Zone Power Rankings: Week 11

MADISON – The picture for the College Football Playoff cleared up a little bit on Saturday for Wisconsin. Not only did the Badgers get their first win against a ranked opponent this season, but multiple teams ahead of them fell in blowout losses.

Georgia, Notre Dame, and TCU were all blown out on the road this weekend, granted all were opposed by ranked teams.

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Georgia went on the road and dropped to Auburn 40-17, Notre Dame was throttled 41-8 by the Hurricanes in Miami, and TCU lost to Oklahoma 38-20. While all three did lose, they lost to teams.

The playoff committee is made up of 13 members who vote each week on the teams that will be finding themselves playing in the semi-finals. Our committee works the same way, except it is only three members. The teams have been voted on by myself, Zach Heilprin, and Ebo Thoreson.

The point system works the same way as the AP Top 25 does, but scaled to 10 teams instead of 25. For example, a first-place vote garners 10 points, and a tenth-place vote is worth one point.

Following the results of week 11, here is our Zone Top 10.

1. Alabama (29 points, two first place votes) – The Crimson Tide went through the first part of their season in a rather ho-hum way. They looked impressive, but didn’t play a difficult schedule to say the least. Over the past two weeks they’ve defeated ranked opponents in LSU and Mississippi State on the road. The game against Mississippi State was closer than Nick Saban and company would’ve liked, but a win on the road in the SEC can be tough to come by.

2. Miami, FL. (28 points, one first place vote) – The Hurricanes, much like Alabama didn’t have any noteworthy wins until last week when they beat Virginia Tech. Most recently, the ‘Canes welcomed No. 3 Notre Dame to Miami and took them to the woodshed. The blowout was one of the most impressive victories of the season.

3. Oklahoma (23 points) – Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield very well may have the Heisman Trophy locked up with two weeks remaining in the regular season. The Sooners won their last challenge of the regular season by defeating TCU, and have looked tremendous offensively in back-to-back wins over Oklahoma State and TCU. Their schedule lightens up this upcoming weekend when they take on Kansas.

4. Clemson (21 points) – The Tigers were locked in a battle with Florida State in the fourth quarter last Saturday. Typically, that would be a sentence many would expect to read, however that wasn’t the case with the year that the Seminoles have had this season. The Tigers still boast wins over Auburn and Virginia Tech, but that loss against Syracuse looks worse every week. The did clinch their side of the ACC and will have the chance to square off with Miami in the ACC Championship Game, likely deciding a berth in the College Football Playoffs.

5. Wisconsin (21 points) – The Badgers played their best game of the season defensively against Iowa last weekend at Camp Randall. Wisconsin only allowed 66 yards of total offense to the Hawkeyes and forced three turnovers on the afternoon. Freshman running back Jonathan Taylor continues to impress, rushing for over 150 yards for the fifth time this season. Wisconsin does need to do a better job taking care of the ball, as quarterback Alex Hornibrook threw three interceptions and Taylor lost a fumble.

6. Auburn (15 points) – Auburn earned one of the more impressive victories of the season by defeating Georgia at home this past weekend. The Tigers were able to upset a team that had been dominant all-season long. They’ve got two losses, but if they can beat Alabama in the final week of the season to earn a trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship they could be playing for a berth in the CFP. They would be the first two-loss team to make it.

7. Georgia (12 points) – Georgia has been one of, if not the best team in the country for the entire season. That wasn’t the case on Saturday as Auburn soundly beat them at Jordan Hare Stadium. This might be a bit of an overreaction, as winning out and defeating either Alabama or Auburn to win the SEC Championship would be enough to get them in the semi-finals.

8. Notre Dame (seven points) – Like Georgia, Notre Dame has been largely dominant all-season long. The Fighting Irish were unprepared heading into Miami for their primetime matchup with the Hurricanes. The loss does knock them out of the playoff race in all likelihood, but they still have some very impressive wins this season that shouldn’t be thrown out due to one bad night.

9. Ohio State (five points) – A week after getting destroyed on the road at Iowa, the Buckeyes were back on the winning side of a blowout, defeating Michigan State. While that win was impressive, looking past a 31-point loss against an unranked team should be a difficult thing for the committee to look past should the Buckeyes win the Big Ten.

10. Southern Cal (four points) – The Trojans have been quietly putting together impressive wins since they lost by 35 in South Bend during October. This team is in the drivers’ seat to win the Pac-12 and find themselves in a New Years’ Six Bowl. It’s likely that the playoffs are out of the question for not only the Trojans, but the rest of the Pac-12 at this point, however.

Others receiving votes: Oklahoma State.

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