College football resume rankings: The Big 12 and Pac-12 have a mountain to climb
Teams like Washington State, West Virginia and Oklahoma are alive in the playoff hunt, but it won't be easy
The Big 12 and Pac-12 won't have an easy time making the College Football Playoff. This isn't breaking news to you. If you're reading this post, you should already know that. What this week's resume rankings do, however, is further drive home the work that the contenders from those two conferences have to do to reach the top four.
Long story short, it's not as simple as winning their games. They're going to need help elsewhere.
When the newest, the Oklahoma Sooners were still at No. 6 following a narrow escape against Oklahoma State. If you look below at our top 10 in these rankings, though, you won't find the Sooners. They're currently at No. 12 here, a spot behind UCF.
There are two Big 12 teams in our top 10, and they're No. 9 Texas and No. 10 West Virginia. With three losses, Texas has no shot, but the Mountaineers do. They have one game left against a ranked team on the schedule as they'll face No. 6 Oklahoma. A win there would be worth at least 6.1 points here. They would likely face the Sooners again in the Big 12 Championship, and if we assume the Sooners don't fall out of the top 10 after losing to West Virginia, a second win over the Sooners would be worth an additional 6.1 points minimum. So that's at least 12.2 points, but if you add that to West Virginia's current score of 10.9, that's still only 23.1 points. That would be enough for sixth right now, but it doesn't factor in the teams ahead of the Mountaineers earning points of their own in the coming weeks.
Washington State currently has 13.7 points and could pick up a minimum of 4.1 points with a win over Washington in the Apple Cup assuming the Huskies remain in the top 20. That's not nearly enough to reach the top four, and even the Pac-12 Championship likely won't be against a Utah team ranked much higher than where it is now at No. 18.
So, if these rankings are any indication -- and they've proven to be pretty accurate in the past -- your inkling that these teams need more than wins, but chaos elsewhere is spot on.
Now let's get to the rest of the rankings, and if you need a refresher as to how we compute them,.
- Alabama finally reached the No. 1 spot in these rankings to match its position in the CFP Rankings. Not only did the Tide add two wins over ranked teams the last two weeks, but it dominated them, outscoring its opponents 53-0. So you can stop with the "Alabama ain't played nobody" nonsense. It's played plenty of people, and it's crushed them. Of course, it plays The Citadel this weekend, and that will spur more "they ain't played nobody" takes, which ignore nearly every other team in these rankings played FCS teams earlier in the season.
- Clemson finally had a chance to get a win over a ranked team on Saturday night and it picked up 6.0 points by beating Boston College. Unfortunately for the Tigers, those points came in a week in which Alabama earned 6.4, and Georgia picked up 4.7. So while they closed the gap between them and the No. 5 spot in these rankings, they remain sixth. Making matters worse, given the remaining schedule, and the way the ACC Coastal looks, odds are Clemson won't get another game against a ranked team before the CFP. The good news is -- as I've tried to make as clear as possible over the years -- it's not just about who you play, but how you play against them. And the way Clemson's playing, it's resume becomes secondary. Now should the Tigers lose a game...
- The biggest game on the schedule this weekend as far as these rankings are concerned is Notre Dame and Syracuse. The Irish slipped to third in the rankings this week with Alabama and Georgia picking up points, but they would earn a minimum of 5.1 points with a win over Syracuse. That would move them back to first place. As for Syracuse, the Orange are currently at No. 21 in our resume rankings with 5.6 points. A win over Notre Dame on Saturday would be worth a minimum of 7.1 points. Depending on what happens elsewhere, that could be enough to get into our top 10.
- One of those elsewhere games to keep an eye on is UCF and Cincinnati. The Knights are currently No. 11 in the resume rankings with 8.0 points. They don't have a win over a ranked team this season, but the Bearcats are No. 24 this week, so they have a shot now. A win over the Bearcats would be worth at least 3.1 points and could get UCF into our top 10. The Bearcats are ranked No. 17 with 6.0 points. A win over UCF would be worth at least 5.1 points and could conceivably put them in the top 10 as well. Of course, neither team has a realistic shot at a playoff berth, but this game could still be considered something of a playoff for a New Year's Six berth with the winner guaranteed nothing, but the loser out of the running.
- Texas keeps hanging around in our top 10 despite its losses due to the strength of its wins. It has another chance to earn points this weekend against Iowa State. A win would be worth at least 4.1 points and would keep the Longhorns around another week. An Iowa State win could push the Cyclones into our top 10 as well.
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