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Daniel Wilco | | October 28, 2018

5 outcomes from Week 9 that could impact the College Football Playoff picture

An Oregon State surprise headlines a wild week of college football

SEC championship implications, reassuring blowouts, and insane comebacks — Week 9 had it all. Bust most importantly, it had plenty of implications for the College Football Playoff picture.

Here are five results from Saturday that could impact the Playoff:


No. 12 Kentucky 15, Missouri 14

Kentucky kept its playoff hopes alive (yes, you read that correctly), winning on a walk-off against Missouri, 15-14. 

After a defensive pass interference in the end zone as time expired, Kentucky was awarded an untimed down from the two-yard line and quarterback Terry Wilson found C.J. Conrad for the touchdown to seal the comeback.

The win means that next week’s Kentucky-Georgia game has everything on the line. The winner will clinch the SEC East and head to the title game to face Alabama or LSU. The loser will have a hard uphill battle to get into the Playoff.

No. 7 Georgia 36, No. 9 Florida 17

Speaking of Georgia, the Bulldogs pulled out a clutch win against No. 9 Florida, though the game was a lot closer than it should have been. Georgia forced three turnovers, but it was a one-score game until quarterback Jake Fromm threw his third touchdown of the game with around nine minutes left. A D'Andre Swift 33-yard touchdown run four minutes later put the exclamation point on an impressive bounce back for Georgia after a 20-point loss to LSU two weeks ago.

In all likelihood, the loss ends Florida’s CFP hopes. The Gators have two losses now and won’t be able to compete for the SEC championship. 

No. 2 Clemson 59, Florida State 10

Okay, Trevor Lawrence is for real. No, there wasn’t any legitimate question about this before this week, but man did his performance against Florida State show how high the true freshman's ceiling can be. Lawrence went 20-for-37 for 314 yards and four touchdowns and zero interceptions. It was his second straight game over 300 yards, and the third straight game that the Tigers have won by more than 30 points (two of which came on the road).

One potential worry is seeing the second straight week that Travis Etienne has been held to fewer than 50 yards. The running back only had 10 carries against Florida State (and when your quarterback picks up 300 yards, there aren’t too many more to go around), but if both Lawrence and Etienne can get going on the same day, there would be absolutely no stopping Clemson’s offense.

And if not, Christian Wilkins is always an option in the backfield:

No. 8 Oklahoma 51, Kansas State 14

When you pile on 700 yards of offense and only bring the punter out once, good things are probably going to happen. That’s what Oklahoma did against Kansas State out of the bye week. The Sooners went up 17-0 in the first quarter and never looked back.

Quarterback Kyler Murray kept his Heisman hopes alive, throwing for 352 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions while running for one more score. But CeeDee Lamb may have been the star of the show, racking up a career-high 160 yards and two touchdowns on four receptions.

The Sooners’ offense has rarely been a question, but Saturday was a good showing for Oklahoma’s defense as well, which held Kansas State to 4-for-12 on third-down conversions, and handcuffed running back Alex Barnes. Barnes, the Big 12’s leading rusher entering the game, had averaged 112.6 yards per game before Saturday, but picked up a season-low 28 yards on 13 carries against the Sooners.

No. 3 Notre Dame 44, Navy 22

After a bye week to settle down from a too-close-for-comfort win against Pittsburgh at home, Notre Dame put away Navy, remaining one of just four undefeated teams this season, along with Alabama, Clemson, and UCF.

But the Irish’s case for the CFP suffers from two factors: Not playing in a conference championship, and having a week schedule remaining. Two of the final four games are against teams that were ranked in the preseason (USC and Florida State), but both have dropped out of the poll, and Notre Dame has no matchups left against currently ranked teams. Though they do have three wins against ranked teams this year, even if the Irish finish the season undefeated (which they should), it’s very plausible that they would get leapfrogged by a one-loss team with a better resume. But if Notre Dame keeps winning games in blowout fashion like this, they’ll make that a tougher decision for the Playoff committee. 

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