With just two weeks left in the regular season, the playoff picture is starting to take form. We know who the contenders are, and their paths to one of the four CFP spots. We also know who all of the pretenders are. Yes, we’re looking at you Penn State and Minnesota. As we look back on the happenings of Week 12, there was no shortage of material to work with when deciding who to reward and who to mock this week. And remember, it’s all in good fun.
Most Impressive of the Week Award (Tie)
The Buckeyes made quick work of a downtrodden Rutgers team, beating them 56-21. Justin Fields continued his impressive play with a career high 305 passing yards and he tied a career high with 4 TD passes. Fields has completely proved me wrong thus far. I always thought he was very overrated coming out of high school. There are two teams who appear to be the most complete in the country at the moment, and Ohio State is one. However, we will have a better feel for exactly how good they are over the next two weeks. They still have Penn State and Michigan to play, and far more often than not, the Buckeyes are good for dropping one at the most inopportune time.
The other team that appears to be the most complete? Clemson. Since an ugly first quarter at Louisville back in the seventh game of the season, this Tiger offense has been rolling. Trevor Lawrence hasn’t thrown a pick since that quarter. After the pundits were so obsessed with trying to tell the nation something was wrong with the second year QB, he has now thrown 111 passes without being picked off, the second longest streak in among P5 QBs. Oh, and he has tossed 16 TD passes over that stretch as well. That Clemson defense? Well, it still hasn’t allowed a team to hit the 300 yard mark all season long. I don’t care who’s on the schedule, that is an impressive feat. The pretty effective Wake Forest offense managed just 105.
Pretender of the Week Award
Go ahead, drool all over that high powered offense if you like. Fact is, defense wins championships, and there is no semblance of a defense in Baton Rogue this season. Ole Miss rolled up 614 yards of offense on that big, bad SEC defense, with 402 of that coming on the ground. The Rebels averaged a whopping 9.1 yards per carry. Sure, it’s just one game, but it is becoming a trend with this LSU team. Against P5 opponenets, LSU ranks 82nd in total defense, 76th in YPP allowed, 59th in scoring defense, and 68th in rushing defense. In the CFP era, teams that have allowed 1.35 points per drive or worse are a combined 2-7 in the playoff. LSU is giving up 1.64 points per drive currently. By comparison, Ohio State is giving up 0.73, and Clemson and Georgia are both giving up 0.77.
Fraud of the Week Award
No, the row boat hasn’t sunk yet, but it sure is taking on water at a rapid pace. The Gophers fell behind to Iowa 13-0 in the 1st quarter and could never catch up, losing 23-19. They still haven’t won in Kinnick since 1999. It was only fitting that their undefeated season came to an end in a place where they have struggled so mightily. PJ Fleck’s team have been one of the better stories this season, and we all owe them a debt of gratitude for exposing Penn State for the pretender they are, but this Minnesota team isn’t a playoff caliber team.
Wal Marter of the Week Award
Earlier in the week, new UofSC President Robert Caslen told the press that Muschamp would be his coach, but wouldn’t commit to him remaining beyond this season. Two days later, Muschamp got the dreaded vote of confidence from university AD Ray Tanner when he told the media that Muschamp is his coach and will be going forward. This, just one day after reports came out that Caslen had indeed reached out to FSU about how they handled the massive buyout of Willie Taggert. The next day the Gamecocks went out and got pounded 30-6 in College Station. Afterwards, Muschamp had this to say.
“We’ve had a very rough year here. It’s frustrating. It’s very frustrating for us all. I’ve been a coach that’s been a part of a national championship and multiple conference championships. I plan on taking this program where it hasn’t ever been before. I really plan on doing that.”
Let’s all remember, he’s just one week removed from losing at home to a G5 team 😉.