There are some days where you have to find a bar. Not just for the wings or the beer, but because you need multiple TVs. Even my fiancée’s unapproved-two-TV setup I have at home for this time of year wasn’t enough this past week.
Instead, I found myself sitting dead in the middle of a brewhouse in Santa Barbara swiveling like crazy. On my left, Mississippi State was announcing its presence with authority over Texas A&M. In front of me, Oklahoma was playing catchup to the TCU Horned Frogs. Behind me, Stanford and Notre Dame were just kicking off to a very tight game. To my right, Wisconsin was getting shocked by Northwestern. And, all around, Alabama was still unaware of what Ole Miss had in store for them.
I pity anyone that had to pick only one game to watch.
When it was all said and done, five of the top eight teams lost in Week 6. There were quite a few upset losers and many bitter one-loss teams watching their former ‘resume builder’ wins lose some luster (i.e. South Carolina no longer looks like a great win after losing to Kentucky). And, the day ended with Washington State’s Connor Halliday breaking the FBS single-game passing record!
Any team that avoided an upset took a giant step forward out of sheer elimination.
Who was the big winner? The fans, of course. The long ago worries that the new playoff would diminish the regular season are now laughable after the most chaotic week ever, including Thursday and Friday’s Oregon and BYU shockers.
MY PLAYOFF PICKS:
TCU, Auburn, Miss. State, Florida State
I’ve re-written my picks at least a dozen times, including three cop out versions where I put an either/or. It stills feel a bit early but this is where my money is at. While some of these are lower ranked, I think they have the right path and can win the all-important conference championships. Full explanations below.
UNDEFEATED TEAMS IN CONTROL OF DESTINY
Florida State Seminoles
Their defense has been inconsistent. The offense looks sloppy at times. Their schedule is very weak. The current champs will not get an invite as a one loss team if they sleep on anyone, including the looming Fighting Irish. With a lack of focus in non-big games, they need to be worried about a trap game.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
So far the Tigers look like the strongest team in the country with big wins against ranked Arkansas, K-State and LSU. With five top-15 teams on their upcoming schedule, their outlook doesn’t get any easier. Auburn either melts away to a two (or more) loss team or comes through forged like steel. Even a one loss season can get them in after the Big-10 and Pac-12 all over-cannibalized themselves.
Miss State Bulldogs & Ole Miss Rebels
There may not have been a bigger day in Mississippi sports history than Saturday. All roads to the playoff run through the Magnolia State, as evidenced by the back to back visits from College Game Day (first two visits at that!). Miss State looks slightly stronger and balanced at this point, but Ole Miss is no slouch. The in-state Egg Bowl will be hottest hotty toddy ticket ever.
Like Auburn, one of these teams can sneak in with a single loss to one of the other three SEC West undefeated teams.
TCU Horned Frogs
As I wrote last time, somebody is going to fly under the radar and win the Pac-12 South. Why not the Wildcats? Maybe they lose against one of the four lower ranked teams they face (USC, UCLA, ASU, Utah), but … they would need to beat the superior North division foe in the conference title game.
Yes, they are ranked higher than TCU but they have done less and have a tougher future. Win first to impress us, Bears, because everyone else on this list has already done so. Until then, you’ll be called cubs with no roar.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
A 5-0 record gets them on the list but they need to win their division (Clemson and Georgia are no puffs) and then drop FSU. Do the Yellow Jackets have the sting or is this just noisy buzz?
ONE LOSS TEAMS IN WAITING
Michigan State Spartans, Oklahoma Sooners, Alabama Crimson Tide, UCLA Bruins
Any of these four would be worthy enough one-loss teams if they run the table. They would need for most of the undefeated teams to fall to overtake them… with some caveats. The Sooners won’t jump a one-loss TCU and Alabama won’t jump a one-loss Ole Miss.
DARK HORSE CANDIDATES
Oklahoma State, Georgia Bulldogs, Oregon Ducks, Nebraska Cornhuskers, East Carolina Pirates, Missouri Tigers, Ohio State Buckeyes, Texas A&M Aggies, Kansas State Wildcats
Not only do these teams have to win out (including conference title game), but they have to jump the higher ranked one-loss teams.
TECHNICALLY STILL IN CONTENTION
Marshall Thundering Herd, Washington Huskies, Penn State Nittany Lions, Oregon State Beavers, Florida Gators, Kentucky Wildcats, Utah Utes
Run the table and the miracle will be rewarded.
Stanford Cardinal, USC Trojans, BYU Cougars, LSU Tigers, Wisconsin Badgers
North Dakota State, the three-time defending Division I FCS champs, received 3 AP votes.
Brian Reddoch is a CraveOnline reporter and rabid fan of all teams Seattle. You can follow him on Twitter @ReddReddoch or “like” CraveOnline Sportson Facebook.
Photo Credit: Getty