Bob Asmussen's Huddle Up: Week 12

Bob Asmussen's Huddle Up: Week 12

Top four teams

If the playoffs started today, these schools would be in:

1. Alabama — The devoted readers of H.U. know that I am pro-Tide this season. Which is a change from the past. I used to root against the favorite. And in college football, no program is more often the favorite than Alabama. But the College Football Playoff selection committee put Alabama in the "underdog" role when it ranked Georgia ahead of the Fighting Sabans. No offense to the Bulldogs, who are having a fine season, but that was comically bad. Auburn proved it on Saturday, blasting Georgia and, we hope, moving Alabama back to its rightful place at the top. The Tide are far from perfect, but they are closer than any other team. They had to rally to beat Mississippi State. Here's the negative part for Alabama: this week's game is against Mercer. Seriously? The FCS's Bears are a member of the Southern Conference and are 5-5. Alabama should win the game by about 100. Interestingly, the next game is against Auburn. Who do the Tigers have this week: The News-Gazette All-Stars? No, actually, they have Louisiana-Monroe. In a funny twist, Auburn also played Mercer this season.

2. Miami — OK, I'm a dope. Like most of the rest of the country, I bought into all of the Notre Dame hype and picked the Irish to beat the host Hurricanes. That was just dumb. Hiring Mark Richt was a brilliant move by Miami. It is so nice to have the program be relevant again in college football. They have already clinched a spot in the ACC title game against Clemson. The Hurricanes need to be careful this week against Virginia. The Cavaliers are improved. And Miami has a tendency to allow lesser teams to stay close. The regular-season finale against Pitt should be a romp.

3. Wisconsin — Some think the Badgers don't deserve a spot in the College Football Playoffs. They must not have watched Wisconsin pound Iowa a week after the Hawkeyes blew out Ohio State. Wisconsin officials need to try to schedule a nonconference toughie in future years. (Mercer perhaps?) BYU is often a solid team. Just not this year. That isn't really Wisconsin's problem. Paul Chryst's team is three wins away from a playoff berth. The trickiest of the final three is Saturday's visit by Michigan. Nothing the Wolverines would like more than ruining Wisconsin's season. Check that, the Wolverines would rather ruin Ohio State's season. But Iowa already took care of that.

4. Oklahoma — It's almost as if the home loss to Iowa State never happened. The Sooners continue to climb the polls. The big question before Saturday's game against TCU: Could the defense hold up? It did in a convincing 38-20 victory that gave Baker Mayfield (see Heisman candidates) a huge lead for the award. Oklahoma will pile up a bazillion points and yards at Kansas before closing the regular season with a dangerous game against West Virginia. The Big 12 title game will be a rematch against somebody, most likely TCU. That's just weird.

Four Heisman candidates

1, Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma — Despite getting banged up early, he played an almost flawless game in the easy win against TCU. The Texas Tech transfer (what must they be thinking in Lubbock?) threw for 333 yards and three touchdowns. With no interceptions. He ran for another 50 yards on a bad wheel. For the season, he has 31 touchdown passes and just five picks. Given the big games ahead, there is no reason for the Sooners to risk injury this week against Kansas. But Mayfield always wants to play and the Heisman favorite usually wins that argument.

2. Bryce Love, Stanford — The guy with the fancy Heisman campaign did what the best players are supposed to do: he showed his ability on the field. Love ran for 166 yards and three touchdowns in a win against Washington. For the season, he has 1,600 yards and 15 touchdowns. The Cardinal host bitter rival Cal on Saturday.

3. Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin — The freshman didn't score against Iowa. He didn't need to. The rest of the Badgers took care of the points. But he ran 29 times for 157 yards. He has 1,500 yards this season, going over 100 seven times. His low output came against Illinois when he missed the second half and gained 73 yards. Michigan will try to slow him down Saturday. Good luck with that.

4. Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State — If not for his buddy in Norman, the senior would be the most likely candidate among the quarterbacks. He rallied the Cowboys for a win at Iowa State, throwing for 376 yards and three touchdowns. Two of the scores came in the final six minutes. He has 3,690 yards and 30 touchdowns, Impressive.

Four Coaches on the hot seat

1. Mike Riley, Nebraska — Oh, no. He was given the dreaded "we will wait until the end of the season to make a decision" line from the new Nebraska athletic director. That's kind of like when your spouse says "We'll see" about that new convertible you've been eyeing. In other words: It is not going to happen. It is nice of Bill Moos to allow Riley to coach the final two games, but the laydown by the Cornhuskers against Minnesota sealed the deal as far as Nebraska fans are concerned.

2. David Beaty, Kansas — A week after a blowout loss to former co-Big 12 cellar dweller Baylor, the Jayhawks lost by just 15 to Texas. That's progress. Unfortunately, the next two games are against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Beaty's guys are going to finish 1-11 and there is a good chance the school is looking for a new coach in two weeks. Iowa State's success hurts because the folks in Lawrence want the same thing.

3. Bret Bielema, Arkansas — LSU pretty much ended the Razorbacks' bowl hopes with a 23-point win on Saturday. Mississippi State visits this weekend coming off a near miss against Alabama. And the finale against Missouri, while winnable, is no longer the lock it appeared to be earlier in the season.

4. Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M — H.U. likes the Aggies coach. A lot. But the folks in College Station demand more. Hard to blame them. They have been teased in recent years and looked to be set up to compete for SEC titles. It hasn't worked out. The team is a decent 6-4, but has games left against Mississippi and LSU. A 2-0 finish might give the administration something to think about before moving on. We can only hope.

Four Games to watch this weekend

1. Michigan at Wisconsin — Trust me on this: it is a really, really weak week schedule-wise. Top 25 teams playing FCS teams or lower-end FBS schools. This is one of the rare good ones. Two ranked teams playing an important game late in the season.

2. Kentucky at Georgia — Last week's top team (according to the CFP standings) is coming off a blowout loss to Auburn. But the Wildcats aren't pushovers. At 7-3, they are on their way to a bowl. Cool.

3. Navy at Notre Dame — Another team coming off a disappointing loss, the Irish need to take the Midshipmen seriously. Navy is bowl-bound and holding its own in the tougher-than-you-think American.

4. Army at North Texas — The Black Knights enter the game on a roll, winning six in a row. They are going to a bowl and enhancing the reputaton of coach Jeff Monken. The Mean Green have already clinched a berth in the Conference USA title game.

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