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. There are plenty of quality and intriguing games slated for this week, so let's get right into them. The featured matchups below are organized by conference.
Louisville at NC State: NC State. If NC State beats Louisville, they're sitting at 5-0 and could become ranked. Meanwhile, Louisville's season is essentially over. The better NC State does throughout the year, the more it helps the perception of the ACC and the more it helps FSU's SOS.
Boston College at Duke: BC. FSU just beat Boston College two weeks ago, but won't face Duke unless the Blue Devils win the Coastal and FSU wins the Atlantic. Duke is coming off a 14-point win over Georgia Tech, and nearly beat Northwestern the week before, so a nice BC win here would help FSU's SOS. The first team to score 21 points in this game will probably win.
North Carolina at Georgia Tech: Georgia Tech. FSU plays Georgia Tech in a few weeks, but it won't play UNC unless the Heels win the Coastal and FSU wins the Atlantic. At this point, Georgia Tech needs to salvage their season, and in the process help FSU's SOS.
#6 Notre Dame at #12 Clemson: Clemson. Notre Dame's avalanche of injuries has to catch up with the luck of the Irish at some point, so Notre Dame's luck might as well run out to the advantage of FSU. With Georgia Tech faltering lately, FSU needs to hope Clemson goes 11-1, with that 1 loss being to FSU. A Clemson win would also knock Notre Dame out of the top ten, although Clemson might replace them. At this point, however, a Clemson win would knock down a playoff contender and help FSU's SOS.
Purdue at #2 Michigan State: Purdue. Michigan State is the #2 team in the country, and still has to play Ohio State. An upset here would help clear the playoff picture here, and obviously help FSU's chances.
#1 Ohio State at Indiana: Indiana. Both OSU and IU are undefeated. Ohio State hasn't looked great the past few weeks. Crazier things have happened...
#23 West Virginia at #15 Oklahoma: West Virginia. Oklahoma is ranked ahead of West Virginia and remains more of a playoff threat at this point. Also, West Virginia's next 3 games include Oklahoma State, at Baylor and at TCU, so its unlikely the Mountaineers would get through this 4 game stretch unscathed anyway.
Texas at #4 TCU: Texas. TCU is ranked ahead of FSU and has a back-loaded schedule. The Horned Frogs really won't have a tough test until the end of the month against West Virginia. An ugly upset to a bad Texas team this week would drastically change TCU's outlook on the season and more-than-likely eliminate them as a playoff contender.
Texas Tech at #5 Baylor: Texas Tech. I think the fighting Kliff Kingsburys can pull this upset off and help out the 'Noles in the process by beating a team ranked in front of them. Neither Baylor nor TCU play Oklahoma or each other until November. At some point they'll have to beat up on each other, but an earlier upset would be preferable. I'm just hoping Kingsbury dislikes Art Briles as much as he dislikes Bret Bielema.
Arizona State at #7 UCLA: Arizona State. The Sun Devils haven't looked so good thus far through 2015, and got blown out by USC last week, so I wouldn't expect too much from ASU on Saturday. However, if they do decide to show up for one game this season, this would be a good one to do so. This would be a bad loss for UCLA and allow FSU to move up a spot in the polls, so FSU fans should pull for ASU. At what point this season does true freshman Rosen's inexperience and age catch up to him? Maybe its an under-the-radar game like this one.
Arizona at #18 Stanford: Arizona. The fewer ranked teams there are in the Pac 12 at the end of the season, the better that is for the ACC champion.
South Carolina at Missouri: South Carolina. USC beat UNC and plays Clemson at the end of the year. The better they can do, the better the ACC looks, particularly if UNC wins the Coastal.
#13 Alabama at #8 Georgia: Alabama. Georgia remains ranked ahead of FSU, but beyond that, the biggest external threat to FSU's playoff chances are two SEC teams being playoff contenders at the end of the regular season. Georgia has a much weaker remaining schedule than Alabama does, and Bama already has a loss. Georgia has a much better chance of running the table, and Alabama is currently on the outside looking in for winning the SEC West. The worst-case scenario for FSU would be an undefeated UGA playing an undefeated or 1-loss SEC West champion in Atlanta at the end of the season. Therefore, it makes sense to root for handing UGA their first loss.
I will preface this pick by saying that I believe Georgia remains a bigger playoff threat than Alabama, even if they lose to the Tide Saturday. I see Alabama dropping at least another game or two, while Georgia could very well run the table against their remaining schedule of Tennessee, Missouri, Florida, Kentucky, Auburn, Georgia Southern, and Georgia Tech. However, if you are banking on Richt pulling his usual late-season choke, and believe Alabama will somehow still manage to win the West, then there is a valid argument for rooting for Georgia in this game.
San Jose State at Auburn: San Jose State. The worse Auburn gets, the more it helps FSU in recruiting, the worse the SEC looks, and the more it damages the SOS of playoff contenders like LSU, Ole Miss and Georgia.
#3 Ole Miss at #25 Florida: Ole Miss. I cannot in good conscience draft an FSU rooting guide that includes rooting for UF in a neutral game unless it is absolutely necessary. It is still too early in the season to absolutely need this upset to happen. Gator fans will be unbearable if they do actually upset Ole Miss to advance to 5-0 on Saturday, particularly since UF is really only two or three plays away from sitting at 1-3 right now. However, we do have to acknowledge that a UF upset would actually clear up the playoff picture, help FSU's playoff chances, and bolster our SOS. Therefore, let's view the outcome of this game as a win-win scenario: a Gator loss is a good outcome, but a Gator win ultimately helps our playoff chances. I can't blame you if you're a FSU fan quietly accepting the thought of a Gator upset, but it is a mighty high cost and I can't bring myself to pull for it. I do have a weird feeling that this game will be close, so prepare accordingly.
#21 Mississippi State at #14 Texas A&M: Mississippi State. Texas A&M was lucky to escape Arkansas last week, and yet somehow remains on the cusp of being a playoff threat. Mississippi State already has a loss, so FSU fans should root for them to hand A&M one here.
|Saturday, October 3rd|
|12:00 PM||Army at Penn State||ESPNU / WatchESPN|
|12:00 PM||Iowa at Wisconsin||ESPN / WatchESPN|
|12:00 PM||Kansas at Iowa State||FSN Affiliates / FS Go Video|
|12:00 PM||Michigan at Maryland||BTN / BTN2Go Video|
|12:00 PM||Minnesota at Northwestern||BTN / BTN2Go Video|
|12:00 PM||Pittsburgh at Virginia Tech||ESPN Extra / FSN Affiliates / ACC-RSN|
|12:00 PM||Purdue at Michigan State||ESPN2 / WatchESPN|
|12:00 PM||South Carolina at Missouri||SEC Network / WatchESPN|
|12:00 PM||Texas at TCU||ABC / espn3|
|12:00 PM||UCF at Tulane||ESPN News / WatchESPN|
|12:00 PM||West Virginia at Oklahoma||FS1 / FS Go Video|
|12:30 PM||Louisville at North Carolina State||ESPN Extra / ACC Network /|
|3:30 PM||Air Force at Navy||CBSSN / CBS Video|
|3:30 PM||Alabama at Georgia||CBS / CBS Video|
|3:30 PM||Baylor vs. Texas Tech (Arlington)||ESPN2 / ABC / espn3|
|3:30 PM||Boston College at Duke||ESPN Extra / FSN Affiliates / ACC-RSN|
|3:30 PM||Florida State at Wake Forest||ESPN / WatchESPN|
|3:30 PM||North Carolina at Georgia Tech||ESPNU / WatchESPN|
|3:30 PM||Ohio State at Indiana||ESPN2 / ABC / espn3|
|4:00 PM||Kansas State at Oklahoma State||FS1 / FS Go Video|
|4:00 PM||Nebraska at Illinois||BTN / BTN2Go Video|
|4:00 PM||San Jose State at Auburn||SEC Network / WatchESPN|
|4:00 PM||Washington State at California||PAC-12 Network / PAC-12 Video|
|7:00 PM||Arkansas at Tennessee||ESPN2 / WatchESPN|
|7:00 PM||Ole Miss at Florida||ESPN/ WatchESPN / espn3 Skycam|
|7:00 PM||Vanderbilt at Middle Tennessee||CBSSN|
|7:30 PM||Arizona State at UCLA||FOX / FS Go Video|
|7:30 PM||Mississippi State at Texas A&M||SEC Network / WatchESPN /|
|8:00 PM||Notre Dame at Clemson||ABC / espn3|
|10:00 PM||Oregon at Colorado||ESPN / WatchESPN / ESPN News|
|10:15 PM||Hawaii at Boise State||ESPN2 / WatchESPN|
|10:30 PM||Arizona at Stanford||PAC-12 Network / PAC-12 Video|
|10:30 PM||Fresno State at San Diego State||CBSSN|