Takeaways from college football week 11
Several Big Ten teams are not "what experts expected"
Penn State? Winless. Michigan, Minnesota? One win each. Indiana, Northwestern? Good...kinda. Some people were hopping on the Indiana bandwagon as the season began, but I don't think anyone had this coming weekend's game against Ohio State as a matchup of two top ten teams. The Buckeyes are still more talented than the Hoosiers, but the effort and growing confidence from Indiana has been fun to watch. Northwestern is now 4-0 and ranked No. 19 nationally behind transfer QB Peyton Ramsey. The Wildcats have looked great on both sides of the ball and have a big test Saturday against Wisconsin. As for preseason contenders, Penn State is now 0-4 --including losses to Maryland and Nebraska-- and Michigan is now 1-3 after a humiliating loss to Wisconsin. Neither team was expected to be here, and they are now both looking at lost seasons. Minnesota wasn't expected to be great, but I think we all expected better than what we've seen so far.
Saturday's Indiana-Ohio State game is a de facto "Big Ten East Championship Game"
The Hoosiers and the Buckeyes are both ranked in the top 10 in what is suddenly and clearly a game between the two best teams in the Big Ten East. If Indiana loses, they'll have to hope the Buckeyes slip somewhere. The Buckeyes would still be in a decent position with a loss, since Indiana has the more difficult remaining schedule, but it would ruin their playoff chances.
Notre Dame can fight through adversity
I somewhat expected a let-down game from the Irish after beating Clemson, and for much of the first half, that's exactly what it looked like. However, Notre Dame was able to take control by scoring touchdowns, while Boston College settled for field goals and had some bad turnovers. Credit where credit is due; the Irish showed grit in this one.
Arizona could cause fits for teams in the PAC-12
It could just be that USC is once again overrated to start the year, but the Wildcats hung around in this game better than most thought they would--especially coming off a 4-8 season. QB Grant Gunnell showed good poise and ability against what is supposed to be a good defense, and RB Gary Brightwell had just his fourth career 100 yard game. The defense still gave up 34 points, but I can see this offense keeping Arizona in a few games.
It's a rough year to be a coaching replacement
Many new coaches are not off to good starts in college in 2020. Much of that is probably due to the pandemic and all the uncertainty and cancellations it has caused. Some of these coaches really didn't have any offseason to get to know their players and what they can do on the field. Overall, about half of the new hires currently have a losing record and will look to be better next year.
Jim Harbaugh may be coaching his way out of Ann Arbor
After trouncing Minnesota in the opener, everyone was quick to say the Wolverines had improved and finally had a quarterback. The next week, they lost to a bad Michigan State team that took advantage of a week secondary and made that QB, Joe Milton, mostly one dimensional. Milton was benched against Wisconsin, and teams seem to be following similar formulas to beat Michigan. I know they'll be reluctant to let him go, but their team has underachieved each year under Harbaugh.
Florida is the only SEC team that can knock off Bama this year
The Gators will have to wait until the conference championship game to get their chance, but Florida looks like the most balanced team in the conference. They have an extremely explosive offense and a defense that can hold opponents. Alabama also has a great offense, but the defense is more susceptible to giving up big plays. I think Florida has some mismatches that would make this an intriguing game.