Laces Out: Undefeated College Football Playoff Contenders, Matt Corral’s Huge Opportunity Against Alabama


All stand up for those in favor of college football rankings making their debut after the first month of the regular season. I’ll sit there for that one, and here’s why – shock value creates the discussion, and a campaign littered with early “upheavals” created parity like we’ve never seen before.

Those dogged rankings over the first four weeks of action threw what we thought we knew into a mixer and left several perceived title favorites breathless. We’ve already seen 25 ranked teams lose in September, a record in the AP Top 25 era.

Clemson’s 97-week top 10 streak is over, and half of the top eight teams entering Week 5 consist of teams few had previously named as national title contenders this season. Speaking of which, let’s take a look at the best games of the weekend and everything you might have missed from the opening month.

Not all unbeaten are equal

The overrated teams ranked in this week’s Top 25 AP stand out like Mike Leach at a Power I training meeting. Of the 16 undefeated remaining in the Power Five ranks, only six fall into the category of what I consider as proven in combat with at least one victory over a top 20 opponent: Alabama, Georgia, Oregon, Penn State, Iowa and Arkansas. The others, with varying degrees of success, benefited from generally soft slates and escaped unscathed.

This is what makes the enduring conference game so unique. How long can Jim Harbaugh and Michigan hold up with trips to Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania? Is the ACC’s undefeated first run from Wake Forest and Boston College just a good start and nothing more? Baylor and Oklahoma State are they real contenders for the top of the Big 12?

All of these questions will be answered in the next few matches as the sample size increases and teams are tested within their leagues against opponents that are comparable in terms of talent. Oklahoma is ranked No.6 right now because coach Lincoln Riley has made the college football playoffs in three of the past four seasons. Nothing has been shown on the pitch so far as the Sooners shout “championship contender”, but it is the influence of a national brand in the polls.

What do we really know about Ole Miss? The Rebels are averaging 52.6 points per game with Heisman Trophy favorite quarterback Matt Corral leading the show, but have yet to take on a challenge. It comes Saturday against top-ranked Alabama, and then the following weekend against Arkansas. Get through this flawless pair of contests, and the buzz of the contestants is guaranteed.

An opportunity awaits Heisman’s favorite

Considering some of the breathtaking campaigns we’ve seen in recent years from DeVonta Smith and Kyler Murray in the second half of the season, it’s hard to refer to a game played in the first weekend. end of October a chance of separation in the Heisman race. However, Saturday’s performance means more to Corral than it does to Alabama freshman starting quarterback Bryce Young.

Playing in Alabama is the biggest scene on the college football spectrum, and beating the Crimson Tide takes you to a different stratosphere as a quarterback trying to achieve supernova status. Johnny Manziel’s performance in Tuscaloosa, Alabama during the 2012 season made him showcase nationally while Joe Burrow’s 2019 exit at Bryant-Denny Stadium cemented his favorite status in leak.

It’s early, yes, but a memorable outing for Corral culminating with Ole Miss shattering Alabama’s 18-game winning streak would be etched in the minds of Heisman voters this fall. And you know Lane Kiffin would personally ensure Corral’s numbers are inflated in the last eight games if his best player is the favorite after this weekend.

There is also always the other side of the coin. The Alabama defense could take it personally after last season’s game saw the Rebels rack up 647 total attacking yards and make their way with Crimson Tide linebackers and secondaries. Ole Miss might have been in better shape here if Alabama hadn’t played Florida two weeks ago. It was a change of direction for coach Nick Saban’s group on this side of football.

A look at the college football qualifiers

We’re still a few weeks away from the first round of college football playoff standings, but it looks like there’s a good chance we’ll be making history this season with a potential newcomer from the Big Ten or a potential rep from the. Group of five.

The path of the undefeated Cincinnati is clear: keep winning and hope for chaos. The same goes for Iowa and Penn State, who meet in two weeks to determine October’s favorite in the ultra-competitive Big Ten.

However, the projections are considerably darker for preseason favorites Clemson and Ohio State. No team with two losses has ever made it to the playoffs, which puts the Tigers on the outside even if they win, given that the ACC is collectively the worst league in the Power Five this fall.

Three of Ohio State’s four CFP appearances ended in regular season loss; however, the Buckeyes still face three ranked opponents this season and struggle with widespread issues defensively (13th in the Big Ten in total defense).

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