College Football 2016: Week 9 Review
But first, a few words on the noteworthy event of Week 8.
Penn State 24 – Ohio State 21: In hindsight, it shouldn’t have been terribly hard to see this coming. Ohio State had been showing some cracks, particularly on offense. They were coming off a big OT win against #8 Wisconsin, and had to hit the road again to take on an improving Penn State team that was looking for a signature win. The Buckeyes are still very much in the Playoff hunt, but must win out. But those cracks are still there (they had to hold off Northwestern at home for 60 minutes Saturday) and aren’t going to fix themselves when Nebraska visits Columbus this weekend, or more importantly when Michigan comes to town at the end of the season.
Back to Week 9
This was the week of big upsets, sort of. Three Top 10 teams were defeated, but it’s really fair to ask if any of them were actually Top 10 material. #8 Baylor and #10 West Virginia rode light schedules to unbeaten records, and lost to teams that were nothing special (Texas and Oklahoma St, respectively). #7 Nebraska’s resume was slightly more impressive, they were playing #11 Wisconsin in Madison, and took them to OT before falling. The Huskers are still a very good team, but are probably more in the 11-15 range.
There were a couple other epic games. #3 Clemson survived in Tallahassee, beating #12 FSU 37-34 in a back-and-forth affair. Clemson’s defense struggled to slow down Dalvin Cook (but who doesn’t?), but did manage to tee-off on Deondre Francois, repeatedly, notching 6 sacks and several more brutal hits. Clemson looks to have clear sailing to the ACC Atlantic title and an unbeaten regular season record. An ACC Championship Game match against UNC or VA Tech will be the biggest hurdle to the Playoff. In one of the more physical games of the season #4 Washington scored on a punt return to go ahead 31-24 late in the game, with some help from the officials who looked the other way on a couple blocks in the back, and stopped #17 Utah on downs in Huskies territory to preserve a big road victory. Washington still has two tough tests remaining, USC (who have looked very good since Sam Darnold took over at QB) and at Washington State (who have made a habit of losing openers to FCS teams before going on impressive runs) won’t be easy. Neither will the Pac-12 title game, which figures to be either a rematch with Utah or USC, but don’t count out the surprising Colorado Buffaloes in the South either.
There was also a shakeup in the Group of Five race for the New Years Bowl. #13 Boise State suffered its first loss of the season at Wyoming, and #22 Navy ran out of time trying to come back from a huge deficit at South Florida. That leaves the door wide open for now #17 Western Michigan to claim the bid.
In anticipation of the release of the first rankings Tuesday evening, the ones that really matter, here’s my call:
- Ohio State
- Texas A&M
Week 10 Preview
Really only two games of note this weekend, the aforementioned Nebraska at Ohio State game and #1 Alabama, returning form a bye, travels to LSU. Both games are at 8 ET, ABC and CBS respectively. I’m willing to bet there’s an upset lurking in there somewhere though. And I’m not calling an upset here, but you night owls might want to see how Washington does following that huge win at Utah when they go back on the road to play Cal, who can put up points on anyone (but can’t stop anyone either). That one kicks off at 10:30 ET on ESPN. At least you can sleep an extra hour with the clocks getting turned back.
Mike is a Baltimore native living in Portland, OR since 2007. He currently runs his own business specializing in video production and online marketing. Prior to that he was a legal technology consultant, worked for 9 years at Johns Hopkins University and served 6 years in the Air Force. He also enjoys travel, food, beer, and is a volunteer at the Oregon Humane Society.