Outside of the Louisville loss, this week was relatively drama free. However, drama is alive and well in the Big 10, and you never know what will happen late in the college football season.
Receiving Consideration: LSU, Washington State, Navy, Pittsburgh, South Florida, Iowa, Georgia, Stanford, Troy, and Western Kentucky.
25. North Carolina 8-3 [Defeated Citadel, Last Week NR]—Will Larry Fedora be around this time next year? He’s a name to watch for other openings.
24. Tennessee 8-3 [Defeated Missouri, Last Week NR]—The last time Tennessee held an SEC opponent—that did not feature a QB who was missing prom to play NCAA football—to less than 30 points was September 24.
23. Virginia Tech 8-3 [Defeated Notre Dame, Last Week #25]—Lately, the Hokies display a gift for making contests that shouldn’t be close, well, close. Still, they should easily defeat Virginia before they get their shot at Clemson.
22. Boise State 10-1 [Defeated UNLV, Last Week #23]—The Broncos are averaging more than 46 points over their last three contests, but they now face a game Air Force team in their toughest contest since Washington State.
21. West Virginia 8-2 [Lost to Oklahoma, Last Week #11]—When Texas is your most high-profile win, and you lose to any team from Oklahoma by roughly three touchdowns on average, you do not belong any higher than #21.
20. Utah 8-3 [Lost to Oregon, Last Week #9]—The Utes, perhaps eager to do the PAC 12 a service by trying to save Mark Helfrich’s job, fell to the Ducks like it was 2014.
19. Nebraska 9-2 [Defeated Maryland, Last Week #19]—Mike Riley’s team has 9 wins, but it needs to beat Iowa this week for any of them to really matter.
18. Texas A&M 8-3 [Defeated UTSA, Last Week #17]—Not even an incredible performance from Myles Garrett would allow the Aggies to dominate the Roadrunners like they should. Kevin Sumlin might be a loss away from losing his job.
17. Houston 9-2 [Defeated Louisville, Last Week NR]—Twice this season, Houston has manhandled teams good enough to be in the playoff. Twice this season, Houston has lost to mediocre programs. Tom Herman will need to be able to coach more consistently when he takes that next big money step.
16. Florida 8-2 [Defeated LSU, Last Week #24]—The Gators were fortunate to escape LSU. Florida State and Alabama will be progressively stronger challenges for a team that lacks offensive firepower.
15. USC 8-3 [Defeated UCLA, Last Week #22]—It’d take a pretty wild scenario, but USC has a longshot chance to be the #4 seed against Alabama—the team that destroyed them at the beginning of the season. The Tide, however, would be looking at a very different team.
14. Auburn 8-3 [Defeated Alabama A&M, Last Week #15]—After starting the season 1-2, Auburn may end it 1-2. The wounded Tigers will need a healthy Sean White and Kamryn Pettway to challenge Alabama.
13. Oklahoma State 9-2 [Defeated TCU, Last Week #14]—The Cowboys, early season controversial losers to Central Michigan, will play for the Big 12 title this week. Yes, the Big 12 stinks.
12. Florida State 8-3 [Defeated Syracuse, Last Week #13]—Will Jimbo Fisher be coaching his last game at FSU? LSU desperately wants the Seminoles’ coach.
11. Colorado 9-2 [Defeated Washington State, Last Week #16]—One of the great stories in college football, the Buffs stopped a potent Washington State team, and now has a shot at the PAC 12 title.
10. Western Michigan 11-0 [Defeated Buffalo, Last Week #12]—Looking for a bargain? PJ Fleck might be a better coach, but he will probably cost less than half what some program will pay for Tom Herman this offseason. Enjoy it while you can, Broncos.
9. Louisville 9-2 [Lost to Houston, Last Week #5]—Not a fan of the person, I am a fan of Bobby Petrino the coach. That said, his ability to coach in big games has to be questioned after his Cardinals collapsed against Houston.
8. Penn State 9-2 [Defeated Rutgers, Last Week #10]—If you are a fan of complicated, root hard for the Buckeyes and the Nittany Lions this week. That’d make for some interesting playoff scenarios.
7. Oklahoma 9-2 [Defeated West Virginia, Last Week #8]—Don’t sleep on the Sooners. One of the nation’s hottest teams routed West Virginia, and their early season loss to Houston now looks better.
6. Washington 10-1 [Defeated Arizona State, Last Week #7]—For all the talk about two Big 10 teams in the playoff, the Huskies will work to challenge that notion. First, they must win at Washington State and either Colorado or USC, a tough task.
5. Wisconsin 9-2 [Defeated Purdue, Last Week #6]—Make no mistake about it, the Badgers are in control of their own destiny. Beating Minnesota and OSU-UM-PSU will get them in the playoff.
4. Clemson 10-1 [Defeated Wake Forest, Last Week #4]—Clemson now only has to defeat a team with a should-be high schooler at quarterback and (likely) another team that has yet to win a game by more than three points in over a month despite playing failing to play a ranked team since the beginning of October. The Tigers have an easy path to the playoff, but they must step up their game if they hope to be competitive there.
3. Michigan 10-1 [Defeat to Indiana, Last Week #2]—Does Michigan have the firepower without Speight to defeat Ohio State? Harbaugh’s team floundered last year against the Buckeyes.
2. Ohio State 10-1 [Defeated Michigan State, Last Week #6]—Flip a coin for Ohio State or Michigan here…for now. The debate will be settled on the field on Saturday.
1. Alabama 11-0 [Defeated Chattanooga, Last Week: #1]—Approaching a from-beginning-to-end #1 ranking, Alabama has only an injured Auburn and an offense-less Florida before the playoff.