by Zack Lambert (@bigbird8224)
November 22nd, 2020
25 – Texas (5-2)
The Texas game was postponed this week but having just two losses this late in the season is enough to sneak you in when other top programs go down. Some are saying the Longhorns are back. Many are saying this. Please clap.
24 – Auburn (5-2)
Tennessee got off to a quick start as they’re prone to doing, but quickly ran out of gas, leaving plenty of time for Auburn to come back and cover that 10 point spread. The final score in Auburn was 30-17 and even after watching most of this game I’m not really sure how Auburn won. They couldn’t stop the run, they weren’t THAT great on passing downs, and the offense didn’t move the ball that efficiently. Tennessee did miss two kicks and Smoke Monday returned an interception for a 100 yard touchdown, but the 385 total yards of offense wasn’t very convincing. The record gets them into the rankings but I don’t feel great about the Tigers.
23 – Tulsa (5-1)
Tulsa is another team that did as little as possible in their game and still came out with a win. Granted, the offense looked a great deal better than Auburn’s did, but the Hurricane still needed double overtime to down Tulane 30-24. Tulsa passed 343 yards and a pair of picks and Corey Taylor II toted for 132 yards on the ground, but the defense were the real winners in this one. Tulane was held to 76 yards passing and despite three Tulsa turnovers, only managed 21 points in regulation. In the end it was a long pick-six to win the game by Zaven Collins to seal the deal, so hats off to the defenders.
22 – Oklahoma State (5-2)
The Cowboy team that I lauded so much earlier in the season and the defense that looked so improved is now dead. It was Bedlam Week and as they say, “Anything can happen in Bedlam, as long as it’s Oklahoma State losing by some amount of points.” The Pokes lost 41-13 to Oklahoma and were simply run out of town by their archrivals. The offense produced 246 yards of offense while Spencer Rattler outgained them with his arm alone. Whatever decent prospects there were surrounding State before are all gone.
21 – Wisconsin (2-1)
Speaking of dead teams, The Wisconsin Badgers! The mythical figure of Graham Mertz had his curtain pulled back this week as he only threw for 230 yards with three interceptions and lost a fumble. Wisconsin lost the ball five times overall in their loss to Northwestern that closed at 17-7. The defense did their part by holding the Wildcats to only 17 points when they were allowed five extra possessions, especially considering the Badgers only allowed 24 rushing yards. Different year, same Wisconsin.
20 – North Carolina (5-2)
The Tar Heels rested on their scheduled bye this weekend and will return to action against Notre Dame.
19 – Louisiana (7-1)
Louisiana’s game with Central Arkansas was cancelled this weekend.
18 – Southern California (3-0)
USC didn’t need much drama to take down a wounded Utah team this week, winning the game 30-17, salt in the wound for the game that knocked the Utes off the rails last season. Kedon Slovis put together a decent game with over 260 yards passing and a couple of touchdowns while the run game was stagnant, but did enough to earn the win. The Trojans picked off a few passes, two from Jake Bentley in his return to college football, and held Utah to subpar numbers on offense. It was the best showing of the season for USC, especially considering they were travelling.
17 – Miami (7-1)
Miami’s meeting with Georgia Tech was cancelled earlier in the week.
16 – Oregon (3-0)
Even though they won, the Ducks dropped in this week’s rankings. The 38 point performance was a decent one but when you consider UCLA posted 35 points of their own and Oregon stole a lucky pick six to close the first half, it’s much less encouraging. Tyler Shough put on a show with 334 yards in the air in addition to three touchdowns, but the run game was surprisingly inefficient, picking up just 88 yards on the day. What we found out was that Oregon can’t stop a decent offense as the Bruins posted 462 yards on the day, 35 points, and still turned the ball over four times. A less sloppy team might have blown out Oregon today.
15 – Iowa State (6-2)
One of the more surprising final scores of the day was the 45-0 schelacking of Kansas State that the Cyclones doled out today. The demolition was brought on by Brock Purdy and Breece Hall who helped the offense to 539 yards of total offense. The other side of the football was just as spectacular, though, holding Kansas State to 149 yards of total offense in the shutout. It was ugly from start to finish and a very, very impressive win for Iowa State.
14 – Northwestern (4-0)
We already touched on this game a bit with Wisconsin, but Northwestern were able to solidify their status as the best team in the Big Ten West with a win over the Badgers and probably secured their place in the Championship Game. The offense only produced 263 yards of offense with two passing touchdowns from Peyton Ramsey, but the defense sealed the game with five forced turnovers. There were 17 punts in the game and 10 of them were from Northwestern, yet they solidified themselves in the CFP conversation until the last week of the regular season. What a mess.
13 – Oklahoma (6-2)
Again, we already talked about this game a bit, but Oklahoma had a performance opposite to that of Northwestern. The Sooners rolled the holy hell out of Oklahoma State in Bedlam with Spencer Rattler tearing the secondary to shreds. The quarterback accounted for all five of the Sooner touchdowns, four in the air and one on the ground, while Rhamondre Stevenson mashed his way to 141 yards. The Cowboy offense was overwhelmed with the quarterbacks sack four times in addition to an interception from Sanders. This would have been the performance that cemented the Sooners as a playoff team if they hadn’t played so poorly early on.
12 – Marshall (7-0)
The Thundering Herd were held out of play again, denied the right to improve upon their undefeated record against Charlotte.
11 – Georgia (5-2)
It feels like things just keep getting worse for Georgia week by week. The Bulldogs did win and they actually saw some very promising things happen, but it’s just too late for anything good to affect the season. The Dawgs beat Mississippi State 31-24 and allowed their opponents to throw all over them and even punch in a couple of touchdowns on the ground, a really bad look for a struggling defense. Georgia’s offense, though only scoring 31 points, was something it had never been before: a competent passing unit. JT Daniels took the ball for his first Georgia start and slung for 401 yards and all four touchdowns and even saw a couple more touchdowns dropped by receivers. The team neglected the run to a point where it was actually Mike Leach-ish (they were actually outgained by State on the ground) and just relied on Daniels to pass. The win was nice for Georgia but it was a Jekyll and Hyde performance between the offense and defense.
10 – Indiana (4-1)
The Hoosiers lost their game against Ohio State but still moved up my rankings significantly because they’re a good team. The teams they beat prior made me unsure but after coming close with a 42-35 loss that they were still sloppy in was inspiring. The run game was absolutely useless and the defense gave up over 600 yards, but there were bright spots. First, Michael Penix is ridiculous. He threw for 491 yards and five touchdowns, including a throw that some NFL quarterbacks couldn’t make. Also, the defense proved they were real playmakers by picking off three Justin Fields’ passes. Of course, it didn’t stop Ohio State from moving the ball, but a big stop on fourth down late in the game kept the Hoosiers in it. This team is actually really good and will probably win out.
9 – Coastal Carolina (8-0)
This game had me sweating for a couple of reasons, but Coastal Carolina was able to pull out their toughest game of the season and beat Appalachian State 34-23. Firstly, the Chants were five point favorites and needed a miracle to cover. So what did we get? That’s right, a miracle. A last minute pass from App State was picked off by D’Jordan Strong who acrobatically returned it for a touchdown and sealed the game consequentially. Regardless, the Coastal offense was slightly underwhelming, only posting 369 yards of offense with Grayson McCall fumbling the ball away twice. The Chants did pick off a couple of balls though and that helped them champion their biggest test to date.
8 – Texas A&M (5-1)
A&M had their game cancelled earlier in the week and will make up the game with Ole Miss later in the season.
7 – Florida (6-1)
Gator fans were probably feeling chest pains early in this game as Vanderbilt jumped out to an early lead and looked pretty convincing, but those issues subsided and Florida turned the defense on. The Gators beat Vandy 38-17 with Kyle Trask doing his thing with 383 yards and three touchdowns. Florida finished with 583 yards of offense, but the secondary issues for the team continued as Vanderbilt’s Ken Seals passed for 319 yards of his own. Some Weeks the Gators have it and some weeks they just can’t figure out how to not shoot themselves in the foot. When they have it they’re unstoppable, otherwise they’re wildly vulnerable and volatile.
6 – Ohio State (4-0)
The Buckeyes won their game against a good Indiana team, but the win was far from convincing and did more to rattle my confidence in them than it did to make me feel any type of good. Yes, the offense posted over 600 yards of offense, yes, Justin Fields is still a great passer with great receivers, yes, the run game is ridiculous, but Ohio State proved they’re not as good as they can be by only winning by seven. Fields threw three picks, Penix picked the secondary apart, Fields was sacked five times, and Indiana made some massive mistakes along the way en route to coming back. The opportunity was there to crush the Hoosiers and leave no doubt that they were great, but instead they instilled doubt. There’s great parts on this team but they’re not making for their best product yet.
5 – Brigham Young (9-0)
BYU played an FCS team and absolutely rolled them so I won’t talk much about them. But maybe they’re trying to fool the Committee into thinking they’re an SEC team by playing an FCS school this late in the season. An undefeated SEC team wouldn’t miss the Playoff. That we know.
4 – Clemson (7-1)
The Tigers’ game was cancelled frustratingly close to kickoff due to Covid concerts and will probably not make the game with FSU up.
3 – Cincinnati (8-0)
Though there was an effort to lose the game by Cincinnati, the Bearcats pulled through to win their toughest game of the season at UCF by a score of 36-33. Cincy was up by that score and had a chance to make it a two score game within a minute but decided to run clock instead. That resulted in a loose snap on fourth down that allotted UCF one last play. It was a bad decision by Cincinnati that didn’t really affect the game, but the possibility of a Committee member talking about only beating UCF by three and thus keeping Cincy out of the Playoff is a real thing and that can’t be taken lightly. That being said, Desmond Ridder threw for another impressive statline and Gerald Doaks continues to run people over on the ground. UCF only gained 359 yards of offense on the afternoon.
2 – Notre Dame (8-0)
The Irish were on a scheduled bye this weekend.
1 – Alabama (7-0)
At the end of the first quarter this game was 7-3 with Alabama over Kentucky. The final score was 63-3. Are we done here? Cool.