College Football Viewing Guide, Week 8: What Do We Know At This Point In The 2016 Season?

10.21.16 2 months ago

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We’re right around the halfway point of this college football season. This year has ruled, partly because there are so many things we don’t know for sure. I’ve decided to make a list of everything that college football fans agree on:

  1. Alabama, Ohio State or Michigan, and maybe Washington are going to make the Playoff.
  2. Along those lines, Clemson seemed like a Playoff lock coming into this year but there’s a chance it misses out.
  3. Tom Herman and P.J. Fleck are probably going to get paid whatever they want if they move to a Power 5 school after this year.
  4. Lamar Jackson is the Heisman frontrunner.
  5. Donnel Pumphrey is wonderful, although this is contingent on knowing who he is.
  6. Notre Dame is 2-5.

And that’s really it! So many other elements of college football are up in the air this year. Are Baylor and West Virginia really the two-best teams in the Big 12? If Clemson slips up, who is the fourth team in the Playoff? Could we see both Big Ten powers make it to the Playoff? Should Jackson fall off, who wins the Heisman and what do I need to do for it to be Washington’s Jake Browning? Can a Group of 5 team like Boise State, Western Michigan, or even Houston crash the Playoff?

Those are just the questions regarding the Playoff and the Heisman. We can do a deeper dive for so many other questions (Can Nebraska actually win the Big Ten? Which team from the ACC Coastal is going to separate from everyone else and win that division? How many quarterbacks can throw a football into the sun without dislocating their shoulder?), and that’s what makes this season so great. Usually by this time, we have a clear picture of everything, but outside of the inevitability of Alabama and Ohio State/Michigan, there is so much #NARRATIVE potential.

Wanna talk about some games? Let’s talk about some games.

The Early Slate

FRONT AND CENTER

Noon: NC State vs. Louisville, ABC

After starting the season by destroying four teams in a row, Louisville has looked kind of … mortal the last few weeks. The Cardinals’ last two games have been a six-point loss to Clemson and a 10-point win over Duke – the former isn’t too big of a surprise, but the latter is a 10-point win over the type of team that Lamar Jackson and Co. have housed all season.

In fairness, Clemson also had a down game last week against the team that Louisville is playing on Saturday: NC State, which looks like it may be pretty good. The Wolfpack have a few interesting pieces (QB Ryan Finley, RB Matthew Dayes, TE Jaylen Samuels, DEs Bradley Chubb and Darian Roseboro), but Dave Doeren’s side hasn’t gotten a huge win. They came close against Clemson, and their big victory was a slopfest in a hurricane over a 2-5 Notre Dame team that is 2-5. Notre Dame is 2-5, don’t ever forget that Notre Dame is 2-5. But yeah, NC State hasn’t beaten anyone really great.

Could Louisville be that team? Maybe last week’s close game against Duke was an aberration; it’s not crazy to think that the Cardinal are really good but were on an emotional low after losing to Clemson. Or maybe they just got off to a really hot start, the Tigers knocked them down a few pegs, and that’s where they’ll reside.

Or Lamar Jackson is the truth, he’s gonna eat against the Wolfpack, and every “Actually, Louisville May Not Be That Good” column is for naught. My gut feeling is something like this happens. I could be very wrong.

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