Auburn and Oregon won't make the Playoff, and other Week 4 college football … – For The Win
Though there weren’t as many sexy matchups or clashes between titans, Week 4 turned out to be pretty revealing. It was a weird week in the SEC, with Vanderbilt making Ole Miss nervous and Bret Bielema losing again, this time to Texas A&M (just like Kliff Kingsbury predicted). Perennial power Oregon allowed Utah score 62 points and appears out of the Playoff hunt while UCLA is very much in it. And Texas Tech could be a sneaky Big 12 party crasher kind of like it was in 2008.
Here are three takeaways from this Saturday:
Teams we can cross of the Playoff list
It’s still early, but there are a few teams that were picked in the preseason to be playoff contenders who just aren’t anymore.
Auburn, ranked seventh in the preseason Amway Coaches Poll, is 2-2 but could be winless if not for narrow victories over Louisville and Jacksonville State. It’s offense has lacked explosiveness and this weekend against Mississippi State when the Tigers found themselves inside the 10-yard line on a number of occasions, they threw them away, only getting six points out of two field goals. It was the first time since the 2012 Iron Bowl that Auburn hadn’t scored a touchdown. This is not a good look for a program built as a high-powered offense. Additionally, the defense is currently at the bottom of the SEC, allowing 413.5 yards a game.
Oregon, No. 5 in the preseason Top 25, is 2-2 and winless against Power Five teams. Its first loss was by three points to a quality Michigan State team, but its dreadful performance against No. 17 Utah on Saturday was inexplicable and unfortunately for the Ducks, historic. Oregon turned the ball over three times and gave up 530 yards in a 62-20 loss at home. The last time Oregon lost two games in September was 2004.
Preseason No. 3 Alabama isn’t out of the playoff picture quite yet. But it could be next week if it loses its second game of the season to Georgia on the road. The Crimson Tide made the playoff with one loss last year, but they were more confident at quarterback, explosive on offense with Amari Cooper and dominant as a whole. Saturday, the Tide’s defense held Louisiana-Monroe to 92 total yards, averaging 1.2 yards per play, but the offense lacked flow and rhythm.
Looking way ahead
There’s always that one weekend in November when it’s nonstop top-ranked teams duking it out. In recent years, those Saturdays have featured matchups like Alabama-LSU, Baylor-TCU, and USC-Oregon. With the way things are going right now, it appears Nov. 21 is going to be that date, but most of the regulars might not be involved.
Saturday, No. 17 Utah scored more points on Oregon than any team since 1985 and No. 11 UCLA’s true freshman quarterback Josh Rosen had gone 13 of 17 for 212 yards and two touchdowns against Arizona—at halftime with a 42-14 lead. The Bruins went onto crush the Wildcats 56-30.
No. 1 Ohio State is still finding its groove with its two quarterbacks, but if the Buckeyes’ identity does indeed become the video game we saw against Virginia Tech, they could be heading straight for a second championship.
Leonard Fournette leads the country with 210.3 rushing yards a game and is the Heisman frontrunner after four games. If he can sustain these numbers through LSU’s SEC West schedule, he deserves the award. First he’ll have to get past Ole Miss.
And then there’s TCU who can never be counted out when Trevone Boykin has the ball, even if there’s only 23 seconds on the clock.
So keep a lookout for Nov. 21 when the matchups are as follows (all teams currently undefeated): Ole Miss-LSU, Ohio State-Michigan State, Utah-UCLA and TCU-Oklahoma. These are games that could ultimately decide the Playoff picture.
Keep an eye on Texas Tech
With 23 seconds remaining and No. 2 TCU’s Playoff hopes on the line as Trevone Boykin faced fourth-and-goal, the Heisman hopeful heaved a pass toward Josh Doctson in the end zone. The pass went high.
But Doctson got a hand on the ball and tipped it toward the back of the end zone. It looked like it was heading out of bounds, but in swooped Aaron Green for the diving catch and ultimately the 55-52 victory over Texas Tech.
It was a miraculous play that capped a shootout between the two high powered offenses. The Red Raiders nearly came back in the final seconds with several lateral passes to win it, but fell a few yards short.
But when so much praise can and should be given to Boykin, who amassed 527 total yards and threw four touchdown passes, Texas Tech and Kliff Kingsbury deserve an equal amount. The 3-1 Red Raiders could be 4-0 right now. It’s one more win than they had at this point last year. In 2014, Tech lost to Arkansas, a team it beat last week, and was blasted by TCU 82-27, but nearly won this time around.
Up next for Kingsbury’s team is Baylor, who hasn’t been tested once this season, outscoring SMU, Lamar and Rice 192-69. Texas Tech appears vastly improved from the 4-8 team it was in 2014 and if it continues down this road, could shake up the Big 12. Maybe like it did in 2008 when it forced a three-way tie for the Big 12 South.