As we have officially concluded Week 6 and move into the last two weeks of Season 12, we take a look at what teams rose in the rankings, and those who fell. A new number one, a shake up in the top 10 and Nebraska moves into the top 20. We take a little deeper dive into playoff picture this week as well. Who are the must wins for this week? Who needs a win to secure a playoff berth? Who needs a win to get in to the playoff picture?
20. Nebraska (2-4) – Nebraska makes their way into the rankings this week as they were not ranked last week. The Cornhuskers defeated Texas A&M (41-37) at home this past week. Nebraska was led by Dallas Gregory who rushed the ball 29 times for 206 yards and two touchdowns. The Cornhuskers will travel to take on the Boise State Broncos this week in an attempt to slow down Ryan Smith and company. Nebraska’s hopes of a playoff berth are unlikely at this point, but they can put the Broncos’ hopes of a playoff berth to rest if they are able to come away with a win this week. Can the Cornhuskers pull off the upset? Or will the Smith-McCray connection be too much to handle?
19. Kent State (3-3) – Kent State makes the biggest shift in this weeks ranking by falling six spots from last week. The Golden Flashes have dropped back-to-back losses with BGSU (10-43) pulling off the upset this week. Kent State could not get their offense rolling as they were held to only 326 total offensive yards, while BGSU was able to move the ball at will. Kent State will be on the road again this week as they take on the Ohio Bobcats, who tout one of the best offenses in the league and one of the worst defenses in the CFSL. This game will be decided by Kent States defense; if the defense shows up and can hold Ohio’s high powered offense in check, then the Golden Flashes could end their season on a high note and potentially finish in the top 3 teams in the MAC this season. Will Kent State make a statement this week? Or will the Ohio Bobcats move themselves into the top 3 in the MAC?
18. Clemson (2-4) – The Clemson Tigers fall only one spot this week after their heartbreaking loss to Auburn (35-38). They will travel to Miami to take on the Hurricanes this coming week in a must win game for the Tigers. Miami currently sits on the SEC throne and one more win will almost certainly secure their place in the playoffs, but the Tigers are looking to dethrone the Hurricanes and shake up the SEC standings. If Clemson wants to win this game, they have to get Tate and Sammons going on offense. In both of their wins this season Tate and Sammons were able to move the ball extremely well and relied upon one another to get things going. Miami is no slouch of a team though; the Miami offense is ranked in the top two offenses in the league while the Tiger defense is ranked in the top 15 in the league. Where this gets interesting is that Clemson is a top 15 offense whereas the Hurricanes defense rankings in the bottom third of the league. Miami’s defense will need to either show up, or they will have to rely on the offense to just put up more points than the Tigers can. Can the Tigers pull of this upset in Miami? Or will the Hurricanes secure their playoff berth this week?
17. USC (2-4) – USC drops three spots this week after losing to Michigan (29-32) on the road. The Trojans schedule doesn’t get any easier this week as the will host the Oregon Ducks. USC has lost four straight games and is almost certainly not making the playoffs this season. However, they can play spoiler to the Ducks if they can pull this game off in front of their home crowd. Another loss for Oregon could spell disaster for their playoff hopes and I am willing to bet that USC will try to bust that dream. If USC wants to win this one, their top 10 defense will have to shut down Oregon’s top five offense. Can the Trojans win this game in front of the home crowd, end their losing streak, and halt the Ducks playoff dreams? Or will the Ducks continue their march to a playoff berth and extend this Trojan losing streak to five straight?
16. LSU (3-3) – LSU moves up four spots this week as they defeated the FSU (30-15) and dethroning the Seminoles from atop the SEC standings. The LSU Tigers will travel this week to take on the Auburn Tigers in what should be a great matchup between two very talented teams. Auburn sports a middle of the road team offense and defense, both proving they are capable to hang with any team in the league. LSU on the other hand sports a top 10 defense while their offense ranks in the bottom third. This could be a very defensive game and if LSU wants to secure their playoff berth, they need to win out the rest of the season. This game is extremely important for LSU as a win can almost secure a playoff berth, but a loss could potentially keep them out of it. Can JMJ and company get their offense rolling and beat Auburn on the road? Or will Auburn’s defense stifle LSU and get the win in front of their home crowd?
15. EMU (4-2) – EMU moves up one spot this week as they were able to defeat Toledo (42-7) on the road. EMU will host NIU this week in the final game for the MAC this season. EMU has pretty much secured themselves as the MAC Champions of season 12 and has a potential OPOY candidate in QB Terrell Allen. Allen has been able to amass 2827 passing yards and 24 touchdowns in his freshman season and currently sits as the 15th best passer in the league. A win this week will be nothing more than icing on the cake and allow EMU to say they went undefeated in MAC play. Will Allen and company get that perfect MAC season? Or will NIU pull off the upset and put a blemish to the EMU record?
14. Alabama (3-3) – The Crimson Tide move up four spots this week as they defeated the Florida Gators (51-43) in the swamp this past week. Alabama will travel to take on the Tennessee Volunteers this coming week. The Volunteers are pretty much knocked out of a playoff chance, but the Crimson Tide still have hopes for their chance and will look to improve those chances with a win this week. A loss this week wouldn’t completely put Alabama out of it, but they would need a lot of help to make it in. This is a very favorable matchup for the Crimson Tide and they should come away with the win; but the Volunteers won’t back down and will do everything they can to spoil Alabama’s chances. Can Doug Day continue his amazing season and carry the Crimson Tide to the playoffs? Or will the Volunteers get the upset and crush the Alabama’s dreams?
13. Texas Tech (3-3) – Tech drops one spot this week as they lost to the Missouri Tigers (27-48). Missouri’s defense really showed up in this game holding Andrews and company to only 374 total offensive yards and 31% on 3rd down conversions. Texas Tech will host the Texas Longhorns this week, who are undefeated in conference play. Missouri and Oklahoma State will likely be tuning in to see if Tech can pull off this upset and help their chances in the conference. At this point, Tech is out of the running for the playoffs, but they can shake things up in their conference with a win this week. Texas is almost guaranteed a playoff spot, and one more win will solidify that. Texas Tech is another middle of the road team on both sides of the ball, whereas the Longhorns are in the top 10 on both sides. Can Tech get the big win over Texas at home? Or will Texas continue their dominance in the BIG12 and lock up their BIG12 Champions Title?
12. Iowa (3-3) – The Hawkeyes jump three spots this week as they were able to come away with a big win over The Ohio State Buckeyes (56-3). Lyle Fletcher showed why he is a former OPOY winner as he went off for 384 passing yards, 4 passing touchdowns, 13 carries for 105 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. Iowa will host the Michigan Wolverines this week and hope to come away with a win in order to keep their playoff hopes alive. I would almost say the BIG10 has secured two spots in the playoffs as both Notre Dame and Wisconsin are undefeated in conference play and both have a two game lead on Oregon, Iowa, and Washington. Iowa needs to win out and hope the polls are in their favor for a chance at getting voted in for a playoff spot. This means they have to dominate their last two games the same fashion they did this past week, but Michigan is coming off a big win against USC and looks to keep that momentum going. Can Fletcher come away with another dominate performance and put Iowa in the playoff mix? Or will Michigan crush another team’s hopes and dreams this week?
11. FSU (4-2) – Florida State remains at number 11 this week after their tough loss to LSU (15-30). Florida State will host the Florida Gators this coming week, who also are coming off a loss. Which team bounces back will be the biggest question as both teams are in the hunt for the SEC title and a playoff berth. FSU is going to have to rely on their defense in this game as Florida ranks as the number one offense in the league. The Seminoles offense ranks near the very bottom of the league while the Gators boast a middle of the road defense. Both teams create opportunities to take away the ball from opposing offenses, while both also limit their mistakes on offense and rank amongst the best in the league in the turnover department. This game will come down to can FSU slow down Blevins and company? Can FSU force Blevins to make mistakes and then capitalize on those mistakes? This is a must win for FSU if they want to stay in the hunt. This is also a must win for the Gators as well. Can the Seminoles secure a win and stay in the mix? Or does Blevins and company prove too much to handle?
10. Florida (4-2) – The Florida Gators drop three spots after their heartbreaking loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide (43-51). The Gators will travel to Tallahassee to take on the FSU Seminoles who are also coming off a big loss to LSU last week. Blevins was still able to have a great game with 452 passing yards and four passing touchdowns against Alabama this past week; which keeps Blevins as both the number one passing leader and number one total offensive leader and surely the clear frontrunner for this seasons OPOY nomination. Florida’s defense will need to step it up in this game and shutdown Lacey and company. This FSU team is a solidly built team with talent everywhere, so the Gators will need to be firing on all cylinders’ to come away with this win. If Florida wins this game, they put themselves solidly in third place in the SEC standings and should be in the playoff conversation for sure. If they lose however, their playoff hopes are pretty much crushed. Can Florida get this win and put them in the mix for a playoff berth for the first time since being brought into the league? Or will FSU shoot their hopes for that down and keep their playoff dreams alive?
9. Oregon (4-2) – The Oregon Ducks drop three spots this week after their loss to Wisconsin (23-40). Oregon will travel to take on the USC Trojans this coming week and look to come away with a win in order to keep them in the playoff conversation. This will be a great matchup for both these teams as Oregon boasts a top 10 offense and USC boasts a top 10 defense. Philip Camit comes in this week as the 8th ranked passing QB in the league and is looking to improve his chances of being nominated for OPOY, but more importantly, extend his teams odds of making the playoffs. This USC defense, led by FS Martrell Wright, is looking to come away with the upset at home this coming week. This is a must win game for Oregon as another loss will surely drop them from the conversation. Can Camit and company make a statement in this game? Or does the Trojans have other plans for the Ducks this week?
8. Boise State (4-2) – The Boise State Bronco’s move up three spots this week as they are coming off a big win against Oklahoma (44-23). Boise State will host the Nebraska Cornhuskers this coming week and look to improve their chances of a playoff berth. The odds of the Broncos getting the BIG12 Champion Title are pretty slim at this point, but they can win out and with a little help, put their team in the playoff mix. This is a fairly equal matchup between these two teams, so expect some defense mixed in with some acrobatic, high flying offense. Boise will need to rely on Ryan Smith and Luke Hall to keep this Boise Offense rolling along, but the Nebraska defense, led by LB’s Jon Rolon and Buck Berg, look to get this Nebraska team to slow down this Boise offense. Can Smith and Hall keep Boise’s playoff dreams alive? Or can Rolon and Berg destroy those Boise dreams and get the upset?
7. Oklahoma State (4-2) – Oklahoma State drops four spots this week after their loss to the Texas Longhorns (37-41). The Cowboys will host the Texas A&M Aggies this coming week, and there isn’t a better team to go up against for the Cowboys to get the much needed bounce back game that they need. Oklahoma State is 3-1 in conference play and the Aggies are 0-4 in conference play. If the Cowboys get this win this week, they keep themselves in contention for a second place finish in the BIG12 and most likely secure a playoff spot. A loss here would severely hurt their chances of both. This matchup is strongly favored for the Cowboys as they boast both a top 10 offense and defense whereas the Aggies are one of the worst offenses in the league with a middle of the road defense. Can Murray and company bounce back this week and get this much needed win? Or does Allie Peters and company have the upset in mind?
6. Miami (5-1) – The Miami Hurricanes move up three spots this week after their narrow win over Tennessee (42-39). Miami will host the Clemson Tigers this coming week and really need to improve their defensive play if they want to come away with the win this week. The Hurricanes control their own destiny at this point. They currently sit atop the SEC standings and are almost a sure in for the playoffs, but if they drop two straight losses here, they could be completely out of the running for both of those. Clemson has a very long shot of making the playoffs, but it would have to start with a win this week. Can Miami lock in their third SEC title since season 9? Or can the Clemson Tigers dethrone another team atop the SEC throne? The last three weeks whoever was number one in the SEC has lost. Does this curse continue this week? Or does Odie and Rison end that current trend?
5. Wisconsin (5-1) – Wisconsin moves up three spots this week after their big win over the Oregon Ducks (40-23). Wisconsin will travel to take on the Washington Huskies, who are still in the running for a playoff berth as well. Both Notre Dame and Wisconsin sit undefeated in conference play. Wisconsin cannot afford to lose and will need Notre Dame to take a loss for them to have any hope of being the BIG10 Champions. Wisconsin QB De’Anthony Jones had a great game this past week as he had 370 passing yards and a passing touchdown along with 69 rushing yards and a pair rushing touchdowns to go with it. If Wisconsin can get this kind of play out of their QB again, then this should be another great win for them. However, this will be tough as Washington boasts a top 10 defense and will look to slow down this Wisconsin offense. This game will be decided on whether the Wisconsin offense can efficiently move the ball against this Huskies defense, or if the Huskies defense proves too much for the Badgers offense. Can Jones and company secure their playoff chances this week? Or will this Huskies defense be to stout for the Badgers?
4. Oklahoma (4-2) – The Oklahoma Sooners drop three spots this week after their loss to the Boise State Bronco’s (23-44). The Sooners will travel this week to take on the Missouri Tigers in what should be a must watch game. The Sooners are 2-2 and the Tigers are 3-1 in conference play. Both teams need this win as any slip in this conference could be too much to come back from at this point in the season. The Oklahoma State Cowboys will be watching this game with much anticipation and hopes that the Sooners can pull off this win. Jim Carr comes into this game ranked as the 5th best passing QB in the league and will look to lead his team to victory. Both of these teams boast a top 10 offense and defense and this should be one of the best games to watch this week. Can Carr and company get this much needed win? Or can Missouri lock in their playoff berth?
3. Missouri (5-1) – The Missouri Tigers jump up two spots this week after their win over Texas Tech (48-27). The Tigers will host the Oklahoma Sooners this coming week and look to improve their in conference record to 4-1. As discussed above, both of these teams have top 10 offenses and defenses and should be one of the best games to watch this week. A win by Missouri almost certainly guarantees them a playoff berth, a loss this week can put a damper on things a leave their fate in the hands of the polls. Kohko comes in as the 3rd best passing QB in the league and is looking to keep the Tigers in that guaranteed spot for the playoffs. Oklahoma needs this win or they are out. This is a do-or-die moment for the Sooners and trust in the fact they will be playing as such. Can Kohko and company keep that guaranteed spot for the playoffs? Or can Carr and company get this much needed win?
2. Notre Dame (6-0) – Notre Dame somehow gets passed up again in these rankings and remains at the number two spot after their win over the Washington Huskies (33-17). The Fighting Irish will host The Ohio State Buckeyes this coming week, which have yet to get a conference win. If there was any team that had a favorable remaining schedule to win out, it’s the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame will host both Ohio State and then USC, who have a combined record of 3-9. Notre Dame looks to finish this season with a perfect record, a BIG10 Title, and be the number 1 overall seed moving into the playoffs. I doubt there is anyone out there that would second guess their likelihood of accomplishing this. Ohio State ranks among the worse on both offense and defense whereas the Irish boast a top 20 offense and the number 2 defense in the league. I don’t see Ohio State pulling off the upset this week, however, it is football and anything is possible. Look for Notre Dame to move another step closer to going 8-0 this week.
1. Texas (5-1) – The Texas Longhorns move up three spots to be the number 1 team in the PRI. Is this spot a curse though? The last 3 weeks has proven that if you are number 1, you lose the following week. Can the Longhorns rewrite that history? The Longhorns are coming off a big win over Oklahoma State (41-37) and will take on Texas Tech this coming week. This next match up for Texas should prove to be a good one as Texas Tech firmly sits in the middle of the rankings on offense and defense. Texas on the other hand touts both a top 10 offense and top 10 defenses. Although Texas has the edge in this game, Texas Tech is playing a game where they really have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. Tech can walk out of this game touting that they were the first team to give Texas an in conference loss and really play havoc on the BIG12 standings. Texas is playing a game where they have a lot more riding on this game. Can Pipino secure the guaranteed playoff spot and lock in the BIG12 Champion Title this week? Or can Andrews and company pull off the upset this week and shake up the BIG12 standings?