As we near the end of the 2015 college football season, we have to admit, we’re going to miss all the madness. This has been one of the more entertaining seasons in recent memory. And while we expect the College Football Playoff to be filled with its fair share of excitement, we’re not sure anything can top the unpredictable journey we’ve been through along the way.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, it’s important to remember that there are plenty of big games left to be played. Sure, the best teams in the country have slowly managed to distinguish themselves from the rest, but that doesn’t mean their place in the top four is secure. This is no time to rest on one’s laurels. After all, the last thing teams want to do is give the selection committee a reason to question their legitimacy. Especially this late in the game.
Therefore, as we take a hard look at how the top seven teams stack up in the most recently released CFP rankings, it’s important to note that a few outsiders are making a final push for recognition. If you ask us, should they manage to keep it up, they just might get it.
Behind a Heisman-worthy outing by quarterback Baker Mayfield, the Oklahoma Sooners stormed into Waco and took down the No. 6 ranked Baylor Bears by a score of 44-34. Thanks to the latest string of impressive performances by one of college football’s hottest teams, the selection committee could no longer ignore the legitimacy of Bob Stoops’ dynamic bunch. As a result, the Sooners climbed five spots to No. 7 in the latest CFP rankings.
6. Oklahoma State
Although it looked bleak for awhile, the Oklahoma State Cowboys rallied to stave off a hungry Iowa State team 35-31 and avoid what would have been a major upset in Week 11. And while this victory was hardly as eye-opening as their annihilation of TCU the week before, the Cowboys still improved to a perfect 10-0 on the year, climbing to No. 4 in the AP Top 25 — up two spots from No. 6 in the most recent CFP rankings. As you can see, the Big 12 Conference is clearly on the move.
5. Iowa Hawkeyes
With their hard-fought victory over the Minnesota Gophers in Week 11, the Iowa Hawkeyes improved their record to 10-0 on the season, reclaimed the Floyd of Rosedale trophy, and stayed strong in the eyes of the selection committee. As the No. 5 team in the latest CFP standings, the Hawkeyes still find themselves on the outside looking in. However, if you look for a silver lining, they did manage to move up two positions to No. 6 in the most recent AP poll. If Iowa hopes to land one of the coveted top four spots, they’ll just have to keep winning.
4. Notre Dame
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish did nothing to hurt their position in the eyes of the CFP selection committee. With their 28-7 victory over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, the Irish remained firmly planted in the No. 4 spot in this week’s College Football Playoff standings. It should also be noted that Brian Kelly’s crew did increase their position in the AP poll, climbing one spot to No. 5. Of course, considering how there are a few quality teams resting on the playoff bubble, just waiting for an opportunity to pounce, the Irish can ill afford to slip up now.
3. Ohio State
Despite a 28-3 victory at Illinois, a perfect 10-0 record, and a No. 2 ranking in the AP Top 25, the defending national champion, Ohio State Buckeyes, remains firmly entrenched in the No. 3 spot in the latest CFP rankings. If you ask us, this has more to do with the teams ahead of them playing so well rather than anything the Buckeyes have done (aside from not necessarily living up to expectations, of course). Still, it’s pretty safe to assume that if Ohio State finishes the year unblemished, it will secure a spot in the second-ever College Football Playoff.
Another week, another first-class performance from the Alabama Crimson Tide. This time, Nick Saban’s group went into Starkville and rolled over Mississippi State, handily defeating quarterback Dak Prescott and the rest of the Bulldogs 31-6. As per usual, the Tide head into the backstretch of a season playing their best football. Barring any major setback, not only will running back Derrick Henry come away with the 2015 Heisman Trophy, but Alabama — currently the No. 2 ranked team in the most recent CFP rankings — will earn their second consecutive trip to the College Football Playoff.
For the second straight week, the Clemson Tigers find themselves at the top of the college football mountain. After dispatching a pesky Syracuse team 37-27, Dabo Swinney and company move to 10-0 on the year and maintain the No. 1 spot in both the AP Top 25 and the latest College Football Playoff rankings. With the way quarterback Deshaun Watson has been playing, we have a hard time picturing anyone tripping up the Tigers. As a result, for at least another week, Death Valley’s dream of a massive pizza party is still very much a possibility.