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College football, week 9: Ohio State wins the game of the year

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Could the Big Ten get two playoff teams? And who will be the next Florida head coach?

NCAA Football: Penn State at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

How Indiana fared

Maryland 42, Indiana 39

College football is so weird and stupid.

If you were to tell me that Indiana was going to lose by 3 to Maryland before Saturday, I would’ve expected the final score to be somewhere around 20-17. Instead, Both teams combined to put up 81 points in a throwback game to the Kevin Wilson era, as Indiana lost 42-39.

Kyle already recapped this game thoroughly, but I share all of his concerns - this was a very, very bad loss for the Hoosiers. Coming into this one, IU had a top-20 defense, and they were facing a Maryland offense who was on its third QB of the year, a guy named Max Bortenschlager, who sounds more like name of the left winger for Borussia Dortmund. Instead, they got themselves into a shootout, which never, ever, ends well for the Hoosiers, who are now 0-5 in the Big Ten and have to go 3-1 in their final four games to reach a bowl.

Around the B1G

Ohio State 39, Penn State 38

Probably the best game I’ve seen all year - two offenses playing great and defenses coming up with timely plays as well. J.T. Barrett also got to shed some of his big game criticism with a huge second-half performance, and unsurprisingly, the Buckeyes have come all the way around from that abysmal loss to Oklahoma and are in the driver’s seat for the B1G title. As for Penn State, this could be another disappointing 11-1 near-miss of a season (like 2005 and 2008), and they need a lot of help to get into the Playoff now.

Northwestern 39, Michigan State 31 (3OT)

Second straight OT win for Northwestern, who is bizarro Indiana in that they seemingly win every close game that they’re part of.

Nebraska 25, Purdue 24

I don’t know what’s sadder - that Nebraska needed a furious rally in the closing minutes to beat Purdue, or that Purdue blew a two-touchdown lead to a team that is limping to the finish line as its coach finishes out a lame-duck season.

Wisconsin 24, Illinois 10

The only interesting thing about this game was this Piesman-worthy touchdown from Wisconsin OL Michael Deiter.

Michigan 35, Rutger 14
Iowa 17, Minnesota 10

Next!

Elsewhere in College Football

Notre Dame 35, N.C. State 14

Notre Dame is back baby, they’re good again!

The bad thing about NC State most likely playing itself out of playoff contention on Saturday is that now site friend Mark Ennis won’t be eating a live animal.

Iowa State 14, TCU 7

At 6-2 and with wins over Oklahoma and TCU, Iowa State is legitimately good this year! The Cyclones are in the midst of their best season since the Seneca Wallace era, and coach Matt Campbell may be in line for a big payday this offseason.

Georgia 42, Florida 7

We’ll get to the loser of this game shortly, but UGA, in my opinion, has been more impressive than Alabama so far this season. In Kirby Smart’s second season, they’re a legitimate title contender, have two very viable starting quarterbacks, and are great at doing the thing every Georgia fan wants most, which is running the dang ball.

Clemson 24, Georgia Tech 10

Don’t sleep on the Tigers, who are still very much in the thick of things. If they win out and win the ACC title game, it may be hard to exclude them from the Playoff.

Coach who got fired after getting blown out by his team’s rival

Jim McElwain, Florida

That escalated quickly. Less than 24 hours after the blowout loss to Georgia, Jim McElwain was fired from Florida despite winning the SEC East for two straight years. I’ll let Spencer Hall give McElwain a post-mortem, but I’m more interested in what comes next for the Gators.

The clear favorite for the moment has to be Dan Mullen, who is head coach at Mississippi State, where Florida AD Scott Stricklin came from. Seeing these two team up again wouldn’t be surprising, and Mullen is only 45 years old. Another intriguing option might be Scott Frost, whose offense is cooking down the road from Gainesville right now at UCF. Frost, of course, might be the heir apparent at his alma mater, Nebraska, and the Gators stealing the Huskers’ dream candidate would be payback for the 1995 national title game. Chip Kelly’s another option, but as a Philadelphia Eagles fan, I’d caution against that.

Regardless, Florida’s a top program in a loaded recruiting state, but this is a very demanding job. Three of the four coaches post-Spurrier have failed and the other decided Ohio State was a more relaxing atmosphere, the fans expect perfection (especially on offense), and even though the SEC East other than Georgia is not in the greatest shape, you still have to play Florida State and LSU every season. You can win a title at Florida, but it’s one of the toughest SEC jobs.

Coach who played himself off the Hot Seat

Rich Rodriguez, Arizona

Earlier this year, Rich Rod looked about done at Arizona. Now, they’ve rattled off four straight wins and have a top-25 ranking, thanks to the magnificent play of QB Khalil Tate, who’s brought himself into the Heisman conversation. Tate’s been named Pac-12 player of the week four straight times, and the Wildcats beat a solid Wazzu team 58-37 over the weekend. A win over USC this coming weekend and Arizona could be in the driver’s seat for the Pac-12 South.

Playoff Rankings

1. Georgia

2. Alabama

3. Ohio State

4. Notre Dame

I’m ranking UGA first, as they have the better wins than Bama right now. The Tide had the week off, but they’re still here. Ohio State and Notre Dame join the fray on the strength of their victories thus far. Thus, the Buckeyes and Irish jump Wisconsin and Miami, who are undefeated but don’t have the same schedule strength. Should any of the top four slip up, however, Clemson is my #5 at the moment.

Heisman Watch

Despite the loss, I think Penn State running back Saquon Barkley is still the top contender now. His big-play ability and special teams prowess give him the edge. That being said, Khalil Tate is definitely in the hunt, as is Stanford RB Bryce Love, Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor, and J.T. Barrett has to be considered after this weekend as well. Barkley still may be the odds-on favorite, but this race seems far from over, unlike when Lamar Jackson had the trophy basically locked up by this time last year.

Next Week

Wisconsin at Indiana, Noon

Indiana will have a 10-6 lead with 2:18 to go in the third quarter. They’ll lose by 10.

Other Games

  • The glorious return of midweek MACtion comes back to us on Halloween night.
  • Bedlam plays host to College Gameday and the winner may be the Big 12’s only hope for a playoff spot.
  • Penn State goes to Michigan State and Ohio State goes to Iowa, as two defense-first B1G teams try to upset two potent offenses on the road.
  • Bama methodically will beat LSU, while Miami takes on Virginia Tech in the de facto ACC Coastal title game.
  • And make sure you get your nap in, so you can stay up for an epic 10:45pm #pac12afterdark as USC plays host to Arizona.
  • Don’t watch Purdue-Illinois or Maryland-Rutger.