The Top Fan's Top 25 - Week Eleven
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It was called many different things including "Separation Saturday" and "Survival Saturday" as many big games went down...Those that separated and survived include Arizona State, Baylor, TCU, Alabama, Oregon and Ohio State. Those that took a spill include Auburn, Kansas State, Michigan State and Notre Dame. After all of this, I'm not sure if the playoff picture has gotten any clearer - in fact, I think it is as hazy now as it has been all year. A slew of one-loss teams are battlng for the two spots opposite FSU and Mississippi State. With 3 regular season weeks to go, and then the conference title games, anything can happen!
Here are my Top 25 teams following the games of week 11....
1. Florida State (9-0) - The Seminoles roll on with their 25th-straight win as they beat Virginia, 34-20. With just Miami and Florida as the major obstacles left on the 2014 slate, you would have to think FSU is in prime position to make the CFP. But they play the games for a reason and I suppose either of those rivals could upend a shot at back-to-back titles. A 1-loss FSU team is certainly no guarantee to make the Fab 4.
2. Mississippi State (9-0) - The Bulldogs had a recovery week of sorts as they took care of Tennessee-Martin by a score of 45-16. Who in a million years would have thought MSU would be 9-0 and in the driver's seat of the SEC West this late in the season? Not I. But with two tough road tests to go, I am not penciling them in the CFP just yet. An undefeated team right now could have two losses in the next three weeks as Alabama and Ole Miss will be very tough to win on the road.
3. Alabama (8-1) - It took OT, but Alabama picked up a huge road win over LSU this past weekend. With that out of the way, Tuscaloosa can now brace itself for a #1 vs #3 matchup that will go a long way in determining both the SEC and national championship pictures. Say what you want about Bama having an up-and-down uncertain type of season so far this year, the fact is that the Crimson Tide are right where they need to be as the season comes down the homestretch.
4. Oregon (9-1) - The Ducks blasted my prediction that they would lose on the road at Utah. Not only did they win, but they won easily. I cannot believe the replay I saw of the Ute wide receiver that dropped the ball at the 1-yard line following a 78-yard bomb. Oregon scooped it and went 99 yards for the gut punch that Utah never really recovered from. Oregon is now primed to make the first CFP, but they must beat rival Oregon State and then win the Pac-12 Championship Game.
5. Baylor ( 8-1) - There are currently 7 teams that have one loss and are lobbying to get into the Playoff. One of those teams is Baylor who has really impressed in 2014. The Bears lone loss is on the road at West Virginia - an understandable slip up. This past weekend they went into Norman and absolutely blasted the home Sooners, 48-14. Baylor is ranked #1 in the nation in points scored at 51 ppg.
6. TCU (8-1) - Despite the great season that TCU has had, they will need some help to win the Big-12 and/or make the CFP. This is because back in early October the Horned Frogs lost a 61-58 wild game to the Bears, thus giving Baylor the head-to-head tiebreaker. Still, with some football left to go, anything can happen. A New Year's Six bowl looks very likely for this team.
7. Arizona State (8-1) - The Sun Devils went up 17-3 and 34-10 in the first half on the way to a 55-31 dismantling of Notre Dame thid past weekend. It's time to start believing in this program and in Coach Todd Graham who has sparked life into a team that has long been visited by mediocrity. If they can win out - including a road game at rival Arizona - this team wil play Oregon for the league title an possible CFP berth.
8. Ohio State (8-1) - Don't look now but Urban Meyer is grooming his team to make a serious run at the inaugural CFP. The Buckeyes haven't lost in eight weeks, and with games remaining against three teams they should beat, then the Big-12 Title Game (likely against Nebraska) could become a game that could make or break their chances at the Playoff. OSU boasts the nations #4 offense and #26 defense - not a bad balance.
9. Nebraska (8-1) - The Huskers have games approaching against the two teams that could keep them out of the B1G Title Game: Wisconsin and Minnesota. Win those two and this season could turn into one that brings back memories of glory for Cornhusker fans. Star running back Ameer Abdullah was injured against Purdue, but the team expects him back down the stretch.
10. UCLA (8-2) - Well, as it turns out, I was wrong about UCLA having a good shot at a national crown in 2014. While I like what they have going on, and a double digit win season and major bowl are still possible, a couple losses derailed the glory that could have been. Games against USC and Stanford are all that is left on the slate. If Arizona State wins out, they will go to the P12CG despite UCLA whipping them 62-27 back in September.
11. Auburn (7-2)
12. Ole Miss (8-2)
13. Michigan State (7-2)
14. Duke (8-1)
15. Kansas State (7-2)
16. Georgia (7-2)
17. East Carolina (6-2)
18. Clemson (7-2)
19. Notre Dame (7-2)
20. Minnesota (7-2)
21. Arizona (7-2)
22. Missouri (7-2)
23. LSU (7-3)
24. Wisconsin (7-2)
25. Georgia Tech (8-2)
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