We’re a week away from the playoffs, from out of the 14 teams in the league, only six will go on to continue play. And of those six, two of them get to sit back and watch the quarterfinal round. Before we can enter into that, though, here’s what we learned from week six.
1) UNEASY LIES THE HEAD THAT WEARS THE CROWN
So, Auburn finally fell. A 10 game winning streak came to a screeching halt against the invading LSU Tigers. So, at the very least, I guess LSU could be referred to as the Tiger Kings of the season? But more to the point, Auburn didn’t clinch the SEC with their loss, meaning that number one seed is still up for grabs. Auburn’s in the playoffs, but stop and think about this for a moment. They had a historic playoff run last season, going from having to win against Alabama just to make the playoffs, to beating Oregon in the quarterfinals to shutting out Ohio State in the semifinals, to besting USC in the National Championship game. They then following that up by winning six straight games on the season and dropping their seventh. Uneasy indeed.
2) THE HOT GET HOTTER
Nebraska was red-hot coming into the week, and now they’re even hotter. They handled business against Michigan and all that stands in their way of a Big Ten crown is Oregon. The problem is, as we saw last week, Nebraska’s smash-mouth football can leave defenses open to the deep ball. It was a rough start, but the Cornhuskers have picked up steam with the fleet of foot quarterback, Scott Fountain, and the battering ram of Dowdy Dowell behind him. Big Red is coming, and anybody in the way will take a bruising.
3) OUT OF YOUR HANDS…
It’s odd that CFSL teams start to frequent churches at this point in the season. Why, you may ask? Well, for some teams, their playoff or number one seed hopes no longer solely rely on them. Sure, teams like Alabama and Auburn are in full control of their fates. LSU needs to take care of their business and then still need some help for the one seed. And take Notre Dame for example. Their hopes of winning the Big Ten are entirely out of their hands. For the teams who are watching and praying, may the odds be ever in your favor.
4) FORCED TO LOOK AHEAD
At this point in the season, there’s been a few teams who have been eliminated from the playoff race. And it’s unfortunate, but with 14 teams and only six playoff spots, there’s going to be a few who are left out. For those who have been eliminated by this point, they’re forced to look ahead. How will these last couple of weeks of the season, depending on their performance and finish, impact their recruiting efforts? If they can get players nominated for Player of the Week or for yearly awards, such as All-American? Then what? What kept them out of the playoffs, how can we improve our team? All of this will weigh on the mind of the eliminated teams at the end of the season.
5) AWARDING THE BEST
We’re in week eight, and guess what, that also means we’ve entered into awards season as well. As teams jockey for playoff position, spectacular performances from individual players will help to achieve that. Because after all, before you know it we’ll have voting for Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, All-Americans, and a few other yearly awards. Oh, and don’t forget, the Fan of the Year gets a trophy too. There’s a lot of awards to be won yet this season. Will Griffin Jelkic be able to bring home one? What about Ohio State’s Isaiah Fowler or Notre Dame’s Leo Asiata? Texas’ Clayton Denny, perhaps? There’s one more week, for players to try to put together another great performance, one more opportunity to make their case.