College Football Playoff rankings Nos. 16-20
20. Kansas State Wildcats (8-3, +1): The Wildcats beat the Kansas Jayhawks for the 15th consecutive time. Stand-out senior quarterback Will Howard had another amazing game, notching 165 passing yards, 12.7 average yards/completion, two touchdowns in the air, and another on the ground. Sophomore running back DJ Giddens put up 102 rushing yards and a touchdown as well. Despite being outgained on offense and down 27-16 in the third quarter, the Kansas State defense stepped up, forcing three turnovers in the second half, and a blocked PAT turned 2-point defensive conversion. After the win, Kansas State is still in contention to make back-to-back Big 12 titles, although they would need help from Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. The Wildcats host Iowa State on Saturday.
(Please note that Oklahoma State leap-frogs Kansas State due to a head-to-head win in Week 5)
19. Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-3, +4): The Cowboys bounce back after an embarrassing, forgettable night in Orlando last week, winning 43-30 at Houston. The Cougars led Oklahoma State 14-3 at the end of the first quarter but in the last three quarters of the game, the Cowboys outscored their hosts 40-16. The quarterback-running back battery of senior Alan Bowman and sophomore Ollie Gordon II was too much for the first-year Big 12 squad. Bowman threw for 348 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Gordon II was equally outstanding as well with three touchdowns on 164 rushing yards highlighted by a 62-yard burst on the game-clinching drive. Oklahoma State looks to clinch a spot in the Big 12 title game at home against BYU.
18. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-3, +1): The Fighting Irish took care of business against Wake Forest 45-7 to keep hopes of HC Marcus Freeman’s first double-digit win season at the helm of the Notre Dame program. Senior quarterback Sam Hartman looked league-ready putting up 277 passing yards and four touchdowns, while the assault continued on the ground with junior running back Audric Estime going for 115 yards and a score on the ground. In a slightly down year for the ACC, the Fighting Irish are looking to steal a good bowl slot. Notre Dame visits perennial opponent Stanford on Saturday.
17. Iowa Hawkeyes (8-3, -1): If not for the Hawkeyes’ elite defense, this team would not be playing for a Big Ten title in two weeks. Another lackluster offensive performance led to Iowa only beating divisional foe Illinois 15-13. The Hawkeye defense earned a safety and limited the Illinois run to only 65 yards, allowing no rushes further than 13 yards. Iowa’s season finale on Friday at Nebraska does not have any repercussions for Standings.
16. Arizona Wildcats (8-3, +1): The Wildcats earn their fifth straight and fourth ranked win and remain in the fight to make the final Pac-12 title game against Utah in dominating fashion, 42-18. Freshman star quaretrback Noah Fifita led Arizona to a lightning-quick start; it was 21-0 at the end of the first quarter. He threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore receiver Tetairoa McMillan put up a crazy stat line with 116 yards, and a TD on eight receptions, as well as a cheeky 21-yard passing touchdown. Senior running back Michael Wiley had 92 yards from scrimmage and two receiving touchdowns. The defense/special teams were also at their best, pulling in two interceptions and a blocked punt return touchdown. If Arizona can defeat in-state rival Arizona State and Oregon loses their rivalry game, Arizona will shockingly play Washington in the Pac-12 Championship.