Ohio State has best chance to spoil SEC’s national championship party

11 months ago 139

It mislaid to the champion squad it faced. Its past 3 league wins person travel implicit teams with a combined 1 league victory. Its defence was shredded for 66 points by the 2 champion offenses it has seen.

And, yet, Ohio State has looked each spot the mode Ohio State is expected to look implicit the past month, scoring 231 points and holding its past 4 opponents to 44. Freshman C.J. Stroud has emerged arsenic a Heisman Trophy contender, the latest backmost that manager Ryan Day has molded into an elite playmaker. The antecedently fishy defence has recovered its swagger, producing 7 turnovers successful the past 4 games. The accomplishment positions are loaded with aboriginal pros specified arsenic Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, Jaxon Smith Njigba and TreVeyon Henderson.

It gives maine crushed to judge the nationalist champion isn’t a fastener to travel retired of the SEC. Georgia is the clear-cut favourite and Alabama is the squad galore person pointed to arsenic giving the Bulldogs the astir trouble.

Ohio State, though, has played amended implicit the past period than the Crimson Tide. It surely has been much accordant than Nick Saban’s team, which mislaid to Texas A&M and struggled astatine location against mediocre Tennessee connected Saturday.

We’ll larn much astir the Buckeyes successful the coming weeks, with games inactive remaining against the 2 undefeated Michigan teams, the Wolverines and Spartans, and a imaginable Big Ten rubric crippled with one-loss Iowa.

Ohio StateSteele Chambers dives for a fumble successful the 2nd 4th against Indiana.Getty Images

Since losing to Oregon connected Sept. 11, Ohio State has reeled disconnected 5 consecutive wins implicit Tulsa, Akron, Rutgers, Maryland and Indiana. It has enactment up astatine slightest 41 points successful each of those games. Now the caveat: Of those five, lone Maryland, astatine 4-3, has a winning record. Its champion triumph was the 45-31 play opener astatine Minnesota, which is tied with Iowa for the Big Ten West lead.

Day’s squad inactive has a batch of proving to do. The résumé needs work. Plenty of questions remain. But the pieces are intelligibly determination to marque different nationalist title crippled run. Supposed apical teams person struggled against the benignant of anemic opponents Ohio State has destroyed successful caller weeks.

The Buckeyes are assemblage football’s X origin — the squad lasting successful the mode of an all-SEC enactment successful the College Football Playoff.

Over it

College football’s caller overtime rules, intended to forestall extra-long games, is truthful poorly designed MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is successful favour of it.

It gave america 9 overtime sessions successful the catastrophe that was Illinois’ 20-18 upset of Penn State. Of course, it wasn’t a existent 9 overtimes. The rules person changed that. After the archetypal 2 overtime periods, alternatively of each squad starting astatine the other’s 25-yard-line, we spell close into two-point conversions.

Penn State and Illinois combined to miss connected their archetypal 10 two-point tries earlier some converting successful the eighth overtime. Illinois mercifully ended it connected Brandon Peters’ scoring onslaught to Casey Washington successful the pursuing stanza.

It made a mockery of the athletics and gave other attraction to a crippled that truly didn’t merit it. I’m praying assemblage hoops doesn’t get immoderate ideas from this.

Eyes connected the prize

The College Football Playoff whitethorn travel down to Oklahoma oregon Cincinnati, 1 squad leaving the Big 12 and different joining it. You’re going to perceive truthful overmuch astir Cincinnati’s spot of schedule, the level of hostile it faces successful the AAC. On societal media, determination was plentifulness of disapproval of the Bearcats’ underwhelming triumph implicit one-win Navy this weekend.

But let’s not hide however severely Oklahoma struggled with Big 12 punching container Kansas. How underwhelming it has been each twelvemonth against inferior opponents, beating the likes of Tulane, West Virginia, Nebraska and Kansas State by a azygous score. Cincinnati, meanwhile, has won six of its 7 games by astatine slightest 11 points, including a roadworthy triumph implicit Notre Dame. The AAC programme wins the oculus trial and game-control comparison, which you perceive truthful overmuch astir from the playoff committee each year. Hopefully, they retrieve that if it comes down to these 2 schools.

Top 10

1. Georgia (7-0) (Last week: 1)

Florida is the past roadblock betwixt Georgia and a cleanable regular season. The Gators whitethorn person 3 losses, but they are capable, peculiarly if Dan Mullen yet gives the shot to fantastic freshman backmost Anthony Richardson.

2. Alabama (7-1) (3)

The Crimson Tide defence has alternated betwixt stifling and porous. It dominated Ole Miss and Mississippi State, and was lit up by Texas A&M and Tennessee.

3. Ohio State (6-1) (5)

Ohio State’s past 4 wins, implicit Akron, Rutgers, Maryland and Indiana, person travel by an aggregate of 231-44. It’s not elite competition, but it is surely elite results.

4. Cincinnati (7-0) (2)

Yes, it was conscionable 1 mediocre performance, an disfigured showing successful a constrictive triumph implicit one-win Navy. but Cincinnati truly can’t spend immoderate much of these.

SoonersLincoln RileyGetty Images

5. Oklahoma (8-0) (4)

The Sooners held a five-point pb implicit Kansas with 3:20 remaining, and the shot was astatine the Oklahoma 46-yard line. Instead of punting connected fourth-and-1, Lincoln Riley went for it, which says each you request to cognize astir what helium thinks of his defense.

6. Michigan (7-0) (7)

Now we yet commencement to spot what this Michigan squad is made of, opening Saturday successful East Lansing against Michigan State. The Wolverines person beaten the teams connected their schedule, but don’t person a azygous triumph that truly stands out.

7. Michigan State (7-0) (8)

The past clip Michigan State and Michigan were some ranked successful the apical 10 entering their yearly showdown was 1964. The ambiance astatine Spartan Stadium volition beryllium electric.

8. Ole Miss (6-1) (NR)

Lane Kiffin’s squad has responded to the disfigured nonaccomplishment astatine Alabama by beating Arkansas, Tennessee and LSU, keeping itself live successful the SEC West race.

9. Kentucky (6-1) (9)

Prior to Mark Stoops’ arrival, Kentucky had won double-digit games conscionable doubly successful programme history. It is connected gait to bash that for a 2nd clip successful 5 seasons this year. He’s a sanction you don’t perceive capable during the coaching carousel.

10. Oregon (6-1) (NR)

The Ducks’ playoff imagination isn’t dead, but it has travel adjacent to being extinguished successful nail-biting victories implicit Cal and UCLA the past 2 weeks.

Dropped out: Penn State (5-2) and Oklahoma State (6-1)

Heisman Watch

(in alphabetical order)

QB Matt Corral, Ole Miss

Playing done injuries, the inferior produced 2 touchdowns successful a triumph implicit LSU, extending his streak of astatine slightest 2 scores to 17 consecutive games.

QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh

Two games up connected Virginia, Pitt is successful presumption to triumph the ACC Coastal part with Pickett starring the way. He’s thrown 23 touchdown passes and conscionable 1 interception, emerging arsenic 1 of the premier quarterbacks successful the country.

PittsburghKenny PickettGetty Images

QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State

It’s getting harder to ideate Stroud not getting a New York City invitation arsenic helium stacks 1 eye-popping show upon another, present with 14 touchdowns implicit his past 3 games without an interception and a 73.8 completion percentage.

RB Kenneth Walker III, Michigan State

This week Walker tin marque a connection by lighting up Michigan’s second-ranked scoring defence which has allowed conscionable 1 100-yard rusher successful 7 games.

QB Bryce Young, Alabama

The Heisman remains Young’s to lose, arsenic helium continues to heap up immense numbers. He had his champion time yet connected Saturday, producing 4 touchdowns and 413 full yards.