A Look Around The Country

Upset Saturday shakes up the Playoff Race

Welcome back to my weekly column, A Look Around the Country. I’m highlighting notable games from the previous week, the week ahead and of course, the Heisman and Playoff race. Special features include an in-depth look at the Ohio State and a Michigan update, mainly for folks to bask in their misfortunes. Feel free to comment with your opinions, I hope you enjoy!

Notable Games Last Week

Washington 17, USC 12

The Trojans have now dropped out of the Top 25 after losing to Washington by five. Head Coach, Steve Sarkisian was given a leave of absence by USC AD Pat Haden on Sunday morning following the team’s loss. There are huge problems in Troy and we hope the best for Sark.

Texas 24 Oklahoma 17

Charlie Strong was able to get his biggest victory at Texas by shocking the Sooners and the nation in the Red River Rivalry. Oklahoma has seemingly taken themselves out of the playoff race as they still have to face Baylor and TCU. There seems to be a little Texas Fight left in the Longhorns.

Michigan 38, Northwestern 0

Ok. It can’t be ignored anymore. Michigan is absolutely for real as they pitched their third straight shutout over ranked Northwestern. Harbaugh has this team clicking on all cylinders with perhaps the only exception to that being QB Jake Rudock. Pat Fitzgerald just seems to never be able to get over the hump in these marquee games.

Utah 30, California 24

Some late night Pac 12 action was a little closer than I thought, but the Utes were able to escape with a victory. Utah is the clear favorite out west and they have themselves positioned for a playoff berth as they control their own destiny. They don’t have a terribly tough schedule left, so their chances of reaching the playoff are high.

Big Games this Week

UCLA at Stanford

After dropping an early one to Northwestern, Stanford has been able to string a few wins together which has contributed to their rise in the rankings. Following their game with UCLA, they’ll have smooth sailing until their last game of the year vs Notre Dame. They have a strong chance to make the Pac 12 Championship by representing the North Division. UCLA also likely controls their own destiny as well as their only tough matchup remaining will be against Utah in late November.

Thursday, October 15 at 10:30pm on ESPN

Iowa at Northwestern

Another big time Big Ten West matchup happens this weekend, this time in Evanston. The Wildcats were destroyed by Michigan but have a chance to redeem themselves against undefeated Iowa. The West Division is still wide open with Iowa currently leading the pack as the most likely team to head to Indianapolis.

Saturday, October 17 at Noon on ESPN 2

Alabama at Texas A&M

Most people would have never guessed how hyped these games would be when the Aggies came into the SEC, but it has quickly turned into one of the better rivalries down south. Kyle Field will be rocking when the Saban train comes into College Station but I don’t think they’ll be loud for long. Alabama feeds off being disrespected and dismissed (just like the Buckeyes) so I would expect an ugly game.

Saturday, October 17 at 3:30pm on CBS

Michigan State at Michigan

Harbaugh vs Dantonio I is about to be a banger in Ann Arbor. College Gameday will be in town for this Big Ten East showdown that should more than entertain us Buckeye fans as were waiting for our game to start. These are two great football teams and I think it comes down who makes the least amount of mistakes. The Wolverine defense will pester Connor Cook all day and they’ll get the W. Michigan fans are going to be unbearable to deal with now.

Saturday, October 17 at 3:30pm on ESPN

Florida at LSU

Both the Gators and Tigers are undefeated headed into this one which is the highlight of a loaded SEC schedule this week. Florida has been a surprise this season and frankly so has LSU even though their expectations weren’t as low as Florida’s. But the difference in this game will be Tiger Stadium. Plain and simple. Oh and that Leonard Fournette guy too.

Saturday, October 17 at 8pm on ESPN

Penn State at Ohio State

A great day of football caps off in a darker than usual Ohio Stadium as the Buckeyes will take the field with black uniforms for the first time in program history. We all remember Ohio State’s escape last year in Happy Valley in double overtime but are hoping we don’t have to sit through another pressure cooker again this year. The Buckeye offense was much more efficient against Maryland, especially when inserting J.T. Barrett in red zone situations. But Penn State always seems to be a tough out, so except a closer than usual game.

Saturday, October 17 at 8pm on ABC

Michigan Update

See my analysis above on their win over Northwestern and upcoming game with Michigan State
Heisman Watch

1. Leonard Fournette, LSU

2. Trevone Boykin, TCU

3. Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State

4. Seth Russell, Baylor

5. Derrick Henry, Alabama

My Playoff if the Season Ended Today

*Editor’s Note: This will be a volatile poll every week based on performance in the past week and resume to date, very similar to the Playoff Committee.

1. Ohio State (beat Maryland, plays Penn State)

2. Baylor (beat Kansas, plays West Virginia)

3. Michigan State (beat Rutgers, plays Michigan)

4. LSU (beat South Carolina, plays Florida)

Just Missed the Cut

5. Utah (beat Cal, plays Arizona State)

6. TCU (beat Kansas State, plays Iowa State)

7. Clemson (beat Georgia Tech, plays Boston College)

8. Alabama (beat Arkansas, plays Texas A&M)

9. Florida State (beat Miami, plays Louisville)

10. Michigan (beat Northwestern, plays Michigan State)

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