Woodshed Top 20 college football rankings: Week 13
Tuesday night we find out how the committee feels about the possibility of two teams from the same league being among the final four for the College Football Playoff. I know who the four best teams are, but they all won't make the playoff. They won't even play for their own conference titles.
Rivalry week is over with, and the game of the year was No. 3 Michigan at No. 2 Ohio State. America watched, over 16 million actually. It was the highest rated game of the year and the highest rated game ever for a game that kicked off at noon. What all that really means is that everybody saw Jim Harbaugh cry over some spilled milk… about $10,000 worth.
And it's not just the coach crying. I'm still hearing Michigan fans complain about the officiating, even on the radio this morning. Is this the culture that Michigan wants, a bunch of crybabies? Can we just put this to rest? J.T. Barrett made the first down marker, he got to the 15-yard line.
We don't need a “JFK” investigation, but in case you do, these guys break it down.
My personal opinion is that Barrett made the 15. The ball hits A.J. Alexander in the butt, who is blocking at the 15-yard line. Barrett pinned the ball between the butt and his helmet.
And I don't care what anybody says, pass interference happens every play, both ways, because the refs allow defensive backs to grab beyond the 15. I don't agree with it, but since Michigan fans want to cry about that, OSU fans could argue the same thing happened to them at Penn State.
I can tell you that I coached kids to always respect the call, even if they feel that it's wrong. If he argues and shows up a referee on one call early in the game, he shouldn't expect to get a call his way later in the game. Only the great Bobby Knight can wear down the zebras. Referees are human, they make mistakes. There may be one pass interference that I would have called for Michigan. But the others I thought were spot on. If a receiver is about to catch the ball and a defender hits him so that he can't jump or raise his arms before the ball gets there, how on earth would Jim Harbaugh know it was overthrown? Did you listen to his full press conference? It was bitter:
I thought I was going to leave this alone, but a Michigan fan called Ohio State the cleanest team in America, like that was supposed to be an insult. The real insult is Ohio State, the youngest team in college football, deprived Michigan's 43 seniors the feeling of ever beating the Buckeyes. Urban Meyer is 5-0 versus Michigan and has the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation poised to come in on National Signing Day. Now you know why Harbaugh is bitter. That being said, what an incredible year for the Wolverines. I for one would love to see Michigan in the playoff as the 4 seed and face off with Alabama.
Oh, one more thing. If you rush the field and get hit by a player, it's your own fault for even being close to the player. Now I don't condone Jabrill Peppers for punching a fan in the face, but I do expect the players to be safe on the field.
I know a lot was said about acting like you've been there before. America, Ohio State just beat their archrival in overtime at home with a playoff berth at stake. Fans are going to rush the field, even if OSU has done it before.
Other than that game, did anything else happen in college football? Oh yeah, the Heisman race just opened back up.
Florida State beat Florida to win the state title for the fourth year in a row. The talk in the office isn't really about the Gators losing to the rival Seminoles. It's about how they can “shock the world” and beat Alabama in Atlanta. Boy, wouldn't that be something if Nick Saban's Tide took a bad football pill and lost to a three-loss SEC East team?
Isn't everybody excited for Championship Week's games? Yawn. Some conferences need to change their rules so the top two teams are playing for the title.
Now for the Woodshed Top 20:
1. ALABAMA (12-0)
To be the champ, you have to beat the champ. Alabama is going to continue to win games because they play in a weaker SEC. The teams just aren't as solid anymore. I know, anyone can win the Iron Bowl, but we can't expect miracles. Auburn is a four-loss program and they are ranked in the AP? I want to see them play Western Michigan! Auburn did what they had to, they made Jalen Hurts pass the ball and not beat them with his legs. But despite two interceptions, beat the he did, throwing for 286 yards and two touchdowns along with 37 yards rushing and one touchdown. Florida has a defense that can make Alabama struggle on offense, but they don't have an offense.
Resume victories: No. 10 USC, No. 18 Auburn
2. OHIO STATE (11-1)
Did you know that when Curtis Samuel cut back against that great Michigan defense and scored in double overtime, the “Shoe” registered a 5.7 on the Richter scale?
J.T. Barrett beat Michigan by carrying the rock 30 times for 125 yards. That, in the end, is all you need to know; Michigan can't defend a mobile quarterback very well. Barrett beats teams by moving the chains and not turning the ball over. He doesn't have Heisman-like moves like Louisville's Lamar Jackson, but the kid wins and knows how to lead.
I am surprised Ohio State won because it only got Curtis Samuel the ball 11 times. If there happens to be a rematch, you can bet Samuel gets the ball more. Ohio State rushed for 206 yards as a team on the No. 1 defense in the nation.
Defensive coordinator Luke Fickell doesn't get enough praise. His defense forced three turnovers, including a pick six. The silver bullets have been there when the team needed a score or a three-and-out all season. Michigan only scored on the D when it had a short field.
The best thing about Ohio State's win was Urban Meyer's jab at Harbaugh over picking up a gallon of milk on the way home.
Who says this rivalry isn't the best? Oh, by the way, despite its one loss, the Buckeyes have the best resume in the history of the playoff. They don't need to add a championship game to their resume because they already have beaten several top 10 opponents.
Resume victories: No. 5 Michigan, No. 6 Wisconsin, No. 7 Oklahoma, No. 23 Nebraska
Losses: at No. 8 Penn State
3. CLEMSON (11-1)
The Tigers mauled the South Carolina Gamecocks 56-7 in their rivalry game. Deshaun Watson threw for 347 yards and six touchdowns in his late push for the Heisman Trophy. Clemson has been inconsistent all year long in my opinion, but they pass the eye test. You can just about lock in Ohio State vs. Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl in a CFB semi.
Resume victories: No. 12 Florida State, No. 16 Louisville, No. 18 Auburn
Losses: No. 22 Pittsburgh
4. MICHIGAN (10-2)
Michigan just took Ohio State to double overtime and came out on the losing end. That tells me that they are ranked right where they should be, especially when you look at their resume. The Wolverines have not proven that they can play outside of their state; that's a concern for me. But they are a team led by a bunch of seniors that I think can still make some noise in the playoffs. If anybody has a defense that can play with Alabama, it's Michigan. What's the saying? Defense wins championships?
Michigan does not have a run game, only 91 yards rushing vs. Ohio State. Wilton Speight played as best he could with a shoulder injury, throwing for 219 yards and two touchdowns, but his three turnovers were a game changer.
If the Penn State wins the conference title, I believe they'll be the second Big Ten team in the playoff over Michigan. What might help the Wolverines is a Colorado victory in the Pac-12 championship game. I wonder if Harbaugh will put the team on a plane and go root for the Buffaloes?
Resume victories: No. 6 Wisconsin, No. 8 Penn State, No. 9 Colorado
Losses: No. 2 Ohio State, No. 22 Iowa
5. WASHINGTON (11-1)
If Washington beats Colorado in the Pac-12 title game, that will give them a better resume. But let's be clear, they need that extra victory compared to the teams above them. If the Huskies were undefeated, this wouldn't be a discussion. Washington is good, but let's be honest, Stanford being ranked doesn't say a whole lot. Jake Browning has put up great numbers all year, including throwing for 40 touchdowns.
Resume victories: No. 17 Stanford
Losses: No. 10 USC
6. PENN STATE (10-2)
Nittany Lions fans take note, Penn State ran up the score on Mark Dantonio and the Michigan State Spartans and, mark my words, that will come back to haunt you in future years. The scoreboard was lit up all night as Trace McSorley went 17 of 23 for 376 yards and four touchdowns in a 45-12 romp. The bigger issue is that Saquon Barkley left the game in the third quarter, but is said to be fine for this week's matchup against Wisconsin. If he's not fine, then there goes Penn State's season, a great one at that. It wasn't too long ago that coach James Franklin was sitting on a warm seat. I won't say hot, but after losing to Pitt and Michigan, alumni were wondering.
The future is bright for the Lions. If you follow recruiting, only two teams have recruited better than PSU, and that's OSU and Michigan.
Here's the bottom line. If Penn State wins out, they deserve a shot at the No. 4 slot in the playoff. Personally, I would rather the Big Ten change its rules to have the top two teams in the conference title game. Who wouldn't want to watch a rematch of Ohio State vs. Penn State? I only say this because Wisconsin lost to both OSU and Michigan, so really PSU and Wisconsin are playing for third. And if any Penn State fans wants to argue, the Nittany Lions lost to Pitt, giving them two losses. There really isn't a need for further discussion until next week.
Resume victories: No. 2 Ohio State, No. 22 Iowa
Losses: No. 5 Michigan, No. 24 Pitt
No. 7 OKLAHOMA (9-2)
Boy, the Sooners have been quietly beating up on the rest of the Big 12 this year. No, they don't have a championship game in that conference. Why they haven't changed their rules after the previous two years is beyond me. Bob Stoops has his team poised to go unbeaten in the Big 12, with its only losses to ranked Ohio State and Houston. Sooners QB Baker Mayfield is having a nice season with 35 touchdowns and 3,381 yards passing.
The only thing standing in the way of another Big 12 championship is Oklahoma State. If you have been reading the Woodshed all year, I've said all along that it's Oklahoma and then everybody else. We'll see what happens when they play this Saturday in Norman.
Resume victories: No. 14 West Virginia
Losses: No. 2 Ohio State, Houston
No. 8 WISCONSIN (10-2)
The Badgers only two losses came at the hands of OSU and Michigan. They have done everything they can possibly do to remain in the discussion at this point. Adding another ranked victory to the resume is a must if they want to see the playoffs. The issue is the Big Ten West is weak, though not as weak as the SEC East. That being said, they still are better conferences than the Big 12 and Pac-12, so put that in your pipe and smoke it.
All you need to do is look at the resumes. If they prevail over Penn State, that would give them four top 25 victories. That's two more than No. 1 Alabama has on its resume.
Resume victories: No. 21 LSU, No. 22 Iowa, No. 23 Nebraska
Losses: No. 2 Ohio State, No. 5 Michigan
No. 9 COLORADO (10-2)
If they beat Washington for the Pac-12 title, they'll have a chance at sneaking into the No. 4 seed in the playoff. What hurts them the most is their loss to Michigan. Oh, and they don't really have any resume victories. Again, Stanford should not be ranked. And the team is also dealing with the suspensions of special teams player Jaleel Awini and backup tight end Christopher Hill after they allegedly got in a fight and were arrested over the weekend. Colorado will gain some respect if it knocks off Washington. I believe the only playoff-caliber team in the conference is USC, and it has three losses. Make some noise Colorado, we're all counting on you.
Resume victories: No. 17 Stanford
Losses: No. 4 Michigan, No. 10 USC
No. 10 USC (9-3)
If you watched them play Notre Dame this past weekend, then you feel like I do now. I can't get that fight song out of my head. Oh no, they scored again! It was an ugly game to watch, but the highlight was seeing Adoree Jackson. The kid is special. I heard the television announcer talk about the Heisman for him next year. What? How about this year? He already has the celebration down. He is a game breaker, he should be in New York rather than Jabrill Peppers. Nothing against Pep, I love his game, but Jackson has four interceptions along with touchdowns on a punt return, kickoff return and offense. If I'm an NFL GM, I'm looking at both Pep and Jackson to help my defense.
Oh, in this game you have to see this. I hate the targeting rule. Notre Dame safety Nicco Fertitta hit USC tailback Aca'Cedric Ware as Ware turned the corner at the line of scrimmage. Nicco played his position perfectly on a pursuit angle, hitting Ware in the shoulder. Ware fumbled while he was almost knocked out. Fertitta did launch himself, and his helmet did end up hitting Ware, but Ware was running the ball and wasn't defenseless. This rule needs to be changed, because when a player runs at somebody, he can't control where he hits a moving target. It's almost impossible to try, he'll get hurt if he lets up. I can't find a link anywhere of the hit, only the aftermath of Jerry Tillery being classless.
I understand they are trying to clean up the game a bit, but come on man. This isn't flag football!
The Trojans have three losses and they are the best of the Pac-12, so what does that say about the conference?
Resume victories: No. 4 Washington, No. 9 Colorado
Losses: No. 1 Alabama, No. 17 Stanford, Utah
No. 11 LOUISVILLE (9-3)
What is going on up there in Louisville? Remember when we said Heisman Trophies don't get handed out in September? They can be lost in November, and Lamar Jackson may have just done that. He is special and has more than 1,500 yards rushing and 3,300 yards passing along with 51 touchdowns (30 passing, 21 rushing). He probably should be the Heisman winner off of those stats alone. But those three losses have made the Heisman soup a bit murky. You can't rank Florida State ahead of them can you? Let's just look at resumes at this point, losing to Kentucky kind of lets you know where the ACC is versus the SEC now, doesn't it.
Resume victories: No. 12 Florida State
Losses: No. 3 Clemson, Houston, Kentucky
No. 11 FLORIDA STATE (9-3)
Jimbo Fisher isn't going anywhere 'Noles fans, and that's a great thing. I don't understand how people think LSU is a better job than Florida State? Dalvin Cook made his case for the Heisman against rival Florida with 153 yards. Cook, who already is the school's career rushing leader, scored his 45th career rushing touchdown, breaking Greg Allen's 32-year-old record. Cook is sixth in the country with 1,620 yards this season. This is the fourth straight season FSU has bettered Florida and Miami in the same season.
Resume victories: No. 15 Florida
Losses: No. 3 Clemson, No. 17 Louisville, North Carolina
No. 12 FLORIDA (8-3)
At this point in the rankings, I go with who would beat who on a neutral field. Florida has athletes on both sides of the ball, they just don't have a quarterback that can pick a team apart. Gators fans are tiptoeing around this week because they got what they wanted, a showdown with Alabama in Atlanta. To beat Alabama you have to keep the Tide QB in the pocket and make him throw the ball. I think Florida's defense will give Saban's boys some trouble because they can defend the run. But in the end, it will be Jalen Hurts' legs that break Florida's back. It's tough to control a good scrambler. The Gators are still better than the rest of the teams below.
Resume victories: No. 21 LSU
Losses: No. 12 Florida State, Tennessee, Arkansas
No. 13 WESTERN MICHIGAN (12-0)
Western Michigan beat two Big Ten teams and Central Michigan. The same Central Michigan team that beat Oklahoma State (on a bad call, but, nevertheless, they still got it done). The Broncos deserve respect; the problem is they won't get any because they are in the MAC. They did what they thought was a good thing by scheduling a couple Big Ten teams. Western Michigan is set to win the MAC Championship. Are they good enough to get in a higher bowl game, like the Cotton Bowl? WMU vs. Oklahoma or Colorado could be a good bowl game.
Resume victories: Northwestern, Illinois
No. 14 IOWA (8-4)
Remember when the Hawkeyes lost to North Dakota State? They then lost to Northwestern and everybody wrote them off. Then they woke up and erupted for victories over Michigan and Nebraska. What's the difference? The Hawkeyes found out they can run the ball. They had 264 yards vs. Nebraska. Just get the ball to Akrum Wadley, he's electric. The issue is that he only touched the ball 13 times. He's a gamebreaker, 20 touches and the Hawkeyes will make some noise.
Resume victories: No. 5. Michigan, No. 23 Nebraska
Losses: No. 6 Wisconsin, No. 8 Penn State, North Dakota State, Northwestern
No. 15 NEBRASKA (8-3)
I want to give the Cornhuskers the benefit of the doubt here with Tommy Armstrong Jr. being hurt. Iowa just did a number on them with a possible Big Ten title game berth at stake. Iowa put up 40 points on Nebraska's defense, although it would have helped if the offense was getting first downs and keeping the defense off of the field.
Resume victories: None
Losses: No. 2 Ohio State, No. 6 Wisconsin, No. 22 Iowa
No. 16 OKLAHOMA STATE (9-2)
Does it really matter that the Cowboys should be 10-1 and complaining why they aren't in the conversation for the playoffs? Do you remember this play?
You may also recall that the officials gave Central Michigan an untimed down allowing that miracle to happen. The only other loss the Cowboys have came at the hands of Baylor. Do we need to go any further? Oklahoma is going to take care of the Cowboys.
Resume victories: None
Losses: Central Michigan, Baylor
No. 17 LSU (7-4)
Congrats to the Bayou Tigers for settling on a coach. The interim tag was removed from Ed Orgeron after close losses to Alabama and Florida. Man, I'm guessing they didn't need to fire a coach to end up with that record. Don't get me wrong, he may be the best guy for the job, but I believe they messed up by not going full tilt after Tom Herman. The way I look at it is the Tigers struck out in getting some bigger names to look at the position. I will say this, it has been a bummer to not see Leonard Fournette destroy defenses this year.
Resume victories: None
Losses: No. 1 Alabama, No. 6 Wisconsin, No. 15 Florida, No. 18 Auburn
No. 18 PITTSBURGH (8-4)
I know, four losses. But man, they beat two pretty good teams in Penn State and Clemson. Their resume is better than most considering who they have gotten Ws against. They don't play a lick of defense, but that offense is fun to watch.
Resume victories: No. 3 Clemson, No. 8 Penn State
Losses: No. 12 Oklahoma State, No. 19 Virginia Tech, Miami, North Carolina,
No. 19 VIRGINIA TECH (9-3)
The color orange is a bit of an issue for this team. That's not good news for Hokie fans as they face No. 3 Clemson in Orlando for the ACC title. I'm going to stop talking now; it isn't going to happen despite all of America wanting a bit of chaos. Nobody can stop Deshaun Watson now!
Resume victories: No 24 Pittsburgh
Losses: Tennessee, Syracuse, Georgia Tech
No. 20 AUBURN (8-4)
The Tigers' regular season is over with. Losing the Iron Bowl to Alabama 30-12 was acceptable if you're not expected to beat the No. 1 team in the nation. Auburn has two good losses and two bad ones.
Resume victories: No. 21 LSU
Losses: No. 1 Alabama, No. 3 Clemson, Georgia, Texas A&M
I have to tell you it was really tough going through the end of this poll. The committee will speak and it will be 'Bama, OSU, Clemson and Washington. The question for next week is what happens if PSU and Colorado win?
Just look at the resume victories. In the end, the committee will look at that and judge. Heck, you could almost make an argument for Ohio State being ranked No. 1 because of resume victories. But, the eye test always brings everybody back in check, right? One more week to talk about who's in and who's out. When you watch the committee results, make sure you have yourself a nice glass of milk to wash it down with.
- Adoree' Jackson
- Akrum Wadley
- Alabama Crimson Tide
- Arkansas Razorbacks
- Artavis Scott
- Auburn Tigers
- Baker Mayfield
- Baylor Bears
- Central Michigan Chippewas
- Clemson Tigers
- Colorado Buffaloes
- Connecticut Huskies
- Curtis Samuel
- Dalvin Cook
- Deshaun Watson
- Florida Gators
- Florida State Seminoles
- FOX Sports Florida
- FOX Sports Florida - Gators
- FOX Sports Florida - Seminoles
- Georgia Bulldogs
- Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
- Houston Baptist Huskies
- Houston Cougars
- Illinois Fighting Illini
- Iowa Hawkeyes
- J.T. Barrett
- Jabrill Peppers
- Jake Browning
- Jalen Hurts
- Jamal Adams
- Jerry Tillery
- Kentucky Wildcats
- Leonard Fournette
- Louisville Cardinals
- LSU Tigers
- Michigan State Spartans
- Michigan Wolverines
- Nebraska Cornhuskers
- North Carolina Tar Heels
- North Dakota State Bison
- Northern Illinois Huskies
- Northwestern Wildcats
- Notre Dame Fighting Irish
- Ohio State Buckeyes
- Oklahoma Sooners
- Oklahoma State Cowboys
- Penn State Nittany Lions
- Pittsburgh Panthers
- Saquon Barkley
- South Carolina Gamecocks
- Syracuse Orange
- Tennessee Volunteers
- Texas A&M Aggies
- Tommy Armstrong Jr.
- Trace McSorley
- Troy Trojans
- USC Trojans
- Utah Utes
- Virginia Tech Hokies
- Washington Huskies
- West Virginia Mountaineers
- Western Michigan Broncos
- Wilton Speight
- Wisconsin Badgers