Welcome back to the 5th hebdomadal publication of the Campus Pressbox 2016 Playoff Rankings. As always, the previous rankings can be found here.
Alabama Crimson Tide (1)
Week five brought what may have been the least impressive victory thus far for the Crimson Tide. Alabama only managed to beat Kentucky by 28 points…so yeah, that’s its worst win this season. ‘Bama still remains the top team in the country, but with three top 20 teams on the docket (plus LSU) before the end of the month, Paul Finebaum’s analysis may be spot on.
Ohio State Buckeyes (2)
Honestly, I wish I could have titled Ohio State’s No. 2 Ranking as No. 1B, as the Buckeyes are not quite at the level of the Crimson Tide, Ohio State’s season up until now has been worthy of more than the No. 2 spot that the Buckeyes continue to hold. This weekend, the Buckeyes host Indiana, who continues to improve, culminating with a home upset of Michigan State last week. Ohio State cannot afford to be caught off-guard, as the Hoosiers will certainly be looking for the upset.
Clemson Tigers (4)
This was the college football world’s reaction to Clemson’s victory over Louisville Saturday night. Though it wasn’t a flawless victory, it was the one the Tigers needed. The team that so many of us had picked to do well finally came back to full form. Clemson may finally be the team we all expected it to be, and I am predicting Clemson to come out and drub Boston College this weekend. The path is now clear for the Tigers to waltz into the College Football Playoffs.
Washington Huskies (10)
The King is dead, long live the King! Washington dethroned Stanford (and especially Christian McCaffrey) on Saturday. The Huskies proved how dominant its defense is when it shut down the single most impressive player in the NCAA. If Washington keeps up its winning ways, and doesn’t lose more than a single game, it would be hard for anyone else to nab the 4th spot in the CFP. That is, of course, if the Huskies can survive staring at these for three hours on Saturday
Michigan Wolverines (6)
And somehow, despite a win over a top 10 Wisconsin Badgers team, Michigan is still on the outside looking in at the rest of the Playoff teams. Most of this has to do with the fact that the Wolverines have been playing second fiddle all season in the Big Ten, as Ohio State has refused to give up the reigns. It’s very safe to say, unless chaos ensues, since Wisconsin, Michigan State and Iowa have all been seemingly eliminated from contention, that the Wolverines and Buckeyes clash the last week of the season will determine which Big Ten school makes it to the Playoff. Terrell, you can handle this one.
Houston Cougars (5)
Ahh, the poor Houston Cougars. The now forgotten child of the Playoff race. After gaining everyone’s attention in week one, monster win after monster win hasn’t been enough to stop everyone from ignoring the sixth-ranked Cougars once again. If Houston wants to side step its way into the Playoff, a lot needs to happen. The Cougars also cannot afford to be fighting one another. For now, Houston continues to be a long shot.
Texas A&M Aggies (8)
The Aggies suffered slightly from “September Sumlin” on the first day of October, as A&M struggled a bit more than it should have against South Carolina. In a crowded SEC West, it is still hard to see anyone other than Alabama winning. The Aggies also need to do its best to fight off the injury bug that has started to plague the team. However, a strong win against Tennessee this week would certainly improve the morale going into the make or break game for the Aggies, a visit to Tuscaloosa.
Louisville Cardinals (3)
I’m going to be honest. I’m still sitting here yelling at my screen anytime I try to re-watch the final play (courtesy of SB Nation) of the Cardinals loss at Clemson. I don’t necessarily blame James Quick, but come on, really? JUST TAKE ANOTHER STEP, FOR GOODNESS SAKE. …sorry about that. Anyway, Louisville still honestly has a chance at the Playoffs. Just like a lot of teams on this list, the Cardinals do need a good number of breaks, but if Louisville can win in Houston week 11, there may still be a chance for (still) Heisman frontrunner Lamar Jackson and his Cardinals.
So the Volunteers are officially this years version of the 2013 Auburn Tigers, right? If that’s true, and the wacky ending to the Georgia game seems to suggest that’s the case, the Volunteers may have an actual chance of getting out of the Alabama game in two weeks without a loss. Though that certainly would seem a miracle, after the Georgia game, I feel that I’ve lost my right to doubt the Vols.
The U is back!…pending the next three weeks of football. Many, including myself, certainly want to believe that the Mark Richt lead Hurricanes are finally back to full force, but until its matchups against Florida State, North Carolina and Virginia Tech, it is not a sure thing for the ‘Canes. This next stretch is certainly the most important of Mark Richt’s young tenure at the U. Right now, Miami is a growing tropical disturbance, time will tell if this one will become a hurricane.
Drop Outs & Honorable Mentions
Wisconsin and Stanford unsurprisingly and unceremoniously dropped off this weeks list following losses to Michigan and Washington respectively. Miami fought off the aforementioned Badgers, as well as Nebraska and Baylor, in order to grab the No. 10 spot this week. All four teams, including the Hurricanes, are volatile, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a new team in at No. 10 next week.