Stock Up: Beamerville, South Carolina
The city of Columbia may soon very well be known as Beamerville, with head coach Shane Beamer continuing to deliver on his promise of bring South Carolina back into the main picture of the college football world. Following a program-first victory over Texas A&M, the Gamecocks now boast wins over A&M and Kentucky with only two losses on the season to national number one Georgia and a great Arkansas team. For the first time in four years, the Gamecocks are back in the AP Poll at 25. South Carolina is favored in both of their next two games against Missouri and Vanderbilt. The end of their season will be their true test, with a three-game gauntlet against the likes of Florida, Tennessee, and Clemson looming.
TCU and the Big 12
With TCU taking down Kansas State and disaster in other conferences, the Big 12 is sitting pretty in the potential playoff outlook. While still only ranked seventh in the AP Poll, it would be hard to argue not including the undefeated Big 12 champion in the postseason. With Baylor and Texas still on the schedule (as well as potentially the Big 12 Championship), TCU has some obstacles to overcome. Boasting wins over ninth-ranked Oklahoma State and 22 Kansas State in back-to-back weeks, TCU looks like they may be the first team not named Oklahoma to make the playoffs.
Stock Down: Ole Miss
Coming into week eight, Ole Miss stood undefeated and was pressing the college football playoff picture. They still needed to get by Alabama, but that does not matter anymore after losing to LSU. With Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and now LSU all above them in the grand scheme of the SEC, this one loss has pretty much ended their season. It’s crazy to think you can write off a 7-1 team with their only loss going to another ranked team, but that is the reality of the juggernaut SEC. Lane Kiffin could salvage his own personal season with a win over Alabama, beating his old boss Nick Saban and guaranteeing for only the second time ever that Alabama will not be in the four-team playoffs. A playoff appearance would be nice, but a win over Bama would be great too.
Texas A&M Booster Club
Once a highly regarded team with CFB Playoff aspirations, Texas A&M’s fall from grace has been everything but pleasant. An early season loss to Applachian State stung enough, but the current three-game skid has fans calling for blood. Sitting at 3-4, Jimbo Fisher has his seat warmer on high power, but his $85,950,000 buyout definitely has team boosters on the edge of their seats. While some might ask why Fisher himself is not seeing his stock dropping, he is in a win-win situation. Either you finish the season strong and have a great year next year, winning the love and affection of College Station, or you or you walk away with an almost 86 million dollar payday. Following the Aggies first ever loss to South Carolina, Fisher needs to play a game of Would You Rather.
PAC-12 Playoff Hopes and Dreams (Again)
It has happened AGAIN. A week after Utah ended USC’s undefeated season, UCLA could not shake Oregon and dropped their first of the year. With losses across the board, USC is most likely the best shot the Pac-12 has at returning to the CFB Playoffs for the first time since 2016-17. Every year feels like armageddon in the Pac-12, with plenty of great teams (Oregon, USC, UCLA, and Utah this year) all dropping one pivotal game that shoots any chance at the playoffs into the sun.
Clemson AND Syracuse (And the entire ACC)
You may ask how the number five team in the country beating their major competition and the only other undefeated team in their conferences makes bad things happen to their whole conference. Well, the answer to that question is to just watch the game. Syracuse hanging on would give the ACC a chance. Instead, Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagelelei was benched for freshman Cade Klubnik and the comeback was on. There was no passing dominance whatsoever from Clemson, but Will Shipley and the running back room showed up when it mattered. It was still a very ugly game, with neither team looking like they could ultimately hang with teams like Georgia and Ohio State. While the committee might put an undefeated ACC champion Clemson team in, it would not be deserved from what they have shown so far.