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College Football Rankings: The Sterritt Score - Week 8

After that beatdown last week, Auburn worked it's way up into the top 10! Bo's impressed.

John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Some days, it’s just not your day. Things don’t go your way. You feel like you’ve been…

Run over. Unfortunately, just like the Arkansas and Ole Miss defenses Saturday, that’s how I feel today. Car accidents are no fun, folks.

Don’t worry, everyone came out okay! Let’s take a look at this week’s top 25.

Here's the whole spreadsheet if you're interested. Also, I'll reference Bill C's work quite a bit, which can be found here.

Playoff Positioning

No surprise at number 1, with Michigan holding on to the top spot after an easy 41-8 win over #102 Illinois. This week, they look to avenge their horrible loss to Sparty last year. #109 Michigan State has had a rough year so far, throwing up five straight losses. It’s a rivalry game and it’s in East Lansing, but look for Michigan to put up a solid win here.

Also no surprise is Alabama at number 2. Now #26 Texas A&M put up a good fight, including holding a second half lead, but they just couldn’t keep up at the end of the day. The Tide gets a week off now, but they still have two interesting matchups in November at #22 LSU and hosting your #10 Auburn Tigers.

For the first time this season, a one loss team has entered the top four. #3 Louisville absolutely destroyed #43 NCST, with a KO in less than two minutes. I’m not sure the last time I’ve seen a KO that quick, if ever. Louisville has a pretty easy slate from here on out, especially with #16 Houston looking weaker by the week. Louisville’s other four games come against #107 UVA, #94 Boston College, and #65 Wake Forest, and #84 Kentucky. It’s very unlikely Louisville could win their division, but they should be in line for a New Year’s Six Bowl.

At number four… well, all I have to say is ROW THE BOAT, FOLKS! Western Michigan has worked its way all the way up to #4 this week, and will likely stay there with a bye next week. Their best win is only over #36 Northwestern, but they’ve absolutely dominated the rest of their schedule. Do I personally think they should be at #4? No. But they’ve certainly done everything they could so far. Ohio State, Clemson, and Washington are looming just behind the Broncos, and I’m sure with the Bronco’s SOS continuing to drop that someone else will claim that fourth spot.

The Undefeateds

This is a fun time in the season where we generally have an idea of how good teams are, but there’s still a ton of football left to be played. The end-of-season picture isn’t completely clear yet. Right now, there are still nine undefeated teams. Any Power 5 Conference team that goes undefeated is almost guaranteed a spot in the playoffs, regardless of their record. Not all of them can remain undefeated the whole season, but let’s take a look of who is left.

Two conferences are represented twice here (Big 12 and Big 10), so we know for sure that two of these teams will not be undefeated. That leaves AT MOST 7 teams that could be undefeated. Both #12 Nebraska and #1 Michigan have three likely ranked matchups left to become undefeated, including potentially facing each other in the Big 10 Championship. In the Big 12, both Baylor and WVU have the beef of their schedule to play in November. Neither team has played #27 Oklahoma, and the two play each other in what could be a defacto Big 12 Championship game in Morgantown on December 3rd.

#2 Alabama still has games at LSU and hosting Auburn, as discussed above, plus a game likely against #11 UF in the SECCG should they still be undefeated at that point. Bill Connelly only gives the Tide a 39% chance of going 12-0. #4 Western Michigan’s only game that is even against a team currently over 0.500 is #15 Toledo in the last week. They seem to have the easiest path to 13-0.

#6 Clemson, on the road at against a decent FSU team, doesn’t have much competition after this week except for playing a probably above average (but not great) team in the conference championship. Bill gives them a 50/50 shot of going into that game undefeated. #7 Washington has several decent but still relatively easy games left on the schedule, with the Apple Cup against #18 Washington State their best (worst?) bet at a loss.

Finally, #9 Boise State is in my mind the most likely to win out, with a couple of very winnable conference games remaining. A likely matchup with #33 SDSU in the conference title game is all that really stands between Boise and another major bowl bid.

As you can see, each team has its own resume and own path left to get to an undefeated record and opportunity to campaign for a playoff bid. Upsets happen (it’s why we love college football!), so we’ll see how many, or if any, teams make it through unscathed.

Auburn Thoughts

Shoooo, buddy. That was FUN. I don’t have much to say that hasn’t yet been said, so all I’ll say is, take it in y’all. Those kinds of wins against SEC competition are once in a lifetime. Every position group on the team appears to be firing on all cylinders right now, and I know it’s hard to see how any team could beat our beloved Tigers right now.

Winning in Oxford could take all we have, though, because this is a sort of rally-or-die game for the Rebels in front of their home crowd. #44 Ole Miss, despite a 2-4 record in counting games, still holds a positive average KO and MOV. They might be the most Jekyll and Hyde team in the SEC this year, giving Alabama their best game yet and then losing back to back games against LSU and Arkansas.

This team is hard to predict. But… I really feel like Auburn wins this one going away. The run game is 2013-esque right now, and that’s without Kerryon Johnson the last two games. Again referencing Bill Connelly (I can’t urge you enough to check out his work), the Ole Miss rushing defense is 58th in S&P+. Unless Chad Kelley comes out on fire and puts Auburn in a hole early, I see the Tigers putting up another big day on the ground and just grinding away at Ole Miss. Let’s hope I’m right!

This Weekend

Which matchups will I have an eye on? Let's take a look:

#6 Clemson at #60 FSU (still being held back by that Louisville loss with a negative MOV)

#23 Miami at #54 Notre Dame (Catholics vs Convicts is back!)

#14 VT at #29 Pitt

#1 Michigan at #109 Michigan State (should be payback from last year)

#12 Nebraska at #20 Wisconsin

#8 WVU at #38 Oklahoma State

#7 Washington at #35 Utah

#11 Florida vs #77 UGA (Rivalry games are always fun)

#10 Auburn at #44 Ole Miss

Let me know what y'all think! War Eagle!