November is here. This is the month when the college football season really starts to heat up. Big rivalry games are coming up soon, starting this week with #14 Ohio State heading to East Lansing to take on #8 Michigan State. That matchup will most likely determine the winner of a weak Big 10 Conference. There is also a huge matchup in the Big12 on Saturday, when the #6 TCU Horned Frogs clash with the #7 Kansas State Wildcats. The winner of that matchup adds a huge conference win to their resume and figures to contend for one of the four playoff spots. Let’s check and see who those four teams are at the moment.
#1 Mississippi State Bulldogs
The Bulldogs struggled early in the game this past Saturday versus a tough Arkansas team, but eventually got it on track. The biggest issue that the Bulldogs have may very well be the health of their star quarterback, Dak Prescott. If he isn’t healthy enough to continue playing at a high level, this Mississippi State team does not look like the #1 team in the country. But until they lose, they’re locked in at the top of the list.
I still don’t think that Jimbo Fisher’s team can hang with the heavy hitters in the SEC West, but they continue to win games after trailing at halftime. That’s a product of good coaching and leadership. They struggled to contain the Louisville offense last Thursday, and Jameis Winston made several terrible decisions that resulted in turnovers, but they managed to make it out of the stadium with the win.
The offensive-minded Auburn Tigers went to battle against a tough Ole Miss team that prides itself on defense, and the matchup proved to be worth the hype. Auburn came out of The Grove victorious and essentially eliminated the Rebels from playoff contention (but crazier things have happened). However, the Rebels biggest loss may end up being the horrific injury to wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, whose leg was mangled late in the game. Auburn’s offense is firing on all cylinders right now, but their weakness is obviously on the defensive side of the ball. The Tigers need to find a way to have something resembling a pass rush and they need to find it fast.
#4 Oregon Ducks
At this point in the season, I agree with the committee that the Ducks are deserving of the final spot, but they are not locked into this spot. If #5 Alabama wins out, there will be controversy. If #6 TCU wins out, the committee may choose to go in that direction as well. However, this column strictly looks at the rankings at this time. We’ll cross that bridge if we get to it. The Ducks are led by star quarterback and Heisman hopeful Marcus Mariota, and the offense is as on point as ever. Oregon is #4 now, but they still need a lot of help to finish the season here. The SEC probably has to enter a chaotic state of multiple one and two loss teams, but like I mentioned earlier, who the hell knows what’s going to happen.
REACTIONS TO CFB PLAYOFF COMMITTEE RANKINGS
I agree with the committee in most aspects this week. #10 Notre Dame should be ranked as low as they are, even though they only have one loss (to #2 Florida State). They haven’t beaten a team in the top 25 yet this season (although they did beat Stanford when they were ranked ninth.) The toughest matchup remaining on their schedule is this week when they travel to take on the #9 Arizona State Sun Devils. If they come out victorious, then they should move up a few spots, but they need a lot of help.
I touched on #6 TCU earlier, and I believe that if they win out, the committee will see them as deserving of one of the top four spots. Their matchup with #7 Kansas State is going to be exciting and has massive implications for both the Horned Frogs and the Wildcats.