NCAA Football Week 10: What We Learned from the Best Week in College Football
Best Weekend of the Season
Week 10 was the best weekend of the year in college football. We already knew it was going to be fun with seven matchups scheduled between top 25 ranked teams. Those seven games definitely didn't disappoint, especially an offensive clinic put on in Oklahoma that saw 114 combined points scored. Add to that a blowout loss for No. 6 Ohio State and a last second field goal that knocked off No. 7 Penn State, and Saturday had everything needed to serve your football viewing pleasures. If you happened to miss it, don't worry, we have you covered here. What did we learn from the most exciting weekend of the season to date?
The Big Ten is in Trouble
If you are a fan of the Big Ten and support whichever Big Ten team is in the Playoffs, I have bad news for you. Iowa's 55-24 obliteration of Ohio State and Michigan State's game winning field goal to beat Penn State 27-24 most likely ended the two best teams in the Big Ten from playoff contention. Though it makes things exciting in the Big Ten East, with Michigan State and Michigan right back in the thick of the Big Ten Championship race, it also hurts the chances of the Big Ten having a representative in the college football playoffs this year.
The Big Ten is now left with Wisconsin as perhaps the only team with a chance of making the playoffs. Though the Badgers are undefeated at 9-0, take into consideration that they have not played a team ranked in the top 25, and they still have their work cut out for them. The first release of the BCS standings in Week 9 showed how important strength of schedule is to the Selection Committee, as undefeated Wisconsin sat ninth behind six one loss teams. That's not a good sign for the Badgers.
With matchups remaining against competitive Iowa and Michigan teams, as well as the Big Ten Championship game left, Wisconsin has time to prove themselves to the Selection Committee. However, so late in the season, it appears the only way for Wisconsin and their week schedule to make the playoffs is if they finish the season undefeated. Failure to do so will most likely leave both themselves and the Big Ten as a whole as bystanders for the college football playoffs.
Baker Mayfield is the top Heisman Trophy Runner
If you like offense, than Saturday's stint between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State was your dream game. With 114 combined points and 1,446 yards of total offense between the two teams, defense was nowhere to be found. Though the game is worthy of an article and recap of its own, I want to focus in on the man who staked his claim as this year's top Heisman Trophy candidate. Baker Mayfield had himself a day to remember on Saturday.
Mayfield threw for 598 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions. He also added a rushing touchdown. Though the two interceptions weren't good, the rest of his game more than made up for it. Adding nearly 600 yards passing and six total touchdowns to his already impressive resume on the season, Mayfield is now the clear front runner to win the Heisman Trophy. On the season, Mayfield has completed 71% of his passes for 3,226 yards with 28 touchdowns and only five interceptions along with five touchdowns on the ground.
On a day where Baker Mayfield made easy work of the Oklahoma State defense, his opposing Heisman competition disappointed. Saquon Barkley was most likely Mayfield's biggest competition coming into the weekend. Barkley, however, was completely shut down by Michigan State, as he was able to garner only 63 yards rushing on 14 carries. He added another 33 yards receiving 20 yards on a completed pass attempt. Despite a somewhat respectable 110 total yards, Barkley was unable to do much to help his team remain in the playoff picture, as the Nittany Lions fell to the Spartans 27-24. Barkley's unimpressive performance hurt both his team's playoff chances and his Heisman trophy chances.
J.T. Barrett was another player building momentum as a Heisman hopeful, but a Week 10 trip to Iowa could not have gone much worse for Barrett. In the blowout loss to the Hawkeyes, Barrett completed just 53% of his passes for 208 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions. His first interception occurred on the first play of the game, when Iowa's Amani Hooker returned a Barrett pass for a touchdown to begin the disastrous game.
Top Teams Impressed
Nine ranked teams lost in Week 10, including two top ten teams. There will be a big mix up in the BCS rankings on Tuesday. Though many national championship hopes were ruined, there were others who brought their hopes closer to reality with statement victories. Let's take a look at who impressed the most.
The No. 10 Miami Hurricanes completed their first statement when of the season in commanding fashion. A 28-10 win over No. 13 Virginia Tech showed the talent of Miami's stout defense as well as the playmaking skills they possess on offense. One concern, however, is Hurricane quarterback Malik Rosier threw three interceptions. A huge matchup against No. 3 Notre Dame awaits in Week 11.
Alabama Crimson Tide
The Crimson Tide were told for the first time all season that they are not the best team in college football, as the BCS Selection Committee ranked them second behind Georgia. How did they respond? They handled a talented No. 19 LSU team with ease to a 24-10 victory. Though the Tigers fought hard until the end, the game was never in question, as Alabama led 14-0 early in the second quarter and never let LSU come within 11 points the rest of the way. Georgia also won, so Alabama may not leap frog into the top spot yet. However, many saw this game as Alabama's first real challenge, and they easily passed the test. A tough road matchup against No. 16 Mississippi State is next.
We already talked about them, but Saturday's showdown between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State was so entertaining, it's worth mentioning a second time. Mayfield's 598 passing yards led the way in the battle for the best team in Oklahoma, as the Sooners prevailed with a 62-52 victory. The Sooners will have to figure out how to stop opposing offenses a little better after the Cowboys put 52 points up on the board. With Baker Mayfield under center, though, Oklahoma’s defense doesn't need to be the best in the nation to make a run in the playoffs. Oklahoma faces another big test next week against No. 8 TCU.
© 2017 Micah Reum