By Joel Silverberg / @JoelSilverberg
Just when it appears the College Football Playoff is destined for chalk, it’s not. A top five team has lost in three straight weeks. The last two in one-sided fashion. The Big Ten’s playoff hopes are a two-horse race (no, not you, Iowa) while the Pac-12’s are hanging on by the – really thin – thread of Washington State.
Here’s this week’s good, bad and ugly.
The Good: Clemson. In a game that had been tightly contested in recent years, the Tigers pummeled NC State. Clemson didn’t mess around, didn’t give up big plays and put a top-20 Wolfpack team away early. The only team that can beat Clemson before the playoff is Clemson.
Honorable Mention: Michigan. Beating the hated Spartans on the road is solid. Holding Michigan State to just seven points isn’t bad, either. Penn State and Ohio State are still on the schedule, but the Wolverines passed their first big test of the second half of the season.
The Bad: Mississippi State. For the third time in its past four games Mississippi State was held to single digits on offense. Early turnovers derailed the Bulldogs against LSU before the game ever really got going.
Honorable Mention: Oregon. The Ducks were the Pac-12’s best chance for a playoff bid. Then Oregon spotted Washington State 27 points before the lights came on in a two-touchdown loss. The Cougars are the only team in the league with a single loss. Winning out doesn’t seem likely.
The Ugly: Ohio State. No question here. For the second season in a row, Ohio State lost to a lesser conference opponent by many, many touchdowns and is on thin ice moving forward in the eyes of the selection committee. Games against Michigan State and Michigan still loom. Winning out would still likely get the Buckeyes in, but they can’t afford any more slip-ups this time around.
Honorable Mention: Kentucky. The Wildcats won ugly with a 14-7 victory over Vanderbilt. A win is a win, but an offensively frustrating performance against the Commodores isn’t the ideal way to come off a bye week.