One more full regular season week remains which means it’s now Rivalry Week. Or for some, Hate Week. The top of our rankings remain static once again as we tumble towards what is looking like the most drama-free playoff race since its inception 5 years ago. Certainly there has to be some craziness awaiting us over the regular season finale and conference championship weeks to come?
18 Stripes Top 20 Poll
|1||Alabama||11-0||50-17 W vs. Citadel|
|2||Clemson||11-0||35-6 W vs. Duke|
|3||Notre Dame||11-0||36-3 W vs. Syracuse|
|4||Michigan||10-1||31-20 W vs. Indiana|
|5||Georgia||10-1||66-27 W vs. UMass|
|6||Oklahoma||10-1||55-40 W vs. Kansas|
|7||UCF||10-0||38-13 W vs. Cincinnati|
|8||Washington State (+1)||10-1||69-28 W vs. Arizona|
|9||Ohio State (+1)||10-1||52-51 W vs. Maryland|
|10||LSU (+1)||9-2||42-10 W vs. Rice|
|11||West Virginia (-3)||8-2||45-41 L vs. Oklahoma St.|
|12||Washington (+2)||8-3||42-23 W vs. Oregon State|
|13||Texas (NR)||8-3||24-10 W vs. Iowa State|
|14||Penn State (+1)||8-3||20-7 W vs. Rutgers|
|15||Utah State (-2)||10-1||29-24 W vs. Colorado St.|
|16||Florida (NR)||8-3||63-10 W vs. Idaho|
|17||Kentucky (NR)||8-3||34-23 W vs. MTSU|
|18||Boise State (+1)||9-2||45-14 W vs. New Mexico|
|19||Utah (NR)||8-3||30-7 W vs. Colorado|
|20||Miss State (NR)||7-4||52-6 W vs. Arkansas|
Out: Syracuse, Cincinnati, Iowa State, UAB, Buffalo
In: Texas, Florida, Kentucky, Utah, Mississippi State
Six more teams in our top 20 lost this weekend with only West Virginia holding on to remain within these rankings. Speaking of the Mountaineers they are temporarily beneficiaries of the dearth of quality 2-loss teams so they only drop a few spots AND remain in our Fiesta Bowl projections. This really doesn’t matter for the future as the ‘Neers still have to beat Oklahoma this weekend and win the league title game to close out the season for a (slim) chance at the playoff or to punch their ticket to a major bowl game.
The Apple Cup is going to be important but maybe not absolutely huge this Friday. The Cougars are quietly still in play for a playoff spot but will need help no matter what unfolds. Should they lose to Washington and the Huskies go on to defeat Utah for the conference crown then the Washington schools will essentially flip-flop places in our current bowl projections. Either way, absent something absolutely crazy, the Cougars have already secured a major bowl game appearance.
Bowl Game Projections
Cotton: Alabama vs. Michigan
Orange: Clemson vs. Notre Dame
Sugar: Georgia vs. Oklahoma
Rose: Ohio State vs. Washington State
Peach: UCF vs. LSU
Fiesta: West Virginia vs. Washington
The Group of 5 teams are beginning to move out of the way for the Power 5 programs. Now, just 3 G5’s remain in the Top 20 with both Utah State and Boise State being significantly lower ranked by the Playoff Committee than me to date. They also play each other this week so one of them is likely to leave our rankings soon anyway.
Where is the Controversy?
We can still come up with dozens of permutations because it’s college football and anyone can lose at anytime. Still, here are the most likely 4 “big” shakeups remaining:
1 Not-Washington State wins the Pac-12
2) Not-Oklahoma Wins the Big 12
3) Michigan loses to Ohio State
4) Alabama loses to Georgia
If just one occurs and we’re chalk everywhere else not much changes except the Pac-12 won’t get a team in the playoff. The same applies if two occurs, although the Big 12 would be in a far better position than the Pac-12. A lot of carnage would be needed for, say 11-2 West Virginia, to make it in but it’s virtually impossible for 10-3 Washington or 10-3 Utah to make it.
If one, two, and 3 occur it would seem Ohio State is lock to get in.
If one, two, three, and 4 occur it’s going to be one hell of an argument between Alabama with a better resume likely but not winning their conference and Ohio State winning their conference with a weaker resume. The Tide still likely get in, I would think.
Week 13 Games to Watch
UCF (-14.5) at South Florida – This was supposed to be the premier game to cap off UCF’s season and instead the Bulls have lost 4 straight games, all within conference. It may not hurt the Knights too much as they were able to shine last week on GameDay. Undefeated UCF isn’t going away any time soon, although some let down potential lingers for this weekend. Knights win 36-27.
Oklahoma (PK) at West Virginia – The Cowboys upset of West Virginia means we’re very unlikely to see rematch of this game in the Big 12 championship. Texas has to beat Kansas and they are in the game. So, the winner here is in against Texas. It’s possible OU could finish 3rd in the Big 12 if they get upset here. Let’s go with that for some fun. Mountaineers win 58-54.
Washington (+3) at Washington State – My picks are sometimes revolving around how college football often levels teams off to their proper place (see Syracuse last week). I’m not entirely sold on a 11-1 Washington State trying to sneak in the playoffs. The Pac-12 needs to be way messier than that. Huskies win 30-27.
*Game of the Week* Michigan (-4) at Ohio State – Ohio State has owned this series for a damn long time. However, their season has been hanging by a thread with dysfunction all over the place. The favorite has won this game straight up 13 in a row and Michigan should take care of business. Wolverines win 19-14.
Auburn (+24.5) at Alabama – This might be the end of the road for Guz Malzahn as they’ve limped to a 7-4 record despite starting the season with a win over Washington. However, this rivalry has given us some of the weirdest games in history and there’s no real reason for Alabama to keep their foot on the pedal. Crimson Tide win 29-12.
Utah State (+3) at Boise State – The winner here will face (likely) Fresno State in the Mountain West championship. Boise could have the opportunity to play for their 12th conference title since 2002, so that’s crazy. I’ll say Utah State with only 1 conference title in that time span will be hungrier. Aggies win 35-30.
6-0 SU, 2-4 ATS
59-27 SU, 41-45 ATS