NCAA Football: The Playoffs are Coming
Just when we thought it was all somewhat figured out, week 11 happened. Since the creation of the college football playoffs, seasons have been much more thrilling. The notion that “every game counts” has only been heightened and now stretched to include the top four teams instead of just the top two. Speaking as an Alabama football fan I can assure you that my stress levels have doubled due to Saturday’s outcomes, and I for one will most likely need an Advil at some point as the conference championships will soon be upon us. So how has the playoff picture drastically changed? Come walk with me.
The Washington Huskies - Now I was never a true believer that Washington was one of the top four teams in college at playing football, but I was accepting of the fact that they have been undefeated and blowing fools out. Maybe I should say “were blowing fools out” because they ran into an offensive juggernaut on Saturday evening. USC has had inconsistency issues all year but for the most part always remained in the top 25. On Saturday they continued to validate that ranking led by their quarterback, Sam Darnold who threw for 287 yards on this Washington defense. The Huskies gave up a total of 400 yards and 21 first downs while only managing to get 13. It was an all around excellent performance by the Trojans. USC took Washington out of their game by consistentlypressuring them on the outsides with NFL caliber receivers and sneakily holding Washington to only 13 points. My only hope is that the student fan base in Washington will cherish their memories of being apart of the top 4 because it is now over for the year. Good riddance.
The Michigan Harbaugh’s formerly known as the Wolverines - I’d like to start off on some positive notes for Michigan. The wolverines have one of the most premier football coaches in the nation with Harbaugh, and one of the best players in college football Jabrill Peppers. Now that being said Michigan has had one cupcake of a schedule thus far and many considered week 11 to be their first true road test. Michigan didn't really play a bad game, defensively they held their opponent to 14 points but their real problem was on offense. The Wolverines passing offense only registered 103 yards including one interception and never got going. On the other side of the field a 5-4 Iowa Hawkeyes team was led by Akrum Wadley who ended up with 115 yards on the ground and some key plays at the end of the game to set up a game winning field goal. In the end it was just one of those nights for UM, who didn't play poor enough to lose, but didn't make enough plays to win either. A freshman kicker nailed a 33 yard field goal as time expired to give Harbaugh his first loss of the season. Michigan fans don't seem to be too concerned as they know their chances of still making the final four are extremely high if they win out the rest of the season .
Dabo’s Tigers - How is it possible to accumulate 630 total yards of offense, 580 through the air, and be at home, and still lose? Just ask Clemson. Clemson’s Heisman watch quarterback Deshaun Watson through 70 times and set a new record with his total yards, but also threw 3 picks during his performance. Pittsburgh managed to score 43 points on Dabo Sweeney’s defense and when you give up that many points and give the ball away three times it’s hard to remain undefeated. This Clemson Tigers team has narrowly escaped losses a couple times this year and this finally happening definitely put a smile on my face. Two key things that stuck out to me was James Connor’s ability to help Pittsburgh reach a run total of 156 while Clemson was held to just 50. Lastly, the fourth quarter, in which Clemson was held scoreless while the Panthers put 9 on the board, a recipe for failure in such a close-knit game.
The Tide that Rolls - You may know them as the defending NATIONAL CHAMPIONS. You may know them as perfection and excellence all wrapped up in one team. I call them my squad. Ladies and Gentleman, The Alabama Football Crimson Tide. Now I could sit here and go over how our quarterback Jalen through for 347 yards and 3 touchdowns. I could talk about how our offense finished with 615 total yards and held Mississippi State to less than half the yards we threw for in passing. There is no point in doing that because we played a sub par team and that is what we were supposed to do. We basically had the week off, no offense Mississippi State I'm sure you guys have a wonderful school and curriculum program. This weekend definitely has made Alabama fans everywhere think because it could get rough. If the playoffs had started after week 10 we would’ve had to play Michigan, Washington, or Clemson (who we beat last year). No Lamar Jackson who seemingly is taking out some kind of anger by running all over teams. Also no J.T Barrett and Urban Meyer who handed us our last championship game loss which made me not speak to my girlfriend for the rest of that night, and now BOTH of these threats are going to be in this playoff bowl. Hence why I will need some form of aspirin by New Years. We are still number 1, but if the rankings stay how they are their will be some highly competitive playoff games. I for one prefer to have a cupcake walk through the playoffs due to the fact that our SEC schedule should be illegal, but oh well the Lord doesn't answer every prayer. I still believe we’re the best in the nation and we will definitely have some good tests to prove it this winter.
1) Alabama 2) Ohio State 3) Louisville 4) Michigan
Until next time, Shalom!