I’ll talk about the game more in the SEC Wednesday blog, but I’ve updated the LSU-Arkansas rivalry entry.
Here is the one for Florida if you wanted to see that.
Going into this week, there was only really one team within striking distance of Clemson, and that was Michigan. We know what happened there.
Next was Ohio St., but in order to have enough points to move up to #2, the Buckeyes would have had to beat a better opponent than Maryland. Had they played Minnesota, for instance, it might have done the trick.
It doesn’t happen often among the higher teams, but it is possible to maintain a ranking despite a loss if you have a sufficient lead over some teams and you have nearby teams lose.
It also helped the Tigers that Troy got a quality win over Appalachian St. and Georgia Tech beat Virginia Tech. Clemson lost points overall, but they could have lost those points for the loss without gaining any for prior opponents.
Sometimes there is an even lower team that can pass up a losing team like Clemson, but not this week.
After Ohio St., the next team was 2-loss Penn St., who also has a loss to Pitt. That would have made zero sense. Three of the next four after Penn St. were Auburn, Washington, and Texas A&M. You don’t pass up #2 by losing. To round out last week’s top 10, we had Western Michigan, who beat a bad Kent St. team on Tuesday, and Louisville, who has lost to Clemson.
So the gap between Clemson and Ohio St. did narrow from about 0.18 to about 0.01. So beating Michigan, for instance, on the same day the other team beats South Carolina counts for a lot more than 0.01, but I don’t project into the future; I just provide a snapshot of where things stand right now.
There is a simple argument for Louisville being ahead of Clemson: they play in the same division as Clemson and lost to a better team. Even assuming equal conference schedules (which isn’t really the case since Louisville didn’t play Pitt), Clemson also beat Auburn. The best non-conference win Louisville can hope for is Kentucky, which will most likely enter the game 6-5; but even then you shouldn’t get credit for a win until you play the game.
Just as before, I can’t come up with a good reason to put Michigan ahead of Clemson. I hope the CFP committee does better than the polls.
I mentioned Western Michigan should generally be going downward, but when you have four teams in front of you lose and you only gain one spot, that’s still evidence that they’re not accumulating many points.
Colorado did gain some points, but several other nearby teams gained more points; and the losses by good teams weren’t damaging enough to help.
Assuming only one team gets in from the Big Ten and the ACC, there is still another opening even though you have to go down to #7 in the polls before you get to the team. That team is Washington, which also lost of course (although I have them 12th). This was the first time since 1985 that numbers 2 through 4 all lost in the same weekend.
As more relevant games are being played, the Big XII teams are all moving up. It will be interesting to see if the Big XII champion is in the mix by the end.
1 Alabama 1
2 Clemson 2
3 Ohio St. 4
4 Michigan 3
5 Penn St. 5
6 Louisville 10
7 W. Michigan 8
8 Boise St. 11
9 Wisconsin 12
10 Tennessee 14
11 Auburn 6
12 Washington 7
13 Oklahoma 18
14 Florida St. 17
15 Wash. St. 16
16 West Virginia 24
17 Nebraska 20
18 Okie St. 25
19 Texas A&M 9
20 N. Carolina 13
21 Houston 21
22 Utah —
23 Colorado 19
24 S. Florida —
25 Troy —
Out of rankings: (15) Virginia Tech, (22) App. St., (23) Wyoming