The College Football Playoff picture continued to come into focus during Week 10, with a few teams adding key wins to their resumes and a few more unable to avoid crippling losses.
That left the Amway Coaches Poll to be adjusted once again heading into Week 11. Below, we’ll break down the latest rankings from the coaches, along with Bleacher Report’s poll and the college football landscape.
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Much of the debate in college football circles over the past week has been the College Football Playoff committee’s interesting choice to rank Texas A&M ahead of Washington at No. 4 in its first poll of the season.
It took the Aggies all of one week to prove they didn’t deserve that ranking.
Mississippi State ended Texas A&M’s playoff aspirations Saturday, knocking off the Aggies 35-28. The Bulldogs did it behind a bruising, effective running game that totaled 365 yards on the day.
“We got whipped,” Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin told the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). “We couldn’t stop the run and we couldn’t run it. They dictated play today.”
The rest of the top contenders in college football fared better, however.
Alabama proved once again that, in a season of uncertainty, its ironclad grip atop every poll is a certainty with another big win, this time against a resilient LSU side. Ultimately, it was the Crimson Tide who survived a defensive struggle, winning 10-0 and holding superstar running back Leonard Fournette to just 35 rushing yards and 43 yards from scrimmage.
“You can talk about winning ugly and maybe it wasn’t always pretty, because we certainly didn’t execute and do things the way we’d like, but you’ve got to give LSU a lot of credit,” Alabama coach Nick Saban told the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). “It was a tough atmosphere for us out there. But our defense was outstanding.”
Alabama freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts had more success on the ground, rushing 20 times for 114 yards and the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. Just as impressive as his rushing ability was his poise, however, as Andrew Brandt of ESPN noted:
Hurts has a preternatural chill about him. Calm presence. #BAMAvsLSU
— Andrew Brandt (@AndrewBrandt) November 6, 2016
Quite a few teams were poised themselves Saturday. Clemson, Michigan, Washington, Ohio State and Louisville all scored blowout wins to keep themselves firmly positioned behind Alabama in the race for a playoff berth.
Florida and Baylor’s long-shot hopes fizzled out Saturday, meanwhile, as the Gators fell to Arkansas and the Bears were manhandled by TCU.
Week 11 may offer a bit of a reprieve for many of the top teams in the country, as the premier matchup among the playoff hopefuls will be Washington vs. USC. Oklahoma will look to remain atop the Big 12 with a win over Baylor, while LSU will hope to recover against a tough Arkansas side.
Of course, the weeks that don’t appear to have particularly intriguing matchups are often the ones that provide the most shocking results. College football has a funny way of surprising you, after all. The top teams will hope to keep things business as usual during the second weekend of November.
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