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National Review: Playoff Shake-Ups

Rusty Ryan looks at the week that was and what it means for the playoffs.

Scott Halleran

State of Mississippi Continues to Surge

Ole Miss and Mississippi State are playing as the two best teams in the country.  Once conference nuisances, the college football playoff now runs through the state of Mississippi.

Mississippi State beat Auburn 38-23 and is now the top-ranked team for the first time in school history.  They exploded to a 21-0 lead before letting Auburn back into the game in the second quarter.  It wasn't until the fourth quarter that Mississippi State really put the game away.

Dak Prescott should have the pole position for the Heisman after his 18/34, 246 passing yards, 121 rushing yards, and 3 total touchdowns.  He's been huge in every big game the Bulldogs have played.

Ole Miss beat Texas A&M 35-20 in College Station.  They got a 21-point lead with two rushing touchdowns by Bo Wallace and a pick six.  The Rebels had two turnovers returned for touchdowns, which helps when they were outgained 455-338.

Bo Wallace has played spectacular in their big wins.  He went 13/19 for 178 yards through the air while adding another 50 on the ground and 3 total touchdowns.  In the past Wallace was guaranteed for a couple bad decisions a game but has changed that this year.

Race Between Michigan and Florida to see Which Coach is Removed First

Somehow the Wolverines put together an 18-13 win over Penn State with only 64 rushing yards, which is the opposite of what we expect from a Michigan man.  I didn't address it the week it happened but Brady Hoke leaving the injured quarterback in and the defense of the athletic director raise red flags.  Even though there needs to be a change at head coach the Michigan faithful might need to get rid of the athletic director first.  So it begs the question: can Michigan really look for a head coach and an athletic director at the same time?  Would a coach want to go to a school where he knows the athletic director is on the way out?

LSU needed some hattery to beat Florida 30-27.  The Tigers benefited from three turnovers.  Florida has plummeted since Will Muschamp took over the program, and if you follow EDSBS at all (and you should), you know that many want Muschamp out.  I think there are benefits in the coaching search by moving first but it sends the wrong message to the team.  It's a real catch-22.

Baylor Does What Baylor Does and Wins With Points

TCU led 58-37 with 11 minutes to go and allowed 24 straight points to the Baylor Bears in a crushing 61-58 loss.  The Bears outgained the Horned Frogs 510-346 but 3 turnovers kept it interesting.

Bryce Petty struggled early before pulling it together to finish 28/55 for 510 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions.  Running back Shock Linwood had 29 carries for 198 yards as the headlining rushing attack.

Baylor is now the favorite to go undefeated and win the Big-12.  At this point I'd be surprised if they didn't win the conference and make the playoffs.

Things Turning Around at Texas?

Charlie Strong has had his bumps in his first year as Longhorn head coach.  Against Oklahoma, Texas showed that they have grit and determination that they've been lacking for a few years.

Texas outgained Oklahoma 482-232 but was outdone by special teams and a turnover.  Oklahoma didn't rebound well from TCU and now I wonder if they'll apart like they did last year.

Florida State Matches up with Notre Dame this Week

Neither Florida State nor Notre Dame has passed the eye test of what we consider to be national championship level football.  However, they continue to remain unbeaten, which is really all that matters.

Florida State wasn't bothered by Jameis Winston's report of a disciplinary hearing when they went through Syracuse in a 38-20 win.  Notre Dame struggled against North Carolina and trailed late before winning 50-43.

Both teams are unbeaten but one of these teams will get a loss.  Florida State would be able to bounce back from a loss.  I don't think that Notre Dame will make the playoffs if they lose this game.

Playoff Picture

Mississippi State v. Florida State

Ole Miss v. Baylor