First off: apologies for the delay in getting this post out. I don’t want to be that guy, but my (dumb) dog literally ate a hole in my kitchen floor last night as the rankings were coming out and cleanup put me behind here. He’s too cute to stay mad at, but I was mad at him last night, y’all.
Moving on, WVU football jumped a few spots up to No. 9 in this week’s batch of College Football Playoff rankings. I see it as good and bad for the Mountaineers. On the good side, WVU is into the top 10 and still has a game against another top 10 team — No. 6 Oklahoma comes to Morgantown the day after Thanksgiving. It puts the Mountaineers firmly on the fringe of the discussion for one of the four playoff spots at the end of the season if they are able to win out.
The bad, however, is that even if West Virginia wins out a CFP spot seems unlikely. Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Michigan occupy the top four spots this week, followed by Georgia, Oklahoma, two-loss Louisiana State and Washington State ahead of WVU at No. 9 with Ohio State rounding out the top 10. The committee clearly doesn’t mind LSU’s losses — a drubbing from the Crimson Tide last week and a close loss to a now-floundering Florida team — which, to me at least, says that if West Virginia wants any chance of making football’s final four the Mountaineers are going to have to start crushing opponents and hoping for some losses ahead of them.
Dana Holgorsen, for what it’s worth, gave the standard coach answer to a playoff question during his time with the media Tuesday.
“We don’t talk about playoff stuff,” Holgorsen said. “The Big 12 Championship, that’s our goal. You can say that’s a lofty goal if you want to, but that’s everybody’s goal in the Big 12 — to play in that game. So that’s what we’re striving for.”
Even with a Big 12 title, and what looks like the two wins against Oklahoma it would require for WVU to get there, I’m not so sure the committee is going to jump WVU ahead of enough teams to land in the first four by season’s end. If the Mountaineers take care of business, it’s going to be close.
So what happens if one-loss, Big 12 champ WVU isn’t in the CFP? There will be a soft landing spot in a big-time bowl game.
ESPN currently has WVU projected to play in the Fiesta Bowl against either North Carolina State or Central Florida. USA Today also has the Mountaineers slated for a Fiesta Bowl appearance, only it has WVU playing Kentucky (Glendale ain’t ready for that party, imo), and SBNation has a West Virginia vs. LSU Peach Bowl on its list (I don’t think anyone is ready for that party).
Here is the full list of this week’s CFP rankings:
3. Notre Dame
8. Washington State
9. West Virginia
10. Ohio State
14. NC State
16. Mississippi State
17. Boston College
18. Michigan State
20. Penn State
22. Iowa State
23. Fresno State