College Football Playoff Rankings: Projecting Fresno State, Utah State After Week 10

College Football Playoff Rankings: Projecting Fresno State, Utah State After Week 10

College Football Rankings

College Football Playoff Rankings: Projecting Fresno State, Utah State After Week 10


3. Are there other Power 5 teams that could leapfrog Utah State into the top 25, keeping the Aggies out?

If we’re trying to measure SOS value, there’s a couple teams that could vault into the rankings this week. Washington took down Stanford and now own four wins against teams that are 5-4 or better, which probably counts for something. Michigan State could use their win against USU to its advantage, as the Spartans also own four wins against teams that are 5-4 or better (though their victory over Penn State may now be devalued a bit).

Put Auburn into that mix, too, since they’ve already beaten Washington and can now claim a win over a top-20 team in TAMU. And if things really get weird, don’t be shocked if Pittsburgh — yes, those ACC Coastal-leading Panthers — sneak in with wins over previously ranked Virginia, currently ranked Syracuse and six-win Duke on their resume.

4. What about Cincinnati?

I don’t think so. They didn’t beat UCLA, a common opponent with Fresno State, that badly, and their win against Ohio may not move the needle much until the Bobcats get a chance to knock off Buffalo for the MAC East crown in a couple weeks.

Pour one out, by the way (or don’t, that’s fine), for the Houston Cougars, whose presence in this conversation was short-lived thanks to a weird loss at SMU on Saturday. Remember when D’Eriq King got Heisman dark horse buzz for, like, three days? That was something.

5. Is there anything we can learn from last year’s progression?

The short answer: I have no idea. Nobody dropped by more than seven spots, but it came because of two totally different results: Ohio State had its epic beatdown at Iowa’s hands, while Penn State suffered a close loss to Michigan State. The Spartans, by the way, had the biggest leap of anyone from the first to the second reveal because of that win, jumping from #24 to #12.

Meanwhile, USC jumped six spots from #17 to #11 after winning a shootout at then-#22 Arizona, while Washington State jumped from #25 to #19 after a close win against #21 Stanford.

If you take the longer view, the biggest-ever drop from week one to week two befell LSU in 2016 after losing 10-0 to then-#1 Alabama. Nebraska dropped nine spots that same Tuesday after absorbing a 62-3 thumping from Ohio State.

Frankly, though, the CFP has never had to sort through this kind of carnage at this point in the season, so keep those shrugs GIFs handy.

6. Will Iowa State jump Fresno State?

Is a win over Kansas really worth that much? Yeesh. Their resume looks a touch better thanks to West Virginia, but it’ll get dinged since Texas Tech took a close loss against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State lost to Baylor. I say no, the Bulldogs and Cyclones keep pace with each other but Fresno State stays ahead.

Here’s how I think the second CFP top 25 will look:

  1. Alabama (9-0)
  2. Clemson (9-0)
  3. Notre Dame (8-0)
  4. Michigan (8-1)
  5. Georgia (8-1)
  6. Oklahoma (8-1)
  7. Washington State (8-1)
  8. Ohio State (8-1)
  9. West Virginia (7-1)
  10. UCF (8-0)
  11. Kentucky (7-2)
  12. LSU (7-1)
  13. Mississippi State (6-3)
  14. Syracuse (7-2)
  15. North Carolina State (6-2)
  16. Florida (6-3)
  17. Texas (6-3)
  18. Boston College (7-2)
  19. Utah (6-3)
  20. Penn State (6-3)
  21. Fresno State (8-1)
  22. Iowa (6-3)
  23. Iowa State (5-3)
  24. Washington (7-3)
  25. Michigan State (6-3)

Wait, wait, wait. Wait. Where’s Utah State?

I know, I know. I think they’ll probably need another couple of upsets at the bottom of the top 25 to be a shoo-in for next week’s rankings, but this week’s schedule is pretty promising in that regard: Boston College hosts Clemson, Michigan State is on the road at Ohio State, Iowa hosts Northwestern, Utah hits the road to face Oregon, Texas is on the road against Texas Tech and, of course, Fresno State faces off with Boise State.

And yes, it’s still dumb that this year’s Utah State team probably won’t be ranked when Memphis was ranked at this point last year. Keep in mind, though, that Boise State didn’t crack the top 25 until after Week 11 last year, and Fresno State didn’t do it until after Week 13. Navy didn’t make it until they were 8-2 after Week 12 in 2016, either.

The worst-case scenario is that the committee sees the Aggies as they saw 2014 Marshall, another offensive juggernaut that blitzed a subpar schedule, jumped into the AP poll by mid-October but didn’t join the CFP rankings until Week 14 at 11-0. By that point, the Thundering Herd were ranked 34th by Sagarin, but 6th by S&P+. Utah State, by contrast, currently ranks 32nd and 14th, respectively.

Consider Utah State’s presence in this week’s poll a 50-50 proposition. If they don’t make it, don’t be too mad. Handle business and embrace the chaos. Things will fall into place.



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