Week 9 didn’t look like the most glamorous, but the final weekend before the College Football Playoff committee’s initial rankings did its part to clear some brush. With 15 of 20 active AP-ranked teams on the road and almost everybody in that group facing decent challenges, we had a whole bunch of second-tier teams going down.
Eight AP-ranked teams lost to unranked teams, as a matter of fact, in addition to the three big games.
Below, we’re keeping track of each top-25 game’s impact, both before and after final scores, mostly paying attention to CFP committee business, not highlights and stuff.
Remember the things the committee has mostly demonstrated it rewards: wins over final top-25 teams, wins over bowl teams, road wins, dominant wins, weirdly excusable losses, being Alabama, and not being a mid-major. It does not care what your opponent’s AP ranking was at kickoff.
For the new polls and computer rankings after Week 9, go over here. Committee rankings won’t be out until Tuesday night.
Games in which the winning team will likely have a pretty high-quality Week 9 victory by season’s end. Or: really meaningful upsets.
- No. 7 Georgia (7-1) 36, No. 9 Florida (6-2) 17: The Dawgs are very likely the SEC East champ, and the Gators still have a good chance at a New Year’s Six bowl.
- No. 14 Washington State (7-1) 41, No. 24 Stanford (5-3) 38: The Cougs are officially your Pac-12 North favorite (and probably thus your Pac-12 favorite .......... and also the Pac-12’s only Playoff hope), but still have to get past Washington, which does sound easier these days.
- No. 17 Penn State (6-2) 30, No. 18 Iowa (6-2) 24: This game could’ve been for a New Year’s Six spot, once you take a look at how few 10-win teams we might have this season.
Games in which the winner will probably have beaten a decent bowl team. I’m being somewhat generous to a few of these unranked teams, as far as chances of making a bowl go.
- No. 2 Clemson (8-0) 59, Florida State (4-4) 10: I don’t yet have FSU finishing .500, but the Noles have improved since their disastrous start, so this could be a decent win. Mainly, Clemson gave its upcoming No. 2 ranking a hard stamp and extends the nation’s (by far) longest streak of consecutive top-four rankings.
- Oklahoma State (5-3) 38, No. 6 Texas (6-2) 35: The Longhorns were quite overrated entering this game, but at least the Big 12 race is good and fun now.
- No. 12 Kentucky (7-1) 15, Missouri (4-4) 14: UK stole one at the buzzer, and Georgia ain’t won the SEC East just yet.
- No. 13 West Virginia (6-1) 58, Baylor (4-4) 14: WVU bounces back nicely and looks like the best bet to face Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship.
- Cal (5-3) 12, No. 15 Washington (6-3) 10: Remember when Auburn-Washington was the most crucial game of Week 1? Uhh, me neither.
- Mississippi State (5-3) 28, No. 16 Texas A&M (5-3) 13: Does this result mean everyone gets to be mad about the lower half of the committee’s top 25 being littered with SEC West teams? A tradition unlike any other.
- Arizona (4-5) 44, No. 19 Oregon (5-3) 15: Oregon was pretty inflated, but nobody saw THAT coming. Zona still might not make a bowl.
- Northwestern (5-3) 31, No. 20 Wisconsin (5-3) 17: Hi, the Wildcats will enter November with a real chance to win the Big Ten West. They currently lead outright.
- Syracuse (6-2) 51, No. 22 NC State (5-2) 41: Cuse is bowling and really can aim for anything within the ACC’s non-NY6 bowl list.
Important for the Group of 5 race
Since the committee’s essentially showed non-power teams aren’t eligible for the Playoff, let’s have a separate section for the race to be the top-ranked mid-major champ.
- No. 10 UCF: Idle
- Houston (7-1) 57, No. 21 USF (7-1) 36: USF was a pretender as an unbeaten, but still controls its destiny regardless.
- Cincinnati (7-1) 26, SMU (3-5) 20 in OT
- Georgia Southern (7-1) 34, No. 25 Appalachian State (5-2) 14: The Eagles are now the Sun Belt’s last NY6 hope (theoretically, but bear with me), a year after going 2-10.
- Buffalo: Idle
- Fresno State (7-1) 50, Hawaii (6-4) 20: S&P+ LOVED Fresno heading into this game.
- Nevada (5-4) 28, San Diego State (6-2) 24
- UAB (7-1) 19, UTEP (0-8) 0
- Utah State (7-1) 61, New Mexico (3-5) 19
Probably not important
The committee tries not to care about your wins over teams that finish with bad records, though you can get some credit for winning on the road or really laying it to folks. So for the ranked teams here: just don’t lose!
- No. 1 Alabama: Idle! Free day! The cruel reign takes an intermission!
- No. 4 LSU: Idle
- No. 3 Notre Dame (8-0) 44, Navy (2-6) 22
- No. 5 Michigan: Idle
- No. 8 Oklahoma (7-1) 51, Kansas State (3-5) 14
- No. 11 Ohio State: Idle
- No. 23 Utah (6-2) 41, UCLA (2-6) 10