell to Baylor 45-35 on Nov. 21. Prior to the game the Cowboys were the only undefeated team left in the conference. If Oklahoma State wins, it has a good argument to make the playoffs, especially if Baylor wins as well.

The Notre Dame at Stanford game also has the ability to cause some distress in the top 10. No. 6 Notre Dame is trying to make a claim for the playoffs but without a win over No. 9 Stanford that all but goes down the drain. The Pacific-12 has lost all playoff hopes with its conference champion most likely being a two-loss team.

After falling 17-14 to the Michigan State Spartans, No. 5, the Ohio State Buckeyes, No. 8, are out of the playoff conversation. The Buckeyes head to the Big House with hopes to take down the Michigan Wolverines, No. 10. Urban Meyer and his defending national champions need the win in order to stay in the top 10 and prove that they are still worth talking about. If the Wolverines pull off the win, the Jim-Harbaugh-is-Michigan’s-savior train will ride straight into next season.

Iowa headed to Lincoln, Nebraska, on Friday to take on the unranked Cornhuskers. Nebraska’s biggest game this season was their win over the Spartans on Nov. 7. Other than that the Cornhuskers had been struggling to get something going all season.

Though Lincoln is known as one of the hardest places to play in the Big 10 and it knew it could deliver the upset following a win over MSU, Iowa still won 28-20.

The Hawkeyes were already the Big 10 West champion having secured their conference championship bid a few weeks back. They most likely be playing Michigan State on Dec. 4.

No. 2 Alabama plays Auburn and No. 1 Clemson plays South Carolina. The top two teams in the NCAA are predicted to win, but in sports we all know that on any given day, any team can win. So pull out your chips and dip and get comfortable. We have two more weeks of college football that are bound to be action-packed.

Be Prepared for Week 12 Upsets

In the last two weeks we have witnessed games that have had quite the impact in the College Football Playoff rankings. In Week 10 Clemson showed its dominance with a win over Florida State; the Tigers’ only real chance to lose in what is left of the season. The Crimson Tide was ranked No. 4 when they took down No. 2 LSU, dropping LSU to just inside the top 10. Michigan State traveled to Lincoln, Nebraska, to take on the unranked Cornhuskers and lost, dropping the Spartans six spots to No. 13. Oklahoma State defeated TCU, removing the Horned Frogs from the top 10, and moving the undefeated Cowboys closer to playoff contention.

Week 11 brought another slew of game changers. No. 10 Utah lost to unranked Arizona. LSU fell for the second week in a row, to an Arkansas team who beat Ole Miss the week prior. The Tigers have moved from No. 2 to No. 15 within two weeks. The undoubted favorite in the Pacific-12, Stanford, lost to the Oregon Ducks, solidifying the Pac-12’s fate of having a two-loss conference champion. Finally, Oklahoma beat No. 6 Baylor to make the Bears’ path to the playoffs even more difficult than it already was.

Two weeks ago when the first rankings were released I said not to let the rankings bother you, it was early and there was still a lot of football to be played. Going into Week 10, there were 11 undefeated teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Currently there are five and none from two power five conferences, the SEC and the Pac-12. I can’t say that the CFP rankings released this past Tuesday make any more of a difference, but as we wind down the regular season, what the committee is saying does tend to have more of an impact. We all want to see where our teams stand and if our top-four picks coincide with the committee.

The final ranking will be released on Dec. 6, and that is the only one that matters. It’s the one that seals each team’s fate for the season, and Week 12 is going to have a huge say.

This week there is a high chance that two more teams could be receiving their first loss. Week 12 welcomes six games between two ranked opponents, two of which have both teams in the top 10.

First there is No. 9 Michigan State traveling to Columbus to take on the No. 3 and undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes. The biggest thing the Buckeyes and Spartans have had to answer to this season is weakness of schedule. Neither team has gone up against top-notch programs, and the Spartans fell to unranked Nebraska. This game is the end all for either team as the loser will automatically be removed from playoff conversation.

The Buckeyes have the Spartans this week, followed by a trip to the Big House to take on the Michigan Wolverines on Nov. 28. If the Buckeyes close out the regular season undefeated and then add a win against the undefeated Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big 10 championship, Ohio State has every right to be in the top four. If Michigan State wins out, a controversial loss to the Cornhuskers would almost definitely have to be overlooked to send the Spartans to the playoffs.

No. 10 Baylor is on the road at Boone Pickens Stadium, where both teams need a win to remain in the top 10. Oklahoma State comes into the game at No. 6 and is the only undefeated team remaining in the Big 12. Even if the Cowboys win, they have a season closer at home against state rival No. 7 Oklahoma on Nov. 28. Like OSU, Baylor would need to win out to potentially make the playoffs. If Baylor loses to the Cowboys, it would be the Bears’ second straight loss; but if they win, they end their season on the road at TCU.

The Big 12 has been the talk of the town for the last two weeks and it will continue for the next two weeks. An extremely backlogged schedule created this mess or in a way “blessing” for the college football playoff committee. No. 7 Oklahoma and No. 18 TCU are also in “do-or-die” mode in Week 12 with the loser out of the top four guaranteed. A TCU loss and potential drop out of the top 25 would devalue the entire Big 12 conference.

No. 15 LSU and No. 22 Ole Miss fight to stay in the top 25. No. 24 University of Southern California needs a win against No. 23 Oregon to win the Pac-12 South. The Ducks need a win, and a Stanford loss, to win the North.

No. 20 Northwestern travels to No. 25 Wisconsin in a fight to stay in bowl contention — but in all reality their outcome matters more to No. 5 Iowa than anyone else. The Hawkeyes’ resume depends on how both of these teams finish the season.


Every week the committee leaves college football fans confused and with way too many questions floating around in their heads. This week is no different.

Clemson is undefeated and has proved itself with wins over Notre Dame and Florida State but does the SEC team truly deserve the No. 1 spot? Sure a spot in the top four, but No. 1?

No. 2 Alabama and the SEC excel where the Big 10 falls short, strength of schedule. The Crimson Tide worked its way into that top spot with a win over LSU, but with the Tigers falling two times in a row does that win still hold that much weight? Also, who can forget Alabama’s loss to current No. 22 Ole Miss? Heads up: after their loss to Arkansas, the Rebels dropped out of the top 25. They’re only back in because they had a bye in Week 11.

Speaking of Ole Miss, how did they manage a jump in the rankings after a bye week while TCU made a drop following a win over Kansas? The Jayhawks have been considered the worst power five football team, with only Oregon State being mentioned in the same sentence, but a win is a win and a bye is a bye. TCU dropped three spots.

Perhaps the biggest question following this weeks ranking is No. 13 Utah being ranked one spot behind No. 12 Michigan. The Wolverines are coming off a Week 11 win over unranked Indiana, but the game went into double overtime and could have easily went either way. Michigan didn’t prove itself in any spectacular way. In fact putting themselves in the double overtime position with an unranked opponent is pretty equivalent to a loss.

Like the Wolverines, the Utes also found themselves in a double overtime situation against an unranked team in Week 11, but Utah lost. The difference is Utah lost to previously ranked Arizona, but Michigan beat never ranked Indiana.

Finally, how does Baylor remain in the top 10 after a loss to Oklahoma when TCU dropped nine spots after losing to Oklahoma State? The Horned Frogs lost to the Cowboys by 20 points whereas the Bears lost to the Sooners by 10. That’s a 10-point difference, but the bigger loss came by an undefeated opponent.

Plenty of Football Left

Tuesday night the first college football rankings by the College Football Playoff (CFP) selection committee were released. I had been anxiously awaiting these rankings for weeks, but as the day got closer and closer I lost interest.

This season has been a weird one. By week 10 in 2014 there were only three undefeated teams left in all of the NCAA, in 2015 we have 11. What are we supposed to do with 11 undefeated teams?

Now I know by the end of the season there is no way there will still be 11. Considering how many of them play each other in an extremely backlogged season, it is absolutely impossible for there to be 11 come December 1. And for that very reason, I knew that these rankings in the end would turn out to be meaningless.

If the CFP was this weekend, the selection committee has Clemson No. 1, LSU No. 2, Ohio State No. 3 and Alabama No. 4 playing for the national title. While I don’t 100 percent disagree with the committee considering how strange of a season it’s been, I can’t help but question one loss Alabama’s spot especially when eight undefeated teams fall lower in the rankings. But the Roll Tide will have a chance to defend the committees choice in placing them fourth and those undefeated teams lower in the rankings will have a chance to work their way up as well.

There is still plenty of football left to be played. Plenty of big games to make sure you are in front of a TV for. And plenty of potential upsets are on the horizon.

First up are No. 2 LSU and No. 4 Alabama. The Roll Tide will look to defend their No. 4 ranking and knock the Tigers out of contention when the two square up Saturday in Tuscaloosa.

Second we have Clemson, the ACC’s only chance to enter the ring, but a game against Florida State on Nov. 7 at home could jeopardize that. The remainder of the Tigers’ season is pretty uneventful.

Next we have No. 3 Ohio State. The Buckeyes have the undefeated Michigan State Spartans on Oct. 21 in Columbus and then they close out the season against the Michigan Wolverines at the Big House. If Ohio State remains the only undefeated team in the Big Ten then the defending National Champions definitely deserve a bid. But if they don’t will the Big Ten still have a representative?

If MSU beats the Buckeyes and then goes on to beat No. 9 Iowa in the Big Ten Championship I’d count the Spartans in, but if they’re what some are calling “miracle” wins like they had against Michigan, the Spartans may still find themselves on the outside looking in. Michigan and Iowa have a much harder path to the CFP.

Currently the Big 12 finds itself in the same position they did last year, right on the cusp. Undefeated Baylor ranks in at No. 6, undefeated TCU at No. 8, undefeated Oklahoma State at No. 14 and 7-1 Oklahoma is No. 15. Crazy thing is all of these teams have yet to play each other.

Saturday Nov. 7, TCU visits Oklahoma State. On Nov. 14, Oklahoma travels to Baylor. TCU takes on Oklahoma and Baylor takes on Oklahoma State all in Oklahoma on Nov. 21. And in the final week of the season, the Bears are on the road to the Horned Frogs and the Sooners are at the Cowboys. If one of these teams comes out undefeated, a huge “if,” the Big 12 may finally see themselves in the top four.

I don’t know about you but I am definitely ready for November. Bring on the football!