College Football Research


Week 12 Recap

by Big Al

With only one real upset this weekend, we had ourselves a pretty quiet weekend. There were some rivalry games played, but those turned out pretty much as expected, so there just wasn't much to talk about. But with rivalry weekend in full effect next weekend, a quiet weekend beforehand was not that big of a deal.

Kansas State 45 - Oklahoma State 40

This was the only real upset of the weekend. The real surprise was the fact that Kansas State actually managed to score 45 points on anybody. They have been a defense-first team for a while, with a frequent liability on the offensive side of the ball. So putting up 45 on anybody was a surprise to me. It certainly was to Oklahoma State, I'm sure. So, with that, we can pretty well ignore Oklahoma State going forward. Not that we weren't going to do that anyway.

Wisconsin 24 - Michigan 10

I wouldn't so much say that quarterback play has been a liability for Michigan this year as much as quarterback health has been a liability for Michigan this year. Admittedly, having receivers who can catch would be a nice addition to the Michigan roster. Wisconsin, on the other hand, has swept through a rather unremarkable schedule this year, which leaves them some question marks for the Big Ten championship game. As a playoff team, they are not the most inspiring choice. But they are good enough for now.

The National Race

I skimmed the national race in the week 12 preview, mostly because I was running late and needed to put something out there at the last minute. Right now seems like a good time to get caught up, though.


Alabama is in. Even if they lose against Auburn or in the SEC championship game.


Miami is obviously in if they win out. If they lose to Clemson in the ACC championship, they will be out if Clemson doesn't lose to South Carolina, Oklahoma wins out, Wisconsin wins out, and Georgia beata Alabama in the SEC championship. Otherwise, they would be the best one-loss choice available and would sneak in anyway


Win and they're in. Lose and they are out... maybe.

If Oklahoma loses in the Big XII championship game, they may get in anyway, thanks to a head-to-head win over Ohio State if neither Notre Dame nor USC is available as another choice, and if UCF loses. They would also need Ohio State to win out so that their win over the Buckeyes continues to look big. So a loss isn't a total killer, but it's pretty close.


Win and they're in. Lose and they are out... maybe.

If they lose to Minnesota, then beat Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game, they may get picked as a best-case one-loss team if Alabama and Miami win out.

If they lose to Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game, then they might be picked over a two-(or three-)loss Ohio State team. Or the committee might pick a two-loss Notre Dame or a two-loss USC, or an undefeated UCF team. A loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game would put the playoff committee into an awkward position where they would need to pick between two uninspiring Big Ten teams, so they may well decide to look elsewhere for their fourth team.

Clemson and Georgia

Win and they're in. Lose and they are out.

TCU, Penn State, Washington State, Washington

Not a chance in hell. Enjoy your bowl games.

Seriously, enjoy them. Bowl games are fun. You get to go somewhere on vacation, the players get a bunch of free stuff, and you get a great chance to finish the year with a win.


Auburn needs help. Even if they win out, they will be a 2-loss team. Alabama is going regardless of how the Iron Bowl turns out. Auburn also needs two things to happen: Miami needs to beat Clemson and Ohio State needs to beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game. Without those, the playoff committee will not consider a two-loss team as the second SEC entry.

Ohio State

Ohio State keeps coming up in conversations about the playoffs, and I am not counting them out. But they need a lot of help.

Ohio State needs to win out, obviously. Then they need Alabama, Miami and Oklahoma to win out. Without those three cleaning out the cupboards, there are other better choices available. If Oklahoma loses in the Big XII championship game, they are still the team that went on the road and made Ohio State look stupid for four quarters. The playoff committee would almost assuredly rank a 2-loss Oklahoma over a 2-loss Ohio State.

If all those things happen, then Ohio State still needs more help. If the playoff committee needs to choose between a one-loss Wisconsin and a two-loss Ohio State, they may well decide to punt and just pick someone else. So even if the cupboards are cleared, they need the shelves scrubbed as well. A UCF loss wouldn't hurt, removing an undefeated and intriguing challenger from the Sunshine State. Notre Dame needs to lose to Stanford this weekend. A USC loss in the Pac-12 championship game would mean there is not a two-loss USC that could be a more attractive option than having to pick between two not-all-that-deserving Big Ten teams.

Then, even if all those things happen, Ohio State still needs the playoff committee to pick them over a one-loss Wisconsin team. That's not a guarantee.

USC and Notre Dame

And speaking of help, these two need a lot of it. Maybe even more than Ohio State. But they are not out of it yet.

While winning out, they need Alabama and Miami to win out. That saves these teams from 2-loss contenders with better resumes. They also need UCF to lose, because an undefeated UCF would likely be more attractive than either of these teams.

Best case scenario for them is for Ohio State to lose to Michigan, then beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game. Then it would be a choice between USC/Notre Dame or a one-loss Wisconsin. This is far from a guaranteed pick, though. Wisconsin still may up being picked.

The big separator between these two teams is that USC needs Notre Dame to lose to Stanford. Notre Dame has the head-to-head advantage over USC, so they would be first in line.

Either way, these two teams could still be a better choice than Ohio State or Wisconsin if Ohio State wins out. It would be a way for the playoff committee to save themselves some angst over picking between those two teams.


Oh yes, the forgotten Knights of Central Florida. Don't sleep on them yet. You can fluff them a little and make sure they are comfortable to lay down onto, though.

Do I really need to mention that UCF needs to win out?

After that, best case for UCF is for Alabama and Miami to win out. Then they need someone to knock off either Wisconsin or Oklahoma (or, preferably, both). They would get a big boost if Michigan beat Ohio State and Stanford beat Notre Dame. Stanford beating USC would be a nice bonus, but may not be necessary.

UCF does not have a signature win this year against a big-name team, so they are really the forgotten team. They need a lot of help if they are going to be the best choice available. But it's not impossible.


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