PORTIONS PREVIOUSLY APPEARING ON WTOP.COM-

The new college football tradition resumes Tuesday when the first CFP rankings are released.  The 12-member committee assigned to select four teams (akin to having 204 people select the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament field) will give us our first view as to their opinions.  We’ll discuss things like “the eye test”, “strength of schedule” and now with the Big 12 having a title game how much of a bounce a team gets for winning its conference title.  This would all be made easier if they had an 8-team field (five automatic conference winners plus three wildcards), but for the moment the focus is who gets into those four coveted spots.  With most teams having a third of their season (and half of their conference slate) left to play.  Akin to the NCAA Committee giving us the “projected field” January 29th.  There’s a ton of football to be played…and more often than not these things sort themselves out.  But rest assured, somebody will be upset their one-loss school will be left out of the “first field” and heaven forbid if Georgia is ranked higher than Alabama in the projected seeds.

Fantasy Field– I know it’s only four teams.  But as long as the NCAA allows this to happen, I can have my 8-school field…right?  Five automatic berths to the major conference winners plus three wildcard bids.  Your matchups:

#1 Alabama (SEC)–#8 Washington (PAC-12)

#4 Wisconsin (wildcard-2)– #5 Miami (ACC)

#2 Georgia (wildcard-1)–#7 Oklahoma (Big 12)

#3 Ohio State (Big Ten)–#6 Notre Dame (wildcard-3)

Naturally these things can shake out differently over the last month.  Clemson and Penn State both have cases for inclusion…and both can punch tickets by winning their respective leagues.  Same case with Oklahoma State.  Enjoy the quadruple-header that won’t happen…

 

Alma Mater Update– the Orange are 4-4 after their bye week knowing they were close to beating both Miami and LSU on the road.  They also know that while the Hurricanes and Tigers are both ranked, they also know they lost a home game to Middle Tennessee and need two wins in November if they want to go bowling.  Florida State, Wake Forest, Louisville & Boston College have each played poorly enough in spots to give one confidence but each have shown enough greatness to deliver concern.

 

Maryland (4-4, 2-3 Big Ten) snapped a three game losing streak by outscoring Indiana 42-39.  It looked ugly early–and not just because of their throwback uniforms that resembled the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates–but the Terps rallied back from a two-touchdown deficit to send the alumni home happy on Homecoming.  Stargell Stars for everyone! Terrapin Triumphs:  Darnell Savage blocked a punt that he ran back for a touchdown and his interception set up Maryland’s first score of the day.  The defense that has had issues rushing the passer all year notched a season-high five sacks.  Max Bortenschlager after throwing an early interception settled down to manage the game well.  Special teams had the blocked punt, a blocked extra point and an 82-yard kickoff return by Javon Leake.   Terrapin Troubles:  twelve penalties for 133 yards?  Indiana had more than one possession stay alive thanks to a late hit.  The offense also took a while to get in gear…not converting a third down until the second half.   Next:  Saturday at 3-5 Rutgers. 

Virginia (5-3, 2-3 ACC) was wondering how much of an aberration last week’s loss to Boston College was…and they learned that it wasn’t an isolated incident at all.  The 31-14 loss at Pitt now puts UVa’s bowl hopes in serious jeopardy as their remaining schedule is a combined 23-8.  Cavalier Congrats:  Quin Blanding tallied nine tackles and an interception to lead the defense.  Olamide Zaccheaus caught 8 passes for 80 yards.  Joe Reed jumpstarted things with a 69-yard kickoff return in the first quarter.  Cavalier Concerns:  the offense’s first three drives ended with an interception, a missed field goal and on downs–allowing the Panthers to grab an early 21-0 lead.  UVa converted 1 of 7 third downs in the first half.  The defense then allowed a ten play 82 yard march to start the second half and watch the game go out of reach.  Next:  Saturday against 4-3 Georgia Tech.

#13 Virginia Tech (7-1, 3-1 ACC) defeated Duke in the rain 24-3.  It wasn’t pretty, but the Hokies will enter the final month of the season controlling their path to another Coastal Division title.  Hokie Highlights:  the defense held the Blue Devils to 3.1 yards per play…and nine total yards on their first five possessions (two of which ended in turnover).  Tremaine Edmunds led the way with 10 tackles while Terrell Edmunds tallied 8 tackles and an interception.  Deshawn McClease ran for 75 yards and a touchdown…while Josh Jackson went another game without a turnover.  Hokie Humblings:  a 7:20 pm kickoff?  For Duke?  Duke is French for “starts at 12 noon eastern time on select ACC Network stations”.   Next:  Saturday at 8-0 Miami.

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