The Playoff Eliminator: Week Two

Our weekly breakdown of games involving contenders for the inaugural FBS playoffs.

For our purposes, 6-2 Ole Miss (No. 11) has, at least temporarily, dropped from the list of legitimate contenders due to its painful home loss Saturday vs. Auburn.

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)
-- Correct
-- Way off (17-7 UCLA)
-- Correct (UGA, Utah, Arizona, Ole Miss).


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