BoW 2015 College Football Ranking Index Week 8

Rankings updated thru Week 8 (10/24/15):

Rank Team Conference
1 Ohio State B1G
2 Alabama SEC
3 Iowa B1G
4 Louisiana State SEC
5 Clemson ACC
6 Stanford PAC12
7 Michigan State B1G
8 Utah PAC12
9 Texas Christian XII
10 Memphis Amer
11 Oklahoma XII
12 Baylor XII
13 Florida SEC
14 Michigan B1G
15 Notre Dame Ind
16 UCLA PAC12
17 Mississippi SEC
18 Mississippi State SEC
19 Oklahoma State XII
20 Temple Amer
21 Florida State ACC
22 Northwestern B1G
23 North Carolina ACC
24 Houston Amer
25 Southern California PAC12

Highlights from Week 8:

B1G: Ohio State takes over the top spot after a blowout road win over Rutgers. Michigan State finally beats a Power 5 team by more than a touchdown.

ACC: Clemson puts itself in the mix as a serious playoff contender after a huge statement win at Miami. Their strength of schedule took a bit of a hit though, as Florida State drops a last second contest at Georgia Tech.

XII: Oklahoma moves into a position to make a run in November, after a big win over Texas Tech. The Big XII doesn’t appear to have a team in contention by today’s rankings, but that will change in November as all the conference’s unbeatens square off against each other.

PAC12: Utah drops a road game at USC by a surprisingly large margin. They’re still in the running for a playoff spot if they win out and claim the PAC12 title, but their margin of error is now razor thin.

SEC: Alabama narrowly escapes with a win over Tennessee, now Saban has two weeks to prepare for LSU, who just came off a more-impressive-than-it-looks win over Western Kentucky (LSU also has a bye week; this is basically the SEC’s Super Bowl with two weeks of hype looming). Ole Miss still controls their playoff destiny after an easy win over A&M, but if they win the SEC then what happens if…

Amer: Memphis stays unbeaten! Another easy win for the Tigers, who have a pair of huge road games in November to decide the conference and perhaps earn an unlikely Group of 5 playoff bid. The committee’s first poll next week will tell us if the American has a realistic shot at getting in. If you’re a fan of chaos, you want both Ole Miss and Memphis to win out.

Important games in week 9:

Notre Dame at Temple. Game of the week? If Temple can win big here, they have a case for a playoff bid if they go on to run the table. Notre Dame is barely still in the playoff discussion, but a big win here would go a long way. Their season finale at Stanford will be huge. The Irish can’t afford another loss, and probably not even a close call, since they have no conference title game to rely on.

Stanford at Washington State. Did anyone know the Cougars are 5-2? This is a tricky road game for the Cardinal, who need to win out to ensure the Utah/Stanford PAC12 title game winner gets in the top 4.

Georgia vs Florida. The Cocktail Party isn’t quite as meaningful as it may have looked a few weeks ago, but Florida still has a playoff spot within reach if they win out.

North Carolina at Pitt. The winner here is in the driver’s seat for the Coastal division, and since each play Duke in the following 2 weeks we’ll soon know who’s playing the Clemson/Florida State winner for the ACC title.

A surprisingly thin slate of games this late in the year, but November promises to be LOADED week after week. Stay tuned.

BoW 2015 College Football Ranking Index Week 7

We’re still a couple weeks from the first official CFP Poll release, but I have enough data available to post my computer rankings today with results through week 7:

Rank Team Conference
1 Utah PAC12
2 Alabama SEC
3 Iowa B1G
4 Louisiana State SEC
5 Ohio State B1G
6 Michigan State B1G
7 Stanford PAC12
8 Texas Christian XII
9 Florida SEC
10 Baylor XII
11 Memphis Amer
12 Florida State ACC
13 Clemson ACC
14 Michigan B1G
15 Oklahoma XII
16 Notre Dame Ind
17 California PAC12
18 Temple Amer
19 Oklahoma State XII
20 Toledo MAC
21 Houston Amer
22 North Carolina ACC
23 Texas A&M SEC
24 Western Kentucky CUSA
25 UCLA PAC12

The hottest teams right now are Alabama and Iowa, each coming off blowout road wins this week. Iowa’s road to 12-0 looks rather pedestrian, with their toughest remaining game at Nebraska (#49 in BoW) to close the regular season. Their weak strength of schedule will require them to go 13-0, with a win in the Big Ten Championship game, to ensure their playoff bid. Alabama also will need to win out, as the SEC has several worthy candidates for a playoff spot (but they’ll still only get one team in this year). This year, it’ll be the ACC whose champion is left out. The TCU/Baylor winner is in (if unbeaten, and maybe still at 11-1). The Big Ten, SEC, and PAC12 champions will likely round out the field of 4.

All teams in the top 13 are still in contention (including Memphis!), as well as Oklahoma St who gets both TCU and Baylor at home in November, and Texas A&M who has a huge game at Ole Miss next week. Nobody else really has a chance, barring mass chaos across the country. Memphis is the lone Group of 5 member who has a case to be made for inclusion after their convincing win over SEC contender and Alabama slayer Ole Miss. If Ole Miss runs the table, they will win the SEC West. If they then win in Atlanta they’ll be a strong candidate for the playoff, even with 2 losses. However, can you really put a 2-loss team in over an unbeaten Memphis, who has a win over the SEC champion on their resume? I’d love to see the committee justify leaving Memphis out in that scenario. Memphis still has to play at Houston, a very well coached team who is also unbeaten. Houston’s Power 5 win over Louisville and a presumed win over Vanderbilt in 2 weeks wouldn’t be strong enough to get them into consideration though, as each of those teams already have 4 losses.

Key wins in Week 7:

Stanford 56 UCLA 35. The lone blemish for Stanford in week 1 at Northwestern seems like a distant memory now. A home win over Notre Dame and Pac12 title game victory over Utah would be enough to get them in the field.

Alabama 41 Texas A&M 23. Statement road win for the Tide over the previously unbeaten Aggies. Alabama appears to be hitting their stride in advance of the first poll. Expect them to be in the field of 4 in the first official poll if they beat Tennessee at home next week.

Iowa 40 Northwestern 10. Blowout road win for Iowa was their last real test of the regular season. They should cruise to 12-0, with a shot at Michigan State or Ohio State to stake their claim for the post-season.

LSU 35 Florida 28. LSU is the last remaining unbeaten SEC team, after knocking off previously unbeaten Florida at home. The Tigers are in position to make a statement in two weeks in Tuscaloosa, but can’t afford to look past 6-1 Western Kentucky this week.

Michigan St 27 Michigan 23. In a monumental stroke of good fortune, Michigan State received a gift that bounced right into their hands in the waning seconds in Ann Arbor to save their undefeated season. The Spartans have looked vulnerable throughout the season, but continue to do just enough to keep winning. Will their luck run out in Columbus in November, or perhaps before? With no statement wins on the season, and a couple way too close of calls against terrible opponents, it seems it’s only a matter of time.

Key games of Week 8:

Utah at Southern Cal. The last real test for the Utes, until their title game clash with Stanford.

Texas A&M at Ole Miss. The Aggies have no margin for error after the home loss to Alabama. Get past the Rebels and it’s smooth sailing until the finale at LSU.