Review of last week:
#17 USC upset by Washington 17-12 | This was a brutal hit to the hype surrounding this week’s game and Notre Dame’s strength of schedule resume when presented in front of the playoff committee.
#1 Ohio State beat Maryland 49-28 | The Terps hung tough and were tied at 21 in the third quarter before the Buckeyes pulled away.
#2 TCU escapes Kansas State 52-45 | In the best game of the day, Kansas State was dominating TCU and held an 18-point lead at halftime. But a furious rally by TCU and 35 points in the 2nd half kept their perfect season alive.
#3 Baylor smoked Kansas 66-7 | End of report.
#4 Michigan State beat Rutgers 31-24 | Michigan State is very vulnerable; Rutgers had several chances.
#23 Cal falls to #5 Utah | Cal turned the ball over six times to Utah’s three, and Utah only won by six. Utah will trip soon enough.
#6 Clemson over Georgia Tech 43-24 | In another rain soaked Saturday in Death Valley, this game was never really close.
#7 LSU beat South Carolina 45-24 | And then Steve Spurrier retired.
#8 Alabama downs Arkansas 27-14 | It was close until the fourth quarter.
#10 Oklahoma stunned by Texas 24-17 | If a playoff spot is down to either Oklahoma or Notre Dame, the Irish will get the nod. Would be great if the Sooners beat TCU & Baylor, and win the Big 12.
#11 Florida beat Missouri 21-3 | But they lost a ton of momentum with the Will Grier suspension.
#12 Florida State outlasts Miami 29-24 | The Hurricanes took the lead with 10 minutes remaining in the game, but the Noles responded with an immediate score of their own.
#13 Northwestern shut out by Michigan 38-0 | Michigan getting a lot of love, and now has 10-1 odds for winning the national title. But I just don’t see how you win a national title with Jake Rudock at QB. Halfway through the schedule and his TD/INT ratio is 5-6.
#14 Ole Miss pounds New Mexico State 52-3 | Still kicking themselves from getting blown out by Florida.
This week’s games
Thursday, October 15
- #18 UCLA @ #15 Stanford | Stanford wins big over UCLA 56-35
Notre Dame needed the Cardinal to win this game in order to keep hopes alive for a potential showdown to end the season with a highly ranked team. Stanford delivered in convincing fashion.
Saturday, October 17
- Penn State @ #1 Ohio State
Penn State comes into the game with an unimpressive 5-1 record. But it would be so great to see them make the Buckeyes finally suffer from their lackluster performance to start the 2015 campaign.
- West Virginia @ #2 Baylor
There have been a lot of fireworks in this game over the past three years. West Virginia should be able to score, but can they keep Baylor out of the endzone enough to win? Baylor still has upcoming games that could add a loss.
- #3 TCU @ Iowa State
TCU gets a breather here after last week’s scare against Kansas State. Don’t see the upset coming in this one.
- Arizona State @ #4 Utah
The Utes will fall if the same Sun Devils team that punched UCLA in the mouth shows up.
- Boston College @ #5 Clemson
Similar to last week’s opportunity against Georgia Tech, a Clemson loss here helps the Irish all the way around. It gives the Tigers a bad loss and provides SoS help to ND. But the Eagles have only scored 24 points against four FBS teams this year, and have been shut out twice.
- #8 Florida @ #6 LSU
LSU has more opportunities on their schedule to lose than Florida. I think we pull for the Tigers here. Loser has a chance to drop below ND should the Irish beat Southern Cal.
- #7 Michigan State @ #12 Michigan
Winner gains a few spots in the poll, and the loser will drop behind the Irish should ND beat Southern Cal. The playoff will include either Michigan State, Michigan or Ohio State. Who would you rather see ND match up with in a playoff? That’s the team you want to win this game.
- #10 Alabama @ #9 Texas A&M
Winner gains a few spots in the poll, and the loser will drop behind the Irish should ND beat Southern Cal. Looking ahead, I think it’s in our best interests if the Aggies win this one.
- Louisville @ #11 Florida State
The Noles are beatable. But the most impressive stat of the season so far is that Everett Golson has not yet turned the ball over.
- #13 Ole Miss @ Memphis
Rebels get a warm up before facing Texas A&M next week. I still think a 28-point loss to Florida is a resume killer when stacking up against a one-loss Irish team.
Last weekend, there were some great night games. This week, the schedule does not disappoint.
There are three games involving six teams ranked ahead of Notre Dame. If we were to assume all losing teams in these matchups drop below the Irish, this gets ND to a #11 ranking should they take care of business against the Trojans. If we were to get one upset in the other seven games, ND could crack the top 10 as early as Sunday.