In what is sure to be the watercooler topic this week, the College Football Playoff committee on Tuesday moved Ohio State to the top spot over LSU despite both teams being 11-0. LSU remains the #1 team in the country on the AP Top 25 and Coaches Poll.
One possible explanation: While the Tigers beat Arkansas 56-20 last weekend, the Buckeyes defeated a ranked opponent, #9 Penn State 28-17, and faces another this weekend, #11 Michigan. Clinching the Big Ten’s East division and ensuring a spot in the Big Ten championship game gives Ohio State’s victory added weight.
Join in the discussion on our Facebook Page to let us know what you think of the CFP committee’s move.
Clemson (11-0) and Georgia (10-1) come in third and fourth on the AP and College Football Playoff rankings.
On the Kickoff Top 25 this week, we kept LSU in the top spot but agreed that Ohio State should immediately follow, moving Clemson to the #3 spot. Last week we had Alabama in the #4 spot, but we moved Georgia ahead, shifting the Crimson Tide to the #5 position. Beating Western Carolina 66-3 couldn’t contend with the Bulldogs’ 19-13 victory over #24 Texas A&M.
This puts Tide fans in an unfamiliar where they must not only beat #15 Auburn with their backup quarterback but will also be rooting for either Texas A&M, Michigan, South Carolina, or Georgia Tech to win an upset to have any hope of securing one of the top 4 playoff spots. Georgia controls its own destiny with regard to its playoff chances.
With Tua out of the picture with his season-ending injury and the Auburn home crowd fired up to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Iron Bowl coming to Jordan-Hare, Nick Saban and the team may face more pressure to step up than they are accustomed to experiencing. But this team still has enough talent to be lethal if they enter the stadium prepared to play.
A loss to the Tide under these circumstances may put Gus Malzahn squarely in the hot seat with a combined 4-10 record against Georgia and Bama since 2013 — and that Arkansas head coaching job remaining vacant. If Malzahn jumps ship, he would owe Auburn about $7 million, but if fired, Auburn would have to pay him $27 million remaining on his contract. While teams like the 6-5 Tennessee (third place in the SEC East) will be thrilled just to make it to a bowl game, in the brutal SEC West, going 8-4 to finish third behind LSU and Alabama puts a coach at risk of losing his job.
Rutgers and FSU are also looking for quality coaches, with more vacancies sure to happen after Saturday’s games.
Rivalry Week as the 2019 Regular Season comes to a close
It’s rivalry week as we enter the final week of the regular season for most teams. Our Kickoff Games of the Week include Alabama at Auburn, Ohio State at Michigan, and Cincinnati at Memphis.
There were two games played Tuesday night, Ohio vs Akron and WMU vs NIU. Several games are scheduled for Friday as well. Other big rivalries that are always a blast to watch: Texas Tech at Texas, #17 Iowa at Nebraska, Missouri at Arkansas, Washington State at Washington, USF at UCF, #16 Notre Dame at Stanford, Oregon State at Oregon, Northwestern at Illinois, Louisville at Kentucky, FIU at Marshall, and Wake Forest at Syracuse.
In this week’s issue of The Kickoff
In the latest issue, we examine a conference breakdown and show you the math to argue which conference is most dominant. We list Football Bowl Subdivision standings and select Football Championship Series standings, plus News and Notes, the Kickoff Thermostat, a look back to the Kickoff Top 25 on Dec. 1, 1997, the statistically most improved teams of 2019, overall trends through last week, listings of this week’s games with our Power Ratings assigned, Division 1A FBS expanded standings, 2019 average margin of victory leaders, opening over/under odds and our picks, and listings of kickoff times and television schedules for this week, opening consensus odds and our picks, plus more.
After this weekend’s thrilling games, attention will turn to the final bowl picture as teams accept invitations. We still have three new issues remaining before the off-season.
We’ll look back on the 2019 season to review which teams lived up to the hype and which were disappointing.
And the Heisman race and coaching changes will come to the forefront of college football news.
Stay tuned as The Kickoff continues to cover the universe of college football.