Happy Thanksgiving! A time for food, family and a feast of football! It’s rivalry week, and the last regular weekend on the college football schedule. As we head into week 13 there are conference championship places at stake, as well as College Football Playoff implications across the board. Let’s take a look at the latest CFP rankings, who’s in control, who’s on the outside looking in, and who’s still got a shot.
|1. Georgia (11-0)||6. USC (10-1)||11. Penn State (9-2)||16. Florida State (8-3)||21. Oregon State (8-3)|
|2. Ohio State (11-0)||7. Alabama (9-2)||12. Kansas State (8-3)||17. North Carolina (9-2)||22. UCF (8-3)|
|3. Michigan (11-0)||8. Clemson (10-1)||13. Washington (9-2)||18. UCLA (8-3)||23. Texas (7-4)|
|4. TCU (11-0)||9. Oregon (9-2)||14. Utah (8-3)||19. Tulane (9-2)||24. Cincinnati (9-2)|
|5. LSU (9-2)||10. Tennessee (9-2)||15. Notre Dame (8-3)||20. Ole Miss (8-3)||25. Louisville (7-4)|
Top 4 wobbles
The top 4 teams are as expected. All are undefeated power 5 teams each with a shot at their conference title. Yet all of them had some trouble in week 12. Georgia held Kentucky at arms length throughout the game, but couldn’t pull away on the scoreboard. Ohio State didn’t seal their win until the final 9 seconds against the pesky Maryland Terrapins. The Bulldogs and Buckeyes certainly have things to improve from week 12, but in all honesty neither looked like they weren’t going to win at any point.
On the other hand, Michigan and TCU had real scares. The Wolverines were in a right scrap with Illinois and struggled yet again to score touchdowns. Albeit they were without superstar Blake Corum in the second half, and they did win so kudos for getting over the line – but it was a nailbiter the Michigan fans could have done without!
TCU took their unbeaten record down to the thinnest of wires at Baylor. Needing your kicking team to sprint onto the field and hit the game winning field goal as time expires is the kind of drama we love to see! Unless you’re a Baylor Bear of course, and even Horned Frogs around the world will have hoped for a less nerve-shredding finale.
The field has whittled down to 7 teams who have a realistic shot at making the playoffs. The current top 4 and a strangely placed trailing pack that are bizarrely broken up in the CFP rankings by some teams that don’t belong.
If (when) #1 Georgia beat Georgia Tech they will rubber stamp their place. Even if they lose the SEC title game they won’t be slipping out of the playoff picture.
Rivalry Weekend means The Game is here!
Ohio State and Michigan have the opportunity to seal their spot AND eliminate their most bitter rival when they meet in The Game on Saturday. This is a mouth-watering matchup at the best of times, being arguably the most heated rivalry in college sport. Add in the fact they are ranked #2 and #3 and this game couldn’t be more pivotal.
The Buckeyes are out for revenge after getting schooled last year in the Big House, and are looking for a 10th straight win at home over the Wolverines. Michigan are sweating on the health of Blake Corum. Even as a Buckeye fan, I want to see him play on Saturday – give us the true blockbuster fixture we really want!
Even though TCU are undefeated and sit in 4th spot, they have no room for error. The committee have made it clear through previous weeks that they don’t value the Horned Frogs the same way as other undefeated teams. It feels like the committee will take any excuse they are offered to kick them out, so TCU needs to beat Iowa State and win the Big XII title game to stay in the final four.
LSU are in a strange position. They could lose to Texas A&M this week, dropping to 9-3 and still have a shot at the playoffs. They shouldn’t, but the committee flipping loves them! The Tigers are guaranteed a place in the SEC title game and therefore a win in that game against #1 Georgia, and LSU are probably in. Ridiculous. I hate it, but that’s what I think would happen.
LSU have no place being ranked above USC, but beating Alabama apparently means more than losing to Florida State and getting blown out by Tennessee. The committee have their rose-tinted glasses on when viewing Bama. This is not the dominant Crimson Tide of recent years, they absolutely do not belong at #7.
USC’s matchup with Notre Dame is another really enticing watch this weekend. The Trojans are firing on all cylinders on offense and scoring points for fun. It’s a good job too, because their defense is leakier than a colander! If USC win out and take the PAC-12 championship, that might be the tie breaker over the loser of Ohio State – Michigan.
Even then, USC might need a blowout one way or the other in The Game this week. And even if they get that, USC could be screwed over by this committee because if LSU somehow manages to beat Georgia, then both those SEC teams will be in the playoffs. So a 1 loss conference champion, and that loss was by 1 point in a 42-43 thriller, could miss out because apparently SEC losses are better than non-SEC wins.
Clemson are the final team with a shot at the post-season. They need things to crumble above them, but again would be 12-1 conference champions if they win out. They have a chance, but don’t control their own destiny.