Week 11 proved to be a crucial one in the shaping of the final rankings and eventually, the playoff picture with the final four teams. Mississippi State and Florida State with relatively easy games continue to stay the course, but Alabama took a huge leap forward over Auburn, who lost to LSU, while Oregon got over what might be the final hurdle in the Pac-12 by beating Utah. Ohio State took control of the Big Ten by beating Michigan State and both Baylor and TCU now have an equal claim to the rights of winning the Big 12.
The top two teams in the current rankings are a part of the story this week. The Bulldogs beat an FCS team while the Seminoles got over Virginia, an ACC team that gave them some problems, but never really looked capable of creating a massive upset to rock and shake the ACC. Below them, where a lot of ranked teams clashed in critical skirmishes, a lot of changes, some of them finite, were made.
We’ll work our way from up towards the bottom, as Auburn lost for the second time this season, falling behind against the already ridiculed Texas A&M. Suddenly, Kyle Allen came out of nowhere to lead the Aggies to their biggest win of the season with four touchdown passes, and a fumble late in the game doomed Auburn’s comeback attempt. From the number three team in the nation, they’re now a leg behind Alabama and two behind Mississippi State in the grueling SEC West. With Georgia and Alabama on the road left to play, it’s not looking too bright for the Tigers.
Oregon will probably take their place after beating Utah quite convincingly on the road. It began badly, but a dumb decision by the best return man in the nation, dropping the ball before the end zone allowed the Ducks to get back in the game and run wild the rest of the way. Just one loss, control of the North division and a clear path towards the Pac-12 title game, with only Colorado and the Civil War left to play.
In the Big 12, things got a bit clearer, at least in one way. Kansas State lost at TCU while Baylor beat Oklahoma, throwing the Sooners completely out of the picture, and leaving the Horned Frogs and Bears as the only one loss teams in the conference. TCU have the edge despite losing to Baylor according to the committee, because Baylor lost to a lesser team in West Virginia, who’ll probably slip out of the rankings because they lost to West Virginia. TCU have the easier remaining schedule (at Kansas, at Texas, Iowa State) but Baylor have two homegames to play: Oklahoma State and Kansas State while playing Texas Tech on Neutral Ground.
The Big Ten had its big day in East Lansing, ending in disappointment for the home team, losing a league game for the first time in two years. Ohio State ran and threw the ball against what turned out to be an overrated defense. MSU were #8 before this game, but now need a miracle to win their division while the Buckeyes, who might find themselves back in the top 10 thanks to the impressive win, have to play Minnesota on the road before Indiana and Michigan at home.
Arizona State got a win over Notre Dame that will help them in the rankings but not in the conference, where they’re still one loss ahead of everyone else in the South Division. Oregon State on the road, Washington State at home and then a big showdown with Arizona that might decide the fate of the division. In the SEC East, another forgotten division, Missouri still hold the edge over everyone despite not being ranked. They have to play at A&M and Tennessee before the finish at home against Arkansas. In the West of the Big Ten, there are three one-loss teams; Nebraska, Minnesota and Wisconsin. They all play each other in the final three games, with the Cornhuskers getting the appreciation nod from the committee at the moment.