The wonderful thing about college football is that every week, the picture becomes more and more clear. That was the case again this week with three games between two Top-25 teams, not to mention an upset or two. With just one more week of games until the first official College Football Playoff rankings, let’s take a look at the games on Saturday that brought the CFP picture a little more into focus.
LSU 23, Auburn 20
Despite dominating the game statistically, LSU only survived the SEC’s Battle of the Tigers by a field goal. With wins over Texas, Florida, and now Auburn, LSU is likely to earn the top spot when the CFP committee releases its rankings given the difficult schedule it has played and the impressive wins it has accumulated. LSU did move up to No. 1 in the latest AP poll.
The Bayou Bengals are off next week ahead of their showdown with Alabama on Nov. 9, a game that will likely decide who wins the SEC West. However, both teams will have a chance to be in the national top four if they each finish the season with one loss.
Meanwhile, Auburn may not be out of the running for a top-four spot despite suffering its second loss of the season. Both of Auburn’s losses have come against top-10 teams, while the Tigers have wins over Oregon and Texas A&M.
More importantly, the Tigers still have a chance to beat both Georgia and Alabama late in the season. If Auburn can win out and get some help, they’ll have a compelling case for the top four.
Ohio State 38, Wisconsin 7
Ohio State took another step toward the CFP on Saturday, disposing of Wisconsin in what was supposed to be one of their most difficult remaining games. The Buckeyes continued their run of winning every game by a comfortable margin.
Obviously, Ohio State will likely have to run the table to secure a top-four spot, and that means beating Penn State and Michigan and winning the Big Ten title game. However, it’d be tough to bet against them based on what they’ve done this season.
Michigan 45, Notre Dame 14
Michigan kept their slim top-four hopes alive with a convincing win over rival Notre Dame. The Wolverines have two losses on their resume, but with a blowout over a top-10 team and the chance to knock off Ohio State late in the season, Michigan could play its way back into the conversation if it wins out.
Meanwhile, the Irish are officially finished in the CFP discussion with their second loss of the season.
Kansas State 48, Oklahoma 41
The biggest shakeup in the CFP race came from Oklahoma’s loss to Kansas State. The Sooners have been in the top four the past two seasons, but their chances of making it three years in a row are in deep jeopardy following the loss. A second loss would surely knock the Sooners out of contention.
However, winning out and repeating as Big 12 champs might not be enough either. With the Big 12 a little down this year, Oklahoma’s schedule may not have enough quality wins to compare favorably with other one-loss teams.