As we look at our latest resume rankings following Week 10, it's clear to me that this is one of those weeks when I have to remind you from the top that these rankings aren't designed in the traditional manner of "best team at No. 1, next best at No. 2," etc. These rankings are intended strictly to rank the resumes of teams based on who they've beaten and who they've lost to. Essentially, we're trying to mimic what the College Football Playoff committee sees when it compares teams as it compiles its ranking.
The reason I want to get that out of the way from the start is because Alabama beat LSU 29-0 last week, knocking the Tigers from the No. 1 spot in the resume rankings to No. 3 ... one spot ahead of Alabama. This is due more to Alabama not having a great win until beating LSU, Louisville being an abject disaster and Texas A&M not being quite ready for primetime. LSU, meanwhile, may have two losses, but both were "good" losses. It also has wins over Georgia, Mississippi State and Auburn boosting its resume at the moment.
The good news for Alabama is that it's Alabama, and its resume doesn't matter as much as the fact it crushes everyone it faces does. The only time Alabama's resume will become a factor is if it manages to lose a game. Plus, with LSU playing Arkansas this weekend and Alabama playing No. 16 Mississippi State, the Tide can earn a minimum of 4.1 resume points with a win, while LSU can only earn one point. That would move Alabama past LSU by a good margin in these rankings.
If you aren't familiar with how the point system works in these rankings,.
Onto the rankings.
- West Virginia is in a similar spot as Alabama in that it just beat Texas, yet it's behind the Longhorns in these rankings. This is due to factors mostly out of West Virginia's control. The Mountaineers play a back-loaded schedule this season, though with neither TCU or Oklahoma State ranked, it hurts them here, as does the fact its game with NC State earlier this season was canceled due to a hurricane. The good news for West Virginia is that it still gets Oklahoma to finish the season, and if it wins out, it'll get either Oklahoma or Texas in the Big 12 Championship, offering another chance to boost its resume.
- Ohio State is in an odd position. It's only at No. 10 in the CFP Rankings, yet it is No. 7 in these rankings thanks to wins over TCU -- which was ranked No. 15 at the time -- and Penn State. Still, because of its 29-point loss to Purdue and the fact its defense has been below what we usually anticipate from an Ohio State team, it's mostly being written off by the general public. But this is a team that's still very much alive in the playoff race. A win over No. 18 Michigan State this weekend would be worth a minimum of 4.1 resume points, and the Buckeyes still get Michigan in Columbus to finish the regular season. I'm just as skeptical about this team as everybody else, but being overlooked might be the ideal spot for Ohio State to be at the moment.
- I don't think it'll come as a surprise to anybody, but based on these resume rankings, Washington State's going to need a lot of help to reach the College Football Playoff. It's ranked No. 8 both here and in the CFP Rankings, but it's 12.7 resume points are 9.4 points behind Alabama at No. 4. Looking at the rest of Washington State's schedule, I'm not sure I see the opportunity to make up that kind of ground without a lot of losses elsewhere. The committee did it a favor by putting Washington at No. 25, but right now that win would be worth 3.1 points. If Wazzu reaches the Pac-12 Championship Game, it'll be facing a Pac-12 South team that will not be ranked.
- There is some good news for UCF this week, but it comes at a significant cost. UCF is still only at No. 14 in the resume rankings with 7.0 points, but it's the highest-ranked Group of Five team since Houston lost and fell from No. 12 to No. 21. The problem is that Houston's loss almost assures that UCF will only have one chance of playing a ranked team this season: Cincinnati. With both Houston and South Florida losing to SMU and Tulane, respectively, there's little chance either will enter the CFP's rankings this season. I mean, look at how the committee is treating Group of Five teams to this point. So 8-1 Cincinnati is the best bet for UCF to get a win over a ranked opponent, but that won't be nearly enough to earn a playoff bid. So it looks like UCF is once again playing for a New Year's Six bowl, at best.