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Top 25 Takeaways: Georgia loss shakes up playoff picture

  • Auburn defensive lineman Andrew Williams (79) celebrates with the team after a 40-17 win over Georgia in an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson) Brynn Anderson

  • Wisconsin's Leon Jacobs is congratulated after running back a fumble for a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, in Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash) Morry Gash

  • Alabama offensive lineman Bradley Bozeman (75) hoists wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) as they celebrate Smith's 26-yard touchdown pass reception for the go-ahead score during the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. Alabama won 31-24. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) Rogelio V. Solis



Associated Press
Sunday, November 12, 2017

No. 2 Georgia is no longer unbeaten. No. 6 Wisconsin still is. And all that talk of two Southeastern Conference teams making it to the College Football Playoff is not looking so good – but it is definitely not over.

In the first of three games Saturday matching top-10 teams, No. 10 Auburn crushed No. 2 Georgia to set up huge Iron Bowl and put the Tigers with two losses in the playoff race that still very much goes through Alabama.

No. 8 TCU was at No. 5 Oklahoma and No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 7 Miami met later Saturday. The early part of monster slate of games that included seven matching teams ranked in the Top 25 was all about unexpected blowouts.

Thoughts, takedowns and takeaways from Week 11 of the college football season.

1. Can we take Auburn coach Gus Malzahn off the hot seat now or nah?

2. The question was: Can Georgia win if a defense forces freshman Jake Fromm and the passing game to do the heavy lifting? Auburn was the first team to force the Bulldogs into that position and the answer was: Absolutely not.

3. So forget about all that two SEC teams in the playoff stuff, right? Not so fast. The Bulldogs are locked into the conference championship game. If they were to beat an unbeaten Alabama in Atlanta, leaving both 12-1, that whole two-SEC-teams thing is still on the table. But Auburn didn’t help that.

4. The top-ranked Crimson Tide will take over that spot when the new playoff selection committee rankings come out Tuesday after escaping Mississippi State in Starkville.

5. Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts faced down the Bulldogs’ blitz and did not flinch. Ahead of the Iron Bowl, a 60-minute test was probably a good thing for the Tide.

6. Wisconsin is 10-0 for the first time in school history, doing what Ohio State could not last week: Shutting down Iowa, despite an offense that turned the ball over four times and handed the Hawkeyes 14 points.

7. Auburn’s victory probably helps the Badgers. The two-SEC-teams scenario looked most promising with both Alabama and Georgia entering the SEC championship game unbeaten.

8. So a good day overall for Wisconsin, if you want to ignore that quarterback Alex Hornibrook has thrown 12 interceptions, 11 in seven Big Ten games.

9. Note to quarterbacks: Stop throwing at Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson, who has pretty much wrapped up a spot on the AP All-America team with five picks the last two weeks and two TDs against Wisconsin.

10. No. 21 Michigan comes to Camp Randall in Madison next week in the marquee game of what figures to be a fairly weak slate of games. Prediction: Wolverines beat the Badgers and then we can stop all the speculation about whether Wisconsin will get left out of the playoff despite going unbeaten.

11. The next couple of months in Columbus, Ohio, could include a lot of time spent wondering what the heck happened to the Buckeyes in Iowa City last week. The Ohio State team that showed up against Michigan State looked like one of the best in the country.

12. The Buckeyes will need major chaos to get back into the playoff discussion, but they have Illinois at home next week to tuneup for the Michigan finale. Win them both and it’s off to the Big Ten title game to face the Badgers.

13. If you’re going to start talking about two-loss teams in the playoff, No. 15 USC is probably going to want into that conversation, too.

14. Before Miami stepped on the field it was an historic day for the program. Losses by Virginia and No. 17 Virginia Tech meant the Hurricanes are ACC Coastal Division champions for the first time.

15. Miami entered the ACC in 2004 having gone 46-4 with one national title and one near miss in the previous four seasons playing in the Big East. The Hurricanes were the gold standard in college football and then they weren’t, and their struggles dragged ACC football down like an anchor for years.

16. The Hurricanes will play defending champion No. 4 Clemson in Charlotte, and the ACC could finally have the scenario Commissioner John Swofford dreamed of when Miami joined the league. Two national championship contenders playing in the conference title game.

17. We interrupt all this playoff chatter to talk about Nebraska football.

18. Minnesota 54, Nebraska 21 , in the most lopsided win in the series for the Gophers since 1945 — back when Minnesota was a college football powerhouse and Nebraska most definitely was not. These Gophers still need a victory to become bowl-eligible, but they ran for 409 yards against coordinator Bob Diaco’s defense.

19. The Cornhuskers (4-6) have two games left against No. 16 Penn State and No. 25 Iowa to maybe get bowl-eligible and save coach Mike Riley’s job but let’s be realistic here; neither of those things is likely to happen.

20. No. 14 UCF improved to 9-0 under former Nebraska quarterback Scott Frost with a 49-24 victory against UConn.

21. If Nebraska wants Frost, it might have to fend off about half the Southeastern Conference to get him. Bret Bielema may have reached the point of no return with Arkansas on Saturday.

22. For those who come up short in the Frost sweepstakes, there is another coach in south Florida whose team is scoring in bunches and poised to play for a conference title. And FAU’s Lane Kiffin has SEC coaching experience. Kiffin’s Owls have won six straight , taking control of Conference USA East while scoring at least 30 points in eight straight games.

23. Saquon Barkely scored a couple of touchdowns for Penn State but managed only 35 yards rushing and 20 receiving against Rutgers. The Heisman Trophy is not happening. Penn State’s opponents are stacked to stop Barkley and the Nittany Lions’ line is not good enough to give him room.

24. Stanford’s Bryce Love, though, is back in it.

25. Louisville Heisman winner Lamar Jackson became the first player in NCAA history with consecutive seasons of 3,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing. Hope Heisman voters are noticing.