With Florida State being on their bye week, it gave me an opportunity
to observe other ACC games, as well as those in the other Power 5 conferences.
Although I primarily cover Florida State and am a member of the ACC media group, I am embedded in the heart of the SEC. I do, however, study and observe the national scene through my own interest and as a member of the FWAA.
After this past week-ends games is there a clear path as to who will make the final 4? In my opinion, I sat not quite yet.
How many teams were thought to be in the top tier and were considered to be in the hunt for the final 4? What has happened to several of those teams? Whether it be Notre Dame, Florida State, Michigan State, USC or several others. That is why too much hype is put on teams, just because of who they are and what they have done in the past! What about the traditional power teams like Michigan State (2-5) and a 5 game losing streak for the 1st time since 1991 when they started 0-5. We can also say Notre Dame at 2-5 and what about Oregon at 2-5. These 3 teams were pre-season top 25 and they will have an extremely difficult time qualifying for a bowl. With their remaining schedules, it will almost be impossible, especially for Michigan State that still must face #2 Michigan and #6 Ohio State in East Lansing. They will finish the season at Penn State.
My game coverage will resume this weekend in Tallahassee with the prime-time game between #3 Clemson and the 12th ranked Seminoles. (AP) This, as most know, was touted as the ACC game of the year prior to the start of the season!
While this game may not carry the same significance as it did in the pre-season, it may very well take part in shaping the post-season participants!
A Florida State win will put Clemson even with Louisville in the Atlantic Division. If both of those teams win out then Clemson will be in Orlando facing the Coastal Division champion. If Clemson were to lose the ACC Championship game, would 11-1 Louisville be invited to the dance? I’m sure that would depend on who is left standing. Baylor and West Virginia are the only 2 teams left in the Big 12 that are unbeaten.
In the Big 10 you have 2 unbeaten teams, Michigan and Nebraska. Michigan still plays at Michigan State (don’t worry about States record as this is always a battle), at Iowa and of course the big match-up in Columbus to end the regular season. Nebraska plays at Ohio State, at Wisconsin, and at Iowa.
Moving to the SEC Alabama is in the driver’s seat. They have the November 5 matchup at LSU and finish the regular season at home against a resurgent Auburn team. Texas A&M is really the only other strong team, in my estimation, that only has 1 loss. They do have to face Ole Miss in College Station and travel to Baton Rouge. Florida is also sitting with 1 loss but they go on the road to Arkansas, LSU and Florida State.
Finally, we finish with the Pac 12. The preseason had Stanford at #8 (now 4-3 overall and 2-3 in the conference), Washington at 14, which is #4 and the only unbeaten @ 7-0, UCLA at 16, 3-5 overall and 1-4, USC at 20. The Trojans sit at 4-3 overall with a 3-2 conference record. Oregon, mentioned above was pre-season # 24.
The leader in the Pac-12 South is Utah with a 7-1 overall and 4-1 in the conference. Washington and in-state rival Washington State both sport 4-0 conference records. They, of course, meet in their annual rivalry game at Washington State. If Washington wins out they should be a legitimate national title threat as they still play at Utah, at Cal, USC and Arizona State in Seattle and of course the final at State.
So to sum it up, there is still a lot of college football to be played and as I previously stated: “anything can happen”! That’s what makes this sport so interesting.