That was a college football week for the ages, wasn't it? Eleven ranked teams go down, including eight to unranked or lower-ranked opponents, and the balance of power in college football is ... well, where is it, exactly? Florida State's in the playoff picture, pretty much by default, and from there the rest gets awfully murky.
The good news is that a loss in Week 6 is not a death sentence for championship aspirations, especially with a four-team playoff making the postseason landscape incrementally more permissive of slip-ups.
With that, let's take a peek at three teams that look like they'll be able to survive their Week 6 losses and three that might want to dial down the aspirations for the rest of the year.
Alabama, 4-1 (1-1)
Week 6: No. 3, lost 23-17 to No. 11 Ole Miss
Week 7: No. 7, at Arkansas
If there's any division where one loss doesn't end the world, it's the overloaded SEC West. The plethora of highly ranked teams populating the division suggests the talent level there is obvious to anyone who watches. Going to Ole Miss and losing by only six points is arguably the best loss of any contender, and it's no surprise that Alabama is the highest-ranked one-loss team in America.
The rest of the schedule still has some serious challenges. That little get-together called the Iron Bowl is lurking, and the toughest remaining road game for the Tide is either at LSU or Arkansas. The fact that we can't really tell which should be tougher says plenty.
Alabama's got a good enough defense to beat anybody, quarterback Blake Sims is most certainly Not The Problem, and once the Tide shift roles to accommodate the loss of Kenyan Drake — get well quickly, sir — things should be back on track in Tuscaloosa.
Oklahoma, 4-1 (1-1)
Week 6: No. 4, lost 37-33 to No. 25 TCU
Week 7: No. 11, vs. Texas at Cotton Bowl
Like Alabama, Oklahoma gets the best of both worlds when it comes to the home stretch: games against tough competition, but all at home. Baylor, Oklahoma's chief Big 12 competition, was undoubtedly pleased to see the Sooners drop Saturday's game to TCU, but unless OU loses another game, the road to the Big 12 title still goes through Norman, where Baylor faces Oklahoma on Saturday, Nov. 8. Kansas State and Oklahoma State also come to Oklahoma, while the only road dates left are Iowa State and Texas Tech.
And look, there aren't exactly going to be many games in which Oklahoma gives up two defensive touchdowns.
Nebraska, 5-1 (1-1)
Week 6: No. 19, lost 27-22 to No. 10 Michigan State
Week 8: No. 21, at Northwestern
Yes, Nebraska's margin for error is virtually zero. Yes, Nebraska spent most of the MSU game looking ill-equipped to handle an elite defense. Yes, the Huskers are almost out of the Top 25.
The Huskers' toughest game is now in the books, though, and it was just a five-point loss. The remaining road games (Northwestern, Iowa, Wisconsin) are tough enough to merit mention while still being eminently winnable for a putative playoff contender. With a Heisman hopeful like Ameer Abdullah still toting the rock at an elite level, running the table from here on out is still plausible. If the losses pile up elsewhere around college football, which seems more likely than not, a one-loss Nebraska looks better and better.
Not so good shape
Week 6: No. 18, lost 35-20 to Utah State
Week 7: Unranked, at UCF
BYU was a darkhorse to begin with, but the schedule was set up nicely for an undefeated run akin to Boise State's mid-aughts seasons (or, y'know, the Cougars' 1984 championship-winning campaign). There's no guarantee that going 12-0 would have gotten BYU into the playoff, especially with Texas no longer a high-profile win, but it's a moot point after a 15-point drubbing by Utah State.
Cementing BYU's departure from the picture is the loss of do-everything QB Taysom Hill, who suffered a broken left leg in the game. BYU sputtered without Hill, and that'd be forgivable if Utah State weren't also without star QB Chuckie Keeton. Just a bad, bad loss for a team that's almost out of opportunities to impress committee voters from here on out.
Texas A&M, 5-1 (2-1)
Week 6: No. 6, lost 48-31 to No. 12 Mississippi State
Week 7: No. 14, vs. No. 3 Ole Miss
The Aggies could only skate by in the SEC West for so long with a rookie quarterback and a soft defense, and it caught up to A&M in a big, bad way on Saturday. The game wasn't even as close as the final score indicates. It took two garbage-time TDs for the Aggies to claw within 17.
A&M didn't forget how to play football overnight, but its fundamental problems will remain all year long. And with games against Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, and even offense-happy Mizzou remaining, it's difficult to see a path to 10 wins for the Aggies.
USC, 3-2 (2-1)
Week 6: No. 16, lost 38-34 to Arizona State
Week 7: Unranked, at No. 10 Arizona
The talent level at USC is still ridiculous, but the Trojans' tragicomic collapse against Arizona State all but doomed USC's championship aspirations. The Trojans displayed a jarring lack of defensive fundamentals as the Sun Devils rattled off 20 points (and 243 yards from scrimmage) in their last three drives, including a game-winning Hail Mary during which nobody so much as checked ASU WR Jaelen Strong, who plucked the pass out of the air in front of a crowd of bystanders dressed up as USC's secondary.
USC's still going to ruin some seasons, and goals like a Pac-12 South championship and double-digit wins are still within reach. But goodness, if it's that easy to throw on the Trojans, the Pac-12 is going to be happy to do precisely that in the second half of the season.
Bonus "I have no idea" category
Oregon, 4-1 (1-1)
Week 6: No. 2, lost 31-24 to Arizona
Week 7: No. 12, at No. 18 UCLA
UCLA, 4-1 (1-1)
Week 6: No. 8, lost 30-28 to Utah
Week 7: No. 18, vs. No. 12 Oregon
Lord, where do you even begin with these two teams? The Bruins and Ducks are both as quick-strike as anybody in college football, which means they can get themselves out of holes with terrifying efficiency. At the same time, man, the Bruins dig themselves into those holes way too often, don't they? And it sure seems like the Ducks are trying to get Marcus Mariota killed, aren't they?
There's no telling yet how good the losses to Utah and Arizona are — can you figure how many wins the Utes end up with? — but with each team eating a loss much earlier than anticipated, it's all about avoiding future blemishes in the next two months. And yet someone's coming out of this one at 4-2. Woof.
With Stanford looking painfully average, the default thinking is that Oregon regains its spot atop the Pac-12. That resurgence starts on Saturday. That, or this'll be the signature win UCLA needs to reinsert itself into the discussion. Neither would be a surprise, right? See: no idea.