Another week has come and gone, and we now have updated college football playoff rankings. Each week brings new questions and curiosities on the decisions that the committee has made.
For this week, the committee did something that had never been done before, put a non-Power five team into the top four of the rankings. We saw some teams tumble down the rankings due to critical losses and a few teams jump up, having slight chances to make the playoff if things go their way.
These rankings give us an idea of where the committee stands heading into the last few weeks of the season giving way for questions to be answered for this college football season.
Let’s start with the history that was made: Cincinnati finally is ranked within the top four of the playoff. It took a long time, but it finally happened after they blew out 8-2 SMU at home this past weekend. It was the kind of game that the Bearcats needed to show they belonged with the “big” teams and earned them some brownie points with the committee.
Fortunately for Cincinnati, both Oregon and Michigan State lost in destructive ways, granting them a chance to move up. They are sitting in a great spot now with a game against East Carolina this week and then an American title showdown with number 24 ranked Houston. Win both those games and I believe that Cincinnati will make it into the final four of the playoff.
The Bearcats got what they wanted and now it’s time to prove they deserve to stay this highly ranked.
Ohio State jumped Alabama for the number two spot after completely destroying Michigan State at home the other day. It was a dominant performance from start to finish and showed that this Buckeyes team is legit and may be closer to Georgia than people think. The combination of their high-powered offense with a defense that has really come on as of late should scare opposing teams.
They travel to Ann Arbor this weekend for “The Game” with number five ranked Michigan in what looks to be a great rivalry matchup. The winner of this game will go to the Big Ten title game, likely to take on Wisconsin and have a great chance at making the playoff. Michigan State dropped down to 12 after the loss and while they can still play for a nice bowl game, their playoff dreams are done.
Over in the PAC-12, Oregon was the last chance for the conference, and it finally slipped away at the hands of Utah blowing out the Ducks. Oregon is still in play to make the Rose Bowl but for a team that had been ranked so highly all season, their playoff dreams are now dead and that constitutes a disappointing season.
They’ll likely get another shot at Utah in the PAC-12 title game and will try to get some revenge on the Utes for embarrassing them this past weekend.
Now the most intriguing part of these rankings were the placements of both Notre Dame and Oklahoma State. The Cowboys have a matchup in Stillwater against rival Oklahoma this weekend and if they win that, they will be playing for a Big-12 title. Baylor is also alive in the Big-12 title race, sitting ranked at number 8 and would need to win this weekend and have Oklahoma State win for them to play the Cowboys for the conference title.
If Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State, they are in, and we will see a rematch of the Oklahoma rivalry game for the conference title. If Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma and then wins the Big-12, the committee will have a tough discussion on their hands as the Cowboys would have a legit case for a playoff berth.
For Notre Dame, they are the number six ranked team, but without a conference title game, they may fall behind other teams depending how it all shakes out. For them to make the playoff, they’ll likely need Ohio State to win the Big 10, Oklahoma or Baylor to win the Big-12, and either Alabama or Cincinnati to lose a game.
The Fighting Irish still have a fighting chance, but chaos would need to ensue, and I wouldn’t put it past the realm of possibility due to how this season has played out. It’ll be a fun and intriguing the next few weeks and all questions will finally be answered.
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