Welcome to The Huddle, in which the college football writers at No Coast Bias share their thoughts on the season so far, and what’s yet to come. Join us each week as we cover the most interesting stories, compelling matchups, and of course, updated playoff picks each week. Let’s get to it.
Most interesting thing from last week.
Taylor Venema: Michigan State finally showed some fight. Even at 3-8 Sparty’s still got a great coaching staff and a solid roster, so it’s not altogether surprising they’d be able to put a scare into Ohio State. (And I loved the call to go for two. Fight me IRL.) It would not surprise me whatsoever to see Michigan State come out like a starved badger against Penn State this week.
Brian Hall: I’ve been very high on Louisville all season, so it’s only fair that I point out how absolutely destroyed they got by Houston. Lamar Jackson couldn’t get anything going, due in part to being sacked 11 (ELEVEN) times on the night. Houston really just did what other teams have failed to do, in that they bullied the Cardinals’ offensive line (a unit that has struggled at other points this season) and simply made life too difficult for Jackson to single-handedly beat them on his own. Ed Oliver looked incredible, which makes me very sad that Tom Herman will likely leave Houston before he graduates, as his talent might just be squandered by his replacement.
Derek Hernandez: Colorado more or less handling Wazzu. The Pac 12 may be soft this year, but somebody has to win the conference. I still believe Washington is a CFP caliber team, but what CU has done this year is pretty impressive considering how terrible that program has been for a while now.
Chris Hatch: Texas losing to Kansas. In football. Somewhere Chuck Weis is rolling over in his grave. What’s that? He’s still alive? Right. At any rate, this game was fascinating for so many reasons. It wasn’t the nail in the coffin so much as the stake in the chest of the undead vampire known as Charlie Strong. That coffin had been nailed shut, but somehow he was still desperately trying to claw his way out. It’s over, Charlie. You gave it a run, man.
Doug Palmer: Homer Post Alert!!! Ryker Fyfe for Nebraska playing really well. Nebraska was up against a…let’s say ‘lackluster’ Maryland team but they pretty much dominated start to finish. Good to see the perennial back-up QB play well on senior day.
Game you’re overreacting to the most from last week.
Taylor: Kansas beat Texas and already we’re figuring out who’ll be Tom Herman’s receptionist.
Brian: Notre Dame is now entirely outside the realm of bowl eligibility. The Fighting Irish lost to Virginia Tech for a seventh loss, and have too low an APR score to be a qualifying 5-7 team. The Fighting Irish are currently 4-7 FWIW.
Derek: It’s not a game I’m overreacting to, but rather the Florida players and fans. I understand where the animosity came from leading up to this game, but the Gator players acted like they just won the national championship when they really just knocked off a just better than average LSU team.
Chris: Ohio State grinding out a gritty “W” against Michigan State to catapult them into what is likely to be a bloodbath on Saturday against the Michigan Wolverines. Ohio State appears to be fully back, having suffered their setback against Penn State early in the year. This tough, grind-it-out win against Sparty wasn’t pretty but it was another hurdle cleared by Urban Meyer’s squad. The stage is set. Let’s see what happens.
Doug: Texas losing to Kansas and the end of the Charlie Strong era. It’s no secret that Texas’ various political arms within the athletic department wanted to move on but this was the final nail in the coffin. I assume their first choice is Tom Herman but we’ll see if he wants to take that job. The money is always right but Texas remains a mess of a program at the highest levels.
Game you’re most excited to watch this week.
Taylor: Obviously Ohio State/Michigan. The second Meyer-Harbaugh Bowl is only the most anticipated game in the history of ever. Hopefully it’s a little more 2006 and less 2015.
Brian: For the first time since 1936, and just the second time ever, the winner of the Apple Cup will outright win the PAC12 North. That’s 108 games in which only two have ever involved two teams that are very good. Keep your tired Michigan/Ohio State rivalry which is barely ever irrelevant, and go ahead and pocket that Iron Bowl which is good for something great every three years or so. I’m going with the thing that’s not but once before ever been relevant.
Derek: The only correct answer here is Michigan vs. Ohio State, but I’m also interested in how Mike Riley is going to piece together a game plan with zero quarterbacks.
Chris: Auburn VS Alabama. Obviously this is a juicy weekend for football. We have so many good games, so many fascinating storylines, that I can barely touch on them all. Nebraska vs Iowa is always near and dear to my hate(red of Iowa). Michigan vs Ohio State should be fantastic to watch and always features passions running high and 15-yard-penalties flying. But Auburn and Alabama is one that I’m practically drooling for. It’s our one chance to watch Saban get bucked from atop his white stallion of a high horse before the playoffs. It’s at Bama, which doesn’t help the Tigers, who appear to be grossly overmatched. But. In. his. Game. Anything. Can. Happen.
Doug: Michigan/Ohio State. I’m not convinced this will be close but it has huge playoff and conference title implications. Michigan holds all the cards but are without starting QB Wilton Speight. I’m taking OSU in a rout probably putting Penn State in the title game but OSU in the playoff.
Your playoff as of right now and why.
Taylor: 2. Ohio State: win one and you’re in. 3. Michigan: win two and you’re in. 4. Clemson: survive Muschamp and y-[inarticulate screaming]
Brian: “The playoff field is boring with a capital ‘B’ this week, so I’m ranking Thanksgiving food instead.
1. Mashed potatoes – maybe a little too reliant on gravy, but still the easy favorite in the field.
2. Ham – Ham is better than turkey and you can meet me in Temecula if you think otherwise.
3. Pumpkin Pie – The only dessert to crack the top four, pumpkin pie is only good when in season, which coincidentally, is in the fall.
4. Sweet Corn – folks are big on green bean casserole, but sweet corn gets the nod from me. Green bean casserole gets all slimy and gross after a while, but good corn stays fresh.
Just missed: turkey – lost to ham in the TMC (Thanksgiving Meat Conference) title game, stuffing – has to be made right to really be good, making it too unstable a choice
Derek: ‘Bama (the juggernaut), Ohio State (the school with the second best coach), Clemson (the experienced contender), Michigan (the name brand that’s probably going to be knocked out of the CFP race soon)
Chris: 1) Alabama. Barf. 2) Ohio State (*Pending what I think will be a win against Michigan. 3) Clemson. Still Dabo-dancing towards the playoff in spite of their early struggles. 4) Michigan (not here for long, either way)
Doug: 1) Alabama – only undefeated left that’s got a chance. 2) Ohio State – only way they miss out is a loss to Michigan. 3) Clemson – they tried to Clemson their way out but everyone around them lost, too. 4) Washington – they’ve hung around and I think they can win 2 more.