- The Big Ten has made every Playoff so far.
- The Big Ten just went from three contenders to one, if we define "contenders" as "undefeated/one-loss potential Power 5 champs."
- Oh, and the one (Wisconsin) has yet to play anybody and is now comfortably behind Miami in the order, with no hope of matching Miami's full strength of schedule.
Things aren't excellent for the B1G after Ohio State went to Iowa's Top-10 Graveyard and suffered the ugliest loss of Urban Meyer's career, just as Penn State was losing a seven-hour debable at Michigan State. For weeks, this has looked like our first truly weird Playoff situation, and in Week 10, it got weirder -- entirely at the Big Ten's expense.
Still, with only eight "contenders" elsewhere, who have four losses to share among themselves via games yet to be played, no P5 conference is really out of it yet. And if UW goes 13-0, UW's in anyway.
Below, let’s keep track of Week 10’s ranked games in a way similar to the Playoff committee’s perspective. Win projections are via S&P+.
Games between teams likely to finish in the committee’s final top 25, regardless of Week 10 result, meaning the winner gains a major quality W. Also, games in which the result can really swing a contender’s resume elsewhere.
- No. 2 Alabama (9-0) 24, No. 19 LSU (6-3) 10: LSU still has a shot at 9-3. For now, this is the Tide’s best win of the year.
- No. 5 Oklahoma (8-1) 62, No. 11 Oklahoma State (7-2) 52: OU is sitting real pretty, despite its great win at Ohio State being soiled by Iowa, and has TCU on deck. The committee will continue complaining about the Sooners’ defense, though.
- No. 4 Clemson (8-1) 38, No. 20 NC State (6-3) 31: One of Notre Dame’s advantages over Clemson entering Week 10 was its three ranked wins, compared to Clemson’s two. Well, Clemson might’ve just knocked one of ND’s ranked wins out of the top 25, and did it on the road. NC State projects around 8-4, so it’s a solid win for both either way. (This one came down to the wire, which the committee might credit NC State for.)
- Iowa (6-3) 55, No. 6 Ohio State (7-2) 24: Not a typo. I don’t know. The Big Ten’s Playoff hopes are in extreme danger.
- No. 24 Michigan State (7-2) 27, No. 7 Penn State (7-2) 24: Penn State’s out of the Playoff race, and MSU controls its Big Ten destiny. Next week, Michigan State-Ohio State is likely for the Big Ten East title.
- No. 10 Miami (8-0) 28, No. 13 Virginia Tech (7-2) 10: Puts some hearty meat on the Canes’ bones, after four straight close wins over lesser teams. The Canes are close to seizing their first-ever ACC division title.
- No. 17 USC (8-2) 49, No. 22 Arizona (6-3) 35: USC now controls the Pac-12 South, with the magic number of one.
Should have some impact
Games between teams likely to finish .500-plus, regardless of Week 10 result, meaning the winner gains a solid W.
- No. 1 Georgia (9-0) 24, South Carolina (6-3) 10: It’s barely November, and it’s already assured that beating the Gamecocks would count as a quality W, maybe even over an 8-4 team. Who saw that coming? Oh, also, UGA just clinched the SEC East.
- No. 3 Notre Dame (8-1) 48, Wake Forest (5-4) 37: Likely an Irish win over a 7-5 team. Notre Dame’s attention should be elsewhere this weekend.
- No. 8 TCU (8-1) 24, Texas (4-5) 7: Texas is probably still a bowl team.
- No. 9 Wisconsin (9-0) 45, Indiana (3-6) 17: UW’s lean resume ain’t getting any better this week, though I still have Indiana sneaking into 6-6.
- No. 12 Washington (8-1) 38, Oregon (5-5) 3: Oregon is probably still a bowl team.
- No. 14 Auburn (7-2) 42, Texas A&M (5-4) 27: If any two-loss team has a Playoff chance, it’s Auburn, with a nice early ranking and chances to host Georgia and Alabama. Winning at Texas A&M doesn’t add a lot, though the Aggies will still reach six wins.
- West Virginia (6-3) 20, No. 15 Iowa State (6-3) 16: The Big 12 race gets a little bit clearer.
- No. 25 Washington State (8-2) 24, No. 21 Stanford (6-3) 21: WSU still gets a crack at Washington for the division title.
The non-power New Year’s Six race
Let’s track undefeated and one-loss teams, though several two-loss teams linger. The top mid-major champ earns an automatic NY6 bowl bid. A Playoff trip from this group seems impossible.
- No. 18 UCF (8-0) 31, SMU (6-3) 24: UCF starts a little lower in the rankings than I’d like, but it doesn’t matter. The Knights’ New Year’s chances are win-and-in. This was another solid win, and on the road.
- No. 23 Memphis (8-1) 41, Tulsa (2-8) 14: Nothing to gain.
- Toledo (8-1) 27, NIU (6-3) 17: Decent W. The MAC isn’t out of the NY6 race yet. Say somebody besides Memphis or UCF wins the AAC (stranger things ...), and the Rockets win out. OK, the MAC is almost out of the NY6 race.
- USF (8-1) 37, UConn (3-6) 20: Likely nothing to gain.
- No. 16 Mississippi State (7-2) 34, UMass (2-7) 23: Nothing to gain, and this was a bit closer than it looked.