By Joel Silverberg / @JoelSilverberg
The de facto Big Ten Championship game we had all been waiting for turned out to be disappointing, the Pac-12 played itself out of playoff contention (again) and the Big 12 has gone from having three potential playoff contenders to one team that might get left out regardless if it wins.
Thanks be to the SEC and ACC for keeping it simple. Sort of.
Alabama and Georgia will meet in Atlanta on Saturday. A win for Alabama likely knocks Georgia out of the playoff with a second loss, but what if Georgia upsets the Tide? What if Ohio State, Oklahoma and Georgia all come away with wins this weekend?
Through the first four years of the College Football Playoff there’s always been some odd, unique fact the committee can point to in choosing one team over another. If chalk occurs through this weekend, what distinction is there between Oklahoma and Ohio State? Style points may come into play this week.
Here’s this week’s good, bad and ugly.
The Good: Alabama. Speaking of style points, the Crimson Tide became the only team in the modern era to win each of its regular season games by 20 points or more. As odd as it seems, the matchup with Georgia this Saturday feels like Alabama’s first real test. That’s scary.
Honorable Mention: Ohio State. Give credit where credit is due. The Buckeyes weren’t being talked about as a legitimate playoff candidate. Then they destroyed Michigan and made one of the nation’s top defenses look silly. For the whole game. If Ohio State clobbers Northwestern it’ll be tough to keep Dwayne Haskins out of the playoff.
The Bad: LSU. Forget the officiating (and yes, it wasn’t great). The Tigers had ample opportunities to win the game on a single play. They didn’t. And a lot of perfectly good gatorade was wasted. Disgraceful.
Honorable Mention: Texas. Sure, the Longhorns won to put themselves in a rematch with Oklahoma in the Big 12 title bout, but where was the urgency? A birth in the conference championship game on the line against an archival and the offense didn’t impress in a one-score win over Kansas. Texas controlled the game throughout and was never really in danger of losing to the Jayhawks, but that sort of performance won’t beat Kyler Murray and playoff hopeful Oklahoma.
The Ugly: Michigan. Thank u, next.
Honorable Mention: Washington State. Similar to Michigan, the Cougars were trying to prove it was a good enough team to pass all the tests, but fell to the school that refers to it as the little brother. Gardner Minshew’s mustache and Washington State’s high-powered offense was ineffective against Washington and now the Pac-12, and the playoff, are off the table for Mike Leach’s squad.