The Big 12 won't have a team in the College Football Playoff
Week 4 could not have been a worse week for a conference in desperate need of a championship contender. Coming into the season there were doubts that Oklahoma with tons of new faces or Texas with its pourous defense would actually contend for a national title, but the first few weeks brought hope. Oklahoma seemed to click early under Brent Venables and were dismantling all opponents, while Texas nearly beat Alabama at home and seemingly made strides defensively. All of that came unraveled this week.
Oklahoma could not stop Kansas State's 2-headed rushing attack of Adrian Martinez and Deuce Vaughn as the pair rushed for 264 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Sooners were put behind the 8-ball early going down 14 points and while they did tie the game up they were playing catchup for the majority of the contest. The offense accounted for 550 yards and 0 turnovers, so Sooners don't have to worry about Dillon Gabriel and co., but as always they'll have massive concerns defensively.
Just as big a shock as Oklahoma losing to Kansas State was Texas losing to in-state rival Texas Tech. The only excuse the Longhorns have is the absence of Quinn Ewers. Even then, Texas should be dispatching Texas Tech who struggled heavily to move the ball against N.C. State. While the Wolfpack might be a player in the ACC this season, I thought the Texas defense that had allowed just 50 points over 3 games would show up.
Baylor already has a loss, and nobody in the Big 12 has seperated themselves from the pack to convince me that we'll have a team run the table. It seems likely the champion will finish the season at 10-2 and the conference will miss out on competing for a national title. It's a shame, but it's something the conference should get used to with Texas and Oklahoma leaving soon.
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Minnesota will end the regular season undefeated
Going into the season, if I would've told you the Gopher were 4-0 heading into Purdue? Okay, probably. Their competition has been poor. They've beaten New Mexico State, Western Illinois, Colorado, and Michigan State. While most thought that Sparty would be a respectable side this season, they've been anything but. What is most shocking and promising about the Gophers so far this season is HOW they're doing it. They've outscored their opponents 183-24 through 4 games. Again, their competition is low, but the Big Ten West is horrific this year.
Minnesota's toughest test this season is in Happy Valley against Penn State. It is by no means an easy task, but given what we know about Sean Clifford and that offense it's definitely winnable. The rest of their schedule is a relative cake-walk. If they can continue dominating on both sides of the ball like they have so far this season they should make easy work of the majority of their schedule aside from Penn State and Wisconsin. Can the Beavers do it? Am I overreacting to a splendid start?
Florida State has a very real chance at winning the ACC
FSU is undoubtedly in the tougher division in the ACC, but so far they have passed every test that's come their way with flying colors. You may look at the Louisville game, but I'd argue they were without Jordan Travis for the second half of that game and it would've been easier with him. Still, they have to oust N.C. State, Clemson, and Wake Forest to win the conference, and they have all three back-to-back-to-back starting this week with Wake Forest.
This Florida State team feels different than nearly the past decade of disappointment. They seem to have their edge back. Their mojo. Their offensive line play hasn't been great but everywhere else they're getting production. Wake Forest at home will be a massive test to see just how good this Noles team - and defense - really is, but if they pass it you can't look past the Noles to make a run and compete for an ACC Championship. A 2-1 mark in these 3 games might be all they need. I'll take the Noles this weekend as a slight dog and see where Travis and co. take me.
Melina Myers - USA TODAY Sports