Last week, #2 Oregon, #3 Alabama, #4 Oklahoma, and #6 Texas A&M all lost. Yeah, there were even more losses in the Top 25, but for our purposes, those were the ones that mattered. This week, we get the debuts of Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and Baylor to the top 5 teams, including the SEC schools from Mississippi tying for third in the Associated Press poll. Go figure, huh?
Making things even more interesting: Auburn and Mississippi State are playing each other, so we've got one less game to pay attention to than normal. I suppose we could go ahead and include the #6 team so we have five games to assess. But..... the #6 team is Notre Dame, and, well, I still remember the 2013 National Championship Game, so screw Notre Dame.
As always, all times listed are Central, and all lines are courtesy of Bovada.
#1 Florida State (5-0) at Syracuse (2-3)
When: 11am on ESPN
Chances Of Losing: Very Low
Possible Chaos Level: Very High
As I assemble this on Thursday afternoon, Bovada doesn't even list a line for this game. They've got the other three games, but not this one. Does this have to do with Syracuse not even managing a touchdown against Louisville? Dunno, but that's probably not helping matters.
With everything that went bananas last weekend, the only thing we can rely on is the Seminoles holding on to their #1 slot. A loss here would cause the entire playoff concept to descend into madness.
#2 Auburn at #3 Mississippi State
When: 2:30pm on CBS
Line: Auburn -3
Chances Of Losing: Well, someone has to.
Possible Chaos Level: Very Low
College football games can't end in a tie, so someone's coming out of this game with a win. Here's the thing though: It's not gonna matter to the playoff picture. There is a low chance that the committee puts two teams from the same conference in the inaugural playoff. There is NO chance that the SEC gets three teams in, and right now, there's three teams from the same DIVISION of the SEC in the top 4. This game is actually going to decrease chaos, regardless of who wins, because it will help solve the issue of which SEC team makes the playoff.
#3 Ole Miss at #14 Texas A&M
When: 8pm on ESPN
Line: Texas A&M -2
Chances Of Losing: Very High
Possible Chaos Level: Low
As is the case with Auburn-Mississippi State, an Ole Miss loss will help clear the picture, not make it even murkier. Yes, it will boost A&M back towards the picture, but they would be one of four (!) SEC West teams with one loss while one team is still undefeated.
It's weird. I started these posts with the idea of identifying which underdogs I'm cheering for every week, and according to the rankings, I'm cheering for the favorite this time around. The gambling line disagrees, but a home team being favored by less than a field goal isn't the world's strongest stance.
#5 Baylor vs #9 TCU
When: 2:30pm on either ABC or ESPN2
Line: Baylor -8
Chances Of Losing: High
Possible Chaos Level: Very High
With the shmozz that is the SEC West messing up the top five right now, it's safe to say that the Bears are probably in the playoff four-pack right now. TCU jumped WAAAAAAAY up in the rankings after a monster win over over at-the-time #4 Oklahoma, so they're definitely not going to be afraid of Baylor. Working in Baylor's favor here is that this game will be in Waco. It's not exactly a rough road trip to go from Fort Worth to Waco (it's only a 90 minute bus ride), but at least the Bears will get the home crowd advantage against that fired up Horned Frogs squad.
I'd try to make a point about Baylor's offensive rankings (8th in the country in passing yards, 1st in points scored), but there's some unholy destructions of lousy teams in their profile so far this season. In fact, this might end up being the first time that the Bears are actually challenged this year. Yes, they didn't score an offensive touchdown against Texas last week until the third quarter, but they were up 28-0 with less than three minutes to go before the Longhorns managed a point of any kind. Will we see Baylor's spine stiffen to keep them in the playoff, or will TCU spit blood out of their eyes and push their way into the conversation?