Top 5 College Football Playoff Storylines Heading Into Week 4

Notre Dame Football

I hate layovers. When I travel and fly from point A to point B, I want to do it as quickly and efficiently as possible. When I can’t fly direct and experience layovers, I’m agitated and cranky because of the wait, which is good for no one. Week 3 was a layover. My mind was focused on Week 4 while watching the slate of Week 3 games. Now, this weekend is full of gigantic matchups with College Football Playoff implications in full effect. Going into Week 4, my College Football Playoff includes:

  1. Clemson
  2. Alabama
  3. LSU
  4. Oklahoma

No new additions from the previous week, but that could change after three huge matchups between ranked opponents: No. 7 Notre Dame at No. 3 Georgia, No. 8 Auburn at No. 17 Texas A&M, and No. 11 Michigan at No. 13 Wisconsin. Here are the Top 5 CFP storylines heading into Week 4.

Shea Patterson Needs To Kick It Up A Notch

Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson | Mike Mulholland,

Shea Patterson’s start to the season has been less than ideal. In two games, Patterson has thrown for a pedestrian 410 yards and 3 TDs with an ESPN QBR of 48.7. The bigger story revolves around ball security as Patterson has fumbled the ball 4 times in two games. Plus, Patterson was battling through an oblique injury, but he says that it’s fully healed going into this weekend. That can’t happen on Saturday if Michigan expects to win on the road at Wisconsin. Wisconsin’s offense and defense are lethal as the Badgers have outscored its opponents, 110-0. Expect both defenses to keep their teams in the game and don’t be surprised if it comes down to a big play by one of the quarterbacks late that decides the game.

Can Texas A&M contain Bo Nix?

In years past, the Aggie offense provided the spark for Texas A&M. This year, the tables have turned as the A&M defense is the catalyst. Through three games, Texas A&M is ranked 18th in total defense while only surrendering 268 yards per game. For Auburn, to win on the road in hostile College Station, they will need their freshman signal-caller, Bo Nix, to remain calm and control the game. Nix has shown he can handle the pressure when he led Auburn on a game-winning drive to defeat Oregon in the first game of the year. Auburn will need some of that “Bo Magic” to win on the road.

The BYU Upset Train Looks To Make It Three Straight

It’s hard to find a team with more luck and good fortune on their side the past two weeks than BYU. Two weeks ago, they were dead-in-the-water before a last-second Hail Mary and field goal aided BYU in their upset win over Tennesse. Last week, it was the BYU defense and their last-second interception in overtime to edge out USC. This week, the Cougars will look to make it three upsets in a row as they welcome the visiting No. 22 Washington Huskies to town. Can the BYU magic continue for at least one more week?

Oregon Needs To Win Out To Have Any Chance At The College Football Playoff

Oregon is not in a “win (out) and in” situation for the CFP. It’s more like a “win (out and pray for other teams to lose at the top) and in.” For the Ducks to even sniff the playoff, they will need to win every single game from here on out including the Pac 12 championship. That’s not even taking into account that other teams in the top 6 must lose multiple games. Regardless, Justin Herbert and the Ducks need to take it one step at a time and take care of business against a Stanford team that was just throttled by UCF a week ago.

Notre Dame vs. Georgia = Put Up Or Shut Up

In 2017, this game was an instant classic as the unknown Jake Fromm led the Bulldogs to a 20-19 win in Georgia’s first-ever trip to South Bend. Now, Notre Dame looks to avenge it’s 2017 loss as the Irish make their first trip to Athens on Saturday night. Despite both teams being ranked inside the Top 10, Georgia is more than a two-touchdown favorite, which may come as a surprise considering Notre Dame scored 66 points a week ago. I have a feeling this double-digit line is due to the fact that Notre Dame was throttled by Clemson in last year’s playoff so it supports the notion idea that Notre Dame can’t keep up with athletic teams like Georiga. Whatever the case may be, this is the must-see game of the weekend.

What are your top College Football Playoff storylines for Week 4? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

Top 5 College Football Playoff Storylines Heading Into Week 3

Top 5 College Football Playoff Storylines Heading Into Week 3

It turns out that not everyone supports the troops. I’m looking at you, Michigan. For the second year in a row, Army took a Top 10 team with playoff aspirations to overtime only to fall short once again. Week 2 also confirmed that LSU is for real and should join Alabama and Georgia on the list of SEC schools who can make the College Football Playoff. Going into Week 3, my College Football Playoff is as follows:

  1. Clemson
  2. Alabama
  3. LSU
  4. Oklahoma

Week 3 does not have any ranked vs. ranked matchups, but there are a few intriguing matchups that catch my eye. Look at Week 3 as a layover from last week and transitional period into next week’s huge slate of games highlighted by Notre Dame vs. Georiga. Here are the Top 5 CFP storylines heading into Week 3.

The “Jalen Hurts Show” Hits The Road For The First Time This Year

To say Jalen Hurts has been spectacular in his two games for Oklahoma would be an understatement. Through two games, Hurts is 34/41, 591 yards, 6 TDs, and 0 INTs to go along with 223 rushing yards and 3 TDs. This week will be Hurts’ first road game at OU as the Sooners head to the Rose Bowl to take on UCLA for a Saturday night showdown. A win on the road against UCLA is a lot better than a win against the Little Sisters of the Poor. Style points against Power 5 schools are important so if Hurts balls out once again, Oklahoma is in the driver’s seat for the College Football Playoff heading into conference play.

Alabama Heads To South Carolina For Its First Road Test

Ok, I’m using the word, “test,” very liberally. This is not a test for Alabama. Alabama has given up a combined 13 points in two games while South Carolina lost to North Carolina in Week 1. Plus, South Carolina is starting freshman quarterback Ryan Hilinski because the Gamecocks lost senior starter Jake Bentley in Week 1. To set the scene, South Carolina is starting a freshman at quarterback and in the first SEC game of his career, he gets to face Nick Saban. Good luck, kid! Funny story. South Carolina defeated Alabama in their last meeting back in 2010. Stephen Garcia and Alshon Jeffrey are not walking through the door anytime soon, Gamecock fans.

Can Syracuse Make It Two Out Of 3 Against Clemson?

As good as Clemson has been over the past four years, there have been a few thorns in their side. One of those thorns belongs to Syracuse. Two years ago, the Orange upset the No.2 ranked Tigers, 27-24. Last year, Clemson needed backup quarterback Chase Brice, who came into the game for an injured Trevor Lawrence, to lead the Tigers on a 13-play, 94-yard game-winning drive in the final minutes to win, 27-24. This year, the Orange welcome the Tigers to the Carrier Dome for a Saturday night showdown. Forget the spread. If history repeats itself, this will be no easy game for the Tigers.

UCF Gets A Crack At a Power 5 Team

If UCF wants to dance with the big boys in the College Football Playoff, it needs to beat the big boys in a Power 5 conference. Ask and you shall receive as UCF welcomes Stanford out of the Pac-12 to Orlando. I said that style points matter so UCF not only has to beat Stanford, but they have to dominate them if they ever want to sniff the College Football Playoff. Keep an eye on the quarterback battle. K.J. Costello returns for Stanford while it’s unclear whether Notre Dame transfer Brandon Wimbush, freshman Dillon Gabriel, or sophomore Darriel Mack will line up under center.

Game With The Most Playoff Implications Outside Of The Top 10: Iowa vs. Iowa State

The battle of the Cy-Hawk is the biggest game of the weekend as Iowa travels to Ames to take on in-state rival, Iowa State. It’s so big that College GameDay will be on the scene in Ames for the first time ever. Is either of these teams going to make the College Football Playoff? I can definitively say no, but both teams are undefeated in Power 5 conferences so, in theory, they have shot still. This game has slugfest written all over it. Iowa has the better defense so I’ll take the Hawkeyes to beat the Cyclones by a field goal.

What are your top storylines for the College Football Week 3? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

Top 5 College Football Playoff Storylines Heading Into Week Two

Week 1 might have lacked many high profile matchups, but it was full of fireworks. Alabama and Clemson took care of business, Jalen Hurts inserted himself into the Heisman race, and multiple Power 5 schools lost to inferior opponents. How’s that for College Football Playoff drama?

Week 2 is highlighted with two spectacular games that will have CFP implications, Texas A&M vs. Clemson and LSU vs. Texas. The winners of both games will take giant leaps forward toward the CFP. Let’s take a look at the Top 5 CFP storylines heading into Week 2.

Can Jalen Hurts build upon his strong debut?

Last week, I said I had no idea what to expect out of Jalen Hurts at Oklahoma. I had doubts that Hurts could be the third straight Oklahoma quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy. However, Hurts was in a good situation with Lincoln Reilly calling plays. To put it nicely, Hurts took my doubts and shoved them right up my candy-ass. Hurts was spectacular against Houston, going 20/23 for 332 yards, 3 TDs, and 0 interceptions. He also ran for 176 yards and 3 TDs. I’m not an expert, but it looks like Hurts catapulted himself into the Heisman race. Hurts will have another chance to impress this Saturday night against South Dakota.

Can Jimbo Fisher exact revenge on Clemson and ruin their chances for a repeat?

It’s time for Jimbo Fisher to earn the big bucks. If you’re paid like a top coach, it’s time to win like a top coach. Fisher will have a chance at a signature win this Saturday as Texas A&M strolls into Memorial Stadium to take on the defending College Football Playoff Champion, Clemson. Last year, A&M was on the verge of an upset over Clemson in College Station, but a failed 2-point conversion ended up being the difference as Clemson escaped with a 28-26 win. If Fisher can pull off the upset, it will be A&M’s biggest win since Johnny Football defeated Alabama in 2012.

Will LSU or Texas move into the playoff conversation with a win?

Top 5 College Football Playoff Storylines Heading Into Week Two

Saturday night is going to rocking as the #6 LSU Tigers invade Austin to take on the #9 Texas Longhorns. The matchup to watch is Joe Burrow versus Sam Ehlinger at quarterback. Take your pick as to who you want under center because both QBs can sling it all over the field. In Week 1, Burrow threw for 278 yards and 5 TDs while Ehlinger threw for 276 yards and 4 TDs. The x-factor is Ehlinger’s running ability. If Ehlinger can move the chains with his legs, it opens up a new dimension to Tom Herman’s offense. Circle this game because the winner will have a huge nonconference win on their resume when the playoff rankings come out.

Can USC survive with a true freshman quarterback?

Week 1 was bittersweet for the Men of Troy. USC beat Fresno State, but it came at a price. Starting quarterback JT Daniels tore two ligaments in his knee, ending his season. Now, USC turns to true freshman Kedon Slovis. Congratulations, Kedon, on the job. Let’s take a look at his prize. In his first start, Slovis takes on Stanford under the lights at the Coliseum on Saturday night! Having the game at home will help the young signal-caller, but Stanford has beaten USC in 8 of their last 12 meetings. It’s a tall task for Slovis, but not impossible.

Is Jeremy Pruitt on the hot seat if he loses to BYU?

Top 5 College Football Playoff Storylines Heading Into Week Two

I’m not a Tennessee football historian, but losing to Georgia State at home in Week 1 has to be in the Top 3 worst losses for the program. No one expects Tennessee to make the College Football Playoff, but it’s inexcusable and frankly, embarrassing, to lose to Georgia State at home. Now, Tennessee welcomes BYU to town on Saturday night. Jeremy Pruitt is in his first must-win game as head coach of the Volunteers. If the Volunteers fall at home once again, Pruitt’s coaching seat won’t just be hot. It will be in flames.

What are your top storylines for the CFP in Week 2? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

Top 5 College Football Playoff Storylines Heading Into Week One

College football is back. Thank the lord! I couldn’t watch another cornhole and spikeball tournament on ESPN2. I need college football back in my life and that’s exactly what we’re getting this weekend. Fans received an amuse-bouche of football with a few games last weekend including Miami vs. Florida, but Week 1 starts the road to the College Football Playoff (CFP).

Every week this season, we’ll look at the Top 5 CFP storylines heading into the weekend. We’re a long way from the first 2019 College Football Playoff rankings, which will be released on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. However, every game matters so let’s kick it off with Week 1.

Are we destined for Alabama vs. Clemson In The National Championship?

This college football season feels a lot like when the Cavs and Warriors met in four straight NBA Finals. The question was not “if” they would play in the NBA Finals, but “how” would they get there. Alabama and Clemson are the two best teams in college football right now. There’s nothing to debate here. Alabama and Clemson have the two best coaches, Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney, and two best quarterbacks, Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence, in the country. Both teams will be double-digit favorites every game with the exception possibly coming in the final game of the regular season when Alabama travels to Auburn. If the Crimson Tide and Tigers meet in the championship, it would be the fifth straight year those two teams met in the College Football Playoff with three of those coming in the national title game. Bama should roll through Duke and Clemson should dominate Georgia Tech in Week 1.

Who is the third-best team in the country?

Is there a consensus third-best team in the country behind Clemson and Alabama? Most fans and experts would choose Georiga as the third-best team in the country. Who can blame them? Georgia has lost three games in the regular season the past two seasons with one of those losses coming to Alabama in the SEC Championship game. Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs will be very good this year. It all starts with the return of third-year quarterback Jake Fromm. Remember the name, D’Andre Swift. The junior running back rushed for 1,049 yards and 10 TDs last season while splitting time with Elijah Holyfield. It’s Swift’s backfield now. If all goes according to plan, the Bulldogs are on a collision course with Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.

Can Jalen Hurts become the third straight Oklahoma quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy?

Jalen Hurts on Oklahoma / Alonzo Adams

The Jalen Hurts Era at Oklahoma begins Sunday night in Norman against Houston. Hurts has not been a starting quarterback since 2017 when he was at Alabama. Lucky for Hurts, he’s going to a coach in Lincoln Riley who happens to be the best play-caller in the nation. It’s safe to say that Riley has a more versatile offensive strategy at Oklahoma than Hurts’ former coordinators at Alabama. Riley also has two straight quarterbacks, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, who have won the Heisman Trophy. Can Hurts make it three for three? To be honest, I have no idea what to expect out of Hurts. Can he throw the ball for more than 4,000 yards as Mayfield and Murray did over the past two seasons? Only time will tell if Hurts fits into Riley’s explosive offense.

The game with most the College Football Playoff implications in Week 1 is Oregon vs. Auburn

The marquee game of Week 1 with the most CFP implications on the line is #11 Oregon vs. #16 Auburn at Cowboys Stadium on Saturday night. Oregon’s 2019 expectations are very high thanks to the return of senior quarterback Justin Herbert. In 28 starts, Herbert and the Ducks offense have averaged 38.3 points per game in his 28 starts. They’ll need every point on Saturday as Auburn’s defense is coming off a season where it ranked 28th nationally allowing 361.9 yards per game and seventh holding teams to just 17.1 points per game. Coach Guz Malzahn believes this year’s defense could be the best defense he’s ever had during his tenure thanks to Nick Coe, Derrick Brown, and Marlon Davidson. Not to add any more pressure, but the entire Pac-12 conference is rooting for Oregon. This is the Ducks’ chance to put their conference on the playoff radar versus arguably the best conference in the nation.

Can Michigan Finally Win The Big Ten Title Under Jim Harbaugh?

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

If there has ever been a year for Michigan to win the Big 10 Conference, it’s 2019. Urban Meyer is no longer at Ohio State. Trace McSorley is not at Penn State. Wisconsin is still not back to their 2017 form where they went 13-1. Michigan State is average. There are no more excuses for Michigan. Returning quarterback Shea Patterson is in for a treat as new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis will implement an up-tempo, no-huddle, speed-in-space offense. For Jim Harbaugh, it’s time to win the Big 10 and beat Ohio State.

What are your top storylines for the CFP in Week 1? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow.