Week 10 showcased chaos in college football as a highly ranked Big Ten team fell on the road. One week ago, Ohio State appeared to make a national statement in a push to the CFP with a comeback 39-38 win over rival Penn State, despite an early season embarrassment against Oklahoma. However, the Buckeyes suffered an eyebrow-raising 31-point drubbing at the hands of Iowa, all but splintering Urban Meyer’s title hopes this season. Seventh-ranked Penn State looked to rebound on the road against Michigan State, but lost on a last-minute field goal, ending the Nittany Lions’ hopes as well. With the Big Ten’s two giants out of the picture, the conference’s hopes lie in the hands of sixth-ranked Wisconsin, who cannot afford a loss, with games against Iowa and Michigan still on their schedule.
The Big Ten’s struggles have opened the door to teams many had thought were out of reach of the Top Four just a week ago. Georgia and Alabama appear to be on a collision course to the SEC Championship, where even the loser of that game has a great chance at making the Playoff should both teams win each of their remaining regular season matchups. Notre Dame has served as the surprise team of the season sitting at No. 3, with its sole loss coming in a one-point defeat against Georgia. The Fighting Irish don’t need to worry about playing in a conference championship game, but they still have to play undefeated Miami and a ranked Stanford team. Clemson has slipped into the fourth spot with each of its games against unranked opponents. Oklahoma must win against No. 8 TCU to keep its dreams alive, but the Sooners are going to need help from the rest of the field as the Big 12 does not feature a championship game, something that came back to bite TCU in the inaugural Playoff in 2014.
Miami has flown under the radar all season long, yet is one major win away against Notre Dame from proving it belongs in title conversation. The Hurricanes are one of five unbeaten FBS teams, to go along with Georgia, Alabama, Wisconsin, and UCF. One-loss Washington is once again within striking distance, with games against Stanford and Washington State serving as potential resume builders heading into the final stretch.
Needless to say, the Ohio State and Penn State losses have opened the door to the field, where ten teams have a legitimate shot at the Top Four.
Win and You’re In: Alabama, Georgia, Notre Dame, Clemson, Miami, Auburn
Win, but Need Some Help: Oklahoma, Wisconsin, TCU, Washington
Eliminated from Contention: Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Penn State