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Championship Week: College Football Notes and Rankings

An upset-free Championship Week leaves 3 "in" and 3 with a glimmer of hope for a 4th spot. Now, we wait.

Now comes the waiting. As college football fans await the announcement of the top 4 and the subsequent bowl bids, here are some quick takes on the state of the game:

The Coaching Carousel: With USC choosing to keep Clay Helton, and Urban Meyer looking more likely to stay at Ohio State, the premier jobs have not come available. If Meyer- whose coaching future seems likely to last another season or two- were to exit, signs point to OC Ryan Day being the future head man.

Meanwhile, there remains a slim chance that Auburn- which has been college football’s version of a soap opera- fires Gus Malzahn, but the window for that move appears to be closing. The wildly unpopular coach seems poised to take a reduced buyout, hope he lands former Clemson QB Kelly Bryant as a transfer, and try to bounce back in 2019.

Texas Tech moved on from Kliff Kingsbury (now an intriguing OC candidate at a number of schools) and hired Matt Wells from Utah State. This seems a solid, though unspectacular, move, and I think Clemson DC Brent Venables would have been more compelling. Still, it far outpaces the hiring choice made by North Carolina- opting for a Mack Brown reboot more than 20 years after he left Chapel Hill. Brown struggled mightily in his final years at Texas, and his ability to keep up with the game is an issue. Even worse, it’s tough to see recruits buying into the idea that Brown can be successful once again. Les Miles at Kansas is a far better retread hire.

With the Georgia Tech job now open, there should be some interest from quality candidates. Chargers OC Ken Whisenhunt was the early hot name, but that seems to have cooled. Clemson OC Tony Elliott would be a phenomenal hire. Meanwhile, Colorado appears poised to steal UGA DC Mel Tucker- a slam dunk in my book.

However, no school is more disappointed than Louisville, which was spurned by native son Jeff Brohm who chose to stay at Purdue. Luke Fickell (Cincinnati) and Scott Sattefield (Appalachian State) might be even better candidates but lack the local ties. Maryland’s search is focused on interim Matt Canada, Alabama OC Mike Locksley, and Michigan’s Pep Hamilton. It amazes me that they have not already picked Canada- whose performance this season was incredibly impressive given the circumstances.

Heisman Watch: This is a two-man race for the award between QB Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama) and QB Kyler Murray (Oklahoma). The Tide signal caller may have had the edge heading into the weekend, but Murray was far, far more impressive in his title game. A future baseball pro, the Sooner has better numbers and is substantially more integral to the success of his team. As such, Murray is my pick, and I would not be surprised if he won the award. QB Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State) is a clear 3rd. It’s unclear whether players like QB Will Grier (West Virginia) or QB Gardner Minshew (Washington State) have done enough to merit an invite.

The Push for the Playoff: Alabama, Clemson, and Notre Dame are locks. Now, the Committee must decide whether Oklahoma should remain ahead of Ohio State and, possibly, whether a two-loss Georgia should get consideration after taking Alabama the distance once again. UCF is technically another wildcard, but it’s unlikely there will be much discussion despite their undefeated record. For me, Oklahoma narrowly gets the nod over Ohio State- leaving the Buckeyes the odd man out for the second year in a row. Here are my full rankings:

Also Receiving Consideration: Northwestern, Cincinnati, Boise State, Utah State, Iowa, Stanford, Oregon, UAB, Appalachian State, Arizona State

25. Iowa State (8-4)

24. Army (9-2)

23. Fresno State (11-2)

22. Missouri (8-4)

21. Texas A&M (8-4)

20. NC State (9-3)

19. Syracuse (9-3)

18. Utah (9-4)

17. Mississippi State (8-4)

16. Kentucky (9-3)

15. Penn State (9-3)

14. LSU (9-3)

13. West Virginia (8-3)

12. Florida (9-3)

11. Texas (9-4)

10. Washington State (10-2)

9. Washington (10-3)

8. Michigan (10-2)

7. UCF (12-0)

6. Georgia (11-2)

5. Ohio State (12-1)

4. Oklahoma (12-1)

3. Notre Dame (12-0)

2. Clemson (13-0)

1. Alabama (13-0)

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