As every week goes by, the committee's job seemingly gets harder and harder because the margins between teams three and eight get smaller and smaller. As things appear now, Selection Sunday is a nine-car pile up waiting to happen.
In advance of Tuesday's third bracket reveal, here's how each of us see things stacking up.
No write-up from Scott this week. He and the wife are spending a few days away before his phone starts buzzing non-stop here in the coming weeks... well, months. Oh, and this will all play itself out on the field in the coming weeks, too.
Last two out: and
No. 1: I may be out on a limb here, but I think this is an elimination game for Mississippi State. Win this and the Bulldogs can survive a loss to Ole Miss or in the SEC title game. But the SEC West is starting to cannibalize itself, and State's entire resume is built on the strength of that division. They play UAB, Southern Miss, South Alabama, Tennessee-Martin, Kentucky and Vanderbilt outside the division. That's Baylor-esque.
No. 2: On a night when Top 10 teams were dropping like flies, Florida State stayed out of the news for once with a quiet 34-20 victory over Virginia. Saturday night in South Beach will be interesting.
No. 3: The Ducks earned yet another solid win, but it came at a heavy cost, losing their tight end, best cornerback and starting center. Oregon can pretty much coast into the Pac-12 title game with Colorado and Oregon State to close the regular season and the Pac-12 North wrapped up.
No. 4: I'll be honest, I have no idea here. I can see arguments for Alabama, Arizona State and Baylor, not to mention an Ohio State team that is coming on like a freight train. But the Horned Frogs are fresh off a domination of the formerly seventh-ranked team, and own wins over formerly ranked squads in Oklahoma and West Virginia, and they have the best loss of the bunch.
Last two out: and
This could have just as easily been Baylor or Ohio State in this space. The good news? Both of these clubs have games waiting with Playoff squads, and Alabama's is only five days away.
No. 1: As long as Mississippi State keeps winning, they won't surprise anyone in the top spot here, but their match up with Alabama this weekend in Tuscaloosa with GameDay in town is going to be the most exciting game of the season thus far. A win continues to improve their already impressive resume, and a loss is sure to shake things up considerably for the selection committee.
No. 2: Florida State still hasn't put together a full game effort convincing enough to make me think they're legitimately deserving of this spot, but until they lose, they own this spot.
No. 3: Win and stay in, that's all Oregon has to do to stay here in my eyes. They shouldn't have any trouble with Colorado and Oregon State to wrap up the regular season, but their Pac-12 title game matchup could make things really interesting.
No. 4: After leaving Death Valley with a gutsy win on Saturday, there's no way (in good conscious) that I could put a 1-loss Big 12 team here in this spot. Alabama owns it for now in my eyes, and gets a shot at the top dog this weekend at home to show their true worth in the eyes of the selection committee.
Last two out: and
Yes, Baylor beat TCU head to head (a 61-58 offensive shootout) but what really impressed me about Baylor this weekend enough to have them in the #5 spot is their complete dismantling of Oklahoma in Norman. Playing a ranked team with the kind of history that the Sooners have, in Norman, as underdogs and completely dominating them is more impressive to me than the head to head win in this case.
TCU impressed the crap out of me again this weekend with a convincing win over Kansas State, who some people could have made an argument that they belonged in the playoff conversation. In my eyes though, the Horned Frogs resume is a half step behind Baylor's.