Week nine of the college football season brought with it a little more clarity regarding the contenders for this years College Football Playoff. We also saw a little more weeding out of some of the pretenders. Let’s take a look back at what went down.
This Buckeye team keeps rolling right along. The Wisconsin defense tried to keep the Badgers in this game, and for awhile did just that. However, this Wisconsin team is like so many before it. Strong defense, one dimensional offense, and without the caliber of athletes across the board that it takes to keep up with the elite teams consistently. The high powered Buckeye offense managed just 10 first half points, but as the 3rd quarter moved along, Wisconsin just couldn’t hold up. Star RB Jonathan Taylor was held to just 52 yards on 20 carries and the Badgers totaled just 191 yards of offense. This Ohio State team is good. Really good.
LSU added another big win to the nations best resume as they knocked off Auburn at home 23-20. The Tigers struggled against that Auburn defense early, trailing 13-10 late in the 3rd, before finally starting to wear them down with two scoring drives late. Joe Burrow was once again on target, finishing 32-42 for 327 yards with a TD and an INT. They added another 187 yards on the ground, with Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushing for 136 yards on 26 carries. All in all another good win for LSU, but if Auburn had any kind of offense, this one could have turned out different.
The Tigers scored on every offensive possession of the first half, jumping out to a 38-7 lead at the break. By the time it was over, Clemson had won 59-7 in what was a dominating effort from beginning to end. The offense was humming, and Trevor Lawrence was dialed in, turning in by far his best game of the season thus far. Dabo Swinney and his Tigers gave the rest of the nation a clear reminder that they are still the defending champs and have every intent on staying that way.
The Panthers came into their matchup with Miami winners of four straight and with a chance to pull even with Virginia at the top of the Coastal. Instead they turned it over three times in the games first 16 minutes, as they fell to Miami 16-12. The loss all but ends any shot at repeating as champs in the Coastal, as they will need some serious help now if they are to win it again. This is the Coastal though, so never say never.
The Sooners saw their playoff hopes take a huge hit on Saturday. After falling behind to Kansas State 48-23 late, they attempted a furious 4th quarter comeback that fell short, as they failed to recover a late onside kick after the ball inadvertently went off an Oklahoma players leg about a half a yard shy of the ten yard mark. The loss doesn’t eliminate the Sooners by any stretch but they have no more margin for error, and depending on how things play out, could need help. That leaves Baylor as the lone unbeaten in the Big 12. Who saw that coming?
Looking for their first win in Ann Arbor since 2005, the Irish got smoked by Michigan 45-14 in a driving rainstorm. The Wolverine defense completely took the running game away, as the Irish had just 47 yards on 31 carries. To make matters worse, Ian Book was a disaster, finishing just 8-25 for 73 yards. The Notre Dame defense was no better. After all that praise after their close loss to Georgia, they went out and allowed Michigan to run it down their throats, to the tune of 303 yards. Woleverines QB Shea Patterson only attempted 12 passes, hitting on 6 for 100 yards and 2 TDs. This is a Michigan offense that has struggled mightily all season, and they ran over, around, and through Notre Dame all night long. The Irish knew it was coming, and still couldn’t stop it.