College Football Playoff bracketology 10/8/17

Some of the teams from last week’s rankings had big results that will really change up these rankings from last week. Here are how the teams stack up after week six:

Playoff Teams:

1. Clemson Tigers (6-0)

Clemson won a hard fought game against a solid Wake Forest team this week. Unfortunately, starting quarterback Kelly Bryant had to leave the game with a leg injury. True freshman Hunter Johnson came in and played flawlessly, but Bryant’s health is worth keeping an eye on for the next few weeks.

Their win over Louisville looks worse after the Cardinals lost to NC State this weekend, but their win over Auburn is looking increasingly better. With wins over Louisville, Auburn and Virginia Tech, Clemson has definitely done the most this season thus far.

With a non-threatening game against Syracuse and then a bye, Bryant has time to get fully healthy before coming back.

This week: at Syracuse Orange

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (6-0)

College football playoff bracketology

Damien Harris (Photo by saturdaydownsouth.com)

The Crimson Tide won a game against Texas A&M in a game that was closer than expected. The final score was 27-19, but the Aggies did score a touchdown with under 20 seconds left to play, so Alabama controlled the game. If they keep winning there is no need to rack up any style points.

Although a lot of their wins aren’t against the greatest teams, they have only played one bad team, Fresno State. To go along with that, they have dominated their competition making it look easy. Purely based on the eye test, they are right up there with Clemson.

They may not have been truly tested yet, but the back of the schedule should provide some tough games.

This week: vs. Arkansas Razorbacks

3. Georgia Bulldogs (6-0)

Georgia won big over a Vanderbilt team that has now lost three in a row. The Bulldogs have stuck with Jake Fromm and it has paid off for them so far. They are playing tough, physical football and look like they will take the SEC East easily.

Their win over Notre Dame looks better every week and they have a lot of solid SEC wins. Their only win over a bad team is Samford, barring Tennessee getting much worse. Add in the fact that they have won these games with a backup quarterback, maybe not anymore, and it just makes what they’ve done more impressive.

The Bulldogs get an easy game and a bye week and look like they will still be in a good position at the end of those two weeks.

This week: vs. Missouri Tigers

4. TCU Horned Frogs (5-0)

The Horned Frogs kept their undefeated season alive by beating number 23 West Virginia by seven. TCU’s defense came up big time to limit one of the best scoring offenses in the country to 24 points. They look like the best team in the Big 12 and will be tough to deal with.

With their win this week paired with their wins over Arkansas and Oklahoma State, TCU has a very impressive case. The win over Oklahoma State is one of the few best road wins on the season. While their win over Jackson State is not going to help, beating SMU was a solid victory.

In the coming weeks, TCU has to get ready to play the teams from Kansas, which are manageable games.

This week: at Kansas State Wildcats

First four out:

5. Washington State Cougars (6-0)

Washington State got an impressive road win this week over Oregon. The Ducks were without their starting quarterback, Justin Herbert, but they still have a talented team. The Cougars won the game pretty handily too, winning by 23 points.

The win this week really helps, as they only have a few other good wins this season. Beating USC was a huge reason why they are in this spot, but they also beat Boise State. The Broncos lost to Virginia, but Virginia is looking better as the season goes on.

There are a lot of big matchups in the Pac-12 North to be played for Washington State, but they are in a great position right now.

This week: at Cal Golden Bears

6. Penn State Nittany Lions (6-0)

Penn State traveled to Evanston to take on Northwestern in an early game, but it didn’t faze them. The Nittany Lions took the lead early and never looked back. Saquon Barkley was bottled up for most of the game and Penn State was still able to find a way to win big.

The fact of the matter is that Penn State has not beaten a team that has been ranked at any point since the season started. They have decent wins over Pitt, Iowa, Indiana and now Northwestern. They will need to play and beat somebody tougher in order to make the cut for the playoff.

The Nittany Lions are off this week as they prepare for their back-loaded schedule.

This week: Bye

7. Washington Huskies (6-0)

College Football Playoff bracketology

Jake Browning (photo by thenewstribune.com)

The Huskies clobbered Cal this week to get to 6-0. The defense was unrelenting as they won the game 38-7. While this isn’t the biggest win, Cal is better than expected this season.

Washington is a team that has played an awful schedule. They look dominant, but their best win is over Colorado. They will need to make the most of their big games against the Pac-12 North, because with their schedule, they don’t have much margin for error.

Before they get to the Pac-12 North, the Huskies have to take on a couple of teams from the Pac-12 South.

This week: at Arizona State Sun Devils

8. Wisconsin Badgers (5-0)

Following the Huskies is another team that also has scheduling issues. The Badgers were able to beat an average Nebraska team, but it was on the road in a hostile environment. Their running game is in full swing as Jonathan Taylor rushed for 249 yards.

With their best wins being over Nebraska and Northwestern, Wisconsin still has a lot of work to do. The problem is the Big Ten West is very weak. Their hopes to get into the CFP are contingent on them making the Big Ten Championship game and winning, because with this schedule they won’t get in otherwise.

Like before, the Badgers have a lot of easier games coming up on their schedule.

This week: vs. Purdue Boilermakers

First four out:

9. Miami Hurricanes (4-0)

Miami is still hurt by being two games behind some of the teams higher on this list. They won their rivalry game with Florida State for the first time in the last eight tries. It was a good road win, even though Florida State is 1-3 this season.

While their win over Bethune-Cookman isn’t going to do them any favors, their other wins are solid. They beat a very good MAC team in Toledo and a solid Duke team. With more games played, comes more opportunity in these rankings and Miami will see that benefit if they continue winning.

They have a few big ACC games left on their schedule to make their move up the list.

This week: vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

10. Oklahoma Sooners (4-1)

Oklahoma lost this week in a stunner to Iowa State. The Sooners defense allowed scores on five straight second half possessions in order to allow Iowa State to win the game. They had a chance for a game winning drive, but were unable to come up with an answer.

While losing to Iowa State is not a good look, the committee has been known to overlook losses in favor of good wins. Their win at Ohio State is still one of the best wins of the season and can’t be forgotten. While they don’t have much margin for error, at this point they still have a good case to be in the top 12.

The Sooners have to get ready for a big rivalry game this weekend, that has the chance to help or ruin their season.

This week: vs. Texas Longhorns (Neutral Site)

11. San Diego State Aztecs (6-0)

The Aztecs just keep winning, which is all they can do. This week they defeated UNLV by a wide Margin. This win doesn’t really help their case, but they did look good dominating the football game.

It’s going to take an absolute doomsday scenario to get the Aztecs in the CFP, but their resume thus far is good. They have beaten Stanford, Arizona State and Northern Illinois, who are all solid teams. Stanford is back in the top 25 now and really bolsters the Aztecs’ case to be in the top 12.

San Diego State has a big game this weekend that should draw some eyes their way.

This week: vs. Boise State Broncos

12. USC Trojans (5-1)

There are honestly a lot of teams who haven’t separated themselves who are worthy of this spot. The Trojans were able to blow out Oregon State this week and move up in the rankings because of other teams sliding out.

Their win over Stanford has to be recognized, now that it looks like Stanford is going on a roll. Their win over Texas is also looking better by the week. They only have one win over a sub .500 team, coming this week to Oregon State.

The Trojans have a couple of big games in the next few weeks and can capitalize on them to move up in the rankings.

This week: vs. Utah Utes

 

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College Football Playoff bracketology 9/18/17

Fair warning: These rankings reflect only what teams have accomplished and do not take into account how teams were rated in the preseason. This has created some pretty crazy College Football Playoff rankings as teams who have lost haven’t had a chance to build up much of a resume and one win can take a team a long way up the list. Here are how the teams would and should rank through the eyes of the CFP committee:

In the CFP:

1. Clemson Tigers

College football bracketology

Dabo Swinney (Photo by coachingsearch.com)

Clemson got a big road win over Louisville on Saturday. Not only did they show their defensive dominance by slowing down Lamar Jackson, but they also showed the capacity for great offense. It is one of the best wins of the young season and moves the Tigers up to the top spot, for now.

The Tigers pair that big win, with their victory over Auburn. While Auburn struggled against Mercer, they are still a top 25 team for the time being. Those two wins get them the top spot after week three, as their win over Kent State doesn’t really bolster their case.

In the upcoming weeks they have to play Virginia Tech and Florida State, so they will be tested again.

This week: vs. Boston College Eagles

2. Oklahoma Sooners

The Sooners started off slowly against Tulane, but finished strong, with Baker Mayfield turning in another good performance. Tulane is not a very good team, so it was important that Oklahoma look good against the Green Wave and they did.

With their win in Columbus over Ohio State still being the best win of the season, Oklahoma only slides one spot as a result of Clemson playing two good teams and winning. The two wins against very bad Tulane and UTEP teams is what hurts their case to be number one.

Mayfield and the Sooners won’t face much of a challenge in the next few weeks with games against Iowa State and Baylor.

This week: at Baylor Bears

3. Alabama Crimson Tide

This week Alabama won relatively easily over Colorado State, 41-23. The Rams are now 2-2, but are a solid group of five team that already has a win over Oregon State. It might be a little boring, but Alabama is doing exactly what they are supposed to do.

Like Oklahoma, the Crimson Tide are benefiting heavily from one win. The win over Florida State is another one of the best wins of the college football season. Alabama’s win over Colorado State is solid, while Fresno State looks bad this season, making that win a non-factor.

Nick Saban’s troops will take on the SEC schedule now, with some interesting games. They will be favored in all games for the next several weeks.

This week: at Vanderbilt Commodores

4. USC Trojans

USC was on the brink of defeat, but Sam Darnold led them back for a thrilling overtime victory over Texas. Texas is not a very good football team, but their defense showed up in this one. The Trojans look to be still finding out who they are, but got the win to stay in the top four of the rankings.

Their win over Stanford looks worse now that the Cardinal lost to San Diego State, but the Cardinal will likely bounce back. USC also beat a solid Western Michigan team in addition to their win over Texas this week. It may be a few more weeks before the Trojans find themselves, but they have a decent start to the season.

The Trojans go back to Pac-12 football in the coming weeks, which should feature some challenges down the road.

This week: at California Golden Bears

First four out:

5. Mississippi State Bulldogs

College football playoff bracketology

Nick Fitzgerald (Photo by gridironnow.com)

Mississippi State looks like a threat in the SEC West after three weeks. This week they had no issues derailing LSU, winning 37-7. If you are undefeated and throttle a team as good as LSU, you deserve to be in these rankings.

This is a big jump for an unranked team (in the polls), but a win like that has to be rewarded. They also have beaten Louisiana Tech, who is a good C-USA team, so their case to be in these rankings isn’t totally based on one game. That game was also on the road, which makes their case more appealing.

They play a mammoth of a game this week against Georgia. Win that game and the Bulldogs can really move up these rankings.

This week: at 11 Georgia Bulldogs

6. Michigan Wolverines

The Wolverines haven’t looked good offensively, but got another win against Air Force this week. Air Force is a solid team that poses a different type of threat with the triple option offense. They need to find some offense for when the schedule gets tougher, but are in a great spot for now.

Michigan’s resume got bolstered when Florida edged out Tennessee. The Gators will likely move into the top 20 teams in the country. Their win over Cincinnati won’t be in the equation too much, as they struggled to beat Austin Peay (FCS) and Miami (OH).

Big Ten play will be tougher for Michigan, but they get a chance to ease into their schedule, playing some of the worst teams in the conference from last year to start.

This week: at Purdue Boilermakers

7. Georgia Bulldogs

Georgia used this week to get more reps for freshman quarterback Jake Fromm, who was efficient. They beat Samford (FCS) easliy, but that won’t really do a lot to help their case to be in the CFP.

The Bulldogs benefit from every Notre Dame win after beating them in South Bend. The Fighting Irish beat Boston College, to keep it as a solid win for Georgia. Appalachian State has won both of their games since losing to Georgia. With two solid wins and a win over an FCS team, Georgia needs to capitalize in the coming weeks.

They start off SEC play this week and have a couple of tougher games in a row in Mississippi State and Tennessee.

This week: vs. 17 Mississippi State Bulldogs

8. Vanderbilt Commodores

Yes, the Vanderbilt Commodores made the top 12 and deserve to be here. They just knocked off a very good Kansas State team to add to their cause. Their defense really preformed well, helping Vandy win 14-7.

With their good win this week, Vanderbilt also has a very good road win on the season. They went to Middle Tennessee and picked up a 28-6 win. Middle Tennessee is 1-2 on the season, but picked up a win at Syracuse and will do a lot of damage in the C-USA.

The problem for the Commodores? The upcoming schedule features: Alabama, Florida and Georgia.

This week: vs. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide

 

Next four out:

9. Virginia Tech Hokies

The Hokies flexed their muscle against East Carolina in week three. They crushed the Pirates 64-17 and are starting to look like a good challenge in the ACC for Clemson. Their young quarterback, Josh Jackson is living up to the hype so far and needs to continue to do so.

Virginia Tech wins over ECU and Delaware (FCS) won’t do anything to impress the committee and were games that were more about avoiding a loss. Their season opening win over West Virginia is still a good one, as the Mountaineers have continued to win, albeit against subpar competition.

There is one more non-conference game for the Hokies against Old Dominion before they jump into ACC play with a bang against Clemson.

This week: vs. Old Dominion Monarchs

 

10. Oklahoma State Cowboys

What moves Oklahoma State up over Penn State? They looked better against a common opponent, Pitt, and had to play them on the road, while Penn State had them at home. The Cowboys had Pitt beat at halftime with another great performance from Mason Rudolph.

The jury is still out on the Pitt win, but they should bounce back to make a bowl game. They also beat Tulsa, who had ten wins last season, and South Alabama on the road, a team who went to a bowl game last season. None of these wins are top tier wins, which is why the Cowboys are eighth.

Big 12 play starts this week for Oklahoma State, which should be tougher than the non-conference schedule.

This week: vs. 16 TCU Horned Frogs

11. Penn State Nittany Lions

College football playoff bracketology

Saquon Barkley (Photo by wikipedia.com)

Penn State had no problems with Georgia State and won easily. Georgia State is not a good football team this year, so this is another non-factor win for a top program. The good news is that Penn State looks very good against whoever they are playing in the first few weeks.

The Georgia State and Akron wins won’t do much for the Nittany Lions. Penn State will be rooting for Pitt to turn their season around and reel off some wins to make the resume look better. Ultimately it is a lackluster case to get into the CFP, despite being undefeated.

This week Penn State starts their gruesome Big Ten schedule, that will only get tougher in a few weeks.

This week: at Iowa Hawkeyes

12. Washington State Cougars

The Cougars avoided a loss to Oregon State and in fact put up a lot of points. They won 52-23 and Luke Falk, their quarterback, got back on track with his six touchdown performance. Mike Leach has the offense rolling and ready for more challenges ahead.

It is nice to have a win over Oregon State, although they are pretty bad. The win over Montana State also won’t move the meter for committee members. Washington State’s win over Boise State is what is carrying them right now, so they need the Broncos to keep winning.

The Cougars should be able to beat Nevada pretty easily before jumping back into Pac-12 league play.

This week: vs. Nevada Wolfpack

 

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College Football Playoff Bracketology 11/20/16

Four Playoff Teams

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-0)

It was an unimpressive performance for the Crimson Tide against FCS team Chattanooga. The good news for Alabama is that they are the only power five conference team that is still undefeated. They are in the CFP if they win out. If they lose to Auburn and win the SEC Championship, they might still get in.

This Week: vs. #15 Auburn

2. Ohio State Buckeyes (10-1)

(courtesy oregonlive.com)

(courtesy oregonlive.com)

The Buckeyes were at number two in the committee’s rankings last week, but struggled against Michigan State. Michigan had the same struggles, as the Spartans get up for big games. There is no reason to drop Ohio State in the rankings at this point. Their wins over Oklahoma and Wisconsin are looking really good now that both are solidly in the top ten. The win over Nebraska is an added bonus and their loss to Penn State isn’t that bad. If Penn State is able to win the Big Ten Championship even if Ohio State wins this week, the Buckeyes will have to hope that their resume speaks for itself. A lot will be decided in “The Game”.

This Week: vs. #3 Michigan

3. Michigan Wolverines (10-1)

Michigan has more big wins than anyone in the top four, but they lost to an average Iowa team. They have wins over three current top ten teams in Wisconsin, Penn State and Colorado. The Wolverines struggled to beat Indiana with starting quarterback Wilton Speight out, so that is something to watch in the coming weeks. If Michigan can beat Ohio State this week they will go to the Big Ten Championship Game. Ultimately the Maiz and Blue control their own destiny.

This Week: at #2 Ohio State

4. Clemson Tigers (10-1)

The Tigers got back on track, beating Wake Forest this week. Unfortunately for them, none of the teams ahead of them lost, but they are in the driver’s seat in the ACC and should be favored heavily in their next two games. Their next two weeks should be a lot easier than any other team in contention for the CFP. Win out and they are in.

This Week: vs. South Carolina

First Four Out

5. Washington Huskies (10-1)

USC’s upset of Washington may not have been much of an upset at all. The Huskies’ biggest win this season was over Utah and the Utes’ loss to Oregon this week really hurts them. The wins over Utah and Stanford are still decent wins, but they are not marquee. Now Washington plays Washington State, who will likely be out of the top 25 when the rankings come out, after their loss to Colorado. The winner of this game does however go to the Pac-12 Championship.

This Week: at #22 Washington State

6. Wisconsin Badgers (9-2)

(Courtesy dailytribune.com)

(Courtesy dailytribune.com)

If Wisconsin beats Minnesota this week, they represent the Big Ten West in the Championship Game. The week one win over LSU is solid and a win over Nebraskas helps out too. Their only losses are to Ohio State and Michigan. Ultimately, if the Badgers win out the lowest they can be is the first team left out of the CFP.

This Week: vs. Minnesota

7. Penn State Nittany Lions (9-2)

To be honest, the Nittany Lions’ win over Ohio State is completely carrying them, but the committee seems to like that win enough to keep Penn State this highly ranked. Penn State has the two losses to Pitt and Michigan, which aren’t as “good” of losses as Wisconsin’s. All Penn State fans will be rooting hard for Ohio State to beat Michigan and that their team will beat Michigan State, so that they can play in the Big Ten Championship Game.

This Week: vs. Michigan State

8. Oklahoma Sooners (9-2)

Oklahoma is surging up the rankings after losing two of their first three games. They scheduled tough, which gets the committee’s attention, but they failed by losing to Houston and Ohio State. The Sooners have flown through the Big 12 schedule, but picked up their best win this weekend on the road at West Virginia. They need a lot to happen ahead of them, but their is still a slight chance they can get into the CFP.

This Week: BYE, Next Week: vs. #11 Oklahoma State

Next Four Out

9. Louisville Cardinals (9-2)

Houston has shook up the playoff more than a lot of teams and they aren’t even in consideration to make it. The Cardinals lost to the Cougars on Thursday night, which leaves their chances at making the CFP a long shot. Their win over FSU helps their case a lot, as they don’t have a win over a top 15 team. Louisville needs to win their last game and hope for complete chaos.

This Week: vs. Kentucky

10. Colorado Buffaloes (9-2)

The Buffaloes may have gotten a big win this week over a ranked Washington State team, but their overall case to the committee is pretty weak. They only have three wins against teams with winning records. They need to get into the Pac-12 Championship Game by winning this weekend and then hope that the teams ahead of them fall by the wayside.

This Week: vs. #12 Utah

11. Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-2)

The loss to Central Michigan, which shouldn’t have been allowed, is really hurting the Cowboys right now. They also lost to Baylor, making them a long shot to make the CFP. They do have a win over West Virginia and have a chance to win the Big 12 with a win over Oklahoma.

This Week: Bye, Next Week: at #9 Oklahoma

12. USC Trojans (8-3)

(courtesy espn.com)

(courtesy espn.com)

USC is on a roll and have wins over Colorado and Washington. The best thing that happened to the Trojans this weekend, other than their win over UCLA, was Utah losing to Oregon. Now if Utah beats Colorado next week, USC will be in the Pac-12 Championship Game. They are going to need a few upsets each week to make the CFP, but anything is possible.

 

College Football Bracketology September 27, 2016

Four weeks into the season for college football and there has been a lot of pandemonium. There are a lot of games left on the schedule, but enough have been played that we can start to predict the teams that will make the College Football Playoff. These rankings will not project future wins or preseason rankings, but rather what teams have accomplished on the field.

Teams in the Playoff:

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0)

The Crimson Tide have won all four of their games so far this season. Their wins over USC and Ole Miss are impressive and they steamrolled both Kent State and Western Kentucky. Ole Miss was their toughest competition, only winning by five points, but Alabama had the game won for much of the fourth quarter. They did, however, need a great comeback to beat Ole Miss. Alabama has their flaws as a team, but their resume speaks for itself.

2. Louisville Cardinals (4-0)

Louisville has the Heisman Trophy front-runner in Lamar Jackson and they have had a very impressive season. They got easy wins over Charlotte, Syracuse and Marshall. In addition to these wins they also blew out Florida State when they were ranked number two in the country. Because of their good win against Florida State and their large scoring differential, the Cardinals deserve the number two spot, if not the top spot.

3. Ohio State Buckeyes (3-0)

Norman, Oklahoma got a lot quieter after Ohio State demolished the Sooners 45-21 two Saturdays ago. The Buckeyes were off this weekend, but played really well the first three weeks of the season. Their win in Norman was one of the few great road wins of the young season. Ohio State’s defense has looked good so far and will need to continue to step up in Big Ten play.

4. Houston Cougars (4-0)

The Cougars got a big week one win against Oklahoma to really solidify their status as a CFP contender. They also beat the Cincinnati Bearcats, in a trap Thursday night game, Texas State and Lamar. Houston will have to hope that Oklahoma does well the rest of the year to make their win look better. Their game against Louisville later in the season might be a CFP play-in game.

First Four Out:

5. Stanford Cardinal (3-0)

They might only have three wins on their schedule, but Stanford has played some good competition so far. They beat Kansas State and UCLA on the road, and beat USC at home for solid wins. Because they have played no cupcakes they find themselves pretty high on this list. Their schedule doesn’t get any easier, as they travel to Washington for a Friday night match-up with the Huskies.

6. Texas A&M Aggies (4-0)

Some may not like the Aggies being so high on this list, but they beat an up and coming Arkansas team and a UCLA team that should get better as the season goes on. They also got a big win at Auburn (which is Clemson’s best win thus far), to help put them atop the SEC West standings with Alabama. The Aggies should get an easy win against South Carolina this weekend, which doesn’t really help their case, other than avoiding a loss.

7. Clemson Tigers (4-0)

Clemson hasn’t looked great all year, but has gotten better as the season has gone on. Their win over Auburn looks better as Auburn beat LSU this weekend. Dabo Swinney’s side just escaped a dangerous game against Georgia Tech as well. Their other two wins are unimpressive, but they got the job done. Their game this weekend against Louisville could certainly bolster them in to the top four.

8. Wisconsin Badgers (4-0)

The Badgers have had a surprising start to their season so far. They throttled Michigan State this week and beat LSU in the opener for some impressive early season wins. The problem for Wisconsin has been playing down to their competition, but so far they have gotten away with it. Wisconsin travels to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan this weekend, which should show everyone a lot about both teams.

Next Four Out:

9. Michigan Wolverines (4-0)

A lot has been made about how easy Michigan’s early schedule has been, but their win over Colorado is looking a lot better after the Buffs beat Oregon this week. Beating Penn State by 39 in their Big Ten opener also looks good. This weekend’s game against Wisconsin could propel the Wolverines into the top four.

10. Tennessee Volunteers (4-0)

Tennessee hasn’t looked good this season, but have won all of their games. Beating Virginia Tech at Bristol Motor Speedway was a decent win to pair with their most recent victory over the Florida Gators. Both sides were banged up, but the Volunteers came out on top. The committee may show some of their subjectivity by saying the Volunteers haven’t looked good, but with a lot of football left to play, the Volunteers can still improve. They have another big SEC East clash this weekend against Georgia.

11. Florida State Seminoles (3-1)

Yes, Florida State got blown out by Louisville. That doesn’t take away from the rest of their games so far. They beat Ole Miss, who looks like they can still compete for the SEC West despite two losses, and South Florida, who is a solid team from the American Conference. The Seminoles play a trendy UNC team this weekend.

12. Baylor Bears (4-0)

The Bears swept their non-conference slate, as they usually do, because they didn’t schedule any decent teams. They make the twelfth spot on this list because they beat Oklahoma State this week, who despite losing to Central Michigan, should still have a good year. Their next two games, against Iowa State and Kansas, won’t help them look any better, but if they lose, their playoff chances are gone.