CFB WEEK 9 SB POLL COLUMN
The Real College Football Rankings
The Updated SB Top 25 Poll:
1. Ohio State
6. Michigan State
9. Notre Dame
11. Texas A&M
12. Ole Miss
13. Wake Forest
15. Oklahoma State
19. Penn State
20. Fresno State
21. Coastal Carolina
Next Up: Wisconsin, Arkansas, NC State, Minnesota, App State, Iowa State
— Ohio State beat Penn State by 9, but it was far from easy and it showed that the Buckeyes still have a lot of things to fix. This team is very good, but they are still a work in progress. Thank God for transfer Kicker Noah Ruggles. The redzone offense struggled for the first time since the Oregon game, only scoring 1 TD in 6 redzone trips is not acceptable. I’ll give credit to the stout Nittany Lion defense, they played the game of their life. Who knows what will happen in the future? After the game, C.J. Stroud said the Penn State defense called out the offensive play several times. Coach Day needs to do a better job of being less predictable when it comes to play calling, granted it helps when the opposing team has your former Offensive Coordinator. It makes me wonder how much it would have helped to have had Master Teague for short-yardage situations (He’s good as a bruiser in between the tackles). I was so impressed by the speed and the ability of the Penn State LB’s. Brandon Smith and Jaquan Brisker are so elite. Outside of that 68-yard TreVeyon Henderson run, the Lions did a great job of containing the run game. It was also the worst OSU offensive line performance that I have seen in years, so that is quite concerning. They have to get that o-line situation figured out (play Matt Jones more?). I’ve never seen us have that many pre-snap penalties, that’s a large part of the reason we only scored 33 points. If they were disciplined, they would have scored over 40 points. On the other side of the ball, I loved what I saw from our defensive line, the rushmen were getting constant pressure and wreaking havoc on Sean Clifford. The Lions converted an absurd number of long third downs that made their offense look better than it actually was. When Matt Barnes sent the house, Clifford couldn’t handle it. OSU held them to 33 rush yards and prevented any explosive plays. Penn State showed that the Buckeyes still have some glaring deficiencies, but they are all fixable problems.
— Almost every fan poll that I have seen has Michigan State in their top 5, but let me explain why I think they are a bit overrated. We have to stop ranking teams higher than others just because they have a better win or played a tougher schedule. If Michigan and Michigan State played 10 times, I am almost certain that Michigan would win 8 or 9 of those games. Kenneth Walker had his Heisman Moment and it was enough to secure the win, but I still see a lot of problems with this Sparty offense. Payton Thorne is an average QB at best. Thorne played horrible on Saturday and was lucky that Walker was able to carry the team. I will also mention that Sparty got a very favorable whistle, this game would have had a different outcome if a few calls went the other way (the controversial 2-point conversion called a catch, the missed DPI at the end of the game are just two of the many missed calls). Sparty will get destroyed by the Buckeyes in a couple weeks. It’s honestly a miracle they haven’t been exposed already (Indiana was so close).
— Even though Michigan lost, they moved me. The offense finally clicked, at least for the first half. Not finishing drives with touchdowns was their downfall. They have a star in true freshman Andrel Anthony. Cade showed why he is the starter. Hutch and Ojabo looked really good. I’m still in shock that they lost that game. I’ll acknowledge that the refs did a horrible job, but it still counts as a loss. The Harbaugh narratives will live on. If they lose badly to the Buckeyes in a few weeks, will he get fired? Would it be better to keep him? He seemed to be turning the program around up until what transpired in that game in East Lansing. They still have some things to be excited for in the future, but they are looking at a 10-2 season.
— Caleb Williams went for 402 and 6 TD’s for the Sooners in a 52-21 win over Texas Tech. Oklahoma is a top 4 team with him at the helm, I am not sure how Kansas did so well against them. I would be shocked if Williams left Norman without winning a Heisman. I expect them to make the playoffs, and lose yet again in the CFP Semifinal, but they could give anyone a run for their money. Oklahoma should easily be able to win out and make the CFP.
— I am a believer in this Auburn team. Bo Nix is playing the best ball of his life and they are going for their 3rd straight win over a top 20 team this weekend against Texas A&M, I think they get it done. First-year HC Bryan Harsin is doing a hell of a job. I doubt they could beat Bama in the Iron Bowl, but they should make it a game. Penn State’s week 3 win over AU is looking good now.
— Wisconsin smacked Iowa 27-7 and has a great chance to win out with their schedule. They play Minnesota in the last week of the season, which will probably determine the winner of the B1G West Division. I am still not impressed with Graham Mertz at all, but as a team they are playing really well as of late and I think they will right the ship and make it to Indy.
— Cincinnati is a great team, but there is levels to the game. Their defense is amazing, one of the best in the country. I am a huge Sauce Gardner fan. Their offense is what concerns me. We don’t know which version of Desmond Ridder we will get every week, sometimes he plays like a top 10 pick and other times he doesn’t look like an NFL draft pick. I still think this Cincinnati team deserves to be a top 10 team, but I don’t think they would beat anyone in my top 10 other than Notre Dame, who they already beat this year.
1. Kenneth Walker III
2. C.J. Stroud
3. Bryce Young
4. TreVeyon Henderson
— Walker’s 5 TD (3 actual TD’s) performance has skyrocketed him up to first in this week’s Heisman Watch. He has also been the most productive back in the nation. He has been the most impactful player so far. I don’t think he will end up winning the Heisman, but after 8 weeks he is in a great position to be a Finalist
— Stroud played well overall against Penn State, but there was a few plays where he struggled (most notably the missed throw to Olave that would have been a TD). He made some crucial throws to help seal the game that really impressed me. I expect him to become a Heisman Finalist after he dominates the next few games against lesser defenses.