The college football season is in full swing, but the regular season has only just begun. Teams that are on a hot streak or struggling might be impacted by their upcoming opponents for this coming weekend’s matchup.,
Week 11 of the college football season is one where there are a number of major matchups that will be critical, and we’ve seen some very interesting results already. Here’s how Oklahoma State, Michigan and Wake Forest could benefit from Week 11 volatility.
There are just two weeks left in the 2021 regular season, and all we know is that Georgia looks fantastic. Beyond that, practically everything seemed to be disputed, and Week 11 was especially excellent at demonstrating how erroneous many of our assumptions had been.
Sure, there were some absolutely amusing coincidences. Florida came within two points of defeating Alabama six weeks ago, and on Saturday, the Gators surrendered 52 points to an FCS school. Texas enjoyed a huge lead over Oklahoma at halftime a month ago, and on Saturday, it suffered its most humiliating defeat of the season, a 57-56 setback at home to lowly Kansas.
The primary takeaway from Saturday’s celebrations will be the point-and-laugh reaction to watching two of college football’s blue bloods vomit on their own shoes.
Florida and Texas, on the other hand, were never going to make the College Football Playoff. The most essential takeaway from Week 11 is that the teams still in contention have shown they deserve a lot more time than we’ve previously given them.
Oklahoma’s playoff chances were severely harmed by a 27-14 defeat to Baylor, but the Big 12’s top story should be about rival Oklahoma State. Mike Gundy had gotten by entire season on the strength of his defense, but Saturday was the whole package. TCU was restricted to just 242 yards on Saturday after exploding for 562 yards in a victory against Baylor the week before. Meanwhile, on the night when Oklahoma State retired Barry Sanders’ jersey, the offense ran for 295 yards. On defense, it was all business, and on attack, it was a coming-out party — or, in Gundy’s words, a mullet of a game.
With a 59-31 victory against giant-killer Purdue, Ohio State finally produced a genuinely dominating effort against a talented team, but it shouldn’t obscure another gutsy win for Michigan in the Big Ten. The Wolverines’ 21-17 victory against Penn State was eerily similar to virtually everything else they’ve done this season: nasty, tough, and weirdly exhilarating, and it was anchored, once again, by the conference’s two most powerful defensive forces. Yes, Ohio State is a legitimate contender for a playoff spot, but this is the year that Michigan has a genuine chance to finally beat the big, bad Buckeyes. Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo (five combined sacks versus Penn State) are the ultimate equalizers against an Ohio State offensive line that has struggled for the most of the season.
Alabama triumphed once again. The Tide were 50-point favorites against New Mexico State, which usually means a victory isn’t significant. However, after seeing Florida and Texas, we should be wary about taking anything for granted. Even then, the squad that the Tide beat in last year’s College Football Playoff quarterfinal was even more spectacular on Saturday. In a 28-3 victory against high-flying Virginia, Notre Dame’s defense gave up practically nothing and the run game looked crisp once again, putting up 249 yards. The Irish are 9-1 and seem to be capable — not merely “helping to raise Cincinnati’s profile” capable. With just dreadful Georgia Tech and Stanford remaining, an 11-1 record seems all but certain, and if enough turmoil occurs around them, the Irish have a legitimate chance to return to the playoffs.
The Bearcats’ 17-point victory against USF on Friday provided the ideal middle ground in the “they don’t belong” storyline. It was impressive enough to deflect additional criticism, but not excellent enough to win over any of their detractors. But what if this season’s Cinderella tale was about Wake Forest? The Deacons’ playoff prospects looked to be over after last week’s loss to North Carolina, but they beat No. 16 NC State 45-42 on Saturday to take a big stride toward clinching the ACC Atlantic. Wake Forest faces Clemson, and the team has a good chance of finishing 12-1 and winning the Power 5 conference. Is it good enough to get you into the playoffs? Because of Oklahoma’s defeat, the Big Ten, Pac-12, and Big 12 champions will not be much better.
Oklahoma State and Michigan, as well as Notre Dame and Wake Forest, would be firmly planted as the “teams no one wants to face in the first round” if the playoff had already expanded — skilled, hungry, and peaking at the appropriate moment.
Of course, only four invitations will be sent out before the end of the year. After Georgia’s defense excelled in its toughest test yet, Oregon survived another game against Washington State, and Alabama and Ohio State all glided to comfortable victories, they’ll remain the most plausible contenders, with Cincinnati lurking in the wings. Oklahoma, for example, still has a chance. When all, after Caleb Williams replaced Spencer Rattler late in Saturday’s game, the committee will want to view the Sooners with fresh eyes, as is customary.
However, after Saturday’s latest round of mayhem (or near-chaos), it’s important recalling that there’s a big difference between what we anticipate and what really happens. It’s a road that the Irish, Wolverines, Deacons, and Cowboys may take and end up in a position that none of us could have predicted just a few weeks ago.
Chalk, rock, and horns down
It’s virtually difficult to completely appreciate Texas’ humiliating 57-56 defeat to Kansas on Saturday, but we’ll do our best.
First, let’s get the fundamentals out of the way.
Since 2016, Kansas has won the same amount of games versus Texas (2) as it has against the rest of the Big 12 combined.
Since George W. Bush was president, Kansas has not won on the road in Big 12 play. In conference play, the Jayhawks had lost 56 consecutive genuine road games, but Saturday was different.
Texas has now dropped five consecutive games for the first time since 1956.
Kansas had scored 48 points or more against Texas for the second time in three years. The Jayhawks had only achieved that milestone three times in the previous decade.
In this game, Kansas was a 31-point underdog. The Jayhawks are 0-100 in games when the opponent is favored by at least 24 points since the FBS/FCS split in 1978.