Notre Dame remains ranked No. 4 in the College Football Playoff race, surviving a week where pundits expected two surging Big 12 teams to close the gap. Yet the Irish’s 21-point victory over Wake Forest—not to mention their body of work for the season—kept them comfortably above a narrowing pack behind the lead group.
The biggest win of the week belonged to No. 7 Oklahoma, who beat Baylor last weekend, the Bears falling from No. 6 down to No. 11. Stanford was the other big loser of the weekend, dropping from No. 7 to No. 11—now needing what might be divine intervention (not to mention a win over Notre Dame) to find its way into the final four. The Pac 12’s chances also went up in smoke when Utah lost to Arizona.
While Temple was bumped out of the Top 25 after getting beat by USF, Notre Dame’s victory over Navy looks better each week. The Midshipmen are up to No. 16, courtesy of an impressive strength of schedule and a lone loss to the Irish. Oregon’s victory allows the Big Ten to claim a non-conference Top 25 victory as a collective conference, No. 9 Michigan State’s best win of the season.
While the Irish will take on a three-win Boston College team, other Top 10 opponents play significant games this weekend. No. 1 Clemson gets their chance at Wake Forest. No. 2 Alabama is playing through a virtual bye week, a game against Charleston Southern essentially a scrimmage before the Iron Bowl. No. 3 Ohio State faces a real challenge, taking on No. 9 Michigan State in Columbus before heading to Ann Arbor next weekend.
Oklahoma, the week’s big winner, has another test with TCU set for primetime in Norman. That’s a week before traveling to Stillwater to take on No. 6 Oklahoma State, essentially a conference championship game—and the Big 12 hopeful a playoff game at the same time.