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The Playoff Picture Is Becoming Clearer: College Football Top 10 (Week 9)
Photo courtesy of Chicago Tribune

The Playoff Picture Is Becoming Clearer: College Football Top 10 (Week 9)

1)  Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0) Idle

Next game vs LSU

 

2)  Georgia Bulldogs (8-0) defeated Florida Gators 42-7

Georgia has been the second most consistent team in the country to this point. They were streaking to this spot for weeks now, and Florida had no chance. The Bulldogs’ defense was outstanding, giving up 249 total yards, mostly in garbage time. They held the Gators to 4-15 on third down, 0-2 on fourth down, and had 5 sacks. The offense did not pile up a lot of yards but had several big plays. Quarterback Jake Fromm was very good in limited attempts, going 4/7 for 101 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The running game carried the workload with 292 yards. Running back Sony Michel gained 137 yards and scored 2 touchdowns. They are on a collision course in the SEC with Alabama.

 

3)  Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-1) defeated NC State Wolfpack 35-14

Notre Dame moves into the third spot this week ahead of Ohio State. They have a tougher schedule and a better loss. The defense limited NC State’s big play capability, giving up 263 total yards. They also held them to 5-16 on third down and 0-2 on fourth down. They continue to get it done. The offense gained 422 total yards. Quarterback Brandon Wimbush threw two touchdowns, but was underwhelming again going 10/19 for 104 yards. Running back Josh Adams rushed for 202 yards against a very good Wolfpack run defense. He has thrown his name in the Heisman conversation. Their passing game in critical moments remains a concern.

 

4)  Ohio State Buckeyes (7-1) defeated Penn State Nittany Lions 39-38

What an unbelievable comeback by the Buckeyes. They were struggling and down 35-20 going into the fourth quarter. The defense, which gave up 238 total yards, made some key second half adjustments. They also held the Nittany Lion’s Heisman leading running back Saquon Barkley to 44 rushing yards. They were lights out in the second half. The offense turned it up as well, gaining 529 total yards. Quarterback J.T. Barrett was sensational, going 33/38 (including 13/13 in the fourth quarter) for 328 yards with 4 touchdowns and added another 95 rushing yards. Welcome to the Heisman race young man. Now they control their own destiny.

 

5)  Wisconsin Badgers (8-0) defeated Illinois Fighting Illini 24-10

The Badgers actually looked vulnerable for the first time this season. If the running game isn’t going, they will struggle. Undefeated does not necessarily mean good, and that’s why two one loss teams jumped them. The defense showed some chinks in the armor, giving up 286 total yards. They did hold Illinois to 6-14 on third down, had 5 sacks and forced three turnovers. The offense had an equally tough day, gaining just 303 total yards. Quarterback Alex Hornibrook was not good, going 10/19 for 135 yards with an interception. Running back phenom Jonathan Taylor looked human for once, gaining only 73 yards.

 

6)  Miami Hurricanes (7-0) defeated North Carolina Tar Heels 24-19

Miami also is leapfrogged by two one loss teams because they struggled against a bad Tar Heel team. This is a trend that will doom them in the end. They continue to squeak by their opponents. They are on borrowed time with some tough games coming up. The defense was shredded again, giving up 428 total yards. The offense was one dimensional, gaining 415 total yards. Quarterback Malik Rosier was not very efficient, going 16/38 for 358 yards with 3 touchdowns and an interception. Wide receiver Jeff Thomas had a day with 4 catches for 101 yards with a touchdown. Running back Travis Homer was held in check, rushing for only 40 yards.

 

7)  Clemson Tigers (7-1) defeated Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 24-10

Can we now stop comparing this team to last season’s championship team? This version has an elite defense but an average offense. The defense gave up 230 yards. Considering the Yellow Jackets average more than 300 rushing yards per game, 198 yards is solid. Clemson held them to 3-15 on third down, had 11 tackles for loss and 4 sacks on 13 drop backs. Quarterback Kelly Bryant looked healthy (back from a concussion), going 22/33 for 207 yards with two touchdowns. They still have to manage his running though, 12 carries is too many. The rushing attack by committee did rack up 221 yards. There is something about this offense that’s not quite right, even if it isn’t obvious.

 

8)  Oklahoma Sooners (7-1) defeated Texas Tech Red Raiders 49-27

This is the worst defense of all the playoff contenders. The defense eventually got enough stops, but continues to give up huge chunk plays. Giving up 437 total yards would be disastrous for most teams, but the Sooner offense is able to make up the difference. Heisman hopeful quarterback Baker Mayfield was 22/34 for 281 yards with 4 touchdowns and an interception. Running back Rodney Anderson had 181 yards with a touchdown and Abdul Adams added 95 rushing yards. Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb has a big day with 9 catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns.

 

9)  Penn State Nittany Lions (7-1) lost to Ohio State Buckeyes 39-38

The way this game started, you would’ve thought Penn State was on their way to another statement win. Then the fourth quarter happened. They became way too conservative and predictable after taking a 35-20 lead into the fourth quarter. The defense struggled as the game went on. They gave up over 500 total yards and had no answer for the Buckeyes passing attack. Quarterback Trace McSorley started off on fire but fizzled late, going 17/29 for 192 yards with two touchdowns. Outside of his opening kick off touchdown, running back Saquon Barkley was held in check. He gained only 44 rushing yards, 36 of which came on one play. The season is not over but they blew an opportunity to control their own destiny.

 

10)  TCU Horned Frogs (7-1) lost to Iowa State Cyclones 14-7

Another team that blew a huge opportunity to take a stranglehold of the Big 12. Now they will need help and also win out. The defense did it’s job and held the Cyclone offense in check. They held them to 255 total yards and 3-13 on third down. 0The offense is to blame for this loss, as they could not generate any points. Quarterback Kenny Hill had the worst game of his career, going 12/25 for 135 yards and two critical red zone interceptions. He also lost a fumble. Running back Darius Anderson ran hard and should have been featured more, He only had 12 carries but gained 95 yards. Things don’t look good for the Horned Frogs.

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