01. Georgia (11-0) SEC (N/A) - I didn't get a chance to watch their game so I don't have any context on how they managed to only beat Kentucky 16-6. But they led the entire way and already had the conference locked up coming into the game so at 1st they shall stay. They were the only team in the top-4 to not be in a position to lose with 5 minutes left in the game.
02. Ohio State (11-0) B10 (N/A) - Maryland probably wishes they could throw out the 3rd quarter and just keep the rest of the game. This was a lot closer than the final score looked and there was a very real chance of Ohio State losing. They were only up by 3 with 5 minutes to go and only up by 6 with 40 seconds to go. But good teams find ways to win the close ones and Ohio State gutted it out.
03. TCU (11-0) B12 (N/A) - TCU looks every bit the team of destiny this year. It's really hard to go 11-0 and it's even harder to do that winning 1-possession games against above .500 teams on the road. Still... A playoff team shouldn't require a time expiring field goal against Baylor. They were close to seeing Clemson jump them for a CFP berth.
04. Michigan (11-0) B10 (N/A) - Typically when you think of 4th quarter comebacks you don't think three field goals to 0 but that's how Michigan did it against Illinois. Illinois was the second best team Michigan has faced all year (and honestly they might have been the best team they've faced because I still don't think Penn State is any good). If you're going to go undefeated you have to find a way to win a couple tough games and Michigan did that last week. They'll need to do it again this week. If Ohio State beats them I think they are firmly out of the CFP and I don't think that's the case if its the other way around. I will say one thing - If Michigan loses and then gets into the CFP at 11-1 every other school in the country should just abandon their tough non-conference schedule.
05. Clemson (10-1) ACC (+1) - Their path to the playoffs just got A LOT harder this week as South Carolina looks like a team that has figured it all out. Clemson is nowhere near the quality of team that Tennessee has been. I'd be very scared this week if I was a Clemson fan. They're already locked in at 8-0 in the ACC to play North Carolina next week but if they lose to South Carolina the discussion will shift from a guaranteed berth to the potential to be lept by a 2-loss SEC team.
06. Alabama (9-2) SEC (+1) - Alabama at 9-2 has hit rock bottom. Out of the CFP discussion and eliminated from SEC contention a week ago. You hate to see it... Sarcasm aside - This should have been a 3-loss Alabama team as they were gifted a score at Texas that they didn't deserve. Any other program would kill to have 9-2 be their bottom. Keep a close eye on the Iron Bowl this week as Auburn is fighting for bowl eligibility.
07. LSU (9-2) SEC (+1) - I'm holding LSU ahead of USC still because they've looked like a better team and have a stronger overall record. They're the SEC's best shot at getting 2 teams into the playoffs if they can beat A&M this week and pull off a miracle against Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. That would be the nightmare scenario for the Big-12, ACC, and Pac-12.
08. USC (10-1) P12 (+1) - USC gets their first quality win of the season with a barn burner that game down to the final minutes against UCLA. It's hard to consider USC a true playoff team though with how lucky they've been with turnovers this year. I figured that luck would run out at some point but it hasn't yet. UCLA gave the ball away four times to USC's one. That's the ball game right there. If DTR keeps his composure we're talking about a 9-2 UCLA instead.
09. Tennessee (9-2) SEC (-4) - Tennessee just suffered possibly the worst loss in the history of the CFP era. Nobody with a functioning, non-biased brain believes they're still a true contender after they gave up touchdowns to unranked South Carolina on 9 out of 10 drives. If Washington's loss to ASU was bad, Tennessee's loss to South Carolina was all-time bad because the stakes for them were so high. They'd better right the ship quickly because Vanderbilt has somehow figured things out and is on a 2-game win streak.
10. Washington (9-2) P12 (+1) - Unlike the rest of the country I'm not punishing Washington as much for the ASU loss because it was a one-possession road loss in 90 degree temperatures with four defensive starters out. It also was the second road game in a row after another one-possession road loss to (now 8-3) UCLA. The committee claims they watch the games and take injuries and context into account but clearly they don't because UW has been the lowest 2-loss P5 team in all their rankings. We'll see if they rectify that this week but I doubt it.
11. O****n (9-2) P12 (+1) - O****n has benefitted from a very favorable Pac-12 schedule by getting three of the other contenders at home. Unfortunately for them they as good as they (and the media) think they are. UW was able to stun them in their own house and knock them out of the CFP discussion. Now they have their first true Pac-12 road test of the year against Oregon State this week. We're all rooting for OSU in this one and I think the Beavers can pull it off but O****n's offense is still scary good when Nix is healthy. If Nix still can't run that's bad news for the D**ks.
12. Penn State (9-2) B10 (+1) - Right on schedule beating the bad teams and cruising to 10-2. Maybe Michigan State will come alive this week and play up to their potential to give them a game... but I doubt it.
13. Utah (8-3) P12 (-2) - You generally don't win road games against ranked opponents when your quarterback throws directly at the other team's players. And that's exactly what Cam Rising did all night. This could have been 6 interceptions with the way he played. Utah may want to consider a shakeup of their offensive staff because much like the mid 201X's with Washington they are squandering a great defense with mediocre offense.
14. UCLA (8-3) P12 (N/A) - As DTR goes so goes UCLA. A sixth (or 7th??) year senior should know better than to talk trash before a big rivalry game and should do a better job at keeping his emotions in check. The UCLA offense is great when he's great but he clearly let his emotions get the better of him and it showed in his play on Saturday. UCLA is now out of the Pac-12 title hunt but still has a very slim chance at a NY6 bowl if they take care of Cal. We'll be rooting for Cal to pull the all-time upset to give us a shot at the title against USC. If the same DTR from this past week shows up in Berkley there's a chance.
15. Florida State (8-3) ACC (+2) - They took the SEC route and scheduled a lower level program in the second to last week of the season. Refer to my comments last week about them as nothing changed with their win over Louisiana. They get a crappy Florida team this week at home and should finish 9-3 easily.
16. Notre Dame (8-3) IND (+2) - Blanked Boston College 44-0 and now get a chance to knock USC out of the playoffs with a road game at the Colosseum this week. Which Notre Dame is going to show up? They've been inconsistent all year and will need to bring their full focus if they're going to pull off the upset. Expect the game to be close since USC has lost their star running back.
17. Kansas State (8-3) B12 (+2) - This has been a good season for the Wildcats. They play Kansas at home this week with a berth in the Big-12 championship game on the line to force a rematch with TCU. If they lose and Texas wins they'll be out of the title game though. Kansas hasn't been the same since their QB went down midway through the season but he's back now and getting healthier by the day. I expect this game to be a good one.
18. Oregon State (8-3) P12 (+2) - The Beavers are looking at their first real shot to finish the season in the top-10 in I don't know how many years (but it's a lot). If they can beat the D**ks at home and win their bowl game they have a shot. The line favors O****n but the Beavers have the emotional edge. Look for them to get after Nix early and try to make him uncomfortable in the pocket. If he's still struggling with his ankle this could break OSU's way in a big way. They are a sneakily strong team this season and all three of their losses are to top-15 teams.
19. Tulane (9-2) AAC (+3) - I'm just going to write both of Tulane's and Cincinnati's updates together in one block. Both teams have losses to UCF plus one other loss to (now) unranked teams. Tulane also has a huge win over Kansas State. On paper these teams are evenly matched and should give us a great game this Friday. I think the homefield advantage will be enough to give Cincy the edge. Unfortunately one of them has to lose this game but as long as it isn't a blowout expect them both to be ranked in this same area next week.
20. Ole Miss (8-3) SEC (-6) - That loss to Arkansas was a really bad loss. Troy is actually their best win. Even Liberty was able to beat Arkansas in Fayetteville. They get Mississippi State at home this week and it should be a close one. Neither team has anything to play for at this point except bragging rights and bowl positioning. This will decide 3rd in the SEC West behind Bama and LSU. If the SEC played a 9-game conference schedule I don't think Ole Miss would be ranked.
21. Cincinnati (9-2) AMR (New) - See Tulane above.
22. South Carolina (7-4) SEC (New) - Just going to call out right now that I think the CFP committee is going to rocket South Carolina up to like 19th or 18th place. They'll probably be one spot ahead of Oregon State. They had touchdowns on 9 out of 10 drives against Tennessee and they possessed the ball to run out the clock at the end of both halves. That was about as dominant a performance as any team has had all season. How did they get blown out by Florida last week and then pull this off?
23. North Carolina (9-2) ACC (-7) - Their lucky streak finally broke and they lost a 1-possession game. Zero second half points isn't going to win you a lot of football games. They're still guaranteed to play Clemson for the ACC title but they need to clean some things up quickly or they'll lose to NC State this week too.
24. Texas (7-4) B12 (New) - Blew out Kansas and now they get Baylor this week. Baylor gave TCU hell for 60 minutes and still has a lot of fight left. Will Seven Win Sark still be a thing?
25. Wake Forest (7-4) ACC (New) - Raise your hand if you had Liberty, Florida State, and Syracuse as quality wins before the season? Wake Forest has had a pretty tough schedule. They go on the road to Duke this week (who is also 7-4) in what will be a season defining game.
21. UCF (8-3) AMR - I guess we could have seen this coming after Navy lost 35-32 to Notre Dame. They were in the driver's seat for the American Conference until that loss and now they're going to be the #2 team if they can get a win against 1-10 South Florida. That should be doable so expect them to play the winner of Tulane/Cincinnati.
23. NC State (7-4) ACC - Did you know that Louisville is now 7-4 and has the same record as NC State? The loss makes more sense now. The ACC has 1 good team and 9 decent teams this year (and 4 abysmal). They could easily beat UNC next week and doing so just might nudge them back into my top 25 in the final spot.
24. Oklahoma State (7-4) B12 - They've been all over the map all season. This reminds me of the Sark coached Huskies teams. One week they're on it and the next week they're non-existent.
25. Liberty (8-3) IND - Three 1-possession losses and all three are blown 4th quarter leads. If Liberty could close out games they'd be 11-0 and ranked around 15th.
AAC - 1
ACC - 4
AMR - 1
B10 - 3
B12 - 3
IND - 1
P12 - 6
SEC - 6
Troy (9-2) SUN
South Alabama (9-2) SUN
Coastal Carolina (9-1) SUN
UTSA (9-2) USA
Washington State (7-4) P12
Mississippi State (7-4) SEC