Welcome back to the playoff big board! Most of the higher-ranked teams played as expected, but overall it was a very bloody day for ranked teams. No fewer than eleven AP top 25 teams lost this week, and eight of those eleven fell to unranked opponents. Ouch, as they say.

Our board will consist of all ranked undefeated teams and all ranked one-loss Power 5 teams – first from the AP poll, then from the committee rankings when they’re available in a few weeks. I define “resume wins” for our purposes as wins over currently-ranked teams; it gets too complicated to project whether teams will drop out of or climb into the rankings as the year progresses.

As Fate whittles the board down, we’ll adjust the format – I’ll probably switch from undefeated/one-loss teams to in/on the outside looking in/out or something like that.

Possible resume wins are listed in schedule order. The “538 Table-Running Probability” is taken from the nifty predictor tool available here. I don’t have a preference for 538’s table over S&P+ win probabilities – I think both methodologies are sound. 538’s presentation is just a lot easier to work with versus pulling up individual S&P+ win probabilities for everyone.

Undefeated Teams

With apologies to UCF, an undefeated team will generally control its own destiny. All these teams, again with apologies to UCF, are thus sitting pretty for the playoff as of today.

#1 Alabama

Next game: at #4 LSU

Resume wins to date: #25 Texas A&M

Possible resume wins: at #4 LSU, #21 Mississippi State, SEC East winner

538 table-running probability: 39%

Alabama was idle heading into the game of the year against LSU this weekend. As dominant as they’ve been, they’ve just barely faced a single ranked team to date. They opened as 14.5 point favorites – against #4, on the road. So obviously Vegas isn’t too concerned about their strength of schedule.

#2 Clemson

Next game: vs. Louisville

Resume wins to date: at #25 Texas A&M

Possible resume wins: ACC Coastal winner

538 table-running probability: 64%

A week after blowing out then-ranked NC State, Clemson handed Florida State its worst home loss in program history. The game wasn’t as close as the 59-10 final indicates. Kudos to the Seminoles for providing what will likely stand as the best sad-trombone moment of the season when a DB, bereft of emotion, donned their grad school backpack turnover prop down 59-3. They’re all but assured of winning out at this point.

#3 Notre Dame

Next game: at Northwestern

Resume wins to date: vs. #5 Michigan

Possible resume wins: #22 Syracuse (in New York City)

538 table-running probability: 38%

It’s really hard to swallow our loss from Saturday, and… Wait, no, I mean we scraped one out again against Navy… Wait, hang on, that’s still not right. We won by 22, outgained them by 240 yards, had twice as many first downs, converted 7 of 15 third downs and allowed Navy to convert only 2 of 12 third downs, had a QB complete 81% of his passes for 10 yards per attempt, had one RB with 26 touches for 169 yards and another with 14 touches for 106 yards…

The third quarter wasn’t fun, definitely. But damn, folks, let’s enjoy a three-score win over a perennially pesky opponent to move to 8-0. Doesn’t happen all that often. Next up is a road test against Northwestern, who has a respectable defense and a pathetic offense.

#9 UCF

Next game: vs. Temple

Resume wins to date: None

Possible resume wins: American West division winner

538 table-running probability: 28%

This is really getting ridiculous. Two weeks ago, UCF won and was jumped by idle Oklahoma. Last week, they won and were jumped by idle Florida. This week, they were idle and were jumped by idle Ohio State, who was last seen getting steamrolled by Purdue. Three consecutive weeks in which UCF won or was idle and was jumped by an idle team. Do better, AP voters. If you don’t take them seriously, rank them lower to begin with. If you do take them seriously, stop jumping them based only on conference brand equity.

One Loss Teams

These teams aren’t out of it but (most) will need some breaks to fall their way. The good news for them is that every college football season contains a looooot of breaks.

#4 LSU

Next game: vs. #1 Alabama

Resume wins to date: vs. #6 Georgia

Possible resume wins: vs. #1 Alabama, at #25 Texas A&M, SEC East winner

The one loss: at #13 Florida

538 table-running probability: 9%

LSU has just the one resounding quality win, when they dismantled #6 Georgia. The earlier opponents who looked good turned out to stink. So how good are they really? We’ll find out soon enough when they take on #1 Alabama this weeek.

#5 Michigan

Next game: vs. #14 Penn State

Resume wins to date: None

Possible resume wins: vs. #14 Penn State, at #8 Ohio State

The one loss: at #3 Notre Dame (never not funny)

538 table-running probability: 23%

Michigan was off this week, but they still had time to tarnish their resume a bit. When they beat Wisconsin two weeks ago, people thought maybe they were pretty good. I think most of those same people stopped thinking when Wisconsin got blown out by a mediocre Northwestern team. Penn State isn’t really any good, but they’ll step in this weekend as Michigan’s toughest opponent since they dropped the opener to the Irish.

#6 Georgia

Next game: at #11 Kentucky

Resume wins to date: vs. #13 Florida (in Jacksonville)

Possible resume wins: vs. #9 Florida (in Jacksonville), at #11 Kentucky, SEC West winner

The one loss: at #4 LSU, resoundingly

538 table-running probability: 23%

Georgia absolutely smashed Florida in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, putting them on track for a massive showdown in – I swear I’m not making this up – Lexington this weekend. Whoever wins will pretty much lock up the SEC East title.

#7 Oklahoma

Next game: at Texas Tech

Resume wins to date: None

Possible resume wins: at #12 West Virginia, Big 12 title game opponent

The one loss: vs. #15 Texas

538 table-running probability: 28%

Yawn – another week, another 50+ point output for the Sooners. Texas Tech opened as a 10.5 point home underdog, so there might not be many believers outside Lubbock. But I’ll say this is a game that deserves some attention, as Tech has some offensive firepower of their own and could prove a tough out.

#8 Ohio State

Next game: at Nebraska

Resume wins to date: at #14 Penn State

Possible resume wins: vs. #5 Michigan, Big Ten West Winner

The one loss: at Purdue

538 table-running probability: 21%

I’m not sure how Ohio State loses by four touchdown to Purdue and then moves up three spots while idle. Voters are weird. What I am sure of is that Ohio State has systemic issues, and it’s going to bite them at least once more.

#10 Washington State

Next game: vs. Cal

Resume wins to date: at #16 Utah

Possible resume wins: Pac 12 South winner

The one loss: at USC

538 table-running probability: 15%

Guys… It might be time to take the Cougars seriously. Many observers, myself included, thought they would be vulnerable against Stanford after clawing to hold off Oregon last week. Whoops. Turns out they had more counter-punches in their arsenal, as they played the Rasputin role to the Cardinal that the Cardinal has played to the Irish so often. Wazzu cracks the AP top ten this week with their 7-1 record – a record that, I need to highlight again, would likely be 8-0 if not for the absurdly crooked Pac 12 refs protecting USC. Next up is a Cal team that just beat Washington without scoring an offensive touchdown.

This sounds kind of crazy to say, but barring an unprecedented amount of chaos in the final month of the season Wazzu is the Pac 12’s last shot at getting a playoff team. Arrrrr!

#11 Kentucky

Next game: vs. #6 Georgia

Resume wins to date: at #13 Florida

Possible resume wins: vs. #6 Georgia, SEC West winner

The one loss: at #25 Texas A&M

538 table-running probability: 4%

Kentucky’s home date with Georgia this weekend is the biggest game for Kentucky football since… ever, maybe? At 7-1 and with Tennessee, Middle Tennessee State, and Louisville ahead after Georgia, they’re in great position to win ten games. If they do, it would be their first ten-win season since Fran Curci’s 1977 10-1 campaign and the third in program history, joining 1977 and 1950’s 11-1 edition. That 1950 team was coached by none other than Bear Bryant himself; they were #7 in the final AP poll, which at that time came out before the bowl games, and then beat #1 Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.

If they can somehow get past Georgia, they’ll have a solid shot at putting up arguably the best regular season in school history. Heady times indeed for the Wildcats.

#13 West Virginia

Next game: at #15 Texas

Resume wins to date: None

Possible resume wins: at #15 Texas, vs. #7 Oklahoma, Big 12 title game opponent

The one loss: at Iowa State

538 table-running probability: 7%

West Virginia set Baylor on fire, ran over them with a semi, put it in reverse to make sure, then stuffed the remains into a fireworks shell and shot it into the sky. The first quarter wasn’t too crazy, as the Mountaineers built a reasonable 10-0 lead. They then dropped 31 points in the second quarter. Yikes. They outgained Baylor by almost 300 yards, had a +4 turnover margin, an average scoring play length of 31 yards, and a dozen tackles for loss. I think they spent their bye week getting a bit ticked off about the lost to Iowa State… Texas might be in for a nasty time on Saturday.

Off the Board

#13 Florida picked up their second loss as Georgia smacked them around. Perhaps they forgot to have the cocktails after the game.

#15 Texas picked up their second loss when they just couldn’t find the answers for plucky Oklahoma State. This is great news for Notre Dame, as Texas is now free to play spoiler in the Big 12.

#19 Iowa fell to #14 Penn State, which was their second loss and likely their last chance at a quality win until bowl season.

A week after conference mate Cincinnati dropped from the ranks of the unbeaten, NR South Florida followed suit in a convincing loss to Houston. Bye.

NR NC State fell to Syracuse a week after getting smashed by Clemson. That 5-0 start turned south pretty quickly. Perhaps they can regain some pride against a reeling Florida State squad this week.