An instantaneous survey of five teams in the best position for the College Football Playoff's four spots at this very moment, plus the biggest threats looming for each. Be advised: these have nothing to do with the Top 25 polls. If you get mad about this, you will be pointed to the previous sentence.
1. FLORIDA STATE
Beat Notre Dame in a 31-27 thriller, confirming much of what you already suspected about the Seminoles: that they can be outgained by almost 150 yards, allow the opponent to dominate much of the game, and lay low until the fourth quarter, when their quarterback is capable of ripping off, like, 15 of 16 completions with ease for a last-ditch win we'll all decide was the result of their inherent winner-ness. Or something like that.
They are undefeated, beat the best team on their schedule, and are still undefeated. Flaws and bizarre Jimbo Fisher postgame speeches and all, the Seminoles are in the Playoff until they're not.
Threats: Louisville next week on the road is a huge flashing alarm light for the Noles, particularly when you remember that the Cardinals field the nation's statistically most efficient defense. And after that, there's Virginia, which only beats Florida State once in a blue moon when it would be really, really funny to do so. Right now, it would be really, really funny if UVA beat Florida State. Watch your ass, Jimbo.
2. OLE MISS
It's fun to kvetch about how Bo Wallace and the offense will eventually (in theory) let Ole Miss down, but let us as a response refer you to this number: zero yards. That is Tennessee's rushing total from the Rebels' 34-3 win over the Volunteers, a team that is bad at running the ball, yes, but THAT'S STILL ZERO YARDS. IN A COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME.
If Bo Wallace struggles at quarterback, just put Robert Nkemdiche back there for a series and see who dares to take even a halfhearted run at him.
Threats: A still-burly stretch run through LSU next, then Auburn and Mississippi State. The SEC West remains a deeply unkind place.
3. MISSISSIPPI STATE
Wisely elected not to play football this week.
Threats: Next week at Kentucky was a popular upset pick prior to the Wildcats losing by 38 to LSU, a team Mississippi State absolutely hammered for much of their game. That leaves a road trip to Alabama and the Egg Bowl in Oxford as the Bulldogs' last significant tests prior to a potential SEC title game against [REJECTED FOOTBALL PARTS FROM SEC EAST].
4. NOTRE DAME
You have to have a one-loss team in here, unless you want Marshall. Notre Dame gets the nod, thanks to coming one botched offensive play call away from beating the Seminoles in Tallahassee.
Notre Dame's not thrilling, but they are balanced, productive, and won't make you look too bad in a one-game Playoff situation. You go on the road and lose by a thin margin and two overzealous blocks in the endzone, you don't deserve to be dropped entirely from the picture.
Now that faith has been expressed towards the Irish, watch them lose to Northwestern.
Threats: A stupid blindside loss to Northwestern, though Arizona State on November 8 in Tempe seems like a deeply hazardous game for anyone.
BUBBLE TEAMS THAT DID JUST FINE AND COULD ARGUABLY BE IN THE FOUR SPOT
Oregon, whose 45-20 beating of Washington is impressive.
Alabama, whose 59-0 Franchione Special-ing of Texas A&M is frightening because maybe Bama is that good, or maybe Texas A&M is just that adrift and on fire in the water.
Michigan State, whose 56-17 win over Indiana was done while visibly yawning.
Ohio State, a team whose title hopes likely hinge on everyone forgetting it lost to a mediocre Virginia Tech team.
Georgia, which is basically Ohio State but with "South Carolina" subbed for the Hokies.
Auburn, TCU, Nebraska, Kansas State, Utah, and like a thousand other teams, including undefeated and hopelessly weak-scheduled Marshall.
THIS SOUNDS LIKE EVERYTHING IS STILL WIDE OPEN AND TOTALLY UNDETERMINED
Pretty much. Pack your asbestos speedo, because all of this will catch fire and you're just going to have to swim through the flames with the rest of us.
BUBBLE TEAMS THAT LOST THIS WEEK AND COULD STILL BOUNCE BACK NICELY
Baylor, now saddled by offensive line injuries and coming off a 41-27 loss on the road to West Virginia.
DID YOU KNOW DUKE IS 6-1 AND STILL TECHNICALLY ELIGIBLE FOR THE PLAYOFF?
We know. We'll never believe it, but we know.