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: “Well, we wanted chaos, and we got it with the losses of Washington and Clemson. However, the Committee being what it is, both remained in the top five. The Committee claims it blows up the rankings and starts new each week focusing on each team’s resume, but it sure seems to give preference to teams that control their own destiny in their conferences. So USC and Pitt pull of upsets . . . and Clemson falls two spots. Washington falls one.
Remember how they said a playoff wouldn’t devalue the regular season? 🐸☕
The conference that stands to benefit from all this, of course, is the Big Ten. The Committee ranked four B1G teams in the top eight and even if Ohio State beats Michigan but doesn’t make the title game, it will still have wins over three top ten teams and will almost certainly be a lock for the Playoff anyway.
(I also think the Buckeyes are the only team, along with perhaps Louisville, that might topple Bama, so I want them in.)”
Brian Hall: Sure, I’ll let the Clemson hate continue. The Tigers finally slipped up and lost a game (bless you Pat Narduzzi). Sure, the officiating in that game was a bit suspect, but if you let a quarterback like Nathan Peterman throw for 308 yards, five scores, and no turnovers against you, you 1000% deserve to lose that game, regardless of how much ACC officials is sprinkled in. Clemson is now one more slip-up away from handing the steering wheel over to Louisville, and speaking of, the Tigers play a team that just kept the Cardinals in check for three quarters last weekend.
Derek Hernandez: Outside of the absolute chaos that happened near the top of the rankings, I’d have to go with Ole Miss knocking off A&M. It’s almost like Kevin Sumlin is allergic to Novembers.
Chris Hatch: Clemson getting beaten by a kicker who was literally named after failure. Chris Blewitt from Pitt totally rose above the shackles of his name. The only way this could have been a more triumphant moment for people with lousy names is if some guy named Jimmy Interception lead a 4th quarter, game winning drive against the Tigers. You know how literally every person you’ve ever spoken to, when the topic gets to bad names, claims to somehow know a human being on the face of this earth named Orangejello or Lemonjello? Chris Blewitt is proof that they might actually not be lying. Huge moment.
Doug Palmer: It’s got to be the obvious; 3 of the top 4 teams in the CFP going down. Michigan, Clemson and Washington losing opens the door to a couple of teams that were completely out of the conversation a couple of weeks ago. The Big Ten has 2 of the top 4 teams but, since they have yet to play each other, look at that #5 team as the de facto #4. The last three weeks of the season are about to be very interesting.
Game you’re overreacting to the most from last week.
Taylor: “I was kind of hoping the Committee would overreact a bit more, but they didn’t. What did surprise me was Clemson’s utter inability to run the ball on Pitt. Between Deshaun Watson and Wayne Gallman I figured they would be able to get something going . . . but no, 25 rushes for 50 yards, including the fourth down stuff that gave Pitt the ball and a chance to win.
Goes to show that the old adage of “”run the ball/stop the run”” still works . . . even when Watson throws 70 times for an ACC record 580 yards.”
Brian: Remember when the playoff committee put Texas A&M in the driver’s seat for the fourth playoff spot two weeks ago? Hahahahahahahaha.
Derek: USC beating Washington. I was super high on the Huskies and couldn’t imagine the resurgent Trojans doing what they did out in Seattle. Is Clay Helton actually good? Maybe the Pac-12 is as bad as everyone thinks it is.
Chris: USC Beating the Washington Huskies. Come on, Pac 12. Don’t damper my mood about the impending Apple Cup and how insane it could be. How dare you, USC. How Darnold you. I still REALLY want to see the Pirates VS Huskies game get the national attention it deserves. Thankfully, the playoff committee didn’t drop Washington too far, so it hasn’t fully lost its luster.
Doug: Clemson losing to Pitt. We always sort of hold Clemson in an air of doubt when they’re winning and this showed why. It’s always a team that finds a way to lose to a bad opponent. Clemson should’ve been able to run out of the stadium against Pitt. Instead Deshaun Watson attempted 70 passes. That’s ridiculous.
Game you’re most excited to watch this week.
Taylor: It’s very cool to see College GameDay headed to Kalamazoo to pay tribute to Western Michigan. How badly are P.J. Fleck and the Broncos going to pound Buffalo this week after Boise State hopped them in the Committee’s rankings?
Brian: Washington State/Colorado – So Washington is in the driver’s seat for the PAC12 North title. The Cougs simply have to beat Colorado, a good team, though admittedly with a resume that isn’t all that excellent, and Washington, a team that, well, just got beat. What I’m saying is that a PAC12 team that opened the season with a loss to an FCS team could potentially beat three ranked teams to end the season and come screaming into the playoffs at the buzzer. Hell yeah, Cougs.
Derek: Louisville/Houston. The Cougs can end all this “The Cardinals should be in the top 4” talk by pulling the upset here. Remember when Tom Herman’s gang was all the rage?
Chris: Louisville v Houston. Suddenly, the playoffs are on the line for Louisville. They’ve been kept in the conversation with 1 loss but 2 would drop them out of contention completely.
Doug: Louisville v Houston. Suddenly, the playoffs are on the line for Louisville. They’ve been kept in the conversation with 1 loss but 2 would drop them out of contention completely.
Your playoff as of right now and why. Louisville VS Houston. Petrino, the king of Textual Healing and Tom Herman. I’d say that this game appears to be an old-fashioned shootout, but I think it has the potential to be more like a motorcycle crash with a mistress on the back of your hog for the Cardinals. Call me crazy, but I think Houston gives Louisville all it can handle, even though Lamar Jackson’s insane talent should prevail.
Taylor: 1. Duh 2. Ohio State: despite the loss I believe they’re one of the best teams in the country and should have a shot to play for the national title, conference championship aside. 3. Louisville: yeah, Clemson has the head-to-head but I think Louisville is the better team, even if their resume isn’t quite up to snuff. 4. Michigan: their loss is worse than Ohio State’s, but they’re gonna keep rolling.
Just missed: Clemson and Washington, who can battle back by winning out. In the event of a Wisconsin/Penn State Big Ten title game, I see you, winning team.
Brian: 1. Yeah. 2. Ohio State 3. Louisville 4. Washington
Just Missed: Michigan, Clemson
Ignoring the fact that this is all Alabama’s to lose anyway, Ohio State is back to being the destroyer of worlds that we’re used to. Other than a loss to a maybe good(?) Penn State team, the Buckeyes are starting to click at the right time just like they always do. Meanwhile, Louisville continues to do what Clemson doesn’t, which is to say, they actually pull away from lesser teams and win handily after a slow start, instead of looking unimpressive and uninspired before finally losing a game that they shouldn’t. Meanwhile, Washington has the more #QualityLoss than either Michigan or Clemson. Sure, the Wolverines have beaten three teams in the top ten, however one of them is up there despite a questionable resume, one is up there for hanging with (but not beating) Ohio State, and another was kind of terrible at the beginning of the season and is suddenly playing great. Even with how weak the PAC12 is this year, pretending a win over Wazzu and a likely rematch with USC wouldn’t be enough to propel the Huskies into the fourth spot is ludicrous.”
Derek: 1 ROLL DAMN TIDE
2-4 Does it matter?
Chris: Rankings: 1) Alabama. Blah, blah, blah, dynasty, blah. So good, I’m not even entertained by their excellence. They’re like the guy on my wife’s soap opera who is too good of a dude, so his story arc is super boring. Yup, that makes Lane Kiffin the troubled, hard-partying bad boy. Young and the Restless stand up! 2) Michigan. I think they’re loss at Iowa was a better loss than Penn State. Is that crazy? Maybe. 3) Ohio State. Back from the dead after looking like they’re coming alive at just the right time. 4) Louisville. They have the best player in the nation and that goes a long ways towards their current ranking in my mind. Houston, it’s all up to you to give CFB anarchists a chance to watch it all burn. Good luck.
Doug: 1) Alabama – the sole survivor of last weekend’s top four. 2) Louisville – all they have to do is keep winning against lesser teams. 3) Ohio State – Michigan losing their starting QB could mean the Buckeyes miss the Big Ten Title Game and still make the playoffs. 4) Washington – They’ll sneak back in once Michigan/Ohio State loses.