The Report Card : Week 10 Analysis of the Power 5 Conferences
A Weekly Look at the Power 5 Conferences and Independents
On November 10, 2015 the College Football Playoff Selection Committee will present its second rankings of the season based on strength of schedule, head-to-head results, comparison of results against common opponents, conference championships won and other factors.
Each week, The Rebel Walk’s Jeff Tetrick presents a national report card on the Power 5 conferences and independent schools. The aim is to rank and grade the 5 conferences based on the cumulative results of each league’s teams that weekend.
Jeff will offer a brief weekly summary for each conference and suggest which teams are most likely in the hunt for a playoff berth. The Independent schools will have a section but not be ranked with the conferences. Below are the criteria as well as his rankings for Week 10.
Report Card Criteria:
Good Day: Regardless of the score, a win over a non-Power 5 school is a good day. A team who plays great but loses the game to a Power 5 school can be placed in this category.
Key Losses: A loss to a non-Power 5 team is a key loss. As well, a loss to a non-conference Power 5 school is a key loss because of the missed chance to make the claim that conference A is better than conference B. In conference play, a loss goes into this category unless the losing team played an exceptional, close game.
Week 10 Power 5 Conferences Report Card
Key Wins: 6 Stanford, USC, Oregon, UCLA, Utah, Washington State
Good Day: 0
Key Losses: 6 Colorado, Arizona, Cal, Oregon State, Washington, Arizona State
The PAC-12 saw the favorites win all 6 league games over the weekend. Stanford crushed Colorado to remain the North Division leader. Oregon and Washington State recorded wins, and both teams are 2 games behind the Cardinal. UCLA, Utah, and USC picked up wins, as they continue to battle for the South Division title. Utah has a 1 game lead on both the Bruins and Trojans.
Stanford can clinch the North with a win over Oregon on Saturday. In the South, UCLA and Utah meet in a couple of weeks to likely decide the South champion.
In the playoff conversation: #7 Stanford, #10 Utah
2. Big 12
Key Wins: 5 Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Texas
Good Day: 0
Key Losses: 5 Kansas State, Iowa State, TCU, Texas Tech, Kansas
Oklahoma State made one of the biggest statements in the nation by destroying TCU on Saturday. The Cowboys and Baylor Bears are now the only undefeated Big 12 teams, as Baylor escaped with a Thursday night win over Kansas State in Manhattan. Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Texas were the other winners in league play over the weekend.
Baylor did not miss a beat on offense with a new freshman quarterback, but the Bears defense had lots of trouble with the Kansas State run game. With Oklahoma coming to Waco on Saturday with a strong ground attack, Baylor’s unbeaten season may come to an end. Oklahoma State gets Iowa State this week, but then finishes with both Baylor and Oklahoma visiting Stillwater. The Cowboys and Bears are in the drivers seat in the Big 12 race, but the Sooners and Horned Frogs are still alive, too.
In the playoff conversation: #4 Baylor, #5 Oklahoma State, #12 Oklahoma, #13 TCU
3. Big Ten
Key Wins: 7 Nebraska, Michigan, Northwestern, Iowa, Ohio State, Illinois, Wisconsin
Good Day: 0
Key Losses: 7 Michigan State, Rutgers, Penn State, Indiana, Minnesota, Purdue, Maryland
Nebraska put a dent in Michigan State’s playoff hopes by stunning the Spartans in Lincoln in the final seconds. Ohio State was unimpressive in beating Minnesota, while Michigan rolled by Rutgers. The Spartans and Wolverines are each a game back of the Buckeyes in the East Division, and both play Ohio State later in November.
Iowa got by Indiana to stay unbeaten. Wisconsin beat Maryland to stay 1 game behind the Hawkeyes in the West Division. Northwestern edged Penn State to remain 2 games behind Iowa. Iowa has already defeated both the Badgers and Wildcats this season.
In the playoff conversation: #2 Ohio State, #8 Iowa, #14 Michigan State
Key Wins: 7 Mississippi State, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia
Good Day: 0
Key Losses: 7 Missouri, LSU, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Kentucky
Alabama claimed the lead in the SEC West by knocking out LSU in Tuscaloosa. Ole Miss fell at home to Arkansas in a wild finish. The Rebels loss, coupled with the Crimson Tide’s win, means Alabama now controls their own destiny in the race to reach Atlanta.
Florida played awful football, but the Gators got a late field goal to edge lowly Vanderbilt 9-7 to clinch a trip to Atlanta as the SEC East champion. However, the Gators play Florida State to finish the season. A loss to the Seminoles would end Florida’s playoff hopes, regardless of whether or not the Gators go on to win the SEC title game. With the way Florida is playing now, the Seminoles and the SEC West champ are both likely to take down the Gators.
In the playoff conversation: #3 Alabama, #9 LSU, #11 Florida
Key Wins: 5 North Carolina, Louisville, NC State, Clemson, Miami
Good Day: 0
Key Losses: 6 Duke, Syracuse, Boston College, Florida State, Virginia, Pitt
Clemson beat Florida State for the first time in 4 years to clinch to Atlantic Division title. Now, the Tigers must take care of their next 3 opponents to maintain their perfect record, then win the ACC title game to reach the College Football Playoff.
North Carolina took control of the Coastal Division by beating up Duke. The Tar Heels have beaten both Pitt and Duke, their closest challengers within the division. If UNC wins the division, expect them to provide a decent challenge to Clemson in the ACC championship.
In the playoff conversation: #1 Clemson, #17 North Carolina
Key Wins: 1 Notre Dame
Good Day: 1 BYU
Key Losses: 1 Army
Notre Dame recorded a nice win over Pitt to clear their last major hurdle before facing Stanford on November 28. It is very possible the Fighting Irish and Cardinal could be playing for a playoff berth in that showdown in Palo Alto.
BYU collected its seventh win of the year over San Jose State, while Army was defeated by Air Force over the weekend.
In the playoff conversation: #6 Notre Dame
This section is our guess at which teams or conference champions the Selection Committee would choose or leave out based on the body of work up to this point in the season. Please note that this list is not a ranking of the 4 best teams or a projection of who will be the 4 playoff teams in December. Rather, it lists the teams with the top playoff resumes based on who they have played to this point in the season.
Based on week 10, if the College Football Playoff was today, the Selection Committee might go with…..
1- Clemson (ACC) versus 4- Stanford (PAC-12)
2- Alabama (SEC) versus 3- Ohio State (Big Ten)
On the outside…..
Top Ten Teams
This section is our view of the top ten teams in the country at this point in the season. This list is not based on the AP poll or exclusively on a team’s record. Thus, a one-loss team may be ranked higher than an undefeated team. This ranking is based on our view of which teams are playing the best football now, who have a good playoff resume, and who are capable of reaching the College Football Playoff.
After 10 weeks of action, the Top Ten Teams are…..
- Ohio State
- Notre Dame
- Oklahoma State
- Michigan State