Kansas State and Missouri, national semifinalists?
Don’t book non-refundable, but it’s easier to get there from first place, where the Wildcats and Tigers reside at the three-quarter pole of the season.
Kansas State leads the Big 12 and Mizzou tops the SEC East. Have both win out, have a few more results fall their way and coaches Bill Snyder and Gary Pinkel could square off once again.
Getting to this point with league leads was something of a surprise. K-State scored a statement triumph at Oklahoma and has taken care of business against a manageable conerence schedule. The heavy lifting starts Saturday with a trip to TCU and continues with games at West Virginia and Baylor.
Mizzou might have expected to split the games against the highest-ranked teams on its schedule, at South Carolina and home to Georgia.
But after staging one of the greatest comebacks in school history at South Carolina, and Tigers laid an egg against the Bulldogs, and that outcome established Georgia at the division favorite.
Until Saturday, when the Dawgs were embarrassed by Florida, and dropped to 4-2 in the league. Missouri is 4-1.
The East is now a three-team race among Missouri, Georgia and Florida (3-3), with Mizzou in the driver’s seat. Head to head breaks a two-way tie. Division record breaks a three-team deadlock, emphasizing the importance of the Tigers’ Nov. 22 game at Tennessee.
But will winning out guarantee a playoff spot for Kansas State and Missouri?
With K-State, it should. If the Wildcats run the table, they will have defeated four teams on the road that are currently ranked, and took a major non-conference scheduling risk by playing Auburn.
Although Kansas State lost in a close game, the game itself seemed to be part of the judgment last week in the first College Football Playoff ranking, that had the Wildcats ninth, two spots better than in the wire service polls.
The road to the playoffs could be more difficult for Missouri.
The Tigers, unranked in the polls released on Sunday, have no games remaining against ranked opponents but would likely face a top five team in the SEC Championship Game.
Would a Missouri victory over Alabama, Auburn or Mississippi State be enough to elevate a team that suffered a lopsided home loss [it]and[end it] another home loss to an Indiana team that is currently winless in Big Ten play?
That possibility is how the SEC could get omitted from the playoff altogether. If Oregon, Kansas State and Michigan State finish the season as one-loss conference champions, and Florida State remains undefeated, and the SEC champion has two losses…let’s just say discussion will be lively among the selection committee.
That scenario is a month in the distance and Kansas State and Missouri have plenty of work ahead. But it’s not like the programs don’t know the way with the Wildcats’ league crown in 2012 and the Tigers’ division title in 2013.
The Tigers have the SEC’s most difficult schedule. As it stands today, all five of Auburn’s road games are against ranked teams. The latest triumph, 35-31 over Mississippi, may have been the most impressive. Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell took a short pass from Bo Wallace and was headed toward the end zone when he was pulled down from behind by Kris Frost. Treadwell fumbled it away, but worse broke his left fibula and dislocated his ankle on the play.
Muschamp, whose seat has gotten hotter throughout the season, may be a bit more comfortable after the Gators’ 38-20 throttling of Georgia. It was the program’s first victory over a ranked team since 2012 and Muschamp’s first victory in the rivalry.
The Falcons seized the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy with a 23-6 victory at Army. It also marked Air Force’s sixth victory of season, including an Oct. 4 triumph over Navy, good for bowl eligibility. Kudos to the CBS coverage, which stayed with the broadcast long enough to spotlight players and coaches from each team standing at attention to the other’s alma mater.
College-age kids do dumb things. That’s the bottom line on the Terrapins captains P.J. Gallo, Sean Davis and Stefon Diggs walking to midfield at Penn State and refusing to shake hands with the Nittnay Lions captains. Maryland Coach Randy Edsall and athletic director Randy Edsall apologized for the stunt after the Terps’ 20-19 victory and Lion coach James Franklin said that was a first for him. “I 20 years, I’ve never seen that before,” he said.
The Pirates were the top non-power conference contender for a major bowl until a sloppy 20-10 loss at Temple. Look for undefeated Marshall (8-0), which entered The Associated Press poll at No. 23, to become the top contender for a big bowl.
Last season, Blewitt set Pittsburgh’s freshman kicking records for points and accuracy. This season, he made nine of his first 10 attempts before lining up for what would have been a game-winner from 26 yards against Duke. But he hooked it badly, and the Panthers fell at home 51-48 in overtime.
COMMITTEE OF ONE
Projecting the first College Football Playoff pairings
Sugar Bowl: Mississippi State vs. Oregon
Rose Bowl: Florida State vs. Auburn
Knocking on the door: Alabama, TCU, Notre Dame, Kansas State, Michigan State
RANKING THE BIG 12
d. West Virginia 31-30
Big stops in Morgantown
2. Kansas State
d. Oklahoma State 48-14
Showdown in Fort Worth
d. Kansas 60-14
3 catches, 2 touchdowns for Coleman
d. Iowa State 59-14
Knight top passer and rusher vs. Cyclones
5. West Virginia
l. TCU 31-30
Too conservative late vs. TCU
d. Texas Tech 34-13
Brown has Horns first 100-yard day this year
7. Oklahoma State
l. Kansas State 48-14
Pokes are reeling
8. Texas Tech
Vinny Testaverde’s son Vincent finished game at QB
9. Iowa State
l. Oklahoma 59-14
Dreadful against the Sooners
l. Baylor 60-14
Victory opportunity for KU this weekend
RANKING THE SEC
1. Mississippi State
d. Arkansas 17-10
Week to catch breath
d. Mississippi 35-31
Never count out Tigers
Can’t afford another loss
Tigers are contenders again
l. Auburn 35-31
Sad news, Treadwell out for year
d. Kentucky 20-10
Back in first place
d. Georgia 38-20
Gators ran all over Dawgs
l. Florida 38-20
Thumps Mizzou, thumped by Gators
9. Texas A&M
d. Louisiana-Monroe 21-16
Kyle Allen gets first career start
l. Mississippi State 17-10
Nearly doubled Bulldogs’ possession time
d. South Carolina 45-42, OT
Scored final 17 points for victory
l. Missouri 20-10
Momentum blunted with three straigh loss
13. South Carolina
l. Tennessee 45-42, OT
Four straight conference losses
d. Old Dominion
McCrary with five TD passes