College Football Playoff Rankings: Projecting Utah State, Boise State After Week 11
Does Utah State finally have the resume to make the College Football Playoff’s top 25? What about Boise State? We predict what will happen.
Can the Mountain West get two teams into the top 25?
That was quite a weekend of college football, wasn’t it? Let’s hope the College Football Playoff committee checked their Facebook feeds to catch a glimpse of Utah State doing its usual thing against San Jose State. Let’s also hope that Boise State beating Fresno State, or Fresno State losing to Boise State, doesn’t end up being some weird kind of catch-22 for the Broncos.
We’ll get to all of the pressing questions that linger from the weekend as we look ahead to Tuesday’s reveal, but first:
Kentucky: A bunch of prognosticators had projected a Kentucky-UCF New Year’s Day bowl and all I could think was that no one would want to watch that. Evidently, that includes the Kentucky Wildcats football team, which did America a huge favor by losing by 17 to a middling Tennessee team.
North Carolina State: Never forget that they would never have climbed to #14 if their game with West Virginia had not been canceled, and prepare your rage for when a team that’s lost three of its last four still manages to stay in the top 25.
Mississippi State: That Bulldogs offense is just… woof (pun intended). The latest victim of the Alabama killing machine, their main claim to hanging around the top 25 is *checks notes* having scored 16 points in four games against Kentucky, LSU, Florida and ‘Bama which, man, you can’t be a top 25 team if you’re losing that many conference games. Strength of schedule, am I right?
Boston College: Losing 27-7 to Clemson and managing 113 yards of total offense is maybe the most BC outcome imaginable. Somehow, this team is going to hang around the top 25, too.
Michigan State: What looked like a make-up call for not having been ranked in the initial top 25 now looks even worse after losing one of the dumbest games of the year to Ohio State. Great job, committee.
Iowa: The vagaries of close games went against the Hawkeyes again and thank goodness. Nobody wanted to watch Iowa in a New Year’s Day bowl game, either.
Fresno State: It’s not the refs, guys, and it’s not the mystique of the blue turf. It’s the defensive line that got pushed around and the dumb penalties and the really, really good quarterback on the other team.
Auburn: Any chance we can reach out to the committee and buy out any further conversations about putting this team into the mix anytime soon? It has to be easier than getting out from under Gus Malzahn’s contract.
Alright, onto the questions.
1. Okay, okay, maybe you were right about Utah State missing the cut last week, but this time will be different, right?
Maybe? The Aggies are still doing pretty much everything they can to counter that lingering strength of schedule argument, but a lot of the teams on their slate haven’t done them any favors. BYU got back to .500 by beating UMass yesterday, but they play another of USU’s non-conference foes next week, New Mexico State, which might remove a bit of the shine. Tennessee Tech is 1-9, and one of Air Force and Wyoming is likely to miss out on a bowl since they play each other next week with six losses apiece.
There’s no doubt that the efficiency with which they’ve run through the schedule should be enough to land a spot. Utah State is up to 10th in S&P+ and 7th in Resume S&P+. They’re also 29th by Sagarin now, six spots behind UCF and ahead of teams like Boston College, North Carolina State, Syracuse and Kentucky.
2. So which Power 5 teams could jump into the top 25 if the Aggies still can’t crack it this time?
It’s inane, I know, but three of the four teams I mentioned last week did exactly what I thought they would. The fourth, Pittsburgh, could definitely do it now that they just beat an okay Virginia Tech team by 30. Their win over Syracuse isn’t quite as good as Iowa State’s win over West Virginia, but the argument for both is pretty similar.
While we’re on the subject of inexplicable division leaders, can I interest anyone in Northwestern? Anyone at all? The Wildcats haven’t always been pretty, but they just beat Iowa and can boast wins over Michigan State and Wisconsin, too. Utah will probably jump back in after clawing their way to a win against a solid Oregon without its starting quarterback and running back.
Beyond that, it gets really difficult to say. Arizona State? Missouri?