It was another good week for teams in the AP Top 25, even though there were six games between ranked opponents. In fact, the only higher-ranked team to lose in one of those games was Oregon State, which lost the Pac-2 title game at Washington State. Also, no ranked teams lost to unranked teams this week.
Wazzu is now projected for the Holiday Bowl against Syracuse after previously being slotted in the Independence Bowl. Oregon State moves down to the Los Angeles Bowl, where it is projected to face Fresno State.
The highest-ranked team to fall was Notre Dame, which lost to Ohio State on a touchdown in the final second of the game. The Buckeyes offense is hard enough to defend with 11 men, but the Fighting Irish defense tried get two stops in the game’s final seconds with only 10 men on the field.
Notre Dame does not have much margin for error when it comes to making the College Football Playoff or even earning a spot in a New Year’s Six game. The loss to Ohio State takes away one of three or four chances the Irish have to beat a team in the rankings. They still face Duke on the road this week, along USC at home on Oct. 14 and Clemson on the road Nov. 5.
Even if Notre Dame finishes 11-1, its schedule may not hold up against teams with similar records from major conferences, particularly the SEC or Big Ten. Of course, teams from conferences would have a chance to finish 12-1 due to their league championship games.
A 10-2 record for Notre Dame may not be good enough for a spot in the New Year’s Six, either, but there would certainly be a chance. The Irish would automatically qualify for the Orange Bowl if they are the highest-ranked available team from among themselves, the SEC and the Big Ten, but they are eligible for any of the games if they are ranked high enough.
If Ohio State had lost, it would have still likely still had a path to the CFP. However, the Buckeyes remain undefeated and perhaps kept a slip-up in the chamber with games against Penn State and Michigan ahead before a potential Big Ten Championship Game berth.
So, despite the six top 25 showdowns this week, the College Football Playoff and New Year’s Six bowl projections remain unchanged.
College Football Playoff
|Title game||Semifinal winners|
(2) Michigan vs. (3) Texas
(1) Georgia vs. (4) Florida State
New Year’s Six bowl games
That does not mean there’s no movement elsewhere in the bowl projections. Beyond the changes for Washington State and Oregon State, plenty of others teams shifted around based on their results.
Don’t see your team? Check out Jerry Palm’s bowl projections after Week 4.