We’re now two-thirds of the way through the college football season. The first official College Football Playoff Rankings have been released, and Selection Sunday itself is less than five weeks away. Things are definitely heating up. Here are this week’s winners and losers.
Winner: Jake Fromm
After two miserable games in a row for junior quarterback Jake Fromm and Georgia’s offense, some inklings of doubt were beginning to surround Fromm’s playing ability. Some were questioning his reputation as a great quarterback. After a dominant performance in a rivalry game against No. 6 Florida, however, Fromm immediately silenced those doubters. Going 20-for-30 for 279 yards and two touchdowns, Fromm was proficient in throwing the football and did a great job executing No. 8 Georgia’s crafty offensive game plan to lead his Bulldogs (7-1, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) to victory against the Gators (7-2, 4-2 SEC). Not only did Fromm’s performance restore his own reputation, but it completely revived Georgia’s entire season, after its previous two games left many doubting if they were true competitors this season. The Bulldogs have returned to the driver’s seat in the SEC East and are fully back in the playoff hunt, and Fromm is a big part of the reason why.
Loser: Florida State
The Seminoles have hit rock bottom. Last season, Florida State’s historic streak of 36 straight bowl game appearances was snapped under first-year head coach Willie Taggart. Now, after a dispiriting loss to Miami (FL), a rival, the Seminoles (4-5, 3-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) are in danger of missing out on a bowl game for the second consecutive season, something they haven’t done since a five-year bowl drought from 1972 to 1976. As a result of the program’s failure to achieve any sort of success under Taggart’s tenure as head coach, Florida State relieved him of his duties on Sunday, something which many FSU fans have been wanting to happen for a few weeks now, at least. Seminoles fans will hope that firing Taggart represents a turning of a corner for this troubled program, but with two out of three remaining games on the road, and one of those at No. 10 Florida, FSU’s bowl chances are very much in doubt.
If anyone would have told me that No. 9 Utah would still be in the hunt for a playoff spot 10 weeks into the season, I wouldn’t have believed you. Yet, there stand the Utes (8-1, 5-1 Pac-12), a one-loss team that’s eighth in the first College Football Playoff Rankings of the season. Their playoff hopes almost died against Washington last Saturday, but Utah hung in the game and waited for the moment it could use to turn the game around. That moment turned out to be a 39-yard pick-six, which completely turned the game around in Utah’s favor. Washington (5-4, 2-4 Pac-12) is a tough team to play when it’s at home, and the Huskies are better than their record suggests, but Utah survived and got the victory to validate the fact that they’re legitimate contenders this season.
Loser: The first College Football Playoff Rankings of 2019
As Tuesday afternoon turned into Tuesday evening, I was very excited for the reveal of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee’s first rankings of the season. The first rankings give college football viewers the first inklings of what the Selection Committee is thinking, and how it feels about certain teams. After the rankings were revealed, however, I was very puzzled. It seemed to me that No. 2 LSU should have been ranked first, given its tough schedule and its undefeated record, but the committee gave the top spot to Ohio State. Those weren’t the only problems I had with the rankings, either. No. 10 Florida, No. 11 Auburn and No. 13 Wisconsin, all two-loss teams, were ranked very highly, while Minnesota, an undefeated Power Five team, was placed well back at 17th, behind even No. 16 Kansas State. I understand that the committee has access to all sorts of statistics and metrics that the rest of us have no clue about, but there are certain obvious factors that any college football fan can see, such as a team’s record, and the committee seemed to have ignored them and produced a set of wacky rankings. Hopefully it can sort itself out soon.
Honorable Mention: The Fine-osaurus Rex
I did not catch wind of this until a couple of days after week 10 ended, but boy, did it make me laugh. North Texas senior quarterback Mason Fine had quite the day in his outing against UTEP, throwing for 332 yards and seven touchdowns in a rout of the Miners (1-7, 0-5 Conference USA). And in honor of Halloween, Fine dressed for his postgame press conference … as a T. rex. He sat there, next to two of his teammates, answering serious questions about the game in this ridiculous getup. Can’t argue he isn’t brave.