NCAA Football Report (Week 10)

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The first College Football Playoff rankings came out this week giving an idea of where teams stand with the season heading into its final weeks.

The first rankings are important in that they provide teams with a better idea of exactly where they stand giving some teams hope and taking away hope for others.

Then there is the top ten where the best teams in the country found themselves all with a chance to make the playoff if they could finish their seasons strong.

For a few of the teams, they were exactly where they expected to be as the top teams were assumed to be the top teams no matter what ranking people looked at this week.

That was true for Alabama, Clemson and Michigan remained in the top four like most people had assumed.

One surprise was the inclusion of Texas A&M in the top four, a surprise that took a bad turn this week when they lost and are sure to be out of the playoff when the second ranking comes out.

For the most part, the rankings were pretty consistent with the rest of the polls around the country but for some teams, the first rankings were exactly what they were waiting for.

Some teams are in and look like they will never be pushed out while other teams are on the brink only a loss from one of the top four away from making their own appearance.

Then some are in need of some help and a lot of great performances if they want to make it to the playoff this year.

For the good coaches being ranked in a spot that looks like it is out of reach can be a big boost for the team and for the not so good coaches it can be terrible.

The game of football has a lot to do with motivation and getting players up to play.

This motivation can make a big difference in how a team plays and the best coaches know how to harness this factor.

When dealing with rankings that are relatively out of your control it can be tough to use that motivation for some teams.

Especially when they find themselves in a spot where they are a good team but are too far away from the top four to make the playoff by just winning.

These teams that are closer to tenth than they are to fourth can sink into an attitude of nothing really matters anymore.football-sidebar

If they are only going for the national title and that national title looks like it is not very possible some players may begin to look to other ways of motivating themselves like personal accolades and draft rankings.

That can create issues on the field and any chance they do have of making the playoff disappears as they begin to lose.

The great coaches can take a somewhat low ranking and use it as a battle cry for a team.

Coaches tell their players that they are being disrespected by the committee and that the only way to get respect is to never let up through the end of the season.

When this works teams can begin to play at a different level and they can begin to get the attention of the people responsible for the rankings.

One team seems to be taking this approach as the Louisville cardinals found themselves ranked seventh in the first CFP rankings despite being a one-loss team and having the Heisman Trophy favourite leading their team.

The only team they lost to is the second best team in the country according to the CFP committee.

Yet they still ranked seventh and for Louisville, that meant that they were going to need to win-out the rest of the season and get some help from other teams.

Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals seemed to take this personally as they played Boston College and romped them. Jackson went off for seven touchdowns in what looked like a show-me game where the Cardinals were trying to prove that they belonged.

They are likely to move up thanks to that performance but there aren’t any signature games left for them this year so they will need to win big if they hope to find their way to the playoff, especially since they won’t likely be in the ACC championship.

Whether they can make it or not the Cardinals are looking like they are taking it to another gear making it sure to be really fun to watch as they finish out their season.

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Key Scores:
#1 Alabama Crimson Tide 10-0 LSU Tigers #13
– The Tigers were looking better in the last few weeks and they were poised for a massive upset and they came close as they shut down the Tide for the entire game but let them back in as Alabama got away with one

Mississippi State Bulldogs 35-28 Texas A&M Aggies #4
– The Aggies were one of the bigger surprises in the rankings this week but they won’t survive long in the playoff as they lost their first game since earning their #4 ranking to the unranked Bulldogs

#7 Louisville Cardinals 52-7 Boston College Eagles
– Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals were not very happy with their ranking and they took it out on the Eagles as Jackson went off for seven total touchdowns and the Cardinals took an easy win in an attempt to prove that they belong

Arkansas Razorbacks 31-10 Florida Gators #11
– For Florida, the rest of the season was all about trying to find a spot in a major bowl but that will be much more difficult after this week when they took a loss to the unranked Razorbacks and will likely tumble down the rankings

Next Week:
Baylor Bears vs. Oklahoma Sooners (Saturday, November 12th; 12:00 pm ET)
– In the Big 12, there is no championship game making every conference game important as the Sooners look to stay undefeated in the conference in order to stay at the top of the standings where they hope to stay for the rest of the year

Wake Forest Daemon Deacons vs. Louisville Cardinals (Saturday, November 12th; 7:00 pm ET)
– For the Cardinals, it is about proving that they belong and although their match-up against Wake Forest doesn’t mean a whole lot they will need to win and win big if they have a hope of making the playoff at any point this year

USC Trojans vs. Washington Huskies (Saturday, November 12th; 7:30 pm ET)
– It could be the biggest challenge the Huskies have faced this year as the Trojans are always up for a big game and although they have not been great this year they can still pull off the upset and end the hopes of a playoff berth from the Huskies

Ole Miss Rebels vs. Texas A&M Aggies (Saturday, November 12th; 7:30 pm ET)
– The Aggies have to make up for their loss after they will likely fall out of the playoff and will have a tough time getting back but if they can get back to winning games they might be able to find themselves in a big bowl

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