Tonight saw the release of the second iteration of the College Football Playoff Rankings, and as a result Saturday's clash with the Horned Frogs takes on, quite frankly, epic proportions. The winner may very well ride the strength of the win into playoff position, as TCU checks in at #6 while Kansas State is #7, the only team already among the top ten to gain two spots this week. (Disrespect, right?)
Arizona State and UCLA made the biggest jumps of the week; the Sun Devils moved up five spots to #9 while Los Angelenos got a four-place bump to #18. Mississippi, Arizona, and Georgia -- all losers on Saturday -- took it hard on the chin, falling 7, 7, and 9 places respectively. The only other teams that lost on Saturday who made the top 25 were West Virginia, who only fell three places after losing to TCU, and Utah, who didn't move at all after losing to the aforementioned Arizona State.
This, tellingly, may offer an insight into what awaits the loser of the K-State/TCU contest. If West Virginia only fell three spots this week after taking their third loss (at home, no less), it seems likely the committee won't punish the loser in Fort Worth too harshly. That's vitally important for the Frogs if they lose, as remaining within the top 10 after Saturday would virtually guarantee a big payday bowl at worst given the likelihood of them winning out. Their chances at the top four, however, would probably be dashed.
For K-State, it's a similar story, but there's a hidden opportunity. A small drop in the event of a loss would still give the Wildcats time to recover. It's entirely possible, depending on the committee's mindset, that a second loss would keep K-State in the discussion in the event a few other one-loss teams also slip. A win, however, would almost certainly put K-State in prime position to win out and be certain of a spot in the inaugural playoff.
Missing in action: there is no team outside the Power 5 ranked this week following East Carolina's hope-killing defeat to Temple on Saturday. With 6-3 West Virginia as the only three-loss team ranked, you can probably hear the screams out outrage from Huntington if you open your window.
|Rank||Team||Last week||Week 10 result||Toughest opponent left (per F/+)||If the season ended today ...|
|1||Mississippi State (8-0)||1||Won 17-10 vs. Arkansas||Ole Miss||Sugar Bowl vs. Oregon|
|2||Florida State (8-0)||2||Won 42-31 at No. 25 Louisville||Miami||Rose Bowl vs. Auburn|
|3||Auburn (7-1)||3||Won 35-31 at No. 4 Ole Miss||Alabama||Rose Bowl vs. Florida State|
|4||Oregon (8-1)||5||Won 45-16 vs. Stanford||Utah||Sugar Bowl vs. Mississippi State|
|5||Alabama (7-1)||6||Idle||Auburn||Orange Bowl|
|6||TCU (7-1)||7||Won 31-30 at No. 20 WVU||Kansas State||New Year's bowl|
|7||Kansas State (7-1)||9||Won 48-14 vs. Oklahoma St.||TCU||New Year's bowl|
|8||Michigan State (7-1)||8||Idle||Ohio State||New Year's bowl|
|9||Arizona State (7-1)||14||Won 19-16 vs. No. 17 Utah||Notre Dame||New Year's bowl|
|10||Notre Dame (7-1)||10||Won 49-39 at Navy||Louisville||New Year's bowl|
|11||Ole Miss (7-2)||4||Lost 35-31 vs. No. 3 Auburn||Mississippi State||New Year's bowl|
|12||Baylor (7-1)||13||Won 60-14 vs. Kansas||Oklahoma|
|13||Nebraska (8-1)||15||Won 35-14 vs. Purdue||Wisconsin|
|14||Ohio State (7-1)||16||Won 55-14 vs. Illinois||Michigan State|
|15||Oklahoma (6-2)||18||Won 59-14 at Iowa St.||Baylor|
|17||Utah (6-2)||17||Lost 19-16 at No. 14 Arizona St.||Oregon|
|18||UCLA (7-2)||22||Won 17-7 vs. No. 12 Arizona||USC|
|19||Arizona (6-2)||12||Lost 17-7 at No. 22 UCLA||Arizona State|
|20||Georgia (6-2)||11||Lost 38-20 vs. Florida||Auburn|
|21||Clemson (6-2)||21||Idle||Georgia Tech||Orange Bowl|
|22||Duke (7-1)||24||Won 51-48 at Pittsburgh||Virginia Tech|
|23||West Virginia (6-3)||20||Lost 31-30 vs. No. 7 TCU||Kansas State|
|24||Georgia Tech (7-2)||NR||Won 35-10 vs. Virginia||Clemson|
|25||Wisconsin (6-2)||NR||Won 37-0 at Rutgers||Nebraska|