Ohio State is the Big Ten's only hope. The good news is, their offense looks unstoppable. The bad news is, they better find a way to stop the spread. Rutgers certainly isn't a good judge of character and we'll learn a lot about the Buckeyes this Saturday when they meet TCU in Dallas. However, they surrendered 196 yards both on the ground and through the air against Oregon State. Again, Rutgers is not a measuring stick but they only gave up 213 yards to the Scarlet Knights. Their front 7, when firing on all cylinders, is as good as any. They'll need pressure on the QB against better teams if they expect to slow down the spread offenses they'll face. On the other side of the ball, Weber and Dobbins are proving to be a 2 headed monster very few will be able to slow down, and Haskins is as accurate as any former Buckeye QB in recent history. They play @ TCU and @ Penn State in the next 3 weeks, they'll either emerge as an early playoff favorite, or face another disappointing season in Columbus. Meanwhile, Michigan State struggled with Utah State and lost to Arizona State, Michigan looks average and Penn State and Wisconsin are unclear so far.
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The ACC is officially the worst Power 5 conference. Clemson's scare @ Texas A&M and Florida State's embarrassing win over Samford are just two examples. Sure, Texas A&M is a major program in the SEC, but I think we'll find by season's end that wasn't a good win for the Tigers. Meanwhile, Louisville got absolutely dismantled against Bama in Week 1, Indiana beat Virginia (2nd year in a row), Penn State abused Pitt, East Carolina blew out North Carolina and South Florida hung 49 on Georgia Tech...a wishbone, time consuming team. Virginia Tech is tough to gauge, as they dominated Florida State (see Samford comment) but their toughest non-conference game is @ Notre Dame (sorta ACC game). There's not much good to say about the ACC, and their 1 horse was ranked so high preseason they should now cruise to the playoffs with little resistance, short of maybe a monumental effort by Miami or Virginia Tech in the conference title game. Clemson's remaining schedule is Georgia Southern, the ACC and then South Carolina - should be a pretty easy road to the playoffs.
An 8 team playoff is inevitable. Not just because of the snub Central Florida received last year but also because of the quality of teams in or near the Top 10. We can't possibly think, as good as the football is right now, that only 4 teams get a shot at a title at the end of the year. Currently, the teams NOT playing in a playoff are: LSU, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Auburn, Central Florida, Penn State and West Virginia. Sure, by year's end many of these teams will have a loss. However, when the SEC West alone has 4 teams worthy of Top 10 right now you can conceive one day having three SEC teams in the playoff, which will spark the "all Power 5 Conference winners deserve a shot" talk. Stew on this, as weak as the ACC is, they're almost guaranteed, even this early, of getting in. That leaves 2 Power 5 winners and 2 or 3 SEC West teams out of the playoff, doesn't seem right.
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