The announcement was made in Husky Stadium and the sellout crowd at the Washington-USC game roared. Pittsburgh 43, Clemson 42. It is safe to say that never before has an ACC score made a Seattle crowd so excited.
Then Washington went out and lost, too. And Michigan followed up with a loss at Iowa and just like that there were three College Football Playoff-shaking results on a Saturday when all the top contenders were big favorites.
Thoughts, takedowns and takeaways from Week 11, when everything got a little more interesting.
1. OK, everybody just relax. Especially those rooting for the Tigers, Huskies and Wolverines. Clemson, Michigan and Washington can all recover from these losses by winning out and winning their conferences in the process.
2. Think about it. What teams would have better cases if those three all finished 12-1?
3. So who benefits from those losses? Maybe No. 11 West Virginia and the Big 12, which has had dirt thrown on it for weeks. The Mountaineers have a huge home game against No. 9 Oklahoma next week. Maybe Louisville, which is hoping to get in without winning the ACC.
4. Michigan’s stunning loss to an Iowa team that allowed more than 300 yards rushing to Penn State last week and lost at home to North Dakota State earlier in the season is the result with the most potential to complicate things for the College Football Playoff selection committee. Now it is possible that if the Wolverines lose to Ohio State on Nov. 26, Penn State would win the Big Ten East, potentially shutting both of the conference’s best two playoff hopes out of the conference title game.
5. So Ohio State won by 59 points for the second straight week and had a bad day.
6. The last time the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 teams in the AP poll lost in the same weekend was the first weekend of October 2014. Oregon, Alabama and Oklahoma all went down that weekend. Oregon and Alabama still made the first playoff. The last time Nos. 2, 3, and 4 in the AP poll lost on the same day was Oct. 19, 1985. No. 2 Michigan lost at No. 1 Iowa; No. 3 Oklahoma lost to Miami; and No. 4 Arkansas lost to Texas.
7. Thought on Clemson: Too many red-zone turnovers. It’s been an issue all season.
8. Thought on Washington: USC made the Huskies look ordinary up front, which was supposed to be UW’s advantage.
9. Thought on Michigan: Wilton Speight is a better-than-average quarterback, but that’s about it.
10. Meanwhile, it was just another awesome day for Alabama.
11. Georgia beat No. 8 Auburn to end the SEC West race. No. 1 Alabama has clinched so the Iron Bowl goes from championship implications to solely for pride. The Crimson Tide could lose and still make the playoff. Maybe Nick Saban will rest some of his starters?
12. That’s a joke but it is very much something that concerned college football officials when they were putting together the playoff: Late-season games with teams locked into spots that would suddenly become devalued. Pretty sure Alabama will still be taking Auburn seriously. And after Saturday’s performances by both teams it’s hard to imagine the Tigers will be seriously competitive in Tuscaloosa.
13. The Crimson Tide essentially used its game against Mississippi State and the Bulldogs’ suspect pass defense to work on Jalen Hurts‘ passing. It went well.
14. USC might be the best team in the Pac-12, but unless some things break the Trojans way, they won’t even win the Pac-12 South. And Sam Darnold is the best quarterback in the Pac-12.
15. Weird day all around in the ACC: Clemson blew a chance to clinch the ACC Atlantic and No. 18 Virginia Tech tossed away an opportunity to seal the Coastal with a loss to Georgia Tech . Both the Tigers and Hokies are still a victory away from setting up an ACC title game meeting.
16. Sad way for Baylor QB Seth Russell to end his college career. The senior, who came back from a neck injury that ended is junior season, suffered a gruesome leg injury during a blowout loss against No. 9 Oklahoma . Even the Sooners were moved to salute Russell .
17. Baylor’s scandal-ridden season has three games left and the Bears are already bowl eligible at 6-3, but with a coaching search on tap you have to wonder if the school will even accept a bowl bid. Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades was at Missouri last year when the Tigers passed on a bowl invite when they were going through a coaching search. Notable difference: Mizzou was 5-7 and squeaking into the postseason on its APR last season.
18. Weekly Charlie Strong job status update: The Longhorns are 5-5 with Kansas and TCU left on the schedule after losing to West Virginia .
19. Saquon Barkley with the strange stat line of the week for No. 12 Penn State: a career-high 33 carries for 58 yards, 1.8 yards per carry, and a touchdown in the Nittany Lions’ victory against Indiana. Barkley took a beating behind an offensive line that was wrecked by injuries and deserved a game ball.
20. For a guy who has had a disappointing season, with injuries and a struggling offense around him, Christian McCaffrey has been really good for Stanford .
21. Was a blowout loss to Stanford the point of no return for Oregon coach Mark Helfrich? The Ducks will finish the season at No. 13 Utah and at Oregon State, hoping to extend their eight-game winning streak in the Civil War that is pretty much the only thing left from the Chip Kelly era.
22. Dana Holgorsen to Oregon? No secret that West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons pondered making a coaching change last year. Maybe Holgorsen cashes in on his big season and finds another job.
23. The dream (nightmare?) of a five-way tie for first in the SEC East with all the teams 4-4 is sadly over. Florida can clinch next week by beating LSU in the hurricane makeup game. If the Gators lose and Tennessee beats Missouri and Vanderbilt, the Vols become the East’s sacrificial lamb in Atlanta.
24. Mississippi fans have a lot to look forward to with quarterback Shea Patterson .
25. And yet another Texas A&M season starts strong, fades late.
Republished with permission from the Associated Press.