1. ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE (8-0) CFP RANK: 1
When the Tide lost WR Jaylen Waddle to injury, I thought that might hurt the passing game. If it has, you wouldn’t notice. QB Mac Jones bombed away on an Auburn secondary that had no answer for WR Devonta Smith, who accrued 171 yards and 2 TDs. They say, “you can’t stop the coming tide”. I always thought that was referencing the ocean. Now I’m thinking it refers to the University of Alabama’s football team.
THIS WEEK: at Arkansas
GAME LINES: -27.5 / 68.5
2. NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH (9-0) CFP RANK: 2
It was a great week for Irish fans. Due to ACC scheduling changes, Notre Dame has clinched a spot in the ACC Championship game in Charlotte. On top of that, Notre Dame’s victory over North Carolina was a huge step toward a CFP berth. With 2 regular-season games vs unranked opponents remaining, the Irish may be only 2 wins away from essentially securing a playoff spot. Even if they do eventually lose to (presumably) Clemson in the ACC Championship, I imagine they will still be granted a playoff berth, having beat Clemson in their regular-season meeting. Of course, you never know with the Selection Committee, so it may be foolish of me to assume anything.
THIS WEEK: vs Syracuse
GAME LINES: Notre Dame -33.5 / 51.5
3. OHIO STATE BUCKEYES (4-0) CFP RANK: 4
Coach Ryan Day’s positive COVID-19 test was a factor in their game against Illinois being canceled. The Buckeyes will now shift their focus to Michigan State and hope that there is no further outbreak, as missing these games will hurt them in their efforts to make the playoff.
THIS WEEK: at Michigan State
GAME LINES: Ohio State -23.5 / 59.5
4. CLEMSON TIGERS (8-1) CFP RANK: 3
It had been nearly a month since QB Trevor Lawrence took the field for the Tigers. You wouldn’t have known it. Lawrence racked up 403 yards on Pitt, throwing for 2 TDs in the process. This was also Clemson’s first game since their loss to Notre Dame 3 weeks ago. Again, you wouldn’t have known it. They allowed only 17 points to a team that scored 40+ in their last 2 games. Clemson went for the kill early. At the end of the 1st quarter, the score was 31-0. Clemson is now 1 win away from a trip to Charlotte for a rematch with (presumably) Notre Dame.
THIS WEEK: at Virginia Tech
GAME LINES: Clemson -21.5 / 66.5
5. TEXAS A&M AGGIES (6-1) CFP RANK: 5
The Aggies are doing what they must do to keep their playoff hopes alive. When the Aggies were granted the #5 spot in the CFP Rankings, they were given hope. In order to make the playoff as a 1-loss non-conference champion, however, they need to be convincing. That is not what I would call their win against LSU, though. They won by 13 points at home but didn’t exactly put up “playoff team” numbers. They only had 267 yards, same as LSU. Only 105 of those came through the air, which is worrisome because of the importance of QB play in today’s game. They may need to go out and run up the score against Auburn & Tennessee to give the Committee more reason to put them in.
THIS WEEK: at Auburn
GAME LINES: Texas A&M -3.5 / 48.5
6. FLORIDA GATORS (7-1) CFP RANK: 6
Kyle Trask keeps stating his case for the Heisman. He had another commendable performance on Saturday, tossing 3 TDs and racking up 256 yards on 21 completions. All 3 of those TDs were caught by TE Kyle Pitts, who for all intents and purposes, appears to be the best in the nation at his position. The duo of Trask & Pitts look to keep this train rolling right into Atlanta.
THIS WEEK: at Tennessee
GAME LINES: Florida -17 / 61.5
7. CINCINNATI BEARCATS (8-0) CFP RANK: 7
Does Cincinnati have a path to the College Football Playoff? Certainly, but they may need some help. In any case, they need to take care of their own business first. They have a lot of time to prepare for their final regular-season game vs Tulsa on December 12th. In the meantime, they will be hoping for chaos from the teams ranked above them.
THIS WEEK: BYE
GAME LINES: N/A
8. BYU COUGARS (9-0) CFP RANK: 13
The conditions regarding it would have been completely lopsided, but when BYU debuted at #14 in the CFP Rankings, they should have taken the game against Washington. They needed a P5 win to boost their image to the Selection Committee who, for some reason, does not seem to have the same amount of respect for them that the AP & Coaches polls do. I honestly don’t understand the disrespect towards the Cougars, who fought tooth & nail to make their schedule and then proceeded to bulldoze their way through it.
THIS WEEK: BYE
GAME LINES: N/A
9. MIAMI HURRICANES (7-1) CFP RANK: 10
The Canes suffered a mild disappointment in Notre Dame’s victory over North Carolina. Now they will most likely need another Clemson loss in order to reach the ACC Championship. Assuming they handle business on their end, of course.
THIS WEEK: at Duke
GAME LINES: Miami +3 / 60.5
10. IOWA STATE CYCLONES (7-2) CFP RANK: 9
Iowa State’s victory at Texas almost has them in the Big 12 Championship game. While it’s close to a certainty at this point, it hasn’t yet been clinched. If they do end up making an appearance there, it will be a huge step for this program.
THIS WEEK: vs West Virginia
GAME LINES: Iowa State -7 / 48
11. GEORGIA BULLDOGS (6-2) CFP RANK: 8
QB JT Daniels follow-up performance after his breakout game was a bit disappointing. He threw for only 139 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT. Though he did this on only 16 attempts, as Georgia played a run-heavy game against South Carolina, racking up 332 yards on the ground. RB James Cook, the little brother of Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook, led the way with 104 yards and 2 TDs on 6 carries, in a 29-point Bulldogs victory.
THIS WEEK: vs Vanderbilt
GAME LINES: Georgia -33.5 / 50.5
12. INDIANA HOOSIERS (5-1) CFP RANK: 12
The Hoosiers posted a solid performance on Saturday vs Maryland, who had played well in their last two games. The ground game led the way on offense with 234 yards. The defense did their part as well, limiting a team who had scored 35+ points in their past two games, to just 11 points. They picked off QB Taulia Tagovailoa, brother of Tua, 3 times and limited him to just 17 completions on 36 passes.
THIS WEEK: at # Wisconsin
GAME LINES: Indiana +10.5 / 50.5
13. WISCONSIN BADGERS (2-1) CFP RANK: 16
The Badgers did not play this week, giving them ample time to prepare for their matchup with #12 Indiana this week. This will be a big game for QB Graham Mertz’s Badgers as they will surely need a win if they hope to pass Northwestern in the Big Ten West before the season’s end.
THIS WEEK: vs # Indiana
GAME LINES: Wisconsin -10.5 / 50.5
14. OKLAHOMA SOONERS (6-2) CFP RANK: 11
The Sooners are 2 wins away from a shot at revenge. They just need to get by Baylor & West Virginia and they should have a shot to avenge their loss to Iowa State, as that is who they would likely play in the Big 12 Championship. The Sooners have looked great since that loss, and they should be able to easily handle Baylor. Their regular-season finale in Morgantown, however, may be a little trickier, as that is a game that WVU is always sure to get up for.
THIS WEEK: vs Baylor
GAME LINES: Oklahoma -22.5 / 63.5
15. USC TROJANS (3-0) CFP RANK: 20
The Trojans now appear to be the PAC-12’s premier team, now that Oregon has fallen to unranked Oregon State. Being so low in the CFP Rankings makes you wonder if USC will even have a shot at a playoff berth if they wind up being an undefeated conference champion. Nevertheless, the Trojans will try to take care of business this Friday night when they host Washington State.
THIS WEEK: vs Washington State (12/4)
GAME LINES: USC -13 / 61
16. COASTAL CAROLINA CHANTICLEERS (9-0) CFP RANK: 18
CCU’s run is incredibly enjoyable to me. Watching a team rise the ranks so shortly after joining the FBS is something special. They stayed undefeated by beating Texas State 49-14. They will have a tough test this week, however, when they take on Hugh Freeze’s 1-loss Liberty squad in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
THIS WEEK: vs Liberty
GAME LINES: Coastal Carolina -6 / 56.5
17. MARSHALL THUNDERING HERD (7-0) CFP RANK: 21
No doubt the Herd are also disappointed with their current place in the CFP Rankings. They have done all they can do against the teams they have played so it makes me wonder if perhaps they deserve a higher spot as well.
THIS WEEK: vs Rice
GAME LINES: Marshall -25 / 46.5
18. OREGON DUCKS (3-1) CFP RANK: 23
The Ducks, along with the PAC-12, suffered a ginormous blow to their playoff hopes. A 2nd half comeback topped off by a last-minute go-ahead TD by Oregon State decimated any hopes of Oregon becoming a playoff team. Especially considering the fact that the Selection Committee didn’t think highly of them to begin with. Not as high as they should have, at least.
THIS WEEK: at California
GAME LINES: Oregon -11 / 57.5
19. NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS (5-1) CFP RANK: 14
I hate to be the guy that says, “I told you so”, but come on. It was obvious that Northwestern would not be able to keep winning unless their offense began to put up points. They didn’t, and it cost them. While the defense didn’t exactly do their part in this game, allowing 29 points, this was still a winnable contest. Ramsey threw no TDs and 2 INTs. He only had 21 completions on 43 attempts. The ground game may have been worse. They rushed for only 63 yards and lost a fumble. This is a good team, with a stellar defense. But the ability to score points is an absolute must in today’s game.
THIS WEEK: at Minnesota
GAME LINES: Northwestern -11 / 50.5
20. OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS (6-2) CFP RANK: 15
Mike Gundy’s Pokes bounced back nicely after their loss in Bedlam. After being limited to only 13 points by Oklahoma, they proceeded to hang 50 on Texas Tech, giving them a 6-point victory in the process. While the defense doesn’t deserve much praise after allowing 40+ points in a 2nd consecutive contest, the important thing is that the Cowboys are back in the win column.
THIS WEEK: at TCU
GAME LINES: Oklahoma St -1.5 / 51.5
21. TULSA GOLDEN HURRICANE (5-1) CFP RANK: 24
An opening week loss to Oklahoma State is the only blemish on Tulsa’s resumé. Since then they are undefeated with victories over 2 teams who were in the top-20 at the time (#11 UCF, #19 SMU). With a showdown against #7 Cincinnati looming, Tulsa will have to take care of business at Navy first.
THIS WEEK: at Navy
GAME LINES: Tulsa -10.5 / 51.5
22. LOUISIANA RAGIN’ CAJUNS (8-1) CFP RANK: 25
Louisiana may have felt slighted when they were absent from the initial CFP Rankings. It looks like they took that frustration out on UL-Monroe, as they handed their in-state rival a 50-point loss in the “Battle on the Bayou”.
THIS WEEK: at Appalachian State (12/4)
GAME LINES: Louisiana +3.5 / 53.5
23. BUFFALO BULLS (4-0) CFP RANK: N/R
The Bulls’ 70-point performance on Saturday was more than enough to vault them into the top-25. RB Jaret Patterson’s performance was just the cherry on top. To just say that Patterson “went off” is an incredible understatement. Patterson ran for a whopping 409 yards on 35 carries, en route to scoring 8 TDs. Yes, you read that correctly. Jaret Patterson had EIGHT TDs. That is just…. staggering. It’s not like this was a fluke performance either. Two weeks ago he went for 301 yards and 4 TDs. He will be a player to watch moving forward.
THIS WEEK: at Ohio
GAME LINES: Buffalo -9.5 / 57
24. WASHINGTON HUSKIES (3-0) CFP RANK: 22
The Huskies are undefeated through only 3 games. They managed to stay out of the loss-column on Saturday when they were able to mount a stunning 2nd half comeback against Utah. The reason it was stunning is thanks to the fact that Washington found themselves down 21-0 at halftime. They would not allow Utah to score again. They were able to close the gap in the 3rd quarter, scoring 17 points. The comeback was made complete with 52 seconds left when Washington scored the game-winning TD to go up 24-21. They sealed the deal when they picked off Utah QB Jake Bentley on their final drive.
THIS WEEK: vs Stanford
GAME LINES: Washington -10.5 / 51.5
25. NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS (6-3) CFP RANK: 17
The Tar Heels remain in my top 25 although they are now a 3-loss team. Though they ended up with a 2 TD defeat against Notre Dame, the Tar Heels looked like a great football team in the 1st half, as they were able to hang around with the Irish, going into halftime tied at 17. With QB Sam Howell at the helm, the future is bright in Chapel Hill.