Week seven in college football saw a big shake-up in the polls as top-25 teams across the board fall on Saturday. Here’s what we learned this past weekend:
Michigan Is For Real
Finally, it appears as though Michigan has put it all together. Since his arrival in Ann Arbor in 2015, the knock on Jim Harbaugh has been that he has great defenses, but lacks in quarterback play and can’t win the big games. However, Harbaugh put those criticisms to bed after a 38-13 thrashing of Wisconsin on Saturday. The Wolverines rushed for 320 yards, but the story of the night was their defense.
The Maize and Blue limited Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook greatly. Hornibrook had a touchdown pass, but two interceptions, including a pick six, and went 7-of-20 on pass attempts, finishing with a QBR of 0.7. The schedule doesn’t get any easier for Michigan, as the Wolverines travel to rival Michigan State next Saturday before their bye week and then a home game against Penn State. But for now, it looks like Michigan has put the pieces together to finally make a playoff run.
The Big 12 Is In Big Trouble
West Virginia cracked the top six and looked to be in prime playoff position before losing to unranked Iowa State on the road.
Now, the Big 12 Conference could see itself left out of the playoff if it continues to see in-fighting among teams. Texas and Oklahoma are ranked at seven and nine, respectively, and the Mountaineers dropped to No. 13. They are the only three Big 12 teams in the AP Top 25. The conference championship pits the top-two teams against each other, so if it wants to send a team to the playoff, there’s a narrow path. West Virginia, Texas, and Oklahoma all have one loss, and the Mountaineers will face both the Sooners and the Longhorns soon. One team will need to go unscathed because a two-loss champion has yet to make the CFP.
The Pac-12’s Playoff Hopes Are Gone
Oregon upset seventh ranked Washington at home in a game for the ages. Suddenly, the Ducks are now the highest-ranked Pac-12 team at No. 12 in the AP poll. The North division is the class of the conference with the Ducks, Huskies, and the Stanford Cardinal being the leaders of the conference. But it appears as though the Pac-12 could miss the playoff again.
Washington now has two losses and the first loss to Auburn doesn’t look as good with the Tigers falling to 4-3 on the season. Oregon has a win over Washington and a loss to Stanford, but the Ducks have just one ranked opponent left on the schedule: Washington State, whom they face next week on the road. Oregon is likely the last hope for the conference, and they’ll need to win out and get some help from other teams.
Georgia Was Ranked Too High
The Georgia Bulldogs rose to No. 2 behind Alabama in the rankings only to get crushed by LSU on Saturday. All season long, I questioned why Georgia was ranked so highly since they hadn’t been truly tested all season. Their non-conference games included Austin Peay and Middle Tennessee State, and their best SEC victory was against South Carolina, who has now dropped three of their last five games.
On Saturday, Georgia looked overrated in Baton Rouge. The Bengal Tigers ran for 275 yards and limited the Bulldogs to just 113. Defense was also a key, as LSU intercepted Jake Fromm twice and recovered two Georgia fumbles while having no turnovers themselves. Now, the Bulldogs have a bye week before facing two extremely important matchups against Florida and Kentucky– two games that could decide the SEC East since the Gators and Wildcats each have just one loss in SEC play.