NCAA Football Report (Week 11)

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It should have been expected as the NCAA Football season seemed to be going just too well with teams looking like they settled into their roles in the playoff.

That is not what the NCAA is about though as the league is one that thrives on unexpected results and upsets.

There is nothing better than when the NCAA gets turned on its head especially late in the season.

Leading into Week 11 it looked like the top three in the CFP rankings were not going to change until at least rivalry week when they all had to play their toughest opponents of the season.

For everyone else, it seemed like the best bet was to try to get to #4 in order to make the playoff and have a chance.

After all Texas A&M had been named the #4 team to start the CFP rankings but they were not very likely to stay there with some tough competition coming up on their schedule.

The Aggies took a loss in their first week as a part of the top four and the Washington Huskies stepped in as the final team in the playoff.

As good as the Huskies have been all year they always seemed like the team that many wondered about whether they deserved the recognition.

In Week 11 they got the chance to prove to everyone that they did deserve it and that they could stay in the playoff.

It turns out that they couldn’t as the USC Trojans beat the Huskies leading to the second straight week where the #4 team lost an important game.

It seemed like that last spot was a bit of a curse for teams as everyone that made it in was the subject of an upset the next week.

That might have gained some traction were it not for the collapse of more than just the #4 team in the rankings.

Out of the four teams in the playoff after Week 10 only one survived through Week 11 leading to some interesting scenarios for the rest of the year.

Alabama was the only team to survive what has become the upset week but they were also playing the only team with a losing record to play a top four team.

They easily got by Mississippi State, much like they have with most teams this year, and with the easy win are guaranteed to stay at the top spot in the rankings.

Meanwhile, the #2 team in the country was taking on the Pittsburgh Panthers in a game that nobody was looking at as a potential league-changer.

Then Pittsburgh continued to hang around throughout the game and eventually kicked a game-winning field goal to take out the second place team.football-sidebar

It was a massive surprise for the #2 team in the country and one that is sure to hurt their chances as they seem to be back to “Clemsoning” while they attempted to make the playoff.

The #3 team was hoping to take advantage of the loss as Michigan was looking to get a win and move themselves up the rankings.

They ran into Iowa who, like the Panthers, kicked a game-winning field goal to take the win and shock yet another member of the playoff.

The top four weren’t the only teams to be upset though as five of the top ten teams in the CFP rankings lost their Week 11 games.

Whereas, most weeks the debate might only be for one spot in the playoff this week has likely left three empty spots in the playoff.

If everything goes straight as it should from the rankings so far there are three teams eyeing those spots right now.

Ohio State, Louisville, and Wisconsin all won their Week 11 games and if things work out logically these three teams will find their spots in the top four.

It isn’t always logical though as any combination of the top ten teams that did win or one of the teams just outside of the top ten could find their way to the top four.

There is also no guarantee that all of those top four teams that lost will be entirely out of the top four when the rankings come out next week.

That will be the debate leading up to the new rankings and after the rankings are released.

This week has been one of the most interesting ones of the year with so much set to change and the season only a few weeks from being over.

With the weeks running out there isn’t a lot of time to make an impression before the playoff rankings are locked in.

A week like this will only make things tougher for the teams that lose as all three of them have less time to make a recovery.

The playoff is just getting interesting after Week 11 and there seems t be plenty to talk about for the next rankings and everything beyond this week as the battle seems to have only begun.

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Key Scores:
Pittsburgh Panthers 43-42 Clemson Tigers #2
– Clemson has had a reputation of blowing games every season but that seemed to end last year until they found their way to Pittsburgh where a last second field goal put a big dent in their playoff hopes

Iowa Hawkeyes 14-13 Michigan Wolverines #3
– The Wolverines have looked great all year as Jim Harbaugh has brought them back to relevancy but they may have to wait another year to see the playoff as a loss to Iowa handed them their first loss of the season

#20 USC Trojans 26-13 Washington Huskies #4
– The Huskies were one of the more unexpected teams this year as they rose through the rankings behind the great performance of their quarterback but their playoff hopes might be over with this loss to the Trojans

#6 Louisville Cardinals 44-12 Wake Forest Daemon Deacons
– For the Cardinals it was a week of opportunity as they have the chance to win and move closer to the playoff after a number of key losses and although Lamar Jackson didn’t have the greatest performance he still took the win

Next Week:
Louisville Cardinals vs. Houston Cougars (Thursday, November 17th; 8:00 pm ET)
– With the Cardinals now likely in the playoff, every game becomes that much more important as one loss is sure to end their playoff chances as they take on the Cougars who are looking to find a signature win of their own

Clemson Tigers vs. Wake Forest Daemon Deacons (Saturday, November 19th; 7:00 pm ET)
– The Tigers are reeling from their loss as they likely went from a sure playoff team to out of the group altogether and they begin their path back hoping to see a playoff team lose and trying to win out in order to find a spot in the top four

Oklahoma Sooners vs. West Virginia Mountaineers (Saturday, November 19th; 8:00 pm ET)
– The Big 12 is turning out to be an interesting battle this year and without a championship game it all comes down to important conference games including this one where the winner seems to have a good chance of taking the title

USC Trojans vs. UCLA Bruins (Saturday, November 19th; 10:30 pm ET)
– The battle for Los Angeles sees two teams that are not meeting the expectations laid out for them when the season started but a win in this game could help to save their season especially for the unranked Bruins

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