WaterCooler Talk: Week 10

With week ten of the college football season behind us, I wanted to take a look back and give my hot takes on some of the big stories of the past weekend, my thoughts of the current playoff standings and a quick preview of the exciting week 11 games this upcoming weekend.

Baylor defeated Kansas State last Thursday night 31-24. The big story of the game was the debut of freshman quarterback Jarrett Stidham. Stidham looked impressive replacing the injured Seth Russell completing 23 of 33 passes for 419 yards and three touchdowns. Corey Coleman continued to put up insane stats catching 11 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns. For some reach, Coleman is not garnering enough attention for the Heisman Trophy, but I believe a big performance this weekend versus Oklahoma could catapult him into the discussion.

After being put on top of the initial playoff standings, Clemson did not disappoint, getting a hard fought victory over Florida State 23-13. While the score was close, to late in the game, it never felt like Clemson was in a lot of trouble. Deshaun Watson was effective passing and rushing, as he threw for 297 yards and one touchdown and also rushed for 107 yards. Watson is another guy that could put himself into the Heisman talk as some of the other big names came up short in big games this past weekend. In defeat, Dalvin Cook once again showed that he is a big time talent, and will be one of the top draft eligible running backs in the 2017 draft class. Against Clemson’s elite defense, Cook rushed for 194 yards and one touchdown.

Oklahoma State had the most impressive win of the weekend, defeating TCU 49-29. They dominated this game from start to finish and made a huge statement that they deserve to be considered one of the elite teams in the country and could be a force down the stretch as they try for an undefeated season and a ticket into the playoffs. The stars of the game for Oklahoma State were their quarterback, Mason Rudolph, who threw for 352 yards and five touchdowns and wide receiver James Washington, who had five catches for 184 yards and three touchdowns. Over the last two weeks, Washington has put forth his best Corey Coleman impersonation, as he has just been streaking down the sideline for deep vertical touchdown passes. For TCU, star quarterback and Heisman hopeful, Trevone Boykin, really struggled by throwing four interceptions in the defeat. With a weak out of conference schedule, TCU just saw their playoff aspirations and National Championship hopes end.

After the initial playoff standings were released last week, the team that most people were mentioning when discussing the benefits of expanding to eight teams in the future, was the Memphis Tigers. Memphis came into their game versus Navy undefeated and had a huge win over Ole Miss on their resume, but most assumed that no matter what they did the rest of the year, they had no shot at being in the final four at the end of the year. Well now, all that discussion was a moot point, as Navy steamrolled them 45-20. While Paxton Lynch still threw for over 300 yards for Memphis, it was the worse performance of the year by far for an offense that had been putting up stats and points all seaon. Even with the poor performance, Lynch remains one of the stories of the season. Before the regular season started, most considered him a project, a developmental quarterback to be taken in the mid to late rounds of the NFL draft. Fast forward to today and now he is being mocked in the first round, and even the top 10 in many early mock drafts. When watching him on the field, it is easy to see why NFL teams and scouts may start to fall in love with him. He has the size, arm talent, and athleticism that can translate to the NFL game. In some ways, he reminds me of Ben Roethlisberger, when Roethlisberger came out of Miami of Ohio in the 2004 NFL draft.  

After making a splashy debut last week, Kyler Murray struggled in his second start, as Texas A&M lost to Auburn 26-10. Murray was 13 of 23 for only 105 yards and three interceptions. To add to the poor performance, he also left the game in the second half due to an injury. While the future is bright for Murray, we have to make sure we keep our expectations in check, as many freshman quarterbacks will be inconsistent. For a more thorough breakdown on Murray, make sure to read the previous blog post by our own Matt Caraccio as he did an amazing job breaking down the film of Murray’s first collegiate start two weeks ago.

The other big game of the weekend was Alabama defeating LSU 30-16. The score does not accurately reflect just how much better Alabama was than LSU last Saturday night. The Crimson Tide dominated both sides of the line of scrimmage. Up until this week, Leonard Fournette had looked unstoppable for the Tigers. This week Fournette could not find any running room. Alabama held him to only 31 yards on 19 carries. Without Fournette carrying the offense, LSU struggled to move the football and score many points. On the other side of the ball, Alabama just pushed around the LSU defensive front. Derrick Henry carried the ball 38 times for 210 yards. This performance should push Henry up the charts and into contention for the Heisman Trophy. When watching this game, I came away, thinking Alabama was the best team in the country and if they play like they did this past Saturday, there would not be a team in the country that can defeat them.

Projected Playoff Teams

  1. Clemson
  2. Ohio State
  3. Alabama
  4. Notre Dame

My projected playoff teams above are the four that currently sit atop the standings following week 10. I believe that Clemson, Ohio State and Alabama will not lose the rest of the year, and if not, they are locks to be in the final four. That final spot is where things get tricky. I believe the one scenario where Notre Dame would get jumped, even if they win out, is if Oklahoma State or Baylor go undefeated. If both Oklahoma State and Baylor were to lose a game, then I think the winner of the Notre Dame versus Stanford game, provided they both win out, up until that game, would be a play in game for the fourth and final playoff spot. A few other teams that could put themselves in position for that final playoff spot, would be LSU, Oklahoma, and Florida, but each of them would need a lot to happen, to be considered. The one team that I have not mentioned is Iowa. While they currently sit fifth in the standings, I do not think they will beat Ohio State, so I am not considering them for the final spot. If they were to pull off the major upset and not lose before then, than they would replace Ohio State in the final playoff standings.

Week 11 games to look forward to:

Alabama @ #17 Mississippi State

#21 Memphis @ #24 Houston

Oregon @ #7 Stanford

#12 Oklahoma @ #6 Baylor