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Saturday football rooting guide and open thread

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UW has a chance to move into the top 5.

NCAA Football: Massachusetts at Tennessee
Go Vols!
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

It was going to be so good. The old formula that most UW fans were hoping to see play out was one where by UW coasts through the conference schedule with one loss max and encounters a top 5 (ideally top 3) USC team in the conference championship. A win over the Trojans in that scenario would then be the topper of the proverbial sundae and easily propel the Huskies into the meat of the playoff selection discussion.

USC’s loss to Wazzu last night changes that college football playoff equation for the Washington Huskies.

While the Trojans could still become a quality/valid PAC 12 conference championship opponent if the Huskies are fortunate enough to be become the North representative, they will now most certainly have to do so as the higher ranked of the two teams should they wish to have a lead-pipe locked spot in the playoffs. In fact, you could make an argument that UW might have to win every game on their schedule in order to ensure that opportunity. WSU’s win is great for the Cougs, but cements the perception that the PAC is a “weak conference” in 2017. For the Huskies to navigate that, they must get through all of their opponents AND hope for a few more losses among teams that might compete with them for those precious playoff berths.

So let’s get to our rooting guide for today.

UW Fan Rooting Guide - Week 5

#7 Georgia at Tennessee (12:30p, CBS, CBSSports.com)

we are rooting for: Tennessee

The Bulldogs are one win over Tennessee from making a possible leapfrog over the Huskies. We know that the pollsters have already fallen out of love with the PAC as we’ve already seen a couple of questionable actions by them this season. Not allowing UW to jump Penn State after the Iowa game, jumping Penn State over an undefeated USC after week 3 and hoisting Oklahoma State over UW after week 2 are all indicators of the level of bias existing in the polls.

Given that, a convincing win by Georgia behind the strength of new starting QB Jake Fromm and a rushing attack led by Nick Chubb would almost certainly catapult the Bulldogs into top 5 probably at the expense of the Huskies moving up.

Iowa at Michigan State (1pm, Fox, FoxSportsGo.com)

we are rooting for: Michigan State

Anything that dampens enthusiasm further for Penn State’s last second win over the Hawkeyes last week in Des Moines is good for UW’s playoff prospects. A significant win by Sparty over those Hawkeyes would not be definitive for the Nittany Lions, but it would certainly give some pollsters reason to wonder just how good a win that was for Penn State. The Spartans are favored in this game by 4 points, but it would still seem like an upset if they were to pull out the win. Let’s hope that they do.

Indiana at #4 Penn State

we are rooting for: chaos

It’s too much to hope for the hapless Hoosiers to beat the Nittany Lions head to head. But could we see a hangover game for Heisman leader Saquon Barkley and the rest of that Penn State roster? Sure we could. I’m not rooting for any injuries, mind you. But I’m certainly rooting for sluggishness, malaise and dig-out-your-eyeballs bad football.

#24 Mississippi State at #13 Auburn (3pm, ESPN, WatchESPN)

we are rooting for: Auburn

This might seem counterintuitive. Of course we want to see a one-loss Auburn team get hung with another loss. Right?

Well, it’s not a horrible idea. But our first concern as fans needs to be the dismantling of the resume of Georgia. Recall that Georgia shot up the charts after whipping Mississippi State last week. The maroon Bulldogs already have a win over LSU, so the transitive property proves that Georgia must be really good.

An Auburn blowout would take the shine further off of the Georgia win over Mississippi State, so I’m rooting for that.

#2 Clemson @ #12 Virginia Tech (5pm, ESPN, WatchESPN)

we are rooting for: Virginia Tech

This one is self-evident. Clemson is probably still a playoff favorite even if they drop a road game like this to a top 15 team. Still, we know that a one-loss team will almost always be slotted behind an undefeated team in the playoff selection process. It couldn’t hurt.

Ole Miss @ #1 Alabama (6pm, ESPN, WatchESPN)

we are rooting for: Ole Miss

Thank you very much, Cal.

When the Bears beat Ole Miss two weeks ago, they effectively took this game down a notch in prestige factor among SEC enthusiasts. The thinking goes that the Rebels just aren’t that good even with Shea Patterson running that explosive offense.

I don’t really think the Rebels have much of a chance on the road. But this isn’t a slam dunk. Ole Miss has won two out of the last three against the Tide including a win in their last head-to-head in Tuscaloosa. The game that they dropped in that streak was a very spirited affair that saw Alabama squeak out a hard-fought 5-point win.

Should Ole Miss win - or even compete - against Alabama after having been throttled by Cal will be a good sign for the PAC 12 and for UW.

Utah vs BYE

we are rooting for: Utah

The Utes are now the only undefeated team left in the South division. We want them to stay that way until UW gets the chance to beat them in Seattle the week before the Apple Cup. Getting some good work in during the BYE week would be helpful.

One Upset Pick

#15 Oklahoma State at Texas Tech (5pm, FOX, FoxSportsGo.com)

The Cowboys are double digit road favorites. Really?

I get that QB Mason Rudolph is a stud and that the Cowboys are going to be highly motivated coming off of their narrow loss to TCU last weekend. But don’t disrespect the Red Raiders here.

Kliff Kingsbury has Texas Tech playing a little bit of defense so far this year. Shocking, right? That might come in handy against the Cowboys given that the winning team in each game that these two have played over the past 10 years has scored at least 45 points. Last year’s match was won by OKST 45-44.

The 45 point thing might happen again today. But if it does, look for the Red Raiders to be the team passing that benchmark. I see them winning a close one.

What will you be watching today? Who will you be rooting for?

This is your college gameday open thread.