Who’s No. 1? For abundant of the 2017 academy football season, the acknowledgment was never in doubt. But as we arch into appointment championship weekend, the academy football polls—and the Academy Football Playoff—have been befuddled into ataxia afterwards a agrarian weekend of animosity games.
No. 6 Auburn showed why it has been the nation’s best bigger aggregation from Labor Day to Thanksgiving with a ascendant win over No. 1 Alabama. No. 2 Miami fell on its face adjoin a 4-7 Pittsburgh team. And as a result, alone two unbeatens—Central Florida and Wisconsin—remain in the Football Basin Subdivision. How will this affect the playoff picture? Should we apprehend added anarchy afore the acreage of four is set?
This week, we had a assertive aggregation from the Buckeye State abide peaking at the appropriate time, a 10-win aggregation that you charge to pay absorption to, and affirmation as to why this division could be like the agrarian 2007 campaign.
All of the aloft helped appearance our Bleacher Report Top 25 for Anniversary 14. Academy football writers Matt Hayes, David Kenyon, Adam Kramer, Kerry Miller, Brad Shepard and Greg Wallace anniversary submitted ballots in which a first-place vote counts for 25 points, a second-place one is account 24, and so on.
Here’s our adapted poll. Who’s rising? Who’s falling? Booty a look:
Also accepting votes: South Florida, Boise State, Oregon, Fresno State, NC State
Who’s Hot: Ohio State Buckeyes
Three weeks ago, Ohio State’s Academy Football Playoff hopes were on activity support. A abstract 55-24 accident to offensively challenged Iowa (which followed the accomplishment with 13 abhorrent credibility in losses to Wisconsin and Purdue) pushed the Buckeyes to the bend of the playoff picture. But as it prepares for a Big Ten appellation d angle with Wisconsin, OSU is durably aback in altercation for one of four coveted spots.
The Buckeyes (10-2) connected their advance with a 31-20 animosity improvement win over Michigan, their sixth afterwards win over their absinthian rivals. Urban Meyer additionally bigger to 6-0 adjoin the Wolverines as Ohio State’s arch coach. He did so admitting brilliant quarterback J.T. Barrett abrogation the d due to a knee abrasion that was aggravated aback a cameraman ran into him on the sidelines during pregame warmups, which affronted Meyer, per USA Today’s Scott Gleeson.
Ohio State trailed 20-14 aback Barrett (who completed aloof three of eight passes for 30 yards and a touchdown) exited the game, but advancement Dwayne Haskins was sharp, commutual six of seven passes for 94 yards and allowance the Buckeyes outscore Michigan 17-0 the blow of the way. Haskins’ 22-yard run in the third division set up OSU’s ambitious touchdown, and the Bucks never looked back.
Meyer was affronted afterward, vowing an investigation, but the bigger adventure is how OSU has persevered over the aftermost month. The aggregation is 3-0 aback the Iowa accident and, acknowledgment to some abrasion advanced of it, could calmly accomplish the playoff with a win over best Wisconsin. It’s hardly a done deal, but the Buckeyes are arena their best aback it affairs most.
Who’s Not: Miami Hurricanes
Miami entered Friday’s d at Pitt in optimal position to hunt a Academy Football Playoff berth. The Hurricanes were 10-0 and one of four actual FBS unbeatens. They additionally had decidedly bigger their resume with a brace of no-doubt wins over Virginia Tech and Notre Dame, with aing week’s ACC Championship Bold adjoin Clemson looming as a playoff play-in.
All they had to do was handle an backward Pitt aggregation that had abject a 4-7 almanac into the game. Instead, it was a austere Black Friday at Heinz Field. The ‘Canes’ season-long trend of arena bottomward to their action (with attenuated wins over Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Syracuse and a second-half improvement win over Virginia) came aback to abode them in a 24-14 accident to the Panthers. The Hurricanes managed aloof one touchdown in the aboriginal 58 account and looked absolutely asleep offensively.
Miami was outgained 345-232, and quarterback Malik Rosier completed aloof 15 of 34 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns. He was alike briefly benched in the fourth division for advancement Evan Shirreffs. Ten years afterwards a 4-7 Pitt aggregation kept West Virginia out of the BCS Civic Championship Bold with a 13-9 upset, the Panthers threw addition above bend into the civic appellation picture.
Mark Richt’s aggregation isn’t alone from playoff altercation by any admeasurement and could still accomplish the acreage with a win over Clemson. But the Hurricanes went from bang douse to ambiguous with a bad day in Pittsburgh.
Keep an Eye on: San Diego State Aztecs
Thanks to a 27-3 accident to Fresno State, San Diego State absent the Mountain West appellation d and accomplished its approved division at 10-2. But no amount area the Aztecs wind up in the postseason, you should accomplish a point to seek them out. Chances are, they’re the best 10-win aggregation you haven’t watched this season; they were No. 25 in the B/R poll aftermost anniversary but relegated to “receiving votes” in the Associated Press poll.
SDSU’s nonconference agenda included wins over bowl-eligible Pac-12 teams in Arizona State and Stanford as able-bodied as MAC academy Northern Illinois, which has eight wins this season. The Aztecs accept conceivably academy football’s best tailback in chief Rashaad Penny, who gouged New Mexico for 203 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-10 win. Penny is academy football’s arch rusher with 2,027 yards and 19 touchdowns and was inexplicably snubbed as a finalist for the Doak Walker Award, accustomed to the game’s top active back.
Penny and Donnel Pumphrey fabricated SDSU the aboriginal affairs with two altered 2,000-yard rushers in afterwards seasons, an absorbing feat.
Coach Rocky Long has agilely congenital a juggernaut in San Diego, with a 32-8 almanac over the accomplished three seasons. A basin win would accord the Aztecs their third afterwards 11-win season. While the Mountain West’s TV arrangement has relegated them to the binding of best cable TV packages, you should be advantageous attention.
Fun Fact: Is 2007-like Academy Football Anarchy On Tap?
Ten years ago, we accomplished one of the best capricious academy football seasons in history. Anarchy was the accessible word, starting on the aperture weekend aback FCS aggregation Appalachian State won at Michigan. Seven No. 2 teams were agitated in the final nine weeks of the approved season, including Pitt’s achievement over West Virginia, which kept the Mountaineers out of the BCS Championship Game.
Instead, the two-loss LSU Tigers were launched into the appellation d and took advantage with a championship win over Ohio State.
A decade later, we could be in for a ogously airy catastrophe to the season. Afterwards the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in this week’s Academy Football Playoff Top 25 (Alabama and Miami) fell this weekend, alone one Power Five best (Wisconsin) remains. Meanwhile, we accept a brace of two-loss teams (Auburn and Ohio State) arena in alliance appellation amateur with accepted paths to the playoff.
If Auburn, beginning off handing Georgia and Alabama their alone losses, handles the Bulldogs again, it’ll be all but absurd to accumulate the SEC best out of the playoff. Ohio State can accomplish a agnate case by assault the Badgers in the Big Ten appellation game. Predicting this season’s playoff acreage has a ton of variables with one anniversary left, but apperceive this: It’s activity to be blood-tingling to watch unfold.
Game To Watch: Auburn Tigers vs. Georgia Bulldogs in SEC Championship Game
Auburn-Georgia is one of the nation’s oldest and best acrimonious rivalries. And it’s additionally one of its best competitive. Over 121 meetings, it has been as ogously akin as you could imagine, with Georgia captivation a 57-56-8 lead. But we’ve acceptable never had one as allusive as the affair that will booty abode Saturday in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
For the aboriginal time, Auburn and Georgia will accommodated in the SEC Championship Game, and the acceptable award-winning is a anchorage in the Academy Football Playoff. It’ll be alluring watching this antagonism unfold. The Tigers concluded the Bulldogs’ best division aloof two weeks ago with an absolute 40-17 beating in Jordan-Hare Stadium, outgaining UGA 488-230 while assertive in the trenches.
Georgia bounced aback with routs of Kentucky and Georgia Tech, while Auburn accepted it was accepted with a 26-14 appraisal of best No. 1 Alabama in the Iron Bowl. However, repeating the accomplishment could be tough. Auburn relies heavily on its arena game, but Kamryn Pettway has absent the aftermost four amateur with a accept injury, and top rusher Kerryon Johnson (who has four afterwards 100-yard amateur and over 1,200 yards on the season) larboard the Iron Basin with an credible accept injury.
Georgia has one of the nation’s top backfield duos in seniors Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, who accept accumulated for over 2,000 yards rushing. And you’d bigger accept the Bulldogs will be acquisitive for animus with a playoff anchorage on the line. The SEC appellation d will affection its aboriginal Top 10 antagonism aback 2013, and it’ll be must-see TV.
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