By Joel Silverberg / @JoelSilverberg
That wasn’t a bad follow up from the previous week.
Oklahoma pulled off the biggest comeback in school history on the road against Baylor after Penn State survived against Indiana, Georgia held off a wild comeback attempt by Auburn and Minnesota fell for the first time this season on the road against Iowa.
The slate isn’t nearly as enticing this week as fans have enjoyed the past two weekends, but there is a big matchup that could decide the Big Ten East with Ohio State hosting Penn State at noon. Georgia needs to beat Texas A&M in Athens to keep its playoff hopes alive. Baylor will need to rebound from Saturday’s loss against Texas in Waco. Michigan traveling to Indiana could be a sneaky good matchup as well.
Alabama took a hit by losing Tua Tagovailoa for the rest of the season. I wasn’t certain if Alabama would’ve been able to get back into the playoff anyway. I think enough Power 5 conferences have teams with resumes to keep the SEC from getting two teams in unless Georgia beats LSU in Atlanta. That would make things interesting.
Before I get too far ahead of myself, here’s this week’s good, bad and ugly.
Good: Oklahoma. The Heisman Trophy is Joe Burrow’s to lose. However, should Burrow and the LSU Tigers slip up, Jalen Hurts is lurking around. Hurts had his Heisman moment on Saturday with Oklahoma’s 25-point comeback over Baylor. He won’t win it if Burrow and LSU take care of business the rest of the way, but that was quite the performance on Saturday. Oklahoma’s defense stepped up in the second half as well. The rematch in the Big 12 Championship game should be fun.
Honorable Mention: Georgia. Georgia passed another big test in its path to get back into the playoff conversation with a win over Auburn. There’s no excuse for losing to Texas A&M or Georgia Tech. A showdown with LSU should be coming in the SEC title game with a playoff spot on the line. The Bulldogs’ defense still hasn’t given up more than 20 points in a game all year.
Bad: Minnesota. Iowa is a good team and was favored at home against the Golden Gophers, but Minnesota couldn’t overcome several missed opportunities. Three drives inside Iowa territory resulted in zero points, and a missed field goal and extra point proved to be huge in a 23-19 loss on the road. It doesn’t change a whole lot for Minnesota’s playoff chances. Finishing 12-1 with a win over Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship could get the Gophers in. But Minnesota could’ve clinched the Big Ten West against Northwestern next week had it beaten Iowa. Now the division will likely come down to the Battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe at the end of the month.
Honorable Mention: Navy. Notre Dame and Navy hadn’t played a ranked matchup against each other since Joe Montana was in college. The most anticipated edition of this rivalry in nearly four decades didn’t come close to meeting the hype as the Midshipmen found themselves trailing 45-3 five minutes into the second half. Navy had four turnovers and gave up more than 400 yards of total offense in a rivalry game that looked more like an exhibition showcase.
Ugly: Baylor. Baylor was in this slot last week because of its lackluster win over TCU. Now it’s here because it got outscored 24-0 in the second half and blew a 28-3 lead in a heartbreaking loss to Oklahoma. The Bears fumbled the football on their first play of the second half, followed that up with three dormant drives and ended the game with an interception at the Oklahoma 38-yard line while driving for a game-tying field goal. Baylor has to wake up for Texas this week and closes the season at Kansas with an opportunity for a rematch against the Sooners in the Big 12 Championship game still on the table.
Honorable Mention: Missouri. A month ago the Tigers had scored 30 or more points in 11 straight games dating back to last year. Missouri has scored 27 points combined in its last four games. The Tigers have failed to find the end zone in back-to-back games after a 23-6 loss to Florida. The Tigers went three and out on Saturday six times and somehow had a nine-play, one-yard drive. Once thought to potentially start the season 8-0, the Tigers won’t finish the season with eight wins total.