With Texas A&M’s shocking upset against No.1 Alabama on Saturday night, the college football playoff field has a tide-sized hole, for now.
And Oklahoma and Iowa sold their College Football Playoff status in two very different ways in a wild 6 week.
We’re not counting on Alabama yet, of course, but if the field were full this week, the Crimson Tide would be away. A narrow victory against Florida, a narrow loss against Texas A&M and Alabama lose the benefit of the doubt with the undefeated teams so far.
The Sooners won a 55-48 thriller in the Red River Showdown against Texas. Caleb Williams replaced Spencer Rattler and brought Oklahoma down from a three TD deficit, and Oklahoma maintained their place in our college football playoff screenings.
Iowa beat Penn State 23-20 for their third win over a ranked team this season. The Nittany Lions took care of the out-of-conference testing and cross-testing and now face a Big Ten East battle against the states of Ohio, Michigan and Michigan. All four teams are in our top 10.
The first round of CFP rankings will be published on Tuesday, November 2. Each week, Sporting News will detail the picture of the playoffs:
Four in the college football qualifiers
1. Georgia (6-0)
The Bulldogs only allowed their second offensive touchdown of the season, but that was after taking a 24-3 lead at Auburn. Georgia won 34-10 and continued their march through the first half of the season. Stetson Bennett has once again replaced JT Daniels as quarterback. Bennett finished with 231 passing yards and two touchdowns, and Zamir White added 79 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Georgia are the team to beat in the SEC East, and clashes with Kentucky and Florida close the October schedule.
2. Oklahoma (6-0)
Caleb Williams changed the course of the Red River Showdown, and possibly Oklahoma’s season, in a 54-48 thriller against Texas. Williams replaced Heisman preseason favorite Spencer Rattler and brought the Sooners back from a three TD deficit in a stunning way. The Sooners have won five one-point games this season, but Williams has added another dimension to the offense. This opened up big game performances for Kennedy Brooks (217 yards, 2 TDs) and Marvin Mims Jr. (136 yards, two TDs). Lincoln Riley now has a quarterback controversy and the Sooners can’t look past TCU.
MORE: How Caleb Williams Changed The Red River Shootout, And Possibly The CFB Season
3. Iowa (6-0)
The Hawkeyes beat Penn State 23-20 with 13 unanswered points in the second half. Iowa now has three wins against ranked opponents, and the defense has produced four more interceptions. Spencer Petras had 195 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and the rest of the Iowa schedule is made up of the Big Ten West’s six teams. It could be a dream season for longtime coach Kirk Ferentz.
4. Cincinnati (5-0)
The Bearcats did exactly what they needed to do with American Athletic Conference play. Cincinnati hammered Temple 52-3 on Friday. Desmond Ridder had 259 yards and two touchdowns, and Jerome Ford added 149 yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns. As long as this tandem continues to dominate, the Bearcats will be in the game. For now, it’s like the first team to come out. UCF is next. Cincinnati have won the last two games with three points apiece.
The first two out
5. Alabama (5-1)
Alabama lost, so now the season officially begins. Texas A&M beat Alabama 41-38 with a last second field goal; which capped a game the Aggies controlled most of the time. The Crimson Tide trailed 24-10 at halftime and the defense gave up 10 points in the last two practices. Texas A&M still follows Alabama to SEC West, and Alabama still has the best route to Atlanta. The pressure comes with victory, including the SEC Championship game, and the big question will be how a team coached by Nick Saban lost with 522 total yards.
6. Ohio State (5-1)
Bar stool arguments are going to become real in Ohio. Cincinnati may be the top ranked team, but the Buckeyes have the CFP indoor track with what’s to come on the Big Ten schedule. The Buckeyes have averaged 54.5 points per game since losing to Oregon. CJ Stroud threw five more touchdowns in a 66-17 blowout against Maryland. TreVeyon Henderson, Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson each scored two touchdowns. When it rolls, Ohio State has the best offense in the FBS. Ryan Day still hasn’t lost a game to the Big Ten, and there’s a week off to prepare for Indiana on October 23. Despite the loss to Oregon, the Buckeyes are in excellent position for another run in the playoffs.
Four to watch
7. Michigan (6-0)
The Wolverines escaped Nebraska with a 32-29 victory for their second road victory in as many weeks. It was by no means perfect. The Huskers scored 22 points in the third quarter and Michigan were down for the first time this season. Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum have 212 rushing yards and three touchdowns, but the question of reps between Cade McNamara and JJ McCarthy could become more important in the second half of the season. That said, the heat is turned off by sixth-year coach Jim Harbaugh, and the Big Ten East tests against Michigan State, Penn State and Ohio State await.
8. Michigan State (6-0)
Second-year coach Mel Tucker choreographed the most surprising unbeaten start to the season. This continued in a 31-13 victory over Rutgers. Kenneth Walker added 233 rushing yards and a 94 yard touchdown to a cumulative total that includes 913 yards and nine touchdowns in six games. Jalen Nailer had five catches for 221 yards and three touchdowns. Peyton Thorne continues to control the offense. Michigan state’s defense isn’t perfect and there are too many penalties, but a victory in Indiana next week means the Spartans will be undefeated when Michigan visits East Lansing on October 30. No motivation is required at this stage.
9. Oregon (4-1)
The Ducks were given a week off to absorb last week’s loss to Stanford, and the news that running back CJ Verdell would miss the rest of the season is another blow to their Pac-12 championship hopes. Mario Cristobal has had to deal with too many injuries, and it will be difficult to hold onto this place in a win-win situation. Oregon returns Friday against Cal, and there are no more classified teams on the calendar. The Ducks have beaten Ohio State, but they have to do it in the second half of the season.
10. Oklahoma State (5-0)
Can we have two undefeated teams in Bedlam on November 27? Would they revive him next week in the Big 12 Championship game? The Cowboys have a week off to prepare for Texas. As a result, Oklahoma State will likely end up in the top 10, although Coastal Carolina may be in that spot. Jaylen Warren and Tay Martin are outstanding pieces around quarterback Spencer Sanders, who is now in good health. The state of Oklahoma needs to better protect football, but they are in business.