Playoff picture more complex after multiple upsets in Week 11

Image By: Graphic by Thomas Valtin-Erwin through Tableau Public

What a weekend for college football. Five of the top 10 ranked teams in college football lost this past weekend including Clemson, Michigan and Washington. So what does this mean? With the postseason approaching fast, anything can happen in football, and with that fact comes more opportunities for upsets and unpredicted outcomes.

Despite the No. 2, 3 and 4 overall ranked teams losing last week, it isn’t as dramatic as it seems. Clemson, Michigan and Washington all still control their own destinies, and if all three teams win out then they will further muddle the postseason picture.

For No. 5 Clemson, it’s pretty simple and expected: The Tigers need to win out the rest of the season to make the playoff. Dabo Swinney’s team can’t afford another loss, but playing Wake Forest next week will get them a win, and potentially get them in the right mindset as they prepare for a huge rivalry game against South Carolina to close the regular season.

As for No. 8 Washington, they are following the same game plan as Clemson, hoping to go through the rest of the season without another loss. Although they are considered one of the top teams in the NCAA, the strength of their schedule could pose a serious threat to the team’s chances of making it far in the playoffs.

Bringing it closer to home, the Big Ten’s leader Michigan losing to Iowa doesn’t really give a ton of leeway for the rest of the conference. They still maintain a grip on the Big Ten East title because of their tie-breaking win over Penn State. These next two weeks are crucial for the Wolverines, as they host Indiana at home, and prepare for their big game against Ohio State.

This is also a crucial week for Ohio State. The Buckeyes, ranked second overall, are somehow also currently second in their own division. As they focus on this week’s game against Michigan State and look forward to the highly anticipated matchup against No. 4 Michigan, the Buckeyes look to continue their winning ways in hopes of getting to the Big Ten Championship game.

With the Wisconsin Badgers dominating the Illinois Fighting Illini last weekend, the Badgers are in the driver’s seat to win the Big Ten West. Wisconsin has relatively easy matchups these next two weeks, against Purdue this Saturday and across-the-border rival Minnesota Thanksgiving weekend. If the Badgers can carry on the momentum they’ve built up since their overtime loss to Ohio State, they will likely get a shot for the Big Ten title game and even potentially a spot in the College Football Playoff.

With some of the top teams losing last week to unranked teams like Iowa, Pitt and USC, the college football landscape has changed drastically. Last weekend proved that anything can happen and that these next two weeks in the regular season will likely not stick close to the current script.

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