Wacky Week 10 helps SEC’s College Football Playoff hopes
Everyone said after the announcement of the first College Football Playoff rankings there was still a chance for chaos, and man, was that right.
It was an insane weekend of college football that saw several unbeatens go down and the path to the Playoff get shaken up.
Here’s a breakdown of where we are after Week 10:
SEC sitting pretty for playoff berth
The weekend was very favorable for the SEC as a whole.
Ole Miss’ loss to Arkansas drops it behind Alabama and LSU and lessens the possibility of a two-loss SEC champion that would likely leave the SEC out of the College Football Playoff.
Alabama’s win against LSU means the Crimson Tide now control their destiny in the SEC West and are in the best position to make the Playoff. The Crimson Tide in all likelihood will be No. 3 at the worst in this week’s committee rankings.
LSU, despite the loss against Alabama, is still in a spot where it could get in. The Tigers will need Alabama to lose a game or more chaos to break out across the country, but the Tigers are still in it. However, not having “conference champion” on the resume could really hurt LSU.
Nobody is talking about Florida. Sure, the Gators haven’t exactly looked like a world-beater since quarterback Will Grier’s suspension, but Florida should head into the regular-season finale against Florida State at 10-1. If the Gators get past the Seminoles, they’re a win away from a playoff berth.
Clemson survives biggest remaining test
If there’s one team you want to put your money on making the Playoff, Clemson might be the best bet.
The Tigers took care of business at home against Florida State on Saturday, and now, the schedule gets easier with contests against Syracuse, Wake Forest and South Carolina remaining before the ACC title game.
Unless something unforeseen happens, Clemson should walk into the College Football Playoff. The toughest game will likely be North Carolina in the conference championship game. Should the Tar Heels win out, they’d be 12-1 with a 12-game winning streak and a win over the highly-rated Tigers. They could create even more chaos in that scenario.
Oklahoma State shakes up the Big 12
The Big 12 quite possibly has the best November schedule of any conference. The top four teams in the conference all play each other in the final stretch of the regular season, and it was bound to pay off with some incredible chaos.
The first shakeup happened in Stillwater, Okla., when Oklahoma State throttled TCU. The Cowboys were thought by many experts to easily be the bottom of the top four, but coach Mike Gundy’s offense is firing on all cylinders right now.
The big win for Oklahoma State could open the door for the Big 12 to cannibalize itself and be on the outside looking in.
Oklahoma and Baylor face each other Saturday, and if the Sooners win, Oklahoma State is suddenly the only unbeaten in the conference.
The Cowboys still have Baylor (Nov. 21) and Oklahoma (Nov. 28) left, but they get them both at home. Baylor gets Oklahoma (home), Oklahoma State (road) and TCU (road) over the next three weeks.
Nevertheless, things could get very interesting in Big 12 country.
Michigan State falters in the Big Ten
Michigan State’s upset at Nebraska on Saturday has opened up a scenario in which the Big Ten could find itself in trouble of missing the College Football Playoff.
Ohio State and Iowa remain the only unbeatens. The Hawkeyes should walk into the Big Ten Championship game with no losses on their ledger, but a Nov. 27 showdown at Nebraska is one to watch.
As for the Buckeyes, all eyes are on those last two games against Michigan State (Nov. 21) and Michigan (Nov. 28). If Ohio State loses a game, and the winner of the Big Ten East defeats an undefeated Iowa, the Big Ten could find itself on the outside looking in.
Notre Dame and Stanford hold serve
With Notre Dame and Stanford both taking care of business on Saturday, things continue to look like the winner of the showdown between the Irish and Cardinal on Nov. 28 will be for a berth in the College Football Playoff.
Notre Dame has Wake Forest and Boston College in the next two weeks, while Stanford draws Oregon and California.
Don’t sleep on Utah in the Pac-12, though. The Utes have been forgotten about since their Oct. 24 loss to USC, but wins over Arizona, UCLA and Colorado would send Utah into the Pac-12 title game in a potential national quarterfinal game against a one-loss Stanford.
Houston the last hope for non-Power 5 conferences
The folks hoping for a team from a non-Power 5 conference to make the Playoff took a hit with Memphis’ blowout loss to Navy on Saturday.
Now, Houston is holding the banner for the American Athletic Conference as the last hope for a non-Power 5 team to get a bid into the College Football Playoff. The Cougars get Memphis at home this Saturday and finish the season against Connecticut and Navy before the conference championship game.
It’s unlikely that will be enough, but if the top Power 5 teams start beating each other up, it could happen.