- For the first time this season, Alabama isn't No. 1 in our top 10. How did the both Tide's and Miami's loss shake up the list and the playoff race?
It was a wild weekend with plenty of fireworks. No. 1 and No. 2 both went down, setting the stage for a fun championship weekend ahead.
1. Oklahoma: Baker Mayfield didn’t start but he was ready to go and OU drilled 7–5 WVU, 59–31. The Sooners big three wins: at OSU, at Oklahoma State and over TCU are the best trio of wins any team has this season. Or at least the best trio of any team not named Auburn.
2. Clemson: Hammering an 8–4 South Carolina team on the road, 34–10, was a nice way to head into the ACC title game. Plus its win over Auburn keeps looking better.
3. Auburn: The Tigers took it to the Tide after thumping Georgia. That’s an impressive double. Another win in the SEC title game all but assures Gus Malzahn’s squad of becoming the first two-loss team to make the playoff.
4. Wisconsin: Paul Chryst’s team had no trouble at Minnesota, pounding the Gophers, 31–0. The Badgers are still undefeated. Their best win is over 9–3 Northwestern to go with a pretty good win over 8–4 Michigan, and over a nine-win FAU team. But they’ll also have the chance to make a bigger statement next week against Ohio State in the Big Ten title game.
5. Alabama: Nick Saban is the greatest college football coach of this generation and, in my opinion, of all time, but I think it’s a stretch to say the Tide should be in the playoff. Not based on their résumé this season. It’s not their fault that a top-five FSU team had a dud of a season after losing QB Deondre Francois in the opener, but the reality is with the 26–14 loss to Auburn Saturday, they just don’t have that much for the committee to hang their hats on. Their best win is over 9–3 LSU. After that it’s against 8–4 Mississippi State, which lost to a massive underdog on Thanksgiving night. It’s true MSU lost QB Nick Fitzgerald in that game, but the Rebels were playing with their backup QB too. The Tide could afford a loss before the playoff, but I think it had to be in the SEC title game after at least beating Auburn on the road.
6. Miami: The Canes stumbled at Pitt. It also didn’t help that their best win, a blowout of Notre Dame, doesn’t carry as much weight as it used to. Their win over 9–3 Virginia Tech, though, is pretty good too. And if they beat a very talented Clemson team next week in the ACC title game, that’d be their new showcase résumé piece.
7. Ohio State: This hasn’t been a great year for Michigan, but beating the Wolverines on the road is still a pretty good win. The Buckeyes also defeated 10-win Penn State and walloped 9–3 Michigan State. They do have two losses, with a bad one in their blowout L at Iowa, but if they can give Wisconsin their first defeat of the season, their résumé seems like it’d be good enough to make the CFP.
8. Georgia: The Dawgs dominated a mediocre Georgia Tech team on the road, 38–7. They have a good (not great) win at Notre Dame and over 8–4 South Carolina, and will get the chance to avenge their recent loss to Auburn next week. If they win that, I’m pretty sure they’ll be in the CFP.
9. UCF: Even if they win the AAC title, I don’t see any path for them into the playoff, but the Knights are quite good. They beat a talented USF team that is 9–2 in arguably the most entertaining game of the year on Friday. Earlier in the year they whipped 10–1 Memphis, and they’ll get those Tigers again next week.
10. Penn State: Maryland was no match in a 66–3 PSU romp. The Nittany Lions' best win is smashing 9–3 Northwestern on the road, 31–7. They also crushed 8–4 Michigan too and won at 7–5 Iowa, however they have two losses and even though they were both on the road to ranked teams and by just a combined four points, they don’t have anything else to springboard them into CFP contention.