This is the first week that the national rankings have been based on the decisions of the playoff committee, and there have been some changes, one of them highly significant.
Georgia has been elevated to #1 over Alabama, but that one is not especially meaningful. Given the playoff system, there is little difference between #1 and #2, but a vast difference between #4 and #5 because only the top four teams make the national playoff. Wisconsin would be in that group (so far) if it were based on the polls, but the Badgers are quite far away based on the committee's rankings. The Badgers, with their soft schedule, have been dropped down to 9th, even though the polls place them 4th. Although I hate to admit it, this is undoubtedly a fair correction. Wisconsin should climb a few spots this week, however, thanks to losses by #6 and #7.
#6 Ohio State's loss was the shock o' the week. They didn't just lose; they got pulverized 55-24 by an unranked Iowa team that came into the game with three losses. Iowa had played most weeks well enough to be a ranked team. Two of their losses were close games against Michigan State and Penn State. It's the third loss that had kept them out of the top 25: a 17-10 defeat against Northwestern. That's right, Northwestern, whom you may remember from their 41-17 loss to lowly Duke, which is 1-5 in the ACC. (Take heart, Blue Devils. It's almost time for hoops, where you are rated #1 in the pre-season polls.)
#7 Penn State also lost, to #24 Michigan State.
All five of the ranked undefeated teams remained undefeated (Miami, Georgia, Wisconsin, UCF and Alabama).
- The Badgers dismantled yet another weak opponent.
- #10 Miami defeated #13 Virginia Tech. That was a major feather in the Miami cap. Although Miami had been undefeated, was playing at home, and had been ranked better than their opponent, they got so little respect that they were betting underdogs. They demonstrated the error of that oddsmaking situation with a convincing 28-10 victory.
#15 Iowa State lost a tough one to West Virginia in Morgantown. It's amazing that all of those polls and committees thought that Iowa State deserved such a prominent position on the list, but I guess we can now go back to ignoring them. (In an odd twist, they may be supplanted on the list by cross-state rival Iowa because of the Ohio State game.)
#21 Stanford lost to #25 Washington State in a game that could have gone either way.
I guess defense isn't a major focus in the state of Oklahoma. The game between the Oklahomas was 28-24 in the second quarter alone. The final score was 62-52, with the win going to #5 Oklahoma.
Neither did #4 Clemson nor #3 Notre Dame show much on the defensive side. They both won, but Notre Dame allowed 37 points to Wake Forest, including 27 in the second half, while Clemson allowed NC State to score 21 in the first half before rallying for a 38-31 victory.
Army shut out Air Force. That game was unusual in two ways: (1) Air Force had gone 306 consecutive games without being shut out, representing the fifth-best streak in the history of major college ball; (2) Army won with NO passing attempts. Army ran 59 plays and every blessed one was on the ground. Sounds like my high school team from the deep, dark past.