The Journal Gazette
 
 
Monday, November 25, 2019 9:20 pm

Sinn's AP Blog: Week 13

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

It was supposed to be relatively calm week in college football. Ohio State's matchup with Penn State was really the only game that was projected to have an affect on the top of the sport's rankings in Week 13. In the end, that game didn't move the needle much, although the Nittany Lions did become the first team to put up any kind of fight against the heretofore dominant Buckeyes this season. Penn State fell 28-17 on the road against a team that had beaten every previous opponent, including Wisconsin, by at least 24 points. Penn State doesn't do moral victories, but that feels like a moral victory.

Elsewhere, however, the week was much more exciting than many thought. Most importantly, the Pac-12's worst fears were realized when then-No. 5 Oregon, the conference's best hope for a long-awaited spot in the College Football Playoff (no team from the conference has reached the CFP since Washington did so in 2016), dropped a stunner against Arizona State, falling 31-28. The loss knocked Oregon out of Playoff contention and leaves Utah as the conference's only plausible standard-bearer. Whether the committee thinks a one-loss Utah with a conference championship under its belt deserves a spot over one-loss Oklahoma/Baylor or one-loss Alabama remains to be seen. 

Speaking of Oklahoma, the Sooners barely survived against TCU, winning 28-24 thanks in part to a questionable spot on Oklahoma's final drive that prevented the Horned Frogs from getting the ball back for one last-ditch possession. Oklahoma has not looked at all like an elite team in November and the Sooners would have to blow the doors off Oklahoma State this week and Baylor in the conference title game to impress the committee enough to get in. Simply winning might not be enough.  

Here is my full AP Poll following Week 13:

1. Clemson (11-0)

2. LSU (11-0)

3. Ohio State (11-0)

4. Georgia (10-1)

5. Alabama (10-1)

6. Utah (10-1)

7. Minnesota (10-1)

8. Florida (9-2)

9. Penn State (9-2)

10. Oklahoma (10-1)

11. Baylor (10-1)

12. Wisconsin (9-2)

13. Michigan (9-2)

14. Notre Dame (9-2)

15. Oregon (9-2)

16. Memphis (10-1)

17. Cincinnati (10-1)

18. Iowa (8-3)

19. Auburn (8-3)

20. Boise State (10-1)

21. Appalachian State (10-1)

22. Virginia Tech (8-3)

23. Virginia (8-3)

24. Oklahoma State (8-3)

25. Navy (8-2)

To see the official AP Poll, go to: https://www.collegefootball.ap.org/poll

Let's talk about Notre Dame's bowl possibilities. The Irish were No. 16 in last week's College Football Playoff rankings and after beating Boston College might conceivably rise to No. 14 (leapfrogging Auburn, a three-loss team that was propped up by a win over Oregon, and the Ducks themselves). In order to get into a New Year's Six Bowl, the Irish likely need to be ranked no lower than No. 11 in the final CFP rankings. With only one more game to impress the committee, a matchup against a substandard team (4-7 Stanford) at that, the Irish are going to need plenty of help to rise those three spots. They could move past the loser of the Minnesota-Wisconsin game this weekend and maybe Oklahoma if the Sooners lose to Oklahoma State and Baylor in the Big 12 title game. Outside of that, however, the Irish are going to really need some chaos in front of them, making the possibility of a New Year's Six bid remote. The non-NY6 destinations for the Irish that have been mentioned most frequently are the Camping World Bowl (previously the Champs Sports Bowl) and the Citrus Bowl, both located in Orlando. If Notre Dame does sneak into the NY6, it will probably be at the Orange Bowl, so a trip to Florida seems likely to be in the Irish's future.

Elsewhere in the Midwest, it's that time of year again: time for Michigan fans to get their hopes up that this is the year the Wolverines finally take down Ohio State and feel good about themselves heading into the offseason. After Michigan got crushed by Wisconsin, most fans probably would have been ecstatic about a 9-3 season featuring blowout victories over Notre Dame and Michigan State. Now, however, the Wolverines have played very good football for five straight weeks (including a road loss to Penn State that came down to the wire) and many fans have probably talked themselves into the idea that the Maize and Blue can be the ones to end the Buckeyes' undefeated season. Let me spare all of those fans the suspense: that's not going to happen. Ohio State has not yet faced an opponent that could really be described as in its league and the Wolverines aren't that team. Don't get your hopes up Michigan fans. Really, don't do it.

Bold Pick of the Week: Oklahoma State 37, Oklahoma 35

Oklahoma has been supremely unimpressive in recent weeks, falling behind 28-3 against Baylor before rallying and letting a mediocre TCU team hang around all night. Oklahoma State hasn't been a world-beater, but the Cowboys have won four straight, including victories over Iowa State and the aforementioned Horned Frogs. They pull the upset in front of their home crowd.

Last Week: Indiana 28, Michigan 21

I picked Indiana in a big game. I definitely shouldn't have done that. The Hoosiers can still reach 8-4 for the first time in a quarter-century with a win over Purdue in the Bucket Game this week. They can't mess that up, can they?

Season record: 2-10

dsinn@jg.net


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