Losses suffered by Houston and Tennessee clear up the playoff picture slightly as four of the top six will face each other. Top contests this week include Alabama at Tennessee, Ole Miss at Arkansas, and Ohio State at Wisconsin.
Receiving Consideration: Georgia, UNC, Arizona State, North Dakota State, LSU, Penn State, NC State, Pittsburgh, South Florida, and Air Force.
25. Arkansas 4-2 [Lost to Alabama, Last Week #17]—Bret Bielema’s team playedsomewhat competitively against Alabama and now get Ole Miss at home before visiting Auburn.
24. Navy 4-1 [Defeated Houston, Last Week NR]—The Midshipmen play good football and managed to pull off a major stunner following one of their most disappointing losses.
23. West Virginia 4-0 [Bye, Last Week #22]—Out of off weeks, the Mountaineers enter the meat of their schedule.
22. Western Michigan 6-0 [Defeated Northern Illinois, Last Week #21]—I like Western Michigan, but they do not deserve to move up after defeating a one-win MAC opponent.
21. Auburn 4-2 [Defeated Mississippi State, Last Week NR]—For the first time in a long time, the Auburn football program enjoys some momentum behind it. Now, it needs to make the most of the next two weeks as they prepare for Arkansas.
20. Utah 5-1 [Defeated Arizona, Last Week #25]—It is a rough year for the PAC 12, but the Utes still have plenty to play for.
19. Florida 4-1 [Game Postponed/Cancelled, Last Week #18]—Florida deserves to drop a spot for the debacle over the LSU game.
18. Miami 4-1 [Lost to Florida State, Last Week #11]—It was a heart-breaking loss to FSU, but there is still plenty to play for in Mark Richt’s first season.
17. Florida State 4-2 [Defeated Miami, Last Week NR]—I am probably being too forgiving with the Seminoles, but this is a team with the talent to really jump off after the surprising win over Miami.
16. Boise State 5-0 [Defeated New Mexico, Last Week #19]—The Broncos continue to roll without a team on the schedule that, on the surface, looks like a potential threat.
15. Virginia Tech 4-1 [Defeated North Carolina, Last Week #24]—At the beginning of the season, I thought the Hokies and their quarterback Jerod Evans would be among the season’s surprises. Despite the loss against Tennessee, this team still can be a factor this year.
14. Oklahoma 3-2 [Defeated Texas, Last Week #16]—It says a lot (or a little) about the strength of the programs outside of the top 10 that the Sooners are a top-15 team given their lack of strong showing this season.
13. Nebraska 5-0 [Bye, Last Week #14]—Now rested up, Mike Riley’s team still has visits to Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Iowa on its schedule.
12. Ole Miss 3-2 [Bye, Last Week #13]—After a bye week, the Rebels enter a season-defining stretch at Arkansas, at LSU, and against Auburn. It is a long shot, but this team still has a sliver of hope to make the playoff.
11. Baylor 5-0 [Bye, Last Week #12]—IF the Bears remain undefeated, will anyone care? I tend to think a one- or even two-loss champion from the other Power 5 conferences might get preference given the abysmal state of the Big 12.
10. Tennessee 5-1[Lost to TAMU, Last Week #9]—I don’t know about you, but I was getting a little tired of the Vols waiting until the fourth quarter to start playing winning football. This team has a chance to get back in the playoff picture against Alabama this week.
9. Wisconsin 4-1 [Bye, Last Week #9]—Only Tennessee may have a stronger ability as a one loss team to make a run to the playoff. The Badgers took a week off after a narrow loss on the road to elite Michigan and get three big games to re-emerge in the playoff hunt.
8. Houston 5-1 [Lost to Navy, Last Week #4]—It now appears clear that the College Football Playoff will be a purely Power 5 affair. Do not be surprised to see Houston leapfrogged here if bigger conference teams ranked lower make a run.
7. Louisville 4-1 [Bye, Last Week #7]—Finally, a week in which Lamar Jackson failed to put up mega stats. Of course, that’s only because he wasn’t playing. The Cardinals still have a shot at the playoff.
6. Texas A&M 6-0 [Defeated Tennessee, Last Week #8]—College football breathed a sigh of relief when the Vold—who seem to abhor the idea of having a lead—fell to the Aggies. While the victory was not overly impressive, Kevin Sumlin has two weeks to get his team ready for a visit to Tuscaloosa.
5. Washington 6-0 [Defeated Oregon, Last Week #6]—Chris Petersen has the Huskies in control of their own playoff destiny after completely thrashing Oregon.
4. Michigan 6-0 [Defeated Rutgers, Last Week #5]—The Wolverines head into a midseason bye week after absolutely annihilating lowly Rutgers. Harbaugh has the revival well under way in Ann Arbor.
3. Clemson 6-0 [Defeated Boston College, Last Week #3]—We finally saw the kind of margin of victory we expect from the Tigers. Still, Michigan and Washington both have an argument to be ranked higher than last year’s #2 finisher.
2. Ohio State 5-0 [Defeated Indiana, Last Week #2]—Ohio State managed to defeat a much improved Indiana squad. The first direct comparison against Michigan comes in this week’s matchup at Wisconsin.
1. Alabama 6-0 [Defeated Arkansas, Last Week: #1]—Victory was never in doubt against Arkansas, but, while this team still looks good, I am no longer convinced the Tide are head and shoulders above everyone else. Tennessee and Texas A&M are next.