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: Washington’s decisive victory over Stanford. The Cardinal had injury troubles and faced a tough road outing, but I don’t think anyone anticipated the beating they took from the Huskies. The Huskies have now passed multiple tests and after an offseason enduring our jeers, finally look the part.
Brian Hall: Hey, so Clemson/Louisville was everything everyone wanted it to be! Lamar Jackson looked awesome, Deshaun Watson looked equally impressive despite a couple of weird turnovers, and the Clemson defense managed to dominate, and then kind of bend quite a bit, before doing just enough to win the game at the end. I’m very into the idea of these teams both making the playoff, if only because the ACC’s divisions mean they can’t meet again for the conference championship, and a rematch on a neutral site is something that definitely should happen, considering that home field advantage may have actually had an impact toward Clemson winning on Saturday.
Derek Hernandez: How Wisconsin’s “big” wins have been diminished.
After seeing Sparty go down against the Hoosiers (!) and LSU finally pull the trigger on firing Les Miles, we all have to wonder just how impressive those wins were for the Badgers.
Wisconsin performed valiantly in their Tables, Ladders and Chairs match against Michigan, but ultimately failed. Can they spring the upset against Ohio State in their next game? I have my doubts.
Chris Hatch: Washington is for real? Or is it, Washington is for real! Either way, Chris Petersen has somehow gotten the Washington Huskies to meet the hype and, potentially exceed it this year; a feat I thought he had a fat-zero chance of accomplishing in spite of his football acumen. That beatdown on Stanford, which in turn allowed us to see less of their proto-douche band (*Author’s note: prayer hand emojis) was very impressive, and the way they bottled up Christian McCaffrey was too.
Doug Palmer: Clemson/Louisville was an outstanding football game. The way it ended was bizarre and I really think Clemson being at home was the difference. Lamar Jackson is everything he was advertised to be and he’s going to be a force for the next couple of years. I don’t know if I trust Clemson not to trip up and, well, “Clemson” but they looked like a playoff team again.
Game you’re overreacting to the most from last week.
Taylor: Fine, I’ll admit it: Nebraska’s 31-16 victory over Illinois. While my team’s 5-0 record and no. 12 ranking is a blast and there are reasons to believe in this team, I have to acknowledge that the Cornhuskers still Ain’t Played Nobody. They have a bye week and outings with Indiana (nope not worried at all nope) and Purdue to tighten up the screws before a very important road trip to Wisconsin.
Derek: Washington vs. Stanford.
I’m all aboard the Huskies bandwagon. When was the last time we saw Stanford get worked for an entire game?
Chris: Clemson VS Lamar Jackson University. Clemson looked like they hopped into a DeShaun Watson piloted DeLorean created by Doc Dabo and cranked that mofo up to 88 MPH. They looked 365 days in the past different. maybe all they needed was a slap in the face. Also, I wouldn’t have a problem with Louisville being in the playoff if they win out. Have a good time at LSU next year, Bobby Petrino.
Doug: Washington/Stanford. I thought Stanford was the best team in the PAC12 and even had them in my playoff but Washington just smoked them. Chris Peterson really has something going in Washington right now.
Game you’re most excited to watch this week.
Taylor: Colorado visiting USC. The Buffaloes’ slow build under Mike MacIntyre is finally coming around. The Buffs are 4-1, ranked for the first time since 2005, and currently in sole possession of the top slot in the Pac-12 South. Even with USC diminished, they’re still insanely talented (new Trojan quarterback Sam Darnold looks fantastic) and hard to beat in the Coliseum. To do so would obviously be a huge step forward for Colorado.
Brian: FSU at Miami. Who would’ve thought that by week six, the Miami Hurricanes would have more to play for than Jimbo’s ‘Noles? The ‘Canes are in the AP top 10 for the first time since 2013, and Mark Richt has a really athletic team playing at an awfully high level. Meanwhile Florida State is 0-2 in ACC play, and have looked really spotty thus far this season. There was bound to be some dropoff eventually after all the success the ‘Noles have had the last few seasons, but starting the season 3-3 was not something anyone saw coming. Also, the last time Miami was in the top 10, they lost three-straight games to topple out of the rankings. The first loss? FSU.
Derek: LSU vs. Florida because of one thing…actually one letter. O. Coach O.
Chris: Red. River. Shootout? Showdown? Sh_____whateveryouwannacallit____! Fun, un-talked-about tidbit that I’m sure they won’t mention during their broadcast: did you know that they fry lots of weird shit at the Texas State Fair?
Doug: Oklahoma v Texas. I’m still a Big 12 guy deep down and I want to see this one. There are a lot of storylines heading into this one, none of them good. The losing coach might just lose his job before the end of the season.
Your playoff as of right now and why.
Taylor: A bit shaken up from the last few weeks! If the season ended today:
1. Ohio State – the Buckeyes take over the top spot after yet another dominant victory. No one outside of Ann Arbor looks remotely capable of slowing them down, and speaking of which:
2. Michigan – enters the field with a win over Wisconsin, and that Colorado win looks better and better each week. They likely enter The Game 11-0.
3. Alabama – doing what we thought Florida State would do: letting a young quarterback occasionally pitch in to help a dominant defense. Back-to-back dates with Tennessee and Texas A&M loom.
4. Clemson – finally enters the field. Deshaun Watson emerged from his offseason cocoon to outduel Lamar Jackson, the scariest opponent in college football.
Just missed: Washington, who after whallopping Stanford looks ready to go undefeated, assuming they can get past Cal-I mean Oregon. (http://ftw.usatoday.com/2016/10/oregon-to-wear-webfoot-1916-throwback-uniforms-against-washington)
Brian: 1. Alabama 2. Ohio State/Michigan 3. Louisville 4. Clemson
Just Missed: Washington, Ohio State/Michigan, Houston
I’ll also put two teams from one conference in the playoff, however I’m looking at the ACC. Louisville lost on the road by one score to one of the best teams in the country. Unless Ohio State and Michigan do that, and I really don’t think they will, Louisville deserves this spot. Better yet, Lamar Jackson will make it very hard to just ignore the Cardinals during the low points of their schedule, and a win over an undefeated Houston would cement the Cardinals resume as well. Alabama is a great team in a weaker than usual SEC, so they’re automatic at this point. The PAC12 is just too weird this year to comfortably pick the Huskies to go undefeated and make the playoff, even if they dismantled Stanford with minimal effort.
Derek: 1. Clemson 2. Ohio State 3. Alabama 4. Washington
With their win against the Fighting Lamar Jacksons, Clemson now has the best win of the season. Ohio State has looked like the most complete team in the best conference in football (yeah, I said it), Bama is starting to put it all together, and Washington just obliterated battle-tested and highly-ranked Stanford.
Chris: 1) Alabama 2) Ohio State 3) Clemson 4) Washington
Doug: 1) Alabama, here until they lose. 2) Ohio State, I think they’re going to win the Big Ten. 3) Clemson, best in the ACC and a big win over Louisville. 4) Washington, I like them to keep rolling in the PAC12.