Check out the top 10 things we learned during a busy college football weekend filled with top 25 matchups.
Alabama passes its biggest test. The Crimson Tide silenced critics who believed the team hasn’t played anybody worth an ounce of salt this season after defeating No. 3 LSU in dominant fashion. Alabama held LSU scoreless for the second time in three meetings, earning an SEC West Division title and a another SEC title game bid.
It seemed almost inevitable Alabama and Georgia would meet in the SEC Championship Game. From the very start of the season, just about everybody associated with college football predicted Alabama and Georgia would meet in the SEC title game, a rematch of last season’s national championship game. Now, we finally have that matchup officially set.
Clemson makes the case for another shot at Alabama. A lot can happen in the next four weeks, but the Tigers are playing some of their best football after scoring 77 points against Louisville Saturday. During the past two games, Clemson has outscored its opponents 136-26 and should easily win out, setting up a possible playoff rematch against Alabama for the fourth consecutive season.
The ACC Coastal is a mangled mess again. Pittsburgh moved one step closer to its first Coastal crown after knocking off Virginia Friday. The Panthers, who were picked to finish fifth in the division during the preseason, are two wins away from claiming a spot in the ACC Championship Game. Virginia Tech and possibly even Miami still have a chance to bump the Panthers out of the title game in a division filled with teams that have struggled.
Revenge never looked so good for Michigan. The Wolverines enjoyed the latest stop on their revenge tour, demolishing Penn State and improving to 3-0 against teams that beat them last season — Wisconsin, Michigan State and the Nittany Lions. Michigan has outscored all three 101-27, with just rival Ohio State left to complete the Wolverines’ push for redemption.
Dana Holgorsen clearly knows what’s at stake for West Virginia. In a brash move, the Mountaineers coach decided to go for the two-point conversion and the win against Texas Saturday rather than settle for the game-tying extra point and overtime. The gamble paid off and West Virginia remains in play for a spot not only in the Big 12 Championship, but possibly in the playoff semifinals.
Sure, Oklahoma can score points, but the Sooners won’t win a national championship without a defense. We’ve all heard the jokes about how nobody plays defense in the Big 12, but the Sooners’ chances of returning to the College Football Playoffs semifinals could hinge on a unit that ranks as the worst in total defense (No. 60) among the top seven teams in the playoff rankings.
The Pac-12’s playoff hopes now rest with Washington State. The conference saw just two teams – Washington State and Utah – find their way into the first playoff rankings Tuesday and it will likely be be down to one team after the Utes suffered a double-digit loss to USC. Utah’s stumble leaves the Pac-12 clinging to the Cougars as the last hope for getting a team into this year’s semifinals.
Kansas job could be the first of many to open during the next few weeks. New Kansas athletics director Jeff Long announced Sunday Jayhawks coach David Beaty would be fired at the end of the season, ending four years of mediocrity in Lawrence. Beaty’s firing, which is the third coaching change this season, won’t be the last, with changes likely coming at several schools during the next few weeks.
Some streaks are made to be broken. UTEP entered this weekend of play as the only winless team at the Football Bowl Subdivision level, riding the nation’s longest losing streak spanning 20 games. That all went out the window Saturday when the Miners knocked off Rice 34-26, earning the program’s first victory since Nov. 26, 2016. The Owls, unfortunately, now hold the nation’s longest losing streak spanning eight games.