PLAYOFF RANKINGS: Ohio St up; Michigan, Clemson still top 4
Nov 17 2016 by Kristina Bennett
Instead, they are left wondering what could have been.
Lost in all the hoopla of a massive week of upsets was the arrival of the biggest upset story of the college football season: Troy is ranked. Penn State heads to Rutgers for a prime-time tilt Saturday night before returning home to Happy Valley to face Michigan State the following weekend on Senior Night. The Lions need to win their final two regular-season games - against Rutgers and Michigan State, two teams with a combined 1-13 record in conference play - and get one more loss from the Wolverines in order to claim the Big Ten East Division crown.
At No. 2, Ohio State (9-1) ascended to its highest ranking this season and Louisville (9-1) reached its highest point in school history in the AP poll.
So Far: 9-1 (Defeated Hawaii 63-3, UCF 51-14, Colorado 45-28, Penn State 49-10, Wisconsin 14-7, Rutgers 78-0, IL 41-8, MichiganState 32-23 and Maryland 59-3, but lost against Iowa 14-13). It's clearly the best team in its conference, but its conference is tepid and - we note again - has no championship game.
"We would find out how important the championship label is", Big Ten Network analyst Gerry DiNardo told SN. Even if it is just for bragging rights both teams are going to win to this rivalry game.
It's hard to think of a better football game in 2016 than Louisville at Clemson, under the lights at Death Valley. They could force the committee to make a tough decision, especially if the chaos continues elsewhere. It came to No. 13 Oklahoma State and doesn't look as bad now as it did then, so the Mountaineers aren't out of the postseason conversation just yet. The Bulldogs now have six losses, and one more will mean no bowl game. They travel to MichiganState, but I don't see the Spartans beating the Buckeyes. There's a good chance we see two ACCteams make the Playoff this season. In fact, this team could make the CFP. We repeat: The Big Ten, a punch line in 2011 after going 0-5 in New Year's Day bowl games, has four times as many top-8 teams as the Southeastern Conference.
Ohio State has been one of the best teams all season, they just hit a roadblock in Happy Valley. The four playoff slots were taken up by teams that were undefeated. MichiganState is 100% a trap game, and they need to be careful or they could get caught looking ahead, and derail their playoff hopes before they even get to the Michigan game. Two weeks later, Oklahoma plays host to OklahomaState.
After Louisville, it's No. 6 Washington (9-1), No. 7 Wisconsin (8-2), No. 8 Penn State (8-2), No. 9 Oklahoma (8-2) and No. 10 Colorado (8-2).
That scenario, should it play out, would be a insane wrench into the committee's planning.
Michigan, even with its loss, was also ranked in the top four, keeping its No. 3 ranking while Clemson fell two spots from No. 2 to No. 4. "Will [a] conference championship be the overriding factor?"
Synopsis: Let's say it together - how the heck did Ohio State lose against Penn State? It's possible, sure, as there are so many moving parts here. However, after being dominated by MI and dropping to 2-2 on the year, the NittanyLions have reeled off six straight wins.
Odd how history repeats, and some of the same people and schools are involved at both moments in time.