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Let the College Football Playoff chaos commence after Week 11’s shakeup

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On a day that saw two of the top three teams lose and one more top 10 team go down in defeat in mid-November, the College Football Playoff race may as well have thrown up the caution flag coming down the final stretch. But how much has really changed in the latest College Football Playoff outlook? Losses in mid-November are not quite as catastrophic as they used to be under previous championship models, but the path to the playoff has clearly become more treacherous for schools like Notre Dame and TCU, while the path has become more clear for schools like Miami and Wisconsin. And there may even be a small handful of two-loss teams to keep a close eye on these next few weeks, beginning with Auburn.

Auburn’s victory over Georgia was the loudest statement made on Saturday. No team has managed to get into the four-team College Football Playoff in the brief history of the system, but Auburn is hoping they can become the first after routing the committee’s top-ranked team the past two weeks. We’ll find out how much stock the committee will put in that blowout win on Tuesday night when the new rankings come out. The committee will have some very interesting decisions to make regarding Auburn. For starters, where will a two-loss Auburn rank compare to an undefeated Wisconsin? The Badgers have struggled to win over the committee so far, but a defensive exhibition of excellence of their own against Iowa on Saturday is not to be overlooked. The committee had the Big Ten’s last undefeated team just two spots ahead of two-loss Auburn last week, and Auburn’s win over Georgia was arguably more impressive than Wisconsin’s. Pay close attention to the gap between those two this week.

What will be uncontested is who will be No. 1. After being ranked No. 2 the past two weeks and getting out of Mississippi State with a win, the committee will more than likely place Alabama atop their ranking this week, setting the stage for a mammoth Iron Bowl in two weeks after the SEC’s cupcake week in Week 12. But how high is Miami about to move up following their win against Notre Dame? Ranked seventh coming into their big showdown with No. 3 Notre Dame, and the Hurricanes annihilated the Fighting Irish. Miami feels like a lock to be added to the top four this week, joining Alabama, Oklahoma, and Clemson in some order.

That leaves out the Big Ten for now, and the Pac-12 is in some trouble as well after Washington was taken down by Stanford Friday night. But the Big Ten and Pac-12 also have some interesting two-loss conference champions scenarios to have fun with. If Ohio State and USC win their conferences with two losses, how close could either come to a playoff spot? And where would each rank against a two-loss Notre Dame?

WHO IS STILL REALISTICALLY IN THE RUNNING?

Alabama – The Crimson Tide are undefeated in the SEC after getting out of Starkville with a gritty win.

Georgia – That was a tough loss to take, but the possibility of a 12-1 season with the SEC championship means Georgia is not down and out by a long shot yet.

Auburn – Auburn will remain in the running until they lose another game. Simple as that.

Miami – The U is back! Heading to their first ACC Championship Game and facing the Clemson Tigers should be fun.

Clemson – Playoff committee has given the defending national champs the upper hand on a bunch of teams, but some argue they should be passed over by some others. Regardless of how you feel, one-loss Tigers are absolutely in the running and a 12-1 ACC champ is hard to reject.

Oklahoma – Your Big 12 team to beat, led by the Heisman Trophy frontrunner. Oklahoma is likely the only Big 12 team with a realistic shot at the playoff at this point.

Wisconsin – Just win, and they’ll very likely be in.

Ohio State – Wins against Penn State and Michigan State help soften the blow of two losses, as bad as those losses were. Take down improving Michigan on the road and unbeaten Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game, and Ohio State would have an interesting case to make.

Notre Dame – The Irish picked a rough day to get blown out, with the only other team to beat them also getting clobbered. We’ll see how far the Irish fall. For now, we’ll keep them on the edge of the radar just to be safe, but it does not look promising for the Irish.

USC – Remember the Trojans? Like Ohio State, USC is sort of lingering around on the edge of the playoff radar with two losses, but if the Trojans end the year with two losses they could benefit from a few teams ahead of them going down. Avenging a loss to Stanford in the Pac-12 championship game would help their chances some, but USC would need a decisive blowout to help make the final push with two losses.

WHAT ABOUT UCF?

At No. 18 in the playoff rankings last week, the Knights appear to continue be quite the long shot even if they go 13-0. UCF is still the team to beat for the Group of Five’s New Years Six spot, just as Western Michigan was a year ago. UCF fans shouldn’t hold their breath waiting for the playoff.

BIGGEST WINNER OF THE WEEK

Wisconsin – Say what you will about Auburn, but the Tigers taking down Georgia may have been more beneficial for Wisconsin. If the Badgers manage to go 13-0 with the Big Ten championship, their argument at the end of the season would gain some strength. And the possibility of two SEC teams making the College Football Playoff took a hit (although not entirely eliminated), and Notre Dame taking a second loss could open up a spot in the playoff. If Wisconsin takes care of their business, they’ll stand an excellent chance of getting in.

BIGGEST LOSER OF THE WEEK

Notre Dame – Without a conference championship game to play in, the Irish can go no better than 10-2 this season. Given the heavy competition for four spots, that could be difficult for the Irish to reach the playoff. The best-case scenario for Notre Dame would be to end the season 10-2 and have the fourth spot come down to them or the Pac-12 champion, which could end up being a USC team they trounced in South Bend or a Stanford team they beat at the end of the regular season. They won’t win head-to-head debates with a number of other teams in the mix now.

UConn head coach Randy Edsall: We’ve become a farm system, pay the players

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The FBI sting into college basketball malfeasance has gotten a lot of folks riled up on Friday afternoon, especially when it comes to NCAA rules and potential violations. This, in turn, is leading to everybody and their brother rehashing the argument to pay (or not pay) players.

While you would probably not have expected it, even football coaches are wading into the discourse and there’s a somewhat surprising line of thinking being taken by UConn head coach Randy Edsall on Twitter:

While Edsall’s first point about football coaches getting nervous about the FBI probe spilling over into their sport probably rings true, it’s not every day you see a head coach openly advocating for paying players and calling college football a farm system for the NFL.

The Huskies head coach’s latter tweet is referring to a proposal put forward by the SEC that was approved last month which essentially allows non-coaching analysts to evaluate film of recruits in ways they could not previously do so. This has led to many expecting programs (looking at you, Alabama) creating player personnel departments in even greater numbers to streamline evaluating prospects and allow certain staffers to handle more of the recruiting load.

Edsall is far from the first coach to advocate paying players but something says his comments on Friday will also mean he will just be the latest in a long line of advocates for advancing much the same cause, especially in light of the payments going on in college basketball that are just beginning to come to light.

Charlotte’s Greg Adkins reportedly Marshall’s new O-Line coach

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Country roads, take him home.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Bruce Feldman, Charlotte assistant Greg Adkins is expected to return to his alma mater of Marshall to take over as the Thundering Herd’s next offensive line coach.

Adkins is well known around Huntington for his work with the team back in the early 1990’s when they were winning NCAA titles and making regular title game appearances at the then-Division I-AA level. He also had stops at Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma State and with the Buffalo Bills among others before being hired at Charlotte by Brad Lambert.

The return of Adkins fills the hole on Marshall’s staff after the departure of offensive line coach Alex Mirabal, who left for Oregon earlier in the week.

Reports: Tim Drevno stepping down as Michigan’s OC

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An offseason of change in Jim Harbaugh‘s Michigan coaching staff continues, with one of the Wolverines’ million-dollar assistants stepping down.  Reportedly.

Multiple reports, including ones from The Wolverine Lounge and SI.com‘s Bruce Feldman, are indicating that Tim Drevno has decided to step down from his post as U-M’s offensive coordinator.  Drevno has been Harbaugh’s coordinator on that side of the ball each of his three seasons in Ann Arbor.

Drevno also served as the Wolverines’ offensive line coach.

Under Drevno’s direction, Michigan’s offense was tied for 91st nationally in averaging 25.2 points per game this past season.

The reports come three days after McElwain was officially announced as U-M’s new quarterbacks coach.  In the run-up to that hiring, it was reported that McElwain, the former coordinator at Alabama prior to his run as Florida’s head coach, could take over play-calling duties at U-M.

Arizona QB Brandon Dawkins to transfer from Wildcats

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An already crowded graduate transfer market has gained yet another entrant.

On his personal Twitter account Thursday night, Brandon Dawkins announced that he has decided to transfer out of new head coach Kevin Sumlin‘s football program. While no specific reason was given for the quarterback’s decision to move on, the presence of a Heisman Trophy contender, rising junior Khalil Tate, for the next two seasons likely played a significant role.

Dawkins is set to graduate this May, which will make him eligible to play immediately in 2018 at another FBS school if that’s the tack he takes.

Dawkins started nine games in 2016 and the first four games this past season before Tate took over.  For the Wildcats portion of his playing career, Dawkins completed just over 56 percent of his 334 passes for 2,418 yards, 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.  He ran for another 1,582 yards and 20 more touchdowns.