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Each week, we’ll talk to our reporters on the ground to get their thoughts on the biggest happenings during the college football season. This week, we look at how LSU is relishing its big victory over Alabama, check in to see if the Tide’s playoff hopes are still alive despite the loss and visit Oklahoma to ponder if the Sooners continued struggles are cause for concern.
LSU loving life
LSU’s victory over Alabama on Saturday night not only cemented the Tigers as the nation’s No. 1 team but also broke a streak dating back to 2011. The fact that Ed Ogeron’s team was able to do it on the Tide’s home turf was even more impressive and by leading from basically start to finish they showed the victory was anything but a fluke. But what did the win truly mean to LSU outside of just the polls and playoff chances?
We checked in with TigerDetails.com’s Jerit Roser to get his take on just how big Saturday’s victory was for the past, present and future of the program.
“A teary-eyed Ed Orgeron gathered his LSU team at midfield of Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday and made sure they soaked in the significance of an emotional 46-41 victory. The Crimson Tide’s eight-game winning streak in the series, dating back to a national championship embarrassment in January 2012, remained an 800-pound gorilla on the Tigers’ backs, tempering any other positive momentum they had built. And to finally end that drought was an undeniable relief for the program and its fan base and a message to any remaining doubters around the country. But it was also an outcome that O, the staff and the players expected and one they see as just one step on a road to bigger things this already historic season.”
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Will Tide’s playoff run come to an end?
Death, taxes and Alabama making the College Football Playoff. That’s the way it’s gone since college football shifted to the playoff model in 2014, with the Tide being the only team to make the field every year. But after Saturday’s loss to LSU, Alabama isn’t likely to make the SEC championship game and will need quite a few things in its favor to keep the playoff streak alive. So should Tide fans hold out hope that things will fall their way?
We checked in with BamaInsider.com’s Tony Tsoukalas to get this thoughts.
“While I don’t love Alabama’s chances of making a sixth straight appearance in the College Football Playoff, the Crimson Tide at least gave itself a glimmer of hope by rallying back late against LSU. Alabama lost by five to what I feel like is the best team in college football. Despite a slow start, Alabama still put up 541 yards of total offense against LSU and outplayed the Tigers in the second half. Now the Crimson Tide will have to hope things fall their way across the nation. It would certainly help Alabama if Auburn beats Georgia next week. That would set up a chance at a signature win in the Iron Bowl at the end of the season. The Crimson Tide will also need LSU to win out and could use a few upsets out West.”
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Usually the most drama on Saturday nights in the fall surrounds the Pac-12 after-dark matchups. But on Saturday, it was Iowa State’s comeback and near victory at Oklahoma that had the attention of the college football world. After looking dominant in the first half, the Sooners left the door open for a comeback and escaped with a one-point victory after the Cyclones’ two-point conversion attempt failed last in the fourth quarter. With teams like Minnesota and Baylor remaining undefeated and one-loss squads like Oregon, Georgia and Alabama likely to be ahead of them in the standings again this week, are the Sooners’ playoff hopes all but gone?
We checked in with SoonerScoop.com’s Carey Murdock to get his take on the Sooners’ recent hiccups and what it means for the final month of season.
“Can Oklahoma still make the playoffs? Yes. They are still included in a handful of teams that have a chance to make the College Football Playoff. But right now, the Sooners have bigger issues than whether or not they can make the playoffs. For three quarters against Iowa State, Oklahoma looked like a team that had taken the Kansas State loss and used the bye week to its advantage. They took a 42-21 lead over Iowa State with less than four minutes to go in the third quarter. But then the fourth quarter happened. Oklahoma’s offense turned the ball over twice and gained a total of 25 total offensive yards. Both of those turnovers gave Iowa State the ball deep in OU territory. And the funny thing is, OU’s defense forced a turnover on downs after CeeDee Lamb fumbled the football over to the Cyclones at the OU 32-yard line.
“But when OU’s offense went three-and-out, Iowa State went 80 yards in just four plays to cut the Sooners’ lead to 42-35 with 3:35 remaining.
“The Sooners’ offense isn’t in shambles. They are still scoring points, they still have one of the best players in the country in Lamb. But Hurts has made it difficult for Lincoln Riley to use his running backs effectively because the passing game often becomes his running game, leaving fewer carries for more effective runners. But even though OU’s offense literally tried to give the game to Iowa State on Saturday night, it’s still the OU defense with the bigger issues over the last two weeks. The defense that showed up to play Texas, sacking Sam Ehlinger nine times and flying all over the football field, is a distant memory. The big, momentum swinging plays from Kenneth Murray and Neville Gallimore haven’t been there.
“This has become a one-week season for the Sooners. This is their final chance to look like a complete team on the national stage until the Big-12 championship game. It’s their final chance to build an argument against Georgia, Alabama, Oregon and Utah. With their biggest non-conference win coming against UCLA, this was never going to be easy. But any more fourth quarters like they had against Iowa State puts them on the outside looking in. Their margin for error is gone.”
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