Well, that changes things! Clemson, Washington, Washington State, and Auburn all shockingly lost this week, thoroughly shaking up the college football world. The premier matchups this week include UCF-Navy, Michigan-Penn State, and USC-Notre Dame.
Receiving Consideration: Memphis (5-1), South Carolina (5-2), Auburn (5-2), Iowa (4-2), San Diego State (6-1), Navy (5-1), Virginia (5-1), Iowa State (4-2), Marshall (5-1), and Boise State (4-2).
25. West Virginia 4-2 [Last Week: NR, Defeated Texas Tech 46-35]—A nice win for the Mountaineers gives this team some big momentum. Baylor should be no contest, and then they play the Cowboys.
24. LSU 5-2 [Last Week: NR, Defeated Auburn 27-23]—Ed O outcoached Gus Malzahn (not hard to do), but he definitely ended any talk of him being a one-year coach.
23. Stanford 5-2 [Last Week: NR, Defeated Oregon 49-7]—The Cardinal have bounced back to become contenders in the PAC 12 once again. That was a very impressive win against the Ducks.
22. Texas A&M 5-2 [Last Week: NR, Defeated Florida 19-17]— Is Kevin Sumlin on the verge of saving himself? Going into Gainesville and coming out with a W is the kind of victory that will make it hard to get rid of him.
21. Kentucky 5-1 [Last Week: #24, BYE]— Going into Starkville and earning a win this week would be huge for Mark Stoops’ program.
20. UCF 5-0 [Last Week: #22, Defeated ECU 63-21]—A major contest against Navy will be a big one for Scott Frost’s program. Nebraska is likely to come calling after the season.
19. NC State 6-1 [Last Week: #21, Defeated Pittsburgh 35-17]—It’s a longshot, but the Wolfpack could be in control of their own playoff destiny. They get a bye before Notre Dame and Clemson. Wins there would have them very much in the hunt.
18. South Florida 6-0 [Last Week: Defeated Cincinnati 33-3]—Charlie Strong’s team keeps on rolling. Winning the American won’t be easy.
17. Michigan 5-1 [Last Week: #18, Defeated Indiana 27-20]— The Wolverines almost lost another one. This team looks a notch below the Big10’s Big 3.
16. Michigan State 5-1 [Last Week #17: Defeated Minnesota 30-27] —A win against the boat rowers keeps momentum for the Spartans.
15. Oklahoma State 5-1 [Last Week #16, Defeated Baylor 59-16]—Post-Briles, the Bears are no problem. OK State has a tough stretch ahead at Texas, at West Virginia, and against Oklahoma.
14. Notre Dame 5-1 [Last Week: #15, BYE]—Without a doubt, this is a team that controls its own playoff destiny. However, few teams if any face a tougher schedule ahead. The Fighting Irish take on USC this week.
13. Virginia Tech 5-1 [Last Week: #14, BYE]—Justin Fuente’s team enjoyed a bye this week and might as well be off this week against a pitiful UNC team.
12. USC 6-1 [Last Week: #14, Defeated Utah 28-27]—The PAC 12 is an absolute mess. Could USC pick up the pieces. Outside of the conference, though, the Notre Dame game this week has playoff implications.
11. Washington State 6-1 [Last Week: #5, Lost to Cal 37-3]—I’m not really crazy about the Cougars here. That was a disqualifying loss, and they are only ahead of USC because of the head-to-head win.
10. Washington 6-1 [Last Week: #3, Lost to Arizona State 13-7]—Well, that was unexpected. Not too dissimilar from Clemson’s loss, it was a close contest against a solid team. Still, no excuse, but it shouldn’t be disqualifying. Nevertheless, the Huskies will need help to have playoff hopes.
9. Miami 5-0 [Last Week: #13, Defeated Georgia Tech 25-24]—I’m not sold on the Hurricanes here after squeaking by a solid-but-not-great Yellow Jackets team. Still, no one has earned this spot.
8. Clemson 6-1 [Last Week: #2, Lost to Syracuse 27-24]—Some great stories about Dabo after the game, but his team now needs help to get back into the playoff. To make matters worse, Clemson’s best win (against Auburn) also now looks weaker after this weekend.
7. TCU 6-0 [Last Week: #10, Defeated Kansas State 26-6]—A strong win against a Bill Snyder team can never be discounted. Look for this team to easily handle Kansas this week.
6. Wisconsin 6-0 [Last Week: #9, Defeated Purdue 17-9]—Jonathan Taylor built on some Heisman momentum as the Badgers beat an improved Boilermakers team.
5. Ohio State 6-1 [Last Week: #8, Defeated Nebraska 56-14]—Ohio State is mauling people. It looks like they are back in playoff form.
4. Oklahoma 5-1 [Last Week: #7, Defeated Texas 29-24]—Just a week after an embarrassing loss to Iowa State, the Sooners again control their playoff destiny.
3. Penn State 6-0 [Last Week: #6, BYE]— After an off week, the Nittany Lions take advantage of the failure of others. A weaker-than-expected Michigan team lies ahead.
2. Georgia 7-0 [Last Week: #5, Defeated Missouri 53-28]—When UGA plays Bama for the SEC title game (yeah, I’m making some assumptions there), it’s very possible it could be a matchup of #1 and #2 teams. Could the loser still make the playoff? Might be an important question.
1. Alabama 7-0 [Last Week: #1, Defeated Arkansas 41-9]—Alabama made Bielema’s seat even hotter and will look to put the final nail in Butch Jones’ tenure this week. The Tide look all-the-more inevitable to regain the crown after a rough week for top 10 teams.