Part of the Yahoo Sports family, Rivals.com offers in-depth coverage of nearly every college program across the country. With local experts dialed into every move on campus, fans can get unparalleled coverage of their favorite teams.
Each week, we’ll talk to our reporters on the ground to get their thoughts on the biggest happenings during the college football season. This week, we look at Jim Harbaugh silencing his critics (at least for this week), check in with Kansas State and the ahead-of-schedule rebuild after Saturday’s upset over Oklahoma and examine the Pac-12’s other playoff contender, Utah.
Harbaugh silences this haters
With rumors about a potential exit to the NFL and pundits from around the country continually referring to his struggles against top-10 teams, Jim Harbaugh and Michigan came into Saturday’s game against Notre Dame with a lot to prove. The Wolverines did exactly that, blowing the Irish out and officially eliminating their rival from playoff contention while also putting to rest some of the murmurs about Harbaugh’s job security. So have the Wolverines turned the corner and can they run the table and set up an epic matchup with Ohio State?
We asked TheWolverine.com’s Austin Fox to weigh in on the situation.
“Michigan’s 45-14 beatdown of Notre Dame was one of the most impressive wins of the Jim Harbaugh era, but it certainly wasn’t a performance he ‘needed’ to have to save his job. The U-M head man wasn’t on any kind of hot seat heading into that game, nor would he have been had U-M lost. The Wolverines finally looked like the team many thought we’d see this season on a regular basis, and although the club’s College Football Playoff goals likely came to an end when it lost last week at Penn State, slim hopes of a Big Ten title still remain. Harbaugh’s overall record in Ann Arbor now sits at 44-16, with hopes of a fourth 10-win season in five years looking very attainable”
More from TheWolverine.com:
Even though he took over a relatively stable situation following the retirement of Bill Snyder at Kansas State, most thought that Wildcats head coach Chris Klieman would need a few years to put his stamp on his program. But just seven games into his tenure at the school, Klieman already has a signature win. Kansas State pulled off a momentous upset on Saturday, knocking Oklahoma from the undefeated ranks and putting a serious dent in the Sooners’ playoff hopes. In the process, the Wildcats moved to 5-2 on the year and appear poised to make a bowl game in Klieman’s first year as head coach in Manhattan. So just how important was Saturday’s win in helping expedite Kleiman’s rebuild?
We checked in with K-StateOnline.com’s Matt Hall to get his thoughts on the future impact of upset victory.
“Kansas State’s win over No. 5 Oklahoma not only moved the Wildcats to 5-2 on the season while providing Chris Klieman with a marquee victory, it also took place with a large collection of prospects in attendance at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Many wondered about Klieman and K-State’s decision to bring in so many visitors against such a strong opponent, but it proved to be a fantastic opportunity for the K-State program. A win over Kansas next week would already have K-State bowl eligible at 6-2 in Klieman’s first year (K-State went 5-7 last season) and still a major factor in the Big 12 conference race.”
More from K-StateOnline.com:
What about the Utes?
When Oregon squeaked out a last-second victory over Washington State late Saturday night, the common talking point among college football pundits was that the Ducks had saved the Pac-12’s playoff hopes by beating the Cougars. But when the polls came out on Sunday morning, it wasn’t just Oregon as the lone Pac-12 school in the top 10. Utah climbed all the way up to No. 9 in AP poll, just two spots behind the Ducks. The two programs are seemingly on a collision course to meet in the Pac-12 title game and if both can win out the rest of the way, it could be for a shot at the playoff. So can the Utes stay the course and keep climbing in the polls?
We caught up with UteNation.com’s Alex Markham to get his thoughts.
“Sitting at 7-1, the University of Utah has steamrolled the competition after a surprising early season loss to USC, when running back Zack Moss couldn’t finish the game due to injury. Ever since then, they’ve given up two touchdowns in four games, culminating in their 35-0 shutout of the Cal Bears on Saturday night. Even with the early slip-up to the Trojans, this defense is playing at a historic level — Cal finished with 83 total yards, while Moss alone had 204. Next week is a huge test, by going to Washington and if the Utes get past the Huskies, they should be on a collision course with the Oregon Ducks for the Pac-12 championship game and a shot at the CFP. No one should hold it against the Utes and the Ducks that everyone else in their conference just loves to eat their own.”
More from UteNation.com