SPORTS COLUMN: Playoff field beginning to settle after Week 11

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Baylor handed Oklahoma its first loss of the season Saturday 27-14. (Baylor Athletics)

Don’t Forget Your Popcorn: Lane Kiffin’s Rebels were able to notch their biggest win of the season against the surging Texas A&M Aggies. Ole Miss was able to put up over 400 yards of offense in the first half alone but were only able to come up with 13 points offensively. They were able to withstand a second half comeback attempt and hold on for a 29-19 win. 

Collision Course in the ATL: With Texas A&M falling to Ole Miss it has all but guaranteed another Alabama-Georgia match up in Atlanta December 4. No one but Clemson in Week One has been able to get within a touchdown of Georgia. The Tide have proven inconsistent in parts of the season, but if there is one thing that Alabama can bring that most cannot, it’s pure talent. The true test for Georgia is three weeks away, but before that huge No. 1 vs No. 2 matchup, Alabama must first take care of the Razorbacks and Auburn Tigers. 

Collapsing to the Cow Bell: Auburn’s season has taken another hit, blowing a 28-3 first half lead. Mississippi State was able to outscore the Tigers 40-6 the rest of the way, winning 43-34. Mississippi State Quarterback Will Rogers was able to connect on 44 of 55 passes for 415 yards and six touchdowns. Auburn will look to rebound against an up and down South Carolina team before hosting Alabama down in the magical plains of Auburn. 

It Was Bound to Happen Sooner or Later: For the second straight season Baylor was able to hold the often-high powered Oklahoma offense to under 300 total yards. The only difference is this year Baylor was able to come away with the win, for the first time since 2015. Oklahoma’s freshmen sensation, Caleb Williams, was blitzed early and often and was never able to find a rhythm. He was eventually replaced by early season Heisman hopeful Spencer Rattler, but he was unable to lead a comeback. With the loss Oklahoma’s playoff shot is all but gone. They didn’t have the playoff committee’s respect before the loss, finding themself ranked No. 8. That was behind five one loss teams, and among the power five they were the lowest ranked undefeated team.

Although this game was over in the waning seconds there was plenty of drama. Baylor was holding a 24-14 lead as fans began rushing the field. The problem outside player/coach safety and a big fine coming Baylor’s way? Baylor head coach Dave Aranda called timeout with three seconds ago to kick a field goal with a 10-point lead. No, it wasn’t bad sportsmanship exactly. Aranda realized that the third tiebreaker in the Big 12 to decide who goes to the Big 12 title game is point differential among the tied teams. So, officials were forced to clear the field and allow for the Baylor field goal to seal the 27-14 win. Then the fans poured onto the field again. 

Key Week 12 Matchups: Ohio State will host Michigan State in an early slated 11 a.m. game. This game will not only have college football playoff implications but also Heisman. Spartan running back Kenny Walker III has 1,473 yards and 17 touchdowns on the season, while Buckeyes Quarterback CJ Stroud has passed for over 3,000 yards for 30 TDs to only five interceptions. 

Oregon and Alabama will both have to survive top 25 matchups to keep their playoff hopes alive as the former will travel to face Utah and the Tide hosting the Arkansas Razorbacks. 

Two undefeated Group of Five schools will have tests with No. 5 Cincinnati hosting 8-2 SMU and No. 22 UTSA hosting our local 7-3 UAB Blazers. Cincinnati is on the outside looking into the college football playoff yet holding onto the highest ever ranking for a Group of Five school. Luckily for them they have the top three teams in the AAC not named Cincinnati left on their schedule to wrap the season up. If Bearcat Nation is reading this, they may want to buy some Georgia Bulldog gear and head to Atlanta December 4.

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