My prediction for playoffs remains the same, despite TCU's lackluster performance at Kansas. I would be tempted to go with Mississippi State to advance, but they still have to travel to Ole Miss at the end of the season. I also believe it's unlikely that the committee will advance a team that doesn't even win their division, much less a conference championship. A number of scenarios still exist, even one that allows a two-loss team in the mix. Can you imagine if Georgia defeats Alabama or even Mississippi State in Atlanta for the SEC championship? What happens then? Do you think the committee will leave the SEC champ out in favor of Ohio State, perhaps? A lot of questions, not many answers. The committee gave some indication of their assessment of the relative strength of the SEC by keeping Mississippi State in their top four this week. Does that mean if everyone wins out, the Big 12 and Big Ten champs get left out? Hmmm.....
- Florida State
East Carolina (6 - 2) 38 @ Cincinnati (5 - 3) 27: No. The Pirates have totally lost their early season mojo. Now Tommy Tubberville has the Bearcats in the hunt for the American title. Cincinnati 54 - 46.
California (5 - 4) 31 @ USC (6 - 3) 40: Correct. Cal made a nice comeback, but the Trojans held on and by virtue of Arizona State's collapse against Oregon State, find themselves in front in the Pac-12 South. USC 38 - 30.
(1) Mississippi State (9 - 0) 16 @ (5) Alabama (8 - 1) 20: Correct. I never had the idea that the Tide was ever in trouble, despite the Bulldogs' comeback. As I had predicted, it just looked like Alabama had been there before and it took some time for Mississippi State to adjust. Alabama 25 - 20.
(3) Florida State (9 - 0) 27 @ Miami (6 - 3) 24: Correct. This story is getting a little old: Florida State falls behind early and Jameis Winston makes some big plays to bring them back for a late win. This one looked like all Hurricanes until the 'Noles decided they needed to kick it into gear. Florida State 30 - 26.
(4) TCU (8 - 1) 37 @ Kansas (3 - 6) 13: Correct. TCU definitely had a letdown, but as predicted, Kansas just isn't quite strong enough to take advantage. Unfortunately, the close win dropped the Horned Frogs from the top four. TCU 34 - 30.
(6) Arizona State (8 - 1) 34 @ Oregon State (4 - 5) 20: No. This was a big stumble for a team that I thought had a real shot to challenge Oregon in the Pac-12 and even advance to the playoffs. No way now. They may still challenge the Ducks, but they can forget the playoffs. Oregon State 35 - 27.
(8) Ohio State (8 - 1) 26 @ (25) Minnesota (7 - 2) 17: Correct. The Buckeyes picked up a win on the road against an opponent with a good record, but it's a foregone conclusion that they'll advance to play Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game. They' inched up to sixth in the committee rankings, so if they win out, they have a chance. Ohio State 31 - 24.
(9) Auburn (7 - 2) 34 @ (15) Georgia (7 - 2) 38: Correct. Auburn finally had a poor offensive effort and their defense just isn't good enough to overcome that. This performance by the Bulldogs makes the loss to Florida even more of an enigma. I have to wonder what happens if Mississippi State wins out and Georgia beats Alabama in the SEC championship game. Georgia 34 - 7.
(12) Michigan State (7 - 2) 26 @ Maryland (6 - 3) 21: Correct. The Spartans bounced back nicely against a pretty good Maryland team on the road. But unless the Ohio State team bus gets lost on its way to the Horseshoe, I don't see how the Michigan State can do much more than get in a nice bowl game. Michigan State 37 - 15.
(17) LSU (7 - 3) 20 @ Arkansas (4 - 5) 24: Correct. I couldn't have pegged this one any better. It was a perfect storm for LSU. Will this be the catalyst for a resurgence in the Razorback program? It could be. Woo Pig Sooie!! Arkansas 17 - 0.
Northwestern (3 - 6) 17 @ (18) Notre Dame (7 - 2) 30: No.The Irish just let this one get away. There is no question which team is better, but the Wildcats just seemed to want it a little more. Brian Kelly's questionable call to go for two didn't help, but Notre Dame is left to wonder where their season went so wrong. Northwestern 43 - 40 OT.
Washington (6 - 4) 27 @ (14) Arizona (7 - 2) 26: No. I got this score right, but the teams were wrong. Washington probably should have prevailed. Their clock management at the end was also suspect. Arizona 27 - 26.
(16) Nebraska (8 - 1) 23 @ (20) Wisconsin (7 - 2) 27: Correct. I felt that the Badgers had the edge in this game, but they really poured it on against the Huskers. It's still a four team race in the Big Ten West, but Wisconsin controls their own destiny and leads by a game on Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota. Wisconsin 59 - 24.
(19) Clemson (7 - 2) 31 @ (22) Ga. Tech (8 - 2) 27: No. Georgia Tech completed its ACC schedule by flattening the Tigers. It didn't help Clemson that they lost their QB in the first half, but the Yellow Jackets looked impressive in the win. After a week off, they take on Georgia in what turns out to be a fairly significant game on the national level. And another loss by Duke puts Tech in the ACC championship game against currently unbeaten Florida State. Georgia Tech 28 - 6.
Virginia Tech (4 - 5) 24 @ (21) Duke (8 - 1) 23: Correct. The Hokies survived late mistakes and clock management issues to upset Duke and move one win away from extending the longest active bowl streak to 22 years. Duke, after jumping out to what looked like an insurmountable 10 - 0 lead, struggled against the suddenly revitalized but banged up Tech defense. Virginia Tech 17 - 16.
(23) Utah (6 - 3) 27 @ Stanford (5 - 4) 24: Correct. The Utes took a big step in establishing their credibility in the Pac-12 with a victory in this defensive tussle. Utah 20 - 17 2 OT
Missouri (7 - 2) 34 @ (24) Texas A&M (7 - 3) 27: Correct. The Tigers rode a big third quarter to a victory on the road in a tough place to play, putting them in position to control their own destiny in the SEC East. However, a trip to Tennessee and a home finale against Arkansas stand between them and a date with either Alabama or Mississippi State. Missouri 34 - 27.
Texas (5 - 5) 34 @ Oklahoma St. (5 - 4) 27: Correct. The Longhorns became bowl eligible in a season that began without a lot of promise of postseason play. Meanwhile, the Cowboys fell for the fourth game in a row, with #7 Baylor and #21 Oklahoma still left to play. Texas 28 - 7.
Iowa (6 - 3) 37 @ Illinois (4 - 5) 28: Correct. I got this one pretty much right all the way, except that I thought the Illini would put a few more points on the board. Iowas hasn't beaten any winning teams, so the season ending games against Wisconsin and Nebraska could be tough. Iowa 30 - 14.
South Carolina (4 - 5) 38 @ Florida (5 - 3) 34: Correct. Gamecock coach Steve Spurrier didn't just pull out a tight win over the Gators, he chased good friend and Florida coach Will Mushchamp out of a job at the end of the season. Muschamp should land somewhere as a defensive coordinator, but he can make some noise by getting bowl eligible and taking on Florida State to end the season. South Carolina 23 - 10 OT.