Every week, Tomahawk Nation takes a look at what results from across the country Florida State football fans should be rooting for. The Seminoles have managed to slide up to No. 14 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, and have solidified their place in the discussion for a New Year's Six at-large berth. Despite this week being historically known as a cupcake week in college football, there are plenty of games Saturday, the outcomes of which could affect the Seminoles' place in the next College Football Playoff Rankings and FSU's chances of earning a NY6 at-large bid. With that in mind, let's get into the matchups, organized, as always, by conference.
No. 17 North Carolina at Virginia Tech: Virginia Tech. The CFP committee has made it clear: UNC can't reach the Top four, even if it runs the table and beats Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. Fairly or not, the committee is discounting North Carolina, due to its ugly opening loss to South Carolina and its two wins over FCS opponents.
However, UNC remains an at-large NY6 at-large competitor for FSU, and will remain so, even if it loses to Clemson. Therefore, FSU would benefit greatly from a UNC loss, even though the Heels are still ranked behind the Seminoles. The Tar Heels could still drop a conference game and win the Coastal, but a second UNC loss would likely eliminate UNC from the NY6 at-large discussion. FSU fans should therefore root for a Beamer upset in Blacksburg on Saturday. The Heels cap off their regular season schedule next weekend in Raleigh against NC State.
Georgia Tech at Miami (FL): Georgia Tech. The Jackets can't go to a bowl. The Jackets only have one conference win. The Jackets might as well go ahead and embarrass Miami (FL), which is prone to being embarrassed already this season (58-0 loss to Clemson, 59-21 loss to UNC last weekend). Maybe a GT win over Miami will slightly bump FSU's SOS. I can't wait to see the attendance pictures from this game.
Wake Forest at No. 1 Clemson: Clemson. FSU needs Clemson to run the table in order to have a good shot at a NY6 at-large berth. The 'Noles can't catch Clemson, so there is zero upside to rooting for what would be the upset of the year at the ACC's expense.
Boston College at No. 4 Notre Dame: Notre Dame. FSU needs Notre Dame to remain in the Top four in order to have a good shot at a NY6 at-large berth. If things stay the same, the CFP committee may be in a situation where it'll have to compare Notre Dame and a Big 12 champion for that fourth playoff spot. Notre Dame can't slip up now. An Irish loss from here on out would severely hurt the Seminoles' chances at a NY6 at-large berth. FSU fans should therefore root for Notre Dame on Saturday.
Cincinnati at South Florida: South Florida. USF has quietly put together a solid season, and Willie Taggert deserves some credit for his efforts. The Bulls are bowl eligible at 6-4, and finish with what is almost a guaranteed win at UCF next week. A seven or eight-win USF squad would certainly benefit FSU's SOS, so FSU fans should root for South Florida on Saturday.
No. 21 Memphis at Temple, No. 19 Houston at UConn, and No. 16 Navy at Tulsa: One of these teams will be the Group of Five representative in a NY6 bowl; that much is certain. The worst-case scenario for FSU's NY6 hopes is to have a second-ranked American team hang around and become an at-large competitor. Therefore, two of these teams need to lose, and one needs to separate from the other two. Houston and Navy play on November 27th, but until then, it's still best practice for FSU fans to root against all three ranked American teams until it's clear which will get the Group-of-Five spot.
No. 10 Baylor at No. 6 Oklahoma State: Oklahoma State. With the round-robin format in the Big 12, the best scenario for FSU's NY6 at-large hopes in this game would be for Oklahoma State to beat Baylor and get the Bears out of FSU's way in the College Football Playoff rankings. If No. 6 (and undefeated) Oklahoma State were to lose to Baylor, they wouldn't fall behind two-loss No. 14 FSU in the rankings. An Okie State loss would slightly help Notre Dame's chances of staying in the Top 4, but it would also benefit UF in the rankings (and not FSU). A Baylor loss would benefit FSU in the rankings (but not UF). FSU fans should therefore root for Oklahoma State on Saturday. Okie State finishes its regular season next week at home against OU.
No. 18 TCU at No. 7 Oklahoma: TCU. TCU is ranked behind FSU, and lost its only game to date against an opponent with a winning record. The best scenario for FSU's NY6 at-large hopes in this game is for TCU to hand Oklahoma a second loss. FSU is ranked close enough to OU, and far ahead enough of TCU, that Florida State may be able to both get ahead of OU and stay ahead of TCU in the rankings if TCU pulled off the upset. Seminoles fans should root for TCU to win in Norman on Saturday. TCU plays Baylor next week, and, as mentioned above, OU still plays Oklahoma State.
Purdue at No. 5 Iowa: Purdue. No. 5 Iowa can lose a regular season conference game and still win the Big Ten West, thanks to its head-to-head advantage over Wisconsin. Iowa will also (likely) face Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis. With Purdue, Nebraska, and Ohio State remaining on its schedule, Iowa can still lose two or more games before the 2015 season is over, despite its weak schedule.
An Iowa loss Saturday would help FSU two-fold: it would solidify Notre Dame's spot in the top four, and if Iowa drops an unexpected regular season game and then loses to Ohio State, FSU could end up ahead of the Hawkeyes in the College Football Playoff rankings and remove Iowa as a competitor for a NY6 at-large bid, assuming the 'Noles take care of their own business. I think the better Iowa upset opportunity comes next week in Lincoln against the Cornhuskers, but FSU fans should still root for Purdue to pull the upset on Saturday.
No. 12 Michigan at Penn State: Penn State. Boy, Michigan sure was lucky to escape Bloomington last weekend with a win. Michigan still finds itself two spots ahead of FSU, despite also having two losses and needing a fourth-quarter comeback and two overtimes to beat IU. Penn State could do FSU a big favor in knocking off the Wolverines at home, thus allowing FSU to rise in the College Football Playoff rankings. FSU fans should root for a Penn State upset on Saturday. Michigan plays Ohio State next week, so its time may be coming regardless.
No. 20 Northwestern at No. 25 Wisconsin: Wisconsin. Northwestern is ranked higher, and any additional Northwestern loss further hurts NY6 at-large competitor Stanford and their SOS. FSU fans should therefore root for Wisconsin on Saturday.
No. 9 Michigan State at No. 3 Ohio State: Ohio State. The Buckeyes may be FSU's biggest ally in the Seminoles' quest for a NY6 at-large berth. Those same NY6 at-large chances would take a huge hit, however, if the Buckeyes lose a game before the Big Ten Championship Game. Ohio State can do FSU a favor by handing No. 9 Michigan State its second loss of the season on Saturday, so FSU fans should root for that outcome. A second loss this late in the season by Michigan State may bump FSU ahead of Sparty in the College Football Playoff rankings. Ohio State can further help FSU next week against No. 12 Michigan.
UCLA at No. 13 Utah: UCLA. What a mess the Pac-12 has become. Utah remains ranked ahead of FSU by one spot in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, so a UCLA upset against the Utes on Saturday would be welcomed help for FSU, both in the rankings and by eliminating a NY6 at-large bid competitor. FSU fans should root hard for the Bruins to pull the upset on Saturday and help get another team out of FSU's way in the rankings.
California at No. 11 Stanford: Cal. Same rationale from the UCLA-Utah matchup applies to this game. Getting another Pac-12 team out of FSU's way in the College Football Playoff rankings would be a huge help, as would eliminating another NY6 at-large bid competitor. FSU fans should pull for Cal to pull the upset in Palo Alto and help FSU's position in the rankings.
Florida Atlantic at No. 8 Florida: FAU. Another tough out-of-conference matchup here for an SEC team. Wouldn't it be great if a Driskel could pull off an upset victory in the Swamp? FSU fans are already excited for the Seminoles' matchup with the Gators next weekend, so even though UF should win handily on Saturday, FSU fans should be watching to see if UF's offensive woes continue against the Owls.
No. 15 LSU at No. 22 Ole Miss: Ole Miss. The three-loss Rebels miraculously jumped back into the College Football Playoff Top 25 rankings, despite having a bye last weekend and losing to an unranked opponent at home the week before. I guess even the bye weeks are tougher in the SEC PAWWWLLLLL. That, or the College Football Playoff committee could be using that back end of the rankings to help alleviate a bad loss for one of their top-four selections and thus justify their decision. But hey, you didn't hear that from me.
FSU fans should root for Ole Miss to beat LSU because: (1) LSU is ranked right behind FSU in the College Football Playoff rankings, and Ole Miss isn't very good (remember when they were ranked No. 3 earlier in the year?); (2) Another LSU loss would hurt UF's SOS; and (3) Ole Miss wouldn't catch FSU in the College Football Playoff rankings with a win, but LSU could possibly jump FSU with a win. I don't buy the rumor that Les Miles is "coaching for his job," but expect the Mad Hatter to be out in full force, regardless, on Saturday.
Georgia Southern at Georgia: Georgia Southern. This is a no brainer for FSU fans. The Eagles hold a special place in the hearts of Seminole fans, so let's cheer on our favorite upset program to embarrass another SEC team and help FSU's recruiting efforts against Georgia.
Full TV Listings
Friday, Nov. 20, 2015
|Matchup||Time (ET)||TV / Online|
|Cincinnati at USF||8:00 pm||CBSSN|
|Air Force at Boise State||9:30 pm||ESPN2 / WatchESPN|
Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015
|Matchup||Time (ET)||TV / Online|
|The Citadel at South Carolina||Noon||SECN Alt. / WatchESPN|
|Florida Atlantic at (11) Florida||Noon||SECN / WatchESPN|
|Illinois at Minnesota||Noon||ESPNews / WatchESPN|
|Indiana at Maryland||Noon||BTN / BTN2Go|
|Iowa State at Kansas State||Noon||FS1 / FS Go|
|(21) Memphis at (22) Temple||Noon||ESPNU / WatchESPN|
|(14) Michigan at Penn State||Noon||ABC / WatchESPN|
|(23) North Carolina at Virginia Tech||Noon||ESPN / WatchESPN|
|North Texas at Middle Tennessee||Noon||ASN|
|Purdue at (5) Iowa||Noon||ESPN2 / WatchESPN|
|Rutgers at Army||Noon||CBSSN|
|West Virginia at Kansas||Noon||FSN / FS Go|
|Georgia Tech at Miami FL||12:30 pm||ACCN / ESPN3|
|Syracuse at NC State||12:30 pm||ACCN / ESPN3|
|Miami OH at UMass||1:00 pm||ESPN3|
|South Alabama at Georgia State||2:00 pm||ESPN3|
|Western Kentucky at FIU||2:30 pm||FCS / FS Go|
|Arizona at Arizona State||3:30 pm||FS1 / FS Go|
|Chattanooga at (16) Florida State||3:00 pm||RSN / ESPN3|
|Fresno State at BYU||3:00 pm||BYUtv / ESPN3|
|Buffalo at Akron||3:30 pm||CBSSN|
|Duke at Virginia||3:30 pm||ESPN3|
|(24) Houston at UConn||3:30 pm||ESPNU / WatchESPN|
|Louisiana Tech at UTEP||3:30 pm||FSN / FS Go|
|(9) LSU at Ole Miss||3:30 pm||CBS / CBSSports.com|
|(13) Michigan State at (3) Ohio State||3:30 pm||ABC / WatchESPN|
|Nevada at Utah State||3:30 pm||ESPN3|
|(18) Northwestern at (25) Wisconsin||3:30 pm||BTN / BTN2Go|
|Old Dominion at Southern Miss||3:30 pm||ASN|
|(19) UCLA at (10) Utah||3:30 pm||FOX / FS Go|
|USC at Oregon||3:30 pm||ESPN / WatchESPN|
|Wake Forest at (1) Clemson||3:30 pm||ESPN2 / WatchESPN|
|Louisville at Pittsburgh||3:45 pm||ESPNews / WatchESPN|
|Charleston Southern at (2) Alabama||4:00 pm||SECN / WatchESPN|
|Idaho at Auburn||4:00 pm||SECN Alt. / WatchESPN|
|New Mexico State at UL Lafayette||5:00 pm||SBN / ESPN3|
|Colorado State at New Mexico||5:30 pm||ROOT|
|Washington at Oregon State||6:00 pm||Pac-12N / Pac-12.com|
|Georgia Southern at Georgia||7:00 pm||ESPNU / WatchESPN|
|(17) Mississippi State at Arkansas||7:00 pm||ESPN / WatchESPN|
|(20) Navy at Tulsa||7:00 pm||CBSSN|
|Rice at UTSA||7:00 pm||ASN|
|Tennessee at Missouri||7:15 pm||ESPN2 / WatchESPN|
|(6) Baylor at (8) Oklahoma State||7:30 pm||FOX / FS Go|
|Boston College vs (4) Notre Dame (at Fenway Park)||7:30 pm||NBCSN / NBCSports.com|
|Charlotte at Kentucky||7:30 pm||SECN Alt. / WatchESPN|
|Texas A&M at Vanderbilt||7:30 pm||SECN / WatchESPN|
|(15) TCU at (12) Oklahoma||8:00 pm||ABC / WatchESPN|
|Tulane at SMU||8:00 pm||ESPNews / WatchESPN|
|California at (7) Stanford||10:30 pm||ESPN2 / WatchESPN|
|San Diego State at UNLV||10:30 pm||CBSSN|
|Colorado at Washington State||10:45 pm||ESPN2 / WatchESPN|
|San Jose State at Hawaii||11:59 pm||TWC Oceanic / MWN|