Top 5 College Football Playoff Storylines Heading Into Week 12

The “Game of the Year” lived up to the hype and then some. When the dust settled in Tuscaloosa, Joe Burrow and the top-ranked* LSU Tigers ended their 8-game losing streak against Alabama in an eye-opening 46-41 victory. The win secured the top spot for the Tigers in the latest College Football Playoff rankings. Do you think Coach O was happy with the win? If you’re an Alabama fan, can you earmuff it for me?

*Rankings used in this article are from the latest College Football Playoff Rankings.

Because of this win, LSU was rewarded with the top spot in the latest College Football Playoff rankings. The final three spots went to No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Clemson, and No. 4 Georgia. If you’re a fan of No. 5 Alabama, No. 6 Oregon, No. 7 Utah, or No. 8 Minnesota fan, you’re furious with the rankings. Don’t worry, these rankings will change. Chaos always happens. My playoff heading into Week 12 includes:

  1. LSU
  2. Ohio State
  3. Clemson
  4. Oregon

I really wanted to put Minnesota at 4, but I rewarded Oregon for the tougher strength of schedule. To be honest, Minnesota should be in the fourth spot because they have the second-best win out of anyone in the top 10, but the committee seems to change their rules and qualifications on the fly so they’re only at 8 for now.

This weekend is highlighted by Georgia traveling to play the most important team in the country right now, Auburn. Plus, No. 10 Oklahoma and No. 13 Baylor battle for Big 12 supremacy. Here are the Top 5 CFP storylines heading into Week 12.

Auburn, The Most Important Team In The Country

The key to the College Football Playoff is Auburn. Without a doubt, they are the most important team in the country right now. For argument’s sake, let’s say LSU, Ohio State, and Clemson all win out and make the CFP. That leaves one spot left. Who gets it? Georgia, Alabama, and Oregon should be in the running for the fourth and final spot.^ Auburn controls the destiny for all three of those teams. Auburn plays Georgia this weekend. If Auburn beats Georgia, the Bulldogs will be eliminated from playoff contention and Oregon’s loss to Auburn will look a lot better on paper. If Auburn defeats Alabama in the Iron Bowl, Alabama will be eliminated from playoff contention and Oregon will be in the driver’s seat for the final spot. However, if Auburn loses one or both of those games, Oregon’s only loss will be to an 8-4 SEC team. There’s so much riding on the playoff and it all comes down to an Auburn team that probably can’t make it.

^I’m not counting a 12-1 Utah, 12-1 Oklahoma, or 13-0/12-1 Baylor team in this hypothetical because their chances of making the playoff are slim.

LSU Needs Two More Wins To Make The Playoff

(Two) Win(s) and in. That’s the scenario LSU faces to close their season. If they defeat Ole Miss and Arkansas to end the season undefeated, LSU will make the College Football Playoff regardless of what happens in the SEC Championship Game. The Tigers have the strongest resume in the country and no team will surpass it in the regular season if LSU is undefeated going into Atlanta in early December.

Row The Damn Boat

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

PJ Fleck could motivate me to jump out of an airplane without a parachute. In just his third season, Fleck has Minnesota at 9-0 after a monumental win against No. 9 Penn State. Minnesota jumped nine spots in the rankings from No. 17 to No. 8. Minnesota has no time to celebrate as the Golden Gophers travel to No. 20 Iowa in what will almost certainly be a close game. At this point in the season, Minnesota does not need any style points. Survive and advance is the motto as games against Wisconsin and potentially Ohio State loom in the distance.

Can The Big 12 Still Make The Playoff?

The good news is both Oklahoma and Baylor will have the chance to impress the committee on Saturday night when the play each other in Waco. The bad news is it may not matter towards the playoff. Oklahoma truly screwed themselves by losing to Kansas State. Even if they finish the season as the Big 12 champion at 12-1, I don’t think it will be enough to surpass other potential one-loss teams such as Oregon, Utah, or Alabama. The same rules apply to Baylor if they finish 12-1. However, Baylor has a not-so-secret playoff advantage over Oklahoma; they’re undefeated. Baylor may be outside the top 20 in the Football Power Index, but they’re 9-0. The Bears may win a lot of close games, but a win is a win. If Baylor runs the table, wins the Big 12 championship, and finishes the season 13-0, mark my words, they will make the College Football Playoff. There is “no chance in hell” that the committee will pass over an undefeated Power 5 champion for the playoff.

Penn State Is Still Alive For The Playoff

Penn State suffered a hiccup at Minnesota, but it’s not the end of the world. Unless complete chaos happens, a Big Ten team will make the playoff. If Ohio State or Minnesota goes undefeated, they will make the playoff. However, if Penn State wins the Big Ten with only one loss, they should make the playoff. The Nittany Lions have to get passed Indiana, who is having a tremendous year at 6-2, but if they win Saturday, Penn State will have a chance to take over the Big Ten East if they defeat Ohio State in Columbus. A win over Ohio State would allow the Nittany Lions to control their own destiny to the playoff. Beat Indiana first, and then worry about Ohio State.

What are your top College Football Playoff storylines for Week 12? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow, or email us at immad@unafraidshow.com.

Chase Young, James Wiseman NCAA Inconsistent Rule Enforcement

Chase Young James Wiseman

If anyone is still wondering why lawmakers are so interested in college athletes’ rights, they got their answer last weekend. The NCAA once again demonstrated how unfair their rules are and how they are inconsistently enforced when they declared college football’s and men’s basketball top players ineligible. Ohio State University’s (OSU) defensive end and Heisman Trophy contender, Chase Young, was declared ineligible just ahead of OSU’s game against Maryland. Similarly, the University of Memphis (Memphis) men’s basketball center, James Wiseman, was declared ineligible prior to their game against Illinois-Chicago.  

A reasonable fan may wonder why the NCAA would declare their top performers in their major revenue-producing sports ineligible? Did they get caught cheating on a test? Did they engage in illegal activity? Most would agree that if the answer to those questions is yes, the players deserve their punishment. However, that is not the case for Young nor Wiseman. Neither of them did anything clearly wrong. They were both declared ineligible for receiving financial assistance. Why would the NCAA  declare a “student-athlete” ineligible for receiving needed financial assistance?

The answer is simple. The NCAA’s primary motive is to protect the farce of amateurism. For the NCAA, that means making sure athletes are not given any benefit that is not NCAA approved. No matter how dire an athletes’ need is. Chase Young’s and James Wiseman’s cases are textbook examples of the NCAA’s commitment to their rules; even when it defies all logic.

Chase Young’s Case 

Young was suspended for accepting a loan from a family friend. He reportedly accepted the loan to pay for his girlfriend’s trip to watch him play in the Rose Bowl last season.  That is right, Young was declared ineligible for getting a loan from a family friend so that someone he cares for could be there to support him. Here is the real kicker: Young repaid the loan in April. The person who gave Young the loan is not a booster nor an agent.

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Despite those facts, the NCAA still suspended him. The NCAA felt it right to disrupted Young’s potentially Heisman Trophy-winning and record-breaking season to reaffirm their position on unapproved financial assistance. All Chase Young wanted was for his girlfriend to be there to support him while he gave his body to make millions of dollars for others. Young will serve a two-game suspension for taking a loan from a family friend and paying it back. Somehow, the NCAA believes that this is fair and is the right thing to do. It is precisely these type of decisions by the NCAA that makes lawmakers feel the need to get involved.

james wiseman

James Wiseman’s Case

James Wiseman’s eligibility issue stems from a rather complicated story. Here is the crux of his eligibility issue. Wiseman’s eligibility is in jeopardy due to an $11,500 payment that the current Memphis coach, Penny Hardaway, gave to Wiseman’s mother in 2017. At the time, Wiseman did not know about money. The money was intended to cover moving expenses when Wiseman’s family moved to Memphis.

However, this is not why the NCAA declared Wiseman ineligible. The NCAA declared him ineligible because they determined that Penny Hardaway was a booster due to a 1 million dollar donation he made to Memphis in 2008. The donation was made to fund the school’s Penny Hardaway Hall of Fame. Since the NCAA determined that Hardaway was a booster, the $11,500 that he gave to Wiseman’s mom is impermissible under NCAA rules.

According to NCAA rules, this would make Wiseman ineligible. However, the problem here is that the NCAA knew about the $11,500 payment. With that knowledge, the NCAA declared Wiseman eligible. For some reason, the NCAA has gone back on that decision and declared him ineligible. How is this fair? The answer is that it is not fair. James Wiseman’s case reaffirms how inconsistent the NCAA is in its rule enforcement. It is for this reason, that lawmakers have begun advocating for college athlete rights.

Wiseman’s Case is not Over Yet as he has Sued the NCAA

Wiseman has sued the NCAA and Memphis. He also obtained a temporary injunction on his suspension that has allowed him to continue to play. On Monday, the case will resume where Wiseman will as for an injunction to continue playing. If Wiseman is successful in this suit it could dire ramifications for the NCAA and their ability to enforce their eligibility rules.

The NCAA Continues to Prove that Legislative Action is Necessary

What point does the NCAA really think it is making by declaring Young and Wiseman ineligible? All the NCAA has done is further make themselves bad an unable to consistently enforce their rules. They have inadvertently strengthened the case for college athlete name, image, and likeness (NIL) compensation legislation. After all if Young had able to profit from his NIL he may not have needed the loan. As coaches’ salaries and television revenue continues to soar,  the NCAA cannot continue to justify its actions in cases like Young’s and Wiseman’s. The NCAA’s unfairness and inconsistency in its rule enforcement are precisely why lawmakers have gotten involved. Their involvement appears to be necessary.

Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 12: Everybody Gets a Bowl Game

Nebraska Colorado Football 2019

Welcome to the Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 12. Overall, it was another wild week in the conference. There is not an oddsmaker in the world that can consistently pick winners. Every team in the conference except Oregon and Utah have between four and six wins. That means up to 10 teams could end up bowl eligible, most of which at 6-6. What a mess.

Another week, another Pac-12 officiating controversy. This time it was so bad, the conference suspended a referee and downgraded the crew. in last week’s power rankings I literally talked about how bad the officiating is, so this exact same statement applies. “The Pac-12 refs managed to steal the show and become the center of attention. The officiating is so bad that even commissioner Larry Scott who said Pac-12 referees were on par with other conferences at Pac-12 Media had to admit what we all know:”

“I sit through a review every single week with David Coleman, the head of our officiating, and I can tell you there’s a significant number of mistakes every week,” Scott said according to Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times.

Players and fans deserve better than to have crucial games be affected by horrendous officiating. It’s gotta stop somewhere.

If Oregon and Utah meet with 1-loss in the Pac-12 Championship, the winner should land a spot in the College Football Playoff Top 4.

For Reference Check out the Pac-12 Power Rankings from Week 11.

Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 12

Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 12:

Teams are ranked by the correct criteria: quality wins, schedule played, and dominance. Only games played matter. No consideration is given for future games. The Pac-12 Power Rankings will available on Unafraid Show every Monday morning. Make sure you send your comments and grievances to immad@unafraidshow.com.

12. Arizona Wildcats (4-5, 2-4)

Last Week: IDLE

Nothing bad can happen if you don’t play, but the Wildcats did call into last place of the Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 12. Kevin Sumlin has allowed his job security to be threatened by refusing to choose a starting quarterback. The team looks awful not only defensively but inconsistent offensively. It is time to turn the page on Khalil Tate and let the era Grant Gunnell begin. They won’t be beating the Ducks in Eugene, so it’s time to plan for the future.

11. Washington State Cougars (4-5, 1-5)

Last Week: 20-33 (L) at Cal

Everybody thinks Mike Leach press conferences are amazing theatre and they regularly go viral for his off the wall content. His name is also constantly mentioned for every head coaching job that opens, even by me. But, why doesn’t the media trumpet his words when he is railing against his players? This week he called a group of his players frauds. Earlier this year he called his team fat, dumb, happy, and entitled.

I was always taught that teams are a reflection of the head coach. So, if the team is all these bad things, what is the head coach?

10. Stanford Cardinal (4-5, 3-4)

Last Week: 13-16 (L) at Colorado

Colorado had given up at least 30 points in thirteen straight games. How is it possible that Stanford only managed to score 13 with KJ Costello at quarterback. For the second season consecutive season, David Shaw’s team has struggled to run the football. Everything we have seen since the beginning of last season says the “intellectual brutality” that Stanford is known for is broken beyond repair. They are either 10th or 11th in the Pac-12 in total offense, passing offense, and rushing offense.

But hey, the way things go in the Pac-12 you know they will put up 30 points at Washington State.

9. Colorado Buffaloes (4-6, 2-5)

Last Week: 16-13 (W) vs Stanford

COlorado Football Steven Montez

Colorado looked like they were on pace to one-up last year’s team that lost seven straight games. But, they pulled out an offensive struggle against Stanford. Yes, I meant an offensive struggle. Neither defense is particularly good, but both offenses were completely underwhelming.

I don’t know what Mel Tucker did or said to his team to get them ready to play but he deserves praise because they were going nowhere fast. Can he bottle it up and get the Buffaloes to do it two more times to make a bowl game?

8. Oregon State Beavers (4-5, 3-3)

Last Week: 7-19 (L) vs Washington

Oregon State is much better, but they are still a loooooooooong way away from competing with Washington, Utah, and Oregon. Their offense came into the Washington game scoring over 32 points per game and didn’t score one point. If Jacob Eason didn’t throw the defense a pick-six, OSU would have been blanked.

The only positive this week for the Beaver was the defense showed up and played their best game of the season against Utah. All that talk about a possible bowl game needs to be stopped immediately.

7. Cal Golden Bears (5-4, 2-4)

Last Week: 33-20 (W) vs Washington State

Cal had only averaged 8 ppg since Chase Garbers went down, but they managed to put up 33 on Wazzu. Devon Modster played a great game and used his athleticism to make plays when things weren’t available via the pass. It seems inevitable that Cal will make a bowl game. They are expecting to have Garbers back under center for the last two games of the season.

Justin Wilcox and Tim DeRuyter clearly have the recipe for stopping Washington’s offense and the Air Raid. On the Pac-12 Apostles Podcast, we tell you the secret to stopping the Air Raid and where most teams go wrong.

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6. Arizona State Sun Devils (5-4, 2-4)

Last Week: 26-31 (L) vs USC

ASU just slept walked through the first quarter against USC. They gave up 28 points, and it looked like they were going to suffer an all-time loss. But the defense buckled down and only gave up a field goal for the rest of the game. If Jayden Daniels had played I believe Arizona State would have won. But, if “ifs and ands were pots and pans, the whole world would be a kitchen”.

The Sun Devils came extremely close to being the last game for a 3rd USC football coach. They previously sent Lane Kiffin and Seven-win Sark packing. But, the Sun Devils have some serious soul searching to do. They started the season 4-1 and are now losers in three of their last four.

5. USC Trojans (6-4, 5-2)

Last Week: 31-26 (W) vs Arizona State

Kedon Slovis USC Top Performer Week 3

Clay Helton survives to coach another week. USC is going to a bowl game and might finish 8-4. Wouldn’t that be an incredible set of events that may cause Helton to be the head coach next season? There are so many built-in injury excuses for USC’s failures in 2019.

The Trojans clearly have their quarterback for at least the next two years in freshman Kedon Slovis. Every week he seems to be breaking more and more USC passing records.

4. Washington Huskies (6-4, 3-4)

Last Week: 19-7 (W) at Oregon State

Ewww. What an ugly win by Washington. Huskies fans are so angry about the offensive struggles this season but can’t come to a consensus on where the blame lies. Everyone from Chris Peterson, OC Bush Hamdan, the wide receivers, and Jacob Eason has been blamed. It’s weird, but UW still looks like a quality football team despite being 6-4 this season. They are just having trouble closing football games.

Jacob Eason is such an enigma to me. In the Utah game, he made throws in the first half that prove he could be an NFL 1st round pick. Then he proceeded to throw two awful interceptions including a pix-six that turned the game in Utah’s favor.

3. UCLA Bruins (4-5, 4-2)

Last Week: IDLE

Pac-12 Power Rankings

Chip Kelly and the Bruins got a week off to scheme something outrageous up tot beat Utah. They have everything to play for. They still control their own destiny in the Pac-12 South and can make a bowl game. Imagine UCLA and much-maligned QB Dorian Thompson beating the Utes this weekend. Yea, I can’t imagine it either.

However, if UCLA does the unthinkable and wins the Pac-12 South I am going to spike the football so hard on everyone who called me crazy in the preseason.

2. Utah Utes (8-1, 5-1)

Last Week: IDLE

Finish the job. Don’t drink the rat poison. If Kyle Whittingham can keep his team focused on one game at a time and not to worry about their CFB Playoff Rankings, they are golden.

Is Utah better than Oregon? Is Tyler Huntley having the best season of any Pac-12 quarterback?

1. Oregon Ducks (8-1, 6-0)

Last Week: IDLE

Montana vs Oregon 2019 Football

Don’t screw it up against Arizona. Last year, Khalil Tate and company put a hurting on the Ducks and flat out embarrassed them. This year, Mario Cristobal needs to make a serious statement to the College Football Playoff committee that they deserve to be in the top 4.

Check back every Monday for the next Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 12.

In Ugly Win, Washington Huskies Gain Bowl Eligibility

Joe Tryon Washington Huskies

What Happened to the Washington Huskies Offense?

Against a very beatable Oregon State defense, the Washington Huskies barely scraped together 19 points. In their previous five games, OSU’s defense allowed an average of 33.8 points-per-game to opponents. However, against the odds, they rattled Jacob Eason.

Jacob Eason’s Poor Play

On the day, Washington Huskies’ Jacob Eason completed 16 of 32 passes. Aside from his abysmal 50-percent completion percentage, Eason’s 5.5 yards-per-attempt show how much he struggled. Usually content with letting it fly, Eason wasn’t confident, or accurate, enough to make big plays. At game’s end, Eason amassed just 175 yards and two interceptions. 

Even worse, one of those interceptions was taken to the house by Jaydon Grant.

  • 50-Percent Completion Percentage
  • 175 Passing Yards
  • 5.5 Yards-Per-Attempt
  • Two Interceptions
  • One Pick Six
  • 83.4 Passing Efficiency Rating
  • 27.1 QBR

By far and away his worst game of the season. Eason needs to forget it quickly.

Salvon Ahmed and Hunter Bryant

Thank goodness someone showed up for the Washington Huskies offense. Otherwise, they would have dropped to a .500 record on the season. In their win, Hunter Bryant was his usual self. With five catches and 90 yards, he displayed why he is the top tight end in the nation. Even on the worst day for Eason, Bryant can ball out.

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Additionally, Salvon Ahmed was the Washington Huskies source of strength. He ran the ball 25 times for 174 yards and two scores. More importantly, in the fourth quarter, Ahmed clinched the victory. His 60-yard touchdown was a sigh of relief for every UW fan.

Washington Huskies Dominant Defense

Even though their offense struggled to hold a drive, UW’s defense showed up! They held Oregon State’s offense to 119 yards. Not 119 passing yards or rushing yards. 119 total offensive yards. They suffocated the Beavers.

Impressively, the Washington Huskies forced OSU to punt 10 times, while only allowing six first downs. It was a lights out performance. Additionally, they didn’t give up a single point. If not for Eason’s abhorrent play, UW would have gotten the shut-out.

Before playing the Huskies, Jake Lutton’s 19-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio was second-best in the nation. However, UW’s defense held him to just 88 yards, one interception, zero touchdowns, and an awful 8.5 QBR.

We haven’t seen UW’s defense play like this in some time. It was reminiscent of the 2016 Washington Huskies. Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come for the Dawgs.

Joe Tryon’s Performance of a Lifetime

Oregon State couldn’t contain Joe Tryon. He was an absolute wrecking ball on defense.

  • 7 tackles
  • 4.5 tackles for a loss
  • 2 sacks
  • Forced a turnover on downs with a fantastic open-field tackle

This was his game. Yes, the rest of the Washington Huskies defense played well. Levi Onwuzurike created disruption after disruption. Additionally, the secondary held up and stifled the pass game. But, if there’s one defensive MVP of the game, it is certainly Joe Tryon.

Take What You Can Get

While not the type of win UW fans want to see, it was still a win. And, with their sixth win of the season, the Washington Huskies are officially bowl-eligible. If they finish out the season strong, Husky fans can at least root for a bowl victory. Granted, this season was a huge letdown. This isn’t the playoff team fans hoped for. But still, it was a good day to be a Husky.

College Football Top 10 Power Rankings Week 12 As it Should Be

College Football Rankings Week 2

Welcome to the College Football Top 10 Power Rankings Week 12 As it Should Be. Saturday started with seven undefeated teams, and now we are down to five. Firstly, my head may explode if one more person says LSU has four top 10 wins. They don’t. Texas was severely over ranked in the preseason and isn’t even in the top 25 right now. Your wins count for where those teams are ranked now. Rankings should be fair and unbiased, but that’s not the world we live in when preseason polls ultimately affect the final rankings. I’m not sure why I have to explain this but clearly I do.

Secondly, LSU vs Alabama was a great football game. But, the media and fans acting like it was the “Game of the Century” was tiring. Truth be told, there were five other games this season that were just as good.

Texas v LSU, Penn St vs Michigan, Oregon vs Washington, UCLA vs Washington State, Notre Dame vs Georgia

Every year there is always talk about the potential for chaos. I believe we may actually get some wild finishes to the season.

The biggest debate this week will be the #4 spot. Will the committee reward quality wins and schedules or named brands?

College Football Playoff

After the first CFB Playoff Committee rankings, we have enough information to put playoff scenarios together. So here is how it should shake out at this point. Check back here on Tuesday for the Road to the Playoff series where we examine every team’s path to the top 4.

  1. SEC Champion- LSU and Georgia have the inside track to play in the SEC championship. Ironically, Auburn could put the entire SEC out of the playoff by beating UGA and Alabama, then have 2-loss UGA win the SEC championship.
  2. Undefeated or 1-loss Big Ten Winner– (Ohio State/Minnesota/Penn State): The only thing that could mess up the Big Ten selection is if 2-loss Wisconsin wins the Big Ten Championship.
  3. Clemson– They have no competition in the ACC so they will finish undefeated with a string of blowout victories.
  4. Pac-12 Champion– (Oregon/Utah) If both teams finish the season 11-1 the conference championship game will feature a top 10 showdown. And both teams are playing exceptional football right now.

The Big 12 is in trouble. Baylor can’t score and Oklahoma can’t play defense and there are no signature wins possible to jump other teams.

The way this season is shaping up, everyone may be on board with an 8 team playoff. There will be so many 1 loss teams who will be deserving of a chance to play for a championship. Wouldn’t it just make more sense to have the five Power 5 champions and highest-ranked Group of 5 team to get automatic bids? There would still be two spots left for at-large bids. You would always get the best and most deserving teams in the tournament. That might actually cause teams to schedule better non-conference games because they would know they could still get in the CFB Playoffs with 1-2 losses. Fans would then get better games.

The Rules: No Bias, No Bull College Football Rankings

There is no more unbiased ranking out there than Unafraid Show’s College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 6. I get criticized from time to time by people who only want to see the college football world through the lens of the AP Poll. These rankings are not going to look like the AP Poll. Open your eyes to see a different view of evaluating the top 10. Most polls including the College Football Playoff Committee give college blueblood teams a massive “benefit of the doubt.” I don’t believe in that. Teams are ranked by the correct criteria: quality wins, schedule played, and dominance. After the preseason rankings, only games played matter. No consideration is given for future games.

I re-rank the top 10 every Sunday from scratch. The previous week’s rankings do not factor into the next week. So, the rankings will change, sometimes drastically every week because we will have new information. So make sure to come back every Sunday. For reference, you can check College Football Top 10 Power Rankings Week 11.

College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 10:

Next Up: Florida, Baylor, Wisconsin, Michigan

Baylor has looked awful offensively in back-to-back weeks. Nothing about this team makes me believe they can beat any of the top 10 teams. They were #9 last week but can’t crack the CFTAISB this week.

10. Penn State (8-1)

Last Week: 26-31 (L) at Minnesota

College Football Rankings

PSU drank the “rat poison”. They showed up to Minnesota thinking they were all that and got punched in the mouth. The Nittany Lions tried to fight back but came up short. It was troubling to see their secondary have so many miscommunications and leave receivers wide open. And it was a very inopportune time for quarterback Sean Clifford to throw three interceptions.

All is not lost though. Penn State can still get to the Big Ten Championship by knocking off Ohio State.

9. Oklahoma Sooners (8-1)

Last Week: at 42-41 (W) vs Iowa State

Oklahoma’s defense is a real problem. No lead is safe because they cannot stop anyone. Part of the reason things got so bad against Iowa State is that injuries have caused them to be extremely thin in the secondary. The defense has struggled against Kansas State and Iowa State. So, imagine what Clemson, LSU, or Ohio State would do to Oklahoma.

Jalen Hurts had another great performance with over 330 total yards and five total touchdowns. But that was almost not enough. I would be surprised if the Sooners finish the rest of the season undefeated because they are playing with fire.

8. Minnesota (9-0)

Last Week: 31-26 (W) vs Penn State

Minnesota made a believer out of all the doubters. They clearly felt disrespected by the CFB Playoff committee ranking them #17.

It was a good thing that Minnesota signed PJ Fleck to that huge contract extension before the Penn State game. It would have cost more after Saturday. The Golden Gophers are for real. They have a humongous offensive line. I’m not sure I have ever seen a line this big. The secondary is extremely opportunistic. They can’t beat Iowa, Wisconsin, then Ohio State… right?

The name of the name is “win and you are in” for the Golden Gophers.

7. Georgia Bulldogs (8-1)

Last Week: 27-0 (W) vs Missouri

Georgia Bulldogs College Football Rankings Top 10

Georgia won 27-0 but it was not a very impressive win. The defense looked very good against an average Missouri offense. But, the offense was pretty pedestrian. The Bulldogs only managed 339 yards of total offense and wasn’t very explosive.

Their loss to South Carolina looks even worse this week after the Gamecocks lost to Appalachian State. Georgia is a very talented team but I can see a scenario where they drop another game before the SEC championship. Kirby Smart plays much too conservative to win anything.

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6. Utah (8-1)

Last Week: IDLE

The Utes are by far the most underrated team in college football. If they mess around and sneak in the playoff, they can shock the world. Their defense is experienced and physical. Utah’s quarterback, Tyler Huntley may be having the best season of any quarterback in the Pac-12

Some are even arguing they are better than the Oregon Ducks. If you haven’t watched them play, Florida would be a really good comparison except UF has more explosive wide receivers.

5. Alabama Crimson Tide (8-1)

Last Week: 41-46 (L) vs LSU

Bama hadn’t played anybody with a pulse all year. When they finally did play their first top 25 team (TAMU is currently unranked), or team with a pulse, they lost. The Crimson Tide were not battle-tested while LSU had played Texas, Florida, and Auburn.

Tua fought hard and showed a lot of heart, but LSU was just too much. Most of the second half defensive stops had more to do with Joe Burrow missing throws than Alabama’s defense. It is clear that Bama is supremely talented offensively, but their defense is not what we are accustomed to. It would take a lot of chaos for Alabama to be deserving of a playoff spot.

They would need LSU to lose twice to make it to the SEC championship game. And if Bama were to beat Auburn, it would be their only quality win.

4. Oregon Ducks (8-1)

Last Week: IDLE

I would be pissed if I were Oregon. All week most of the national media debated their CFB Playoff chances and dismissed their defense and ability to compete with their preseason darlings. Expect Mario Cristobal to try and run up the score on their next three opponents before the Pac-12 championship to make a statement..

This is Oregon’s best team since the 2015 team that went to the CFB Championship in 2015. East coast bias will try and dismiss the Ducks, but this is a complete football team. They are one of the few teams in the nation who are tops in the nation in scoring offense and scoring defense.

People thought the Pac-12 was out of the CFB Playoff conversation. But eleven weeks into the season Oregon and Utah are squarely back in the conversation.

3. Clemson Tigers (10-0)

Last Week: 55-10 (W) at NC State

College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 10

This game was over after Clemson scored 28 points int he first quarter. How is the ACC so bad?

What Clemson is missing schedule, they make up for with dominance. It’s crazy to me that so many people knock Clemson’s schedule while barely mentioning Alabama’s weak schedule. At least the Tigers tried to have a good schedule. They play their conference games plus South Carolina and Texas A&M to bring them to ten Power 5 games. Bama scheduled Duke, NMST, So. Miss, and WCU.

Clemson doesn’t have any obvious opportunities for quality wins on the schedule, so it is crucial they finish the season undefeated.

2. Ohio State Buckeyes (9-0)

Last Week: 73-14 (W) vs Maryland

The suspension to Chase Young and people questioning their #1 ranking only made Ohio State mad. They put a hurting on Maryland. If this where high school football in Arizona or New York, OSU head coach Ryan Day would be fired for running up the score. Not only did they score 73 points, but they also racked up 705 yards of total offense, and held Maryland to 139 yards.

We are a week away from the meat of the Buckeyes schedule. They play Penn State and Michigan after they destroy Rutgers this upcoming weekend.

1. LSU (9-0)

Last Week: 46-41 (W) at Alabama

CFB Playoff Rankings

LSU looks so unstoppable on offense. They can throw the ball downfield or run teams over. Joe Burrow cemented himself at the very least a Heisman finalist, if not sewing up the win. My biggest concern is this defense that has given up 38 points or more three times this season. But the good news is the offense is so potent LSU can win a shootout. Make no mistake, this is not an Oklahoma defense situation.

It is impossible to deny the Tigers’ body of work up to this point. Overtaking the #1 team in the College Football Top 10 As It Should Be Week 12 when the #1 team has been as dominant as Ohio State is a difficult task. But, LSU’s schedule played so far has been better and they knocked off Alabama last week.

Check back next Sunday morning for the College Football Top 10 Power Rankings Week 12.

Tyler Huntley is the Best Quarterback in the Pac-12

Utah Utes College Football Playoff Week 3

A Hobbled Tyler Huntley Took Down Washington

It’s unbelievable what Tyler Huntley is doing this season. Against Washington (at Washington), Huntley made play after play. His 85.0 PFF grade and 139.6 Clean Passer Rating show this. Moreover, Huntley was incredible on third down.

Even with Zack Moss averaging 3.7 yards-per-carry, it didn’t matter. Because Tyler Huntley proved he could take over a game. And he did it all on an injured leg!

Leading the Utes to a come-back win against the Huskies solidifies his position at the top of Pac-12 quarterbacks.

Tyler Huntley’s Efficiency

This 2019 season, the Pac-12 has a host of talented quarterbacks. Justin Herbert is currently projected to get drafted in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft. Additionally, Jacob Eason earned praise for his NFL arm-strength and Anthony Gordon leads the FBS in passing yards and passing touchdowns. It’s an excellent year for Pac-12 quarterbacks. However, based off the metrics, it is actually Tyler Huntley that is currently the top Pac-12 quarterback.

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Tyler Huntley’s Impressive Passer Ratings

While Tyler Huntley ranks 30th in passing yards (2,062) and 64th in passing touchdowns (11), his efficiency is off the charts! Currently, Tyler Huntley leads all Pac-12 quarterbacks in Passing Efficiency Rating (182.5), NFL Passer Rating (124.6) and ESPN’s QBR (96.0). His 182.5 Passing Efficiency Rating ranks 5th among qualified FBS quarterbacks. After watching Utah Utes games and pouring over stats, Huntley’s accuracy is phenomenal. This is NFL-level precision. 

Touchdown to Interception Ratio

As said above, Huntley has just 11 passing touchdowns this season. But, he’s only thrown one interception. Additionally, Huntley carried the ball into the end zone four times. His 11-1 touchdown to interception ratio is great, especially considering his four rushing scores.

He’s not a game manager

Whether on broadcasts or Twitter, Tyler Huntley’s been labeled a “game manager”. Because of his lower counting stats (yards and touchdowns), combined with Utah’s defensive and rushing prowess, it’s an easy judgment to make. Though easy, it’s inaccurate.

Game managers don’t let the ball fly like Huntley. They keep passes short and safe. Yes, he doesn’t throw the ball as often as other college quarterbacks. But, when he does, he isn’t afraid to take shots. His 10.8 yards-per-attempt and 11.7 adjusted yards-per-attempt both rank fourth in the nation. No other Pac-12 quarterback tops him in either of those categories. 

Should Tyler Huntley be in the Heisman Conversation?

So, in review, Tyler Huntley ranks higher than all other Pac-12 quarterbacks in:

  • Passing Efficiency Rating
  • NFL Passer Rating
  • ESPN’s QBR
  • Yards-Per-Attempt
  • Adjusted Yards-Per-Attempt

It’s time to give Tyler Huntley the reigns of the Utah Utes offense. Let him show Pac-12 and the rest of college football what he’s made of. He’s already proven that he can be efficient and productive when called upon. Huntley, even with a bum-leg, can carry his team. If he leads his team to a Pac-12 title and college football playoffs, he has to be in the conversation.

Huntley is accurate, efficient, impressive and leads a strong offense. He’s an elite college quarterback and should be treated as such.

Top 5 College Football Playoff Storylines Heading Into Week 11

After two months of the regular season, the first College Football Playoff rankings were revealed this past Tuesday. Let’s just say that fans of the Big Ten and SEC should be very happy.

Ohio State, LSU, Alabama, and Penn State are in the first four spots. For reference, my playoff heading into Week 11 is LSU, Ohio State, Alabama, and Clemson. The playoff rankings are guaranteed to change after this weekend because of the showdown in Tuscaloosa when No. 1 LSU plays No. 2 Alabama. Here are the Top 5 CFP storylines heading into Week 11.

The SEC (And National) Game Of The Year

If No. 1 vs. No. 2 doesn’t get your juices going, then you must be a corpse. LSU and their high powered offense travel to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama in one of the most important games of the year. However, the real story is the health of Tua Tagovailoa. Will his ankle hold up? If Tua has limited mobility and can’t make the plays fans are used to seeing him make, Alabama is in for a long day especially if their defense can’t contain Burrow and the fourth-ranked offense in the country.

Can Minnesota Derail Penn State’s Perfect Season?

Should we be rowing the boat with Minnesota? The Golden Gophers have been the surprise of the Big Ten with an 8-0 record. However, the committee did not show any love towards the Gophers as Minnesota ranked 17th in the first playoff ranking. That ranking reflects their lack of quality opponents and 77th ranked strength of schedule. However, that can all change with a win over Penn State on Saturday. The Nittany Lions surprised some by receiving the final playoff spot over Clemson. Penn State still has a clash with Ohio State later this month, but they can’t afford to overlook Minnesota. PJ Fleck could have the entire country rowing the boat around 3 o’clock on Saturday if Minnesota upsets Penn State.

Clemson Is Fine… If They Win Out

Clemson is the defending National Champion and owns the nation’s longest winning streak (24), but the Tigers were outside of the top four in the CFP. Tiger fans are wondering why “no one respects them.” What do you want me to tell you? The toughest game Clemson has played all season was in Week 2 against Texas A&M. Currently, A&M is 6-3 and unranked. The Tigers started off slow and accumulated few quality wins. That being said, the Tigers still have Dabo Swinney, Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne, and the fourth-ranked defense in the country. Clemson fans, relax. Win out and the Tigers will be in the playoff. However, lose one game and Clemson won’t be able to defend their championship.

Iowa And Wisconsin Still Fighting For The Big Ten West

Minnesota is in the driver’s seat for the Big Ten West with a 5-0 conference record. However, Iowa and Wisconsin are both alive at 3-2 in the conference. After Penn State, Minnesota plays both Iowa and Wisconsin (along with Northwestern) to wrap up the regular season. If Minnesota loses to Penn State, the winner of this week’s Iowa and Wisconsin game will control their own destiny for the chance to play in the Big Ten Championship. Expect a low scoring game at Camp Randall as Wisconsin and Iowa have the first and sixth-ranked defenses respectively.

Hypothetical Season Has Only Just Begun

College Football Playoff

The reveal of one playoff ranking has sent both teams and fans into pandemonium. The long list of hypotheticals aka “What Ifs” will dominate discussion over the next month. George broke down each team’s potential road to the playoff, but I want to focus on the biggest hypothetical in college football. Let’s say LSU, Ohio State, and Clemson all win out and win their respective conference championships. Those three teams would make the playoff, which leaves one remaining spot left. Who gets in if Alabama has one loss to LSU, Penn State has one loss to Ohio State, and Oregon has one loss to Auburn but wins the Pac-12? The answer should be Oregon, but that’s no guarantee. As we’ve seen in years past, teams with one loss have gotten into the playoff over conference champions. Nothing is written in stone.

What are your top College Football Playoff storylines for Week 11? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow or email us immad@unafraidshow.com.

Road to The College Football Playoff: How Each Team Gets In Week 11

College Football Playoff Rankings Week 11

The first College Football Playoff Committee rankings were released and this is the perfect time to start the “Road to the CFB Playoff” series. I will examine every team with a realistic path to the top four and how they can get there. Every Sunday I release the College Football Top 10 Rankings As It Should Be. Nine of my top teams were there, and 1-5 were almost exactly like the committees, except mine, are ranked by three criteria: quality wins, schedule played, and dominance.

College Football Playoff Committee Rankings Week 11

College Football Playoff Rankings

From the Top 25 teams, there are 12 teams with ANY shot to make the top four. The entire top 10 is in play plus Baylor and Minnesota. Auburn is eliminated for now because they have no path to the SEC Championship game, and would need a lot of weird things to happen. Plus they would need to beat Georgia and Alabama. The same is true of Wisconsin. They have a path to the Big Ten championship, but chaos would have to happen for them to get in the top four.

As of this week here is how it appears the CFB Playoff Top 4 will shake out.

  1. Undefeated Big Ten Winner- Ohio State, Penn State, Minnesota
  2. Undefeated or 1 loss SEC Champion- LSU, Alabama, Georgia
  3. Clemson
  4. Pac-12 Champion- Oregon, Utah

Now one to each team and their path(s)

Ohio State: Win and they are in. There is no scenario where they are undefeated and/or win the Big Ten Championship with one loss and don’t get in (it would be impossible for them to lose to Rutgers or Maryland). Even if the Buckeyes lost to Penn State in a couple of weeks, they would have a strong case compared to 1-loss Alabama, Oregon, Utah. The Buckeyes could make it undefeated to the Big Ten Championship and lose to Minnesota which would send college football into a tailspin.

LSU: Win and they are in. Beat Alabama, don’t get tripped up by Ole Miss, Arkansas (LOL), or Texas A&M. Ohio State and LSU are the only teams that could lose in their conference championship games and still have a playoff case.

Alabama: The Crimson Tide have NO room for error in 2019. Their awful non-conference schedule plus only playing no ranked teams before this weekend against LSU will hurt. Even if Alabama beats LSU and goes on to the SEC Championship and loses to 1-loss Georgia, they will be out unless Ohio State, Penn State, or Clemson lose in their conference game to a 1 or more loss team.

Penn State: Win out and no one can leapfrog them. Penn State has a better resume than Alabama but the CFB Playoff committee still put them behind Bama, so is there any way the Nittany Lions get in the pot four with a loss? I do not see a scenario that doesn’t involve Ohio State losing twice and PSU winning the Big Ten Championship which is far fetched.

College Football Top 10

Clemson: There are two ways Clemson gets in; win out and they are guaranteed a playoff spot, or pray for the unlikely demise of about 3-4 teams. We won’t even go down that rabbit hole, it’s too weird.

Georgia: There is only one way Georgia gets in, winning out. They cannot afford any more losses. The CFB Rankings already rewarded them for the Florida and Notre Dame wins more than it punished them for the horrendous S. Carolina loss. Even if UGA wins the SEC Championship but loses one of their last three games to Auburn, Texas A&M, or Georgia Tech they will be left out of a playoff of undefeated Big Ten champ, Clemson, 1 l-loss Pac-12 champ.

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Oregon and Utah: The Pac-12 is very alive even though people tried to bury them early in the season. Both teams are in nearly the exact same situation. If both teams are 11-1 when they meet in the Pac-12 championship it should be a top 5 or 5 vs 6 matchup. The winner will most likely get in the playoff. Oregon will have a better shot than Utah because traditionally, the committee has leaned toward named brand teams.

Oklahoma: Lincoln Riley’s team is sitting at #9. It is much lower than most people thought, but right about where I had them in the College Football Playoff Rankings As It Should Be (CFPRAISB). They need Oregon or Utah to lose and the other win the Pac-12. In addition, they need LSU to beat Alabama. They also need to beat Baylor twice and Baylor to finish 11-2. A Clemson loss wouldn’t hurt either.

Florida: Florida needs a miracle at this point. Their last three games are Missouri, Vanderbilt, and Florida State. None of those games move the needle. They would also need Georgia to lose two games to send Florida to the SEC Championship. If that happens they would need to beat an undefeated LSU or Alabama. And… nevermind. It’s not happening.

Baylor Bears College Football Playoff

Baylor: The Bears are in the same situation they were in in 2015 when Ohio State jumped Baylor and TCU. They don’t have the respect of the nation. The difference is that they are still undefeated. Baylor needs to dominate Texas, beat Oklahoma twice, or beat K-State in the Big 12 championship.

Minnesota: Win out and they will make the playoff. They sit at #17 right now, but if they defeat Penn State, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Ohio State over the next five weeks they will be the #1 team in the nation. No one will have run a gauntlet like that.

This playoff top four would be a lot easier to figure out and there would be no need for expansion if teams scheduled better. Imagine a college football world where everyone scheduled 10 or 11 Power Five games. Every Saturday would be power-packed. That is part of the reason there are some who believe the traditional conference model will go away and there will be one super conference of around 30 teams that only play each other.

The way this season is shaping up, everyone may be on board with an 8 team playoff. There will be so many 1 loss teams who will be deserving of a chance to play for a championship. Wouldn’t it just make more sense to have the five Power 5 champions and highest-ranked Group of 5 team to get automatic bids? There would still be two spots left for at-large bids. You would always get the best and most deserving teams in the tournament. That might actually cause teams to schedule better non-conference games because they would know they could still get in the CFB Playoffs with 1-2 losses. Fans would then get better games.

Washington Can’t Finish a Game. Can They Finish a Season?

Washington Huskies Week 10

Washington Football and Missed Expectations

After nine games, it’s crystal clear that the Washington Huskies have problems. Their five and four record exemplifies that. Even worse, the Huskies are two and four in Pac-12 conference games. For fans, it feels like a lost season. Expectations were as high as College Football Playoffs but fell to hopes of any bowl appearance.

UW Can’t finish games

Against Cal, Washington led 19-17 with just two minutes and five seconds left. Versus Oregon, the Huskies were up 28-14 in the second half. Most recently, against Utah, UW was up 21-13 in the third quarter.

And yet, Washington lost each of these games. They collapsed. In the first halves, the Huskies look dominant as can be. Eason and company, as well as the defense, make play after play. But then, once the game is on the line, something shifts. 2019 is full of difficult and painful learning opportunities.

But, here’s the ugliest part of it all. Each of these losses came at home. They lost three games, after leading inside Husky Stadium. Even with home-field advantage (evidenced by referee favor in “Scorecasting” by Tobias Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim), Washington couldn’t close out games. Honestly, who wants to go to a Husky game if they keep losing at home?

Washington’s hopes for a bowl game

Thankfully, because Washington isn’t a dreadful team, they still should make a bowl game. According to experts, Washington will play in the Alamo, Holiday or Redbox Bowl.. Kyle Bonagura from ESPN predicts UW to play in the Alamo Bowl against Baylor. Also from ESPN, Mark Schlabach thinks that the Huskies will land in the Holiday Bowl versus Michigan. Joe Tansey from Bleacher Report has Washington playing against Michigan State in the Holiday Bowl. Jerry Palm of CBS Sports projects UW to face off against Indiana in the Redbox Bowl.

If nothing else, a bowl win is a great way to finish the season.

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Hopes for next season

Pray that Jacob Eason stays

First off, it goes without saying that Washington needs Jacob Eason to stay. He hasn’t been perfect, but my goodness has he had his moments.

Unfortunately, Jacob Eason is a top quarterback prospect in the 2020 NFL draft. Walter Football ranks him fourth among eligible quarterbacks. Additionally, drafttek.com has Eason at 50th overall and their sixth quarterback. He’s a strong, NFL prospect. Considering the turmoil in the NFL right now with quarterbacks and the success of Gardner Minshew, Eason will get drafted early if he enters the 2020 draft.

Play young talent

It took too long to get Puka Nacua involved. For some reason, Chris Peterson continued to play seniors over more talented receivers. Granted, it’s easy to trust seniority over raw talent. But, according to many beat reporters and scouts, Puka Nacua turned heads in practices. Then, once inserted into games, he displayed playmaking abilities. Improper self-scouting cost Washington points.

Because the Huskies lose Aaron Fuller, Andre Baccellia, Chico McClatcher and likely Hunter Bryant this season, it will force them to play different receivers on offense. But, Nacua is just one wide receiver highlighting a larger issue. The Huskies need to prioritize talent and upside over age and safety.

Better execution on third down

On third down this season, the Huskies converted 41 of 115 opportunities (35.65-percent). Some of the most painful punts to watch were followed by game-changing drives by Cal, Oregon, and Utah. Better innovation is needed. Which, considering Washington’s two and four record in Pac-12 games, should be an obvious desire. UW knows these opponents. It shouldn’t be this difficult to game-plan against familiar opponents.

Less field goals, more touchdowns for Washington

This season, in the red zone, Washington scored 21 touchdowns and kicked 13 field goals. Against competitive teams, UW settled for safety and squandered their winning chances. Of note, the Huskies are 14 of 21 (66.67-percent) on fourth down this season. Why not go for it more often? They certainly can’t do worse than this season.

Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 11: Fight to the Finish for Bowl Games

Pac-12 Football Review: Senior Bowl, Clay Millen Offers, Todd Orlando

Welcome to the Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 11. Overall, it was a great week for the conference. The two best teams had great performances on national television while the east coast was still awake. However, Pac-12 refs managed to steal the show and become the center of attention. The officiating is so bad that even commissioner Larry Scott who said Pac-12 referees were on par with other conferences at Pac-12 Media had to admit what we all know:

“I sit through a review every single week with David Coleman, the head of our officiating, and I can tell you there’s a significant number of mistakes every week,” Scott said according to Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times.

Players and fans deserve better than to have crucial games be affected by horrendous officiating.

A few weeks ago a writer put out a parity “Pac-12 simulator” for the rest of the season that had every team finishing between 5-7 and 7-5. With the exception of Oregon and Utah, he was not far off. There is a logjam of parity and averageness below the two elite teams. Weirdly, UCLA is still alive to win the south, but that would require beating Utah.

If Oregon and Utah meet with 1-loss in the Pac-12 Championship, the winner should land a spot in the College Football Playoff Top 4.

For Reference Check out the Pac-12 Power Rankings from Week 10.

Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 11:

Teams are ranked by the correct criteria: quality wins, schedule played, and dominance. Only games played matter. No consideration is given for future games. The Pac-12 Power Rankings will available on Unafraid Show every Monday morning. Make sure you send your comments and grievances to immad@unafraidshow.com.

12. Colorado Buffaloes (3-5, 1-4)

Last Week: 14-31 (L) at UCLA

Things are continuing to spiral out of control for the Buffaloes. They have lost five straight games and six of their last seven. Colorado has only been competitive in two of the six losses. Mel Tucker’s team appears to have quit on him the same way they quit on Mike MacIntyre when they lost seven straight to close last season. Those same players are there, which means the roster and program need a complete overhaul.

The Buffaloes are recruiting a lot of junior college players which should add a lot of depth and hungry new talent for 2020. With Stanford, Washington, and Utah left on the schedule the Buffaloes might drop eight straight to finish the season.

11. Arizona Wildcats (4-5, 2-4)

Last Week: 28-56 (L) vs Oregon State

Pac-12 Power Rankings

The Wildcats are a complete disaster. It is clear that this team is short on top tier playmakers on both sides of the ball. But, that is not even their biggest problem. For weeks I have noted that this team has no identity. Kevin Sumlin has continuously played quarterback shuffle between Khalil Tate and Grant Gunnell. The two quarterbacks couldn’t have more different styles of play. This causes confusion amongst the players and doesn’t allow Arizona to built offensive continuity.

Sumlin also fired his defensive coordinator Marcel Yates last week. The team proceeded to give up 56 points and 572 yards of total offense. Arizona moved into last place in the Pac-12 in total defense (481 ypg) and scoring defense (37.3 ppg).

10. Cal Golden Bears (4-4, 1-4)

Last Week: IDLE

Cal had a week off which means they are one week closer to getting their quarterback Chase Garbers back. The Bears broken offense has had a dramatic effect on their defense. Bad field position and turnovers have consistently put the defense in positions that even the ’85 Chicago Bears couldn’t defend against. Cal’s defense knows that do have any shot this week against Washington State, they must score points with a pick-six or fumble-six.

At this point, it would take nothing short of a miracle for Cal to make a bowl game.

9. Washington State Cougars (5-4, 2-4)

Last Week: IDLE

Washington State

The Cougars are statistically the best offense in the Pac-12. They average 41 points per game and 521 yards per game. The floor has just fallen in on the moral of Wazzu since blowing a 32-point lead against UCLA. Mike Leach has three games to find one win to get his team to their 5th consecutive bowl game.

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8. Arizona State Sun Devils (5-3, 2-3)

Last Week: IDLE

There is a term in the NFL called the “rookie wall”. That is when rookies have played more snaps and have been grinding for consecutive weeks than they did in college. Arizona State has hit the college version of that. Herm Edwards’s team is extremely young at key positions and it is starting to show.

They lived on the edge and won many early-season games by the hairs on their chinny chin chins. Now, as the season grows longer their focus faded and their youth is showing. This off week should revive the Sun Devils and they should perform much better against USC this week.

7. Washington Huskies (5-4, 2-4)

Last Week: 28-33 (L) vs Utah

Hunter Bryant Washington Hawaii

We cannot ignore the results and allow any bias to affect the Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 11. Chris Petersen is a really good coach and Washington is a talented football team. However, they are 2-4 in conference play with losses to Cal, Stanford, Oregon, and Utah. Teams are their record, and UW is a middle of the road Pac-12 team right now despite playing close games against Oregon and Utah.

Jacob Eason is such an enigma to me. In the Utah game, he made throws in the first half that prove he could be an NFL 1st round pick. Then he proceeded to throw two awful interceptions including a pix-six that turned the game in Utah’s favor.

The Huskies are a young football team on defense and should be much better next season. However, the Washington fans seem to be growing impatient with the coaching staff’s lack of signature wins.

6. Stanford Cardinal (4-4, 3-3)

Last Week: IDLE

Stanford has been extremely beaten up this season, particularly at the quarterback position. The Cardinal have been night and day depending on their quarterback situation. If the quarterback is KJ Costello or Davis Mills the team can function passing the football which then opens up their running game. Hopefully, the off week allowed the team to get healthy and they can get the six wins needed to get to a bowl game.

5. Oregon State Beavers (4-4, 3-2)

Last Week: 56-38 (W) at Arizona

There is not an honest person around that could say they believed Oregon State would be second in the Pac-12 North after ten weeks of football. Jonathan Smith has far exceeded expectations in 2019. This is the same team that lost seven games by at least 21 points in 2018. Oregon State’s offense has carried them this season. The offensive combinations of Luton, Pierce, Jefferson, and Hodgins have been a nightmare for opposing defenses (except Utah). They are averaging almost 34 ppg and 431 yards per game.

Don’t sleep on DE Hamilcar Rashed for Pac-12 defensive player of the year. He leads the conference with 12 sacks.

Beavers fans who were just hunting to find winnable games on the schedule are now looking at the possibility of making a bowl game.

4. UCLA Bruins (4-5, 4-2)

Last Week: 31-14 (W) vs Colorado

Pac-12 Power Rankings UCLA

This cannot be real. UCLA is #4 in the Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 11. Who behind them do you put in front of a team that is 4-2 in the conference? NOBODY.

Chip Kelly has his team peaking at the right time. The Bruins even control their own destiny in the Pac-12 South. Win their last three games against Utah, USC, and Cal and they are in the Pac-12 Championship. I’m not a madman so I don’t see that happening, but just making a bowl game would be a huge victory.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson is growing up in front of our eyes and is making better decisions each week. Even UCLA’s defense has improved over the last few weeks. Their defensive coordinator Jerry Azzinaro has lit a fire under his team and they have responded.

If UCLA does the unthinkable and wins the Pac-12 South I am going to spike the football so hard on everyone who called me crazy in the preseason.

3. USC Trojans (5-4, 4-2)

Last Week: 24-56 (L) vs Oregon

USC doesn’t feel good to me at the three spot, but who the hell else could I put here? The Trojans are playing below expectations and have a head coach that nearly everyone believes will be replaced at the end of this season. But, they are the only team to beat Utah and are 4-2 in the conference.

USC was just demolished by Oregon. It was one of the first times that Clay Helton’s team looked like their will had been broken. His players play hard for him because they like him. College football is a results-based business and the results aren’t good enough for the Trojans.

2. Utah Utes (8-1, 5-1)

Last Week: 33-28 (W) at Washington

Is Utah better than Oregon? There are a ton of people in Salt Lake City and a couple of people in the national media who believe so. Kyle Whittingham has his team firing on all cylinders. They are tough, physical, and disciplined. The only knock on this team is that for the first time in a long time their kicking game is suspect.

I have said that Utah won’t be able to ride their defense and Zack Moss to the Pac-12 Championship game. I thought QB Tyler Huntley would have to have 2 special performances to get them there. But, that looks to be untrue right now. Maybe his special ability is his leadership and calming effect on the team.

Zack Moss is a workhorse. The only way to beat Utah is to stop him.

1. Oregon Ducks (8-1, 6-0)

Last Week: 56-24 (W) at USC

Oregon Ducks Pac-12 Rankings

The Ducks had a statement game against USC for the entire nation to see. After being held scoreless in the first quarter, they went on a 56-7 scoring run. Oregon is a complete football team. When Oregon’s offense, defense, and special teams are firing at the same time, they may be one of the four best teams in the nation.

To this point, Oregon looks like the toughest team in the Pac-12. They have faced injuries to starters and overcome having a target on their back every week. Every team in the Pac-12 wants to knock the shine off the Ducks. Week 11 is an off week for the Ducks to get healthy and mentally regroup for the stretch run.

Check back every Monday for the next Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 11.