Breaking Down the CFP Rankings – Week 11
What a week. If you’re like me, you’re already sick of everyone’s opinions regarding the College Football Playoff. Everyone trying to give you their predictions and play ridiculous guessing games when there’s still plenty of football to play before any of it matters. Well I decided the best way to help is to give you another opinion and make a ton more predictions. Sorry?
Once again, we’ll go over this weeks CFP Rankings and what each contender is looking at for the remainder of the year.
CFP Top 25, Week 10:
1. Georgia (9-0) 2. Alabama (9-0) 3. Notre Dame (8-1) 4. Clemson (8-1) 5. Oklahoma (8-1) 6. TCU (8-1) 7. Miami (FL) (8-0) 8. Wisconsin (9-0) 9. Washington (8-1) 10. Auburn (7-2) 11. USC (8-2) 12. Michigan State (7-2) 13. Ohio State (7-2) 14. Penn State (7-2) 15. Oklahoma State (7-2) 16. Miss State (7-2) 17. Virginia Tech (7-2) 18. UCF (8-0) 19. Washington State (8-2) 20. Iowa (6-3) 21. Iowa State (6-3) 22. Memphis (8-1) 23. NC State (6-3) 24. LSU (6-3) 25. Northwestern (6-3)
So here we are. Another week, a few less contenders. With two loss teams like #10 Auburn, #11 USC and #12 Michigan State looking great this week, a hot topic throughout the week and since Saturday has been whether a two loss team could make the Playoff this year. To that I would say yes, in a perfect storm, a team like Auburn or Michigan state could sneak in. However, the likelihood of that is very slim, and I’ll address that if it becomes a legitimate conversation.
Now, let’s talk about who we lost this week.
First up, Virginia Tech. The Hokies did end up losing to Miami, and with no statement wins and a pair of losses, their chances have been put to rest. I don’t see them being a two loss team that could sneak in either. Dead and gone. No more. Moving on…
The Big 12 is finally catching up to itself, as power conferences have a tendency to do. This weeks victim: Oklahoma State. This game not only put the Cowboys’ playoff hopes to bed, it also marks the last breath of any defense in the Big 12. Seriously, the Big 12 is just a giant track meet. Whatever team can score the fastest wins. OK State pulled a hammy trying to keep up with Baker “Daddy” Mayfield and they’ll fall back into Big 12 mediocrity.
Our final casualties come out of the Big Ten. Something must be in the water in Iowa City, because the Hawkeyes torched the Buckeyes at home. Quite frankly I have no idea how Kirk Ferentz managed to get his team to do that, but this is college football and that’s why we love it. Just when JT Barrett was putting himself back in the Heisman conversation, he literally throws it all away with four interceptions. Goodnight, Ohio State. Then we have Penn State. The Nittany Lions, reeling from last week’s apocalypse in Columbus, found themselves in a wild, weather-delayed game in East Lansing. In a back and forth game full of highlights, the game ultimately came down to a game winning field goal by the Spartans’ Matt Coughlin, who may or may not still be in high school. Regardless, the Spartans get it done at home. Shame on me for ever doubting Mark Dantonio.
That leaves nine teams still battling for four spots with three weeks to go in the regular season. Now, if you’re a football junky like myself, you’ll be disappointed to know that there are only two games remaining in the regular season that feature two of those nine teams playing each other. More on that later…
#9 Washington (8-1)
Week 10: Washington 38, Oregon 3
How they looked: Washington hit their stride against the Ducks, dominating the game and continuing the Pac 12’s only chance at the playoff.
Updated Prediction: 12-1 – No change here. Washington continues their push to the end of the year and a Pac 12 championship, but they’ll remain out of the playoff.
#8 Wisconsin (9-0)
Week 10: Wisconsin 45, Indiana 17
How they looked: Wisconsin continues to roll with a resounding win over an Indiana team who has given a lot of good teams a lot to worry about this season. No worries for the Badgers, as they take care of the Hoosiers with a balanced attack.
Updated prediction: 11-2 – It’s still hard to predict which game Wisconsin is going to lose, but I don’t see them getting through the next three weeks unscathed. Another loss in the B1G Championship and the Badgers reserve their place on the couch during the Playoff.
#7 Miami (FL) (8-0)
Week 10: Miami 24, Virginia Tech 10
How they looked: If it weren’t for three turnovers by the Canes, this one would’ve been a lot uglier. Miami finally grabs their first meaningful win of the year.
Updated Prediction: 11-2 – Notre Dame’s dominant running game, coupled with a confident defense and an emerging passing game will be too much for the Canes. An eventual loss to Clemson will knock them out, but we’ll probably be talking about them until then.
#6 TCU (8-1)
Week 10: TCU 24, Texas 7
How they looked: TCU took care of the Longhorns, although lacking the usual flair from a modern Big 12 offense. Their defense held strong and they’ll need their best their biggest matchup of the year this weekend at Oklahoma.
Updated Prediction: 10-2 – TCU won’t be able to keep up with Oklahoma. That’ll put them in the mess of Big 12 teams with 2 losses. I don’t have the patience to figure out the implications of that, so we’re going to assume they miss the conference championship. If they make it, they’ll just lose to Oklahoma again, in which case they’ll be 10-3.
#5 Oklahoma (8-1)
Week 10: Oklahoma 62, Oklahoma State 52
How they looked: I was right about one thing, their defense got exposed. But their offense was lights out and Bedlam lived up to it’s reputation. Oklahoma might have a vulnerable defense (along with the rest of the Big 12), but their offense is high powered enough to make up for it… so far.
Updated prediction: 12-1 – I’ll admit, at this point I think I was wrong about Oklahoma. Their defense is still questionable, but if no one can slow down their passing game it won’t matter. At this point, the Big 12 if the Sooners’ to lose and I see them winning out.
#4 Clemson (8-1)
Week 10: Clemson 38, NC State 31
How they looked: Clemson survived. All in all, NC State played a better game, but this is football. Clemson took advantage of the opportunities that were provided to them to eek out a close win on the road.
Updated prediction: 12-1 – As I’d expected, Clemson was provided a scare on the road, but they survived. It’s smooth sailing from here to the ACC Championship, where they’ll most likely face Miami. At this point, I’d expect to see them in the Playoff.
#3 Notre Dame (7-1)
Week 10: Notre Dame 48, Wake Forest 37
How they looked: Two late touchdowns by Wake Forest made this look a lot closer than it was. The Irish controlled the game from start to finish. With that said, 37 points is a lot for a contender to surrender. If anyone manages to stifle their running game, Notre Dame could face problems.
Updated prediction: 11-1 – The Fighting Irish should still be confident for the rest of their season. This weekend will be a monumental test for them, facing undefeated Miami, but if they get through that they’ll be primed to disrupt the college football landscape.
#2 Alabama (9-0)
Week 10: Alabama 24, LSU 10
How they looked: Alabama’s first real test this year proved that they’re human. They didn’t exactly struggle against the Tigers, but they struggled to get the running game going. Their defense proved that it’s still one of the best units in the country, but their biggest tests remain.
Updated prediction: 12-1 – One test in the books. They’ll have to get through two tough road matchups, one this weekend at #16 Mississippi State, and another to close out the year against their rival #10 Auburn. They’ll make it through, but eventually fall to Georgia in the SEC Championship game, leaving the Committee with a big decision regarding the Tide.
#1 Georgia (8-0)
Week 10: Georgia 24, South Carolina 10
How they looked: Although nowhere near as dominant of an offensive performance as Georgia has been accustomed to this year, the Bulldogs controlled the game from start to finish to handle one of the better SEC East teams in South Carolina.
Updated prediction: 13-0 – Georgia has handled everything they’ve faced in conference so far, but they’ll face their biggest obstacle of their conference schedule this weekend in the #10 Auburn Tigers. It’ll be a great measuring stick as they head into the Championship season. I’d look for them to get through Auburn on their way to an SEC Championship.
Now, if college football were predictable, it wouldn’t be any fun, would it?
What to watch this weekend:
#9 Washington at Stanford, Friday at 10:30 pm on FS1
#1 Georgia at #10 Auburn, Saturday at 3:30 on CBS
Florida State at #4 Clemson, Saturday at 3:30 on ESPN
#20 Iowa at #8 Wisconsin, Saturday at 3:30 on ABC
#2 Alabama at #16 Mississippi State, Saturday at 7:00 on ESPN
#3 Notre Dame at #7 Miami, Saturday at 8:00 on ABC
#6 TCU at #5 Oklahoma, Saturday at 8:00 on FOX
I’ll be back next week to talk about what I got wrong.