Monday takeaways: Huge 12 still unpredictable; USC, Clemson still browsing

Week 8 saw more than its share of close calls for top groups, with Oklahoma and Texas barely hanging on as the very best of the Big 12.

We likewise saw Ohio State make its case as a playoff team with a 2nd declaration win of the season– leaving the impression it might get back at better– while Washington made it through a scare that may help the Huskies in the long run.On the other side of the spectrum, USC and Clemson both took another one on the chin as their unexpected struggles continued. And Penn State again fell short on the big-game stage.Then there was a feel-good win for Virginia, which distressed unbeaten North Carolina.Here are our college football press reporters’greatest takeaways from the weekend.The Big 12’s big swings continue The Huge 12 is when again a conference of unpredictability.In the past three years, just one team– Oklahoma in 2020– has actually gone back to the conference title game in consecutive years. Neither Baylor, Iowa State nor Oklahoma State won more than seven games in the season following their appearances. This year is more of the exact same, with TCU crashing back to earth, sitting at 4-4 with Texas and Oklahoma remaining on the schedule. Drake Stoops and Oklahoma enhanced to 7-0 by beating UCF, but it was no cinch. Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports Let’s wrap up a few of the twists and turns to this point: Oklahoma State lost 33-7 to South Alabama in the past later beating Kansas State 29-21. TCU beat Houston 36-13 and

BYU 44-11 before losing to Kansas State 41-3. West Virginia beat Pitt, Texas Tech and TCU in successive weeks before losing two straight to Houston and Oklahoma State. Baylor rallied from 28 down to beat UCF 36-35 3 weeks before the Knights came to Norman and was a 2-point conversion far from connecting No. 6 Oklahoma with about a minute left Saturday. The very same day, Houston took No. 8 Texas to the wire, missing out on a fourth-and-1 opportunity at the 8 with 1:08 left and falling 31-24. Oklahoma and Texas are still the conference front-runners, however the defending champs, K-State, are rounding into form. The Longhorns have BYU and Kansas State coming to town the next 2 weeks. The Sooners go to Kansas

, then to Oklahoma State for an emotional Bedlam finale.It’s less than suitable for the conference to have two departing teams fighting it out for the league title. But in this case it’s likewise a big asset, with the Allstate Playoff Predictor offering the league the second-best chances– an 81%chance– to make the College Football Playoff, behind only the Big Ten.If there’s one thing we can be sure of based on the Huge 12’s recent history, though, it’s that absolutely nothing is for sure.– Dave Wilson USC needs to toughen up under Riley The luster of Pete Carroll’s run at USC is that he incorporated the Hollywood element without losing any edge on the field.

I remember speaking with USC players throughout Carroll’s prime time who would state practices were often more demanding than the games. The Trojans would line

up and beat the hell out of one another while Snoop Dogg or Will Ferrell or [insert star here] looked on.Those days are over. USC might have recorded some appeal in hiring Lincoln Riley as coach and mining the transfer website for Caleb Williams and other top skills. The program has actually dived head initially into NIL and rightfully played up its area and the unbelievable resources of having the show business in its backyard. But on the field, USC does not have the gritty ingredients to end up being a champ. The Trojans just had to look across the field Saturday night to see what they’re lacking.Allstate Playoff Predictor How will Saturday’s leading games affect the College Football Playoff chase after? What are the existing chances for the top 4? The Allstate Playoff Predictor has the responses. Inspect back each week as the chances are updated following that week’s games.

Utah quarterback Bryson Barnes, a pig farmer’s son who strolled on for the Utes and has been thrust into action for several substantial games, entered into the Coliseum and gotten rid of Williams and USC from CFP contention. USC still can’t get the big stops on defense, a theme under Riley at both his current job and his previous one(Oklahoma ). The Trojans definitely can’t beat Utah, which has a four-game win streak versus them.Riley spoke afterward about his group having a hard time under the

weight of expectations and questioned the narrative of USC being a nationwide competitor. He also didn’t have players talk with reporters– a first for a program that, even in the middle of its struggles given that Carroll left, constantly took the required professional method toward the media in an enormous market. Shielding players after a tough loss looks little and soft, two words that are stuck on USC best now.I believed USC would find a way to beat shorthanded Utah.

Now the Trojans could quickly be looking at a 4-or five-loss season, a colossal frustration provided the star power from Williams and others.Riley is still an outstanding coach who might win huge at USC, but he needs to discover the balance in between glamour and grit that Carroll improved, which the program plainly lacks.– Adam Rittenberg Couple of answers for dropping Clemson Times are tough in Death Valley. Clemson is 4-3, with 3 losses in ACC play for the first time given that 2010. The Tigers’playoff hopes, conference

title hopes, hope in basic– they’re all gone. Simply days after Dabo Swinney suggested a couple of losses may cull the herd of unthankful fans on the team’s bandwagon, Clemson fell in overtime to Miami which bandwagon is just an empty vehicle speeding off a cliff.For the second time this year, Clemson blew a double-digit lead and lost in OT.For the 3rd time this year, Clemson lost a game Swinney knows his team had no company losing.For the very first time in a long time, there seems to be no clear course forward for a program that controlled the ACC for the previous decade.What’s so discouraging is the underlying metrics largely recommend an excellent football team. Clemson is 18th in the Football Power Index (FPI ), 19th in SP+, ninth amongst Power 5 teams in effective play differential and 11th in explosive play differential. Swinney now must fix something that doesn’t really appear to be broken. “This team remains in a position to

win,”Swinney stated after the loss to Miami.” I don’t have a response.

I simply do not.” There are adequate locations to point fingers, but none expose a true villain.Swinney has actually blamed turnovers, and certainly, Clemson has a concern with fumbles. But the Tigers are in the middle of the pack in turnover differential, a margin created by little bit more than some misfortune and the law of averages.Fans are appropriately disturbed with quarterback Cade Klubnik after he changed a playcall on 4th down that ended the game in double OT, but given that Week 3, he has actually accounted for 11 goals, simply one interception and a 70.7 Overall QBR, simply an action behind UNC’s Drake Maye.The defense certainly didn’t measure up to expectations given Miami was starting a freshman quarterback (Emory Williams)with little previous experience, but that unit, too, has actually been among the most consistently suppressing in

the nation, posting an effective play rate in line with those of Michigan and Alabama.Garrett Riley’s

offending scheme has irritated some– a lot of brief throws, inadequate huge plays. But Clemson averages 10 explosive plays per game, the same rate as ACC leader Florida State.After in 2015’s Orange Bowl disappointments, Swinney fired his OC. DJ Uiagalelei, the

favored punching bag in each of the previous two years, left for Oregon State( where he has actually been among the much better QBs nationally ). The defense is loaded with NFL talent. The Tigers have actually been in every game.And yet, here they are– losers of 6 of their previous 11 Power 5 games, with little space to maneuver in another direction. The only plan may be to persevere, which’s a strategy practically particular to send out whatever fans remain on the bandwagon diving for cover.– David Hale Ohio State rounding into shape We have actually heard a lot about what Ohio State supposedly isn’t, that the Buckeyes aren’t explosive on offense, that they’re only pedestrian at quarterback with Kyle McCord which they might not measure up across the board with a few of the upper-tier teams in college football.Ultimately, we’re going to get responses in all those categories.Editor’s Picks 2 Related However as we point toward the final weekend of October, here’s what we understand definitively about the Buckeyes: They’re unbeaten(7-0 and 4-0 in the Big 10). They have the 2 most remarkable wins of the season: a 20-12 home success last Saturday against then-No. 7 Penn State and a 17-14 roadway win over then-No. 9 Notre Dame on Sept. 23. And while the grumbling continues about

an offense that has actually been hit and miss out on, the very best news is that star receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. is appearing like his old self, healthy again and sculpting apart opposing defenses. He captured 11 passes for 162 backyards and a touchdown in the win over Penn State.The running game needs to be better, however the Buckeyes are confident of returning 2 of their best playmakers in receiver

Emeka Egbuka and running back TreVeyon Henderson.Defensively, Ohio State is 3rd nationally in scoring(allowing 10 points per game), and protective end JT Tuimoloau is starting to play his best football.In short, if the offense can overtake the defense– and McCord said he believes the offense is close to breaking through– the Buckeyes are as good a prospect as any to be right there in the

national championship conversation come December.– Chris Low Penn State’s loss a familiar storyline Penn State’s offense is not top-four worthy. After all of the hype and hoopla that so typically surrounds this program in the offseason, the answer was a resounding no, Penn State is not all set to be taken seriously as a playoff contender under James Franklin. Not when it goes 1-for-16 on 3rd downs.Penn State has no responses at pass receiver, and the Nittany Lions couldn’t get their running game breaking a terrifying front for Ohio State. The Nittany Lions were outplayed and outcoached(again), leaving Michigan and Ohio State in the familiar position of representing the Big 10’s hopes to make

the playoff.Franklin understood the big-picture question about what the loss meant for his program was a fair one, however he didn’t wish to address it postgame. His record in the big games arguably answers it for him. He is now 3-16 against AP top-10 challengers(0-10 on the roadway )while at PSU.– Heather Dinich Virginia pulls off historical success It is difficult to really comprehend what the Virginia training personnel, players and neighborhood have endured over the previous 11 months, not to mention the households of the three Cavaliers players shot and killed last November. They have lived through inconceivable scenarios that evaluated them. As Tony Elliott said of his players,”They have actually been removed to their

knees.”Yet they kept pressing forward, constantly thinking about colleagues Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and Devin Chandler, constantly playing to honor them and their legacy. play 0:22 Drake Maye tosses INT, Virginia completes massive upset Virginia upsets No. 10 North Carolina on the roadway after

Drake Maye tosses an interception in the last minute.Not numerous gave the Cavaliers a possibility versus competing North Carolina on Saturday. Not after an 0-5 start. Not with North Carolina unbeaten, with genuine College Football Playoff chances. But those who have followed Virginia this season knew this group was a couple of plays far from a winning record– last-minute losses in 3 games having revealed that if they could put all of it together, results would follow.Elliott saw it many of all. Rather than come down over such close losses, the group kept thinking. To strike that point harder going into the North Carolina game, Elliott revealed his group a video of the late Kobe Bryant, to illustrate the state of mind of what it requires to compete and win at the greatest level.”In that video, he discussed one of his champion teams, where they had to conquer some misfortune, and the way that he phrased it is:’The lion looked us in the face, and we stared back,'”Elliott informed ESPN on Sunday.”That was a message that,’Hey, there’s a lion that’s staring us in our face, and eventually, you’re going to need to stand up and battle that lion, and you can’t flinch.'” That’s what you saw in the guys. My hope is that I want that to become a part of our DNA.

I desire us to have that mindset, that we’re not going to flinch. We’re

not playing to what the scoreboard states, but we’re playing every snap like it’s our last. And if you do that, collectively, then you’ll win adequate snaps to be able to have the scoreboard in your favor at the end.”Virginia beat No. 10 North Carolina 31-27, the school’s very first win on the roadway against a top-10 opponent. The journey does not get a lot easier from here, with another roadway game at Miami on Saturday, in addition to games versus No. 18 Louisville and No. 20 Duke. Elliott wants his team to develop off the triumph over the Tar Heels due to the fact that the greatest objective remains in play– making it to a bowl game.The Cavs will need to remove of a deep hole to get there, however as running back Mike Hollins mentioned after the UNC success, “This team has plenty of fighters. There’s no quit anywhere in the program.”– Andrea Adelson Washington makes it through scare Any provided Saturday. Pac-12 After Dark. Call it whatever you desire, but Washington may well be much better off for what it withstood late versus Arizona State on Saturday night in Seattle.Kalen DeBoer’s group could not breathe a sigh of relief till junior cornerback Mishael Powell’s 89-yard pick-six with 8:11 left in policy put the Huskies in front for the first time, and they hung on for a 15-7 win. It was a shock to the system to view Heisman front-runner Michael Penix Jr. struggle to find his rhythm (27-of-42 death) versus the Sun Devils’ defense, as Penix tossed for a season-low 275 yards and turned the ball over 3 times (two interceptions ). The Huskies’offense was held to 288 overall yards, the first time in DeBoer’s tenure Washington didn’t reach the 300-yard mark. It also was the very first time the Huskies did not have an offending goal under DeBoer and OC Ryan Grubb.Arizona State was the last team to hand Washington a defeat( 45-38 on Oct. 8, 2022, in Tempe ), and Washington owns the country’s second-longest active winning streak at 14. Great teams discover methods to win when they do not play well, which’s what the Huskies did Saturday. A journey to USC, a home game with two-time defending conference champ Utah and a visit to Oregon State starts the November slate as the program looks for its first Pac-12 title considering that 2018. If the Purple Reign navigate those waters effectively and get to Vegas for the championship game Dec. 1, they may have Arizona State to thank for it.– Blake Baumgartner

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