The insanity of Rivalry Week is over, but the CFP committee has more questions to answer as Alabama and Miami lost. The SEC and ACC Championships are play-ins, and Oklahoma and Wisconsin are win-and-in. What’s at stake for Championship Week? Read on.
Capturing the top spot for the first time this year, Oklahoma will make the Playoff of the Sooners defeat TCU in the Big 12 Championship. A loss would send Oklahoma to a New Year’s Six bowl.
The Tigers face a play-in game against Miami. The winner of the ACC Championship will make the Playoff, while the loser is relegated to the Orange Bowl.
A wild win in the Iron Bowl ensured the Tigers of a chance to play what is essentially a Playoff quarterfinal against Georgia. Defeating Alabama by 12 is no small feat, and Auburn vaults to #3.
The Badgers enter the Playoff picture because of Alabama and Miami’s losses. A shutout in Minneapolis won’t earn Wisconsin anything, as P.J. Fleck couldn’t make anything out of Minnesota’s weakest roster in years.
The Bulldogs blew out Georgia Tech 38-7 to ensure the SEC of at least one team in the Playoff. The winner of Auburn vs. Georgia will make the Committee’s top four.
The Crimson Tide need some help after losing a pivotal Iron Bowl to Auburn. Either Oklahoma or Wisconsin needs to lose to TCU or Ohio State. After that, Alabama will need the committee to pick the Tide over a two-loss conference champion.
7. Ohio State
The Buckeyes must beat Wisconsin to have a chance at the Playoff, and even then the committee might choose 11-1 Alabama. Escaping Michigan gave Ohio State another quality win, but quarterback J.T. Barrett is questionable for the Big 10 Championship.
Pittsburgh has done it again. The 4-7 Panthers knocked off a top four opponent for the second year in a row, meaning Miami will have to beat Clemson to earn a spot in the Playoff.
The Horned Frogs blew out ten-loss Baylor as expected, but have little hope of a Playoff appearance. A win over Oklahoma would be a massive boost to the program, and would earn TCU a trip to the New Year’s Six.
The Trojans had an extra week to prepare for Stanford, and will need a win in the Pac-12 Championship to clinch a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl.
What the Golden Knights have done this year is incredible. Rolling through the nation’s sixth best conference is a underestimated feat. UCF won’t make the Playoff, but the Knights could make their second New Year’s Six bowl in the Playoff era with a win over Memphis.
Unlike many, I ranked the Huskies ahead of Washington State. That decision is justified after Washington’s 41-14 win in the Apple Cup, although Washington won’t go to the Pac-12 Championship. That honor goes to Stanford, who just knocked off Notre Dame.
13. Penn State
The Lions put up 66 on Maryland, pushing Penn Statebup three spots due to receiving some help. Saquon Barkley will need more to further his Heisman case in the New Year’s Six.
The Cardinal were predicted to be destroyed against Notre Dame, but responded by winning by 18. Stanford will play for a New Year’s Six spot in the Pac-12 Championship against USC.
For the second week in a row, the American Athletic has two teams in the top 15. Enough said for a New Year’s Six play-in game against UCF.
16. Notre Dame
The Irish eliminated themselves from a New Year’s Six bowl by virtue of losing by 18 to Stanford. Notre Dame’s lack of conference affiliation hurts as well.
17. Michigan State
The Spartans stay put after a 40-7 win over eight-loss Rutgers, and won’t move much after finishing second in the Big 10 East.
A blowout win over Texas A&M helps LSU’s case for a higher-quality bowl, and cost Kevin Sumlin his job. The Tigers move up, but won’t make a New Year’s Six bowl.
19. Oklahoma State
Kansas is not a difficult opponent, and the Pokes only move up one spot in relief of Washington State.
The Wildcats have a 30-70 shot at the Citrus Bowl, and will need a Michigan State opponent to trip up. A Wisconsin win would be particularly devastating for MSU.
21. Washington State
A chance to go to the Pac-12 Championship was squandered Saturday night, as a 41-14 blowout loss to rival Washington sends Stanford to play USC. Wazzou might be relegated to the Sun Bowl, televised by CBS against an ACC team.
22. Virginia Tech
VT is the last Power 5 team ranked this week, as Virginia Tech’s 9-3 record makes them the ACC’s third ranked team.
23. Fresno State
The Bulldogs enter the rankings after their upset of former #25 Boise State. Fresno State will have another shot at the Broncos in the Mountain West title game.
The Rockets put the MAC’s only two-loss record on the line in the Mid-American title game. Surprise division winners Akron are heavy underdogs, but Toledo can’t afford to slip up.
25. Florida Atlantic
Lane Kiffin has turned this program around—from winless to unbeaten. FAU has a shot at a conference championship against North Texas.
New Year’s Six bowl projections
Playoff semifinal: Clemson vs. Ohio State
Playoff semifinal: Oklahoma vs. Auburn
Orange: Miami vs. Alabama
Fiesta: USC vs. Wisconsin
Cotton: TCU vs. Ohio State
Peach: UCF vs. Georgia
Next best team: Washington