7 takeaways from college football week 7: OSU survives, Alabama rolls

Ohio State was not the only top 10 team to survive a close call Saturday.

What we learned on the third Saturday of October on the college gridiron.

1. The Buckeyes are human after all.

Urban Meyer’s team took some big punches from No. 8 Wisconsin but came out on top in overtime in Madison.

Whether or not the Badgers exposed some long-term concerns for Ohio State remains to be seen, but the Buckeyes showed some resolve in their first real nervous situation of the season.

RELATED: 5 things to know about Ohio State’s win in Madison

MADISON, WI - OCTOBER 15: J.T. Barrett #16 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs the football in for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium on October 15, 2016 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)

Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

2. Does this mean Michigan is the best team in the Big Ten?

Not necessarily. Some people love to play the transitive game, but that’s really not all that useful, especially in this situation given numerous variables.

At any rate, the Buckeyes and Wolverines both beat the Badgers by seven points, in Madison and Ann Arbor, respectively. Wisconsin’s limited offense looked energized with extra time to regroup around freshman quarterback Alex Hornibrook (who was not the starter coming out of training camp), put the Buckeyes in some bad situations and capitalized.

Meanwhile, Ohio State’s 23 points in regulation are the most Wisconsin has allowed, and the Buckeyes tacked on another touchdown in overtime while overcoming a pair of potentially damaging penalties.

3. Michigan State stinks.

This year is rapidly moving from down year to disaster in East Lansing, where Michigan State allowed the most points in a game in the Mark Dantonio era while losing to Northwestern 54-40.

The Spartans, who lucked into the playoff last season with Connor Cook and a strong defensive line masking some deficiencies, have lost four in a row.

They changed quarterbacks against the Wildcats, but it didn’t help.

By the end of the day, the continued collapse of the defense was arguably a bigger story.

At the midway point of the season, Michigan State is next-to-last in the Big Ten in scoring (if we’re going to count Rutgers) and 12th in points allowed. The Spartans have the worst running game in the conference and the second-worst pass defense, both pretty stunning considering what the program has built its reputation on.

With Ohio State and Michigan still on the schedule, MSU might struggle to make a bowl.

4. Notre Dame is a disaster, too.

Michigan State’s last win is against Notre Dame, and it turns out the Fighting Irish aren’t any good, either.

Embattled coach Brian Kelly gave Alter graduate Malik Zaire a brief shot at quarterback during Notre Dame’s 17-10 loss to Stanford on Saturday night, but the results weren’t much.

Zaire’s two passes were incomplete, and his three carries (including a sack) netted three yards.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - SEPTEMBER 12: Quarterback Malik Zaire #8 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish looks on against the Virginia Cavaliers in the third quarter at Scott Stadium on September 12, 2015 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish won, 34-27. (Photo by (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)) (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

5. Nobody blows out everyone all season.

Before Ohio State’s close call, No. 3 Clemson performed an amazing escape at home against North Carolina State. 

The Wolfpack missed a 33-yard field goal at the end of regulation before the Tigers prevailed in overtime.

No. 7 Louisville also looked less than stellar in beating unranked Duke 24-14 at home Friday night.

6. Then there’s Alabama.

Nick Saban’s team has had a close call, too (48-43 at Mississippi in week two), but the top-ranked Crimson Tide crushed No. 9 Tennessee 49-10 in Knoxville on Saturday.

With a freshman quarterback, are they only going to get better as the season goes on?

This week is a big test against Texas A&M in Tuscaloosa.

7. And so our College Football Playoff field is unchanged.

Alabama is an obvious choice, and Clemson remains on track to join the Crimson Tide in the final four despite the Tigers’ close call.

Ohio State and Michigan will settle it on the field in late November, but we’re still going with the Buckeyes playing at home.

Our fourth team, Washington, had the week off, while possible contenders/likely pretenders West Virginia and Baylor remained undefeated and mostly untested so they are still on the outside looking in.

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