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There’s not much new about the Power Rankings. And you know what to thank for that. Ten of the top 25 teams didn’t play, a partial reflection of the pandemic that continues to ravage the sport and nation. These are the lucky – and good ones. Twenty-five games alone this month have been impacted. That’s 43% of the total, 58 games, in the first two weeks of November.
Of the 15 teams that did play, Wisconsin made the most notable jump after drubbing Michigan. The Badgers had to wait three long, laborious weeks through a COVID-19 outbreak, but for the second consecutive year, they jumped out to a 28-0 lead against the Wolverines.
The order of the top nine remains the same. Only two newbies made it in, Louisiana and Wisconsin.
Meanwhile, the Power Rankings have seldom been so diverse. The SEC, Big Ten and Big 12 each have four teams in. the SEC has lost its traditional grip on the polls lately with only five teams at this point boasting winning records. Four of those teams are ranked (Alabama, Florida, Texas A&M and Georgia), all inside the top 15 nationally.
Besides Ohio State and Wisconsin, the Big Ten also has Indiana and Northwestern. All four ranked teams will go head-to-head in two top 25 games this week. The Big 12 is all but removed from College Football Playoff consideration. Oklahoma State can make a late charge starting with a win over Oklahoma this week. Iowa State and Texas are the other two.
Let’s take a look at the updated Power Rankings after Week 11.
So much for a trap game. The Fighting Irish pummeled Boston College, 45-31. Phil Jurkovec’s revenge game resulted in the BC quarterback being sacked once, intercepted once and held to his lowest yards per attempt (6.8) in a month. It’s getting intimidating watching Notre Dame pound teams in this era of finesse. That’s why I think it’s got a chance not only to win the ACC but make some noise in the playoff.
Idle. Up next is Kentucky in what should be a walk in the park for the Crimson Tide.
Idle. The Buckeyes had the Maryland game taken away due to COVID-19, so the most games they can play is eight. Ohio State is an early 20-point favorite over Indiana.
Idle. Trevor Lawrence is back this week against Florida State, but is his Heisman run done? The last Heisman winner to miss even one game was Charlie Ward in 1993. Lawrence has missed two.
Kyle Trask torched the SEC’s second-best defense throwing six touchdowns against Arkansas. Then again, Trask torches everybody. That was his sixth straight game of 4+ TD passes. Lost in the haze of points and yards was Dan Mullen reaching the same record at Florida as Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer through 32 games, 26-6.
The Bearcats routinely thumped East Carolina on Friday, but that wasn’t the story. Luke Fickell ran a fake punt on the outmanned Pirates up 32 in the fourth quarter. He apologized to ECU coach Mike Houston afterward. Are the Bearcats (7-0) becoming the bullies of the AAC?
Idle. Bedlam is this week. What are we to make of it? The Cowboys control their own destiny in the Big 12, but they almost never beat Oklahoma. Mike Gundy is 2-12 against the Sooners.
Idle. This just might be the best BYU team since 1984. Zach Wilson is a Heisman candidate. Offensive lineman Brady Christensen is an Outland candidate. The top receivers could play anywhere — Gunner Romney and Dax Milne. Already hearing the Cougars could be attractive to the Cotton Bowl.
Idle. The virus did what no SEC opponent could do recently, slow down the Aggies. They are still ranked below a championship contender (Florida). Deal with it.
Meet the new Ducks. Same as the old Ducks. Two weeks into the Pac-12 season, there is a clear front runner. Oregon took care of business at Washington State beating Nick Rolovich’s run and shoot, 43-29. In doing so, Oregon surpassed 300 passing yards and 200 rushing yards for the first time since 2016 in conference play.
The Hoosiers went to 4-0 clinching the title for best-named pair of receivers in the country in beating Michigan State. Ty Fryfogle had 11 catches for 200 yards, which overshadowed co-receiving leader Wop Philyor (three catches, 35 yards). Both have 24 catches. Indiana posted its first second shutout in its last 11 Big Ten games. The result sets up the monster clash at Ohio State.
Idle. The Dawgs were trying to rebuild their roster, reputation and self-esteem when COVID-19 struck again. An outbreak at Missouri forced a possible rescheduling of Saturday’s game. Imagine Georgia playing Missouri on Dec. 19, the same day Florida could be playing for the SEC Championship Game.
Bring Your Own Guts isn’t just for Dabo Swinney. D’Eriq King led the Hurricanes to the game-winning score at Virginia Tech. That wasn’t the biggest accomplishment. Miami was missing 13 players including, three starters and several offensive linemen. “We were on the brink [of not playing],” coach Manny Diaz said.
Idle. The Sooners head into Bedlam with the Big 12’s longest winning streak (four). During that streak, OU is winning by more than four touchdowns per game. The running game is humming with the return of Rhamondre Stevenson. The senior has 191 yards and five touchdowns in two games since returning from a drug suspension.
The Badgers may just have ended Jim Harbaugh’s run at Michigan (eventually) with a 38-point destruction. The 28-point halftime deficit was the largest in Big House history. (Or to put it in Michigan Stadium numbers, 93 years.) The Wolverines are 1-3 for the first time since 1967. Meanwhile, the Badgers looked crisp in playing for the first time in three weeks.
Mack Brown didn’t do it with Vince Young or Colt McCoy. But he’s doing it with Sam Howell. The Tar Heels QB became the first ACC player to throw for six touchdowns and run for another in a 59-53 win over Wake Forest. The game featured 1,348 yards in total offense and 15 touchdowns and positioned offensive coordinator Phil Longo for a head coaching job. North Carolina leads the country outscoring the opposition by 65 points in the fourth quarter. Please let UNC Clemson or Notre Dame in the ACC Championship Game.
Idle. The Chanticleers’ epic run was paused Saturday when a COVID-19 outbreak hit Troy. The game has not been rescheduled. A showdown with Appalachian State for the division lead is up next. Coastal goes into the game first in the Sun Belt in scoring defense, scoring offense and sacks.
On the 50th anniversary of the crash of Marshall’s team plane, Grant Wells took time after a 42-14 win over Middle Tennessee to pay proper respect. “‘We knew that this game was going to mean so much to this fan base and this community,” Wells said. ”… The fact that we could do this on the 50th anniversary is amazing.” Wells threw a career-high five touchdown passes.
Idle. Hate to ruin your day, Cyclones fans, but Matt Campbell remains a hot property. If Jim Harbaugh doesn’t make it to a seventh season, look for Campbell’s name to come up at Michigan. Iowa State is 5-1 in a conference for the first time.
You can look at it two ways — USC is lucky or good. The Trojans have rallied late to win their first two games by a combined five points. This time, Vavae Malepeai ran eight yards for a score with 25 seconds left to beat Arizona. “Offensively, we showed up late again,” coach Clay Helton said.
What a story. The Hurricane have gone 20 and 15 days between games. They’ve played three ranked teams, beating two. The latest was SMU, 28-24. In a season that began with offensive wizard Philip Montgomery on the hot seat, the Hurricane are second in the AAC in total defense.
Idle. The Longhorns enter what is essentially another bye with a trip to Kansas. Every game is must-win for Tom Herman here on in considering it’s Big 12 title or bust in his fourth season.
Hugh Freeze got an extension then celebrated by stomping all over Western Carolina. In a 58-14 win, Malik Willis accounted for five touchdowns. Hey, who are we to judge? The FCS Catamounts were playing their first game of the season. The Flames have won 10 in a row, the second-longest streak in the country.
The upside down Big Ten starts in the West. The Wildcats are tied with Indiana for the division lead (4-0) after winning at Purdue, 27-20. Peyton Ramsey has thrown for six touchdowns and rushed for two more in his last two meetings against the Boilermakers. Last year, Ramsey was with Indiana. What a weird year.
Might as well get it out of the way. Billy Napier is going to have himself a Power Five job next year. He has done too good a job with the Ragin’ Cajuns. The latest example is a 38-10 win over South Alabama. Levi Lewis threw for a season-high three touchdowns.
Out: San Jose State, SMU