There are three monster college football games this weekend: No. 7 Stanford (3-0) at No. 10 Washington (4-0) on Friday, No. 8 Wisconsin (4-0) at No. 4 Michigan (4-0) on Saturday afternoon and No. 3 Louisville at No. 5 Clemson (4-0) on Saturday night.
But which one will impact the College Football Playoff the most?
“I think Clemson/Louisville,” CBSSports.com college football columnist Dennis Dodd said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “No one really thought of (Louisville) as a top-four team before the season. Clemson/FSU in November was going to decide the ACC and the winner goes to the payoff. Well, by all intents and purposes right now, Louisville looks like the best team in that conference, and Lamar Jackson looks like the best player in the country. Will that prove to be true (Saturday) night? I don’t know. So yeah, this one has the most at stake to me.”
That said, Dodd believes that the winner of Stanford/Washington will win the Pac-12 and potentially make the playoff. Washington is a 3.5-point favorite.
“I picked Stanford,” Dodd said. “Stanford has the ability to hold the ball for 40 minutes with Christian McCaffrey and the monster sets that they use. I would watch that. I would watch them to drain the emotion out of this game and win it 20-13. But whoever comes out of it, I think, is the odds on favorite to win the Pac-12.”
Michigan, meanwhile, is a 10.5-point favorite at home against Wisconsin, but Dodd questions whether the Wolverines are truly elite.
“They haven’t played anybody,” he said. “They played Penn State. That was an impressive victory, but I don’t know how good Penn State is.”
Michigan beat Penn State, 49-10, last Saturday. The Wolverines have played four home games – against Hawaii, UCF, Colorado and Penn State – and won them all.
It’s great to win games at home, but that schedule isn’t exactly murders’ row.
“They don’t go on the road,” Dodd said. “They don’t play a road game until next week – and that’s at Rutgers. So I think they’re very, very good, (but) Wisconsin has the ability to beat them. I’m not taking anything away from last year. I thought Harbaugh did a great job. I don’t think he had the roster to win 10 games, (but) he won 10 games. He’s a fantastic coach. But let’s see them actually get smacked in the mouth, which (hasn’t happened) yet this year. They will (Saturday). So let’s see.”
As for the Heisman, the aforementioned Jackson is the frontrunner, but several other players will be in the mix, including Christian McCaffrey and Jabrill Peppers.
“I’ve never heard Jim Harbaugh gush about a player like he has continually about Jabrill Peppers, which he should,” Dodd said. “He’s fantastic. He’s Charles Woodson-plus. He does more things than Charles Woodson. I think there’s obviously a way to get him the Heisman. I think they’re going to feed him the ball. I think you’ll see a lot of him tomorrow. Being at Michigan and being the Swiss Army knife and having that tradition of Charles Woodson, I think he’s got a great chance to win it. But it’s early. Lamar Jackson has been handed the trophy in September. I remember Leonard Fournette had done the same thing last year and he didn’t even make New York. He had a fantastic season but didn’t even get to to New York, so we’ll see.”