Today was one of those days. Those random Saturdays in college football where the top teams struggle and can’t avoid stubbing their toes with crushing losses. These are season-defining weeks and change the conversation as prevailing wisdom is shoved into a blender.
Four of the top eight teams lost today. LSU stomped No. 2 Georgia in Baton Rouge. Iowa State disposed of No. 6 West Virginia. Oregon outlasted No. 7 Washington in overtime. Michigan State found a way to beat No. 8 Penn State in Happy Valley.
Chaos was not in short supply. Half the top eight losing on the same day actually happened two years ago, as cracked ESPN analyst Chris Fallica pointed out.
Two of the four teams who lost today (Penn State and Washington) will not be making the playoff. West Virginia’s hope now seems slim, but the Mountaineers do have Texas and Oklahoma remaining on the schedule, plus the Big 12 championship game. Georgia figures to be in if they win out and capture the SEC by beating either Alabama or LSU in the title game.
The rankings will, of course, be turned upside-down. Here’s a pure guess at how things may shake out.
- Alabama. Obvious reasons.
- Ohio State. Struggled against Minnesota and TCU win loses a little luster, but can’t see voters elevating an idle Clemson over the Buckeyes.
- Clemson. Bye works as a de facto win in weeks like these.
- Notre Dame. Another sleepy effort against Pitt, but a win is a win and the Irish remain unbeaten.
- LSU. A massive jump. Overall resume takes a hit with Auburn and Miami wins losing shine over time, but scored arguably the biggest win of the year on Saturday.
- Georgia. Shouldn’t be penalized too much for losing in Death Valley.
- Michigan. Loss in South Bend hardly a black mark. Destruction of Wisconsin finally a big win for Harbaugh.
- Texas. Very streaky and were overvalued a bit last week. Perhaps saner minds prevail.
- Oklahoma. Just as you can’t rank Georgia ahead of LSU, you can’t put Oklahoma above Texas.
- UCF. Survived Memphis but just don’t have the ability to match quality victories cannibalizing from below.
- Oregon. Is it possible the Ducks miss the playoff because they didn’t just kill the clock against Stanford.
Look, your guess is as good as mine. That sure looks different than it did this morning. Chaos struck fast and it struck hard.