It wasn't exactly Separation Saturday, but the College Football Playoff and conference championship pictures did become a bit clearer -- particularly in the SEC and ACC where Georgia and LSU, Clemson and North Carolina clinched spots in the respective games.
There are about eight teams left who can get to the CFP -- Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan, TCU, Tennessee, LSU, Clemson and USC. What more do the Horned Frogs have to accomplish? Thirteen days ago, they weren't even considered for the top four in the CFP Rankings. Then last week, they moved into the top four. Now having now beaten a fifth ranked team (Texas), perhaps the CFP Selection Committee will take them even more seriously. The Frogs are 10-0 for the first time since 2010.
The Pac-12 continues to have its best season since 2017. That was hard to think about when both Oregon and UCLA were upset Saturday night. The league's lone remaining playoff contender is USC with the Pac-12's biggest weekend of the season upcoming as USC visits UCLA and Utah is at Oregon.
Tennessee solidified its spot just outside the top four by putting up its most yards ever against Missouri. The Volunteers only have South Carolina and Vanderbilt to go before waiting to see who loses in 12 days: Ohio State or Michigan.
Almost a quarter of the Power Rankings are populated with New Year's Six candidates from the Group of Five: UCF, Tulane, Cincinnati, UTSA and Coastal Carolina. Who will emerge?
|Question: What do Bulldogs do while they wait for the SEC Championship Game? Don't lose to Kentucky or Georgia Tech. If Georgia isn't the consensus No. 1, it's only because the Philadelphia Eagles might be better.||--||5-0|
|Incredibly, C.J. Stroud threw for five touchdowns for the ninth time. Not incredibly, the Buckeyes are a win over Michigan and Big Ten Championship Game victory away from the CFP.||--||4-0|
|His name is Joseph Gillespie. TCU defensive coordinator's unit held Texas to 199 yards in front of the second-biggest crowd in Darrel K. Royal-Memorial Stadium history. The Longhorns offense contributed a field goal. That's it.||--||3-2|
|Is Blake Corum now among the all-time rushing greats at Michigan? Corum posted his seventh straight game of 100+ yards against Nebraska. There is one last tune-up (before Ohio State) against Illinois next week.||--||5-0|
|Hendon Hooker back on top of Heisman Trophy lists (five total TDs)? The Vols put up 137 yards and two TDs after Hooker was yanked (out of mercy?) against Missouri.||--||4-1|
|LB Harold Perkins Jr. overcame the flu to have a nice month against Arkansas (eight tackles, four sacks, two forced fumbles, pass breakup). On offense, the 13 points were the fewest by the Tigers in a win in eight years. With the division clinched, they have three weeks to get ready for Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.||--||3-2|
|An easy win over Colorado came with a price. RB Travis Dye sustained a season-ending lower-body injury. Missing the Pac-12's No. 2 rusher going into UCLA might be the biggest test of the season.||1||5-0|
|The sky is not falling, but it sure seems closer to the ground. Despite a gutty win at Ole Miss, the Crimson Tide will not be in the SEC title game or CFP. Nick Saban moved to 4-2 against his former assistants since 2021.||2||4-1|
|Google Will Shipley's hurdle over a Louisville player on Saturday, kids. It is one of the plays of the year. This has not been the Tigers year, however. CFP is still a possibility with North Carolina's profile raised.||4||3-2|
|Bye. A showdown with Oregon looms. The winner all but clinches a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game. The teams have already met in the title game twice since 2019. Utah won its only Pac-12 crown with a 38-10 decision over the Utes.||1||4-1|
|The Ducks still control their destiny to play in the Pac-12 Championship Game. But they will forever regret blowing a seven-point lead at home with 3:54 left vs. rival Washington.||4||5-0|
|Doesn't make sense. Arizona's defense had allowed at least 45 points in five of the last six games. But it was the Wildcats' D that shut down DTR and the Bruins, who had scored at least 30 in all nine previous games.||3||3-1|
|Some things never change in the AAC. John Rhys Plumlee accounted for 308 total yards in an upset win at Tulane. Once again, the Knights are in first place.||4||3-2|
|Michael Penix Jr. launched the pass of his life 62 yards, and sixth-year kicker Peyton Henry nailed the game-winner with 51 seconds left. Penix's 408 yards passing were the most ever by a Washington QB vs. Oregon.||11||5-0|
|This is Will Howard's team. K-State's backup QB (for now) replaced the injured Adrian Martinez and threw for three TDs at Baylor. The Wildcats are alone in second place in the Big 12. TCU revenge awaiting?||7||3-1|
|What's more amazing, Tar Heels 6-0 on the road for the first time in school history or that the six were won by a total of 20 points? Drake Maye totaled four TDs in outdueling Sam Hartman.||2||4-0|
|Freshman RB Nick Singleton (122 yards, TWO TDS) is the future after a big game against Maryland. So is Kaytron Allen (73 yards). Might be the best running tandem at Penn State since Saquon Barkley and Miles Anders.||1||5-0|
|Not even a dog with its own Twitter account (@juicekiffin) could inspire the Rebels. Lane Kiffin drops to 0-3 against Saban. "It's going to be one of those games you remember your whole life," Kiffin said of the six-point loss. Someday Lane. Someday.||6||4-1|
|Braden Lenzy made the catch of the year against Navy. Notre Dame needed it after being shut out in the second half.||1||5-1|
|The Green Wave's top 20 defense was shredded for a game-high 38 points against UCF. That is not a good indicator for the rest of the season. Dropped passes were a problem.||5||4-1|
|The Bearcats withstood a fierce rally from East Carolina and could be headed to the AAC Championship Game vs. UCF if all works out. The winner there will likely grab a New Year's Six bowl.||3||2-3|
|This might have been Jordan Travis' best game. The FSU QB threw for three scores, ran for another and caught yet another against Syracuse. Something good going on in Tally. Mike Norvell's offense leads the country with 75 gains of at least 20 yards.||NR||4-0|
|This is beginning to look familiar. The Roadrunners are a win -- or an FAU loss -- away from clinching a spot in the Conference USA Championship Game. UTSA forced five Louisiana Tech turnovers. It is 20-4 since the beginning of 2021.||NR||1-3|
|No Grayson McCall (foot), no problem. C.J. Beasley led the Chanticleers to a fourth-quarter comeback win over Southern Miss.||NR||2-3|
|Oklahoma State stood tough against Iowa State to return to the Power Rankings ahead of Bedlam. Spencer Sanders didn't start but entered late to throw a go-ahead touchdown and lead the Pokes on a 10-0 run to end the game.||NR||2-2|
Out: NC State, Texas, Illinois, Liberty