Story Poster
Photo by Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Texas A&M Football

Around CFB: Deciphering the believers and deceivers through seven weeks

October 15, 2019

All 130 FBS teams begin the season with dreams of at least getting in the college football playoffs. For some, it’s a realistic dream. For others, it’s a pipe dream. For even more, it’s a crack pipe dream. Those dreams are dashed before October for most teams. That’s because two losses virtually eliminate teams from consideration. And frankly, outside of Notre Dame every team that’s not in a “Power 5’ Conference is eliminated before the first game ever kicks off. Just ask Central Florida.

Therefore, at the halfway point of the season, 19 teams with one or no losses technically fit the criteria as playoff contenders. Some are believable as contenders. Others are deceivers who have gotten off to a strong start by virtue of weak competition, poor officiating or dumb luck.

Hence, here’s a midway breakdown of believers and deceivers.


Alabama (6-0): The schedule is modest, but no one will question the Crimson Tide’s strength.
Clemson (6-0): The Tigers routinely escape an upset bid or two every year, but rarely lose.
Oklahoma (6-0): OU has already knocked off its primary threat in the Big 12.
Ohio State (6-0): A lot of attention is on quarterback Justin Fields, but the defense is nasty.
Wisconsin (6-0): Well, not really sold on the Badgers, but they’ve posted 4 shutouts and have a strong running game behind Jonathan Taylor. That’s been a successful recipe for previous teams.
LSU (6-0): The Tigers already have wins over Texas and Florida. They could take a loss and still be a strong playoff candidate.
Penn State (6-0): Nits haven’t allowed more than 13 points in any game they have beaten arch-rival (Pitt) and a ranked opponent on the road (Iowa).
Florida (5-1): A competitive loss in Baton Rouge won’t be held against the Gators if they finish the rest of the season unbeaten. And based on what’s happened lately in the SEC East that’s a distinct possibility.
Notre Dame (5-1): The Irish offense is mundane, but disappointing Michigan is the best opponent remaining. Georgia's loss to South Carolina hurt, though.


Baylor (6-0): The Bears needed overtime and a horrific official’s call to win at home over Texas Tech.
Minnesota (6-0): C’mon. It’s Minnesota. Gophers’ six opponents are a combined 17-18.
Georgia (5-1): So the Bulldogs lost to South Carolina. They can still reach the playoff if they beat Florida, Missouri, Auburn, Texas A&M, and either Alabama or LSU in the SEC championship game.
Auburn (5-1): A rather anemic offense is not conducive to beating LSU, Georgia, and Alabama. Maybe one, but certainly not all three.
Oregon (5-1): The Ducks might get through the Pac-12 unbeaten. Maybe. But their case for the playoff weakens with every Auburn loss.
Utah (5-1): So, what is the Utes’ big win? BYU? Washington State? Oregon State?
Michigan (5-1): Offense is dreadful and three Top Ten opponents remain on the schedule — two on the road (Penn State and Ohio State).
Missouri (5-1): Losing to Wyoming isn’t automatic elimination from playoff consideration, but it should be.
Arizona State (5-1): Sun Devils lost to Colorado. Woof.
Wake Forest (5-1): Wins over Utah State and Boston College were by a mere 3 points. Then, the Deacons allowed 62 in a loss to Louisville.


(If my ballot was due today)

1, JOE BURROW, LSU, QB: Burrow moves to the top of my list after passing for 293 yards and 3 touchdowns against a good Florida defense in a 42-28 victory. He had as many touchdowns as incompletions. Burrow has accounted for at least 3 TDs in every game. Overall, he’s passed for 2,157 yards and 25 touchdowns with three interceptions. He’s third in the nation in total offense.

2, JALEN HURTS, OKLAHOMA, QB: Hurts passed for 235 yards and 3 touchdowns and ran for 131 yards and a TD in a 34-27 victory over Texas.  However, he also threw an interception and lost a fumble. Overall, Hurts has passed for 1,758 yards and 17 TDs. He also leads the Sooners with 630 rushing yards and 8 rushing TDs. He’s second in the nation in total offense.

Lia Musgrave, TexAgs
Tua Tagovailoa had his way against the A&M defense on Saturday. 

3, TUA TAGOVAILOA, ALABAMA, QB: Tagovailoa passed for 293 yards and 4 touchdowns in a 47-28 victory over Texas A&M. He’s thrown at least 4 TD passes in five of six games.

Tagovailoa has thrown for 2,011 yards and 27 touchdowns and only 1 interception. He is fifth in the nation in total offense.

4, JONATHAN TAYLOR, WISCONSIN, RB: Taylor rushed for 80 yards and scored 2 TDs and caught 3 passes for another 22 yards in a 38-0 shutout of Michigan State. Taylor has rushed for 825 yards and 14 TDs.

5, JUSTIN FIELDS, OHIO STATE, QB: The Buckeyes were open last week. Fields has passed for 1,298 yards and 18 TDs with 1 interception. He also rushed for 283 yards and 8 TDs.

Predicted playoff participants

1, Ohio State: Buckeyes are the only team ranked among the national Top Ten in total offense and total defense.
2, Alabama: Doubt any opponent can slow down Alabama’s passing game.
3, Oklahoma: You know the NCAA would love to match Jalen Hurts against Alabama in the first round of the playoffs. But if OU stumbles just once look for an Alabama-LSU rematch.
4, Clemson: Tigers responded to poor showing against North Carolina by blowing out Florida State. Many more blowouts are sure to follow.

This week’s biggest games

No. 12 Oregon at No. 25 Washington:  An underrated regional rivalry. Oregon cannot afford a loss to remain in the playoff discussion. Washington cannot afford a loss to remain in the Pac-12 North Division race.
No. 17 Arizona State at No. 13 Utah: Could be a de facto Pac-12 South Division championship game.
No. 16 Michigan at No. 7 Penn State: Michigan looks to salvage its fading reputation. Penn State looks to boost its resume.
No. 18 Baylor at Oklahoma State: Bears have remained unbeaten by limiting its opponents in 21 points or less in regulation. That formula will be severely tested by Oklahoma State, which averages almost 40 points per game.
Duke at Virginia: Though North Carolina looms for both, this matchup may determine the winner of the ACC Coastal Division.

Call or text Chad at Covert Ford in Hutto at 512-633-4819 For new Fords, Chevys and over 900 pre-owned vehicles. Thanks and Gig 'em.

Discussion from...

Around CFB: Deciphering the believers and deceivers through seven weeks

4,981 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 3 yr ago by Foxo
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Jalen Hurts dropped out of Heisman hunt on Saturday for me.

Playoff takes:
Ohio State
Outlier not 0U - loses to sips in BDFCG
How long do you want to ignore this user?
I feel deceived.
How long do you want to ignore this user?
"Auburn (5-1): A rather anemic offense is not conducive to beating LSU, Georgia, and Alabama. Maybe one, but certainly not all three."

After the Aggie game, they were the media's darling. How quickly things change.
Page 1 of 1
subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.