After several weeks away a lot has changed in the college football landscape. We are now reaching the dog days of the season as the pressure heats up on the contenders. This week was another big one for the College Football Play-off, with a new number one side and a contender falling to an unranked opponent. Let’s look at the ten talking points from the past weekend.
1) LSU Roll Past Auburn
The LSU Tigers are the form team of the 2019 college football season, and claimed yet another landmark victory, this time over ninth ranked Auburn 23-20. This wasn’t a vintage LSU performance, but the win is all the matters as they look ahead to a massive matchup with second ranked Alabama in two weeks time.
Joe Burrow put up 321 yards with a passing and rushing touchdown were enough to propel them to victory. Auburn lead with their defense and they did enough to slow Burrow, but ultimately it wasn’t quite enough as true freshman Bo Nix struggled again.
2) Joe Burrow and LSU Back on Top
LSU led by Joe Burrow are the ultimate redemption story. LSU have been a sleeping giant for a long time now, but have now overtaken Alabama for the top ranking by only two points. Joe Burrow, a transfer from Ohio State, has rocketed from an average quarterback to a national leader and potential first round draft pick.
Both were receiving attention going into the season, but nobody would have predicted they would overcome Texas, Florida and Auburn to be 8-0. They are a very close challenger to Alabama this year, and even if they lose to the Crimson Tide they have a good chance at the College Football Play-off.
3) Michigan Get First Statement Win of 2019
The knock on Michigan in recent years has been a lack of statement wins from the team. Just as the pressure was mounting on head coach Jim Harbaugh they finally silenced some of the doubters with a 45-14 mauling of eighth ranked Notre Dame.
The stats didn’t look good for much maligned QB Shea Patterson, however a massive night for their rushing attack of Hassan Haskins and Zach Charbonnet played big to secure this massive win for the team. After their loss to Wisconsin earlier this season this is a win they can use to propel them through the rest of the year.
4) Notre Dame Will Struggle to Recover
The Fighting Irish went into this game feeling confident, ranked eighth and their only loss being a close defeat to third ranked Georgia. That loss to Georgia doesn’t look quite as good as they have now since lost themselves.
This loss to Michigan might be a bigger hammer-blow to recover from. They now sit at 5-2 and have dropped to 16th in the latest AP Top 25 polls. They have a favourable end to the season, but this was their last chance to secure a big win and put themselves in the College Football Play-off.
5) Oklahoma College Football Play-off Hopes Shattered
The biggest surprise of the weekend, and maybe the season so far was fifth ranked Oklahoma falling to unranked Kansas State 48-41. The Oklahoma offense has been flying all season, but this time they couldn’t do enough to save them after a poor defensive performance.
Kansas State made it very difficult for Oklahoma and exploited their defensive frailties, and this now leaves Oklahoma with a tough task to make the play-off. Five teams are still unbeaten and their one loss doesn’t compare favourably to their rivals. They need to win out now to stand any chance.
6) Chase Young Standout Performer
A lot of the college football media attention surrounding Ohio State has centered on Quarterback Justin Fields, but within NFL circles it’s Defensive End Chase Young they have been talking about. The junior has a good chance of being the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and after this past weekend it’s easy to see why.
Ohio State pummeled 13th ranked Wisconsin 38-7, but the standout of the game was Young, with four sacks. Young now leads the nation with 12 sacks, and has many NFL scouts saying he’s the best Ohio State defensive player to declare in years.
7) Unbeaten Sides Finally Getting Respect
Outside of the top five LSU, Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson and Penn State there’s a number of fellow unbeaten sides who are finally getting some respect. Baylor, Minnesota and SMU sit unbeaten are are now all in the top 15.
Baylor is 7-0 in 12th, Minnesota is 8-0 in 13th and SMU is 8-0 in 15th. For these three schools this is unknown territory in recent seasons, and they will have neutral college football fans rooting for them all season to see how high they can climb the rankings.
8) Ohio State Entrenched in Top Four
After initially being on the outside looking in, Ohio State have looked strong all year and now look to have a good chance at the College Football Play-off. They are currently third in the nation, having profited from Georgia and now Oklahoma both losing games.
Justin Fields has been imperious since transferring from Georgia this season, and this defense is loaded with NFL talent. Back-to back games against Penn State and Michigan to end the year is where we’ll see the true indicator for this team. If they can beat both they will be second ranked and looking very good.
9) Clemson Silences Some Doubters With Win
Clemson have been an enigma so far this season.The defending national champions have struggled at times, but remain unbeaten. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence has struggled this season. This past weekend they finally looked back to their normal level, demolishing Boston College 59-7.
Despite remaining unbeaten they have slipped from first to fourth in the rankings this year. They should win the four remaining games and their superiority in the ACC should make it easier for them to remain in the play-off places.
10) Week Ten AP Top 25 Rankings
The latest AP Top 25 rankings are here, and we have a new number one. After their win over Auburn LSU have now leapfrogged Alabama, by a massive two points. Ohio State are very close behind in third, with Clemson a little further back in fourth.
Penn State rise to fifth as Oklahoma dropped to tenth with their loss. Oregon and Utah are the other big winners, moving into seventh and ninth respectively. Michigan rise to 14th whilst Wisconsin drops to 18th now at 6-2. Kansas State jump into the top 25 in 22nd after their big win, with Memphis and San Diego State the other debutants in the rankings.
That wraps up my latest review of week nine of the college football season, if you have any thoughts on this piece feel free to comment below or find me on Twitter @JWjournalism. Finally, a massive thank you to everyone who read my blog I massively appreciate it!