This was just about as chaotic a weekend as we have seen this season. The Bedlam Game between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State was essentially a playoff eliminator as Oklahoma outlasted Oklahoma State. Ohio State (who many were saying belonged in the playoff) was completely embarrassed by Iowa 55-24. Penn State still suffering from their loss to Ohio State found a way to loose to Michigan State. At this point in the season I feel comfortable in saying that there is no way that the Big Ten will be represented in the playoff if Wisconsin picks up a loss. Army defeated Navy 21-0 without throwing one single pass (it is not that they did not complete a pass, they did not even throw one).
As chaotic as this past week was, this coming week has a chance to be even more chaotic. Notre Dame and Miami play and likely whoever looses the game is eliminated from the playoff, Alabama has to take on a resurgent Mississippi State, Wisconsin takes on an upset minded Iowa, Oklahoma hosts TCU (they both lost to Iowa State for their only loss), and Georgia takes on Auburn. It is entirely possible but not likely that by the end of this coming weekend the entire top of the rankings could be completely destroyed.
Destruction weekend? We shall see.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (9-0)
Alabama had a much tougher fight from LSU than most, including me, thought they would. The game was never fully in doubt and now Alabama goes to the land of the Cowbell to face a resurgent Mississippi State team.
Last week: Defeated LSU 24-10
Up next: at Mississippi State
2. Notre Dame Fighting Irish(8-1)
Notre Dame escaped the upset bug against a much inferior Wake Forest team. Now they have to immediately turn their attention to Miami. This should be a great game. Lose and Notre Dame is eliminated from the playoff.
Last week: Defeated Wake Forest 48-37
Up next: at Playoff #4 Miami
3. Wisconsin Badgers (8-0)
Wisconsin has played no one this season and the final in their game against Indiana does not show just how close it actually was. Now they host an Iowa team that absolutely destroyed Ohio State. They have to hope that Iowa is still hungover from that win to avoid an upset in Madison. Loose and they are also eliminated from the playoff. In fact, if they loose the Big Ten will not have a representative in the playoff at all.
Last week: Defeated Indiana 45-17
Up next: at home against Iowa
4. Miami Hurricanes (8-0)
There were people, yes including me, that thought Virginia Tech would knock off Miami. Whatever issues Miami had been facing before this game they were able to put behind them as they absolutely dominated Virginia Tech from the word go. This week, they host #2 Playoff Notre Dame. Whoever loses this game will more than likely be eliminated from playoff consideration.
Last week: Defeated Virginia Tech 28-10
Up next: at home against #2 Playoff Notre Dame
Next Two Up
There is a simple reason why I have 8-1 Oklahoma ranked over 9-0 Georgia. It happens to be the same reason why the so-called experts believe Wisconsin will not even smell the playoffs, even if they finish the season undefeated and Big Ten Champs. Look at their schedule. Oklahoma has beaten two teams ranked in the top 10 at the time they played at their house. Yes, Georgia beat Notre Dame at home, by 1 but when you look at the rest of their schedule that is it. They have no other marquee wins to date. The SEC East, that Georgia clinched on Saturday, is just god-awful. That division alone should keep Georgia out of the playoffs.
1. Oklahoma (8-1)
I said last week that the Bedlam Game would be high scoring, I even privately said that the final would 45-40 (though I did not predict a winner). That prediction was too low. The only quarter that saw any defense was the third as neither team put any points on the board until 3 minutes left in the quarter when Oklahoma kicked a field goal. When you break it down, you do need to give some credit to the OU defense in the second half. They managed to hold a team that had scored 38 points in the first half to 14 4th quarter points. Baker Mayfield definitely put his mark on the Heisman with this game.
Oklahoma hosts TCU this week at home. If they recover from the post Bedlam hangover and beat TCU they will be in the playoff next week.
Last week: Defeated Oklahoma State 62-52
Up next: at home against #3 TCU
2. Georgia (9-0)
As I stated above you really cannot look at Georgia's schedule and really be that impressed. Outside of Notre Dame their schedule has been incredibly weak, thanks to the SEC LEast. A win this week against #18 Auburn would certainly help, but for me they have to beat Alabama in the SEC Championship game to have any chance of making the playoff.
Last week: defeated South Carolina 24-10
Up next: at #18 Auburn
Right after giving Iowa State a big boost after beating TCU at home, they managed to lay an egg against West Virginia. This has been their season. Beat the teams they are not supposed to beat (Oklahoma and TCU) lose to the teams they are not suppose to lose to (Texas, West Virginia). The biggest winner in this week's shake-up is Washington and the Pac-12.
Teams falling out of the top 20 are: Iowa State, Northern Illinois, SMU, Stanford, and NC State. New teams to the top 20 are: Michigan, USC, Auburn, Boise State, and Washington State
3. TCU(8-1)(up 2): Defeated Texas 24-7; up next: at #1 Oklahoma
4. Clemson(8-1)(up 3): Defeated NC State 38-31; up next: at home against Florida State
5. Washington(8-1)(up 6): Defeated Oregon 38-3; up next: at Stanford
6. Central Florida(8-0)(up 2): Defeated SMU 31-24; up next: at home against Connecticut
7. Oklahoma St(7-2)(down 1): Lost to #1 Oklahoma 62-52; up next: at Iowa St
8. Memphis(8-1)(up 4): Defeated Tulsa 41-14; up next: Bye
9. Toledo(8-1)(up 4): Defeated Northern Illinois 27-17; up next: at Ohio (Wednesday 11/8)
10. Michigan St(7-2)(up 6): Defeated #13 Penn St 27-24; up next: at #14 Ohio State
11. Army(7-2)(up 3): Defeated Air Force 21-0; up next: at home against Duke
12. South Florida(8-2)(up 3): Defeated Connecticut 37-20; up next: Bye
13. Penn State(7-2)(down 9): Lost to #10 Michigan St 27-24; up next: at home against Rutgers
14. Ohio State(7-2)(down 11): Lost to Iowa 55-24; up next: at home against #10 Michigan St
15. Michigan(7-2)(unranked): Defeated Minnesota 33-10; up next: at Maryland
16. Virginia Tech(7-2)down 7): Lost to #4 Playoff Miami 28-10; up next: at Georgia Tech
17. USC(8-2)(unranked): Defeated Arizona 49-35; up next: at home against Colorado
18. Auburn(7-2)(unranked): Defeated Texas A&M 42-27; up next: at home against #2 Georgia
19. Boise St(7-2)(unranked): Defeated Nevada 41-14; up next: at Colorado St
20. Washington St(8-2)(unranked): Defeated Stanford 24-21; up next: at Utah
Bowl and Playoff Projection
Nothing changes for the playoffs but there was some movement in the New Year's Six. I do not actually see it happening but as of now I have two non-Power 5 schools (South Florida and Memphis) playing in those bowls. Most of the rest of the bowls actually stayed the same. I did fix the Taxslayer Bowl. Last week I had a Big Ten team position there, but this season it is going to be an ACC team.
January 1st, 5 PM
#2 Notre Dame vs #3 Wisconsin
January 1st, 8:45 PM
#1 Alabama vs #4 Miami
New Year's Six
December 29th, 8:30 PM
#1 Oklahoma vs #6 Central Florida
December 30th, 4 PM
#3 TCU vs #5 Washington
December 30th, 8 PM
#4 Clemson vs #10 Michigan St
January 1st, 12:30 PM
#8 Memphis vs #2 Georgia
Rest of the Bowls
New Orleans Bowl
Arkansas State vs Marshall
Tulane vs Appalachian St
Las Vegas Bowl
Boise St vs Arizona St
New Mexico Bowl
Florida International vs Wyoming
Ohio vs Georgia St
Boca Raton Bowl
Connecticut vs Florida Atlantic
SMU vs Louisiana-Monroe
Houston vs North Texas
UAB vs Akron
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Northern Illinois vs San Diego St
Ole Miss vs South Florida
Armed Forces Bowl
Army vs Southern Miss
Dollar General Bowl
Toledo vs Troy
Temple vs Fresno St
Heart of Dallas Bowl
Texas Tech vs Maryland
Quick Lane Bowl
Rutgers vs Florida St
Kansas St vs Utah
Arkansas vs Pittsburgh
Northwestern vs Wake Forest
Foster Farms Bowl
Nebraska vs Washington St
Iowa St vs Kentucky
Navy vs Syracuse
Camping World Bowl
West Virginia vs Virginia Tech
Oklahoma St vs USC
Stanford vs Ohio St
Texas A&M vs Boston College
Arizona vs Georgia Tech
Music City Bowl
LSU vs Iowa
Louisiana vs Colorado St
Mississippi St vs Virginia
Texas vs Florida
Michigan vs South Carolina
Auburn vs North Carolina St
Game of the Week
It is hard to settle on just one game of the week; Notre Dame vs Miami, Alabama vs Mississippi State, Wisconsin vs Iowa, Georgia vs Auburn, TCU vs Oklahoma but I am going to go with:
Notre Dame vs Miami
This is an old rivalry from the 80s that is still talked about today. It cooled up when first Notre Dame hit the skids, followed by Miami but here we are in 2017, both teams in the playoff. Let's do this!
The "We Both Got Beat by Iowa State" Bowl
TCU vs Oklahoma
This game decides a lot but at the same time nothing. The team that wins will be 1st in the Big 12 but both teams still have two more games after that and potentially will meet up again in the Big 12 Championship game. The team that wins also will more than likely find themselves in the playoff, while the team that loses will more than likely (though no completely) be eliminated from playoff consideration.
Worst of the Week
Arkansas 29, Coastal Carolina 28
I hate to keep piling on Arkansas but when is enough going to be enough. This was lowest attended game I have seen in Fayetteville since at least the 90s. Wally Hall said in his years covering Arkansas, but I think he has put a mental block for the entire decade of the 90s (not that I blame him). Arkansas trailed for most of the game, mostly by double digits. Arkansas State (an in state Division 1 team that Arkansas refuses to play) beat CCU earlier in the season 51-14. This is CCUs first full season at the Bowl Subdivision level. Those within the program and those cheering on the program want Hog fans to be excited after the win. There is nothing to be excited about right now in Fayetteville. It is time to stop drinking the Kool-Aid and change coaches. Brett Bielema had five years to make Arkansas competitive, he has not. There were two decent seasons in there, but it is time to move on.