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How Week 11 changed the College Football Playoff rankings picture

Notes on not just final scores, but how each team's overall resume shifted in the committee's eyes.

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Below, notes on what each ranked team is up to, plus a list of teams who could jump up as spots become available. The Playoff committee will update its top 25 Tuesday night.

Prettying up the resume

No. 2 Alabama, 31-6 W vs. No. 17 Mississippi State: Nobody outside of Alabama will like hearing this, but the committee could talk itself into the Tide at No. 1 now. Bama entered with six wins over teams with winning records, and now that MSU falls to 7-3, that list grows. Compare the total obliteration here to Clemson's worrisome win at lowly Syracuse, and ... it's a thing to watch for. (That's a crude stat, but a committee-certified one. Chairman Jeff Long mentions "wins over teams .500 or better" every now and then.)

No. 3 Ohio State, 28-3 W at Illinois: Not prettying up the resume much, but the Illini are still 5-5, so this counts as a dominant road win over a noteworthy team. Virginia Tech becoming a decent win is also good.

No. 12 Oklahoma, 44-34 W at No. 6 Baylor: One of the Big 12's two best Playoff hopes is now a team with a loss to Texas. And with what's going on in the Pac-12, there's a good chance the Big 12 champ's in with one loss, even if that loss is to Texas. OU's got the out-of-conference schedule, with a win over Tennessee, and has been excellent in almost every game but one. (BTW ... what if a shot at the Playoff comes down to Bedlam? Should you stock up on canned goods now?)

No. 16 Florida State, 34-17 W vs. NC State: The Wolfpack are an extremely silent 6-4, and stomping them (despite turning the ball over *five* times) improves things somewhat. And that ugly win over USF is suddenly a quality win, against all odds.

No. 23 North Carolina, 59-21 W vs. Miami: Completely dunking on a team with a winning record for the second week in a row (Duke last week)? The Heels have already been underrated by the committee twice this year, so let's see if the third time's the charm.

No. 25 Houston, 35-34 W vs. No. 21 Memphis: Say hi to your new favorite for the New Year's bowl autobid. Unless it's Navy. They play in two weeks.

Holding steady, more or less

No. 1 Clemson, 37-27 W at Syracuse: Uglier and more treacherous than the score might look, but unlikely to make a whole lot of difference by itself. UNC just about duplicating Clemson's most violent win (Miami) might not help.

No. 4 Notre Dame, 28-7 W vs. Wake Forest: An 82-7 win could've moved the needle. Temple losing costs the Irish a ranked win, but maybe Pitt or USC moves up.

No. 5 Iowa, 40-35 W vs. Minnesota: The Hawkeyes are 10-0, and your team probably is not.

No. 11 Florida, 24-14 W vs. South Carolina: Pulling away late is better than being pulled under. The Gators nearly doubled SC's yardage, 394-201. Mizzou beating BYU also fortifies the whole SEC East a little bit.

No. 13 Michigan State, 24-7 W vs. Maryland: The kind of win the Spartans should've been racking up all along. That's the service the Terps provide. And Oregon's likely back to being a ranked win now. Up next: Ohio State.

No. 15 TCU, 23-17 W vs. Kansas: This is bad, and would've been the biggest Vegas upset in college football history if KU had pulled it off (47 points), but the committee indicated both last year and this year that it gives teams the benefit of the doubt in injury situations, and the Frogs were without QB Trevone Boykin for much of this gamein addition to their many other injuries.

No. 20 Navy, 55-14 W vs. SMU: Cranking a lot of points on SMU is nothing special, but holding SMU to only a few points is pretty cool. Navy's QB breaking the FBS career touchdowns record might make people want to watch this team more, but it shouldn't chance anything in the committee's eyes.

No. 25 Wisconsin: Wisely not playing football this weekend.


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Not great!

No. 8 Oklahoma State, 35-31 W at Iowa State: Trailing most of the game against a bad team likely affirmed the thoughts of those who successfully lobbied for undefeated OSU to be ranked below three one-loss teams. But an OSU title chase didn't end in Ames this time, so things are already better than 2011.

No. 14 Michigan, 48-41 2OT W at Indiana: The Hoosiers do this kind of thing every week and should probably be much better than 4-6, so you and I can think this is no big deal, but we aren't in charge here. Utah losing also isn't helpful.

No. 18 Northwestern, 21-14 W vs. Purdue: There are worse things than playing the 2-8 Boilermakers pretty even, such as losing to them. Stanford's loss means the Wildcats no longer have a top-10 win, though.

Very bad

No. 6 Baylor, 44-34 L vs. No. 12 Oklahoma: The Bears won't fall out of range of a New Year's spot, and the Playoff is still a remote hope. Gonna be find quality wins on this schedule without this one, though.

No. 7 Stanford, 38-36 L vs. Oregon: Pssssst, the Ducks are now 7-3 and 5-2 in the Pac-12. This result meant the Pac-12's title hopes came down to Utah, and then ...

(No. 9 LSU, 31-14 L vs. Arkansas: This is just what the Hogs, do y'all. It's #Novembert.)

... No. 10 Utah, 37-30 2OT L at Arizona: The Pac-12's basically out of the Playoff now.

Probably gone

No. 17 Mississippi State, 31-6 L vs. No. 2 Alabama: "Probably," because losing pretty badly at the No. 2 team is about what you'd expect of a No. 25-ish team, right? The committee doesn't tend to punish teams for expected losses, but the thing here is that this was a total hammering.

No. 19 UCLA, 31-27 L vs. Washington State: The AP Poll will probably do something like swap Wazzu in for the Bruins, as if Wazzu didn't lose to an FCS team way back, but the committee has a longer memory. I think.

No. 21 Memphis, 35-34 L at No. 24 Houston: However, this member of the AAC's top four shouldn't be considered far out of the rankings.

No. 22 Temple, 44-23 L at USF: Same.

Hey, how about some unranked teams with chances to move up? Okay

  • Arkansas, 6-4 after beating No. 9 LSU 31-14
  • Bowling Green, 8-2 after beating Western Michigan 41-27
  • Georgia, 7-3 after beating Auburn 20-13
  • Oregon, 7-3 after beating No. 7 Stanford 38-36
  • Pitt, 7-3 after beating Duke 31-13
  • Toledo, 8-1 after beating Central Michigan 28-23
  • USC, 7-3 after beating Colorado 27-24
  • Washington State, 7-3 after beating No. 19 UCLA 31-27

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