Is this the week that Cincinnati finally breaks through? Here's who's clean to the tee and who took a major dump.
Biggest Winner(s): The Rivalry Trifecta of Michigan, Ohio State, and Notre Dame: All three teams are in the top ten, kicked major butt on Saturday, and absolutely hate each other. If you want proof of their dominance, take a look at the 1st half splits from Ohio State and Notre Dame:
These stats are enough for complete dominance in a single NFL game. Ohio State manhandled Michigan State, 56-7, behind C.J. Stroud's big day. Notre Dame shut out Georgia Tech, 55-0. The Michigan Wolverines took care of business against Maryland, 59-18. All three teams are alive and well in the college football playoff. However, next week is going to determine who stays alive in the hunt. The Buckeyes will be in Ann Arbor for the Big Game against the Wolverines next Saturday, a game that'll determine the Big Ten East champion. As for the Fighting Irish, they'll need some help from the likes of that game and Cincinnati, who'll enter the playoff picture. They should take care of business against a subpar Stanford team next Saturday.
Big Winner: Bryce Young: Arkansas gave #2 Alabama everything they had. That's why they needed their star quarterback, Bryce Young, to step up. Boy, did he ever step up. Young went 31-for-40, throwing for 559 yards and five touchdowns in a Crimson Tide win, 28-20. Those 559 yards broke Alabama's record for most yards in a game, making him a part of an immortal group. If Young continues to go off like this every game, watch for Alabama to hoist the National Championship once again.
Biggest Loser: Pac-12: Oregon had a chance to drastically improve their playoff hopes with a win at #24 Utah. They immediately fell flat right out the gate, with their offense amounting to nothing. As a result, they lost by a score of 38-7, ending any hope of the Pac-12 making the playoff. It was another trap game that Oregon fell victim to, opening the door for Cincinnati. Larry Scott's overambition and ego is still hurting the conference, even in his absence. Whether it's the Pac-12 Network being mediocre, having 9 AM kickoffs, relocating the headquarters to San Francisco (where there are some of the more inept leaders around sans the tech industry), or Friday night games, the commissioner's awful work is hindering the conference at every turn. As a result, Pac-12 fans have lost interest in the games, hurting the conference in the pocketbook. What's the new commissioner, George Kliavkoff, going to do now? He has a major uphill battle to climb to getting the Pac-12 back to relevancy and fixing Scott's mess. That starts with making the Pac-12 Network more lucrative and securing a better deal. Otherwise, Larry Scott's thinning competence (and hair) will haunt the conference forever.
Other Winners: Luke Fickell, UCLA, Tulsa in the first half
Other Losers: Dan Mullen, Mel Tucker, Wake Forest
College Football Playoff Four