Sunday, November 15, 2015
Snap judgments from Week 11 of college football
College football's biggest story lines can build up or get knocked down in one snap. After a Saturday full of action and overreaction, we're here to help you figure out what's hot, what's not and what's true as the season enters the home stretch.
Here are five story lines to know (and, in some cases, debunk).
This week's Snap Judgments:
1. The Pac-12's Playoff chances are kaput.
Stanford missed a two-point conversion in the final minute Saturday and lost at home to Oregon, its second loss of the season and likely the nail in the coffin of its College Football Playoff chances. Stanford could have a shot if it wins out and every team left in the Big 12 round robin loses between now and Dec. 5, but that's unlikely.
In the wake of Stanford's loss, Utah stood as last remaining one-loss team in the league, with that one loss coming on an improving USC team's field. Nothing to be ashamed of, actually.
Well, that lasted for about two hours, until Arizona knocked off the Utes in double overtime. The Pac-12 was the first Power Five league to have no unbeaten teams, and now it's the first to have no one-loss teams. Almost makes you want to re-think that nine-game schedule.
2. TCU is a shell of itself without Trevone Boykin.
Boykin, arguably the best quarterback in college football, left Saturday's game against Kansas with an ankle injury, and the Horned Frogs barely escaped with a win over the Big 12 bottom-dweller. TCU has been hit badly by injuries since before the season began, but none is as important Boykin's. He is perhaps the most integral piece of any major college football program this season.
Good news: TCU seems optimistic Boykin can play next week. But if he's not 100% healthy, the remainder of the Horned Frogs' season could be dicey.
3. The ACC has two Playoff contenders.
Clemson, No. 1 in the committee's top 25, is a given. North Carolina is looking more and more like one every week. The Tar Heels haven't clinched the ACC Coastaldivision, but that seems but just a formality at this point. So let's look ahead to an intriguing ACC title game matchup.
Clemson, which skated past Syracuse on Saturday, looked a little more beatable than it has in recent weeks. UNC, on the other hand, continued its offensive assault, with a 59-21 win against Miami to follow a 66-31 demolition of Duke. Those who thought Florida State would give Clemson its greatest test before the College Football Playoff might have been wrong. It's actually UNC — in the ACC championship game.
4. Leonard Fournette won't win the Heisman.
It wasn't as bad as his performance against the stout Alabama front seven, but Fournette struggled for a second consecutive weekend — accumulating just 91 yards on 19 carries in LSU's home loss to Arkansas on Saturday night. It's unclear whether opponents now seem to have a blueprint to stop Fournette or if he's hit a wall at this point in the season, but the presumed Heisman Trophy favorite has likely lost his grip on the award.
It definitely doesn't help that Alabama running back Derrick Henry seems to be hitting his stride at the same time as Fournette's struggles. Or that Oklahoma quarterbackBaker Mayfield is a late entrant to the Heisman race.
5. Houston is in the driver's seat for a New Year's Six bowl — for now.
How about that comeback against Memphis? Houston rallied to win, 35-34, and advance to 10-0. The Cougars have two wins vs. Power Five opponents thanks to their games vs. Louisville and Vanderbilt, but Houston proved plenty in beating the Tigers on Saturday. But don't overlook that visit from 8-1 Navy the day after Thanksgiving.