Now we’re cooking with drama.
The third week of College Football Playoff rankings were released last night and (Oprah singing voice) DRAMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! After the first weekend since the 1985 season in which the #2, #3 and #4 teams all lost, it was bound to be nuts.
The real surprise was that both Michigan and Ohio State remained in the top 4 at the expense of Louisville. Still, with those two facing off a week from this weekend and only one being a Big Ten Championship attendee since both are in the B1G East, there’s reason to think Louisville still is in the mix assuming they win out.
The big factor for the 2017 NFL Draft in terms of the playoff rankings isn’t just the top four, though. It’s also for who makes the New Year Six, the six major bowls of which four aren’t included in the playoffs. In SB Nation’s current bowl projections, those other four games would give us Boise St. v. Penn St. in the Cotton Bowl, Ohio St. v. USC in the Rose Bowl, Oklahoma v. LSU in the Sugar Bowl and Florida St. v. Wisconsin in the Orange Bowl.
That’s premium scouting.
Before we get too ahead of ourselves with those projections, here are some draft-related stuff I’m looking forward to in Week 12 of the college season.
Does Michigan State offer any resistance to #2 Ohio State?
Normally, this game would constitute top-tier late-season football. Not so much in 2016 with the Spartans struggling big time in 2016. They ended a seven-game losing streak (!) last week against hapless Rutgers, but tOSU is obviously going to be a hell of a lot more to handle.
Things will look much different if MSU gets DT Malik McDowell back after missing last week with an ankle injury. McDowell could be a top 10 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, and it certainly would’ve been nice to get the tape of him going up against OSU’s interior line.
Beyond McDowell, MSU is pretty thin on immediate draftable talent. TE Josiah Price is a late option. S Montae Nicholson will fit most teams’ systems. ILB Riley Bullough is limited physically, but he should get drafted. S Demetrious Cox was probably my favorite prospect of the group, but he’s been REALLY exposed this year.
Still...we’re coming off of a weekend in which #2 Clemson lost to Pitt at home, #3 Michigan lost to Iowa (IOWA) and #4 Washington sunk at home to #20 USC. So don’t tell me this isn’t possible (it’s really probably not possible, is it).
#23 Florida and #16 LSU are playing and it is going to be very sloppy and full of NFL talent.
Look, I’m not saying you should watch this game. There are going to be many players who are confused and many plays that look confused and really, this is a game that is built on confusion (and pain, but mostly confusion). But it’s confused while being infused with NFL talent, and that’s good! Plus, this game was cancelled and then re-organized with a dash of SEC stupidity seasoning and that’s always good. And Coach O!
Florida has lost Marcus Maye to a broken arm, but they’re still stacked on defense. CB Teez/Jalen Tabor is a 1st round-caliber corner. OLB Jarrad Davis might go on Day 1. Defensive linemen Bryan Cox, Jr., and Caleb Brantley are going to play on Sundays. And on offense...well, they have one!
LSU is what LSU always is. Tons of talent everywhere except at quarterback thrown into one big football pot and just stirred around until what comes out is some kind of unidentifiable football gumbo that manages to play down to their opponent...well, until Coach O. In the four games not against Bama since Ed Oregeron took over, LSU has won by 35, 34, 17 and 28 with a goddamn Purdue transfer at QB. And that Bama game? That’s some Jeff Fisher fantasy if ever there was some at the college level.
In any case, this is the kind of game that you can totally justify not watching but needing to cite next February and March.
Connecticut at Boston College
Washington State is ranked #22. Colorado is ranked #10. The year is 2016.
Who needs drugs?
I mean, I’ll watch this. But I won’t admit it exists. I won’t acknowledge that these are two top-25 teams. Denial is a worthwhile lifestyle sometimes, and this is one of those times.
Texas at Kansas YOU CAN DO IT ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK NOW IS YOUR TIME
#9 Oklahoma at #14 West Virginia is pretty much the Purge but football
You can get away with every football sin for 60 minutes.
And look. I’m biased. I’ll admit that. But damnit if WVU HC Dana Holgorsen isn’t finally putting a program together in his sixth year. There are legit reasons to be skeptical that he’ll be able to sustain this beyond 2016, chiefly that HE GONE.
Sure, it’s a pipe dream to have him run the Rams’ offense. Jeff Fisher is as NFL as they come and Dana Holgorsen’s brand of football is entirely anathema to that version of the NFL, but whatever. Let me breathe.
#13 USC at UCLA, the You Still Have Other Football Options Besides The Rams In LA Bowl
YOU ARE OFFICIALLY HEREBY ORDERED TO WATCH THIS NOW THAT THE RAMS HAVE RE-LOCATED TO LA FAILURE TO DO SO WILL RESULT IN A FINE LEVIED AGAINST FUTURE EARNINGS
Also, the fact that we aren’t getting Sam Darnold vs. Josh Rosen in the same week as Jared Goff making his NFL debut is unfair to humanity. Then again, if we had gotten that, it might have cause LA football to implode on itself.
Glad we will survive.