It’s rivalry week, though there is far more at stake than simple bragging rights. Take a look at this slate: No. 2 Ohio State hosts No. 3 Michigan in a game with all kinds of Big Ten title and CFP implications. No. 1 Alabama hosts No. 13 Auburn. No. 9 Colorado tries to wrap up the Pac-12 South title with a game against No. 22 Utah. No. 14 Florida State hosts No. 15 Florida. And, of course, the No. 5 Washington Huskies visit No. 23 Washington State, with the winner headed to the Pac-12 championship game. Strap in.
The Huskies moved up a spot to No. 5 in the most recent CFP rankings, thanks to Louisville’s loss last week to Houston. There is much debate over whether the Huskies would slip into the top four if they win this week against WSU and then win again in the Pac-12 championship game, and also some debate (for some reason) about how worthy a three-loss USC team would be if it can sneak into the Pac-12 title game and win it. But, as always, a lot of football remains, and these rankings won’t mean anything until conference championships have been played.
What did Louisville’s loss to Houston do to quarterback Lamar Jackson’s perceived Heisman hopes? According to ESPN, not much. Jackson is still the prohibitive favorite to win college football’s most hallowed award, and it would take a substantial upset for him to lose it now. Oklahoma receiver Dede Westbrook has vaulted into the conversation, too, with UW quarterback Jake Browning sliding further away from contention.
ROSS CLOSING IN
Not only is Huskies receiver John Ross just three touchdowns shy of tying UW’s single-season record of 18, he is also only 9 yards short of becoming the eighth receiver in UW history to crack the 1,000-yard mark in a single season. The last player to do it was Jermaine Kearse, who caught 63 passes for 1,005 yards and 12 touchdowns in 13 games in 2010. Ross currently has 64 catches for 991 yards and 15 touchdowns.
QB RECORD WATCH
WSU quarterback Luke Falk has 36 touchdown passes this season, tied for ninth-most in a single season in Pac-12 history. UW quarterback Jake Browning has 37, tied for seventh-most (one behind Falk’s total of 38 last season). The Pac-12 record of 43 set last season by Cal quarterback Jared Goff is within reach for both, especially with each team playing at least one more game this season (and one of them guaranteed at least two more).
Christian Caple: firstname.lastname@example.org