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Who Needs a Blogpoll Week 11: A little chaos is good; too much chaos may lead to the status quo

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So, there's Alabama and then a lot of burning garbage.

College Football 2016
College Football 2016
Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

A little chaos is fun, no doubt. But, when the No. 2, 3, and 4 team all drop games to unranked opponents, what happens? What does it mean for the big picture?

In this case, a little chaos is good -- too much results in nearly status quo. There are three huge beneficiaries, and maybe a fourth in the ACC. The first obviously is Alabama, which has a very wide margin of error now: The Tide can afford to drop a game and still be a mortal lock for the playoffs. The second and third are Penn State and/or Ohio State. The Lions are very much in position to play themselves into the Final Four. Assuming Ohio State wins out (not a ludicrous proposition) then PSU is your Western Division Champ. Penn State beats a Top-10 Wisconsin in the B1GCG to finish 10-2 with two wins over the Top 10, and playing lethal football the last three months of the season? There's no way that team gets left out. Nor, would you imagine, does an 11-1 OSU team with wins over Wisconsin, Michigan, and Oklahoma State get left out in favor of a 1-loss Pac 12 Champ or Louisville

The biggest loser is naturally Washington. This team was a marginal playoff contender in the committee's eyes before the loss. The first team the Huskies played with as much, or more, talent was not even close: Washington was outclassed all over the field. Eliminate an excellent route by Ross beating one-on-one coverage and UW was blanked out of the end zone. Can Washington get back in it? Sure. But they need a lot help, including a dominating win in the Apple Cup and a beating of the Pac 12 South champion (and a couple of losses from teams with much better SOS.) However, if last night was any indication, the Apple Cup in Pullman is by no stretch a gimme, much less winning a rematch against USC or Utah (or possibly Colorado.)

Remember on Thursday when we said that Clemson's heads being in the NFL made them ripe for an upset versus Pitt? Well, that happened. So, what do we make of the Tigers, who have generally looked pretty bland against decent competition? With wins over FSU, Louisville, Auburn, and a probable ACCCG victory, one suspects the Tigers still get in. That probably leaves Louisville on the outside, alongside Washington, needing a lot of impressive victories (drubbing Houston would help,) and just a little help to get that final slot. The problem is that the Cardinals have almost no other chance to impress and very likely have no opportunity to get to the ACCCG. They need to rely on the losses of others. Because, ff it comes down to Ohio State and Louisville, assuming neither even win their division despite winning out, the Buckeyes' superior wins and SOS nudges them across the finishing line. It doesn't help the Cards that they've looked downright awful at times against some bad-to-middling teams: Wake Forest, Virginia, Duke. Meanwhile, Ohio State dispatches its middling-to-awful foes with Urban's notorious heartless cruelty. But, in this realistic universe, Louisville probably made out like a bandit yesterday (which is our fourth beneficiary.) The Buckeye's path is so much harder, and a loss is so much more likely, that the Cardinals have a 50-50 shot to gain the most.

Alabama is, simply put, Alabama -- head and shoulders above the rest of the field by a wide margin.

Here's the Blogpoll and here are the general criteria:

Criteria: Just a reminder: this not a power poll, a projection going forward, nor a straight SOS or MOV analysis. The WNaBP does take into account injuries, bye weeks, background intangibles, and it does pay a little attention to the point spread.

  • Best collection of wins 
  • Single best overall win 
  • Competitiveness & MOV (even in a loss) 
  • Talent level (factoring in injuries)
  • Schedule, including how past opponents looked against their opponents
  • My lying eyeballs
  • Improvement throughout the season
1

Alabama Crimson Tide

1

2

Ohio State Buckeyes

4

3

Michigan Wolverines

3

4

Penn State Nittany Lions

7

5

Clemson Tigers

2

6

Wisconsin Badgers

8

7

Louisville Cardinals

6

8

LSU Tigers

12

9

Washington Huskies

5

10

Oklahoma State Cowboys

14

11

Washington State Cougars

13

12

Oklahoma Sooners

11

13

USC Trojans

24

14

Boise State Broncos

17

15

Western Michigan Broncos

15

16

West Virginian Mountaineers

18

17

Navy Midshipmen

22

18

Houston Cougars

21

19

Auburn Tigers

8

20

Florida Gators

24

21

Troy Trojans

--

22

Tennessee Volunteers

23

23

Utah Utes

--

24

San Diego State Aztecs

--

25

Texas A&M Aggies (T)

UNC Tarheels (T)

Florida State Seminoles

10

12

--

Also Considered:

Nebraska Cornhuskers, South Florida Bulls

G5:

There's a lot of fun going on here, and a lot of potential bowl upsets for teams who draw the cream of the crop: Toledo, Troy, Boise State, Navy, Western Michigan, App State, La. Tech, USF, Wyoming, Air Force, Temple, Houston.

At the moment, Navy and its considerably stronger SOS and better group of wins probably leads for the New Year's Six invite, shunning Western Michigan. (But I still think Boise State is probably the best of a very strong mid-major showing in 2016) This year, with so many teams dropping a lot of games, the parity has never been plainer: the top of the G5 is as least as good and sometimes better in a one-game matchup as the middle tier of the P5.

Teams no one wants to play at the moment:

Ohio State, Penn State, USC, Alabama, Oklahoma State, Washington State, Troy, Boise State, Navy, West Virginia, LSU

Resting on laurels or stinker schedules:

Houston, Louisville, Nebraska, Washington

Playoff Prediction and Seedings (not that I agree with it; just trying to look ahead and then think like the CFB Playoff Committee):

1. Alabama

2. Michigan

3. Clemson

4. Louisville

So, no, I don't think Ohio State matches up well with Michigan. Yes, I think the Wolverines win out, and then win a rematch with Wisconsin. Yes, I think Louisville, Alabama, and Clemson win the rest of their slate. And, no, I'm not sold on Washington winning out, at least based on last night and versus Utah.

Predictions for teams that will be mad as hell in January:

Penn State, Ohio State, Pac 12 Winner, Oklahoma (Shut up, Bob Stoops -- beat Houston and don't get smoked at home by the Buckeyes.)

Needs some chaos, but it's possible:

Penn State, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Florida (beat LSU, beat Alabama in the SECCG and pray like hell.)

Dream Scenario:

Florida loses to LSU, and Alabama gets to drub Tennessee twice in one season, winning the SEC title. By some alchemy and a lot of chaos, Alabama beats Michigan in the first round of the playoffs and then avenges 2014 in a domination of the Buckeyes for the national title. Nota Benne: The former is FAR more likely to happen than the latter.

Most likely scenario:

Alabama destroys Tennessee, bottles up Lamar Jackson and forces a pretty bad passer to try to win with his arm, then lays an absolute whooping on Michigan, a team that wants to be LSU very badly but doesn't have half the talent. Ratings bonanza. All profit.