There’s no use asking if you’re entertained at this point. Because of course you are. We expected another crazy college football weekend, and as it always does, college football delivered.
Even Alabama couldn’t shake the upset bug on Saturday. Yes, that Alabama, and that coach, Nick Saban, who’s usually immune to such a thing. Saban coached his 150th game for the Crimson Tide on Saturday and took his 20th loss. Alabama fell to Auburn 26-14 in the 82nd Iron Bowl.
On Friday, No. 2 Miami once again played to its level of competition; the Hurricanes lost to Pittsburgh, and the Panthers were in control from wire-to-wire.
Where does this leave us? Now, that is a hilariously impossible question to answer. Who knows?We’ll do our best. Here’s what we do know: the teams that control their destiny are Auburn, Georgia (they’ll play each other in the SEC title game), Oklahoma, Clemson and Wisconsin. Alabama and Miami aren’t toast, but they’ll likely need some help in order to reach the College Football Playoff. Side note: where Alabama falls will be fascinating. By resume, the Crimson Tide are not a top-four team. Their best win is against Mississippi State. If Alabama is in the top four of Tuesday’s rankings, we’ll know that the committee puts more stock into the eye test than the numbers. This will be an interesting case study.
Anyway — a Wisconsin loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten title game would help outsiders — but the Buckeyes still have a chance, too, after beating Michigan on the road. Keep an eye on J.T. Barrett’s status — he left that game with a knee injury.
Non-ACC teams have to hope that Clemson blows the doors off of Miami in the conference championship game. That would doom the Hurricanes — a close loss probably would too, but not necessarily. If Miami wins close? That’s a nightmare scenario for teams lurking in the shadows. The committee essentially admitted Clemson’s loss to Syracuse isn’t considered as significant as a typical defeat, since Kelly Bryant was injured. If Miami beats Clemson in a squeaker, it’s plausible that both of them get in. The same goes for Auburn and Georgia. Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 schools should root for a lopsided game, one way or another.
All of these teams are cheering hard against Wisconsin and Oklahoma, as well. An SEC and an ACC school will get in. After that, things get messy. Somehow, we have one more week of data, yet the Playoff picture is so, so much less clear than it was seven days ago. Go figure.
Most of those aforementioned lurkers took care of business this weekend…. except for No. 8 Notre Dame, which fell to Stanford 38-20. The Fighting Irish likely weren’t making the Playoff anyway, but with a win and a lot of luck, it was possible. No more. What once looked like a fairy tale season for Notre Dame now seems like a good-but-not-great one.
As conference championship week nears, there are zero locks to make the Playoff. Really.
This is going to be good.