We’ve not only reached October, but we’ve reached mid-October, past Week 7, where the path in college football is cleared away, and we can see ahead for miles.
In September, teams are just getting their footing, focusing on basic team strategies, and looking ahead to their strength of schedule in order to develop a plan of action. October is where football is real, and really matters.
During Week 7, as in most weeks, the SEC became the main focus of college football, especially given the high performance of LSU, and the uncharacteristically low performance from Georgia. LSU has become the talk of the town, and most analysts are predicting a no. 1 spot after they regained SEC dominance after a Georgia and Florida loss, though we all know teams highly-ranked by Associated Press aren’t really going to suffer a loss that seriously damages them in this manner, anyways.
Florida’s loss this past week has severely heated up SEC discussion, but most would agree the SEC will in general have trouble putting more than one team in the top four spots with Oklahoma and Clemson walking around tall, so it might be the year SEC doesn’t dominate.
Oklahoma made itself comfortable after a huge claim made and a big win against their rival Texas. The team’s notoriously sketchy defense is getting unquestionably better, especially after nine sacks and 511 total yards on Texas. The team could be an easy contender for BIG 12’s highest ranking.
Try to forget about Ohio State for a second, and turn your attention to Wisconsin and Penn State. Both teams are undefeated, with Penn State even standing next to Ohio State in the BIG 10 East. Wisconsin shutout Michigan State this past week (something Ohio State didn’t even do), but how high they climb in the rankings is really up to how well they perform against Ohio State in two weeks.
Penn State is looking more dominant every week, especially if they continue to cut out penalty yards and work on their offense.
Notre Dame is someone to keep an eye on, with a 5-1 record, but they will need to overcome struggle in their upcoming strength of schedule to be noticed at all. Unfortunately for Notre Dame, opponents are effecting their appeal, and if they want to have a place in the playoffs, they’ll need to work on their image, despite most of the issues being out of their control.
Oregon is placed at the top of the PAC-12 North, but how much is that really saying in a struggling conference? The team sent a strong message with a win over Colorado last week, but they’ll need to overcome a lot more than Colorado to get on many people’s radar. Watch their performance against Washington on Saturday to see how the team is adjusting their defense.
There’s still plenty of football left in the season, and although many of the top contenders are already making their presence known, there’s always time for a few surprise upswings along the way.
Kristen Ashly is a contributor and editor for Nuts & Bolts Sports. Follow Kristen on Twitter for discussion on football, horror movies, and women’s wrestling.