Welcome back to the sixth installment of Campus Pressbox’s weekly College Football Playoff rankings. As always, rankings from the previous weeks can be found here.
Alabama Crimson Tide (1)
Alabama had a nice, quality 19-point win over Arkansas to start the Crimson Tide’s “October of Hell”. Still on the slate for ‘Bama this month is Tennessee, Texas A&M, and LSU. The Arkansas game should be a foreshadowing of how the rest of the month plays out, but if the Crimson Tide play less than stellar for one minute this month, anyone of those three teams could easily steal a game. The real question is which one of them will. Alabama remains the top pick in just about everyone’s book for the College Football Playoff.
The Ohio State Buckeyes (2)
The Buckeyes handled themselves well in what many, including myself, considered a trap game against the Indiana Hoosiers. The schedule will continue to get more difficult as the Buckeyes move deeper into their Big Ten conference schedule. Madison, Wisconsin awaits this weekend, in what could be the first true test for Ohio State following the blow out in Norman, Oklahoma in week three. Really, it will provide the Buckeyes’ offense a chance to face off against one of the top defenses in the country. The Buckeyes are on the right path for the CFP.
Clemson Tigers (3)
Clemson’s Friday night dismantling of Boston College was missed by most, but the 46-point win was impressive nonetheless. The Eagles simply stood no chance against a team that truly proved itself the week prior against Louisville. And though Dabo Swinney still has some qualms about the Louisville game, the fact of the matter is that Clemson is in the driver’s seat now. If Clemson can get through the Florida State game in two weeks, there may be no stopping the Tigers from walking away with an undefeated record for the second consecutive year.
Washington Huskies (4)
Washington surprised most when beating Stanford by a wide margin, but the surprise was dulled this week as the Huskies put up 70 points against Oregon. None of the games left on Washington’s schedule are push overs, but none of them are necessarily challenges either. And the fact of the matter is that Houston’s loss over the weekend helped solidify the Huskies’ Playoff spot. As long as the Huskies can manage to walk away from the season with one loss or less, they will occupy the final spot in this year’s Playoff.
Michigan Wolverines (5)
Do you like cheap, high quality steak? Because the Wolverines sure do. Michigan beat Rutgers 78-0. Frankly that score tells it all. Everyone has the right to feel bad for Illinois, the next team in the way of the bulldozing Wolverines. Michigan players and fans still only have November 26 circled on their calendars, however. In terms of Playoff hopes, the Ohio State game is all that matters.
Texas A&M Aggies (7)
Despite the fact that the Aggies tried to choke the game away near the end, Texas A&M still wound up beating Tennessee in double overtime. Though many attribute the game to the Volunteers mistakes, the Aggies consistent, solid play should not be overlooked. In terms of Playoff hopes, next weekend’s game against Alabama in Tuscaloosa is an obvious must win for A&M.
Louisville Cardinals (8)
Louisville was off this weekend, but moved up due to Houston being eliminated from the Playoff by Navy. Duke shouldn’t provide the Cardinals too much of a challenge Friday night, but it certainly is a trap game. As for now, unless things change pretty drastically, the Louisville Cardinals are outsiders and need a lot to change to achieve a Playoff berth.
Literally so many teams lost this past weekend that Wisconsin, on a bye, immediately following a loss to Michigan, snuck its way back into the top 10 behind Louisville. I say snuck in, but there are two more teams below the Badgers, emphasizing how weird this past weekend was. Wisconsin probably will follow last week’s pattern and be the next No. 8 team to fall out of the top 10, as the Badgers have to beat Ohio State to stay in any type of Playoff contention. Frankly, what the Badgers truly need, more than anything else right now, is some offense. Without it, they may get trampled on Saturday.
Nebraska, without any impressive wins, is a top 10 team. The Cornhuskers beat Oregon by three points. Yes, the same Oregon squad that Washington beat by 49 points. That really emphasizes the difference in abilities of the teams at the top of this list opposed to the teams at the bottom. Nebraska really needs to ramp up its play to have any chance against teams like Ohio State. Any hope that Nebraska has at a Playoff berth will surely be squashed on the Cornhuskers’ trip to Columbus, Ohio to take on the Buckeyes the first weekend of November, if not before.
Baylor, just like Nebraska, has had no “impressive” victories this season. Despite that fact, the Bears are the current favorite to win the Big 12. However, the coaching staff’s current behavior could widen the gap between the administration and the team, potentially causing some locker room incidents. If it manages to win the conference with 1 loss or less, Baylor could be a factor in the Playoff race.
Dropouts and Honorable Mentions
Houston, following its loss to Navy, has officially been eliminated from the Playoff. Unless something drastic happens, the Cougars’ place on the list (or even the honorable mentions) will not exist. Tennessee and Miami both dropped from the top 10 following losses, but both are still worthy of honorable mentions this week. The final honorable mention this week goes to the undefeated Boise St. Broncos.
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