We’re halfway through the regular season, and the playoff race is heating up.
Here are six things we learned last weekend in college football:
Notre Dame Is Almost A Playoff Lock
After a dominant second half, Notre Dame took down No. 24 Virginia Tech, and now the Fighting Irish head into week seven with great odds to make the playoffs this December. The squad from South Bend just finished with the meat of their schedule with no ranked teams currently left. With wins over three ranked opponents, including Michigan and Stanford, the Irish are likely playoff-bound if they can run the table. Ever since taking over for Brandon Wimbush, quarterback Ian Book has been sensational. Book had 271 yards passing and two touchdowns off 25-35 passing.
Sound The Alarm: TEXAS IS BACK
The college football world has been joking about it for years, but now I think we can finally say with validity that Texas is back. On Saturday, the Longhorns went eye for an eye with their most-hated rival, Oklahoma, and survived a furious comeback by Kyler Murray and the Sooners.
Freshman kicker Cameron Dicker made the game-winning field goal to seal the deal for Tom Herman’s squad, which is now 5-1 overall and 3-0 in Big 12 play heading into its’ week seven matchup with Baylor. The Longhorns aren’t done yet, but they have now gotten past both TCU and Oklahoma, the two teams that met in last year’s title game.
Florida Is Back Too, Maybe?
Florida survived a battle with No. 5 LSU at home where the defense shined. With Tim Tebow in the crowd, Vosean Joseph and Jachai Polite led the way with two sacks apiece and Brad Stewart took an interception off Joe Burrow for a touchdown to seal the game for the Gators. A second interception by Donovan Stiner left no chance for the Bengal Tigers to tie the game.
Now, Florida enters the top-15 ahead of a four-game gauntlet of SEC East teams, including No. 2 Georgia, on Oct. 27. The Gators just used to be known for their defense, but under coach Dan Mullen, Florida look to be on its way back to the upper-echelon of the SEC.
UCF Is A Dark Horse Playoff Contender
UCF is 5-0 and has cracked the top 10 in the AP Poll after LSU, Auburn, and Oklahoma suffered losses. Now, it’s time to talk to your children about the possibility of the Golden Knights defying all odds and making the College Football Playoff.
Last season’s Peach Bowl champions have won all five of their games by double-digits, and will look to continue this roll in AAC play. Their schedule is back-loaded with games against currently-ranked South Florida and Cincinnati concluding the regular season. There may not be enough room for the Golden Knights, but the ACC’s and PAC 12’s only hope looks to be Clemson and Washington, respectively, so a spot could open up for UCF if chips fall into place.
Clemson Will Be Okay
After Kelly Bryant announced his decision to transfer and Trevor Lawrence got hurt, there was a scare for Clemson fans as the 2017 national champions nearly fell to Syracuse for the second year in a row. But the Tigers went to Wake Forest last Saturday and proved they can still get the job done.
Running backs Travis Etienne, Lyn-J Dixon, and Adam Choice all rushed for over 100 yards on 10 carries apiece and combined for six touchdowns in a demolition of the Demon Deacons. Lawrence started anyway, which was a sigh of relief for Tiger fans. And if Clemson truly is back to form, it’ll be at the right time. The Tigers are about to encounter a tough spot in their schedule with NC State coming to town and a road trip to Tallahassee to take on the up-and-down Florida State Seminoles.