Saturday, November 8th, was the one Saturday that we all pointed to in the preseason that we knew would define the season and really give us some clarity on the College Football Playoff. We were right about it defining the season but bad wrong on the clarity part. The conference and national standings are still as muddy as ever and we’ve still got a lot of football left to play before we truly know what’s going to happen. Either way, it’s going to be a fun ride for the next couple of weeks. Here are some winners and losers from Week 11:
Ohio State Buckeyes – I don’t think any team in America has won a game that elevated them the way that Saturday’s 49-37 win over 8th ranked Michigan State in East Lansing has. The Buckeye’s coaching staff can’t get enough credit for what they’ve done with a team whose best offensive (quarterback Braxton Miller) & defensive (defensive end Noah Spence) players never saw one minute of action in 2014. It was really easy to write off Ohio State after the inexplicable loss to Virginia Tech and even easier since because of how poorly the Hokies have played since (2-5). The Buckeyes have scored 49 points or more in every game except one since that home loss and Saturday’s 49 points is the most Sparty has allowed a bowl loss to Alabama in 2010. Don’t look now but the Buckeyes are about to make a serious push to at least be in the discussion for the College Football Playoff.
Baylor Bears – News flash, Bears wide receiver Corey Coleman just caught another pass. Just kidding, but in all seriousness he did catch 15 balls for over 200 yards and a touchdown in Baylor’s historic romp of Big 12 royalty Oklahoma. Not only was it a huge victory in terms of the conference standings but Baylor snapped a 37 game road losing streak to AP ranked opponents and got their first win in Norman…ever. The Bears allowed two first quarter touchdowns, then popped the clutch and put on an offensive horsepower display unlike anything Oklahoma has endured under head coach Bob Stoops. The win propels Baylor to the top of the Big 12 leader board and back into the College Football Playoff short list of teams vying for a spot in ‘The Four’.
Minnesota Golden Gophers – Surprisingly enough, there is a lot of Big Ten love in the ‘Winners’ category this week (for now: see below) and some of it will be thrown in the direction of the twin cities where Minnesota is fresh off of a 51-14 woodshed beat down of divisional rival Iowa. Yes, the Floyd of Rosedale (a bronze statue of a pig) is back at the University of Minnesota after a two year stint in the land of the corn. The Gophers were upset by Illinois last week eliminating them from the ranks of the one-loss teams but the big win on Saturday puts them right back into the race for the Big Ten West crown. The Gophers get red hot Ohio State but the expected high of 28 degrees, 70% chance of snow and 21st ranked defense might cool them off at least a little bit.
Big Ten Conference – Yes, the Buckeyes may end up getting some College Football Playoff love but when it comes down to resumes, they just don’t stack up to the other one loss teams around the country. The Big Ten’s best chance of getting a team into the playoff in the first year was for Michigan State to win on Saturday against the Buckeyes and then win out and even then the Spartans would have had a long way to go with only that win over Ohio State on their schedule. Now Michigan State had two losses, one at home to a top 15 team and one on the road to a top 5 team, and Ohio State is carrying the mantle of the conference with one of the worst losses of anyone in the Top 15. The Big Ten needs absolute and utter chaos for a chance to sneak into the playoff.
Oklahoma Sooners – There was so much promise heading into this season for Oklahoma. They were ranked 4th in the AP Poll, returned a quarterback who looked like he had turned the corner in the bowl game last year and a favorable schedule with Kansas State & Baylor both at home. Well, when Baylor toted that 38-10 lead into the 4th quarter all Sooner hopes of the Big 12 title evaporated like a water puddle in the open plains. Oklahoma has played three ranked opponents this season and has lost to all three of them but Saturday’s lopsided loss has to sting a little more than the rest because the Sooners were out of it pretty quickly. Oklahoma most likely will finish the season with 9 wins and a chance at double digit wins in the bowl game but none of that will make the thoughts of what could have been disappear.
Iowa State Cyclones – First off, let’s get something out of the way: Not for one second did I think that Iowa State was going to be any good this season. Okay, now that we’ve gotten that taken care of, that is still no excuse to lose to a 2-6 Kansas Jayhawks team who has already fired their head coach. It’s especially no excuse for losing to that 2-6 Kansas Jayhawks team who has already fired their head coach by 20 points. Well that’s exactly what the ole Cyclones did, they got beat 34-14 by the Kansas Jayhawks who stormed the field and brought down the goalposts after the win. No, I’m not kidding. Not only did they allow Kansas to win a football game (that’s the oblong ball with laces and not the round ball) but the Cyclones allowed the Jayhawks to rack up over 500 yards of offense and rush for over 200 yards. Unforgivable.
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