NFL and College Football Update

Unless the brain trust that calls the shots are gonna "penalize" #5 Alabama for losing superstar QB Tua Tagovailoa to a season-ending injury then the top six from last week's rankings are gonna stay exactly the same. That's LSU, Ohio State, Clemson, Georgia, Alabama and Oregon are the #1-thru-#6 teams.

All well and good. But is there some team that's lurking off the pace - a team that's, let's say, sitting at #10 or below - that can pound their way into the final four? Here's some thoughts on two teams you probably are not thinking about right now:

MINNESOTA (9-1) - Hey, don't slam the door just yet on these perky Golden Gophers. They entered last Saturday's 23-19 loss at 3.5-point Iowa at #8 in the rankings but consider that if Minny ran the table the rest of the way (wins at Northwestern and then home to archrival Wisconsin) and then beat an undefeated Ohio State squad in the Big 10 Championship Game than P.J. Fleck's one-loss team could well be more than just "in the discussion" for a final four shot.

BAYLOR (9-1) - Last weekend's uber-painful 34-31 home loss-but-cover as 10.5-point dogs against Oklahoma seemingly killed the Bears' hopes of making it into their first-ever playoff appearance but follow the bouncing ball here: If Baylor beats Texas this Saturday, then wins at Kansas on Thanksgiving weekend and topples Oklahoma in a Big 12 Championship Game (talk about revenge) and there's enough chaos up ahead in the rankings then the Bears have a shot. Trust us!
   

THE NFL UPDATE

You've been hearing for years now that there's a turnover of a few squads every year when it comes to the NFL Playoffs ... and sure seems we could be headed in that general direction once again. Get a load of this list of 2018 NFL playoff teams that are - for all intents and purposes - finished or close to finished from the post-season picture this year even before we get to the weekend prior to Thanksgiving Day. In alphabetical order, they are ...

The Chicago Bears are 4-7 SU (straight-up) while heading into Week 12 play and they have an already well-documented change coming at quarterback where ineffective Mitchell Trubisky may (or may not) have a hip pointer injury that's likely gonna keep 'em from playing in Sunday's home tilt against the New York Giants. Gee, what happened to all that Super Bowl hype from last summer? ...

The Los Angeles Chargers (4-7 SU) had their bubble burst in that down-to-the-wire 24-17 Monday Night Football loss in Mexico City to AFC West rival Kansas City. It was the same old story for the Bolts - four interceptions off creaky QB Philip Rivers - and so one year removed from the Chargers winning a playoff game in Baltimore (remember?) now here's Anthony Lynn's squad gagging on what could have been after losing a seventh game this year by another one-score margin ...

And the Los Angeles Rams - yes, the defending NFC champions who lost in Super Bowl 53 to New England this past February - may be sitting there at 6-4 SU following that aforementioned 17-7 Sunday Night win / cover against the Bears but check the standings: The Rams are three full games behind NFC West-leading San Francisco (9-1) and more than a full game back of wild card-hopefuls Minnesota (8-3) and Seattle (8-2). Okay, so we're not bury the Rams just yet but consider the upcoming sked that includes this Monday Night's home game against 3-point favorite Baltimore, a road tilt in Arizona, a home game against Seattle, back-to-back roadies against Dallas and San Francisco and finally a Week 17 home game against Arizona. Think this now offensively-challenged squad is gonna squeeze out more than three wins against this sked? We have our doubts!