Penn State complicates matters
Ohio State and Penn State are setting up for quite the potential problem for the College Football Playoff selection committee.
The second-ranked Buckeyes and No. 8 Nittany Lions each won Saturday, sending Penn State to the Big Ten championship game as East Division winners and Ohio State into wait-and-see mode. Both teams look playoff worthy for now.
The other race that changed on rivalry Saturday was the one for the Heisman Trophy.
And, oh, Texas and LSU hired new coaches, just like that.
Thoughts, takedowns and takeaways from week 13 of the college football season.
1. There were some debatable calls but Jim Harbaugh came across like a sore loser . And you have to wonder if the cell phone call Urban Meyer got from his wife during his postgame news conference, and his “bring a gallon of milk home on the way home” comment was not just a little bit of a shot at the whole-milk loving Michigan coach.
2. Shelley Meyer is a coach’s wife who definitely pays attention.
3. How good was the Michigan-Ohio State game? How much was there to talk about? Well, Curtis Samuel made what might have been the greatest and most important 8-yard run in Ohio State football history and it became a sidebar in one of the best games the Buckeyes and Wolverines have ever played.
4. So now the tricky part. Penn State is 10-2 with a victory against Ohio State, heading to Indianapolis to play No. 5 Wisconsin. If Wisconsin wins, easy decision for the committee. The Buckeyes beat the Badgers in the regular season and the committee can justify overlooking the Big Ten champ for what looks like the Big Ten’s best team.
5. If Penn State wins, the Nittany Lions will have both the conference championship and head-to-head against Ohio State. The Nittany Lions also have losses to Pitt and Michigan, but since getting blown out by the Wolverines they have won eight straight games.
6. The committee chairman made clear last week that it did not consider Ohio State and Penn State to have comparable resumes and it is hard to see that changing after the Buckeyes just added Michigan to its list of impressive wins that includes at Oklahoma and at Wisconsin.
7. Two Big Ten teams maybe? That might be a tough fit if Alabama, Washington and Clemson all win out.
8. Could be a very interesting last meeting in Grapevine, Texas, next weekend for the committee.
9. The prediction: Ohio State gets in regardless of what else happens before selection Sunday.
10. LSU hired the defensive line coach to replace the winningest coach in the history of the program . If Ed Orgeron fails, it will fall on athletic director Joe Alleva.
11. Charlie Strong deserved to be fired by Texas. The results just were not good enough. And he leaves behind a well set table for Tom Herman .
12. And just like that, Texas and LSU slammed the brakes on the coaching carousel.
13. LSU is likely to be the only SEC school to change coaches — unless Texas A&M decides a $15 million buyout is not too much to part ways with Kevin Sumlin.
14. There will likely be no movement among coaches in the ACC. North Carolina State came out Saturday and said Dave Doeren is sticking around after the Wolfpack beat North Carolina on Friday.
15. Purdue is likely to be the only Big Ten school to change coaches , but slow down on the P.J. Fleck to the Boilermakers . The Western Michigan coach could end up in West Lafayette, Indiana, but no deal is being struck before the unbeaten Broncos play the MAC title game. They are a victory away from the Cotton Bowl.
16. The next and maybe only Power Five job to open could be Oregon after the Ducks ended their worst season in 25 years by losing to Oregon State for the first time since 2007 . Can Mark Helfrich survive 4-8?
17. So about that Heisman, Lamar Jackson?
18. The Louisville quarterback was both spectacular and sloppy in a loss to Kentucky. He committed four turnovers, three when the Cardinals were on the verge of scoring. Still, Jackson has accounted for 51 touchdowns this season. If not him for Heisman, then who?
19. No. 7 Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Dede Westbrook get to make a last statement next week in the de facto Big 12 title game against No. 10 Oklahoma State. Credit the Sooners sports information for sensing a moment to seize the opportunity and creating a Heisman website for both.
20. Want to talk Clemson’s Deshaun Watson? Maybe, but Jackson’s game against Kentucky was much like Watson’s against Pitt.
21. J.T. Barrett has been clutch for Ohio State, but Heisman worthy? Maybe Curtis Samuel? But neither Buckeye will play next weekend.
22. Washington’s Jake Browning put himself back in the discussion on Friday against Washington State and has the Pac-12 title game to show off again.
23. USC’s Adoree’ Jackson certainly put on a show against Notre Dame .
24. How about the best player on the best unit in college football: Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen?
25. Prediction: Jackson still wins the Heisman.
Follow Ralph D. Russo on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP .
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.