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Playoff Committee Review and OFD's Ballot: Week 14

As expected, Rivalry Weekend brought some massive shifts to the playoff landscape. What does it all mean?

Fun while it lasted.
Fun while it lasted.
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Official Committee Rankings

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Rank Team Last week Week 14 result Final opponent If the season ended today ...
1 Alabama (11-1) 1 Won 55-44 vs. No. 15 Auburn Missouri Sugar Bowl vs. Florida State
2 Oregon (11-1) 2 Won 47-19 at Oregon State Arizona Rose Bowl vs. TCU
3 TCU (10-1) 5 Won 48-10 at Texas Iowa State Rose Bowl vs. Oregon
4 Florida State (12-0) 3 Won 24-19 vs. Florida Georgia Tech Sugar Bowl vs. Alabama
5 Ohio State (11-1) 6 Won 42-28 vs. Michigan Wisconsin New Year's bowl
6 Baylor (10-1) 7 Won 48-46 vs. Texas Tech Kansas State New Year's bowl
7 Arizona (10-2) 11 Won 42-35 vs. No. 13 Arizona State Oregon New Year's bowl
8 Michigan State (10-2) 10 Won 34-10 at Penn State None Orange Bowl vs. Georgia Tech*
9 Kansas State (9-2) 12 Won 51-13 vs. Kansas Baylor New Year's bowl
10 Mississippi State (10-2) 4 Lost 31-17 at No. 19 Ole Miss None New Year's bowl
11 Georgia Tech (10-2) 16 Won 30-24 (OT) at No. 9 Georgia Florida State Orange Bowl vs. Michigan State
12 Ole Miss (9-3) 19 Won 31-17 vs. No. 4 Mississippi State None
13 Wisconsin (10-2) 14 Won 34-24 vs. No. 18 Minnesota Ohio State
14 Georgia (9-3) 9 Lost 30-24 (OT) vs. No. 16 Georgia Tech None
15 UCLA (9-3) 8 Lost 31-10 vs. Stanford None
16 Missouri (10-2) 17 Won 21-14 vs. Arkansas Alabama
17 Arizona State (10-2) 13 Lost 42-35 at No. 11 Arizona None
18 Clemson (9-3) 21 Won 35-17 vs. South Carolina None
19 Auburn (8-4) 15 Lost 55-44 at No. 1 Alabama None
20 Oklahoma (8-3) 20 Idle Oklahoma State
21 Louisville (9-3) 22 Won 44-40 vs. Kentucky None
22 Boise State (10-2) 23 Won 50-19 vs. Utah State Fresno State New Year's bowl
23 Utah (8-4) 25 Won 38-34 vs. Colorado None
24 LSU (8-4) NR Won 23-17 at Texas A&M None
25 USC (8-4) NR Won 49-14 vs. Notre Dame None

Overall impression: Aside from the TCU/FSU flip (more on that below), nothing really jumps out in these rankings as surprising or out of place. In fact, you'll notice that my rankings below, which I put together Sunday night, are pretty similar to the committee's. Those who are not fans of the committee may disagree, but I think this list is consistent with all the previous rankings as far as how teams are evaluated.

Surprise Team of the Week - Up Mode/Down Mode: This is an easy call, and I'm mushing it together because they're related - TCU is the surprise up team, jumping the surprise down team, Florida State, when both of them won. Conventional poll wisdom says you don't drop when you win, but as noted below, Florida State has logged five one-score wins against currently unranked teams. What do you think Oregon would do to Florida? Or Miami? Or Boston College?

As you'll see below, I dropped Florida State myself from #1 to #2 this week (before the official rankings came out, incidentally). I think #4 is a little low - not entirely sure why TCU is clearly a better choice than FSU, unless we get into a discussion of flags that should not have been thrown affecting both teams - but I understand the committee's general thought process here.

Who's Out This Week:

It was a great run for Mississippi State, but any fringe chance they had to make the playoff is now gone after a second loss in three weeks. Will Mullen be able to continue his success next year with so many fifth-year players leaving?

UCLA. Hahahahahahahaha... (Dude, the Irish got hammered this week.) Whatever, hahahahahahaha... Somebody hand them some baby wipes to clean the tear-streaked eye black off their faces. They had a chance if they knocked off Oregon in the Pac 12 championship, but that's down the toilet.

Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? Todd Graham and Arizona State are now discontent in the desert after losing to Arizona; the UCLA loss gave both of these teams a chance to stay in the playoff race, and Arizona seized it.

Georgia had a very outside chance if they could win the SEC and there was mass chaos elsewhere, but that's completely gone now with the snatching-defeat-from-the-jaws-of-victory performance at home against Georgia Tech.

The OFD Ballot

1. Alabama: Our new number 1 gained some measure of revenge against Auburn in the Iron Bowl, but any elite team with a good offense must be licking their chops after what Auburn did to the Tide defense - 44 points and 628 total yards, despite two turnovers. Could Missouri pose a real threat in Saturday's SEC title game?

2. Florida State: Sorry Jimbo, but at some point it is like figure skating - and your team has yet to nail a double lutz this year, let alone a triple. After logging their sixth one-score win (and fifth against currently unranked teams), I finally dropped them from the #1 spot. They'll take on dangerous Georgia Tech in the ACC championship this week.

3. Oregon: Unlike several other rivalry games, the Ducks went to work immediately - up 30-3 at the half, this one was over early. Fully healthy and really humming, they're heavy favorites in a rematch with Arizona in the Pac 12 championship on Friday.

4. TCU: So much for Texas's nascent resurgence. TCU put a hurting on the Horns, 48-10, and will face a downtrodden Iowa State program this weekend to close out their Big 12 season. They're a noon kickoff with Baylor-Kansas State a 7:45 kickoff, which is bad news for the Cyclones - TCU won't know if they'll need style points, so you can bet they'll get after it.

5. Ohio State: Beat Michigan in a battle that was closer than the score indicated, but they may have lost the war when they lost JT Barrett for the year with a broken ankle. They'll take on a Wisconsin team that could pose a serious problem for their defense - will they be able to score enough to win?

6. Baylor: Didn't do themselves any favors by just sneaking past a bad Texas Tech team and giving up 46 points, which reinforced a lot of negative perceptions of them. They have a big chance to state their case as an elite team - and claim the Big 12 title in the process - when they host Kansas State this weekend.

7. Kansas State: Took care of business against Kansas, and as noted above will travel to Waco still with a chance to get into the playoff: In addition to winning the Baylor game, they'd need Ohio State to lose to Wisconsin (a distinct possibility) and TCU to lose to Iowa State (highly improbable, but not impossible).

8. Arizona: Logged a quality win over rival Arizona State and will now face Oregon for the Pac 12 championship. They could be in with just a win and an Ohio State loss.

9. Michigan State: Wrapped up the regular season with a ho-hum win against Penn State and will await their bowl game assignment, which could be Big Ten #1 (if the Big Ten gets a spot in the playoff), #2, or #3. They'll be very interested observers this weekend.

10. Wisconsin: I've been trying to figure out how they could work their way into the playoff, but I think being behind KSU kills it for them. They beat a decent Minnesota team this week and will face the Buckeyes for the Big Ten title, which as we all know is all that really matters anyway.

11. Georgia Tech: Similar to Wisconsin, I don't see a way that Georgia Tech can climb into the playoff even with a win over Florida State in the ACC championship this weekend. They can ruin Florida State's season, though, and no doubt Paul Johnson would love that.

12. Mississippi State: Closed out their regular season with a convincing loss to a depleted Ole Miss team that lost to Arkansas 30-0 the week before. Ouch. The loss killed any chance the SEC had of getting two teams in the playoff.

13. Missouri: "Upset" Arkansas at home as the higher-ranked team. Kinda weird. A Mizzou win over Alabama in the SEC title game would be earth-shattering, both in itself and in the fact that it would likely shut the SEC out of the playoff. Go Tigers!

14. Ole Miss: Very impressive win over Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl to salvage some pride as they ended their regular season.

15. Georgia: Georgia Tech is the Bulldogs' third bad loss of the year - not because of the strength of the opponent, like the first two, but because of the way it unfolded. Taking the lead with 18 seconds left and blowing it? Brutal. They might have a tough time getting up for their bowl game.

16. UCLA: Well, Stanford had a little something in the tank, absolutely hammering UCLA on the road in a game that was never in doubt after the first quarter. Whoops. Three losses and five one-score wins make the Bears seem more like paper tigers.

17. Arizona State: They did wax ASU, though, which is why the Sun Devils check in here. After their disappointing loss to Arizona, they'll sit around and wait for their bowl invitation.

18. Auburn: Moved the ball at will on Alabama, but unfortunately proved even less demure than them on defense in the highest-scoring Iron Bowl - 99 combined points - in series history. Their regular season is done.

19. Oklahoma: Sat idle this week and will close out the regular season against Oklahoma State next week.

20. Clemson: Yes, South Carolina is down, but that was still a pretty impressive win. I was going to put them at #21 but couldn't justify putting them behind a Louisville team that they beat back in Week 7.

21. Louisville: Went blow-for-blow with Kentucky, in both the game and the pre-game scuffle, but Bobby Petrino's squad ultimately pulled it out with defense. Petrino's involvement in the pre-game extra-curriculars were a bit of a reminder that employing him is akin to inviting an open flame to be your tango partner.

22. Boise State: After the Colorado State and Marshall losses, the Broncs are in prime position to take the Group of 5's spot in the New Year's Eve/Day bowls. Obliterated Utah State in the regular season finale and will host Fresno State in the Mountain West championship on Saturday as 20-point favorites.

23. LSU: Held off a late rally by Texas A&M to get to .500 in the SEC this year in what has to be a disappointing season for Tigers fans, despite all the early draft declarations in recent years. Could LSU be a potential bowl partner for the Irish?

24. Utah: Almost let Colorado finish with a lone conference win, but pulled it out with a fourth-quarter pick-six. The Utes really staggered to the finish line, going 2-3 with two blowout losses in their last five games, but they did beat Michigan, USC, UCLA, and Stanford.

25. USC: Cody Kessler had a record-setting day against the Irish, and could've had a lot more than that if Sarkisian wanted to make a point. USC proved that despite depth issues, they're still very talented and could be a tough out for someone in bowl season.

Dropping out:

Carnage at the bottom once again.

  • #19 Colorado State: My #19 lost for the second straight week. Look out, Clemson. (Kidding, I know they don't play this week.)
  • #21 Minnesota: Same for #21, actually. Boise State, you are on notice.
  • #23 Marshall: See? That's why nobody believed in them. Legitimate teams don't give up 67 points to Western Kentucky, even in overtime. They don't even go to overtime.
  • #25 Arkansas: Outscored 15-0 in the second half to, believe it or not, be upset - on the road, against a higher-ranked team. No respect for Mizzou.