College Football Playoff Top 25: No. 8 Washington State, No. 16 Washington, No. 17 Utah
Washington State remained at No. 8 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, leading the way for the three Pac-12 teams ranked in the CFP top 25. Moving up from last week are No. 16 Washington and No. 17 Utah.
If the College Football Playoff were to begin today, No. 1 Alabama would face No. 4 Michigan in one semifinal, while No. 2 Clemson would play No. 3 Notre Dame in the other semifinal.
While the Cougs did not move up following a 69-28 shellacking over Arizona behind a school-record seven touchdown passes from Gardner Minshew II, Washington State’s College Football Playoff chances did improve ever so slightly. Part of the Cougar equation to get into the Final Four involves a two-loss Big 12 champion, and that became more likely following West Virginia’s loss at Oklahoma State. The Mountaineers host Oklahoma this weekend with the winner going to the Big 12 title game, so a Mounty win over the Sooners assures a two-loss Big 12 champ. If Oklahoma loses one of its potential next two games (Oklahoma is the only one-loss team remaining in the Big 12), that would move the Cougs up one of the four spots it still needs to jump. The current No. 7 is two-loss LSU, which cannot win the SEC and would almost certainly be jumped by a one-loss Pac-12-champion Washington State team, so the Bayou Bengals don’t figure to be much of a threat.
That moves the Cougs up to No. 6. The SEC is going to get at least one team in one way or another, so the Cougs’ best bet here is for Alabama to take care of Georgia in the SEC title game. That gets the Cougs potentially to fifth, so Washington State could use a big upset from Pac-12 South buddy USC against undefeated and third-ranked Notre Dame this weekend, or they need No. 21 Northwestern to beat either No. 4 Michigan or No. 10 Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game.
So yeah, that’s a lot of help needed, but none of the above scenarios are all that outlandish. The Cougs certainly still have a chance. Of course, Wazzu has to take care of business and beat No. 16 Washington to keep all of this on the table.
The Dawgs won’t be making their second semifinal appearance in three years, but they did move up two spots to No. 16 following a 42-23 win over Oregon State and losses by Iowa State and Syracuse to Texas and Notre Dame, respectively. The Huskies still have plenty to play for, as a win over rival Washington State would get them back to Santa Clara to take on the Utes for the second time this season. Beat Wazzu and beat Utah, and the Huskies could very well be looking at a top-10 ranking.
Hats off to the Utes for persevering through losing their starting quarterback and running back to nab their first Pac-12 South title. The 8-3 Utes moved up two spots to No. 17 following a 30-7 pasting of a reeling Colorado squad in Boulder and the aforementioned losses by Syracuse and Iowa State. Ticket to Santa Clara already booked, the Utes wrap up the regular season with a game against BYU. A loss to BYU doesn’t change anything for Utah, but of course the Utes will want to beat their rivals, and the Washington State Cougars would like to face a 9-3 Utah team in the Pac-12 Football Championship Game for CFP resume-boosting purposes (of course, Wazzu will have its hands full with Washington). Defeat BYU this weekend, and it wouldn’t be that far-fetched to see the Utes carry a top-15 ranking into the conference title game.
Here’s the CFP Top 25 in Full:
- Notre Dame
- Washington State
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- West Virginia
- Mississippi State
- Utah State
- Texas A&M
- Boise State
- Iowa State