Rivalry Week is here. It’s also the final week of the regular season and the top five teams in the College Football Playoff rankings face challenges from their biggest rivals.
With a week to go until the final rankings, keep up to date with the latest for the playoff contenders.
Dinich projects the committee’s top six
In today’s latest snapshot, here’s a projection of the committee’s top six after Ohio State’s epic win over Michigan. The fact that the Wolverines lost such a close game, in double overtime on the road to the nation’s No. 2 team, keeps them in the top four … for now.
Ohio State shakes things up with classic win
Ohio State and Michigan delivered an instant classic, but the Buckeyes survived in double overtime, and they should remain in the committee’s top four this week and in the conversation for the final ranking on Dec. 4. Ohio State still needs Penn State to lose to Michigan State in order to win the East, and that game is currently in progress, but even if the Buckeyes don’t win their division, their resume is still strong enough to make a case as a top-four team. Ohio State now has four wins against teams ranked in the committee’s top 25. The question is how far the committee drops Michigan this week. They clearly like the Wolverines, who have three wins against top-10 opponents (Penn State, Wisconsin and Colorado). The fact that it was a close loss on the road to their No. 2 team will all be weighed into their decision, and they have called Washington’s strength of schedule into question.
UW kicks off Rivalry Week with CFP statement
No. 5 Washington made a strong statement with a 45-17 win over No. 23 Washington State in the Apple Cup, and the Huskies will get another excellent opportunity to impress the College Football Playoff selection committee in the Pac-12 title game on Friday against either Colorado or USC, either of which will be highly ranked.
If the Huskies win the Pac-12 at 12-1 with a strong finish, it’s difficult to imagine the committee would bypass them in favor of a two-loss team or a team that didn’t win its conference title. Further, there is the PR issue that the committee wants to avoid: Leaving the Pac-12 out of the CFP two consecutive years.. – Ted Miller
Click here for more on Washington’s big Apple Cup win.
Is Western Michigan in?
The highest-ranked Group of 5 champion is guaranteed a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl, and after No. 19 Boise State’s loss to Air Force, undefeated and No. 21-ranked Western Michigan should be the committee’s top-ranked Group of 5 team this week after its 55-35 win over Toledo. No. 20 Houston also lost on Friday, to Memphis. Western Michigan will play Ohio for the first time this season in the MAC championship game at Ford Field in Detroit. If the Broncos win, they should be headed to the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.
Playoff impact games
Friday, Nov. 25
Iowa 40, No. 16 Nebraska 10
Saturday, Nov. 26
No. 13 Auburn at No. 1 Alabama, 3:30 ET
Notre Dame at No. 12 USC, 3:30 ET (ABC/ESPN App)
Michigan State at No. 7 Penn State, 3:30 ET (ESPN/ESPN App)
Minnesota at No. 6 Wisconsin, 3:30 ET
No. 22 Utah at No. 9 Colorado, 7:30 ET
South Carolina at No. 4 Clemson, 7:30 ET (ESPN/ESPN App)
If you’re a fan of one of these teams on the outside of the playoff picture, looking in, here’s who you should be rooting for the rest of the day.
Oklahoma: South Carolina, Penn State
The two-loss Big 12 teams didn’t get any help from Washington State, which was routed by Washington. A South Carolina upset over one-loss Clemson would be nice, but what the Sooners could really use is Penn State winning the Big Ten, so they would be compared with a fellow two-loss conference champ.
Oklahoma State: South Carolina, Penn State
The Cowboys are looking at the same scenarios as the Sooners, even if coach Mike Gundy thinks his team’s record should be 10-1 considering the controversial finish to the Central Michigan game.
USC: Utah, then pure chaos
Before anything else, USC needs Utah to beat Colorado, so the Trojans have a chance to win the Pac-12 title. They needed things to go really crazy, and so far, it hasn’t. Washington handled Washington State, so USC waits to watch if South Carolina can knock off Clemson and hope for a ton of Big Ten upsets. Even that might not be enough, but with a second win over the Huskies in the Pac-12 title game, it could get interesting.
Brewing Big Ten controversy
There appears to be a caveat in the College Football Playoff selection committee’s protocol that could keep Ohio State in the top four even if Penn State — which beat the Buckeyes — goes on to win the Big Ten.
According to the protocol, “strength of schedule, head-to-head competition and championships won must be specifically applied as tie-breakers between teams that look similar.”
Here’s the catch: As of right now, the committee doesn’t think No. 2 Ohio State and No. 7 Penn State “look similar.”
“Does the selection committee see a small margin of separation this week between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 7 Penn State? We do not,” selection committee chair Kirby Hocutt told reporters on Tuesday evening.
For more, click here.