What a week eh? I hear there were some big games. Only three teams didn't budge in my top-25. Two of them are pretty self explanatory but one of them I do legitimately feel bad about (K-State - there just isn't enough to move them ahead of some of this week's losers). The biggest movers and shakers this week though came from the Group of 5 conferences! Three Power-5 teams dropped and that cleared the way for three 10-2 Go5 teams to move in.
01. Georgia (12-0) SEC (N/A) - ESPN is pushing some weird narrative about how Michigan has the best win in CFP this year and has a case for being the #1 team but come on... One game does not a season make. Georgia still has the best resume and has looked like the best team. Unlike several of their SEC comrades they have played a 10 Power-5 schedule with non-conference games against O****n and Georgia Tech. Michigan has played 9 Power-5 teams and had a complete joke of a non-conference schedule. Georgia is the clear choice for #1. Don't let ESPN convince you otherwise.
02. TCU (12-0) B12 (+1) - So why do I have TCU second? Well TCU has played in 6 true road games to Michigan's 4. They both have wins over 2 ranked teams. TCU has 9 wins over bowl eligible teams while Michigan only has 6. The only advantages that Michigan has over TCU is average margin of victory and average ranking of ranked opponents. TCU just barely edges Michigan for the 2nd spot.
03. Michigan (12-0) B10 (+1) - I'll admit I was one of many people expecting Ohio State to roll in this one. ESPN is right about one thing - This is currently the best win among any CFP ranked team; it's just not the best resume. They get a chance to build on it with the Big-10 title matchup against Perdue next week. Depending upon how TCU plays that may be enough to edge them into the 2 spot.
04. USC (11-1) P12 (+4) - Before we talk about USC we should talk about Pac-12 officiating. It's been absolutely horrendous this season and it's affected a lot of the conference race. UW had a lot of calls go against them at UCLA, USC had a ton go against them against Utah, Utah has had calls go against them in multiple games, and you get the point... So back to USC - Were it not for an extremely bullshit unnecessary roughness penalty in their game against Utah they would be 12-0 right now (and, funny enough, UW would be playing them for the conference - but I digress). Yes their defense is suspect but that's kind of the name of the game in the Pac-12 this year. They have one of the 4 best offenses in the country which gives them a chance in any game they play. They're 3-1 against ranked teams, should be 4-0, and have a chance to avenge that loss in Vegas this week. There is absolutely no way the CFP committee leaves them out if they win the Pac-12.
05. Ohio State (11-1) B10 (-3) - Raise your hand if you saw that coming? Anyone? No one? I thought so. Ohio State has looked mostly untouchable all year and Michigan just shattered that image. Every part of their program looked like it had a flaw of some sort whether it was coaching, QB play, running backs, offensive philosophy, defensive philosophy... you name it. They're still one of the top 5 teams in the country but they're the clear 2nd place in the Big-10. The way that game ended should be enough to hold them out of the CFP unless one or more of the top-4 lose. There's a chance Alabama jumps them in the official CFP rankings on Tuesday.
06. Alabama (10-2) SEC (N/A) - This isn't the Alabama of the past decade but they're still CFP worthy. They easily dispatched Auburn in the Iron Bowl to finish 10-2. They won't play for the SEC title but if 2 or more of the top 4 teams lose their conference title game expect Alabama to become the first 2-loss team in the playoff.
07. Tennessee (10-2) SEC (+2) - I'll admit I was hesitant to hold them up here at 7 because of how awful that South Carolina loss looked but at the end of the day they still have significantly stronger wins than all the 2-loss teams below them.
08. Clemson (10-2) ACC (-3) - I had a really good write up here and somehow the UI ate it. C'est la vie... Clemson was knocked out of CFP contention by South Carolina this week and is now playing for the ACC title and bragging rights. They've played to the level of all their competition all season so I expect the game against North Carolina to be evenly matched. They might even lose it?
09. Washington (10-2) P12 (+1) - Our defense is struggling; we all know this. But our offense can hang with anyone. That's enough for 9th. Sadly we don't get to play for the Pac-12 title (which I think is massive bullshit, pardon my French) because it would have been a really great matchup. I have us ahead of Penn State because we have more quality wins than them. Only bowl season results will have a chance at changing that.
10. Penn State (10-2) B10 (+2) - Struggled a lot more with MSU than the final score indicates. They scheduled Auburn so you can't say they didn't try to build a tough schedule this year but it just didn't work out unfortunately. The only two CFP ranked teams on their schedule were big losses. Perdue may sneak into the rankings at 24 or 25 this week and give them a top-25 win which would help their case a lot. The committee has had them above us in every ranking so I don't expect that to change. If Ohio State somehow gets into the CFP and USC remains in this will be our potential Rose Bowl opponent and we'll get to solve the debate I've been having with myself in my rankings all season. That should be fun, ya?
11. Utah (9-3) P12 (+2) - They let Colorado score 21 points so we should drop them in the rankings shouldn't we? I kid. They get to play USC in the conference title game and they should be sending us and the Beavers thank you cards for that. I think this should have gone to UW but this is how things go - The Pac-12 makes a rule change and the first team to suffer from it is always us. We'll be cheering for USC to beat them but not by too much so they stay ranked afterwards.
12. LSU (9-3) SEC (-5) - Can we all stop worrying about LSU in the playoff now? Root for Georgia to blast them out of existence with like a 77-0 score or something.
13. Florida State (9-3) ACC (+2) - I bet someone out here is going to catch that Florida State beat LSU in week 1 and wonder why I have FSU beneath them. It's pretty simple - LSU is the only quality win FSU has.
14. Oregon State (9-3) P12 (+4) - Their schedule/season has been almost an exact mirror of FSUs. Instead of winning against their toughest opponent in their opener they did it in their closer. They lost three games to the other good teams on their schedule and beat one good team. FSU gets the nod here because LSU is a tougher out than O****n but it's a razor thin margin. If OSU had a kicker and even a mediocre quarterback they'd be playing for the conference title this week.
15. O****n (9-3) P12 (-4) - You hate to see it. :)
16. UCLA (9-3) P12 (-2) - Hoo boy... They actually almost lost to Cal which I don't think any of us expected. If you watched that game you may have noticed that DTR is the focal point of UCLA's offense but isn't the leader/captain that a great team needs. If he had developed better leadership maturity this team could have really been something. Nothing was more pronounced than when Charbonnet scored and instead of celebrating with the team DTR was running around solo taunting the Cal crowd.
17. Kansas State (9-3) B12 (N/A) - They got past Kansas fairly easily. After the first quarter the game was never a full on route but it was never close enough to trouble them much either. Next up is the Big-12 title game against TCU. That's a winnable game for them and would be a big problem for UW's hopes at a NY6 bowl. They still have zero wins over CFP ranked teams and will be hoping to change that this week.
18. Tulane (10-2) AAC (+1) - Their close win over Cincinnati will send them to the AAC championship game against UCF. If they win they'll be the Go5 rep in the NY6 bowls. Lose and that likely goes to Troy, South Alabama, or UTSA. Yes I have them slightly below Kansas State even though they beat K-State on the road. If that game is played again today I doubt they win it.
19. South Carolina (8-4) SEC (+4) - Back-to-back huge wins for South Carolina should seal their place in the final CFP rankings around the 18-22 range. They're clicking at the right time and Beamer-ball is back! The losses to Florida and Mizzou make even less sense now. This could have easily been a 10 win team.
20. Texas (8-4) B12 (+4) - Successfully avoided the 7-win Sark curse by getting to 8 wins. Unfortunately they'll come up 1-win shy of a rematch with TCU for the Big-12 title. I'm not a psychic but I have to think that people won't be too pleased with Sark in Austin. The blowout over Oklahoma will buy him another year but the inconstistencies and lack of a conference title may send him packing next season if he can't produce the elite results that Texas expects. Texas is a program that can take off like a rocket with the right coach. I don't think Sark is it.
21. Notre Dame (8-4) IND (-5) - Fun stat - Notre Dame is 4-0 against the ACC and 1-2 against the Pac-12. Had Cal not gotten screwed by the refs on the most blatant blown call of the year (offsides called with nobody offsides) they could have been 0-3. Notre Dame managed to beat the ACC #1 and #12 teams and lost to the Pac-12 #1 and #11 teams! That's a pretty good summary of their season.
22. Cincinnati (9-3) AMR (-1) - As promised I didn't punish them much for a close loss to Tulane. I'm sure the committee wil drop them but they shouldn't and that's just an example of how reactionary the CFB world is to single week results.
23. Troy (10-2) SUN (New) - I admit I don't know much about these next three teams. Troy has a win over South Alabama and nothing much else to talk about. But 10-2 is hard to do so here they are at 23rd.
24. South Alabama (10-2) SUN (New) - South Alabama has a loss to Troy and a 1-point road loss to UCLA but nothing much else to talk about. Again, 10-2 is hard to achieve so here they are.
25. UTSA (10-2) USA (New) - UTSA has no strong wins and a couple losses to decent programs (Houston and Texas) and, like before, reached 10-2.
There are arguably some 4 loss Power-5 teams (and 3-loss UNC) who could be ranked above this but I think their losses don't balance out their wins enough to jump over any 10 win Go5 teams anymore.
20. Ole Miss (8-4) SEC - In a battle of coaches that are almost universally hated for their personalities (although I kinda like Kiffin his trolling is pretty funny and CFB could use more personalities like him) Ole Miss managed to lose to Mike Lealch and Mississippi State. The game was a great one and both teams looked evenly matched. Both finish 8-4 and just outside of my rankings.
23. North Carolina (9-3) ACC - This is right about where I expected UNC to be. I think they're capable of pulling off the upset in the ACC title game over Clemson but it'll take a herculean effort.
25. Wake Forest (7-5) ACC - Tough way to end the season for Wake Forest with a 3-point loss to Duke. They finish with 3 losses to 8+ win teams by one possession and lost 4 of 5 down the stretch. Things went off the rails hard for them with the loss to Louisville.
AAC - 2
ACC - 2
B10 - 3
B12 - 3
IND - 1
P12 - 6
SEC - 5
SUN - 2
USA - 1
UCF (9-3) AMR
NC State (8-4) ACC
Mississippi State (8-4) SEC