With week 9 in the books, we’re left with 11 undefeated teams, waiting for the first official rankings that mean something to come out. LSU in the SEC; Ohio State, Iowa & Michigan State in the Big Ten; Clemson in the ACC; Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma State in the Big 12; Houston & Memphis in the American conference; and Toledo in the MAC, while Temple were the next team to go down.
With LSU, Ohio State, Michigan State, Baylor and Toledo not playing, the stage was set to see if Clemson and TCU, both entering the week in the top 5 of the AP Poll, could hold on to their distinction in the rankings but also show they really are the favorites to claim their conferences and stake a claim for one of the playoff positions. TCU passed with flying colors against West Virginia as Trevone Boykin keeps smashing school records. Clemson? Might not be a top 3 team after not impressing too much against North Carolina State, although all of that won’t matter if they finally beat Florida State.
Iowa aren’t exactly going to get a lot of love from the committee. The computers aren’t in love with them because of their Strength of Schedule, but they’re on track to dominate the Big Ten West and get a spot in the conference championship game. Assuming they win that game against the Buckeyes or the Spartans, are they good enough to win a ticket to the FBS version of the Final Four? It probably depends on who else in trying to get invited.
Notre Dame are still hoping someone considers them worthy, although not having a conference championship game to flaunt is a difficult task. They’re doing well considering they’re playing with their backup quarterback. Winning at formerly undefeated Temple wasn’t easy, but it did make things a more lucrative for the 11 remaining teams that still haven’t lost this season, and solidifies the Irish’s place among the top 10, although now they need to hope that Temple don’t fall apart following the loss.
Both Houston and Memphis, the two remaining undefeated teams in the American conference, handled their challenges quite well this weekend: Houston shut out Vanderbilt, an SEC team but a poor excuse for the most arrogant conference in the land, while Memphis didn’t let an early Tulane lead give them too much things to sweat about. Memphis do seem like the stronger of the AAC teams right now, but direct conflict will give us the answer to that question.
Stanford escaped an embarrassing (or maybe not too awkward?) loss at Washington State thanks to a missed 43-yard field goal as time expired. The Cardinal have serious passing-game problems, but luckily their quarterback, Kevin Hogan, can run the ball two, including punching it through into the end zone twice in a 30-28 win. At the moment, it’s them and Utah with one loss in the Pac-12, although it’s a difficult enough conference to throw some curveballs at everyone from here until the end of the regular season.
On a final note we go to the ACC Coastal Division, an annual breeder of the loser in the conference championship game. Maybe not this year? North Carolina come out on top from this weekend, thanks to their win over Pitt which should mean the Tar Heels will actually be ranked for once, while both Pittsburgh and Duke will fall out of the rankings. Duke simply suffered from an amazing winning play by Miami, including 8 lateral passes and a 91-yard kickoff touchdown return.