College Football Playoff Rankings – Predictions Part 3

By Mike Bachini, CBS Connecticut

Connecticut (CBS) – It was another crazy week of college football. One that will result in some movement in the Top-15. I believe the Top-5 will remain the same, as none of those teams lost and none of the wins were big enough to really move the needle in terms of overall resume comparisons. This upcoming week will be even crazier. As there is potential for 3, Top-10 match ups this week if the committee’s rankings are the same as mine. Georgia/Auburn, Notre Dame/Miami and Oklahoma/TCU will all have major impacts on next week’s rankings and how things will play out the rest of the way.

 

*Last week’s rankings are the committee’s, not my projected rankings last week. 

1. Georgia (9-0) – This Week: @ Auburn

Last Week: #1, Beat South Carolina 24-10

Georgia didn’t dominate last weekend against South Carolina, but they did beat a 6-win team by two touchdowns. Not much to nit pick there. Georgia has a huge game at Auburn (we’ll get to them in a bit) this weekend and if they pull that one out, it would be hard to see them losing the rest of the regular season on their way to the SEC Championship game. With the chaos that is occurring in the Pac-12 and now the Big 10, getting to the conference championship game undefeated, no matter the result, might be enough for the Bulldogs.

2. Alabama (9-0) – This Week: @ Mississippi State

Last Week: #2, Beat LSU 24-10

Alabama didn’t dominate LSU, but the game was never in question. Yes, LSU was ranked and South Carolina wasn’t, so Alabama’s win was better than Georgia’s this past week. The committee still takes in to account your full body of work to this point, so that win in itself won’t be enough to push ‘Bama past Georgia this week. If both teams win, the rankings will remain the same next week too.

3. Notre Dame (8-1) – This Week: @ Miami

Last Week: #3, Beat Wake Forest 48-37

A win over Wake Forest is solid, if not spectacular. Notre Dame’s profile stays relatively similar to last week. This week’s upcoming game against Miami has the ability to really shake up the college football landscape. Notre Dame still needs to win their next 3 games to remain in the top-4. With no conference championship game the first weekend of December, they need to leave no doubt in the committee’s eyes. If they add another solid win to what would be an 11-1 profile, they should be in.

4. Clemson (8-1) – This Week: vs. Florida State

Last Week: #4, Won at N.C. State 38-31

Clemson looked a bit shaky at times last weekend, but eventually came away with another resume-boosting win at N.C. State. They still have 6 wins over teams with winning records (Georgia Tech lost last week to fall to 4-4) and that depth will be hard to beat if they continue to win.

5. Oklahoma (8-1) – This Week: vs. TCU

Last Week: #5, Won at Oklahoma State 62-52

Well – if you like yourself some offense, the Oklahoma/Oklahoma State game was for you. Oklahoma clearly has its flaws on defense right now, but putting up 62 points on the road verses the committee’s #11 ranked team is impressive either way you look at it. Another big game awaits the Sooners this weekend against TCU.

6. TCU (8-1) – This Week: @ Oklahoma

Last Week: #8, Beat Texas 24-7

Beating a now 4-5 Texas team at home doesn’t really boost a resume, but it shows a lot that TCU didn’t fall into a slump after losing the week prior to Iowa State. In order for the Big XII to get a team into the top-4 and into the College Football Playoff, the team that wins this match up needs to win the rest of their games and the Big XII Title game in all likelihood.

7. Miami (8-0) – This Week: vs. Notre Dame

Last Week: #10, Beat Virginia Tech 28-10

Miami now finally has that significant win that it can add to its resume. The Miami defense played big against Virginia Tech last weekend, and now it faces an even tougher test against Notre Dame. The good thing for the Hurricanes is that both games are home games. If Miami can survive this weekend, the Miami/Clemson winner in the ACC Championship game (if both win out, which would be likely given their schedules) would take Notre Dame’s spot in the top 4 at the end.

8. Wisconsin (9-0) – This Week: vs. Iowa

Last Week: #9, Won at Indiana 45-17

Wisconsin is jumped by Miami this week because Miami now has the big win on its resume that Wisconsin lacks. Wisconsin plays Iowa this week after Iowa just handled Ohio State at home, but we all know that Iowa is a different animal at home versus on the road. If Wisconsin beats Iowa, the Hawkeyes will have 4 losses. It most likely wouldn’t be considered a good win in the end. After Iowa, Wisconsin plays Michigan at home. If Wisconsin wins that, and then Ohio State beats Michigan as well, the Wolverines would have 4 losses too. It’s going to be hard for Wisconsin. They need to win out, and then maybe even get some help in the end.

9. Washington (8-1) – This Week: @ Stanford

Last Week: #12, Beat Oregon 38-3

The loss to Arizona State seems to have woken up the Huskies. They look like a much better team. Unfortunately, they don’t have the resume to compete with the top dogs just yet. Beating Washington State and then a hot USC team in the Pac-12 Championship game would help.

10. Auburn (7-2) – This Week: vs. Georgia

Last Week: #14, Won at Texas A&M 42-27

Auburn is a very dangerous team right now. Left for dead after their loss to LSU, the Tigers control their own destiny in the SEC. If they beat #1 Georgia this week, then beat Alabama (who would move up to #1 after Georgia’s loss) in 2 weeks at home in the Iron Bowl, then beat Georgia a second time in the SEC Championship game, I have no idea how the Tigers would be left out of the top-4 in the end. Granted, those are a lot of ifs, but none of those games (real or hypothetical) would be played on the road. Auburn can really shake this thing up if the team is up to the task.

11. Ohio State (7-2) – This Week: vs. Michigan State

Last Week: #6, Lost at Iowa 55-24

Ohio State should probably fall farther than 5 spots after their huge letdown at Iowa this past weekend. Luckily for the Buckeyes, a lot of other teams lost as well so they can’t fall much further. Their chances of getting in to the playoff are all but over, but they can still beat Michigan State, Michigan and then Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship game. They will need a lot of help in front of them.

12. Penn State (7-2) – This Week: vs. Rutgers

Last Week: #7, Lost at Michigan State 27-24

Penn State lost two straight road games against two very tough opponents by a total of 4 points. In one game, they blew an 18 point lead, in the other, a rain delay stopped play for 3 1/2 hours and they lost on a last second field goal. I don’t think there are two worse ways to lose games. Penn state is out of contention for the top-4 but just like Ohio State, doesn’t fall back too far.

13. USC (8-2) – This Week: @ Colorado

Last Week: #17, Beat Arizona 49-35

USC beat a very good Arizona team at home last weekend and moves up a few spots to #13. USC has Colorado and UCLA left on their schedule. USC should win both games. If they do, they will win the Pac-12 South and have a week off before the Pac-12 Championship game as they do not play Thanksgiving weekend. USC already has two losses, and if Notre Dame falls to Miami this weekend, it’d be hard to keep Notre Dame out in favor of the Trojans since USC was non-competitive in their game in South Bend. USC still needs chaos to happen.

14. Oklahoma State (7-2) – This Week: @ Iowa State

Last Week: #11, Lost at home to Oklahoma 62-52

Oklahoma State put up a good fight, but you’re not going to win many games giving up 62 points at home. Oklahoma State has losses to the top 2 teams in the Big XII, and will need some serious help to climb its way back to the title game.

15. Virginia Tech (7-2) – This Week: @ Georgia Tech

Last Week: #13, Lost at Miami 28-10

Virginia Tech was handled most of the game at Miami on Saturday. They don’t fall too far, but their dreams of a top 4 finish are shattered.

16. Mississippi State (7-2) – This Week: vs. Alabama

Last Week: #16, Beat Umass 34-23

Mississippi State fell in to a trap at home against Umass and found themselves down at the half and only up 4 with just over 5 minutes to play in the game. They’ll need to play much better if they want to beat Alabama and turn the Top 25 on its head.

17. Michigan State (7-2) – This Week: @ Ohio State

Last Week: #24, Beat Penn State 27-24

Michigan State scored a huge victory over Penn State last week and now controls its own destiny in the Big 10 East. Wisconsin is really hoping Ohio State wins this game so they have a better chance at a bigger victory in the Big 10 title game.

18. UCF (8-0) – This Week: vs. Uconn

Last week: #18, Won at SMU 31-24

UCF stays put at #18 because it is hard to justify putting them ahead of a Michigan State team that just scored a top-7 win. UCF should win out and play in a NY6 bowl game.

19. Washington State (8-2) – This Week: @ Utah

Last Week: Beat Stanford 24-21

Washington State gets back in the win column against Stanford and are starting to get a bit predictable. Lose big on the road, win at home. Unfortunately for the Cougars, their last 2 games are on the road against tough opponents.

20. Memphis (8-1) – This Week: BYE

Last Week: #22, Won at Tulsa 41-14

Memphis moves up because a lot of teams in front of them lost. Memphis is a good team whose only loss is to #18 UCF.

21. Iowa State (6-3) – This Week: vs. Oklahoma State

Last Week: #15, Lost at West Virginia 20-16

Iowa State will be the highest ranked, 3-loss team tonight in my opinion. They still have wins over #5 and #6 and their loss to Iowa looks even better now. It’ll be interesting to see how the team responds after a loss. Their defense will need to keep playing well to take down Oklahoma State.

22. Michigan (7-2) – This Week: @ Maryland

Last Week: NR, Beat Minnesota 33-10

I whiffed on Michigan last week but this week I think they make it in to the top 25. Not because beating Minnesota is anything great, but because so many other teams have lost and now have 3 losses. Michigan should beat Maryland this weekend before their brutal finish to the season with Wisconsin and Ohio State.

23. LSU (6-3) – This Week: vs. Arkansas

Last Week: #19, Lost at Alabama 24-10

Losing to the #2 team on the road by 14 won’t hurt you too much in the rankings. LSU still has a win over Auburn to hang their hat on.

24. North Carolina State (6-3) – This Week: @ Boston College

Last Week: #20, Lost at home to Clemson 38-31

N.C. State has fallen hard the last two weeks, but to the committee’s #3 and #4 teams which won’t hurt them too much.

25. West Virginia (6-3) – This Week: @ Kansas State

Last Week: NR, Beat Iowa State 20-16

It’s another guessing game at #25 this week. Last week I had South Carolina in, and was wrong. The committee having Arizona at #22 last week was confusing to me, and after a loss at USC I can’t see them staying in the Top 25. Same with Stanford after their loss to Washington State. West Virginia has 3 losses to teams in the top 15 (TCU, Virginia Tech and Oklahoma State) and now has a big win over Iowa State to add to their resume. I think they’ll sneak in this week.

 

Dropped Out: Stanford, Arizona

Disagree with Mike’s rankings? Let him know on Twitter HERE

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