No. 17 Utah, No. 19 Arizona, and No. 20 Georgia were also unofficially eliminated from final four contention due to a second loss suffered last week. Among the quartet, the Rebels have a legitimate shot to work their way back into contention should myriad things break right in the SEC West.
As well, with ample help along the way, No. 22 Duke (7-1) could work its way into consideration with an undefeated finish that includes a win over an undefeated Florida State team in the ACC Championship game.
Twelve of 13 legitimate playoff contenders are active this Saturday with only #13 Nebraska idle. All times listed below are EDT, with point spreads as of Wednesday morning.
#12 Baylor at #15 Oklahoma (Noon): The Sooners are favored by 5.5 points vs. the all-offense Bears. Baylor beat Oklahoma 41-12 last Nov. 7 in Waco. The betting line opened with OU favored by 4...
#10 Notre Dame at #9 Arizona State (3:30): The Irish are underdogs of 2.5 points in the Desert. The line opened with ASU favored by 2...
(6-3) Texas A&M at #3 Auburn (3:30): The Tigers are favored by 21.5 points over the paper tiger Aggies. The line opened with Auburn favored by an even 20...
FCS Tennessee-Martin at #1 Mississippi State (time irrelevant): No Line for the Sham of the Week.
(4-5) Virginia at #2 Florida State (6:30): The Seminoles are favored by 19.5 points over head coach Mike London's Cavaliers. The line opened with FSU favored by 18...
#7 Kansas State at #6 TCU (7:30): The battle-tested Wildcats are underdogs of six points to the resurgent Horned Frogs. The line opened with TCU favored by 5.5...
#5 Alabama at #16 LSU (8:00): The Tigers are home underdogs of 6.5 points vs. their recent nemesis in both the SEC West and the national stage. The line opened with Bama favored by 6...
#14 Ohio State at #8 Michigan State (8:00): The Spartans are favored by 3.5 points vs. an Ohio State squad more than 10 months removed from the last time it faced a nationally ranked foe.
#4 Oregon at #17 Utah (10:00): The Ducks are favored by eight points against a Utah team that dropped from our rankings after a 19-17 loss at Arizona State last week. The line opened with Oregon favored by 9.5...
Five Most Likely to Win/Advance (In order): Mississippi State, Auburn, Florida State, Oregon…Alabama, I guess.
Upset Watch: None on my radar qualify. Perhaps Utah can catch Oregon in a letdown situation after the Ducks bundled rival Stanford last Saturday. Virginia could encounter a disinterested FSU team for the first half.
On a Hunch: Oklahoma takes out Baylor; Notre Dame looks great in the Desert and wins; Kansas State falls just short, as does LSU. Oregon lets down a bit, but wins as well. And Ohio State finds a way to upset Michigan State, eliminating the Spartans.
In total -- Expect four teams drop from contention (three are guaranteed), leaving the number of legitimate contenders (undefeated or one loss) at nine. Of note, expect either two-loss Ole Miss or two-loss LSU (should they upset 'Bama) to be in the Top 10 next Tuesday after the Selection Committee unveils its poll.
Last week's preview/results
Five Most Likely to Win/Advance: Baylor, Ohio State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, and Kansas State -- All Advanced
Five on Upset Watch: TCU, ASU, Florida State, Georgia, and Oregon (in order)
TCU and ASU won at the final gun
FSU won after trailing 21-0
UGA lost outright
Oregon rolled Stanford.
On a Hunch: Florida and Arkansas play inspired football in defeat; Navy doesn't make it easy on Notre Dame; Arizona and UCLA combine for more than 80 points; four of the 17 teams in contention lose (two are guaranteed).
-- Correct (except the Gators won)
-- Way off (17-7 UCLA)
-- Correct (UGA, Utah, Arizona, Ole Miss).