CFP Shakedown: Whatever Next?
In what North Americans call football, every now and then the foot actually does touch the ball.
Other body parts are usually more prominent in the course of a game, but who would've expected an inner thigh changing the complexion of the CFP challengers?
Not Auburn, nor its senior center, Reese Dismukes.
The Tigers are battle-hardened and karma-friendly. But not last Saturday. They'd seemingly recovered from a disastrous set of self-inflicted wounds -- including a Nick Marshall red-zone fumble one possession earlier -- to be in a last-minute position to tie or even beat Texas A&M on the Plains. And then ...
Anyone who had that in the play-by-play pool stepped up and collected the key to their new mansion.
Meanwhile, Auburn is now left to hope for something even more wild that might put them back in the playoff picture.
Don't count against it just yet, because that wasn't even the weirdest play of the day.
Say hello to Utah receiver and serial showboat Kaelin Clay. Dude's become a legend in more than his own mind, but not a way he could have ever imagined.
Then there was Florida State, needing to come from behind, again, to beat Virginia -- yes, Virginia -- 34-20. The Noles dodge bullets like Jameis Winston dodges charges.
Don't use ink to write them into the playoff just yet. The Seminoles have a tough one coming up on Saturday, as the improving Miami Hurricanes will welcome them to Sun Life Stadium. They pulled an SEC and scheduled a bye last weekend, so they'll be healed and as ready as they'll ever be.
Mississippi State must've felt this was a good weekend to be chomping on a cupcake. The Bulldogs stayed unbeaten with a 45-16 romp over Tennessee-Martin that sets up another SEC West battle this weekend against Alabama.
Ah yes, Alabama. The Tide survived a missed chip-shot FG, a key dropped pass by Amare Cooper, a devastating last-minute fumble by TJ Yeldon, trailed 13-10 with 50 seconds left, and still came out of Death Valley a winner.
The SEC West death match series now moves to Tuscaloosa. After this weekend's bounces and bobbles, take nothing for granted.
Baylor and TCU are on the cusp of the playoffs, with the Horned Frogs having the less challenging schedule. After pummelling Kansas State, 41-20, Gary Patterson's crew visits Kansas -- fresh off an uncharacteristic one-game winning streak -- and Texas before hosting Iowa State to conclude the season. The Bears, after beating Oklahoma in Norman for the first time in its history, have Oklahoma State and Kansas State remaining.
So much for the Irish. Arizona State had its' biggest win in years, defeating Notre Dame, 55-31, knocking the Fightin's back into everyday life. This is the same Notre Dame team that was a PI call away from taking down the Noles. So, what will the Selection Committee make of this?
If the Sun Devils(8-1) win out, they'll meet Oregon in the Pac-12 title game. If the Ducks don't stumble before then, the Pac-12 champ is now virtually certain of making the CFP quartet.
Amidst all this, the Big Ten abides. Ohio State (8-1) is now the standard bearer, blowing out Michigan State in Sparty's house. Frankly, the Buckeyes looked good doing it. Pret-ty good. That Hokie loss is haunting them like a teenage pot bust does to an adult trying to enter Canada on vacation.
Urban Meyer & Co will most likely have to wait for a few more strange days before they get a bite of the bracket cherry. The way this season's unfolding, it's still possible.