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: The fall of Houston. Mid majors always ride the razor-thin line between potential New Years Six rep and December 19th bowl game, and with this loss, Houston doesn’t control its own destiny within the AAC West.
Does this take any attention off Tom Herman as the nation’s hottest coaching prospect? Nah. And the Cougs are still far and away the most talented team in the AAC and could still win it. But that NY6 slot may be gone.
Brian Hall: Notre Dame is actually worse than we all thought. There’s no maybes here; Brian Kelly has left no room for doubt that this team is so bafflingly worse than they were just a year ago. Why would you attempt 26 passes while playing in a literal tropical storm? I don’t care who your quarterback is, how can you justify that? Notre Dame probably won’t get bowl eligible this season, and I’d be very surprised if Kelly is still around. Just befuddling.
Derek Hernandez: This might sound weird, but how Kansas ALWAYS plays TCU tough. They could, and usually do, lose by an ungodly amount of points to every team they play before the Frogs and it doesn’t matter – they give Gary Patterson and his crew all they can handle each time out.
Chris Hatch: Houston losing to Navy. If history has taught me anything, it’s that typically Cougars love men in uniform, so I’m not sure what happened to Tom Herman’s squad against the Midshipmen. However, Herman is probably already brushing up on spelling things like a backwater, Cajun hick, so when he geauxs to LSU he can order gumbo in their native, indecipherable tongue.
Doug Palmer: A lot of pundits and fans had Houston as a dark horse to make the Playoff but they’re out after a loss to Navy. It was going to be tough for them to get in being outside of the Power 5 even as an undefeated team. We’ll still hear about Houston a lot but, barring a complete meltdown at the top of the polls, Houston is already out of contention.
Game you’re overreacting to the most from last week.
Taylor: In 2009 Oregon hosted USC and put a 47-20 pounding on the former Pac-12 heavyweights. The balance of power in the Pac-12 was shifting north and anyone who watched knew it. Sure enough, Pete Carroll bailed to the NFL (but not before Jim Harbaugh and Stanford got in their licks, too) and lo and behold, either Oregon or Stanford has won every conference title since.
Washington has now pounded both the Ducks and the Cardinal in two similar-feeling wins: the Cardinal, an defensive juggernaut and powerful running game, are inept outside of Christian McCaffrey and the Ducks can’t seem to find a quarterback or field a defense. And Chris Peterson’s Huskies look like the team of the future. Of course, Washington State will have something to say about that.
Brian: Michigan’s win at Rutgers is pure, sadistic poetry. The Wolverines attempted just 16 passes, completing half of them for a mere 119 yards. Rutgers didn’t even get a first down until the fourth quarter. Michigan scored more points then the number of plays they ran. Rutgers completed just two passes out of 18 for five yards, and one of those two passes went for minus-one yard. Their are so many bizarre and incredible stats from this game that it’s almost impossible to go in-depth with them all. The box score to this game is beautiful and part of me wants to frame it and hang on a wall in my house forever.
Derek: Washington waxing Oregon. Stick a fork in Oregon until they find a new head coach and I’m on the Huskies bandwagon for the rest of the year.
Chris: Washington. For the second week in a row. These guys are making dirty rugs of the Pack 12 competition and I’m not entirely sure what to make of it. All I know is: I’m glad Washington is removing the stigma for all us Huskies out there with a little more meat on our bones. In a non-fat-joke related comment: may God have mercy on the souls of Oregon State, the Huskies’ next opponent.
Doug: Washington State’s undressing of Stanford. I had (as hard as it is to admit now) Stanford as a playoff team but they’ve really fallen apart in the last two weeks Washington State has improved under Leach but has Stanford really fallen that far in such a short time?
Game you’re most excited to watch this week.
Taylor: Hoping Ole Miss and Arkansas replicate last year’s barnburner. Weakened defenses and amazing offenses usually are pretty fun.
Brian: Hey, so Notre Dame is in real trouble of not reaching bowl eligibility. Luckily they play a depleted Stanford team, without their Heisman caliber running back (who hasn’t done all that much this year anyway), and is a team that just hasn’t looked that good at all. This game will be awful and terrible and horrific and I’m very excited to watch two typically proud programs play in what is a hilariously meaningless game.
Derek: Ohio State vs. Wisconsin. I think this is where Wisconsin’s dream start comes crashing down, but I’m excited most for this game since this week’s slate is pretty light.
Chris: Dr. Loomis VS Michael Myers. Hear me out: AMC’s Fearfest is back. Last night alone I watched approximately 25 tripping-over-themselves-for-no-apparent-reason 18-year old girls get attacked. While you could argue that those numbers are child’s play for Donald Trump, you can’t argue that the Loomis/Myers matchup should be one to keep an eye on. Also: Wisconsin VS Urban’s Outfitters.
Doug: Nebraska/Indiana. Total homer call but all we’ve seen this week is how a resurgent Indiana team is going to wipe the floor with the Huskers defensively and their high-powered offense will give the Blackshirts fits. There are really not stats to justify any of it so I’m curious to see which Nebraska team, and which Indiana team, show up.
Your playoff as of right now and why.
Taylor: 1. Ohio State 2. Michigan 3. Clemson 4. Alabama
Only change from last week is that Clemson grabbed a quality win and hopped Alabama. Washington is still hovering around in the 5-6 range but will have to wait for one of these to stumble.
Brian: 1. Alabama 2. Ohio State/Michigan 3. Clemson 4. Washington
Just missed: Ohio State/Michigan, TAMU, Louisville
Hello Aggies! A&M looked pretty good against Tennessee despite almost giving the game away, and they actually have the tools necessary to maybe beat ‘Bama. That won’t happen, but it’s fun to imagine things. Speaking of the Tide, they’re in the number one spot because they won’t get jumped unless they lose, and they won’t. Ohio State and Michigan are still dancing with each other until one of them loses or they finally get around to playing each other. Clemson gets in over Louisville just because with Washington laying waste to everything in their path, two teams from a conference won’t get in. Unless Washington screws up in, let’s say, the Apple Cup. That’d be very fun for non-Husky fans.
Derek: 1. Clemson 2. Ohio State 3. Washington 4 Alabama
Clemson has the best win of the year so far (Louisville), Ohio State has looked consistently good all season, Washington is straight up obliterating teams, and Alabama is improving each week out.
Chris: 1) Alabama 2) Ohio State 3) Michigan 4) Clemson
Watch out for Texas A&M who have been climbing in my eyes. I still don’t know exactly what to make of Michigan but thankfully Ohio State should help me sort that out at some point.
Doug: 1. Alabama 2. Ohio State 3. Clemson 4. Washington