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NCAA takeaways Week 10: Lamar Jackson secures Heisman; Buckeyes roll and Texas A&M falls

Charles Bertram
Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis, middle, celebrates a game-winning field goal in the fourth quarter against Mississippi State at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Ky., on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016. Kentucky won, 40-38. (Charles Bertram/Lexington Herald-Leader/TNS)

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson continues to put up big numbers with ease and is close to sealing the deal for the Heisman trophy. Alabama was tested, but in a defensive match up with rival LSU, head coach Nick Saban’s tide rolled on. The only slip up was made by the playoff committee, whose risky investment in Texas A&M proved to be fools gold. Here are the takeaways of the week.

The Committee’s first error

Upon the release of the season’s first playoff rankings, the committee wasted no time and immediately created controversy when they placed one loss Texas A&M ahead of an undefeated Washington for the fourth playoff spot. 

It took only four days for that decision to come back and haunt them, as Texas A&M fell to a lonely 3-5 Mississippi State team 35-28. Outplayed and pushed around for the majority of the game, the Aggies lost for the second team this season likely taking them out of the playoff picture entirely. 

An argument could be made that had A&M’s starting quarterback Trevor Knight not exited due to a shoulder injury, the end result could have been different. But both Knight and backup quarterback Jake Hubenak found themselves trailing throughout the game for their time on the field. 

Not to mention that a come from behind win over a lack luster SEC team in Mississippi State would have had to force the committee to rethink their original choice, and push the Aggies back at least one spot in the rankings. 

Surely there will be more pot stirring actions made by the playoff committee from now to the end of the season, but only one week in and having already been proven wrong, this should be a red flag that this year a worthy playoff contender could be wrongfully left out of the playoff.

Sparty and the Irish limping into final weeks

Rare is it that two storied programs such as Michigan State and Notre Dame are in a position on the brink of not making a bowl game. After 10 weeks of awful football from both schools, there is a possibility for both to miss out on a bowl this year. 

Michigan State has already taken its name out of the selection sheet for bowl eligible teams, as the Spartans sit at 2-7. It’s the first time since 2006 that Michigan State won’t play postseason football. 

Following a blowout loss to Big Ten foe Wisconsin, everything has gone down hill for Michigan State. With seven straight loses and yet to record a conference win, things are as bad as they have ever been for head coach Mark Dantonio in East Lansing. 

For Notre Dame, winning out is the only way the Irish can make a bowl game if they want to avoid missing out the postseason for the first time since 2009. The Irish fell apart after being on the wrong side of an opening weekend loss to Texas. From there, Notre Dame would go on to record losses to Duke, North Carolina State, Michigan State and most recently Navy. 

Having been questioned about his job statues for the last few weeks, head coach Brian Kelly remains well backed by the programs top booster and administrators, who have stated he will return as the Irish’s head coach next year. 

Heard loud and clear

All teams can do is prove themselves as much as possible and for two one-loss teams, that’s exactly what they did this weekend. 

Losses pushed Ohio State and Louisville out of the top four. But both had dominate performances over the weekend that should worry the current teams in the top four. Ohio State’s 59-point blowout over No.10 Nebraska was just what the Buckeyes needed to show the committee that a loss weeks earlier to Penn State may have been just a bump in the road. 

Quarterback J.T. Barrett throw for almost 300 yards and had four passing touchdowns that paired with two pick-six’s, which was more than enough for Ohio State to get by. 

Quarterback Lamar Jackson again dominated the box score as Louisville rolled Boston College 52-7. The sophomore quarterback recorded seven touchdowns, marking the third time this season in which he’s scored that many. 

While Jackson put the Heisman debate to rest, his team showed they are still in the tick of things for this playoff and aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon. The final week of the regular season, will see Michigan and Ohio State battle it out for a berth in the playoff. 

Louisville might need some help, but the Cardinal are very aware that if another team slips up, they could see themselves move right into the top four.

Follow Noah Sonnet on Twitter.

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