Every week we take a look at what results from across the country could most benefit Florida State's chances of returning to the College Football Playoff in 2015. This week's slate does not feature a great lineup of games, but there are still plenty of outcomes that could affect FSU's playoff odds. Let's get right into them. This week's matchups are organized by conference.
#6 Clemson at Miami: Clemson. The Tigers are going for their first 10 game win streak since the 1983-84 campaign. I know the commenters who want Clemson to lose to give us a "game cushion" in the Atlantic will grill this pick, but FSU is still undefeated and if FSU and Clemson both win Saturday and next week, FSU-Clemson will likely be a Top 7-8 matchup in two weeks. Besides, even if Clemson was to somehow drop this game, a "game cushion" wouldn't really give FSU any advantage anyhow because if Clemson was to beat FSU, the head-to-head would still give Clemson the Atlantic (i.e. Clemson would still have to lose another game). FSU needs a marquee win to bolster its resume, and no FSU fan wants to pull for the Hurricanes. I am curious though, if Clemson wins this game, do you think they'll hang an asterisk-laden Orange Bowl banner in Death Valley?
#25 Pittsburgh at Syracuse: Pitt. The Panthers may be the best team in the Coastal, and any ranked team in the Coastal needs to keep winning in order to bolster the image of the ACC and produce a quality matchup in the ACC Championship Game in case FSU wins the Atlantic.
#23 Duke at Virginia Tech: Duke. The Blue Devils may be the best team in the Coastal, and any ranked team in the Coastal needs to keep winning in order to bolster the image of the ACC and produce a quality matchup in the ACC Championship Game in case FSU wins the Atlantic (See what I did there?). In case you're wondering, Duke plays at Pittsburgh on November 14th.
#18 Memphis at Tulsa: Tulsa. Thanks for embarrassing Ole Miss last week, Memphis, but your work here is done. Although Memphis isn't a bad team, FSU and other Power 5 playoff contenders certainly don't need undefeated AAC teams muddling the playoff picture. Memphis still has Navy, and fellow undefeated AAC members Houston and Temple remaining on their schedule, so the AAC will work itself out eventually.
#21 Houston at UCF: UCF. Come on UCF, this is embarrassing. 0-7. I mean really...a loss to Furman?! Help us out here and show up for just one game this season. After UCF, Houston has Vandy, Cincinnati, Memphis, UConn and Navy remaining, so their chances of running the table are slight regardless.
Iowa State at #2 Baylor: Iowa State. For obvious reasons, a loss here by #2 Baylor to a 2-4 Iowa State team would eliminate Baylor as a playoff contender and help FSU's playoff chances and poll positioning. FSU fans should therefore root for Iowa State to pull the upset.
Texas Tech at #17 Oklahoma: Texas Tech. The fewer ranked teams there are in the Big 12, the more that helps the eventual ACC champion's playoff chances. Additionally, the more losses Oklahoma has, the more TCU and Baylor's SOS take a hit.
Kansas at #14 Oklahoma State: Kansas. The fewer ranked teams there are in the Big 12, the more that helps the eventual ACC champion's playoff chances. Additionally, the worse Oklahoma State is, the more it hurts TCU and Baylor's SOS. Okie State is one of only a handful undefeated teams left in the country, but they still have TCU (in two weeks), Baylor and Oklahoma left on their schedule. Weirdly, the Cowboys face all three of those teams at home this year.
Northwestern at Nebraska: Nebraska. The more Northwestern nosedives, the worse Stanford looks, and the better the eventual ACC champion's playoff chances become.
Indiana at #7 Michigan State: Indiana. Michigan State squeaked by in epic fashion over arch-rival Michigan last week, remains undefeated, and remains ranked ahead of Florida State. If there was ever a trap game on Michigan State's schedule, this one would be it, particularly coming off that last-second, emotional win last week. Florida State fans should definitely pull for Indiana in this one.
#1 Ohio State at Rutgers: Rutgers. Ohio State remains ranked #1 in the country, and finally appear to be clicking as of late. However, the Buckeyes still have their QB controversy hanging over their heads, and Urban Meyer named J.T. Barrett the starter this week. A loss to Rutgers would be devastating to the OSU's repeat hopes. Seminole fans should watch to see how the Buckeyes react to the QB move. To simplify the Big Ten situation, FSU fans should basically root against Iowa, Michigan State and Ohio State every game (Iowa has a bye this week) until the Michigan State-Ohio State matchup on November 21st.
#3 Utah at USC: USC. Can you believe Utah is actually a dog in this game? Because they're ranked ahead of Florida State, FSU fans should root for the USC "upset." Despite being 3-3, ESPN's FPI loves USC for reasons unknown to rational people. Maybe the Trojans will find a way to pull off the upset at home on Saturday and dumpster-fire the Pac-12's playoff chances. The Pac-12 may be the one conference best situated to be left out of the playoff, which is good for the ACC, so FSU fans should root hard for USC on Saturday.
Washington at #10 Stanford: Washington. Stanford has climbed back to #10 in the AP Poll, right behind FSU. If the Pac-12 is going to be left out of the playoff, it would be helpful for Stanford to drop another game. The Cardinal still have Cal and Notre Dame left on their regular season schedule, and would likely face Utah in the Pac-12 Championship Game if they both made it, so another loss is certainly feasible. However, this team that lost to Northwestern 16-6 is ranked right behind Florida State and remains playoff competition, so FSU fans should root for Washington on Saturday.
Tennessee at #8 Alabama: Tennessee. Bama is ranked ahead of FSU, even with a loss at home to Ole Miss. Tennessee beat Georgia two weeks ago and had a bye week to prepare for the Tide. FSU fans should therefore root for the Vols to pull the upset and simultaneously help FSU's playoff chances and poll positioning, while hurting the SEC's playoff chances and perception in general.
#15 Texas A&M at #24 Ole Miss: Can both teams lose? It is probably in FSU's best interests for Texas A&M to lose, since they're ranked closer to FSU, only have one loss and really only have LSU left on their schedule after Ole Miss. However, Ole Miss just lost to an AAC team last week ("SEC teams are so good that they just beat each other up PAWWWLLLL") and are quickly plummeting. If Alabama ends up winning the SEC West or the SEC, FSU would want Ole Miss to continue to lose in order to hurt Bama's SOS since they beat the Tide a few weeks ago. FSU should begrudgingly take Ole Miss since the Rebs still have plenty of opportunities left to hurt Alabama's SOS and TAMU is still positioned as a fringe playoff threat.
Western Kentucky at #5 LSU: Western Kentucky. Another really tough out-of-conference game for a SEC team here. LSU is ranked ahead of Florida State, so this upset would eliminate a playoff competitor and help FSU's poll positioning. While a Hilltoppers upset is not likely to happen, LSU is coming off a tough win against UF last week and Western Kentucky is 6-1 this season, which includes a win over SEC juggernaut Vanderbilt.
Bye Week at #13 Florida: Every year these guys manage to squeak in a bye week before the Georgia game. That's got to be annoying for UGA fans. Go Bye Week.
|12:00 PM||Auburn at Arkansas||SEC Network / WatchESPN|
|12:00 PM||Clemson at Miami||ABC / espn3|
|12:00 PM||Iowa State at Baylor||ESPN / WatchESPN|
|12:00 PM||Kansas State at Texas||FS1 / FS Go|
|12:00 PM||North Carolina State at Wake Forest||ESPN Extra / FSN Affiliates / ACC-RSN|
|12:00 PM||Northwestern at Nebraska||ESPN2 / WatchESPN|
|12:00 PM||Pittsburgh at Syracuse||ESPNU / WatchESPN|
|12:30 PM||Boston College at Louisville||ESPN Extra / ACC Network / espn3|
|3:30 PM||Duke at Virginia Tech||ESPNU / WatchESPN|
|3:30 PM||Indiana at Michigan State||ESPN2 / ABC / espn3|
|3:30 PM||Kansas at Oklahoma State||FS1 / FS Go|
|3:30 PM||Middle Tennessee at Louisiana Tech||NESN+ / CSBA+ / ASN (affiliates)|
|3:30 PM||North Texas at Marshall||FSN affiliates / FS Go|
|3:30 PM||Penn State at Maryland (Baltimore)||ESPN / WatchESPN|
|3:30 PM||Tennessee at Alabama||CBS / CBS|
|3:30 PM||Texas Tech at Oklahoma||ESPN2 / ABC / espn3|
|3:30 PM||Virginia at North Carolina||ESPN Extra / FSN Affiliates / ACC-RSN|
|3:30 PM||Wisconsin at Illinois||BTN / BTN2Go|
|4:00 PM||Missouri at Vanderbilt||SEC Network / WatchESPN|
|4:00 PM||Washington State at Arizona||PAC-12 Network / PAC-12|
|7:00 PM||Florida State at Georgia Tech||ESPN2 / WatchESPN|
|7:00 PM||Texas A&M at Ole Miss||ESPN / WatchESPN / espn3 Skycam|
|7:00 PM||Western Kentucky at LSU||ESPNU / WatchESPN|
|7:30 PM||Kentucky at Mississippi State||SEC Network / WatchESPN|
|7:30 PM||Utah at USC||FOX / FS Go|
|8:00 PM||Ohio State at Rutgers||ABC / espn3|
|10:30 PM||Washington at Stanford||ESPN / WatchESPN|