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Week 8 Playoff and Heisman Watch

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0)

Last Week: W – Texas A&M – 33-14

alabama

Jalen Hurts has put himself on the cusp of being in the Heisman watchwith how dynamic he’s been lately. He had three touchdowns and over 250 yards against Texas A&M. And considering how convincingly the Crimson Tide beat what was clearly the second-best SEC team, it doesn’t look like any team can truly compete with them.

2. Clemson Tigers (7-0)

Last Week: Bye Week

clemson

Clemson got a by and got a little cushion with Ohio State’s stunning loss. The fact that Louisville continues to dominate opponents also bodes well for the Tigers. They’re clearly the most dominant team in the ACC.

3. Michigan Wolverines (7-0)

Last Week: W – Illinois – 41-8

michigan

With Ohio State losing, the Wolverines have made it pretty clear they are the top team in the Big Ten. They rolled over Illinois, getting big performances from everybody everhwere. The running game was much, much improved too and that was the only troublesome area the team had before. Running for 270 yards and three touchdowns a game won’t hold up, but if they remain effective on the ground they can really make a run at a national championship.

4. Washington Huskies (7-0)

Last Week: W – Oregon State – 41-17

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Washington gets into the tournament as the fourth seed with Ohio State’s loss. The Huskies have been fantastic this year, but it’s been in a down Pac-12. They still seem like a step below the top three teams, but they can’t be denied a spot if they remain unbeaten.

Rose Bowl: Ohio State Buckeyes (6-1) vs. Utah Utes (7-1)

The White Out in State College, PA brought the Nittany Lions back to a memory of their glory days. Penn State might still need to do a lot to get in consideration for a big bowl game, but they were supposed to get destroyed by the Buckeyes. The Buckeyes didn’t have the big game by JT Barrett and his supporting cast didn’t do much to provide support. Ohio State is still an elite team and unless Nebraska wins the Big Ten (in which case they would be in the playoffs anyway, they would get picked for the Rose Bowl over the Cornhuskers.

Even as the second-best team in the Pac 12, the Utes have no shot at any selected bowl game right now if the Huskies don’t make it into the playoffs and open up that Rose Bowl spot for a Pac 12 team. Utah is good and Joe Williams dominated UCLA with 332 yards and four touchdowns, but their QB play is shaky at best and their defense is vulnverable against really good teams.

Sugar Bowl: Texas A&M Aggies (6-1) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (5-2)

Texas A&M was definitely beaten decisively, but even still, losing by only 19 points to Alabama is impressive. Trevor Knight just didn’t have his impressive game against the dominant Crimson Tide defense. Texas A&M is still one of the top teams in the country, though.

Let’s be honest here, Oklahoma’s defense isn’t all that good. But, they have proven they can score in punches all year long and that once again happened at Texas Tech. The Strength of Schedule is still what keeps this team above fellow unbeaten Big 12 teams Baylor and West Virginia.

Orange Bowl: Louisville Cardinals (6-1) vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-0)

Just when Lamar Jackson was starting to cool off a big he had another monster game with four total touchdowns and over 400 yards on his own. The Cardinals inch closer to a possible at-large spot in the four-team playoffs; Washington has very little room for error.

Nebraska probably shouldn’t have been pushed that hard by Purdue, but regardless of Ohio State’s loss, the selection committee would still pick them for the Rose Bowl over the Cornhuskers right now. Unless Nebraska wins the Big Ten, in which case they would be in the playoffs, they probably have to settle for an at-large bid in another bowl game.

Cotton Bowl Bowl: Navy Midshipmen (5-1) vs. Baylor Bears (6-0)

Will Worth was about as perfect as a quarterback could be running the triple option, eclipsing 200 yards on the ground with a hyper efficient minimal-use passing game, completing three of four passes with two touchdowns.

The Bears had a bye week and their artificially created ranking and undefeated record will finally be tested next week at Texas. That game will be telling about Baylor. After that they have more tough games against TCU and at Oklahoma. Either Baylor will prove themselves or fall out.

Dropping Out

florida

Florida Gators (5-1): Florida had another bye week, but it was interesting how it played out. Kentucky winning gave the Gators a bit of a boost because they are further ahead of the SEC considering they beat the Wildcats head-to-head. However, Missouri losing to Middle Tennessee just kills their RPI.

On the Cusp

lsu

Boise State Broncos (7-0): As long as they keep on winning they are in great position to slip into the “Group of Five” spot, but unless Navy slips up, they are still a notch below based on their strength of schedule.

West Virginia Mountaineers (6-0): The Mountaineers remained unbeaten as Skyler Howard threw four touchdown passes and Horned Frogs’ quarterback Kenny Hill was shut down, but West Virginia still has to sit on the cusp because of their weak schedule.

LSU Tigers (5-2): Remember when LSU fired their head coach and offensive coordinator and all was lost? Well, they are sitting with just one SEC loss on the road against a pretty solid Auburn team and have one three-straight since. That Wisconsin loss doesn’t look that bad either, as they are a top 10 team. LSU could sneak in a back door to one of these big bowl games and if they manage to stun Alabama next week, we’ll have to re-evaluate everything.

Key Week 9 Games

South Florida Bulls (6-2) vs. Navy Midshipmen (5-1): Navy’s on here again and it’s so crucial that they keep winning because one more loss and they are done. They actually take a pretty big hit with Houston losing again, but they must beat division co-leader South Florida to remain at the top of the AAC.

Texas Longhorns (3-4) vs. Baylor Bears (6-0): It really says something when the toughest task for a team will be against a 3-4 opponent, but while Baylor’s weak schedule has then undefeated though six games and ranked in the top 10, we’ll learn a lot about them when they play Texas.

Utah Utes (7-1) vs. Washington Huskies (7-0): Any time the top two teams in the conference play each other it’s a huge game, but more than just switching spots in the playoffs and bowl games, this game can really shake up everything is Utah pulls an upset. Even if the Utes lose things might change quite a bit. This is the biggest game this week and will have the most impact on next week’s results.

Wisconsin Badgers (5-2) vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-0): Nebraska and Wisconsin are in a battle to determine the No. three team in the Big Ten behind Ohio State and Michigan and they’ll determine it against each other squaring off on the field on Saturday. No matter what, it’s nearly impossible for Wisconsin to get into the Big Ten title game, but if they win, the selection committee will have to view them as the most deserving team to take a third at-large for the conference.

Florida State Seminoles (5-2) vs. Clemson Tigers (7-0): Florida State is out of consideration for a big bowl game at this point, but they can really spoil Clemson’s year and open everything completely up in Week 8. With the game in Tallahassee, it’s much more interesting because the Seminoles have a bit of momentum with a pair of wins over Miami and Wake Forest the past two weeks. They are still dangerous and well-coached. Clemson will be tested.

Heisman Watch

lamar-jackson Lamar Jackson – QB, Louisville

134/230 (58.3%), 2,161 Pass Yards, 18 Pass TDs, 4 INTs, 908 Rush Yards (7.0 YPC), 16 Rush TDs

Deshaun Watson – QB, Clemson

164/258 (63.6%), 1,950 Pass Yards, 20 Pass TDs, 279 Rush Yards (3.9 YPC), 1 Rush TD

Jake Browning – QB, Washington

118/172 (68.6%), 1,709 Pass Yards, 26 Pass TDs, 2 INTs, 4 Rush TDs

Jabrill Peppers – LB, Michigan

40 Tackles, 10 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 6 QBH, 14 PR, 249 PR Yards (17.8 YPR), 1 PR TD, 5 KR, 153 KR Yards (30.6 YPR), 107 Rush Yards (10.7 YPC), 2 Rush TDs

JT Barrett – QB, Ohio State

124/195 (63.6%), 1,452 Pass Yards, 17 Pass TDs, 4 INTs, 460 Rush Yards (4.3 YPC), 6 rush TDs

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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