College Football 2016 – Week 11 (a.k.a. Bloody Saturday) Review
#2, #3 and #4 all lose for the first time in 31 years. Two more Top 10 teams lost (#8 and #9). If you are ranking this weekend based on how big the upsets for the Top 5 were, it ranks 4th all-time according to FiveThirtyEight. Forget what we knew before Saturday about who would make the Playoff, like the Big 12 being left for dead. About the only certainty at this point is Alabama as the #1 seed. I’ll go straight to my projected rankings for tonight and thoughts on each team’s chances.
1. Alabama: Like I said, the closes thing to etched in stone. You keep waiting for someone to catch them on an off day, but it just doesn’t happen. There might be only two, maybe three teams in the country capable of beating them, but that’s a discussion for December.
2. Ohio State: How odd is it that the Buckeyes were probably, or should have been, rooting for Michigan to pull it out against Iowa? Now they no longer control their destiny to win the Big Ten East, despite probably being the best team in the conference. Could they be the first non-conference champion to get in the Playoff (first since Alabama in 2011 if you count the BCS)? If Penn State takes care of business, that’s what they have to hope for.
3. Michigan: Remember that weekend I mentioned in 1985 where the 2-4 teams lost. Michigan was the #2 team that day. They lost at Iowa (who were #1). On a last-second FG. Their QB was….Jim Harbaugh. Moving on. Unlike their rival the Wolverines still control their destiny. But they will have to do it without QB Wilton Speight (broken collarbone) at least this weekend against Indiana, and perhaps the following week at OSU.
4. Louisville: This Thursday’s matchup at Houston has lost its luster, through no fault of Louisville’s own, and a win might not give the Cardinals the boost they need to stay in the Top 4 when Clemson (likely) wins the ACC. And they could be leaped by another team currently below them without that 13th game. Still, the committee might be generous given their only loss was at Clemson, by 6 points.
5. Clemson: I’m not nearly as worried about Clemson’s situation as many prognosticators seem to be. They have no margin for error now, but win three very winnable games (@ Wake, vs S. Car, and VT or UNC) and I don’t see them being left out, particularly with one of the teams currently above them guaranteed to lose another game.
6. Wisconsin: If the Badgers win the Big Ten West (highly likely), defeat their East opponent in the CCG (not out of the question at all), can they get in the Playoff as a 2-loss team? You betcha.
7. Washington: They were the only one of the Top 5s that lost to a ranked opponent. But it was at home, by two scores, and their margin for error was already smallest thanks to a weak schedule. They do have some opportunities ahead to impress. Washington St could crack the Top 20 by the time they play the Apple Cup, and the Huskies’ Pac 12 South opponent in the CCG game (assuming they beat Wazzou) should be ranked too (either Colorado, Utah or USC). I think they’ll need help though.
8. Penn State: So yeah, they only need to beat Michigan St (3-7) and Rutgers (2-8), and then hope Ohio State beats Michigan, to win the Big Ten East. But with only a win in the CCG looking good for them from here on, can they jump into the Top 4? How odd would it be if Penn State wins the Big Ten but gets left out while OSU is in the Playoff? Factor in that Penn State also won the head-to-head. Crazy.
9. Oklahoma: I really don’t want to put them here, even though the Sooners are playing well and the committee’s rankings last week pretty much dictate that they’ll very likely land in the Top 10. Their best win of the season did come Saturday, but it was against a fading Baylor team. They do have a good shot to impress the next two weeks with games @WVU and vs OK St, both of whom should be near or in the Top 10.
10. Oklahoma State: Man, how bad is that officials’ #%@!-up at the end of the Central Michigan game looking now? In a just world, the Cowboys would be 9-1, and with a nice win over WVU on their resume they’d probably be in the Top 10 already, with a season-ending Bedlam Game against the Sooners as one final chance to impress the committee and rise. Sucks.
Week 12 Preview
Hopefully we all just learned not to turn up our noses at what looks like a lame schedule. Still no big matchups this week either. Plus it’s Cupcake Week in the SEC. (c’mon!) But with only one SEC team likely to be in this week’s Top 10 (who’s the deepest conference now?) that hardly seems to matter as much this time. Here are some games that stand out, even if they don’t all have CFP impact.
Louisville at Houston, 8 ET, ESPN
Florida at LSU, 1 ET, SECN
Washington St at Colorado, 3:30 ET, FOX
Oklahoma at West Virginia, 8 ET, ABC