Baylor’s defeat of Oklahoma headlined a week that lacked upsets. Every top seven team won; some in more convincing ways than others. With two weeks left in the regular season, here are my current picks for the College Football Playoff.
#1 Georgia Bulldogs (10-0)
The Bulldogs looked human against Tennessee…for about a quarter. The Volunteers took a 10-7 lead after one thanks to some great play by quarterback Hendon Hooker. The Bulldogs responded with 34 straight points and cruised to a 41-17 victory. Georgia ran for nearly 300 yards led by James Cook who had 104 yards and two scores. Cook also added a touchdown in the passing game. Georgia’s defense was nasty yet again. They pilled up six sacks and two turnovers. The Bulldogs continue to solidify themselves as the team to beat.
Who’s Next: vs. Charleston Southern (4-5)
#2 Oregon Ducks (9-1)
The Ducks inched closer to the Pac-12 North title with a 38-24 win over Washington State. After going into halftime tied 14-14, the Ducks dominated the second half. The Ducks run-first offense continues to control the line of scrimmage. They had over 300 yards rushing for the second straight game. Quarterback Anthony Brown was the leading rusher with 127 but had a questionable fumble at the goal line late in the fourth quarter. Running backs Travis Dye and Byron Cardwell are one of the better one-two punches in the nation. Their passing woes continue, which will be something to keep an eye on against stiffer competition.
Who’s Next: @ Utah (7-3)
#3 Ohio State Buckeyes (9-1)
The Buckeyes played their best game of the season and dominated Purdue 59-31. Ohio State scored touchdowns on six of its first seven possessions. CJ Stroud continues to build his case for Heisman. He passed for 361 and five touchdowns. The Boilermakers didn’t have an answer for the trio of Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson and Jaxon Smith-Njigba. 28 of Stroud’s 31 completions went to that trio of receivers. I’m not sure if there are many teams that can stop those three. The Buckeye’s defense still isn’t great, but that doesn’t really matter when you can score as the Buckeyes can. A de-facto elimination game awaits them next week.
Who’s Next: vs. Michigan State (9-1)
#4 Alabama Crimson Tide (9-1)
It’s hard to make much out of Alabama’s 59-3 victory over New Mexico State. The Aggies didn’t belong on the same field as the Tide and that was very evident Saturday. Bama amassed almost 600 yards of offense and Bryce Young casually threw for five touchdowns in the first half. The Tide were able to run the ball effectively this game, but that’s not saying much considering the competition. Their ability to run the ball will be put to the test when they return to SEC play to finish the season. A showdown with Georiga awaits Alabama if they can close out the regular season with two wins.
Who’s Next: vs. Arkansas (7-3)
First Teams Out
#5 Cincinnati Bearcats (10-0)
The Bearcats finally won a game in a convincing manner. They beat a bad South Florida team 45-28 on Friday night. Quarterback Desmond Ridder completed 31 of 39 passes for 304 yards and two scores. He also ran one in with his legs. While Cincinnati played their most complete game in over a month, they still have some issues. They have had turnover issues all season, including three vs. USF. This is something they will need to clean up during the remainder of the season. While Cincy is on the outside looking in, they should be primed to move into the top four if a team ahead of them falters.
Who’s Next: vs. SMU (8-2)
#6 Michigan State Spartans (9-1)
Sparty got back on track with a 40-21 win over Maryland. Michigan State responded well from their disappointing loss to Purdue with a win over an upset-minded Terrapins team. Kenneth Walker III, the nations leading rusher, had another great game. He rumbled for 143 yards and two scores. Quarterback Payton Thorne had his way with the Maryland defense. He had four touchdowns, two of which went to Jayden Reed. The Spartans have the offense to score with anyone, but their postseason hopes will depend on if their defense shows up or not. A matchup versus the Buckeyes gives the Spartans a chance to move back into the top 4 and gain possession of first place in the Big 10 East.
Who’s Next: @ Ohio State (9-1)