Business is about to pick up.
As the month of October leaves us for November, the following weeks should create some parity: the playoff-worthy teams versus the bowl teams.
To say the least, each game going forward will be important, as the College Football Playoff Committee is set to release their first ranking on Halloween night. From teams in the top 4, each game should decide whether they stay in the playoff picture or if they get overtaken by another team.
With all this noted, here is a rundown of what we learned from this past week.
What Did We Learn After Week 9?
Kyle Whittingham has been one of the top coaches in college football for the last decade. He and his Utah Utes have all the elements needed to be a playoff contender. For whatever reason, they never seem to reach their full potential as a team; an unknown roadblock continues to keep them from greatness. This was apparent against Oregon, who dissected them on both sides of the ball. Perhaps when they get Cam Rising back next season, we may all get to see the Utes at their peak.
No Brock Bowers, no problem. Carson Beck went to work early against Florida, and from that point on, the Bulldogs showed why they are the best team in college football.
With Quinn Ewers injured, we came close to seeing the debut of Arch Manning. Instead, we received gifted freshman Maalik Murphy as quarterback, who led Texas to an impressive victory over BYU.
Penn State's win over Indiana was a big one for two reasons: they were coming off an emotional loss to Ohio State, and quarterback Drew Allar had arguably his best offensive performance. They can only build on this performance going forward.
Speaking of Ohio State, they were able to pull out a good win against a Wisconsin team that was more difficult than their record suggests. At this point, they are in the drivers seat for a playoff spot.
As much as we have enjoyed Coach Prime and the Colorado Buffaloes this season, we need to always keep in mind that they are a work in progress. Their loss to UCLA was an unfortunate reminder that they still have a long way to go.
In the ACC, there is Florida State and everyone else. There is no question that they are the best team in the conference and should be taken seriously as a National Championship contender.
USC does not deserve any consideration in this year's playoffs. They came dangerously close to getting upset by the 3–4 California Bears. Despite the comeback win, this Trojans team has nothing to be proud of after what they showed in the first three quarters. We also find out that Bears running back Jaydn Ott could be college football's next big thing.
Clemson's loss to NC State represents the lowest point of Dabo Swinney's coaching career. We could dissect this game all we like, but it all comes down to one thing: they no longer have the type of talent that could make them contenders. It is going to be a long offseason for the Tigers.
It was a rough day at the office for Pittsburgh quarterback Christian Veilleux, who threw four interceptions and made Notre Dame's life very easy. The final score should tell you everything you need to know about that game.
Don't look now, but Oklahoma State is trending upwards after their fourth straight win. What the Cowboys are finding out is that running their offense through Ollie Gordon is the right way to go.
If there is one team you should have on your playoff radar for next season, it is SMU. In their dismantling of Tulsa, they showed the full potential of their offense, which should be a problem.
Week 9 Top Performers
Gold Standard Level
QB Chandler Rogers - North Texas
QB Preston Stone - SMU
RB Ollie Gordon - Oklahoma State
QB Fernando Mendoza - California
LB Marlowe Wax - Syracuse
RB Treveyon Henderson - Ohio State
RB Blake Watson - Memphis
QB Joey Aguilar - Appalachian State
RB Frank Gore Jr. - Southern Mississippi
DB Bryce Anderson - Texas A&M
QB Michael Penix Jr. - Washington
CB Travis Hunter - Colorado
LB Laiatu Latu - UCLA
DL Gabriel Murphy - UCLA
DL Grayson Murphy - UCLA
QB Jordan Travis - Florida State
DE Jared Verse - Florida State
LB Jalil Clemons - Southern Mississippi
RB Jawhar Jordan - Louisville
LB Francisco Mauigoa - Miami
RB Kay'Ron Adams - UMass
RB Jaydn Ott - California
CB Aaron Wofford - Western Michigan
RB Marcus Carroll - Georgia State
LB Sone Aupiu - New Mexico State
QB Austin Reed - Western Kentucky
- Offense -
WR Christan Horn - Appalachian State
WR Marvin Harrison Jr. - Ohio State
WR Ladd McConkey - Georgia
QB John Rhys Plumlee - UCF
WR Ja'Lynn Polk - Washington
QB Davis Brin - Georgia Southern
QB Haynes King - Georgia Tech
QB Carson Beck - Georgia
QB Caleb Williams - USC
WR Ladd McConkey - Georgia
WR Elic Ayomanor - Stanford
QB Devin Leary - Kentucky
RB Jalen Buckley - Western Michigan
RB Bhayshul Tuten - Virginia Tech
RB Kye Robichaux - Boston College
WR Keon Coleman - Florida State
WR Roderic Burns - North Texas
WR Malik Washington - Virginia
WR Ainias Smith - Texas A&M
QB Brendan Sorsby - Indiana
QB Drew Allar - Penn State
RB Garrett Greene - West Virginia
RB Kaidon Salter - Liberty
- Defense -
DL Mario Kendricks - Virginia Tech
CB Jordan Hancock - Ohio State
DL Isaac Walker - Georgia Southern
DE Jared Ivey - Ole Miss
DT J.J. Pegues - Ole Miss
DT Tyleik Williams - Ohio State
DB Khyree Jackson - Oregon
LB Kalen DeLoach - Florida State
LB Nickolas Martin - Oklahoma State
DB Craig Woodson - California
DL Jaylon Allen - Memphis
DL Antwaun Powell-ryland jr. - Virginia Tech
DL Ashton Gillotte - Louisville
LB Aaron Casey - Indiana
DE Wilfredo Aybar - Stanford
DL Fadil Diggs - Texas A&M
DL Rueben Bain Jr. - Miami
DT Branson Deen - Miami
DL Jasheen Davis - Wake Forest
DL Patrick Payton - Florida State
LB Keyshaun Elliott - New Mexico State
DL Aidan Hubbard - Northwestern
LB Buddha Peleti - New Mexico State