Author: Herb Gould

Irish can make good playoff case, but that road is filled with peril

Do you think Notre Dame can wake up the echoes and run the gauntlet of a dangerous schedule right into the College Football Playoff? It probably depends on what you think of Brian Kelly. If ND wins out, an 11-1 mark puts it in the discussion for one of the four playoff berths, and very deserving of a slot—although time will tell if there are four teams that are more deserving. I will say this, though: At 11-1, the Irish would be every bit as accomplished as the 2012 Notre Dame that went 12-0, and earned the right to be clobbered by Alabama in the national championship game. At least this ND loss to playoff-worthy Georgia was nip-and-tuck. The redemption potential for Kelly this autumn is immense. Heading out of last season’s 4-8 messiness, and into this season, there was speculation that he might be shown the `Play Like a Champion’ door if the Irish didn’t bounce back this year—and never mind that lengthy contract extension. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here....

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B1G gains amid Pac-12 losses. Buckeyes, Badgers keep poundin’ away. Wilcox watch.

Things we learned in Week 7. . . Well, things I Iearned, anyway. AND THEN THERE WERE NONE. . . PAC-12 EDITION It’s lonely at the top. The Pac-12 can stop fretting about having an unbeaten team on shaky College Football Playoff ground. Washington joined Washington State in having a rough weekend, falling 13-7 in a shocker at Arizona State. That leaves no unbeaten Pac-12 teams, if you’re keeping score at home. What that means in Flyover Country is that Penn State, or Ohio State, or Wisconsin—one of them will be there—just moved up in the playoff pecking order. They also received yet another memo that one slip on the tarmac can change your whole itinerary. FRIDAY NIGHT MISERY Dabo Swinney and Mike Leach probably would vote to preserve the sanctity of Friday night football for high schools. It certainly did nothing for their sanity. Clemson lost 27-24 at Syracuse. And Washington State got drilled 37-3 at Cal. As my buddy Blau pointed out, this could be a path to the New Orleans  semi-final for Clemson for a College Football Playoff berth. . . as the No. 4. . . playing Alabama, the No. 1. Wouldn’t that be special? JUSTIN TIME The Wazzu beatdown at Cal was so thorough that I have only two words for it: Justin Wilcox. If Texas A&M rumors can fan so much heat in Happy...

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The Gould Standard picks: Week 7

Last week’s 3-3 may not look like much. But when you start out 0-2—who knew that Bowling Green’s offense would show up and Northwestern’s wouldn’t?—it’s a wonderful thing. After covering Penn State-Northwestern, I was driving north to the land of Badgers and Packers, and the XM radio delivered palpable excitement twice. First, Miami pulled out a thriller at Florida State. And then, after a 90-minute weather delay, Purdue woke up against Minnesota. In other words, 3-3 felt much better than disaster. So I’m pleased to be 22-14 overall, with 14-7 against the spread and 8-7 on over/unders. In light of that, and because I’ve always felt ATS is meat-and-potatoes, let’s downsize the O/U exposure this week. THE GAMES Ohio State minus-24 at Nebraska Georgia Tech plus-5 at Miami Purdue plus-16-1/2 at Wisconsin Arkansas plus-29 at Alabama Oklahoma minus-8 vs. Texas THE OVER/UNDER Michigan State at Minnesota (40-1/2) @@@ The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here....

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At mid-point, Notre Dame’s glass is quietly half-full. But that will change, one way or another.

Fighting Irish and “under the radar’’ aren’t phrases usually seen in the same sentence. And that situation won’t last long for Notre Dame, the team that everyone loves to 1) love or 2) hate. Because after a bye this week, ND will line up against No. 13 USC on Oct. 21 in one of the nation’s most storied rivalries. Win that one, and the 16th-ranked Irish will return to their rightful hype-filled place, delighting shamrock worshippers and irritating everyone else. And a loss would fan the Irish fire in a different way. That game, which once looked ominous for ND, now looks like another high-profile anybody’s-guess kind of game. That’s because the Trojans—after a loss at Washington State and some narrow escapes, including that double-OT deal with Texas—have their own issues. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here....

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Buckeyes on rise, Nittany Lions have questions, Oklahoma humbled.

Quiet weekend in college football? Yeah, right. We won’t be certain until the Pac-12 wraps up its late games on Tuesday, but the big Week 6 winners appear to be Ohio State and a Pac-12 team to be named later. That’s because Iowa State took down Oklahoma, which had conquered the mighty Buckeyes, And who said, “See ‘ya later, Sooners?’’ None other than Cyclones coach Matt Campbell, who was Tim Beckman’s offensive coordinator when Illinois hired the wrong guy from Toledo. Oklahoma’s shocking misstep opens the door for a West Coast team to join Alabama, Clemson and a Big Ten team in the four-team College Football Playoff. Of course, there’s a ton of football to be played, and none of those teams can afford to look ahead. Washington and Washington State are tracking for a top-notch Apple Cup. Unbeaten TCU has every right to say, “What about us?’’ And if Georgia keeps playing the way it’s playing, there will be discussions about scenarios in which two SEC teams are judged playoff worthy. See? Players and coaches can’t look forward. But we can. And here’s what we see. If you watched Penn State slog past punchless Northwestern on Saturday the way I did, and looked beyond the 31-7 final score, you probably had this conclusion: For all their hype, the Nittany Lions did not do well on the eye test....

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