An instantaneous survey of five teams in the best position for the College Football Playoff's four spots at this very moment, plus the biggest threats looming for each. Be advised: these have nothing to do with the Top 25 polls. If you get mad about this, you will be pointed to the previous sentence.
Everyone is bad and no one can play football. Just look at Oregon, going to play 1-2 Wazzu in Pullman in what should have been a walk-through against a hapless defense. Oregon had no clue how to defend Wazzu, let the Cougars do some damage against the Ducks' still wobbly offensive line, and took a 38-31 loss in coming away with the win. No, that last sentence is right. Shut up.
The point being: Oregon looked very bad and still won, and still resembles the kind of team that miiiiiiight have some trouble when blocking large, aggressive, and mean-spirited defensive lines. Is this suggesting that Stanford still might be the well-camouflaged speed hump that obliterates the Ducks' front end when they fly over it at 70 miles per hour roaring down a residential street? This is exactly what we're suggesting here.
Threats: Well, you know what they say: "Once you've barely beaten a 1-2 Wazzu team, the world is your oyster."
No one has ever said this before, and the primary threat to Oregon is still Stanford on November 1. The Ducks do play Arizona next, a team capable of anything after scoring 36 points in a quarter and winning by a hail mary. That happened against Cal, mind you, but it still definitely happened.
If there are any qualifiers to add to an otherwise dominant 42-21 performance against Florida, it would be these:
- Alabama turned the ball over four times, the only thing keeping Florida in this game for any sustained length of time. Against a team with an offense, this might be a problem.
- All those passing yards came against Florida defenders playing with live bees nesting in their helmets. More than a few of them came on massive coverage busts no employable coach would allow to happen.
- Florida is a damn shambles. That really can't be said enough here.
Otherwise, Lane Kiffin appears to be channeling his 2005 genius directly and consistently to his new digs in Tuscaloosa, Blake Sims is playing brilliantly, Amari Cooper might be the best wide receiver in the country, Derrick Henry is earning his nickname, "Tractorcito," on every carry, and Landon Collins is emerging as the secondary's best playmaker. They don't have a pass rush, but it's really better to just let Jeff Driskel do your work for you, anyway. They're SO in at this point.
Threats: Texas A&M, which conveniently gets to play the Tide after Alabama gets a thorough meat-tenderizing at the hands of run-giddy Arkansas. Auburn, because it is Auburn and this is Alabama.
A value-free 58-6 win over SMU proves nothing we didn't already know about the Aggies: show them a free steak, and they will devour it in seconds.
Threats: Big, thumpy Arkansas this coming weekend. The Razorbacks' motto for this year: "You may win, but you'll be really, really sore."
Down the road, the Aggies have got Alabama, Auburn, and the suddenly menacing Mississippi State.
Took the Tigers to extra time and won thanks to Clemson's inability to get a single yard on fourth-and-1, so that's something positive for a team playing without its starting quarterback. The margin isn't comfortable, but if the criticism of Florida State was that the supporting players weren't pulling weight in weeks one and two, well, that is no longer a concern, particularly on defense. One troubling counterpoint: this all happened against a Clemson team clearly in rebuild mode and bent on literally handing Florida State the ball at the end of the game.
Threats: October 18th, when Notre Dame comes to Tallahassee, and the following week at Louisville. Does Boston College seem like something Florida State could totally overlook at the end of the season? Boston College, even after beating USC, seems like something you could totally overlook.
It's not fair or necessarily accurate, but it's fun anyway to look at what Alabama did against West Virginia at a neutral site, then look at OU's punch-for-punch finale against WVU in Morgantown in a 45-33 victory, then think about both the Tide and the Sooners still being pretty reminiscent of last year's teams.
Sooners fans may be concerned about the amount of yardage given up. But realize that West Virginia is one of the best teams in the nation on offense, and that you were on the road playing in the haunted reaches of Milan Puskar Stadium. (This is literal: it's totally haunted, and if you don't believe us, then go there and feel the ghostly chill for yourself.)
Threats: Baylor on November 8 and Oklahoma State on December 6.
BUBBLE TEAMS THAT WISELY DECIDED NOT TO PLAY FOOTBALL THIS WEEK
UCLA, Baylor, Notre Dame, Arizona State.
UNDEFEATED TEAMS THAT BOMBED SPECTACULARLY OUT OF TITLE CONTENTION WITH DISPLAYS OF BREATHTAKING INCOMPETENCE
MISSOURI WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING LOSING TO INDIANA
ONCE-PROMISING PLAYOFF TEAMS THAT EVEN SORCERY COULD NOT SAVE
LSU, losing to Mississippi State at home despite a trademark last-minute flurry of points and hail mary attempt.
TEAMS WE JUST THINK WE ALL NEED TO MENTION EVEN THOUGH IT SEEMS JUST AS WEIRD TO YOU AS IT DOES TO US
Mississippis, both State and Ole? It's weird, but undefeated is still undefeated at this point.
Auburn, who won a tough game against Bill Snyder and the best and most cunning football tactics of 1960.
BYU, just lurking out there in the dark with a smile and probably some delicious Jell-O.
Nebraska's 4-0, because we hope math means as little to you as it sometimes means to us.