Dawgs’ bite leaves lasting impression
1Georgia is a legitimate playoff contender. As statements go, this one was impressive as Jake Fromm passed for a touchdown and tailback D’Andre Swift ran for another score as the Bulldogs outlasted Notre Dame in a showdown with College Football Playoff semifinal implications on the line.
2If there is such a thing as a quality loss, Notre Dame suffered it. Brian Kelly and the Irish put up a fight during a 23-17 loss to Georgia and it could still pay off for the team this season. The playoff selection committee has shown in the past quality losses can sometimes outweigh average wins.
3Don’t look now, but Auburn is 4-0. The Tigers are off to their best start since 2014 thanks, in part, to the play of true freshman quarterback Bo Nix, who helped lead the team to wins over ranked foes in Oregon and Texas A&M. With a remaining schedule that is the toughest in the SEC, Auburn could be the wild card in league-title race if it can survive upcoming games against Florida, LSU, Georgia and Alabama.
4Wisconsin is the second-best team in the Big Ten. The Badgers feature a suffocating defense, outscoring teams 145-14, including a 35-14 win over Michigan on Saturday. Badgers running back Jonathan Taylor leads the Big Ten in rushing yards per game (147) and rushing touchdowns (7) after running over the Wolverines for 203 yards and two touchdowns.
5Michigan back to searching for answers. Michigan fell to 1-9 vs. top 10 teams under Jim Harbaugh after the Wolverines were manhandled by Wisconsin. Offensive ineptitude coupled with carelessness with the football have hurt the Wolverines’ Big Ten title hopes.
6Oregon and Cal stand out in Pac-12. It was another difficult weekend for the Pac-12, which saw three ranked teams falter, including previously undefeated Utah, Washington State and Arizona State. While Cal remains the only undefeated team in the league, Oregon has a strong enough remaining schedule to make a better case for a spot in the playoff semifinals.
7‘Pitt Special’ sets UCF back in playoff hunt. It took a Pittsburgh reverse pass to the quarterback in the end zone during the final minute to hand UCF its first regular-season loss since November 2016. The Knights find themselves in the unfamiliar spot of playing catch up in the race for a spot in a New Year’s Six Access Bowl after dropping behind undefeated Boise State in the top-25 polls released Sunday.
8Tua Tagovailoa, Joe Burrow making Heisman cases. For the second consecutive week, Tagovailoa threw five touchdown passes in an easy romp by Alabama while Burrow threw for six TDs in LSU’s rout of Vanderbilt. The quarterbacks have thrown 17 touchdowns apiece this season, setting the table for a spectacular showdown when their teams meet in November.
9Washington State and UCLA played the numbers game. Perhaps the most entertaining game of the weekend saw UCLA rally from a 32-point second-half deficit to topple Washington State 67-63. The teams combined for more than 1,300 yards and the Bruins prevailed despite allowing Cougars quarterback Anthony Gordon to throw a school-record nine touchdowns during the loss.
10Florida State survives despite itself. The Seminoles once again jumped out to a double-digit halftime lead, this time against Louisville, only to see it dissipate in the second half. But Willie Taggart’s team managed to make the plays when it counted Saturday and held on to win despite losing several key contributors to injury, including starting quarterback James Blackman.
Bo Nix has led Auburn to wins over ranked foes Oregon and Texas A&M.