Welcome to November. Now here's a Band-Aid or a crutch or a knee brace.
The final full month of college football has the best of everything -- rivalry games, Heisman Trophy pushes, the College Football Playoff race, division championships won ... limbs crunched. Yup, November football also includes the worst of everything.
This is the month where, if you don't embrace the grind, it might grind you up. This is the month where bodies wears down, injuries occur, games pile up, inexplicable upsets go down. You shouldn't have to be told that 64 percent of all catastrophic injuries in college sports occur in football. "Overuse" is the cause of 30 percent of all collegiate injuries.
"There have been some times at Alabama ... it was like, 'I wish we can just make it to the game,'" Georgia's Kirby Smart said of his days with the Crimson Tide. "If we lose one more guy, we don't have anybody else."
"Sometimes you'll have a player who always has energy, always gives everything he has at practice," Miami coach Mark Richt said. "When that guy looks tired, that guy looks whipped, it's time to back off a little bit."
November dawns with five FBS unbeatens (same as last year). Two of them are from the SEC. The Heisman race is up in the air. So is the coaching future of a load of coaches.
There's a lot to be resolved. Let's hope most of it happens on the field -- not in the training room.
Let's move on to Week 10 ...
1. Bedlam elimination: Could Bedlam get any better than a head-to-head showdown featuring two of the nation's best quarterbacks? No. The Oklahoma-Oklahoma State winner has the inside track to the Big 12 title -- at least. The loser is out of playoff contention -- at most. In a game featuring two of the top three offenses in the country, the feeling here is that Oklahoma has just a bit better defense.
We might talking 45-42 better but ... better. It's hard to slide a piece of paper between these two teams, although the early advantage goes to Mike Gundy in the document department. It was discovered this week that The Mullet is actually owed $500,000 if he is fired for insubordination. That's job security.
2. Coastal elimination? We would love to get to Notre Dame-Miami on Nov. 11 without any additional losses by either team. I shouldn't have to tell you the historic, religious and CFP implications of that one. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech this week at Miami will have a lot to say about whether that matchup arrives intact.
The ACC Coastal Division is basically on the line late in the season when the Hokies travel to Hard Rock Stadium. There is skepticism regarding both sides. Against its toughest opponent at home in Clemson, Virginia Tech was barely competitive. Other than that game, the Hokies have beaten West Virginia, Boston College, North Carolina and Duke -- a combined record of 15-20.
The Canes refuse to be blown out to sea. They've won their past four games by 4, 1, 8 and 5 points. Keeping in the spirit of the moment, Richt summed up his team's chances in 10 words or less. "At the end, if you win, that's the bottom line," he said
3. Khalil does L.A.: I would have given a bagful of Rubio's Fish Tacos at the beginning of the season if someone told me the glitziest quarterback in Arizona-USC would be Khalil Tate. Hell, none of us knew who Tate was until last month. "At the beginning of the year, I was pretty much a nobody," Tate told the Sporting News.
The sophomore has the realistic chance of outplaying Sam Darnold and thrusting the Wildcats into the Pac-12 South lead. Now RichRod has to explain once again why the kid wasn't starting since the beginning.
4. Hangover Bowl: Ohio State at Iowa didn't even register on my radar until I began to consider: A) The Buckeyes are coming off their biggest win of the season; B) That victory basically consisted of one, marvelous, huge, season-changing quarter against Penn State; C) At 5-3 and out of it in the Big Ten, Iowa has nothing to lose; D) Five of Iowa's games have been decided by a touchdown or less, basically in the fourth quarter.
"That's exactly who they are," Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer said. "They're just tough. They're like their coach. Their coach is a tough guy. They're like the state of Iowa. They're tough people. I love Iowa."
5. Yeah, I can't believe it either: Iowa State has beaten two top-fives to move into a tie for the Big 12 lead with five games left. What's so hard about imagining the Clones can't win at West Virginia? Only three Power Five teams have given up more yards than the Mountaineers. If Iowa State wins, the worst that can happen is a three-way tie for first headed into the Oklahoma State game next week. Last team to beat two top-fives in a season? Houston, last year against Oklahoma and Louisville.
6. What used to be the Game of the Century: When the biggest story in a big SEC game is the point spread, you know you're in trouble. Alabama is a 21.5-point favorite against LSU, basically the same margin from 6 1/2 years ago when Bama won the Game of the Century II.
Les Miles got fired because he couldn't beat Nick Saban. Ed Orgeron will be on the hot seat (again) if he doesn't make it as respectable as it was last year in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I would just hate to be Derrius Guice -- the SEC's second-leading rusher -- and Danny Etling against Alabama coming off a bye. Come to think of it, I would hate to be anybody vs. Bama coming off a bye. LSU is confronted by a five-headed tailback monster at Alabama that is .
7. The new Ten Year War: Maybe we missed the whole Ten Year War comparison inserting Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh for Woody and Bo. Forget Urb and Harbs. How about the triumvirate of James Franklin, Urban Meyer and Mark Dantonio? They've won the past three Big Ten titles. It's clear now this trio is going to decide the Big Ten again this season. Ohio State and Penn State have played classics in back-to-back years. Penn State travels to under-the-radar Michigan State this week.
While the Nittany Lions don't control their destiny in the East Division, amazingly, Sparty does. Win this one and Michigan State can all but clinch the division next week at Ohio State. Yes, that's quite a mountain to climb. Point is, the league has centered on Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan State. Where ya at, Harbaugh?
8. The Pac-12's best team … just might be Stanford, traveling to Washington State this week. Bryce Love returns from that bum ankle facing the nation's No. 2 defense. Hey, and the game starts in the afternoon. You have no excuse but to be awake when the Heisman race resumes in earnest.
9. Desperation game: It's so not about football at Nebraska (hosting Northwestern) at the moment. With rumblings that Florida is going hard after Scott Frost, where does that leave the Huskers, who just hired an athletic director, still have a head coach and have four games left in the season? Florida officials are free and clear to contact UCF's Frost to replace Jim McElwain. Not that Nebraska third parties aren't able to do so, but the Gators seem to be ahead in the desperation game to revitalize their on-field product.
10. Quick kicks: Upset alerts, sort of ... The hype for Clemson-NC State diminished after a systematic dismantling of the Wolfpack by Notre Dame. Kelly Bryant's return bolsters what has to be a massively pissed off Clemson D ... Auburn will be without Kamryn Pettway (fractured shoulder) headed to Texas A&M ... Wisconsin should be headed to Indiana ... Hawaii and UNLV play this week for the Golden Pineapple ... who knew?