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#Nuggets: Quick thoughts on big games for Tom Herman, Coach O, the Big 12 and Clemson

Last week was nuts. Historically nuts. This week won't be, not unless you believe Chattanooga, Michigan State, Indiana, Wake Forest or Arizona State can beat Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, Clemson or Washington. With three weeks until Selection Sunday, the five leading teams for the College Football Playoff (sorry, Louisville) are all favored by 22.5 points or more -- and that's not counting Alabama over FCS Chattanooga.

So it's a week we'll put our attention to other things as the national championship race simmers before going back to a full boil over the final two weeks.

Let's get right to it.

1. What's the narrative around Tom Herman going to be after tonight? I get asked to do hits with different radio stations across the country from time to time, and I've gotten this question more than once: "So, the shine is starting to come off Tom Herman a little bit, right?"

I find the entire notion ludicrous, but the thought is out there. Herman enjoyed an unprecedented tidal wave of universally positive press from December 2014 through September 2016, and human nature creates a desire to tear down what we build up.

Tonight's date with No. 5 Louisville doesn't look good for Houston on paper. The Cardinals are throwing every punch they have in an effort to bust into the College Football Playoff, while Houston is playing with a banged up defense. Greg Ward, Jr., has spent most of the season fighting through injuries, and backup Kyle Postma is out with a broken arm.

That said, Herman's short history at Houston has proven he's most dangerous when counted out.

Either way, Herman has built an incredible resume, no matter if he wakes up 22-3 or 21-4 on Friday morning. But, just know that there's a narrative floating around out there.

2. Oklahoma looks to make (recent) history, while West Virginia fights for respect. Oklahoma has rocketed up to No. 9 in the recent rankings on the strength of... well... they're Oklahoma. The Sooners are playing undeniably better football, but their only top-25 quality competition inside the Big 12 is yet to come.

But after dropping out of the conversation in September, Oklahoma has a chance to craft an argument no other Big 12 team has ever made -- they can be the only team in the Big 12's 5-year history of playing a round-robin schedule to complete a 9-0 conference season. Brandon Weeden's 2011 Oklahoma State team that finished No. 3 in both polls didn't do. Neither did the OU team that made last year's Playoff. Beat West Virginia on Saturday and the Sooners will have a week off before hosting Oklahoma State as heavy favorites.

Is that enough to bust into the top four? Probably not, at least not without a lot of help. But it's the best chance the Big 12 has.

That might hurt to hear for West Virginia, but it's clear the committee has no respect for the 8-1 Mountaineers. Swan dives by BYU and Missouri haven't helped, and neither did that 17-point loss at Oklahoma State.

Saturday night in Morgantown will be West Virginia's last dance in the ring with a top-25 opponent. They'd better make every punch count.

3. Imagine if Iowa State and Kansas played a nationally televised, critically important game in late November next year. That's essentially what this Colorado-Wazzu game is.

Washington State has made a shocking improvement in run defense -- from 95th nationally last season to 19th this year -- and turnover margin -- 75th to seventh. Colorado can also stop the run and turn their opponents over.

Whoever does both better on Saturday will keep this magic carpet ride going for another week.

4. Ed Orgeron's next biggest game. Let's start backward and work our way from there. LSU visits Texas A&M on Thanksgiving night. It's a game the Tigers should win. LSU has had A&M's number since joining the SEC -- the Aggies haven't hit 20 points once in four tries -- and, with no Trevor Knight, it'd be an upset if that streak didn't continue.

That brings us to Saturday.

There is the reality that the winner of this game is probably headed to the Sugar Bowl. There's the off-the-field animosity each program clearly felt toward the other during the Hurricane Matthew fiasco.

Add it all up and you get what should be an SEC slobberknocker featuring two of the top nine yards per play defenses in college football, with a lot to play for, and one of the coaches is coaching for his job.

The only disappointing thing here is that it's not being played at night.

5. We'll find out how good Clemson is on Saturday. The Tigers are 3-touchdown favorites over Wake Forest. But Dave Clawson's bunch is good enough to make life difficult -- just ask Florida State and Louisville. In their first six-and-a-half quarters against the 'Noles and Cardinals, Wake Forest limited those two high-powered opponents to 20 points. Total.

Yes, Louisville exploded for 31 points in their final 23 minutes against the Demon Deacons and, yes, Wake did lose both of those games. But there's more than enough here for Wake Forest to pull an upset -- or at least make it interesting well beyond the point it should be -- if Clemson is complicit.

And Clemson shouldn't be complicit. Playing a week after the club's first regular season loss in two years, the Tigers should hit Wake Forest with their best shot on Saturday.