The first set of rankings from the College Football Playoff selection committee are coming on Tuesday night, and we seem to have a clear tier of frontrunners for the initial top four spots. Alabama and Georgia lead the pack, and there are about eight or nine other teams that are jockeying for position.
More delineation between the top and the bottom will come this week, too, when Penn State travels to East Lansing to take on Michigan State and Alabama hosts LSU.
Biggest Win of Week 9 – Ohio State 39, Penn State 38
The Buckeyes needed to rally from a handful of 18-point deficits in order to pull out a late victory over the Nittany Lions. J.T. Barrett had a phenomenal game and carved up the PSU defense through the air and on the ground. He totaled 423 yards and four touchdowns in the one-point win and led Ohio State to more than 500 total yards against a defense that was considered one of the best in the nation.
When you look at the box score, this game shouldn’t have been that close. Penn State could only muster 283 total yards on Ohio State’s defense, and Heisman Trophy hopeful Saquon Barkley was held in check the whole game. He averaged just 2.1 yards per carry against the Buckeyes front seven.
Biggest Upset of Week 9 – Iowa State 14, TCU 7
The Cyclones have crippled another Big 12 team’s chances of making it to the College Football Playoff. Iowa State hung a loss on Oklahoma in Norman a few weeks ago, and this win against TCU gives the school a chance to do the unthinkable: win the Big 12.
Defense was the key in Iowa State’s victory. The Cyclones forced three turnovers and held the Horned Frogs to 307 total yards of offense. Kyle Kempt had a decent enough day through the air against a very good defense and continues to be a revelation for the ‘Clones.
Close Call of Week 9 – Miami 24, North Carolina 19
The Hurricanes’ dream season almost came to an end against a 1-8 team. Despite being a three-touchdown favorite, Miami could never fully separate itself from North Carolina. The Tar Heels hung with the ‘Canes the entire game and could have pulled off the huge upset if it wasn’t for four turnovers and subpar quarterback play from backup Nathan Elliott.
Malik Rosier had by far this worst game as a Hurricane. He completed just 16 of 38 passes and was erratic all game. If it wasn’t for some big plays, Miami could have really lost this game because the rushing attack was unable to get anything going against a North Carolina defense that loaded up against the run.
Biggest Heartbreaker of Week 9 – Stanford 15, Oregon State 14
The Beavers came so close to pulling off what would have been a stunning upset. Stanford’s offense was lifeless without Bryce Love running the ball, and the Cardinal could only muster 222 total yards. They were down 14-9 and Oregon State had first-and-10 at its own 43 when the Beavers fumbled and gave Stanford new life. The Cardinal ended up finding the end zone and holding on for the win.
This performance showed that former head coach Gary Andersen may have given up on the Beavers, but the players haven’t stopped playing hard this season. The Beavers have some very winnable games the rest of the year and may go on a tear.
Biggest Shootout of Week 9 – Oklahoma State 50, West Virginia 39
It didn’t take Nostradamus to predict that the Mountaineers and Cowboys were going to be involved in a shootout. However, what was surprising was that neither quarterback went for over 300 yards in this game.
Will Grier had a terrible outing against a vulnerable secondary. The WVU signal caller completed less than 50 percent of his passes and threw four interceptions. Although he connected with Marcus Simms and David Sills for some big gains, he wasn’t able to do much else. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State relied on a surprisingly effective ground game to keep the ball away from West Virginia as the Cowboys ran the ball 56 times.