Top Ten as of 10-23-2023
It is getting late early in the College Football season but there are still playoff spots to be decided with roughly a month to go. Here is this week’s new Top Ten:
Top Ten as of 10-23-2023
#10. Penn State 6-1 (+1200) - The Nitany Lions’ struggles against the upper echelon of the Big Ten continued on Saturday with a loss to Ohio State. They should rebound nicely this week against Indiana. Next Up: vs. Indiana; Last week’s Rank (4)
#9. Oregon 6-1 (+3000) - The Ducks dispatched WSU last week after a 21-10 second-half advantage. Their brutal Pac-12 stretch continues with a game at Utah this week. Next Up: at Utah; Last week’s Rank (9)
#8. Alabama 7-1 (+1400) - The Crimson Tide came alive in the second half against Tennessee and pulled away. The Tide will need some help but they have a path to the playoffs. Next Up: vs. LSU; Last week’s Rank (Unranked)
#7. Texas 6-1 (+2200) - The path is still clear for Texas to get into the playoffs. This is a playoff team if they win out and take the Big 12 title. The path is more challenging without QB Ewers, who could miss several weeks. Next Up: vs. BYU; Last week’s Rank (8)
#6. Washington 7-0 (+1200) - The Huskies get another tuneup this week against Stanford and should easily move to 8-0. Next Up: at Stanford; Last Week’s Rank (7)
#5. Oklahoma 7-0 (+1400) - The Sooners survived a scare on Saturday against UCF. The Sooners’ defense struggled but recovered to deny a late two-point conversion to seal the win. Next Up: at Kansas; Last week’s Rank (5)
#4. Florida State 7-0 (+700) - Trailing at the half and then into the fourth quarter, the Seminoles came alive in the 4th quarter, out-scoring Duke 21-0 to win going away. Next Up: @ Wake Forest; Last week’s Rank (6)
#3. Ohio State 7-0 (+700) - Ohio State’s defense stepped up this week in a win over Penn State. The Buckeyes will have another solid road test this week against Wisconsin but they have too much firepower to be upset by the Badgers. Next Up: at Wisconsin; Last week’s Rank (3)
#2. Michigan 8-0 (+275) - The Wolverines made quick work of in-state rival MSU on Saturday. Even amid distractions on the coaching staff, the Wolverines look unstoppable. Next up: vs. Purdue; Last week’s Rank (2)
#1. Georgia 7-0 (+275) - The Bulldogs head to Florida this week as they continue on their quest for a 3rd straight National Title. The Bulldogs should roll even without star TE Brock Bowers for several weeks. Next Up: @ Florida; Last week’s Rank (1)
In parenthesis, the odds of winning the National Title.
Upset Watch Week 3:
Things don’t always go according to plan in college football. Each week we will look at a possible upset against one of our top ten teams.
#5 Oklahoma (-10) at Kansas 12:00 PM on Saturday: Oklahoma struggled to defeat UCF at home last Saturday. They now have to battle Kansas on the road with the Jayhawks a perfect 4-0 at home this season. Oklahoma’s defense allowed 41 points to the Jayhawks in last year’s matchup.
The One That Got Away Week 1:
Each week we will look at a game from the previous week in which defeat was snatched away from the jaws of victory with a fateful play near the end of the game. We’ve all been there, why not painfully rehash it?
Minnesota at #24 Iowa (-3.5)
First off, to call Iowa offensively challenged would be akin to saying that today’s professional athletes like an occasional tattoo. So perhaps I should have been scared off with a spread over a field goal. But I was buoyed by Iowa’s sturdy defense and Minnesota’s own issues at putting up points.
I was quite comforted by the 10-3 Iowa lead at halftime and, given the brutal pace of the game, a seven-point lead felt like a four-score advantage. If possible, Iowa’s offense got even more disjointed in the second half while Minnesota found somewhat of a rhythm against the stout Hawkeyes’ defense. By the end of the third quarter, the lead was down to 10-9. Still, a simple field goal by Iowa would assure the win so I was modestly optimistic.
When the Golden Gophers drilled a field goal with under nine minutes to play to take a 12-10 lead, I was not feeling great. Iowa, even at home, couldn’t be any less dynamic on offense. A field goal, perhaps, but I needed a touchdown so all seemed lost. All really seemed lost when Iowa decided to punt with just over two and a half minutes left, hoping their defense could step up one more time. The defense did its part but I was hardly enthused as Minnesota prepared to punt.
What happened next was unquestionably a first for me in my long, illustrious (sure, why not), betting career. Minnesota sent a punt away to Iowa’s most dynamic player, defensive back/punt returner Cooper DeJean. The kick was short and DeJean raced in to field the ball while motioning his teammates away from the short kick. After making the catch, inches from the sideline, he avoided two tackles and raced to midfield with an open lane. My heart fluttered as DeJean raced into the end zone! In what was quite literally the only way I could win, I appeared to have won! There’s NO WAY this putrid offense was going down the field to score a touchdown. Wait, there’s a review. My heart sank. I assumed that, while tiptoeing the sidelines, he had stepped out and all would be lost again. Replays come across the screen, oh he was completely in bounds! Jubilation in my living room and Iowa began in earnest. Wait, why is this taking so long? Obviously, he was in bounds. The ref motions back to the spot of the catch. What the?! An obscure rule rears its ugly head. In going for the ball, DeJean briefly raises one hand for a fair catch but does put it down BUT while briefly raising the hand, his other hand is motioning away teammates. Apparently, a punt returner can’t do both without it being declared a fair catch. Oh for the love of God! The ball is placed back at midfield. I didn’t need to see the rest. Iowa’s offense could have quite literally handed the ball back to Minnesota and saved us all the torture. Final Score: Minnesota 12 Iowa 10 (-3.5) - Loss
*All odds courtesy of Draftkings.com
By Mark Ruelle