This Saturday was stocked full of key games between top-25 teams that would have a huge impact on the College Football Playoff race. Now that the dust has settled, what did we learn?
The Bears aren't dead yet:
Baylor was in the back of the crowded pack of one-loss teams vying for a playoff spot, and their beatdown of the Sooners suggest that this team was severely under-ranked. They still have a showdown with Kansas State looming at the end of the season, but they do have a victory over TCU.
Oklahoma is one of the season's biggest disappointments:
The Sooners seemed to have all the momentum a team could want after beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and a No. 3 preseason ranking. Now with losses to Kansas State, TCU, and Baylor, the Sooners are 4-3 in the Big 12 and are tied with Texas and West Virginia in the standings. Ouch.
Everett Golson isn't quite 'the guy' yet:
Notre Dame QB Everett Golson has been the Irish's best player throughout the season, but he's had a bit of a turnover problem. Against the Sun Devils, that turned into a HUGE problem as the threw four interceptions. He needs to fix that issue to be the player Notre Dame needs him to be.
Arizona State could win the Pac-12 over Oregon:
It seems like everyone has conceded the Pac-12 to Oregon, but the Sun Devils looked like they're a serious threat to the Ducks. Senior QB Taylor Kelly's return has the ASU offense playing at a high level, and their defense was dominant. Don't be surprised to see them move into the top-5.
Auburn's out of miracles:
Auburn had plenty of chances to win this game, but kept giving the ball away. Quarterback Nick Marshall fumbled a handoff inside the 5 yard line, and then the center snapped it when Marshall wasn't ready as they were driving with under a minute to play. The Aggies recovered both fumbles, ensuring the victory.
Texas A&M found their quarterback:
Kenny 'Trill' Hill is officially the backup quarterback in College Station. True freshman QB Kyle Allen threw for 277 yards and four touchdowns on the road against one of the best defenses in the country, and it looks like he'll own the position for the next few years.
Trevone Boykin is a bonafide Heisman candidate:
Boykin had 342 total yards and four total touchdowns against the Wildcats, bouncing back from a below-average performance against West Virginia. He's put himself up there with Mississippi State's Dak Prescott and Oregon's Marcus Mariota as the best players in the country, and he has more big wins that either of them at this point.
TCU should make the College Football Playoff:
With this win, TCU has beaten all of the major contenders in the Big 12. They close the year with Kansas, Texas, and Iowa State, and they'll be heavy favorites in all of those contests. The Horned Frogs might have the second-easiest remaining schedule behind Florida State.
J.T. Barrett is a different player now:
The Ohio State quarterback struggled mightily early in the season, but in their biggest game of the season, he was the best player on the field. Barrett absolutely shredded Michigan State's great defense and has the Buckeyes playing at a much higher level.
The Big Ten probably won't get a team into the College Football Playoff:
Ohio State proved they were a good team with their win over the Spartans, but now they're the conference's last hope at cracking the top four. They'll still be in the bottom half of the top-10 when the rankings come out on Tuesday, but the Buckeyes will need a LOT of help to make the playoff.
Blake Sims is better than we think:
Sims struggled for most of the night against the tough LSU defense, but he came up big when the Crimson Tide needed him to. He led a game-tying drive with under a minute left in the game with no timeouts, and then won it in overtime. Sims is already one of the country's most efficient passers on third down, and now that he's a proven clutch player, he's going to make Alabama really tough to beat.
The SEC West really might take themselves out of the playoff:
When LSU took the lead with just over 50 seconds to play, it really looked like Tigers were going to knock Alabama out of playoff contention. That would've left Mississippi State as the only SEC team in good position, but they still have games against the Crimson Tide and Ole Miss. The SEC is only one upset away from barely putting one team in the playoff - or possibly none.
Oregon's defense needs to get a lot better:
For as good as Oregon's offense is, this team finds themselves in way too many close games. That was the case again tonight. Even though Utah is a good team, the Ducks should be dominating them instead of just beating them.
Marcus Mariota can carry this team to a title:
Despite Oregon's defensive woes, there's a reason Oregon is No.4 in the country right now - Marcus Mariota. He's the best quarterback in the nation and has destroyed pretty much every defense he's played against. Oregon only runs into trouble when Mariota is not on his game. If he can continue keep up this high level of play, it's going to be really hard for anyone to beat the Ducks.
Who had the most impressive performance of the day? What did you take away from this weekend's games? Tweet your thoughts to @brauf33 and leave a response in the comments!Back to the NCAA Newsfeed