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Following a disastrous Week 10, all is not lost for the Big Ten, as the Big 12 and Pac-12 feature important intra-conference clashes that could change the College Football Playoff picture in Week 11.
Saturday couldn’t have gone much worse for the Big Ten. The Ohio State Buckeyes and Penn State Nittany Lions lost, leaving the conference’s playoff hopes resting largely on the unbeaten Wisconsin Badgers.
In the most recent Associated Press Top 25 poll, Ohio State slipped from third to 11th, while Penn State fell from seventh to 16th. Wisconsin even dropped slightly from fourth to six. Below is the full AP Top 25, along with the Week 11 matchup for every team.
Associated Press Top 25
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (at No. 18 Mississippi State; Nov. 11, 7 p.m. ET)
2. Georgia Bulldogs (at No. 10 Auburn; Nov. 11, 3:30 p.m. ET)
3. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (at No. 7 Miami; Nov. 11, 8 p.m. ET)
4. Clemson Tigers (vs. Florida State; Nov. 11, 3:30 p.m. ET)
5. Oklahoma Sooners (vs. No. 8 TCU; Nov. 11, 8 p.m. ET)
6. Wisconsin Badgers (vs. No. 25 Iowa; Nov. 11, 3:30 p.m. ET)
7. Miami Hurricanes (vs. No. 3 Notre Dame; Nov. 11, 8 p.m. ET)
8. TCU Horned Frogs (at No. 5 Oklahoma; Nov. 11, 8 p.m. ET)
9. Washington Huskies (at Stanford; Nov. 10, 10:30 p.m. ET)
10. Auburn Tigers (vs. No. 2 Georgia; Nov. 11, 3:30 p.m. ET)
11. Ohio State Buckeyes (vs. No. 13 Michigan State; Nov. 11, 12 p.m. ET)
12. Oklahoma State Cowboys (at No. 24 Iowa State; Nov. 11, 12 p.m. ET)
13. Michigan State Spartans (at No. 11 Ohio State; Nov. 11, 12 p.m. ET)
14. UCF Knights (vs. Connecticut; Nov. 11, 12 p.m. ET)
15. USC Trojans (at Colorado; Nov. 11, 4 p.m. ET)
16. Penn State Nittany Lions (vs. Rutgers; Nov. 11, 12 p.m. ET)
17. Virginia Tech Hokies (at Georgia Tech; Nov. 11, 12:20 p.m. ET)
18. Mississippi State Bulldogs (vs. No. 1 Alabama; Nov. 11, 7 p.m. ET)
19. Washington State Cougars (at Utah; Nov. 11, 5:30 p.m. ET)
20. Memphis Tigers (N/A)
21. Michigan Wolverines (at Maryland; Nov. 11, 3:30 p.m.)
22. South Florida Bulls (N/A)
23. West Virginia Mountaineers (at Kansas State; Nov. 11, 3:30 p.m. ET)
24. Iowa State (vs. Oklahoma State; Nov. 11, 12 p.m. ET)
25. Iowa Hawkeyes (at Wisconsin; Nov. 11, 3:30 p.m. ET
Compounding matters for the Big Ten in Week 10, the Clemson Tigers and Oklahoma Sooners both cleared major hurdles on their schedules. The Tigers defeated the North Carolina State Wolfpack on the road, while the Oklahoma Sooners won a shootout over their in-state rivals, the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
The Big Ten has sent a representative to the playoffs in each of the first three editions of the event. In order to make it four years in a row, the conference may need some help from the Big 12, Pac-12 or ACC, and that help didn’t come in Week 10.
That help may arrive in Week 11, however.
Oklahoma goes from playing the now-12th-ranked Cowboys to the eighth-ranked TCU Horned Frogs.
Many will be curious to see whether Baker Mayfield can keep his Heisman Trophy campaign on track.
Oklahoma ranks 103rd in S&P+ defense, according to Football Outsiders, and that was before the Sooners allowed 52 points and 661 yards to Oklahoma State.
The Horned Frogs aren’t among the most dynamic teams in FBS, but they boast a strong balance between the run and pass. Kenny Hill has thrown for 2,009 yards, 15 touchdowns and five interceptions, while the combination of Darius Anderson and Kyle Hicks have 1,161 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground.
The Buckeyes are a perfect example of how emotionally draining a hard-fought victory can be. Ohio State came back from a 15-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Penn State last week. When it trailed to Iowa in the second half on Saturday, though, the Buckeyes looked drained and unable to stem the tide.
Notre Dame’s matchup with the Miami Hurricanes could also have playoff implications. A game between the two teams hasn’t been this anticipated since the days of “Catholics vs. Convicts.”
This will be a great barometer of Miami’s overall ability. While the Hurricanes are unbeaten, they haven’t had a difficult schedule to date. Beating the Virginia Tech Hokies is nice but doesn’t immediately propel Miami into the Top Four ahead of the one-loss Clemson Tigers.
Should Miami lose to Notre Dame, nothing short of an ACC title game win over Clemson would put the Hurricanes back into the playoff discussion. The stakes are likewise high for the Fighting Irish, who would only have a game against Stanford to impress the playoff selection committee all over again.
The Auburn Tigers’ playoff hopes are likely gone, but they can play spoiler against the unbeaten Georgia Bulldogs.
Following the Mark Richt era, some Bulldogs fans may be hesitant to entertain any national title discussion. Under Richt, Georgia was perennially very good but not good enough to get over the hump in its pursuit of a third national championship.
Auburn represents Georgia’s biggest test prior to a date with the Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC title game. Having already clinched the East, losing to Auburn wouldn’t be the end of the world for the Bulldogs. Were they to win the SEC with one loss, they’d be a lock for the playoff.
Following a wild Week 10, the College Football Playoff picture could look very different this time next week.