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College Football Mondays

'College Football Mondays' - Frank Coyle's New Weekly Column

College Football Playoff Announces Final Top 25 Rankings Alabama vs Washington & Ohio St vs Clemson in Semi Finals

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF
SELECTION COMMITTEE RELEASES FINAL RANKINGS

The College Football Playoff Selection Committee announced its final Top 25 rankings. Alabama is No. 1, Clemson No. 2, Ohio St No. 3 and Washington is No. 4. It sets up the match-ups for the Playoff Semifinals and New Year’s Six bowls.

On Saturday, December 31, 2016, No. 4 Washington will face No. 1 Alabama in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at 3 p.m. ET. The PlayStation Fiesta Bowl will follow at 7 p.m. ET as No. 3 Ohio State plays No. 2 Clemson.

Photo - LB Reuben Foster - Alabama

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The winner of the Peach Bowl will face the winner of the Fiesta Bowl in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship. The national championship game will take place on Monday, January 9, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

The College Football Playoff also announced the New Year’s Six bowl match-ups.
Capital One Orange Bowl (Dec. 30) – No. 11 Florida State vs. No. 6 Michigan
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic (Jan. 2) – No. 15 Western Michigan vs. No. 8 Wisconsin
Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual (Jan. 2) – No. 9 Southern California vs. No. 5 Penn State
Allstate Sugar Bowl (Jan. 2) – No. 14 Auburn vs. No. 7 Oklahoma

The committee will prepare its final Top 25 on Selection Day, Sunday, December 4. The top four teams in the final rankings will play in the Playoff Semifinals on December 31, 2016, at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl.

RANK/ TEAM/ OVERALL/ RECORD
1. Alabama
2. Clemson
3. Ohio State
4. Washington
5. Penn State
6. Michigan
7. Oklahoma
8. Wisconsin
9. Southern California
10. Colorado
11. Florida State
12. Oklahoma State
13. Louisville
14. Auburn
15. Western Michigan
16. West Virginia
17. Florida
18. Stanford
19. Utah
20. LSU
21. Tennessee
22. Virginia Tech
23. Pittsburgh
24. Temple
25. Navy

About the College Football Playoff
The College Football Playoff matches the No. 1 seed vs. No. 4, and No. 2 vs. No. 3 in semifinal games that rotate annually among the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Goodyear Cotton Bowl, Capital One Orange Bowl, Allstate Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual and PlayStation Fiesta Bowl. The 2016 semifinals will take place December 31, at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and PlayStation Fiesta Bowl. The national championship game will be Monday, January 9, 2017, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

Frank Coyle is a long time scout with nationwide ties with coaches, scouts and player agents. He is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe, Biletnikoff etc for the past 20 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year-round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites

CFP Selection Committee Releases Rankings - Top 4 Teams - Bama, Ohio St, Clemson & Washington

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CFP Selection Committee Releases Rankings

The College Football Playoff Committee announced its fifth Top 25 rankings. Alabama is No. 1, Ohio State No. 2, Clemson No. 3 and Washington is No. 4.

QB Jake Browning - Washington

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The committee will prepare its final Top 25 on Selection Day, Sunday, December 4. The top four teams in the final rankings will play in the Playoff Semifinals on December 31, 2016, at the Chick -fil-A Peach Bowl and the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl.

RANK/ TEAM/ OVERALL/ RECORD
1 Alabama - 12-0
2 Ohio State -11-1
3 Clemson - 11-1
4 Washington - 11-1
5 Michigan - 10-2
6 Wisconsin - 10-2
7 Penn State - 10-2
8 Colorado - 10-2
9 Oklahoma - 9-2
10 Oklahoma State - 9-2
11Southern Cal - 9-3
12 Florida State - 9-3
13 Louisville - 9-3
14 Auburn - 8-4
15 Florida - 8-3
16 West Virginia - 9-2
17 Western Michigan - 12-0
18 Stanford - 9-3
19 Navy - 9-2
20 Utah - 8-4
21 LSU - 7-4
22 Tennessee - 8-4
23 Virginia Tech - 9-3
24 Houston - 9-3
25 Pittsburgh - 8- 4

Frank Coyle is a long time scout with nationwide ties with coaches, scouts and player agents. He is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe, Biletnikoff etc for the past 20 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year-round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites

College Award Finalists 2016 - Maxwell, Bednarik, Outland, Bronko Nagurski & Jim Thorpe

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Finalists Maxwell, Bednarik, Outland, Nagurski, Jim Thorpe Awards Announced

Photo - DB Jabrill Peppers - Michigan

Maxwell Award Finalists
QB Lamar Jackson - Louisville - Sophomore
QB Baker Mayfield - Oklahoma - Junior
DB Jabrill Peppers - Michigan - Junior

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2016 Chuck Bednarik Award Finalists
Jonathan Allen - Alabama - Defensive Line - Senior
Myles Garrett - Texas A&M - Defensive Line - Senior
Jabrill Peppers - Michigan - Linebacker - Junior

Finalists for Outland Trophy
Ohio State - OC Pat Elflein
Washington St - OG Cody O'Connell
Alabama - OT Cam Robinson

Biletnikoff Award Finalists
Austin Carr - Northwestern University - WR
Isaiah "Zay" Jones - East Carolina University - WR
Dede Westbrook - University of Oklahoma - WR

Finalists Bronko Nagurski Trophy
Alabama - DE Jonathan Allen
Alabama - LB Rueben Foster
Florida St - CB Tarvarus McFadden
Michigan - LB/DB Jabrill Peppers
Clemson - DE Christian Wilkins

Finalist for Butkus Award
LSU - Kendall Beckwith
Vanderbilt - Zach Cunningham
Florida - Jarrad Davis
Alabama - Reuben Foster
Iowa - Josey Jewell

Finalists for 2016 Jim Thorpe Award
Adoree’ Jackson, USC - Jr
Jourdan Lewis, Michigan - Sr
Tre’Davious White, LSU - Sr

2016 Ray Guy Award Finalists:
Michael Dickson, University of Texas
Cameron Johnston, Ohio St University
Mitch Wishnowsky, University of Utah

Frank Coyle is a long time scout with nationwide ties with coaches, scouts and player agents. He is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe, Biletnikoff etc for the past 20 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites

Bama Shuts Out LSU In Key SEC Clash

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College Football Monday - Week 11

Bama Shuts Out LSU To Claim #1 Ranking
Only Five Teams Remain Undefeated in Division 1 Rankings

Team of Week - Arkansas

Offensive Player of Week - QB Mason Rudolph - Oklahoma St.
Defensive Player of Week – LB Reuben Foster - Alabama

Photo - DL Jonathan Allen - Alabama

Upcoming Key Weekly Matchups
Southern Cal at Washington, Baylor at Oklahoma & Wake Forest at Louisville in major Matchups

Alabama's renowned defense once again dominated LSU as HC Nick Sabin beat his former club for the fifth consecutive time. This time it was a shutout as the Bama D limited LSU star running back Leonard Fournette to only 35 yards on 17 carries. Crimson Tide freshman QB Jalen Hurts actually won the game with his legs with 114 rushing yards on 20 attempts and the lone critical TD in the game. Hurts displayed great poise in his first game in Death Valley where the Tigers are almost unbeatable. He threw for only 107 yards on 10 completions of 19 attempts against a very stubborn Tiger defense. The game entered the 4th quarter scoreless with neither offense able to muster an effective passing game.

Hurts finally broke the deadlock on a 21-yard TD run early in the final quarter. #1 Alabama remained unbeaten with the 10-0 shutout and a strong position as the nation’s defending champion. Saban praised his physical defense which did not let LSU run a play from inside the Crimson Tide 30.

The Crimson Tide improved to (9-0, 6-0 SEC, No. 1 AP) won for the sixth straight time against LSU (5-3, 3-2, No. 15 AP). They remain alone in first place in the SEC West, one game ahead of Auburn.

"He has great poise. I don't think the stage is too big for him at all," Saban said about Hurts. "He expects a lot of himself and we expect a lot of him because he's in a role that has tremendous responsibility. He has handled that very, very well."

LSU had its share of big plays, though virtually all on defense that forced Hurts into an early interception in Bama territory. They also stopped him on a 4th-and-goal play and forcing him into a 3rd-quarter fumble. The Tiger's offense could not capitalize against menacing defensive end Jonathan Allen and LB Reuben Foster on the talented Tide unit.

"We played our butt off on defense but we lose as a team," LSU interim coach Ed Orgeron said. "We just couldn't get anything going on offense."

The Tigers finished with 125 total yards. Alabama had five sacks, one more than LSU's offense had allowed in any other game this season. Allen, linebackers Foster, Rashaan Evans and Ryan Anderson and end Dalvin Tomlinson all harassed young LSU QB Danny Etling. Edge rusher Tim Williams applied consistent outside pass pressure.

"We're just dominating the line of scrimmage," Allen said.

Etling completed 11 of 24 passes for 92 yards and 1 interception by Minkah Fitzpatrick in the 4th quarter while under pressure. The turnover led to a late Alabama field goal. The offense also looked flustered at times. LSU had to burn two timeouts early in the 2nd half to avoid delay-of-game penalties, then was called for delay of game on third down in Alabama territory later.

"We just had some miscommunications on what we were trying to do. Unfortunately, that was kind of what bit us," Etling said. "We did some stupid things and made some inaccurate throws."

Leonard Fournette was again the focus of the Tide defense where he has struggled in this matchup annually. Last year, he was held to 31 yards on 19 carries in Tuscaloosa. Saturday night he had only 35 yards on 17 carries. This was with a bye week to prepare and only two weeks after TD sprints of 78, 76 and 59 yards vs Ole Miss. His longest run against the Crimson Tide was just 9 yards.

Saban explained his team's success against Fournette this way: "When you play a great player like that, everybody has to really focus on doing their job. Our guys did it last year. We played a lot of the same stuff that we played a year ago."

Coach Nick Saban improved to 8-3 against his former team since taking over the Crimson Tide in 2007, the result clouded the future of the coaching position at LSU. Ed Orgeron had won his first three games since taking over for Les Miles who was fired in late September.

Michigan is one of only five Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools that are still undefeated this season. The Wolverines are off to an 9-0 start for the first time since 2006 and the fourth time in the past 40 years. Michigan recorded a season-high 660 yards of total offense last Saturday vs Maryland. The Wolverines also had a 300-yard passer (Wilton Speight-362), 100-yard rusher (De'Veon Smith-114) and 100-yard receiver (Jehu Chesson-112) in the same game for the first time since Oct. 19, 2013, vs Indiana.

Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett was responsible for four TDs last Saturday against Nebraska, giving him 94 career touchdowns responsible for, one shy of the Big Ten record set by Purdue's Drew Brees from 1997-2000. Penn State has scored 103 points in its last two games, the first time the Nittany Lions have done that since 2008 and the first time in consecutive conference games since 2002. Penn State's 599 yards of total offense last Saturday vs Iowa were its highest total in a single game since 1995 (661 vs. Rutgers) and the most the Nittany Lions have recorded in a Big Ten game since 1994 (653 vs. Michigan State).

Frank Coyle is a long time scout with nationwide ties with coaches, scouts and player agents. He is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe, Biletnikoff etc for the past 20 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites

Bama Faces LSU In SEC West Battle - Top Four Teams Remain Undefeated & Strong Contenders For First CFP Rankings

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College Football Monday - Week 10
Bama Travels to Baton Rouge to Face LSU Tigers
Top Four Teams Remain Undefeated & Strong Contenders For First CFP Rankings

Team of Week - Washington

Offensive Player of Week - RB Saquon Barkley - Penn St.
Defensive Player of Week - DB Jabrill Peppers - Michigan

Photo - QB Lamar Jackson - Louisville

Upcoming Weekly Matchups
Alabama at LSU, Nebraska at Ohio St & Wisconsin at Northwestern in major Matchups

Four clubs fell from the unbeaten ranks, Nebraska, Baylor, West Virginia and Boise St on Saturday reducing the number to five perfect teams entering November. Alabama, Washington, Michigan and Clemson have a strong case to be in the first CFP final four this Tuesday night. They face the teeth of their schedule through November prior to conference title games, but this group as separated themselves from the other top 25 clubs on more impressive victories on a weekly basis. Alabama faces one of their most difficult tasks this week when they travel to Baton Rouge to face their arch rivals, the LSU Tigers. Alabama has dominated LSU winning the last four matchups with a couple of beatings including a 30-16 bashing last season on the Tide's way to another national title.

Both LSU and Alabama scheduled their bye week prior to this matchup to have plenty of time to prepare and heal minor injuries. The Tigers view this as a major test to return to SEC and national prominence after a fall from grace in recent seasons despite 8 to 10 games annually. The slide cost HC Les Miles his job earlier this season which is the nature of college football programs for elite clubs that fail to return to the final four competition.

In an upcoming week with few top matchups, the Alabama /LSU clash will get heavy national attention and probably the biggest TV viewership. The Bama defense rarely allows a top runner to control the game and have effectively loaded the box vs LSU star Leonard Fournette over his career. The Tiger’s QB play continues to be their weak point annually with a consistency that comes up short in big crutch situations. The physical Bama defense plays a disciplined style that controls the line of scrimmage and forces an offense to beat them with their second tier players.

With a win Saturday, Bama would take a strong hold on the SEC West where they already have a victory over Texas A&M. They face the revitalized Auburn (5-2) Tigers who are 4-1 in conference play on Nov. 26th to complete the regular season prior to any national title defense. Their strong point lead as the #1 team in the nation will make it hard to eliminate them from the final four unless they fall to both LSU and Auburn. They prepare for the final push to repeat as national champions with an impressive current 20 game winning streak dating back to last midseason. A LSU victory would be their biggest win in years and return them to SEC status. They could easily move back into the top ten with a good chance for a top bowl game invitation.

Frank Coyle is a long time scout with nationwide ties with coaches, scouts and player agents. He is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe, Biletnikoff etc for the past 20 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites

Bama Rolls Over Texas A&M To Hold #1 Ranking - Top 25 Poll

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College Football Monday - Week 9

Bama Rolls Over Unbeaten Texas A&M
Ohio St Loses to Penn St. in Big Ten Thriller

Team of Week - Louisville

Offensive Player of Week - QB Lamar Jackson - Louisville
Defensive Player of Week - DL Jonathan Allen - Alabama

Photo - DL Jonathan Allen - Alabama

Upcoming Weekly Matchups
Clemson at Florida St., Washington at Utah, Notre Dame at Miami, Nebraska at Wisconsin in major Matchups

Alabama faced one of their most difficult tasks last Saturday when they travelled to College Station and met the undefeated #6 ranked Texas A&M Aggies. They beat the Aggies 33-14 with another impressive defensive performance led by Jonathan Allen and Ryan Anderson. Allen made a game changing play on a fumble caused by Ryan Anderson when he scooped up the loose ball and went 29 for a TD. It was the 10th consecutive game the Tide registered a defensive score. It was the 2nd week in a row Bama beat a top ten SEC opponent thoroughly. They did trail the Aggies 14-13 into the 3rd quarter, but their relentless defense took over in crunch time and registered 5 sacks for the day. The Crimson Tide has gained momentum entering their bye week prior to a final month of play, starting with an important trip to Baton Rouge to face the LSU Tigers. They will enjoy the bye week and prepare for the final push to repeat as national champions with a handsome current 20 game winning streak dating back to last midseason.

Ohio St was ambushed in Happy Valley by a Penn St club that won their biggest Big Ten matchup during the HC James Franklin tenure. The Nittany Lions used an aggressive defense that harassed Buckeye QB JT Barrett and totaled 6 sacks that kept the mobile passer out of rhythm all night. Penn St. blitzed on over 50% of plays with LBers Brandon Bell and Jason Cabinda the key defenders. Despite the strong defensive effort, the Nittany Lions were still behind late in the 4th quarter and needed a blocked FG attempt returned for a TD to pull out the victory 24-21. It was the 2nd blocked kick of the night for PSU and one that cost the Buckeyes (6-1) their perfect record. Penn St (5-2) entered the Top 25 with a #24 ranking with 5 winnable Big Ten games on the schedule.

Louisville bombed N.C. St. 54-13 in another outstanding performance by Cardinal QB Lamar Jackson. The Cardinals improved their record to 6-1 while Jackson strengthen his Heisman Trophy race leadership. He posted 359 yards by halftime with 3 TD passes that caught the Wolfpack defense off balance all game. NC St pushed Clemson into overtime last week before losing in overtime. Louisville plays an average schedule the rest of the way, but needs help to win the Atlantic division of the ACC where Clemson holds a one game lead off their win over Louisville. Clemson travels to Tallahassee to face Florida St that could be their only stumbling block the rest of the season prior to the ACC Championship matchup.

Unbeatens, Nebraska and Baylor stayed in the top ten of the recent rankings. Nebraska beat a weak Purdue club to go 7-0 and #7 ranking off their best record in 15 years. They face a tough Wisconsin club this week in Madison that could define their push to the top 5 rankings and a possible final four selection. Baylor is coming off a bye week to prepare for a faltering Texas that fell to 3-4 off a loss to Kansas St. 24-21. The Bears face their toughest Big 12 games over the final five games that will determine if they can move up in the top ten. Undefeated West Virginia, Boise St and Western Michigan continue to move up the top 25, though slowly off competition concerns. West Virginia pounded TCU 34-10 in an impressive win that brought their record to 6-0 and their best start since 2006. They may be the sleeper team of the year and a legitimate Big 12 club that can surprise with their most difficult games vs Oklahoma and Baylor at home late in the season. Their balanced offense has given them an advantage weekly through the first half of the schedule while their defense has made marked improvement over that period.

Game of the Week - Clemson (7-0) at Florida St (5-2)

Frank Coyle is a long time scout with nationwide ties with coaches, scouts and player agents. He is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe, Biletnikoff etc for the past 20 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites

Bama Crushes Tennessee - College Football Monday - Week 8

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College Football Monday - Week 8

Bama Crushes Tennessee in SEC Top Ten Matchup
Ohio St and Clemson Remain Unbeaten with Overtime Wins

Team of Week - Alabama

Offensive Player of Week - QB Baker Mayfield - Oklahoma
Defensive Player of Week - LB Reuben Foster - Alabama

Photo - QB Baker Mayfield - Oklahoma

Upcoming Weekly Matchups
Alabama at Texas A&M, TCU at West Virginia, North Carolina St. at Louisville in major conference matchups

Alabama continues to hold the #1 ranking with a dominant victory over top ten opponent Tennessee this past Saturday 49-10. The Crimson Tide has mauled clubs recently with a typical physical style directed by QB Jalen Hurts and a sledgehammer big play defense. Hurst directed the Bama 10th consecutive victory over Tennessee with 132 yards rushing and 3 TDs. The Tide’s defense has been dominant all season with an incredible 8 TDs. They have improved through the 2016 season and maybe face their toughest test this week with a trip to College Station to meet the Texas A&M Aggies. A&M is going off their bye week after an important win over Tennessee the prior weekend. Aggie QB Trevor Knight is currently hot and directing this potent balanced big play attack. The Aggies defense will have to step up after surrendering a huge lead to the Vols in their last win. This week’s Bama-A&M top ten matchup will be critical for SEC West division leadership and title possibly in the balance.

Both Ohio St and Clemson were pushed to the limit Saturday and held on win in overtime. The Buckeyes’ faced the physical Wisconsin club that held leads through the second half.
OSU junior QB J.T. Barrett drove the Buckeyes to overcome two 10 point deficient He produced 318 yards of total offense and three TDs in the overtime victory over No. 8 Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium Saturday. He was named the Big Ten Conference’s co-offensive player of the week. He scored two rushing TDs and hit Noah Brown on a 7-yard TD pass in overtime for the deciding points. His touchdown pass to Brown was the 89th touchdown Barrett is responsible for, a total that breaks the Ohio State career record of 88 TDs responsible for previously held by Braxton Miller. Barrett's 318 yards of total offense marked the 21st time he's gained at least 200 yards of offense and 13th time he's had at least 300 yards. He is now one 200-yard game away from tying the career record of 200 yard games of total offense set by Braxton Miller (22). He extended his own record of 300-plus yard games (13). The Badgers’ LB Wisconsin junior inside LB Jack Cichy was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for his outstanding performance. Cichy was a dominant force for the Badgers’ defense, finishing with a career-high 15 tackles, including 11 solo stops. He recorded 3.5 tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble. It was part of an effort that saw Wisconsin hold a Buckeyes offense that entered the game averaging 52.3 points per game to just 23 in regulation.

Clemson and NC St were tied three times but the Tigers held on at the end of regulation when the Tar Heels missed a 33 yard FG at the end of play to cause the overtime session. The Tigers responded like ACC champions in overtime as QB Deshaun Watson drove them for a game winning TD. Watson completed 39 of 52 passes for 358 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception. Big play Tiger wideout Mike Williams caught 12 passes for 146 yards and 1 TD. Clemson gets their bye week this Saturday to get ready for the showdown, traveling to Florida St on Oct 29th. The Tigers remain undefeated and hold a two game lead over FSU and a one game cushion over Louisville in the tough Atlantic Division.

Unbeaten, Nebraska, Baylor, West Virginia, Boise St and Western Michigan get little love with the top six powerhouses still undefeated. Some matchups over the next few weeks, Bama-Texas A&M this Saturday and Clemson-FSU the following reducing the undefeated within the top five. Michigan and Ohio St appear on a collision course for their Nov. 26th matchup. The back five undefeated teams have conquered soft schedules and will have to prove they are more than paper tigers to move up within the top ten rankings. The core of conference schedules take place over the next month that will shape the big five conference titles and eventually the final four playoff in January 2017.

The Heisman Trophy race has changed dramatically since September with highly regarded players Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette falling out of the top five candidates due to minor injuries and some lost playing time. Sophomore QBs, Lamar Jackson of Louisville and Jake Browning of Washington are the current leaders here. Jackson has been a highlight film weekly including the Cardinals only loss to Clemson. He outshined Tiger QB Deshaun Watson in that matchup and has not had an average performance this fall. Browning has been a difference maker in the Pac 12 and has helped the Huskies to first place. Washington bombed Oregon 70-21 in Eugene two weeks ago that elevated him to national attention. He returns this week at home vs Oregon St. with key Pac 12 matchups against Utah and Southern Cal within the month.

The Huskies have won impressively all season and Browning has been the main catalyst in their emergence. Two QBs, Deshaun Watson and JT Barrett continue to direct perfect clubs, but have had periods of erratic play that tarnished their ranking. Michigan’s DB Jabrill Peppers comes off his bye week for his final six matchups, all Big Ten contests. Peppers has pushed himself into the Heisman Trophy discussion with a rare display of defensive, offensive and special teams big play abilities. He is expected to get more touches in the return game and as a situational offensive player over the final half of the season. Michigan is promoting him as the return of former Wolverine DB Charles Woodson who was the only defensive player to ever win the Heisman Trophy award.

Game of the Week - Alabama (7-0) at Texas A&M (6-0)

Frank Coyle is a long time scout with nationwide ties with coaches, scouts and player agents. He is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe, Biletnikoff etc for the past 20 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites

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