College football rankings: How Week 10’s top 25 schedule is changing the Playoff picture – SB Nation

Hey, we have College Football Playoff rankings now! The year’s first top 25 that actually matters didn’t serve up too many surprises that significantly change the course of the season — even Texas A&M over Washington and the other one-loss teams will work itself out one way or the other — but it’s still nice to know what the committee’s thinking, as best we can.

Below, the schedule of every top-25 game in Week 10, with final scores as they roll in and Playoff ramifications notes on each. As always, this includes paying attention to how teams stack up in the committee’s rudimentary strength-of-schedule stats, which largely boil down to raw win-loss records.

This isn’t exactly the biggest weekend of the year, but it might end up having the biggest game, as Alabama heads to LSU. Nebraska at Ohio State is the other all-ranked game.

Otherwise, anything that impacts the top of the standings will likely be an upset. So there will be an upset.


First, the ranked games that already have final scores.

No. 14 Oklahoma 34 (7-2), Iowa State 24 (1-8)

Doesn’t matter. The two-loss Sooners remain the Big 12 standings leader, which goes to show you how bad the Big 12’s Playoff condition is.

No. 15 Colorado 20 (7-2), UCLA 10 (3-6)

Nothing much changes, unless UCLA somehow wins out and makes this an OK win. Still the Pac-12 South leader. What a time to be alive.

No. 23 Western Michigan 52 (9-0), Ball State 20 (4-5)

This could count as an OK road win, if BSU can reach .500, but the Broncos lead the race for mid-majordom’s automatic New Year’s Six bowl regardless. Even if Boise State wins out, Wyoming might win that division, and the autobid only goes to conference champions.

No. 24 Boise State 45 (8-1), San Jose State 31 (3-7)

Keeping pace behind Wyoming (in the division) and WMU (in the Playoff rankings), but this W won’t count for anything.


And now, the remaining top-25 schedule for Week 10.

All times p.m. ET, and all games Saturday unless otherwise noted.

No. 1 Alabama (favored, -7.5) at No. 13 LSU, 8, CBS

  • If Bama wins: One Iron Bowl win away from the SEC Championship, unless something weird happens. Entrenched at No. 1 until Thanksgiving weekend, unless something even weirder happens.
  • If LSU wins: We got ourselves a season! Tigers-Aggies on Thanksgiving could decide the division or mean a head-to-head tiebreaker with the Iron Bowl winner. Also, the job is probably about to be Ed Orgeron’s.

Syracuse at No. 2 Clemson (-27), 3:30, ABC/ESPN2

  • If Clemson wins: The Tigers have all but locked up an ACC Championship trip, but this win probably changes nothing about their standing.
  • If Cuse wins: Louisville might be one more strange result away from the ACC title game, and Clemson no longer has guaranteed win-and-in Playoff status.

Maryland at No. 3 Michigan (-31), 3:30, ESPN

  • If Michigan wins: Believe it or not, this will count as another of those “wins against teams better than .500,” boosting the Wolverines’ schedule in the committee’s eyes.
  • If Maryland wins: Ohio State was already still in the Big Ten East running, but now Penn State’s back in it, too. (Assuming both win this weekend, at least.) Almost certainly can’t make the Playoff if you don’t win your division.

No. 4 Texas A&M (-13.5) at Mississippi State, noon, SEC Network

  • If A&M wins: Likely nothing changes, unless MSU storms its way to a bowl somehow.
  • If MSU wins: See? That controversy about the Aggies ranking ahead of unbeaten Washington just sorted itself out.

No. 5 Washington (-16.5) at Cal, 10:30, ESPN

  • If UW wins: Long-term, the Apple Cup likely remains on course to decide the division. Short-term, this probably won’t count as a win over a good enough opponent to move the Huskies up in the rankings. UW’s still win-and-in, though.
  • If Cal wins: Well, UW’s no longer necessarily win-and-in.

No. 10 Nebraska at No. 6 Ohio State (-17), 8, ABC

  • If OSU wins: High-quality win, based on win-loss record (which the committee likes), and thus might change the rankings. OSU’s still on course to win the East if it wins out.
  • If Nebraska wins: The Huskers entered Saturday behind Wisconsin in the Playoff rankings, but ahead of Wisconsin in the Big Ten West standings. Might be ahead in both now.

No. 7 Louisville (-24.5) at Boston College, noon, ESPN2

  • If Louisville wins: Nothing at all changes. If BC astounds the world by getting to .500, it still won’t change things much.
  • If BC wins: Well, that’s odd, but Clemson might clinch the ACC Atlantic with a month to go. (This would be a great result for Virginia Tech, which beat the Eagles, who’d now be 5-4, by 49 points.)

No. 8 Wisconsin (-7) at Northwestern, noon, ABC

  • If UW wins: For now, the Wildcats will no longer count as a quality W for Wisconsin, Western Michigan, or Nebraska. Or, um, Illinois State, an FCS team. Yep, a team with an FCS loss counts as a decent opponent, as long as it has a .500 record. See how silly the committee’s strength-of-schedule metric is?
  • If NU wins: Hey, that team with an FCS loss still has a shot to win the Big Ten West.

Vanderbilt at No. 9 Auburn (-26), noon, ESPN

  • If Auburn wins: Unlikely anything changes. Vandy falls below .500 and no longer provides whatever boost it was providing to Florida.
  • If Vandy wins: Bama might just about clinch the SEC West today. Florida’s win over Vandy is suddenly a minor needle-mover, amazingly.

No. 11 Florida (-5.5) at Arkansas, 3:30, CBS

  • If Florida wins: Solid road win, and the Gators still control their path.
  • If Arkansas wins: One of the SEC West’s teams that still has a losing record in-conference might’ve just knocked the East out of the Playoff. The jokes will never stop. Another boost for A&M, Auburn, and Bama.

Iowa at No. 12 Penn State (-7.5), 7:30, BTN

  • If PSU wins: Hey, guess who’s probably moving ahead of the Nebraska-Ohio State loser in the rankings and in good shape for a New Year’s Six bowl? PSU adds a respectable W.
  • If Iowa wins: Bad for Ohio State and Michigan, but good for Wisconsin.

TCU at No. 17 Baylor (-7.5), 3:30, Fox

  • If Baylor wins: Feeble Playoff hopes remain alive. TCU’s below .500, which is bad for Arkansas and the whole Big 12.
  • If TCU wins: Seriously, the Big 12 is almost officially out of the Playoff. This would be great for Arkansas, though.

No. 18 Oklahoma State at Kansas State (-2.5), 3:30, ABC/ESPN2

  • If OSU wins: You don’t lose to Central Michigan and make the Playoff (even if it was on some BS), but how about a Cotton Bowl? Just keep winning.
  • If KSU wins: K-State’s going bowling. That’s about the extent of the ramifications.

No. 19 Virginia Tech (-11) at Duke, 3:30, ESPNU

  • If VT wins: ACC Coastal favorite still.
  • If Duke wins: UNC and maybe even Pitt still in this division race?

Kansas at No. 20 West Virginia (-34.5), 7, ESPN2

  • If WVU wins: Nobody cares.
  • If KU wins: Much laughter.

Georgia Tech at No. 21 North Carolina (-10.5), 12:30, ACC Network

  • If UNC wins: Still alive in the ACC Coastal.
  • If GT wins: Virginia Tech might seal this division up soon. Bad for FSU’s schedule strength and thus bad for Louisville’s schedule strength, but Clemson beat GT anyway.

No. 22 Florida State (-5.5) at NC State, 7, ESPNU

  • If FSU wins: NC State’s no longer .500, but its ranked opponents played FSU anyway.
  • If NC State wins: Probably doesn’t hurt Clemson or Louisville much, since they both beat both these teams.

Arizona at No. 25 Washington State (-17), 4, Pac-12 Networks

  • If WSU wins: No changes. The Apple Cup remains on course for importance.
  • If Arizona wins: Well, the rankings will suddenly be without any teams that have FCS losses. Bad for Boise State’s schedule strength.

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