Another week of action severely crippled a conference’s chances of putting a team in the College Football Playoff. The Big Ten took a big hit last Saturday when Ohio State and Penn State both lost, and this weekend we saw the Pac-12 put itself in an even worse position.
Every Pac-12 team now has at least two losses following Washington’s road setback to Stanford on Friday night, which will make it very tough for the conference to get a spot in the CFP. It’s looking more and more likely that we instead might see two teams from either the ACC or the SEC.
Biggest Win of Week 11 – Miami 41, Notre Dame 8
Could the biggest victory of the week be any other game? The Hurricanes must be ranked in the top four of the selection committee’s rankings this week following a blowout win over Notre Dame. Miami’s defense looked like the units of old as the Hurricanes absolutely swarmed ND’s offense and held the Irish to just 261 total yards.
The defense was so good that the offense didn’t have to do too much in the blowout win. Miami was content to just keep the ball on the ground and eventually wore down Notre Dame’s defense. The Hurricanes scored 24 points off of four Irish turnovers in a game that never lived up to the hype. Miami might be ranked as high as No. 2 following this victory and shouldn’t be tested prior to the ACC Championship Game against Clemson.
Close Call of Week 11 – Alabama 31, Mississippi State 24
The Bulldogs kept this one close throughout by keeping Alabama’s offense off the field until the very end. ‘Bama was only on the field for 11:30 through the first three quarters of action, which allowed Mississippi State’s offense to grind down the Crimson Tide defense.
Dan Mullen’s offense wasn’t able to post a play longer than 25 yards against this defense, but it was able to convert on third down. The Bulldogs converted on eight of their 15 third-down attempts, which helped them move the chains and grind out points. In the end, the difference was Jalen Hurts. The Tide signal caller thrust himself into the Heisman race with a game-winning drive with under a minute remaining against a very good Bulldogs defense. He didn’t make a mistake and was responsible for 282 total yards and two scores.
Upset Win of Week 11 – Auburn 40, Georgia 17
If you were someone who thought Auburn would score a win on Saturday, that wouldn’t have turned many heads. However, the way that the Tigers won this game was stunning and something that no one expected.
Auburn allowed Georgia to drive down the field for the opening touchdown, but then it ripped off 30 straight points over the next 30-plus minutes. Jarrett Stidham was phenomenal in picking apart Georgia underneath, while the running game had a ton of success against a run defense that was supposed to be one of the best in the nation. Conversely, Georgia couldn’t get anything going on the ground. The Bulldogs averaged less than 1.5 yards per carry and Jake Fromm was unable to make it happen through the air. Fromm had not had to win a game for Georgia yet this season, and the freshman looked like he needs a little more seasoning.
Most Surprising Win of Week 11 – Ohio State 48, Michigan State 3
The win itself wasn’t all that surprising, but to see the Buckeyes totally dismantle the Spartans was something else. Michigan State had at least hung around with every other Big Ten opponent all season until it came into the Horseshoe. But the Spartans run defense was totally gashed. Ohio State racked up 335 yards and four touchdowns on the ground on Michigan State’s defense in a game that was never close.
The Buckeyes didn’t even pour it on at the end either. Ohio State was up 35-3 at halftime and then was content to just run out the clock in the fourth quarter without putting points on the board. Its defense was fantastic in holding Michigan State to under 200 total yards and forcing three turnovers.