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The College Football Playoff Landscape and Post-season Implications: Week 12

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It's hard to care with Belk Bowl implications on the line. Regardless, here are some thoughts about the CFB Playoffs, in case you do care, even just a little.

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Last weekend, eight ranked teams lost.  Not a bad weekend; but we could have had more upheaval if Iowa State, Minnesota, South Carolina, Indiana, and Kansas would have pulled through with the upsets. The biggest surprise is that both Pac 12 contenders lost; thus eliminating the conference from meaningful playoff discussion.

This upcoming weekend will provide more movement as all teams are in action, and 12 of the teams play another playoff team, guaranteeing some losses.   There are cupcakes being consumed, which could lead to a winning team being jumped.  In addition, there are a few teams on upset alert from non ranked teams.

FOUR IN:

#1 Clemson Tigers (10-0): Last Week @ Syracuse 37-27. Next up Wake Forest. Coach Dabo's Pizzeria is still on schedule to deliver the largest pizza party for an age. That's a fun promise Coach.  College football is fun.  Clemson will be on cruise control through Wake Forest and against in-state rival South Carolina.  South Carolina would love to ruin Clemson's chances though.  That's what rivals do, right Jimmy Gardner?  The Tigers will then have the ACC championship game against most likely #17 UNC.  Focus on the pizza.

#2 Alabama Crimson Tide (9-1):  Last Week @#17 Mississippi State 31-6.  Next up Charleston Southern.  Cupcakes in November seem out of place.  It's a conspiracy to give Bama's starters a rest before playing in-state rival Auburn PAWWWLLLL! What, Auburn plays Idaho? Oh never mind...

#3 Ohio State Buckeyes (10-0):  Last Week @ Illinois 28-3. Next up #9 Michigan State. Ohio State faces its first ranked team of the season.  Connor Cook says his shoulder is ready to go, but I seem to remember another QB who everyone says his shoulder is healthy and struggled mightily against Ole Miss.  [sobs].  Ohio State still has the big rivalry game against Michigan to close out the season.  I don't see how tOSU makes it out without a loss.

#4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-1): Last Week Wake Forest 28-7. Next up Boston College.  College Football in baseball stadiums is dumb. Standing room only tickets are going for $200 which is high for a bad view, in a baseball stadium converted to host a football game... just dumb, and that's all I have to say about that.   /end hottaek

IN THE HUNT:

#5 Iowa Hawkeyes (10-0): Last Week Minnesota 40-35. Next up Purdue.  Operation Iowa crashing the playoffs is right on queue.  That's all I really care about.  I think Iowa should be in over Ohio State right now, as the Hawkeyes have wins over Wisconsin and Northwestern.  Also that win over Pitt looks pretty good.  Iowa will get no love for beating 2-8 Purdue this weekend.

#6 Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-0): Last Week @Iowa State 35-31.  Next up #10 Baylor. Coach Mike Gundy survived Ames last weekend and shook off the ghosts of 2011.  This week, OSU has an interesting match up with Baylor.  Baylor has a glaring weakness with defending the run; but OSU does not run the ball well.   If OSU cannot find a run game, they could be in trouble.

#7 Oklahoma Sooners (9-1):  Last Week @ #6 Baylor 44-34.  Next up @ #18 TCU.  Boykin is a maybe for this game; but even if he plays he will be hobbled a bit with his ankle.  This should allow the Sooner defense to do what it does against non-running QBs (Swoopes isn't mobile, but a running QB).  Vegas has still not put a line out.  Vegas knows OU is going to win.

#8 Florida Gators (9-1): Last Week @ South Carolina 24-14.  Next up Florida Atlantic. I started looking for Gifs of Gators eating bird like creatures; but got distracted by an Otter that eats alligators.  AN OTTER!  That's cool as shit.  But an Owl is a whole otter animal.  Florida wins big before its show down with in-state rival Florida State.  

#9 Michigan State Spartans (9-1): Last Week Maryland 24-7.  Next up @#3 Ohio State.  Beat Ohio State, and Michigan State should win its division for a chance at Iowa.  MSU is ranked high enough to still play into the playoffs if it beats undefeated OSU and Iowa.  Could happen, but QB Connor Cook's shoulder might be too banged up to deliver.


#10 Baylor Bears (8-1): Last Week #12 OU 34-44. Next up @ #6 Oklahoma State.   The Bears faced real competition for the first time and looked decent.  OU just looked more decent.  QB Jarrett Stidham played through an injury all game and could not escape the Sooner pass rush.  The Bears can rebound against Oklahoma State and throw the Big 12 picture into more confusion.

#11 Stanford Cardinal (8-2): Last Week Oregon 36-38.  Next up Cal.  STANFORD IS RANKED THIS HIGH TO BOOST NOTRE DAME'S PLAYOFF RESUME, PAWWLLL!  The Pac 12 is out, but Stanford can spoil Notre Dame's chances.

#12 Michigan Wolverines (8-2): Last Week @ Indiana 48-41.  Next up @ Penn State.  Michigan has not shown good game control the last few weeks, but manages to continue winning.  Penn State may put a stop to that.  

#13 Utah Utes (8-2): Last Week @ Arizona 30-37.  Next up UCLA.   I'll take "Games with no playoff implications", Trebek.

#14 Florida State Seminoles (8-2): Last Week NC State 34-17.  Next up Chattanooga. That's so SEC of you to play a November cupcake.  FSU's only playoff implication is ruining in-state rival Florida's slim chance of a spot.

#15 LSU Tigers (7-2): Last Week @ BAMA 14-31.   Next up @#22 Ole Miss.  Two straight losses to two very physical teams.  Can LSU pull it together to face rival Ole Miss?  Can the Tigers be really beat up (not injured; don't wish that ill on anyone) before playing A&M? Please?

#16 Navy* Midshipmen (8-1) Last Week SMU 55-14.   Next up @ Tulsa. Navy has a shot of derailing Houston and getting to a New Year's Six Bowl.  That's pretty cool, Navy.

#17 North Carolina Tarheels (9-1):  Last Week Miami 59-21.  Next up @ Virginia Tech.  I think UNC should be ranked higher, but that early loss to South Carolina is a big hangup.  Also, UNC's best win is against Pitt.  Their only shot is upsetting Clemson in the ACC Championship Game.

#18 TCU Horned Frogs (9-1): Last Week Kansas 23-17.  Next up #7 OU.  TCU has been hit by the injury bug and has lost its best WR for the season.  Boykin is banged up, and without him, their offense really struggles.  Sounds like he is our Johnny Manziel...

#19 Houston Cougars (10-0): Last Week #21 Memphis 35-34.  Next up @ UConn. Houston scored 21 points in the fourth quarter from its backup QB, Kyle Postma, to complete the come from behind win to remain unbeaten.  I really like this Houston team.  QB Greg Ward Jr., is practicing but is limited, so that is something to keep an eye on. He will most likely play, but Houston shouldn't be in too much trouble if Postma has to start against UConn.  That game against Navy will be fun.  The AAC is fun.

The Revolving Door

#20 Northwestern Wildcats (8-2) Last Week Purdue 21-14.  Next up @#25 Wisconsin. Northwestern is currently a 10 point underdog to Wisconsin.  High likelihood of being shown the door and removed from this ranking.

#21 Memphis Tigers (8-2): Last Week Navy 34-35.  Next up @ Temple.  This game isn't as important as once thought midway through the season, but it will still host two good football teams.

#22 Ole Miss Rebels (7-3): Last Week BYE.  Next up #15 LSU. Ole Miss impressed the committee with their BYE win to jump Wisconsin, who was also on Bye.  Yes, you read that correctly.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯  Ole Miss keeps finding a way to become ranked again.  They catch a reeling LSU team at home.  Things could get interesting.

#23 Oregon Ducks (7-3): Last Week #7 Stanford 38-36. Next up #24 USC.


#24 USC Trojans (7-3): Last Week @ Colorado 27-24. Next up @#23 Oregon. 
At least these two teams play each other this week; which will eliminate one for good.  Oregon and USC can still win their divisions, so there is still a Rose Bowl to play for. Both teams have improved as the season has gone on.  Novel concept.

#25 Wisconsin Badgers (8-2) Last Week BYE.  Next up #20 NW.  Wisconsin is ranked to merely boost Alabama and Iowa's rankings.  /endconspiracyrant  Wisconsin is a clear favorite this weekend against higher ranked Northwestern.  The Badgers have the opportunity to climb in these polls and elevate their bowl selection.  But too many B1G teams ahead of them.

RIP

Mississippi State, UCLA, Temple.

There are just a few more weeks of regular season College Football.  Enjoy it.