After Oklahoma State’s impressive win over TCU this past weekend, many speculated that the Cowboys would jump all the way to 4th in the College Football Playoff rankings – leap frogging ahead of Notre Dame. Apparently the Cowboys didn’t have enough spring in their legs despite beating up the Horned Frogs. When the the latest CFP rankings came out, Notre Dame moved into the 4th position with Oklahoma State ranking just 8th.
Before jumping into the analysis of the top 10. Here’s how things shook out with the second iteration of this year’s CFP rankings.
- Ohio State
- Notre Dame
- Oklahoma State
Notre Dame being ranked 4th wasn’t nearly as surprising as Oklahoma State ranking just 8th. The Irish were 5th and went on the road and beat a Pitt team that was sporting a 6-2 record prior to losing to Notre Dame. So when LSU got manhandled by Alabama, moving up one spot wasn’t out of the question by any means.
What was surprising with these rankings, however, was Oklahoma State improving to the just 8th following their win over TCU. The Committee said last week they couldn’t really judge the Big 12 accurately yet because none of the powers in the conference had played anyone of note to date. After Oklahoma State took down previously unbeaten TCU, the Committee’s message was pretty clear – they still don’t know what to make of the Big 12.
Heading into last weekend the Big 12 had three unbeatens – TCU, Baylor, and Oklahoma State – along with 1-loss Oklahoma. After last weekend that number is down to two and will almost certainly- keep dwindling. This weekend #6 Baylor plays #12 Oklahoma. Notre Dame fans should hope for a Oklahoma win here and shouldn’t have to worry about the Sooner jumping the Irish if this past weekend is any precedent – especially with that ugly loss to Texas on the Sooners resume. Oklahoma State still has to play Baylor and Oklahoma and Baylor still has Oklahoma State and TCU on their schedule following this weekend’s tilt with the Sooners. So at most, the Big 12 could have one unbeaten team which is key for Notre Dame as an unbeaten Big 12 champ could end up leap frogging Notre Dame even if the Irish win out.
Meanwhile, the other newsmaker in the top 10 was Stanford. The Cardinal moved up four spots after taking down Colorado 42-10 this past weekend. Stanford hosts Oregon and Cal the next two weekends before the Irish come to town for that potential Thanksgiving weekend elimination game.
Notre Dame fans should also keep an eye on Iowa. Despite being ranked below the Irish now, the Hawkeyes could jump ahead of Notre Dame should they win out including the Big 10 Championship. Utah also bears watching even though the Utes lone loss came to USC – a team the Irish beat by 10.
Notre Dame won’t have a chance to impress the Committee much the next two weekends with their opponents. They will be double digit favorites both weekends – this weekend at home against Wake Forest and next weekend “at home” against Boston College in Fenway Park. For that reason, style points will be important – as will continuing to watch the scoreboard and hope for some help.
With Navy’s win over previously unbeaten Memphis, the Midshipmen moved up to #20 in the CP rankings. Temple meanwhile stayed at #22 after their 60-40 win over SMU. USC, ranked just outside the Top 25 in both the AP and Coaches Poll, is not yet ranked in the CFP Top 25, but considering they are the first team within the “Other Receiving Votes” area in both polls, it’s safe to assume they are on the Committee’s radar as well. Should the Trojans continue to win that would give the Irish three wins over Top 25 teams with the chance for a fourth against Stanford.
We’ll have our weekly rundown of all the games that impact the playoff race later this week as well to get everyone prepared for this weekend’s games and do the research behind what’s in Notre Dame’s best interest so you don’t have to.
Notre Dame still has some work to do, but heading into the second weekend of November the Irish are in a position where they would be in the playoffs if the season ended today.