This is a huge weekend for college football. Nine games involve matchups with ranked teams, the most that we’ve seen in college football on a single weekend since 1936.
I got that stat from ESPN U radio, so blame Braden Gall if it doesn’t pass fact check. Either way ... big weekend ahead.
UW, of course, will have its hands full in dealing with one of its nastiest rivals. The Ducks will certainly have the full attention of the players and coaches. Fans, on the other hand, will have their eyes glued to the scoreboard all day long and will, thanks to a late start time for UW, have a pretty good sense of how well or poorly the day is working out relative to UW’s playoff hopes.
So, who are we rooting for on this crazy weekend? Here are some games that I recommend you pay attention to.
#6 Clemson vs #20 NC State
Root for: NC State, BIG TIME!
The most certain path to the playoffs for the Huskies involve both the ACC and Big 12 being won by two-loss teams. NC State already has two losses. But they can essentially lock up the Atlantic division and eliminate Clemson altogether from the playoff race.
If you read my stuff, you know that I’ve been talking about this one for a few weeks now. There isn’t a game on the schedule that can do more for UW’s chances than this one. And it is within the realm of possibility. S&P projects a Clemson win, but by a margin of less than a TD. This game is going to come down to Clemson’s nation-leading pass defense against NC State’s better-than-you-think pass attack.
We’ll see. Fingers crossed.
#3 Ohio State at Iowa
Root for: Iowa
Watch this one. Iowa is a 17 point dog at home despite not having lost by that much at home in years. If there is a little bit of a hangover for the Buckeyes and Iowa has life going into the fourth quarter ... hey, you never know.
A second loss would eliminate Ohio State (probably) and create a very real scenario where the B1G gets left out of the playoffs altogether. It’s a long shot, but worth rooting for.
#8 Oklahoma at #11 Oklahoma State
Root for: an elimination
This is an elimination game for two Big 12 teams, either of whom might still end up as a Big 12 champ.
In truth, it really doesn’t matter a whole lot who gets eliminated. It’s probably better for UW if Oklahoma gets tagged with their second loss now as they would still be favored to win the Big 12 in the championship game. But that’s not anything remotely resembling a lead pipe lock.
Texas at #10 TCU
Root for: Hook ‘em
This is an interesting matchup of rivals. TCU was completely shut out last week against Iowa State and now has to face a Texas team that is hungry for a major upset after a few close calls against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. This is a legitimate threat for the Horned Frogs.
Keep in mind that there is still a great chance that the Big 12 will have a two loss champion. Hanging #2 on TCU this weekend would be an elimination of a team ahead of UW in the CFP rankings.
South Carolina at #1 Georgia
Root for: a dream
Georgia is not going to lose to South Carolina. If they do, however, it will really weaken the argument for two SEC teams no matter who wins in a theoretical matchup between Georgia and Alabama. There isn’t a lot to gain here for UW, but it wouldn’t hurt.
#7 Penn State at #24 Michigan State
Root for: Michigan State
The Nittany Lions are almost certainly eliminated as it is. They can’t get to the playoffs over a one-loss PAC 12 champ if they don’t win the B1G. To do that, Ohio State would have to lose two.
But, that certainty is “almost” not “definite.” A loss to Michigan State would make it so. And, sure, it would prop up MSU. But keep in mind that MSU would still need to beat Ohio State and Wisconsin in order to get to the playoffs. That looks like a long shot.
#18 WSU at #25 Stanford
Root for: Stanford
WSU can’t win the North if they lose to Stanford. That means one less team UW has to focus on.
#14 Iowa State vs West Virgnia
Root for: West Virgnia
We all like an underdog tale. Iowa State has done a lot to help keep UW’s playoff hopes alive by taking out both Oklahoma and TCU. With two losses already on the résumé, Iowa State is hardly a threat to jump a one-loss UW team.
However, we now have to look at how the Iowa State loss plays on the résumé of both TCU and OU. If Iowa State goes on to drop a few more, it will weaken the résumés of those other teams. And that is good.
So, to my Iowa State friends, just know it’s just business.
So, where do we stand now? Max Vrooman ran the numbers using the FiveThirtyEight.com tool and came up with the following assessment of games that could do the most to help UW’s chances. He grouped them by “biggest impact” to lowest. The percentages indicate the increase in UW’s overall odds of getting in if it were to happen and the likelihood of the result occurring.
The "this would be incredibly helpful"s
NC State beats Clemson- 7% (32%)
Iowa beats Ohio State- 6% (15%)
Wake Forest beats Notre Dame- 6% (12%)
The "this would be very nice"s
South Carolina beats Georgia- 4% (11%)
Indiana beats Wisconsin- 4% (21%)
Michigan State beats Penn State- 4% (18%)
Texas beats TCU- 3% (28)
The "it only really helps given later eventualities also occurring"s
LSU beats Alabama- 1% (11%)
Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma- 1% (45%)
Virginia Tech beats Miami- 1% (45%)
USC beats Arizona- 1% (68%)
Stanford beats Wazzu- 1% (60%)
Iowa State beats West Virginia- 1% (56%)
There you have it. Now you know what is what in the race for the playoffs. Clear as mud.
Friday Night Schedule
|Marshall at Florida Atlantic||3:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|#22 Memphis at Tulsa||5:00 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|UCLA at Utah||6:30 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|#4 Wisconsin at Indiana||9:00 AM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|#7 Penn State at #24 Michigan State||9:00 AM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|#16 Auburn at Texas A&M||9:00 AM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|UMass at #21 Mississippi State||9:00 AM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Florida at Missouri||9:00 AM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Kansas State at Texas Tech||9:00 AM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Western Kentucky at Vanderbilt||9:00 AM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Baylor at Kansas||9:00 AM||FSN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Illinois at Purdue||9:00 AM||BTN||BTN2Go.com|
|East Carolina at Houston||9:00 AM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Syracuse at Florida State||9:20 AM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Georgia Tech at Virginia||12:00 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Appalachian State at Louisiana Monroe||12:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Georgia State at Georgia Southern||12:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Rice at UAB||12:00 PM||None||CUSA.tv|
|New Mexico State at Texas State||12:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|South Carolina at #2 Georgia||12:30 PM||CBS||CBSSports.com|
|#3 Ohio State at Iowa||12:30 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Wake Forest at #5 Notre Dame||12:30 PM||NBC||NBCSports.com|
|#6 Clemson at #20 NC State||12:30 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|#14 Iowa State at West Virginia||12:30 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|#18 Stanford at #25 Washington State||12:30 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|South Florida at Connecticut||12:30 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Maryland at Rutgers||12:30 PM||BTN||BTN2Go.com|
|Charlotte at Old Dominion||12:30 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|North Texas at Louisiana Tech||12:30 PM||None||Facebook.com|
|Northwestern at Nebraska||12:30 PM||BTN||BTN2Go.com|
|Army at Air Force||12:30 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|#8 Oklahoma at #11 Oklahoma State||1:00 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Ole Miss at Kentucky||1:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Coastal Carolina at Arkansas||1:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Cincinnati at Tulane||1:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Louisiana at South Alabama||1:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Oregon State at California||2:00 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|Utah State at New Mexico||2:30 PM||None||WatchStadium.com|
|Hawai'i at UNLV||3:00 PM||Spectrum Sports||Stadium iOS App|
|Nevada at Boise State||4:00 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Colorado State at Wyoming||4:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|UT San Antonio at Florida Intl||4:00 PM||None||WatchStadium.com|
|Texas at #10 TCU||4:15 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|#15 UCF at SMU||4:15 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Southern Mississippi at Tennessee||4:30 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|UTEP at Middle Tennessee||4:30 PM||beIN Sports||None|
|Minnesota at Michigan||4:30 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|#19 LSU at #1 Alabama||5:00 PM||CBS||CBSSports.com|
|#13 Virginia Tech at #9 Miami||5:00 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|Colorado at Arizona State||6:00 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|Oregon at #12 Washington||7:00 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|San Diego State at San Jose State||7:30 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|#23 Arizona at #17 USC||7:45 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|BYU at Fresno State||7:45 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|