Week seven in college football provided a healthy dose of clarity in the College Football Playoff and conference races. The following are five big takeaways from a fun Week 7 in College Football.
1. Alabama is really, really good
The road to the National Championship runs through Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 2016. This reality became evident as the Crimson Tide took down the Tennessee Volunteers 49-10 at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville. Following a close loss to Texas A&M, the Tennessee Volunteers looked poised to rebound following their trip to College Station in a big way against Alabama. That dream was short lived as the Jalen Hurts-led Alabama Crimson Tide creamed the Tennessee Volunteers 49-10 in a game where star quarterback Josh Dobbs appeared absent. Alabama opens up as a 16.5 point favorite vs #6 Texas A&M this Saturday in Tuscaloosa.
2. Look out for West Virginia
West Virginia beat the Texas Tech Red Raiders 48-17 on Saturday after being only a two-point favorite in Vegas. West Virginia’s ability to stop the Patrick Mahomes-led offense in their tracks suggests that Dana Holgorsen may finally be turning the corner since their entrance to the Big 12 in 2012. Any team holding Texas Tech to 17 points deserves some notice at a national level. If the Big 12 sends a team to the College Football Playoff, it’ll be these West Virginia Mountaineers.
3. The “Big Game” will decide the Big Ten
The #8 Wisconsin Badgers took the #2 Ohio State Buckeyes to overtime this weekend before falling in overtime, 30-23. The 6-0 Buckeyes appear on their way to an 11-0 start prior to the Big Game vs Michigan, barring an unexpected loss in State College or at home vs #8 Nebraska. The #4 Michigan Wolverines, also 6-0, had a bye this weekend, as they prepare for games against a down Michigan State team in East Lansing and a November 12th matchup in Iowa City. If the Buckeyes and Wolverines hold serve through these remaining matchups (as expected) the Big Game will return to prominence as college football’s biggest regular-season matchup on November 26th. Don’t be surprised to see these two teams 11-0 heading into this final weekend.
4. Pac-12 brethren doing no favors for #5 Washington
The undefeated and #5 Washington Huskies have been the surprise story of college football in 2016. This surprise resurgence of the once-proud Huskies has been dampened by poor seasons by conference foes Stanford, Oregon and Arizona, teams normally seen atop the Pac 12 Conference. National perception of the Pac 12 may require Washington to remain undefeated through the remainder of the season for a berth in the College Football Playoff.
5. Does any team want to win the ACC?
Week seven provided clarity for conference races in four of five power conferences this weekend. However, in the ACC, a missed field goal attempt by NC-State provided Clemson new life as they outlasted the Wolfpack in overtime. The Louisville Cardinals, one game back in the Atlantic Division, will need a slip-up from the Tigers in November for a trip to Charlotte in December. Florida State, already with two losses on the season, look to be out of the ACC conference race, despite high expectations to begin the 2016 season. Don’t be surprised if a lower-ranked coastal division team takes home the title in Charlotte this December, or if Florida State sends the Atlantic Division into chaos with a win over Clemson on October 29th.