Predicting the New Year’s Six: How College Football Concludes Its Season

Two nights before Christmas, football was on. The NFL rolled out Colts–Ravens and Vikings–Packers, leaving fans counting the minutes until the College Football Playoff. The sport could expand and move a week earlier. . .

Ohio State vs. USC

USC has a seven game win streak over the Buckeyes, and that looks to continue here. Ohio State lost by 31 to Iowa. (Update: Nope)

Pick: USC

Penn State vs. Washington

The Huskies haven’t looked the same since a crushing loss to Arizona State, but an Apple Cup victory rejuvenated an ailing team. It still won’t be enough to overcome Penn State in Saquon Barkley’s final game.

Pick: Penn State

Auburn vs. UCF

The electric Golden Knights offense will face a terrific Auburn defense, victors of the Iron Bowl. Don’t discount the Tiger offense either, as Jarrett Stidham leads a dual threat attack. However, UCF was, in my opinion, the fourth-best team in the country. Expect the Golden Knights to pull out a victory in their final game withcoach Scott Frost.

Pick: UCF

Wisconsin vs. Miami

A Miami team that destroyed Notre Dame by 33 faces a Wisconsin team unfamiliar with high-quality opposition. Malik Rosier will outduel his quarterback counterpart Alex Hornibrook to deliver Miami the victory.

Pick: Miami

Oklahoma vs. Georgia

The first of the Playoff matchups serves up an intriguing game, with Oklahoma’s top-ranked offense against Georgia’s SEC-leading defense. Unfortunately for the Sooners, a sluggish defense won’t be enough to slow down Georgia.

Pick: Georgia

Clemson vs. Alabama

This is not the Clemson–Alabama of old. The Crimson Tide had no business making the Playoff, and Clemson will outclass Nick Saban once again.

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College Basketball Power Rankings: A New #1

Duke lost to Boston College, while Arizona State went to Lawrence and knocked off Kansas. Neither neither take the top spot. Michigan State sits at 12-1 while Villanova remains undefeated. 1-2 is an entertaining debate.

1. Villanova 11-0

The Wildcats blew out Temple by 20 to remain undefeated, and vault to #1 thanks to Boston College’s huge win.

2. Arizona State 11-0

Entering the year, Arizona was #2 and their in-state rival was unranked. When the teams meet on December 30, Arizona State will be #2. It’ll be a matchup of ranked teams, and the atmosphere will be electric.

3. Duke 12-1

Losing to BC hurts, and seeing Duke at the bottom of the ACC standings is amusing. However, the Blue Devils will get back on track.

4. Michigan State 12-1 

The Spartans racked up four quick wins against weak opposition, and don’t rise in the rankings.

5. Miami 9-0

Miami played only one game the past two weeks, but the ‘Canes stayed undefeated against George Washington. Miami and Villanova are the only unbeatens to appear in every top 25.

6. Kentucky 9-1

Edit: This post was written Friday, and hasn’t accounted for Saturday’s results.

Finally the Wildcats played some quality teams, as Kentucky knocked off Monmouth and Virginia Tech. They won’t be challenged until a January 6 trip to Tennessee. (Update: UCLA disagrees)

7. Texas A&M 11-1

The SEC is shaping up to be incredible this year. The Aggies follow Kentucky as the second top-10 team, while #14 Tennessee is one of the most dangerous teams in the country. Texas A&M will face a brutal January, coming up against Tennessee, Kentucky, and Kansas. . . all on the road.

8. Xavier 11-1

J.P. Macura is outperforming Trevon Bluiett, but Xavier doesn’t mind. The flamethrowing duo is averaging a combined 31 points per game, and that number will rise when Big 12 play begins, and there’s little garbage time for the bench.

9. Wichita State 9-2

The Shockers were upset by Oklahoma, and fall a few spots. Trae Young outdueled Landry Shamet on both ends of the floor, but don’t expect that to happen to Shamet often. Markis McDuffie’s imminent return will add another explosive weapon for coach Gregg Marshall.

10. Kansas 10-2

The Jayhawks snapped out of a skid, destroying Stanford by 21. Someone circled January 6 on the calendar, as TCU comes to Lawrence in the day’s 2700th ranked matchup.

11. West Virginia 10-1

The Mountaineers haven’t lost since the season opener, but that might change when WVU faces Oklahoma on January 6, (when else?) Baylor on the 9th, and Kansas on the 15th. However, all of those games are at home.

12. North Carolina 10-2

UNC picked up a great win over a terrific Tennessee team by 5, and is in good shape heading into ACC play.

There’s just one little problem called Wofford.

13. TCU 11-0

The Horned Frogs haven’t lost since last March, and coach Jamie Dixon has TCU in the thick of Big 12 contention. The conference is incredible this year, and TCU looks to be headed for the NCAA Tournament.

14. Tennessee 8-2

While the AP Poll has the Vols #21, Tennessee has been impressive. They controlled the game against North Carolina for 35 minutes before falling short. The nation’s fifth-youngest team just needs experience finishing games, and is a genuine threat to win the SEC.

15. Purdue 12-2

The Boilermakers blew out Butler by 15 while becoming the second-highest Big 10 team in the rankings. Purdue will answer the question of Michigan State’s toughest challenger on January 13, a trip to Minnesota.

16. Cincinnati 10-2

The two-loss barrage continues with Cincinnati, the American Athletic’s second team in the rankings. The Bearcats recovered from a tough loss to Florida by knocking off formerly unbeaten Mississippi State. Then UCLA fell to the elite defense. Wichita State’s greatest challenger rises again.

17. Baylor 10-2

Sick of the Big 12 yet? Baylor hasn’t played anyone for half a month, and won’t until a stretch against Texas Tech and TCU. Oh wait, their next two games.

18. Oklahoma 9-1

Trae Young is now the frontrunner for Player of the Year after a dominating performance against Wichita State. Oklahoma shocked the Shockers, and Young followed it up with 29 points and  22 (twenty freaking two!) assists against Northwestern State. Trae Young immediately went off again for 31 points and 12 assists as Oklahoma ran Northwestern off the court.

19. Arkansas 9-2

The Razorbacks knocked off Minnesota while vaulting into the top 25. A blowout loss to Houston earlier in the year hurts, but Arkansas could start 4-1 in the SEC. However, a December 30th clash with Tennessee could see Arkansas blown out.

20. Virginia 10-1

The Cavaliers didn’t really do anything, cruising against Davidson and Savvanah State. Skip!

21. Arizona 10-3

The preseason #2 is back in the rankings with impressive victories over Alabama and Texas A&M. The nation must despise the sight of a healthy Rawle Alkins.

22. Clemson 10-1

The Tigers are quietly putting together a solid resumé, and knocking off formerly-ranked Florida eliminated any obstacle preventing Clemson from being ranked.

23. Creighton 10-2

The Bluejays pulled off a nine point win over a good Texas-Arlington team, and move up thanks to. . .

24. Seton Hall 10-2

Rutgers is 10-3! Rutgers beat Seton Hall! Will wonders never cease?

25. Minnesota 10-3

The Gophers hit their annual December rough spot, dropping games to Nebraska and Arkansas before squeaking by Drake. Minnesota will get back on track eventually, and the Big 10 should be afraid.

Rounding out the 32: Texas Tech 10-1, Florida State 11-1, Gonzaga 10-3, Notre Dame 8-3, Houston 10-2, Syracuse 10-1, Auburn 11-1.

 

 

College Basketball Power Rankings: Upset Special

Don’t point out the 7-1s to Brazil.

Kansas, Texas A&M, Minnesota, Notre Dame, and Florida all lost to unranked teams. Just a typical week in college basketball.

1. Duke 11-0

The Blue Devils’ cramped schedule finally pays off, as Duke only plays three games for the rest of December. Duke put up a massive 124 points in a game against Saint Francis, including 71 in the first half. Mental.

2. Michigan State 8-1

Blowout victories over Notre Dame and North Carolina have buoyed the Spartans, and MSU keeps blowing out opponents. Rutgers is the latest opponent to stand no chance against Miles Bridges and Co.

3. Villanova 9-0

The Wildcats asserted themselves as a Final Four threat with a win over Gonzaga, an 88-72 blowout. Mikal Bridges has transformed into a star, and Jalen Brunson is a terrific point guard.

4. Miami 8-0

Nothing noteworthy, as the ‘Canes beat Boston U by 15, and remain stationary.

5. Wichita State 7-1 

The Shockers took care of South Dakota State, but the most impressive aspect is the improvement of Baylor, who Wichita State handled 69-60. Gregg Marshall’s team has a great chance at a #1 seed come March.

6. North Carolina 9-1

Many teams in this range lost, so UNC vaults a few places despite only playing Western Carolina. Luke Maye’s incredible production continues to astound the nation, but can the forward string good performances together in ACC play?

7. Kentucky 7-1

The Wildcats haven’t played anyone good other than Kansas, but continue to win games. Kentucky thanks preseason projections.

8. Xavier 8-1

The Musketeers’ meteoric rise (#12 last week) continues, as some help provides Xavier with a top 10 appearance. However, Trevon Bluiett’s inconsistency needs to resolve itself if the shooting guard wants to lead Xavier anywhere.

9. Texas A&M 7-1

In preseason, every Aggie fan would’ve taken a three point loss to preseason #2 Arizona. Now, the three-loss Wildcats seem uncertain of where they want to go. Texas A&M falls to #9, and should hang around until games against Tennessee and Kentucky.

10. Kansas 7-1

Devonte Graham is human. Kansas dropped a strange game to Washington, and falls to the ten spot. Sunday, the Jayhawks face a massive non-conference test against Arizona State.

11. Arizona State 7-0

The Sun Devils will need to get past an interesting game against St. John’s before the massive Kansas clash. Sunday will be fun.

12. Minnesota 8-2

Losing to Nebraska hurts, but the Golden Gophers could get on a roll heading into a Feb. 13 Michigan State clash. Pending Purdue, the Spartans have circled the Gophers in red.

13. West Virginia 8-1

Not only beating Virginia, but dominating the Cavaliers is what catapults WVU so high. The Mountaineers haven’t lost since the Texas A&M game, and could be the best challenger for Kansas in the Big 12.

14. Tennessee 6-1

The Vols keep winning. The latest to be trounced is Georgia Tech, which is not a given. Tennessee could be on the brink of something special. In the words of Rick Barnes, “Look at little ol’ Clemson Tennessee!”

15. Gonzaga 7-2

The Zags may be WCC favorites, but Gonzaga will need to stay close against high-quality opposition. Villanova had its way against the lackluster side. Gonzaga needs to get better.

16. Seton Hall 7-1

The Pirates wrecked Louisville and Texas Tech, and rise to the #16 spot. The Desi Rodriguez—Angel Delgado tandem is working well.

17. Notre Dame 7-2

You can’t lose to Ball State and expect not to plummet. The Irish were awful in their second loss of the season, and fall a long way.

18. Cincinnati 7-1

The Bearcats were blown out in the Crosstown Shootout by Xavier, and fall due to a nonexistent strength of schedule otherwise. Western Carolina keeps showing up on the records of top 25 teams.

19. Purdue 9-2

The Boilermakers are off to a 2-0 start in Big 10 play, and looked impressive. Expect Purdue to keep winning until a mid-January showdown with Minnesota.

20. Florida State 8-0

A demolition of Florida helps, and an undefeated record isn’t too bad either. FSU won’t drop off too much in the loaded ACC, and that’s a wonderful achievement.

21. TCU 9-0

The Horned Frogs find themselves ranked after demolishing SMU, and undefeated records look nice.

22. Baylor 6-2

The Bears didn’t play.

23. Virginia 8-2

The Cavaliers did play, and West Virginia says thanks.

24. Creighton 6-2

See Baylor.

25. USC 4-2

Argh.

First five out: Clemson, Houston, Georgia, Syracuse, Oklahoma

College Football Power Rankings Week 12

Thanksgiving is nearly here, and with it comes Rivalry Week. This week’s rankings provide a blueprint for what every team needs to happen in matchups such as Auburn-Alabama, USF-UCF, and Notre Dame-Stanford. High-powered matchups that could change the Playoff picture. New Year’s Six hopes on the line. This is Rivalry Week.

1. Alabama

The top seven are unchanged in a drama-less week of blowouts. Alabama faces a crucial game in the Iron Bowl against Auburn. If the Tide win, they’re probably in even if Alabama loses to Georgia. And a loss? That forces the committee to think, and we can’t have that.

2. Miami

The Hurricanes won’t face a quality opponent until the ACC Championship against Clemson. Even if Miami loses to Pittsburgh, the ‘Canes would get into the top four with an ACC Championship Game victory. On the other hand, if Miami beats Pitt and loses to Clemson, would they get in ahead of Ohio State, Wisconsin, or a second SEC team?

3. Oklahoma

The Sooners will face West Virginia with a Big 12 Championship spot already locked up. Oklahoma will probably face TCU, and can’t afford to lose.

4. Clemson

A tricky game against now-ranked South Carolina affords Clemson no room for error looking ahead to the ACC Championship against Miami.

5. Auburn

The Tigers will have a chance to win the SEC West for the first time since the Kick Six  against #1 Alabama in the Iron Bowl. Nick Marshall and Cam Newton are the last two quarterbacks to beat Alabama. Can Jarrett Stidham add his name to the list?

6. Wisconsin

The Badgers are looking ahead to a must-win Big Ten Championship against Ohio State, but Minnesota is always tricky for Wisconsin to deal with. The Badgers still need to win out.

7. Georgia

The Bulldogs will be in the top four if they win out. Georgia will have beaten Alabama or Auburn, Clemson or Miami will have lost, and either Alabama will have lost the Iron Bowl or Auburn would have three losses. However, Georgia Tech and its  triple-option offense has won two of the last three against Georgia.

8. Ohio State

That Team Up North comes down to attempt to ruin the Buckeyes’ Playoff hopes. Ohio State must win out and receive some help to make it in as the two-loss B1G champion.

9. Notre Dame

An underwhelming performance against Navy causes Notre Dame to fall a spot, but the Irish can assure themselves of a New Year’s Six Bowl with a win over Stanford. Pending chaos, Clemson could meet Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl. What a matchup that would be!

10. TCU

An easy matchup against 10-loss(!) Baylor should pose no problems for the Horned Frogs. TCU is win-and-in to the Big 12 Championship vs. Oklahoma.

11. UCF

The Golden Knights won’t make the Playoff unless historic chaos ensues, but UCF has the chance to cement a NY6 bowl and a top 10 ranking if they beat USF and Memphis to win the American Athletic.

12. USC

In their infinite wisdom, the Trojans waited until this week to schedule their bye. USC won’t know who they face in the Pac-12 Championship until after the Apple Cup. Excellent use of your bye.

13. Washington

With Stanford’s win, the Huskies can’t win the Pac-12 North, but Washington could lock up a NY6 spot with a win in the Apple Cup.

14. Memphis

After a blowout of a solid SMU team, Memphis awaits the winner of USF-UCF in the AAC title game. The third Tigers in the rankings will need to beat three-win East Carolina first, though.

15. Washington State

If the Cougars win the Apple Cup, Wazzou will head to the Pac-12 Championship against USC to play for a crack at a New Year’s Six bowl. If the Cougars lose, Stanford wins the North.

16. Penn State

The Lions are tenth in the CFP committee’s rankings, meaning Penn State is win-and-in for a New Year’s Six bowl. Just beat Maryland!

17. Michigan State

Head-to-head is only used as a tiebreaker if two or more teams’ resumes are comparable. MSU lacks quality wins outside of Penn State and now-unranked Michigan, and is a long shot for a New Year’s Six bowl. If the Spartans beat Rutgers, Michigan State is headed to the Citrus Bowl.

18. Stanford

The Cardinal are playing #9 Notre Dame, but Stanford’s focus is the Apple Cup. A Washington win sends Stanford to the Pac-12 Championship, but a Wazzou win eliminates Stanford.

19. Mississippi State

All three of the Bulldogs’ losses are to top 10 teams. Ole Miss will attempt to change that in the Thanksgiving Egg Bowl, but MSU needs a win.

20. Oklahoma State

The Cowboys’ slim hopes of a Big 12 Championship appearance vanished with a shootout loss to Kansas State. Even if TCU loses to ten-loss Baylor, Oklahoma State would lose the head-to-head tiebreaker. If Iowa State and/or Texas and/or West Virginia wins in that scenario, the Cowboys would lose out due to losing to the next-best team, Kansas State. Iowa State has the head-to-head tiebreaker over TCU.

21. LSU

What feels like the tenth Tigers in these rankings, LSU will attempt to further their cause for a decent quality bowl game in Ed Orgeron’s first full season. Texas A&M is always an issue on Rivalry Week, so it’s not a given.

22. Northwestern

Someone needs to get a Northwestern vs. Harvard rivalry established, because that would be funny. It would be a good game—in basketball.

23. USF

The third of four Group of 5 teams in the rankings, USF has to beat UCF and Memphis to earn a New Year’s Six spot. On the other hand, Boise State might be picked ahead of the Bulls even if this unlikely scenario takes place.

24. South Carolina

Facing a game against Clemson, South Carolina might be in the rankings for this week, but don’t expect them to be in next week’s top 25.

25. Boise State

A three-point loss to Washington State is nothing to scoff at, but a blowout loss to Virginia has kept the Broncos out of the rankings until now. Running the table in the Mountain West buoys them.

 

New Year’s Six Projections

  • Based on my picks for important games, here is who I think will be in the top six bowls come New Year’s.
  • This blueprint will change drastically after Rivalry Week.
  • Please note that every Power 5 champion and the highest ranked Group of 5 champion are guaranteed NY6 spots.
  • The last three are decided based on geographical location while avoiding rematches.
  • The predicted higher-ranked team is listed first.

CFP semifinal: Miami vs. Alabama

CFP semifinal: Oklahoma vs. Auburn

Orange: Clemson vs. Ohio State

Cotton: Notre Dame vs. TCU

Fiesta: USC vs. Wisconsin

Peach: UCF vs. Georgia

College Basketball Power Rankings: Duke claims the top spot

Photo source: Flickr

Disclaimer: This post was written Thursday afternoon, November 16th. Anything that happened afterwards will be reflected next week. 

Just to make sure nobody shouts at me if Miami loses to Florida A&M.

 

The first regular season edition of After the Whistle’s CBB Power Rankings is filled with chaos, rising, falling, and a new #1. In a week where many top 25 teams dominated, teams that produced lackluster performances (ahem, Northwestern) fell, making way for others. This will be interesting.

1. Duke

The Blue Devils delivered the week’s marquee win over former #1 Michigan State. Grayson Allen’s 37 points were the deciding factor in a terrific win for Duke.

2. Arizona

Dusan Ristic is off to a terrific start manning the paint, although Arizona’s dominant wins are over Northern Arizona and UMBC. I have no reason to drop the Wildcats, for now.

3. Kansas

The Jayhawks’ win in the Champions Classic buoys Kansas up four spots. As Kentucky will attest, Devonte’ Graham is going to be a problem for opposition all year long.

4. Wichita State

Rounding out today’s top seeds, the Shockers destroyed a very good College of Charleston and put up over 100 points on an average UMKC defense. Once Landry Shamet lights up, look out!

5. Michigan State

A loss to Duke in the Champions Classic hurts MSU, and sinks the Spartans to fifth, out of the #1 seed line. Miles Bridges and company will rise eventually.

6. Villanova

Struggling for a half against Columbia hurts the Wildcats, and Nicholls State isn’t a difficult opponent. Villanova won’t have the opportunity to pick up their first solid resume-boosting win until December, when Gonzaga visits.

7. Miami

Unlike Villanova, the Hurricanes do have a solid win. Navy is decent, and Miami beat them by 34. Bruce Brown is transforming into an NBA lottery prospect.

8. USC

The Trojans struggled against North Dakota State, and haven’t played anyone decent. That will change when USC visits Vanderbilt Sunday night.

9. Kentucky

The Wildcats have struggled against Utah Valley and a good Vermont team. Losing to Kansas doesn’t help Kentucky’s case, but preseason projections are playing a big part after only one week of basketball.

10. Minnesota

Preseason projections are the reason Minnesota isn’t in the top seven. That and I’m bending over backwards trying not to be too biased. Richard Pitino’s Golden Gophers ran away with what was projected to be a close game at Providence, and put up 59 points in one half against Niagara, the team coming off a win against Saint Bonaventure.

11. Cincinnati

Similar to many teams in this range, the Bearcats haven’t played any good teams. . . but Cincinnati is blowing out all comers. The American Athletic could easily have two top-10 teams entering March.

12. North Carolina

The Tar Heels drop one spot after struggles in an eight point win over Bucknell. A dominating performance against a Northern Iowa helps the nation’s greatest question mark.

13. Notre Dame

Matt Farrell and Bonzie Colson have formed a dynamic point guard-to-center combo, beating two decent teams (DePaul and Mount St. Mary’s) along the way.

14. Texas A&M

Missing Robert Williams, a loss to former #16 West Virginia would have been excusable. Texas A&M decided to give me no headaches by destroying WVU 88-65. The Aggies are this week’s highest risers, vaulting up ten spots.

15. Seton Hall

The Pirates delivered solid wins against Monmouth and Indiana by double digits, and Desi Rodriguez continues to be a matchup nightmare. Khadeem Carrington is no slouch from behind the arc.

16. Xavier

There’s not much to see here. The Musketeers benefit from others struggling while Xavier blew out Morehead State and Rider.

17. Louisville

Mired in controversy, the Cardinals won their only game—a 72-61 win over George Mason. Brian Bowen may be ineligible, but Deng Adel is playing well.

18. Saint Mary’s

The Gaels are the higher of the two teams entering this week’s rankings. Jock Landale and Co. are off to an undefeated start, and will challenge Gonzaga for the West Coast crown.

19. Florida

The Gators stay out after playing one game, a 116-74 demolition of Gardner-Webb. There’s not much to be gleaned here.

20. Missouri 

Defeating Iowa State by 15 is impressive. Doing it without NBA lottery prospect Michael Porter Jr. sends a message to the rest of the SEC.

21. Purdue

It seems the nation has underestimated how good Isaac Haas is at basketball. Caleb Swanigan who?

22. UCLA

The Bruins would take a mulligan. Not only did UCLA need overtime to beat Georgia Tech, but three players were arrested for stealing sunglasses. LiAngelo Ball is back, but isn’t helping.

23. Alabama

Alabama boasts a dominant win over Memphis without their best player. Expecting the Tide to continue winning without Collin Sexton is an unfortunate view, but the five-star recruit could be eligible soon.

24. West Virginia 

Jevon Carter and Co. look back on track after destroying American University. The issue is getting blown out by a Robert Williams-less Texas A&M.

25. Baylor

Others have vaulted over the Bears and their weak schedule, even though Baylor is undefeated. Opportunities for marquee wins will present themselves when Big 12 play begins.

Next five in consideration: TCU, Gonzaga, Rhode Island, Virginia, Northwestern

College Football Power Rankings Week 11

When three of the top seven teams get blown out, shuffling will ensue. Georgia, Notre Dame, and TCU fall, presenting opportunities for others to make a late run to the Playoff. New Year’s Six bowl projections will be included at the bottom from here on out.

1. Alabama

The Tide survived a scare from Mississippi State—barely. Alabama now boasts back-to-back quality wins, and claims the top spot after Georgia and Notre Dame both lost. The Iron Bowl will determine the SEC West’s representative in Atlanta

2. Miami

The ‘Canes have catapulted up to the second spot after not only pulling the upset over Note Dame, but completely destroying the vaunted Irish. Miami is win-and-in behind Malik Rosier’s dominant passing attack.

3. Oklahoma

The Sooners continue to defeat top 25 opponents. A 38-20 demolition of TCU keeps Oklahoma right in the Playoff conversation, and ahead of. . .

4. Clemson

Clemson clinched the other half of the ACC with a 31-14 victory over Florida State. That win against Auburn looks really good now,

5. Auburn

What has the nation witnessed? Former #1 Georgia was upset by Auburn, but the Tigers destroyed them! Any team that beats the best will be noticed, but the 40-17 pounding stands apart. Auburn has a week to recuperate before the Tigers play Alabama for the SEC West title.

6. Wisconsin

Finally a quality win. Iowa was fresh off destroying Ohio State in typical Kinnick fashion. The Badgers weren’t impressed, and drift up the rankings due to college football’s weekly chaos.

7. Georgia

Remember when the Bulldogs were cruising towards the Playoff? Auburn stood in the way and knocked Georgia on their back. The Bulldogs have to win out if they want a shot at the Playoff.

8. Notre Dame

The turnover chain made four appearances against the Irish in a 41-8 defeat at the hands of Miami. Expecting Brandon Wimbush’s offense to play better isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

9. Ohio State

The Buckeyes have played one close game this year. The 39-38 victory at Penn State was the only watchable game amongst a crowd of blowouts. Ohio State looks back on track after a 48-3 blowout of Michigan State.

10. TCU

The Horned Frogs are in a three-way game of catch-up to appear in the Big 12 Championship. TCU beat Oklahoma State and West Virginia, so they just need to win out.

11. USC

It would take a miracle for the Trojans to make the Playoff after struggling against Colorado. The fact remains that a two-loss Pac-12 champion won’t get into the top four in a year loaded with contenders.

12. UCF

All the Knights can do is keep destroying American Athletic opposition en route to a likely New Year’s Six bowl. The Group of Five is probably eliminated from the Playoff  for another year despite an undefeated UCF.

13. Oklahoma State

A crucial win over Iowa State kept Oklahoma State in Big 12 contention. The Cowboys will need to win out and see TCU slip, or a Bedlam rematch is impossible.

14. Penn State

The Lions’ division hopes hang by a thread. A Penn State loss or an Ohio State win eliminates the Saquon Barkley-led offense from Big 10 contention.

15. Washington

The Huskies are out of Playoff contention after losing to Stanford. It’s unlikely Washington wins their division, but they could make a New Year’s Six bowl if they get some help.

16. Memphis

The AAC’s other NY6 hopeful rises two spots after a bye. SMU provides a test which Memphis must overcome in the race to catch up to UCF.

17. Washington State

Wazzou is the favorite to win their division after seeing Stanford beat Washington. The Apple Cup could still decide a NY6 spot if things break the Pac-12’s way.

18. Michigan State

Losing to Ohio State by 45 probably relegates the Spartans to a lesser bowl, although the Citrus is still in play.

19. West Virginia

A narrow win over a .500 Kansas State boosts WVU’s resume, but only if K-State wins another game. Will Grier has 34 touchdowns on the season.

20. Michigan

Two-loss Michigan has a small chance to win the Big Ten East, but needs help and has to beat Wisconsin. The Wolverines are ranked. . . for now.

21. Stanford

The Cardinal are too inconsistent to reach a higher ranking. A terrific win over Washington puts Stanford in striking distance of a division title, but Notre Dame stands in the way of a NY6 bowl.

22. NC State

The Wolfpack present an interesting scenario. If Clemson and Miami both somehow make the Playoff, NC State would go to the Orange Bowl as the next-highest ACC team. The Wolfpack have to win out, or they have no chance.

23. Mississippi State

A terrific performance last week made Alabama nervous down the stretch. MSU rises two spots due to chaos elsewhere despite the loss.

24. Northwestern

The three-loss Wildcats join the rankings as the Big Ten’s next Citrus Bowl hopeful. A late NY6 seems outside the realm of possibility.

25. LSU

The Troy loss still hurts, but LSU’s comeback win over Auburn buoys the Tigers into the rankings ahead of an easy game at Tennessee.

 

Without further ado, here’s how the NY6 bowls would look of these rankings stayed in place. Keep in mind that the Cotton, Fiesta, and Peach Bowl teams are completely interchangeable.

Playoff semifinal: #1 Alabama vs. #4 Clemson

Playoff semifinal: #2 Miami vs. #3 Oklahoma

Orange: #22(!) NC State vs. #5 Auburn

Fiesta: #6 Wisconsin vs. #8 Notre Dame

Peach: #7 Georgia vs. #9 Ohio State

Cotton: #10 TCU vs. #12 UCF

College Football Power Rankings Week 10

This week in Bedlam: Marquise “Hollywood” Brown! The freshman wide receiver produced a 9 catch, 265(!!) yard, two touchdown performance against Oklahoma State. What a day.

The top four doesn’t move, but some shuffling ensued after six games between top 25 teams. On a side note, this is the week where I factor in strength of remaining schedule. Auburn is the main beneficiary.

1. Georgia

The Bulldogs clinched the SEC East with a win over South Carolina. Georgia is 6-0 in SEC play, but faces a challenge against Playoff dark horse Auburn.

2. Notre Dame

Brandon Wimbush is the perfect QB for this offense. Wake Forest maintains a solid defense, but Notre Dame hung 48 points on them. The Irish face Miami on Saturday, which could be a play-in game.

3. Alabama

Taking care of LSU keeps the Tide in third, but Alabama needs a quality win as soon as possible.

4. Oklahoma

The Sooners and Oklahoma State combined for 1446 yards of total offense in a thrilling 62-52 shootout. Baker Mayfield’s 598 yards and five touchdowns catapulted Oklahoma into Playoff consideration. The Sooners still need to win out, and TCU is next.

5. Clemson

The Tigers picked up a crucial win against NC State, and Clemson only needs to beat Florida State to book a ticket to the ACC Championship.

6. Miami

Skeptics criticized Miami’s lack of quality wins. Skeptics pointed to the Hurricanes’ struggles against lesser opposition. The skeptics were wrong.

A terrific defensive performance against Virginia Tech launched Miami into Playoff comsideration. Malik Rosier and the offense will need to score with Notre Dame and deliver a statement win. . . or watch their Playoff hopes cling to a thread.

7. TCU

Iowa State’s loss makes the task simple for TCU. Beat Oklahoma and the Horned Frogs control their own destiny on the road to the Big 12 Championship. If they lose? Then TCU will need to win out.

8. Wisconsin

A complete lack of a marquee win puts the Badgers on the outside looking in. Wisconsin can’t afford a slip-up.

9. Washington

The Huskies leap five spots due to chaos in the rankings. A one-loss Washington would likely make the Playoff, but a two-loss Washington would fall outside the top 10.

10. Auburn

The Tigers fell seven spots last week due to every team’s re-evaluation. A loss to LSU crumpled Auburn’s Playoff chances at the time, but the other Tigers won some games to make up for Troy. Strength of remaining schedule is factored in this week, and Auburn’s is ridiculous. Georgia and Alabama will both face the Tigers.

11. USC

The Trojans didn’t exactly stop Khalil Tate and Arizona, but they won the shootout 49-35. USC rises six spots due to the complete chaos that showed people why we love this sport.

12. UCF

The Golden Knights (not the Las Vegas ones) passed the test of SMU. In fact, the Mustangs should comfortably make a bowl, meaning UCF adds another quality win to its resume. The real AAC gauntlet begins now.

13. Michigan State

The Spartans waited three hours due to weathe delay, but a terrific 27-24 victory over Penn State in the dying seconds gives Michigan State a chance to clinch the division with a win over Ohio State.

14. Ohio State

The Buckeyes are out of CFP consideration after their second blowout loss. Iowa isn’t Oklahoma, though. 55-24!

15. Penn State

A second loss appeared on Penn State’s record. The Lions are also out of Playoff consideration with their 27-24 loss to Michigan State.

16. Oklahoma State

Mason Rudolph’s offense put up 52 points. . . and lost. How does that happen? Bedlam.

17. Virginia Tech

A loss to Miami eliminated VT from the ACC race entirely, but the Orange Bowl could be in play if Virginia Tech wins out and gets some help.

18. Memphis

Blowing out Tulsa solidified the Tigers’ spot in the AAC Championship Game. All Memphis needs to do is win out, likely including UCF. Nothing could go wrong!

19. Washington State

A 24-21 win over Stanford was critical to Wazzou’s Pac-12 title hopes, but likely has no impact on the New Year’s Six race.

20. West Virginia

Defeating Iowa State keeps the Mountaineers in the race to the Big 12 Championship, and WVU could rise.

21. Iowa State

A loss to WVU puts a roadblock in the upstart Cyclones’ path to the Big 12 title game, but wins over Oklahoma and TCU give Iowa State almost every tiebreaker

22. Iowa

Someone nominate Nathan Stanley for Heisman. The sophomore quarterback led Iowa to a rout of Ohio State, winning by three touchdowns. Three-loss Iowa could make a late charge to the top 15.

23. Toledo

An key win against Northern Illinois left the Rockets as the MAC’s only New Year’s Six contender. The path won’t be difficult for Toledo, but the Rockets need UCF to lose twice.

24. NC State

The Wolfpack produced a solid performance against Clemson, but fell short by a touchdown. To win their division, NC State will need to win out. . . and Clemson will have to lose to Florida State. It’s far more likely the Wolfpack finish 7-1 and go to a lesser bowl game.

25. Mississippi State 

A slow start against lowly UMass doesn’t boost a lacking resume, and Mississippi State falls.