Georgia, Alabama, Notre Dame, and Clemson all won last weekend, holding onto their spots atop the college football rankings, while Oklahoma remains on the outside looking in, followed by TCU, Miami and Wisconsin. All but one of these top teams (Clemson) faces a ranked opponent, setting the stage for a possible weekend of chaos.
Top-ranked Georgia faces #10 Auburn, #2 ‘Bama takes on #16 Mississippi State, #3 ND plays #7 Miami, #5 Oklahoma visits #6 TCU, and #8 Wisconsin plays host to #20 Iowa. As you can see, the potential for the rankings to go pear-shaped is high. But one game stands out as having the most in the balance, both for the rankings and the Heisman race.
#5 Oklahoma vs #6 TCU – 8pm ET Saturday on FOX
If any of the top four stumble this week, the winner of this game will presumably be poised to slide into that vacancy. These two teams offer an interesting match up with the unslinging Mayfield leading the third-highest scoring offense in the country against the TCU secondary, which has allowed the fourth-lowest completion percentage at just 49.1%.
The Other Biggest Matchup
#3 Notre Dame vs #7 Miami – 8pm ET Saturday on ABC/ESPN3
The Fighting Irish’s lone loss was by one point to Georgia, and since then they’ve won seven games straight, including wins over #11 USC and #14 North Carolina State. They feature one of the best ground games in the country, led by Josh Adams (1,191 yards, 9 TD, 137 carries), as they average 324 yards and four touchdowns a game. This could mean a long day for Miami, who play outstanding defense against the pass, but are vulnerable on the ground.
Last week, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield vaulted past Penn State’s Saquon Barkley in ESPN’s Heisman Watch with a game for the ages: a 62-52 win over Oklahoma State. Despite throwing two interceptions, Mayfield completed 24 of 36 for 598 yards and five touchdowns of 49, 7, 84, 43, and 77 yards, while rushing for a sixth. Mayfield is now the odds-on favorite to take home the Heisman, but he still has two big tests remaining. First, he’ll face TCU and then West Virginia in week 12. Barkley saw his stock plummet to number three last week with just 114 all-purpose yards on 14 carries, three receptions and a pair of kick returns in a loss to Michigan State.
But with Penn State having fallen all the way to #14 and with zero title hopes, maybe they’ll shift the offense into Heisman-for-Barkley mode – doubtful, but maybe. Sandwiched in between them is Stanford’s Bryce Love, who’s coming off his worst game of the season as he carried 16 times for 69 yards in a loss to Washington State. Nonetheless, Love is third in rushing yardage with 1,456, is second with 9.6 yards per carry, and 13th with 12 rushing touchdowns.
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