It wouldn’t be a week in college football without a game-changing upset, right?
FULL RANKINGS: Week 13 AP Poll
On Thursday night, Houston defeated Louisville with ease, all but sealing the deal on the Cardinals’ Playoff hopes. Louisville was (and is) a really fun team that’s been magnificent all season long, but the Cardinals’ loss is another program’s treasure.
Welcome to the top five, Wisconsin Badgers. One of the more surprising stories of the season, UW is likely poised to represent the Big Ten West in the conference title game – and the Badgers probably would have jumped Louisville anyway had each squad run the table.
Now, it’s inevitable: win out, and Wisconsin is in. The same is true of Penn State. Ohio State-Michigan serves as a de facto elimination game, and somehow, with one week left in the regular season, the Big Ten is still wide open. Perhaps that’s because it boasts three AP top-five teams for the first time since 1960.
Elsewhere, Oklahoma turned in an impressive performance in the Morgantown snow Saturday night against West Virginia, and the Sooners are absolutely rampaging through the Big 12. OU is undefeated in conference play and has reeled off seven wins in a row after an embarrassing Week 3 loss to Ohio State.
All season long, it’s been en vogue to suggest that the Big 12 will be left out of the College Football Playoff. The conference is still a longshot to send a team to the semifinals, but as the top dominoes continue to fall and Baker Mayfield looks more and more like a legitimate Heisman contender, it’s getting tougher to ignore the Sooners.A path is (ever so slightly) opening for Oklahoma. If Washington loses and the Sooners take care of business against Oklahoma State, the Big 12 champion should jump the Pac-12 champion. Ohio State and Michigan are in the top three now, but after next week, one will fall out.
From there, the Sooners would need to jump either Penn State or Wisconsin. In order for Bob Stoops’ squad to do that, it would most likely need Michigan to beat Ohio State and win the Big Ten title. However, that creates a separate conundrum. The Buckeyes defeated the Sooners head-to-head, so would the committee really send a two-loss Oklahoma to the festivities over a two-loss Ohio State?
It’s tough to say. As the old adage goes, it’s better to lose early than it is to lose late; the Sooners have that going for them. Either way, given where OU sat in Week 3, it’s remarkable that we’re even having this discussion. That’s college football for you.
Moving on down the poll, USC is rising quickly. The Trojans are now ranked at No. 12, and a Pac-12 title is in reach. Same for Colorado, which is ranked ninth. Are the Buffaloes the least-talked about top-10 team ever? Major props go to Mike MacIntyre and that entire program – It will be interesting to see just how high the Buffs can rise.
As the season gets closer and closer to the end, it feels like we should have a cleaner Playoff picture, right?
Not so much in 2016. Eight teams still have a reasonable chance to vie for the national championship; these last two weeks are going to be special. Savor every last minute, because we’re in for a long offseason.