Two teams salvaged their hopes with close call victories. There weren't any outstanding upsets, but the action was piping hot. Who won the week and who watched their season go up in flames?
Other Losers: Ohio State in the first half, West Virginia in the other quarters, Nebraska
College Football Playoff Four:
CFP director Bill Hancock made a proclamation recently that the UCF Knights could make the College Football Playoff this season. Last season, UCF went undefeated last season, even going as far as beating SEC powerhouse Auburn as a part of their current 16-game winning streak, the longest in the nation. In fact, UCF ranked No. 1 in the Colley Matrix rankings, which was a part of the formula used to rank teams in the now-defunct Bowl Championship Series.
The problem for Central Florida is that they don't play any ranked teams (at least so far). The only teams that have the potential to be ranked are Cincinnati and South Florida. UCF will get the benefit of winning their conference championship if they run the table. However, having that victory over one ranked opponent will give an immense boost to their case.
Could UCF make it in this year's College Football Playoff? Certainly. Having a conference championship and an undefeated record will help UCF's case quite a bit, especially if teams like Oklahoma and Georgia fall out of favor. However, these teams are also heavily weighted in the rankings, giving them an advantage over the Knights. Therefore, what should happen is that the College Football Playoff should expand.
The set-up would be the champion from each Power Five conference, the highest-ranked Group of Five team, and two at-large bids. The seedings would be based on the final rankings and the games would be contested at all six sites of the current College Football Semifinal rotation. Yes, there would be one or more games played in a barbaric sport. However, this would give teams like UCF and Boise State a chance to showcase how talented they really are.
Another benefit would be that conferences such as the Pac-12 and the Big 12 would get proper representation. Both conferences were left out of the playoffs twice and didn't get the representation in the playoff that they needed. If eight teams were in the playoff, every Power Five conference would have a representative. Another benefit would be more money for the sponsors of the bowl games. The NCAA would generate more money from having more playoff games (not to mention more quality advertising), while businesses such as Northwestern Mutual and Capital One would generate more revenue just for putting their name out there.
An eight-team playoff is the solution to all the madness about a Group of Five school making the College Football Playoff. Thank goodness Central Florida is this good, too. Their stellar play is bringing about a discussion to further expand the game for the betterment of college football.
We are a couple weeks away from the advent of the new NHL season. You know about Connor, Sidney, Ovechkin, Stamkos, and Auston. But are you keeping tabs on these teams heading into the first week of the NHL season?
Sunday's 26-10 loss to the Detroit Lions is seen as a low point for the New England Patriots this season. The Patriots played so bad that they allowed Kerryon Johnson to rush for 101 yards, making him the first Lions running back to run for 100+ yards since Reggie Bush on Thanksgiving of 2013. This is the same Lions team that got embarrassed by the New York Jets on the first Monday Night Football game of the season. New England's lowly performance raises a big question: Are the Pats done?
In that Sunday Night game against the Lions, the Patriots were 2-9 on third down and had only 12 first downs compared to Detroit having 25. Tom Brady, the leader of this Patriots team, was only 14 for 26 with 133 passing yards, a touchdown, and an interception. However, Brady hasn't been the problem: No. 12 has thrown for six touchdowns, only two interceptions and a rating of 93.9.
The problem with the Patriots has been already mentioned in the blog: third downs. On the season, New England has only converted 10 third downs, leaving them tied for 28th in the NFL. New England's ground game could stand to improve to make these third down situations more bearable: the Pats rank 20th in total rushing yards (293). Overall, New England's offense is in shambles, with the pass game not clicking (26th in the NFL in passing yards with 607) and the running game barely existing. The loss of Julian Edelman stings quite a bit, for Tom Brady won't have the slot receiver that he goes to. It'll mainly be Rob Gronkowski, which will lead to teams putting an emphasis on him defensively.
Can the Pats rebound and make their return to the Super Bowl? Fortunately, they play in the AFC East, with the paltry Jets and Buffalo Bills. The Miami Dolphins are 3-0, but they've played an easy schedule so far. Their next three games will be against teams that either made the playoffs last season or are currently above .500 (that includes the Patriots). New England hasn't played their division yet, which will give the Patriots a chance to figure things out. The Patriots have a chance to make up for lost ground, but Pat fans should be concerned about their team's future going forward if this becomes a regular occurrence.
Some upsets were found here and there, while some teams dodged a bullet. Which teams made it out alive?
Other Losers: Virginia Tech, Colorado State, Rutgers
College Football Playoff Four:
We finally head to the division with a powerful three-headed monster in the Atlantic Division. Who will emerge as the top dog from this gossamer regime?
Next stop: The Metropolitan Division, home to the last three Stanley Cup champions! With this loaded division feeling loaded once again, can they produce a champion for a fourth straight year?
There's only a couple weeks left in MLB's regular season. Where does your team stack up heading down the stretch?
Notre Dame has gotten plenty of love in the college football playoff discussion. The fact that they've played so many ranked teams last season garners them such love into next season (aside from the fact that they have a good team this year). However, the Fighting Irish have been cutting it close in every game this season, hurting their chances. Notre Dame doesn't play in a conference, either, which will hurt their chances further.
There is another independent that deserves some talk in the playoff conversation: BYU. Fresh off a monumental upset in Madison against #6 Wisconsin, Kilani Sitake's squad already has their marquee win. In two weeks, they can obtain another marquee road win against a Washington squad that hasn't been firing on all cylinders offensively. Imagine that: Having not one, but two big road wins against teams that were/are in the Top Ten.
The Cougars do have one loss: a 21-18 defeat at the hands of California. As long as California doesn't head south in a hurry, the Cougars shouldn't have their resume hurt too much by the defeat. However, this does leave BYU with little room for error the rest of the way. Also consider that the Pac-12 and the Big Ten are once again in danger of missing the playoff this year. This leaves an opening for the fourth and final playoff spot. As for the Huskies game in two weeks, that Washington game could make or break them. If they lose, their playoff hopes are done. That's not the only problem BYU faces in their quest for a playoff berth.
Like Notre Dame, BYU doesn't play in a conference. Therefore, they aren't able to partake in a conference championship, which is something the committee takes into serious consideration (that's what they've said). Between a one-loss SEC school who made the SEC Championship and a one-loss BYU squad who doesn't have that luxury, who would get in? It would probably be the SEC school. BYU's schedule could also be an issue, as Washington is the only team currently ranked that they'll face. Games against Utah, Hawaii, and Boise State should help them should they win those games. However, it may not be enough to get them considered over that one-loss SEC team.
Still, road wins over Wisconsin and Washington would put the Cougars on the map and rightfully so. BYU would have something that not many schools can claim on their playoff resumes. I'm here to campaign for BYU to be considered for a playoff spot until they fall out of the picture.
We got a major upset this week! Who pulled off some magic and who came crashing down to earth?
Other Losers: Hurricane Florence, Arizona State's luck, Notre Dame letting Vanderbilt back into the game
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