Top 4 remain unbeaten, Oregon stumbles: College Football Power Rankings after Week 11

The top four teams in college football remained undefeated, while Oregon saw their playoff hopes dashed in their 37-34 loss to Washington. From @john9williams

Entering the home stretch of the college football season, there’s little margin for error for the nation’s top teams.

The Oregon Ducks saw their playoff hopes dashed at the hands of border rival Washington in a 37-34 loss that was arguably the best game of the weekend. Bo Nix and Michael Penix went blow for blow, but an untimely illegal touching penalty killed Oregon’s attempt to get into field goal range and send it to overtime.

Georgia, Ohio State and Michigan won in blowout fashion; their average margin of victory was 33 points. TCU played a close defensive battle on the road with the Texas Longhorns and looked on their way to a 14-point win before Texas picked up a botched mesh-point handoff between [autotag]Max Duggan[/autotag] and [autotag]Kendre Miller[/autotag]. The Longhorns returned it for a touchdown. Still, the Horned Frogs showed a defensive element that they hadn’t leading into their matchup with Texas.

Tennessee continues to make a strong case for inclusion in the College Football playoff with its 66-24 win over Missouri. However, with four undefeated teams in front of them, they’re going to need some help. That could come when the Buckeyes and Wolverines go to battle in two weeks, but a close game between the Big Ten rivals could spell doom for the Volunteers.

LSU clinched a berth in the SEC title game and looks headed for a showdown with top-ranked Georgia. Could the Tigers throw everything into disarray and make a case for playoff inclusion even with two losses?

USC had an impressive win over Colorado, but its strength of schedule took a hit with UCLA’s loss to Arizona.

We’re in for another fantastic finish to the season. Let’s take a look at this week’s power rankings.

How to bet No. 8 USC against Pac-12 basement dweller Colorado

This isn’t a trap for USC. But it might be for bettors.

No. 8 USC’s game at home against 1-8 Colorado on Friday night will be its easiest game the rest of the season as the Trojans attempt to punch a ticket to the College Football Playoff.

Needing to win out, they can’t afford to overlook even the worst team in the Pac-12. Still, the Trojans know their toughest games are ahead of them with ranked UCLA and Notre Dame as the final games on their schedule before a potential conference title game.

That said, Colorado shouldn’t be viewed as a trap game. There isn’t much doubt that USC will come out on top. The only question is whether it’ll cover a massive 33.5-point spread.

Offensively, the Trojans shouldn’t have an issue moving the ball. Particularly Travis Dye, who I expect to have a big game and open things up for Caleb Williams down the field. Colorado has allowed at least 40 points in all but two games this season, including three straight. USC’s offense is seventh in the nation at 41.0 points per game.

However, Colorado’s last game against No. 8 Oregon was only the second time all season the Buffaloes lost by at least 34 points. USC might be the next-best offense they will have faced, but the Trojans defense is a little less effective.

For that reason, I’ll give Colorado one extra score than the 10 points it managed against the Ducks. And because I think USC can build a big enough lead to bench its starters in the fourth, I’ll pick the Buffaloes to cover in a game that barely falls under 66.5 points.

Prince’s Prediction: USC wins 49-17

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USC’s defense must prevent Colorado’s JT Shrout from posting big numbers

Jack Plummer of Cal wasn’t supposed to have a big statistical game vs #USC, but it happened. The next QB the Trojans face: Colorado’s J.T. Shrout.

The Colorado Buffaloes are shorthanded as they prepare to face USC on Friday night.

Jordyn Tyson, a dynamic freshman receiver from Allen, Texas, who caught 22 passes for 470 yards and 4 touchdowns, suffered a season-ending leg injury in Saturday’s 49-10 loss to No. 6 Oregon.

Colorado junior quarterback J.T. Shrout lost his most dangerous weapon last Saturday, but the junior quarterback continues to gain experience. He is confident that the Buffaloes’ passing game can find success even without Jordyn Tyson.

Shrout, a former Tennessee Vol quarterback and Southern California native (Santa Clarita, Calif.), has completed 44.5% of his passes (73-of-164) for 976 yards, six touchdowns and six interceptions.

He has set a new career high for passing yards each of the last three games.

Former Colorado head coach Karl Dorrell, who was fired on Oct. 2, then turned the offense over to true freshman Owen McCown, and Shrout was relegated to the bench.

When McCown was injured during the Oct. 15 game against California, Shrout came off the bench and led the Buffs to a 20-13 overtime win. (Brendon Lewis left the team and put his name in the transfer portal after that win.)

“That’s what everybody wants,” Shrout said about starting. “You want the keys to the car and you want to be the guy that goes and helps everyone get wins.”

With USC’s defense struggling the past few weeks, we’ll see how Shrout and the Colorado offense play against the Trojans, who need to win with flair for the College Football Playoff committee.

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Exploring Colorado’s future and its relationship to the Mountain West

.@matt_wadleigh covers Colorado at @BuffaloesWire and the Mountain West at @SuperWestSports. We asked him how CU and the MWC.

I have a very unique seat as a college sports freelance writer. I produce a lot of stories for Trojans Wire and a much smaller amount of stories as a contributor to Buffaloes Wire every month. I also pitch in at SuperWest Sports, which used to be SportsPac12. SuperWest came into being when the USC-UCLA move to the Big Ten happened, and a possibility emerged that Washington State and Oregon State might move to the Mountain West. San Diego State and Fresno State might now move to the Pac-12. (Wazzu and Oregon State are likely to stay in the Pac-12.)

I have seen how fragile life is for lots of programs in the Pac-12 and Mountain West. My Trojans Wire colleague Matt Zemek wanted to pick my brain about Colorado Buffaloes football and basketball, but also about the Pac-12, the Mountain West, and Colorado’s relationship to the Mountain West Conference.

Follow me here at Trojans Wire, but also at Buffaloes Wire, for two-way coverage of the Colorado-USC football game.

Here are my answers to Matt Zemek’s questions below:

Colorado analyst gives his favorite in Buffaloes’ head coaching search

We talked to @BuffaloesWire about the Colorado football coaching search and where it stands. Is Deion Sanders a realistic candidate?

The Colorado Buffaloes are preparing to face USC this Friday night, but they are also trying to hire a new head football coach. The Buffaloes are also wondering about their position in the Pac-12, with lots of realignment rumors swirling around San Diego State, Gonzaga, and the Pac-12’s attempt to secure a new media rights package.

With Colorado facing USC this week, we wanted to talk to Buffaloes Wire editor Jack Carlough about a wide range of topics.

In a separate article, you’ll find Jack’s thoughts about the Colorado-USC football game and how the two teams match up.

Here are Jack’s answers to our questions about the CU head coaching search and other off-field topics:

Report card: Offense keeps rolling while the defense still remains imperfect

It’s difficult to accurately judge while playing a vastly inferior opponent, but we do our best with the report card vs Colorado.

When we do these weekly report cards, we judge each position group against the opponent and grade out how the Ducks performed. A lot of that considers the quality of the opponent.

While the Buffaloes were the weakest challenge to the Oregon Duck football team, they present the biggest challenge for us in properly grading out the Ducks in their ninth game of the season.

On the whole, Oregon did very well as it dominated Colorado 49-10, as they should have. The offense was very good and although the defense gave up too many yards, the bottom line is the Buffaloes scored just 10 points.

So the challenge is, should we accept it, do grade against Colorado straight up or do we consider their ineptitude and grade a bit lower than usual? The Buffaloes did gain 367 total yards, their biggest day of the season.

Here’s the report card for the 39-point road victory over the worst team in the conference.

Notable quotes from Dan Lanning as Ducks take care of business in Boulder blowout

Oregon head coach Dan Lanning had plenty to say after the Ducks’ 49-10 win at Colorado.

This game wasn’t expected to be close, and the final product lived up to expectations.

Down a few of their more important players on both offense and defense, the Oregon Ducks traveled to Boulder, Colorado on Saturday and downed the Buffaloes, 49-10, in a convincing win that showed Oregon has much more to offer than we may have previously imagined.

With offensive schemes that dialed up touchdowns for a lineman, and linebacker, and a quarterback on the receiving end, it’s clear that the Ducks were having fun out there. They now stand with an 8-1 record and a good case to move up in the College Football Playoff rankings that come out on Tuesday.

Ahead, they will host the Washington Huskies for the start of a 3-game stretch that will decide whether or not the Ducks get a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game come December. To say this week is important is an understatement.

After Saturday’s win, head coach Dan Lanning met with media members to discuss the victory, and start looking ahead to Washington. Here are some of his most notable quotes from that press conference.

Photo gallery: Oregon spanks Colorado 49-10 in windy Boulder

Photo gallery: Oregon went into Colorado and routed the lowly Buffaloes 49-10.

It’s difficult to get up for a game where you are expected to dominate in every phase of the game. Oregon’s answer to this problem was to create some unconventional plays to hype the team up.

Offensive lineman Josh Conerly caught a touchdown, quarterback Bo Nix caught a touchdown and linebacker Noah Sewell ran in another score. Three touchdowns and the Ducks were up 21-0 and they cruised from there to rout the Buffaloes 49-10.

Going on the road to rout anyone, even a now 1-8 Colorado team, isn’t easy. But the Ducks showed they’re on a mission to become the first team to go undefeated in conference play since the Pac-10 turned into the Pac-12.

Here are the photos of the successful trip to a windy, but sunny day in Boulder for the Ducks.

7 takeaways from Oregon’s versatile blowout over Colorado Buffaloes

Endless style points and a whole lot of offense for Washington to try and prepare for. Our takeaways from Oregon’s 49-10 win over Colorado.

The Oregon Ducks won that game in many ways. They did it through the air; they did it on the ground; they did it with the defense. Oregon used trick plays to get into the end zone, slipping offensive linemen past the defense for receiving touchdowns and lining up a physically imposing linebacker as a fullback and letting him punch it in for six. The Ducks even got their QB into the mix, letting Nix corral in a pass from RB Bucky Irving and trot in for a touchdown.

It was a versatile, entertaining, dominant, and convincing blowout win over the Colorado Buffaloes that surely earned some style points in the eyes of the College Football Playoff committee. Mission accomplished, right?

Mostly.

Despite all of the positives, there are still some things — mainly on defense — that need to be cleaned up going forward. Here are our biggest takeaways from the afternoon of football.

Instant reaction: Oregon needed to dominate and they did exactly that

Oregon had two goals going into the Colorado game: Stay healthy and win big. They accomplished both on Saturday.

The Oregon Ducks football team is the best the Pac-12 has to offer. Colorado is the worst the conference has to offer. So when the two teams met up in Boulder Saturday afternoon, a rout was expected and a rout is what we got.

The No. 8 team in the country went on the road and dominated on both sides of the ball in a 49-10 smashing of the Buffaloes. It was exactly what Oregon needed in order to keep its ranking in the College Football Playoff. It would have been bad news if Colorado was even close to the Ducks.

Oregon’s other goal coming into this contest was to stay healthy and by all accounts, the Ducks won’t add to the injured list heading into the Washington game.

Quarterback Bo Nix also helped his Heisman hopes as he was responsible for five touchdowns (two rushing, two passing, and one receiving). Oregon also managed to get offensive lineman Josh Conerly a touchdown and linebacker Noah Sewell rushed for a score. It wasn’t exactly textbook, but the Ducks will take it.

Now the Ducks will prepare for Washington in what has become a very big game as the Huskies are 7-2 on the season after their 24-21 win over the Beavers.

This will be the first experience of what a Husky game inside Autzen will be for many Ducks, including Nix. The calm, cool, and collected quarterback will no doubt be the same way next week as well.

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