1) Alabama passes their first real test
Beating Miami and Mercer didn’t answer any actual questions anybody may have had about this year’s edition of the Crimson Tide. However, Saturday’s game in the swamp did answer a question or two. Although going on the road and winning in the swamp in 90-degree weather is brutal, does that answer how good this edition of the Crimson Tide is? No, it doesn’t, but it tells us about this team’s toughness, and that may be more important than anything.
Dan Mullen’s Florida Gators pushed Bama in last year’s SEC Championship game, and they did it again on Saturday. Florida is a genuine contender to win the SEC title, and they have found the correct coach to challenge Bama with.
The Bearcats recovered from a 14-0 deficit at Indiana to get a win that showed what has been the bearcats trademark over the past two seasons. Unfortunately, that trademark is playing spotty. The bearcats, if they want a shot at the College Playoffs, must be dominant! They were on the road in a hostile environment and shot themselves in the foot for the most part in the first half; luckily for the Bearcats, the Hoosiers fell apart when they had a chance to punch on the Cats grab a substantial early lead. For the game, the Bearcats were inside the 20-yard line 3 times and came up empty-handed. Cincinnati Quarterback Desmond Ridder needs to play a full 60 minutes from here on out to have a shot at getting to the playoffs. The Cats need to handle business for 60 minutes when they travel to Notre Dame.
Penn State beat Auburn on Saturday night, and the win was the second against a top 25 opponent. Suppose the defense can continue to take the ball away and Quarterback Sean Clifford stays consistent. In that case, the Nittany Lions will be not just Big Ten conference contenders but national title contenders. Trust me, that road will not be easy as the Lions will travel to Ohio State and Iowa and will have to win them both to have a shot.
When you think about the top 3 programs outside of Alabama, these would probably be the three you would pick, and as of right now, they are all struggling somehow. Oklahoma has not been consistent, the Clemson Tigers have been bad on offense, and the Ohio State Buckeyes have been bad on defense. Will all three teams continue to struggle? I think all three could continue to struggle; these teams all have significant issues. But, if I had to pick one to snap out of it, I would choose Oklahoma.
Outside of Oregon, the rest of this conference is nothing but a complete mess. The sad part is it could affect the Oregon Ducks. If everybody else is terrible, the Ducks case for a final four berth would be considerably hurt. Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Utah, and UCLA lost over the weekend, and all were favorites. The most likely challenger for Oregon to win the PAC 12 to me is UCLA. The Bruins seem to be on the right track, and Fresno State is an excellent football team that can upset you if you are not ready to play.
We all know how good Cincinnati is, and after this last weekend, you can add the BYU Cougars as a team that has a shot at being a playoff contender. In the first three weeks of the season, the Cougars have beaten Arizona, Utah, and now Arizona State. The BYU shot at the playoffs is not as solid as Cincinnati, but BYU is a good football team.
A close week one loss to Notre Dame gave Florida State fans hope. Will, after the past couple of weeks, that hope is gone. The Seminoles turned the ball over six times as they lost to Wake Forest on Saturday, and nothing tells me that the Noles are getting any better.
Yes! The Wolverines Quarterback Payton Thorne gets better every week, and the Wolverines are a big physical team that can dominate the Ohio State defense. The Physicality that the Wolverines play with makes them a challenging game for any team in the Nation.
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