SALT LAKE CITY — Phew, what a wild week of college football — and it’s still not technically over as ranked USC will play Washington State late Sunday.
The weekend had six ranked teams fall short of a win. But the most high profile was BYU, who fell short — a yard short — of staying undefeated in a road loss to undefeated Coastal Carolina. The Cougars are no longer in contention for a New Year’s Six bowl game because of a gamble for a higher-profile game.
The decision was right to play the Chanticleers. Unfortunately, the Cougars just missed on the win. That doesn’t take away from their incredible season or the fact that quarterback Zach Wilson orchestrated a near-flawless performance on the final drive of the game — nine times out 10 that’s a winning drive. But when the line as an independent is razor-thin, one loss can make a world of difference.
But give the Chanticleers some credit, too. They didn’t need tricks or gimmicks to unseat the Cougars; it was a good all-around game, and Coastal Carolina came out on top in the end.
Here are a few more thoughts about this week’s games:
College Football Playoff certainly uncertain
Alabama is a sure lock to get into the playoff, barring some crazy turn of events. The Crimson Tide are just on another planet right now, and there’s no stopping them. Is this another Alabama championship season? The odds are heavily in Nick Saban’s favor.
As for the other three spots, it’s a little more nuanced. The Pac-12 and Big 12 have all but conceded the opportunity — although Iowa State is an intriguing team, and I really like what they’re doing on the field — which leaves either the ACC, Big Ten or SEC as one of the conferences to host two teams in the playoff. Cincinnati (and maybe Coastal Carolina) is a dark horse here but not likely given the teams ahead.
Clemson and Notre Dame will likely play again, which means only one will get in from the ACC. Though, a Clemson win could give Notre Dame a shot. The Big Ten is basically Ohio State but could feature Indiana or Northwestern if everything aligns perfectly. Even then, I see no way two teams from the Big Ten get in this season, despite the relative success of Indiana and Northwestern.
And then there’s the SEC, which is likely to claim two spots, in my opinion. The problem is who? Texas A&M and Florida have been playing some great football this season and are both deserving of a spot. I’ve gone back and forth in my ballot on these two teams but have Texas A&M, for the time, with the upper hand. In my eyes, it’s a very subtle difference and a 2A, 2B situation.
Anybody want to win the Pac-12?
Sure, USC is technically in contention for the playoff, but the committee isn’t high on the Trojans. And given the round-robin of craziness in the Pac-12, it’s not hard to see why. Colorado and USC are the only undefeated teams remaining in the conference, but Colorado, surprisingly, looks the most complete. What does that mean? Nothing. Everything. Something?
The North Division, meanwhile, is completely messed up in a messed-up season. So let’s have Colorado and USC play in the title game and let the winner celebrate. But it’ll have no impact on the playoff, or really anything too important as more bowl games get canceled.
After all that, I have USC and Colorado as my remaining Pac-12 teams ranked, and that’s not really saying much at this point.
Dropping Out: Marshall (7-1), Oklahoma State (6-3), Oregon (3-2), Washington (3-1)
Checking In: Liberty (9-1), Nevada (6-1), North Carolina (7-3), San Jose State (5-0)
In Consideration: Boise State (4-1), Buffalo (4-0), Texas (6-3)
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