There were plenty of big games and close calls, but the same undefeated teams remain: Alabama in the SEC, Oregon in the Pac-12, Louisville in the Big East, Kansas State in the Big 12, Ohio State (who can’t reach a bowl game or win the conference) in the Big Ten and Notre Dame.
Nothing can stop Alabama from making it to the SEC Championship game and frankly, it’s hard seeing anything stopping Alabama from making it to the national championship game. Their biggest test of the season was always going to be at LSU, and they survived it thanks to a late drive led by A.J. McCarron and a touchdown pass to T.J. Yeldon with 51 seconds left. In two weeks, the Tide rolled over the two SEC West teams making sounds of contending, although the Tiger were very hard to shake off, as expected.
The big news for Kansas State wasn’t their 44-30 win over Oklahoma State but Collin Klein leaving the field in the third quarter. The Wildcats’ defense wasn’t at its best on Saturday night against the Cowboys, who don’t have the quality they had with Weeden and Blackmon but can put up points on the board with the best of ’em. Klein was having another big night with both his arms and legs before leaving the field, having Daniel Sams fill in. The Wildcats didn’t score a touchdown without Klein, which should have Bill Snyder and everyone in Manhattan worried.
Notre Dame can’t win easy, not at home. A triple over time game filled with errors by the offense, intercepted twice and Tommy Rees fumbling the ball on the goalline in overtime, almost costing the Irish the game and the hopes of the undefeated season plus the title game. Somehow, despite the ineptitude of their offense, Notre Dame’s defense keeps forcing wins when they shouldn’t come, and you have to wonder when this streak will end without being able to really trust your quarterback’s ability to lead scoring drives.
As expected, in Southern California, it was a punch trading for punch in Oregon’s visit to USC, which might have been their trickiest game of the season. There was a lot of talk about the quality of Oregon’s defense due to their previous opponents. Well, it’s not that good, but their offense was too much for the Trojans to keep up with. USC didn’t show up for the first quarter, and ended up chasing the Ducks the entire game, with both teams punting only twice the entire game. De’Anthony Thomas had a quiet game, but Marcus Mariota and Kenjon Barner simply couldn’t be stopped on their way to a 62-51 win.
Louisville, while undefeated, are out of this discussion. They still have to play Rutgers, and Teddy Bridgewater is a fun quarterback to watch, throwing five touchdown passes against Temple, but unless all the teams above them begin losing, there’s no way they get anything more than a BCS bowl.
Ohio State? Braxton Miller didn’t lead the rushing for once, as Carlos Hyde ran for three touchdowns as the Buckeyes beat Illinois 52-22, but this is only about showing recruits and the nation to look out for what Urban Meyes is cooking in Columbus for the years to come. This year, there are no rewards at the end of the season.