Last night, the College Football world finally got the chaos that has been much eluded to this point of the year. We saw #2 Clemson, #3 Michigan and #4 Washington all get up-ended by conference foes.
For Clemson, being in close games this year has become way too familiar to the CFP runners-up a year ago, as they finally got burned for it yesterday. The Tigers had a chance to close the game out on their final possession of the drive, but running back Wayne Gillman twice was stuffed and not able to get 1 yard, a yard that will haunt Dabo Swinney and his team if they are unable to get another shot at the CFP this year.
Pittsburgh’s Chris Blewitt, who was already getting memes on twitter with the pressure of not blowing the kick, did anything but that. Blewitt’s kick from 48-yards out send a shockwave across Death Valley leaving their fans in dismay.
Where does Clemson stand for the CFP? Even with the loss, I think the Tigers have a tremendous chance into getting in if they take care of business against Wake Forest and South Carolina. With their win against Louisville this year, the Tigers will have the head-to-head tie breaker over the Cardinals that would send them to the ACC title. They win there, the Tigers are in.
While the Tigers’ prospects are still high for December, the Huskies chances of having a PAC 12 representative in the CFP may have slipped through their finger tips last night. USC was able to stifle Heisman candidate Jake Browning and the rest of the high-powered Huskies offense, as they were only able to muster up 13 points at home in their biggest game of the year.
The CFP committee was already on the fence about this team when they first released the initial rankings, having a 1-loss Texas A&M team ahead of the undefeated Huskies at the time due to factors such as strength of schedule and quality wins. Now with a loss this late in the season in a weaker conference, Washington would need a lot of help to punch its ticket to the CFP.
And then there was Michigan. If you thought the other two games had big implications, Michigan’s loss to Iowa could give the CFP committee quite the predicament with the Big Ten.
So far this year, top 5 Big Ten teams have not faired well in night games on the road. Ohio State suffered its first loss of the season to Penn State just a few weeks ago in Happy Valley that shook up the Big Ten, and now Michigan, who was faced with its first true road test of the season, was unable to come out with a win in a classic Big Ten slugfest.
With Michigan’s loss to Iowa, there is now a three way tie atop of the Big Ten East. In my opinion, as a result of this game, Michigan wasn’t even the biggest loser despite losing this game. For me, the fans in Columbus had to be disappointed with their bitter rival losing this game.
Why is Ohio State the big loser out of this? Well, now even if Ohio State wins out and beats Michigan in “The Game”, Ohio State can not win the Big Ten East outright unless Penn State were to lose to Michigan State. (Lets be honest they are not going lose to Rutgers) So if the scenario plays out where Ohio State wins out, they will be the #2 team behind Alabama but won’t be in the conference championship.
How the Committee views the Big Ten will be very telling in the next couple of weeks in the rankings. Based off of the teams who lost this week, the Big Ten will have 4 of the top 8 teams in the country. If Ohio State wins out, and we see a Penn State v. Wisconsin Big Ten Title Game, will we see Ohio State and the winner of the game in as well?
Even with its loss, Michigan still control its destiny. If it takes care of business in Columbus and Indy, the Wolverines will be headed to the CFP. They have the best odds of any of the top unbeatens who fell Saturday to get to the CFP with potentially two top 10 opponents remaining on its schedule. So if you are a Wolverine fan, there is no need to worry.
The potential chaos in the Big Ten is something that the committee could be faced to address as the CFP continues to approach us. But as we all now, anything could happen in any given week.