Every week we take a look at what results from across the country could most benefit FSU's chances of returning to the College Football Playoff in 2015. After the 'Noles conclude their noon tilt with Louisville, there are plenty of 3:30 and evening games that should attract the Seminole faithful's attention. Let's get into them. Saturday's matchups are organized below by conference.
Pittsburgh at Georgia Tech: Georgia Tech. Florida State won't play Pitt this season unless FSU and Pitt win their divisions, and while Georgia Tech has lost 4 games in a row, every little bit of SOS assistance helps. Pitt currently sits at 4-1, with their only loss coming at the hands of undefeated #17 Iowa via a last-second field goal. Additionally, if the Yellow Jackets drop this game, the FSU-GT game in Atlanta next Saturday, which was 6-day optioned by the ACC this past Sunday, will likely be another noon kickoff. Therefore, FSU fans should pull for a Ramblin' Wreck win over Pitt.
Virginia Tech at Miami: Miami. For the sake of FSU's SOS, the 'Noles need Miami to avoid repeating their post-FSU loss meltdown of last season. Because Florida State won't play 3-3 Virginia Tech this season, a VT win would really only hurt FSU's SOS. On the flip side, a VT loss would hurt Ohio State's SOS. Regardless, I have a feeling most FSU fans won't be too upset if the Hokies defeat the Hurricanes in front of a few thousand fans on Saturday.
Syracuse at Virginia: Syracuse. FSU plays Syracuse in a few weeks, but won't play UVA this year. A Cuse win helps the 'Noles' SOS.
Boston College at #5 Clemson: Clemson. While a BC upset of Clemson would put FSU in the driver's seat in the Atlantic Division, for the sake of FSU's playoff implications, the 'Noles need Clemson to be undefeated going into their game in Death Valley on Nov. 7. A BC upset would be devastating to FSU's SOS and FSU's playoff chances because, even though FSU beat BC, the Eagles are 3-3 overall, 0-3 in the ACC, and just lost to Wake Forest 3-0 last week. If the Seminoles run the table, it would be hugely beneficial to have a marque win over a Top 5 team on the road on its playoff resume.
Wake Forest at North Carolina: Wake. Florida State beat Wake Forest in unconvincing fashion, but won't face UNC this season. Therefore, a Wake Forest win helps FSU's SOS, as well as the ACC Atlantic's depth.
#17 Iowa at #20 Northwestern: Northwestern. Northwestern already has a loss, and Iowa is one of the few remaining undefeated teams in the nation. Iowa is currently ranked closer to Florida State than Northwestern is, and Iowa has a favorable remaining schedule after this game. It is possible that Iowa could finish the regular season undefeated if they get past Northwestern (remaining schedule of Maryland, IU, Minnesota, Purdue and Nebraska), and FSU doesn't need any more Big 10 teams in the Top 12-15 clogging up their playoff chances. Florida State fans should therefore root for Northwestern.
#7 Michigan State at #12 Michigan: Michigan State. This one may take a little explaining. First, regardless of which team comes out on top in this game, the winner will likely be ranked ahead of FSU in the next AP Poll. Therefore, pulling for Michigan to beat Michigan State solely because Michigan is currently ranked behind FSU and Michigan State is currently ranked ahead of FSU is basically moot. FSU fans should root for Michigan State because Michigan is, in all honesty, the better team. Michigan State has looked very vulnerable all year, while Michigan may be playing the best football in the country over the last 4-5 weeks. Fortunately, Michigan already has a loss, but that 7-point loss was to Utah, who now just so happens to be the #4 ranked team in the country, probably wouldn't keep Michigan out of the playoff if they run the table. Sparty's best win was a 3-point win over Oregon, a team we now know is not good. A Michigan State win would essentially eliminate Michigan as a playoff contender, and also hurt Utah's SOS in the process. Michigan State also has a tougher remaining schedule than Michigan, and both of these teams still have to play Ohio State. It is still possible that these 3 teams will beat each other, but for this game, it would be in Florida State's best interests to root for a Sparty win and put a halt to red-hot Wolverines' streak.
Penn State at #1 Ohio State: Penn State. Ohio State remains the top ranked team in the country, so a loss to unranked Penn State would benefit FSU both in the polls and in the playoff push. Penn State is currently 5-1, so they may represent the best chance for an upset over Ohio State before the Buckeyes face Sparty and Michigan in the final two games of the regular season.
West Virginia at #2 Baylor: West Virginia. The Mountaineers are reeling, coming off back-to-back losses to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. After playing Baylor, WVU has a bye before traveling to TCU. Without a doubt, this is the toughest stretch of West Virginia's season. Will they be too overwhelmed by Baylor's offense, or will the Mountaineers be able to mount an upset attempt? Florida State fans should root for the latter, particularly since #2 Baylor won't play any team currently ranked in the AP Top 25 until November 14th.
#19 Oklahoma at Kansas State: Kansas State. The Wildcats nearly upset TCU last week, while Big Game Bob and Oklahoma managed to inexplicably lose to 2-4 Texas in the Red River Rivalry. Can Kansas State potentially help the future ACC champion by upsetting the Sooners and thus eliminating a ranked team from the Big 12, while also doing further damage to TCU and Baylor's SOS? Florida State fans should root for them to do just that.
#3 TCU at Iowa State: Iowa State. TCU remains #3 in the AP Poll despite nearly losing to Kansas State last week. They have a bye next week. Although not likely, FSU fans would love to see TCU slip up against lowly Iowa State, which would gain a spot in the polls for the 'Noles and potentially eliminate a playoff contender.
Arizona State at #4 Utah: Arizona State. The Sun Devils have recovered from their ugly loss to USC with wins over UCLA and Colorado the past two weeks. Can they pull the upset over #4 Utah Saturday night? FSU fans certainly need to hope that they can, as an ASU upset would mean a loss for a team ranked ahead of FSU and a devastating loss for the Pac 12's playoffs hopes.
#13 Ole Miss at Memphis: Memphis. The Memphis Tigers are not a bad team. In fact, they're one of the few remaining undefeated teams in the country, they own a 12-game winning streak, and they beat a team that beat Miami. They also get Ole Miss at home on Saturday (seriously Ole Miss, a home-and-home with an AAC opponent? Who do you think you are, Florida State?). It would be fun to watch an AAC-member upset a SEC opponent, particularly since Ole Miss is still ranked close to FSU. Given the number of injuries Ole Miss is dealing with, and with Texas A&M looming next week, I think a Memphis upset is certainly possible, especially if the Rebels play like they did in their last road game.
#10 Alabama at #9 Texas A&M: Texas A&M. I preface this pick by noting that I think Alabama is still (probably) the best team in the SEC. In my view, a Texas A&M win Saturday would be an upset, even at home. A second Bama loss would likely eliminate the Tide from playoff contention. Additionally, after the TAMU game, Alabama really only has LSU left on their schedule, and that game is in Tuscaloosa. Meanwhile, TAMU goes to Ole Miss next week and finishes at LSU. FSU fans should root for a second Bama loss and not worry about an undefeated Texas A&M team because the Aggies still have some tough games remaining down the road.
#8 Florida at #6 LSU: LSU. After UF artificially shot up the polls for their wins over Ole Miss and Missouri the last two weeks, Gator fans are SERIOUSLY PUMPED UP for their matchup with LSU this weekend! I bet they wish the game was in GAINSville, though, amiright?!
Are these cheesy PED jokes doing anything for you? Hey, if Gator fans can use recycled crab leg jokes for almost 2 years, I think we're entitled to dedicate one paragraph of one post to laughing at their expense.
In all seriousness, Florida State needs LSU to win this game. UF essentially has a faltering Georgia team and FSU remaining on its schedule after this game (not to mention, their usual bye week to prepare for Georgia). Even with Grier out, barring a complete meltdown, Gator losses to Vandy, South Carolina and FAU are unlikely. At this point in the season it is looking like UF has a pretty good shot of winning the (ACC Coastal-level mediocre) SEC East, while LSU still has to play Bama, Ole Miss and Texas A&M. FSU fans should pull for LSU to get UF out of the AP Top Ten and out of FSU's way now, hope UGA can upset them in Jacksonville in two weeks, and worry about LSU dropping games later in the season against Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Arkansas, Ole Miss and/or Texas A&M. I still think this game will be close because I think UF's defense will be able to keep Fournette relatively in check, at least compared to everyone else LSU has faced so far this season.
Missouri at Georgia: Georgia. Here's a shocker to no one except the most delusional UGA fans: a Mark Richt-coached Georgia team began the year overrated and has underachieved as the season has progressed. At this point, UGA clearly isn't a threat to FSU's post-season chances, although they remain a stout recruiting competitor. However, for those of us who would hate to see UF waltz into the SEC Championship Game, we need Georgia to salvage what they have left of their season and dedicate it to preventing Florida from winning the awful SEC East. Florida beat Missouri last week, so a Missouri win over Georgia would do little in that regard. FSU fans should therefore root for Georgia on Saturday.
|12:00 PM||Iowa at Northwestern||ESPN2 / ABC / espn3|
|12:00 PM||Louisiana Tech at Mississippi State||SEC Network / WatchESPN|
|12:00 PM||Louisville at Florida State||ESPN / WatchESPN|
|12:00 PM||Ole Miss at Memphis||ESPN2 / ABC / espn3|
|12:00 PM||Purdue at Wisconsin||BTN / BTN2Go Video|
|12:00 PM||West Virginia at Baylor||FOX / FS Go Video|
|12:30 PM||Pittsburgh at Georgia Tech||ESPN Extra / ACC Network / espn3|
|3:30 PM||Alabama at Texas A&M||CBS / CBS Video|
|3:30 PM||Michigan State at Michigan||ESPN / WatchESPN / espn3 Skycam|
|3:30 PM||Nebraska at Minnesota||ESPN2 / WatchESPN|
|3:30 PM||Oklahoma at Kansas State||ABC / espn3|
|3:30 PM||Rutgers at Indiana||BTN / BTN2Go Video|
|3:30 PM||Syracuse at Virginia||ESPN Extra / FSN Affiliates / ACC-RSN / espn3|
|3:30 PM||Virginia Tech at Miami||ESPNU / WatchESPN|
|4:00 PM||Oregon State at Washington State||PAC-12 Network / PAC-12 Video|
|4:00 PM||Vanderbilt at South Carolina||SEC Network / WatchESPN|
|7:00 PM||Boston College at Clemson||ESPNU / WatchESPN|
|7:00 PM||Florida at LSU||ESPN / WatchESPN|
|7:00 PM||TCU at Iowa State||ESPN2 / WatchESPN|
|7:00 PM||Wake Forest at North Carolina||ESPN Extra / FSN Affiliates / ACC-RSN / espn3|
|7:30 PM||Missouri at Georgia||SEC Network / WatchESPN|
|7:30 PM||USC at Notre Dame||NBC / NBC Video|
|8:00 PM||Penn State at Ohio State||ABC / espn3|
|9:00 PM||Arizona at Colorado||FS1 / FS Go Video|
|10:00 PM||Arizona State at Utah||ESPN / WatchESPN|
|10:30 PM||Oregon at Washington||ESPN2|