Not only is Mississippi State off this week, we have two more teams in the top five playing each other. On top of all of that, the #6 team is also not playing. Man, this is just not fair to those of us who are trying to cheer for teams to lose in ridiculous fashions.
We soldier on anyways, with all times Central and all lines courtesy of Bovada.
#2 Florida State (6-0) vs #5 Notre Dame (6-0)
When: 7pm on ABC
Line: Nothing. Not a pick'em. Just off the books.
Chances Of Losing: Someone has to lose.
Possible Chaos Level: Medium
I elected to ignore Notre Dame a week ago because it's my college football preview series and I can ignore the Irish if I want to. This week, I really can't do that, as they're playing the Seminoles. Bovada doesn't have a line on this game, so I have to presume that they're taking precautions in case the Jameis Winston autograph tomfoolery turns into something before kickoff gets here.
Since sneaking past Clemson in overtime in a game where Winston was suspended, Florida State has had a relatively easy time of things, winning three games by at least 15 points each. Notre Dame had relatively easy wins in their first four games, but their last two - against #14 Stanford and North Carolina - were close contests, including a barnburner 50-43 win against the Tar Heels.
While a top five team is walking away from this game with their first loss of the season, I don't know if it'll actually raise any kind of havoc in the playoff scenarios. With two SEC West teams in the top four slots in the Associated Press poll, it's hard to say if the committee will automatically discard an SEC team in favor of someone else. As such, it stands to reason that even with one loss, both of these teams will stay in the running.
#3 Ole Miss (6-0) vs Tennessee (3-3)
When: 6pm on ESPN
Line: Ole Miss -16
Chances Of Losing: Medium
Possible Chaos Level: Medium
With the strength of the SEC West being what it is, the Rebels can't afford to lose to the Vols here. They might be able to survive losses to Auburn or Mississippi State and make the playoff, but that won't happen with a loss to Tennessee. With that said, Mississippi State has the pole position on an SEC spot in the playoff foursome right now, which means an Ole Miss loss won't cause very large ripples in the discussion.
You know who's really cheering for Ole Miss here? Mississippi State fans who have already doled out a ton of cash for the trip to Oxford for the Egg Bowl, which is still more than a month away.
#4 Baylor (6-0) at West Virginia (4-2)
When: 11am on Fox Sports 1
Line: Baylor -8.5
Chances of Losing: Medium High
Possible Chaos Level: Very High
Let's be honest: It boggles the mind that TCU isn't in this spot. The Horned Frogs had a 58-37 lead with less than 12 minutes to play and lost. Thus, Baylor maintains their hold on a playoff spot.
West Virginia's season so far: Loss, followed by two wins. Loss, followed by two wins. Now the Bears roll in to Morgantown. Will the same pattern hold up, or will they break it and get the biggest win of their season?
A loss by the Bears here will first open doors for Oklahoma State and Kansas State, the other two teams in the Big 12, but also start the discussion as to who else belongs in the top foursome. Is it Michigan State? Oregon? It's probably not either Auburn or Alabama, and speaking of the Crimson Tide...
#7 Alabama (5-1) at #21 Texas A&M (5-2)
When: 2:30pm on CBS
Line: Alabama -13
Chances Of Losing: High
Possible Chaos Level: Very Low
Here's the good news for Alabama. They still have games against Auburn and Mississippi State left on the docket, so they can earn their way back into the playoff picture. The bad news is that this game isn't going to be a picnic at Kyle Field, and the worse news is that they're probably still going to need help from someone to take a crack at Ole Miss to get them out of the way.
So while I can easily see the Aggies overcoming that 13 point spread, it won't mean much for affecting the playoff picture, other than easily closing the gate behind the Crimson Tide.