Alabama’s defense is waiting — are you sure you want that fourth playoff spot?
Subscribe for unlimited digital access.
Try one month for $1!
Subscribe for unlimited digital access. Try one month for $1!
In the first College Football Playoff, four seasons ago, No. 4 seed Ohio State stunned No. 1 Alabama in a semifinal and then blew the doors off No. 2 Oregon for the championship.
In the most recent playoff, No. 4 Alabama dominated No. 1 Clemson before stomping on No. 3 Georgia’s heart in overtime.
And in the next playoff, No. 4 Whoever It Is might as well not even show up. The No. 1 Crimson Tide will be waiting, and the beating they’ll lay on an outclassed, overwhelmed opponent will be unspeakable.
I don’t know it, I just guarantee it.
Ask LSU, which took the field in Death Valley with the No. 3 ranking and every intention of turning its season into a sumptuous banquet of championship possibilities. Instead, the Tigers were scattered, smothered, covered, chunked, topped and diced 29-0. Look, our Waffle House-obsessed friends in the South know what I’m talking about.
All the talk has been about Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who shined on one leg Saturday. But he was outshone by his defense, which — no one should ever forget — is the gold standard.
A question posed seemingly every year: Is this Nick Saban’s best team yet? I’m asking. And I’m answering: Yep, it sure is.
On to the rest of the “Big 10” (where 10 actually means 10):
2. We’re No. 3! Notre Dame is 9-0 and in great shape for the playoff after its 31-21 victory at Northwestern. Bank on this: If the Irish win out — and they should — they’ll be no worse than third in the final playoff poll. That means no Alabama. That means a chance to win a 13th game and play for all the marbles … and probably get destroyed by the Tide, but we’ll cross that bridge when it collapses.
3. Yeah, yeah, whatever: Northwestern has lost four times — and was 0-3 out of conference — and is apologizing to absolutely nobody. At 5-1 in the Big Ten, the Wildcats still rule the West division. They even hold tiebreakers over 4-2 Purdue and Wisconsin. Worst banner season ever? The operative word, people, is “banner.”
4. Michigan 42, Penn State 7: And the best team in the Big Ten is — hint — not Ohio State.
5. Ohio State 36, Nebraska 31: The Buckeyes last played an all-around great game in September. In other news, they’ve won 13 of their last 14 games against Michigan. Think Nov. 24 in Columbus will be interesting?
6. So that happened: Just when it seemed Illinois would lose every football game until approximately the end of time, it hung double-nickels on Minnesota in a 55-31 victory. What does it mean? For one thing, it means the Gophers are getting nowhere fast under P.J. Fleck.
7. Rosy Grier: Nobody was better in Week 10 than West Virginia quarterback Will Grier, who led a last-ditch touchdown drive for a 42-41 win at Texas and finished it with a picture-perfect 33-yard scoring pass to Gary Jennings before running in the two-point conversion himself. This is your Heisman front-runner … if Tagovailoa were still backing up Jalen Hurts.
8. Clemson 77, Louisville 16: I’m old enough to remember when Bobby Petrino had a pulse.
9. State of pay-no-mind: Florida lost at home by 21 points to Missouri. Miami lost at home by eight to Duke. At least Florida State had the decency to be embarrassed by 19 at North Carolina State. Anybody remember when the Sunshine State was the center of the college football universe?
10. Greatest quote ever: “Rushing statistics in college football aren’t correct.” That from a dutifully unimpressed Saban after Alabama held LSU to 12 yards rushing. Knowing the man, he probably lost sleep Saturday night wondering why it couldn’t have been 11.