1. Clemson. Fumbled three times and nearly got that transitive loss to The Citadel in a 37-32 win over South Carolina, but didn't, and will be cut an appropriate amount of slack because this is rivalry week.
This excuse should be used more often in life.
I apologize for my lateness. But I REALLY hate the guy I was talking to at the gas station. We got into a fistfight and ruined both of our days! We put our gas station fight on the calendar every year, just to ruin one entire day in the same miserable way. He broke my eye socket. I'm going home for the day now.
All Clemson has to do now is beat UNC in the ACC Championship. UNC scored 35 points in the first quarter against NC State. Clemson probably doesn't want to assume things about UNC or the ACC Championship, an event Wake Forest once won without scoring a touchdown. This is a way of not only saying that no game is a given, but that downright satanic things can happen to you in this specific game.
1a. This photo of Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp.
when the chipotle hits pic.twitter.com/za3ODfLSdM— HOLIDAY APPRECIATOR (@edsbs) November 28, 2015
2. Oklahoma. Moves up this week on the basis of beating the hide off Oklahoma State, 58-23, in a rivalry game. Is this more impressive than beating Auburn, you ask? Yes, both because Oklahoma State is a far superior team, and because Oklahoma played this game in the great ice pan stretching between Tulsa and Amarillo while Alabama played in beautiful, 72-degree weather.
Is this weather prejudice? No. Is this merely noting that it's harder to blow someone out when you can't feel your fingers, and that precision might be even more difficult to achieve in inclement weather? Mostly, yes. Is it also just kind of goggling at Oklahoma clocking its second straight game more than 330 rushing yards and seventh straight more than 230? Absolutely. (Is this also completely irrelevant, because all that matters is the top four, anyway? Also absolutely.)
3. Alabama. Registered another controlled, only slightly tedious dismantling against Auburn, winning 29-13 and erasing most of the fun in the immediate vicinity.
That fun-free zone includes Lane Kiffin, the offensive coordinator who can't even be the buttwad teen son the whole state of Alabama could bond over anymore, since Nick Saban's beaten him into just running Derrick Henry 46 times in a game (for 271 yards in this one) and behaving like another dull cog in a great football Subway franchise. They're one of the four best teams in the nation right now, and their bread tastes terrible no matter how many people say it's good. Eat fresh, Roll Tide, whatever; you're in, dismal and wildly successful football sandwich shop of the masses.
P.S. This is unfair. Alabama quarterback Jake Coker had to run around and make a wild TD pass, and Muschamp got so angry he got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, after which he still had to be restrained by coaches on the sideline. Those two things were fun and good.
4. Iowa. 28-20 victors over Nebraska, a score that might seem close if you did not watch. Mike Riley is not scared, and that's supposedly a great thing in a coach, until you see up close and personal just how terrifying this can be, i.e., your quarterback heaving pick after pick into the hands of a stunned defense.
America's Team moves on to the Big Ten Championship, where it will face Michigan State for a Playoff slot and the right to continue defying every statistical indicator of relative or absolute football quality. Support America's Team in this endeavor, because math's for people who hate freedom.
TEAMS WITH ONE LOSS WHO GET IN WITH A VICTORY IN A CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Michigan State. Let their center get a carry at running back in a 55-16 beatdown of Penn State. He promptly glided out of the backfield, stiffarmed a man, and then scored like he'd done it a hundred times before. They will score on you with 300-pound men and throw their hands up (and maybe not allow them to stay there, but you get the idea). This is the best evidence that the Spartans are a terrifying team right now, but there's a lot to pick from in their body of work.
North Carolina. Owners of NC State's estate after a 45-34 win. If the Tar Heels beat Clemson, they're probably in via a.) beating undefeated Clemson, and b.) everyone forgetting whom they lost to on the first night of the season, and shhh, it's a secret, let's just OK IT WAS SOUTH CAROLINA. VERY BAD SOUTH CAROLINA. We're terrible at this game.
TEAMS WITH ONE LOSS THAT MIGHT GET IN IF UM WELL IF STUFF GETS REALLY WEIRD I DUNNO JUST GO WITH IT
Ohio State. Scenario: Alabama loses to Florida, Stanford loses to USC, Iowa wins over Michigan State, and the committee fills the fourth slot with the Buckeyes out of desperation. This is far-fetched, but if Florida scores more than three points against Alabama, we'll all already be well past the point of desperation as a nation, world, and galaxy.
I can't tell the committee how to live. You just write their name down if you want to, because if we're seriously considering Stanford as a Playoff participant after next week, at least some things have gone 2007-level crazy. But it's a possibility, especially if Stanford rolls in the Pac-12 title game against USC.
TEAMS WE DO NOT HAVE TO TALK ABOUT ANYMORE
Notre Dame. Lost its second game, at Stanford. You already knew a bunch of Stanford students would outperform Notre Dame on a test, but add this to the data set anyway.
Florida. Didn't get shutout by Florida State, because the Gators did score a safety in a 27-2 loss. It's technically not a repossession of your whole car if you rip off the sideview mirror while the tow truck takes it away.
Baylor. Lost, 28-21, in overtime to TCU in a freezing rainstorm with its third-string QB, who was listed as a wide receiver to start the season. This sport is so, so dumb sometimes.