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: Last week kind of blew, so I’ll say how awesome it was for Tommy Armstrong to come back into the Horseshoe after having been carted off. Only way it could have been better was if he hijacked the ambulance and did donuts at midfield with sirens blaring . . . as Nebraska lost by 59.
Brian Hall: LSU being able to hold Alabama to ten points in a defensive battle was something that everyone has come to expect, but I still don’t think they did this year. That said, the Tigers’ offense has some serious problems it needs to sort out if they want to make any noise the rest of the year.
Derek Hernandez: “Tommy Armstrong coming back to the stadium dressed in scrubs.
After knocking himself out in the first half, Armstrong returned to the Shoe dressed in hospital garb. New fashion trend, anyone?
P.S. That was probably the only interesting part of that Nebraska vs. Ohio State game. Yikes did the Huskers get beat down. ”
Chris Hatch: Captain Mike Leach and his merry band of pirates winning their 7th in a row-ho-ho-and-a-barrel of rum. Sorry, but I find Leach and his insane air raid style to be completely fascinating. After losing their first two games, the Cougars have been on a hot streak and I think (read: hope) that we are starting to crescendo to an amazing battle against the Washington Huskies on November 25th. Plus, who doesn’t love when Cougars score 69 points, amirite, fellow 11-year-olds?
Doug Palmer: OSU/Nebraska – My goodness, was that terrible. I’d say ‘unexpected’ but I’m not sure that’s the right word. I think we all, locally and nationally, thought that Nebraska had turned a corner and these types of losses were behind us. That being said; it was a similar result to Purdue last season and Mike Riley has had a really bad loss nearly every season. Maybe they’re not past them yet but Nebraska still has a chance for a 9-10 win season.
Game you’re overreacting to the most from last week.
Taylor: Washington State ran up 69 points on Arizona. RichRod’s Wildcats are 2-7 despite being just two years removed from Pac-12 title game and Fiesta Bowl appearances. What the heck is going on in Tuscon?
Or is Wazzu just that good, in which case, this year’s Apple Cup is going to be L I T.
Brian: I will echo Taylor’s sentiment from the other side. Washington absolutely exploded away from Cal, taking what was, at one point, a close game and turning it into a blowout. If the Huskies and their pals at Wazzu keep putting up points, the Apple Cup might be the game to watch coming into the final week of the season.
Derek: Coach O and LSU going toe-to-toe with Bama. If Ogeron can rally his troops like that every week, the Tigers would be crazy to not give him the job.
Of course, the Tigers offense didn’t look any better than they have in recent years, so maybe it’s just the same old story for LSU.
Chris: I know that nationally it isn’t a blip on the radar that the Huskers got blown out again. BUT THE HUSKERS GOT COMPLETELY EMBARRASSED. Here’s how bad things were last Saturday night: the highlight of the game was that our quarterback only got knocked unconscious and doesn’t appear to be injured further. When that’s the thing you’re happy about? It was a really, really, rough game.
Doug: TAMU/Mississippi State – After A&M being annointed the Golden Child of the College Football Playoff (for some reason) they go out and lose to a 3-5 MSU team. They’re still in good position, though, as they only fell 4 spots in the poll. (LSU, in a 10-point loss to #1 Alabama, dropped 11 spots).
Game you’re most excited to watch this week.
Taylor: It me, the guy who reminds you to watch Group of Five games. The AAC and Sun Belt have de facto semifinals Saturday with Tulsa/Navy and Appalachian State/Troy. Watch ’em. There’s nothing better on and think about how much it’ll help your office bowl pick pool.
Brian: Louisville plays BOWL ELIGIBLE Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons’ defense is actually pretty good!…buuuuut the Cardinals have Lamar Jackson.
I firmly believe the Huskies are a CFP caliber team, but many think this could be a game everything comes crashing down for them. Either way, I expect this to be a shootout.
Chris: Sticking to the Pac-12, here, when I say that I’m excited to watch USC go play at Washington. The Huskies are still an oddity to me, simply because they don’t feel like they are supposed to be here. They pass that always cliched “eye test” and they just keep winning. USC, as they are wont to do, is totally stacked with superb talent and has been underperforming. Let’s see what happens.
Doug: USC/Washington – I’ve had Washington in my CFP for a long time and I think they’ll get in at the end. USC, however, is playing pretty good football right now and they have enough talent to beat Washington.
Your playoff as of right now and why.
Taylor: In what has become a very boring section of this feature, the same four as last week: Alabama, Michigan, Clemson, Washington. While the lack of chaos in the top four has created a sleepy regular season, if it carries through to the actual Playoff we’ll probably get a DANG good one.
Brian: 1. Alabama 2. Michigan 3. Washington 4. Clemson
Just Missed: Ohio State, Louisville, Wisconsin
These teams are all obvious at this point, but one fun thing to point out – Wisconsin being just out of the playoff picture feels crazy for a team with two losses. And yet, despite those two losses being in conference, they’re still in the driver’s seat to play for the Big Ten championship out of the West division, and get a rematch with one of two teams they took down to the wire already. We love to talk about ESS-EEE-CEE bias (lol Texas A&M what are you still doing in the top ten) but Wisconsin still being in the mix shows a lot of love for the Big Ten from the committee.
Derek: Bama, Michigan, Clemson, Washington (I entered these before the official CFP rankings came out)
Bama can beat you at any phase of the game, Michigan seems to just destroy everyone and they have been the most impressive team in the best conference in the nation, Clemson beat Louisville and is undefeated, Washington at zero losses is better than any one-loss team right now. Even Louisville.
Chris: 1) Alabama. Nick Saban attempted to lie to us all again in the name of #focus and claimed he “didn’t know” that Tuesday was the election. I know he probably thinks that this makes him seem so single-minded and locked in that everyone will be terrified, but I kind of think it just makes him a giant D-Bag to pretend he didn’t know.
2) Michigan. You know Jim Harbaugh probably knew about the election. Hell, he was probably at a few of the rallies, shirtless and wearing a Trump mask. Michigan and Alabama appear to be a cut above the rest to me.
3) Clemson. They just keep winning. Not much else to say about them until they slip up. In fact, they appear to have caught their second wind and are playing better by the game. No word on whether Dabo had any idea that the fate of our nation was hanging in the balance or if he was too busy preparing his celebration dances with his choreographer. #Focus
4) Washington. The USC game will go even further towards bolstering their resume. They just keep winning. And winning. And winning. And I still only have a few terrible puns available in my arsenal. That’s how far off the radar these guys are. What can Browning do for you? I’m out.
Doug: 1) Alabama – still the team to beat. 2) Michigan – I don’t know if anyone can stop them right now. 3) Clemson – still winning but also still Clemson so watch out. 4) Washington – If they stay undefeated, they’ll keep Louisville and others out of the playoff.